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Japan Archives

Frankness on Fukushima, five years later

Posted at age 27.

I’ve always been perplexed by the small amount of media coverage about the Japanese nuclear disaster at Fukushima after the 2011 earthquake. I guess after years of consistent incidents and higher radiation recordings than ever before, it ceases to qualify as “news”, but the repercussions seem far reaching and …

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Party in Japan like it’s 1999: Internet

Posted at age 26.

Given that a typical visit to Facebook with its auto updating news feed complete with preloaded videos could easily blow my daily data cap in just a few minutes, I have no qualms about saying the notion of Japanese technical prowess is dead, and I would not be surprised if the state of the Internet here is indicative of where this country and its economy are headed. People come here and try very hard to throw away money to get some work done, and still fail. They say Japan is in a crisis; perhaps this is why!


My speed test on Toppa! Internet over Flets Hikari Next fiber line

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Japan raves, too, but with fewer drugs

Posted at age 25.

This got me researching later about the party scene in Tokyo. I found many forums with accounts of people doing drugs – specifically, ecstasy or (the better) pure MDMA, which is called "Molly" in the states and "Mandy" in the UK. The general situation in Japan seems to be:

* Japan is one of the strictest countries regarding drug laws, and quantity or intent matter not
* Drugs that do exist here are therefore much more expensive than elsewhere (“The street price of a gram of cannabis weed was $58.30 in 2005, over twice as much as in the next most expensive nation, Australia.”)
* People don't talk about drugs even if they do them. Similar to elsewhere, but more severe. Apparently many of the population are extremely sensitive about this, due to what I can only imagine is an ingrained sense that breaking rules is wrong (“unconscionable”) and you cannot question the rule's basis. If you even mention drugs, people will stop talking to you and you'll have no friends.



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Six friends and many wasted hours later, I have Internet!

Posted at age 25.

It has been a long road thus far to get decent Internet here in Tokyo. I thought Japan was technologically advanced, but no more.

I spent my first month at a temporary place I found on Airbnb, and prior to booking, I asked the host if he could do a speed measurement on his Internet connection. Instead of doing that, he responded, "The internet connection of here is optical fiber broad band one." Well, it turned out to be fast enough, but not as fast as that "optical fiber" made it sound. My connection there was around 10 megabits down and 2-5 up. Not horrible, for sure. The main problem there is the Internet would cut out periodically, and at least once a day I would have to power down the modem and router to troubleshoot. I really looked forward to getting an actual apartment and my own Internet service!


A plastic cable the Internet installation people used to try to get the fiber optic cable to pull through wherever it comes from

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Saying goodbye, for now

Posted at age 25.

Wednesday, we got up a bit earlier, skipping breakfast at the hotel and heading to the Tsukiji fish market instead. Nob said he likes to eat breakfast near the market because the fish is fresh and cheap, so we were going to try that out. And we also wanted to see the market, even if we didn’t get there early enough to see some fish auction action.

Well, getting there was easy enough. We only got a little bit lost, but we eventually found it, before 9 a.m. And things were eerily quiet. It didn’t take long to realize the market was closed, and we eventually found a sign that read, “Today is a fixed holiday.” Apparently some Wednesdays are off days.


We tried to go to the fish market the day it was closed

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Cultural barriers, meeting a yo yo champion

Posted at age 25.

We began the day by setting out to find a shoe store that sells Keen for Dan, but the destination store didn’t have anything in Dan’s size. We later found out this was the case everywhere in Japan. The walk was nice, though! After a while, Aaron and I headed back to do some work while Dan continued to wander.


World champion yo yo artist BLACK returned to the Six Apart office to speak about the experience of being chosen to perform at the TED conference earlier this year.

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Meeting Six Apart, buying some clothes (what else?)

Posted at age 25.

Today was a big day; the first of three or four days in the Six Apart KK office, the reason for our trip to Tokyo. And I had no idea what to expect. After breakfast, we began the short walk to the office. We left at 9:40, needing to be there by 10. Google said 5 minutes. We got there only 10 minutes late.


Having lunch with some engineers from Six Apart, makers of Movable Type

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Nattō is gross, but I want to move to Tokyo

Posted at age 25.

This morning for breakfast I tried Nattō, which is fermented soy beans. It was pretty disgusting, and adding the soy sauce and spicy mustard it came with made it worse. Justin told me not to feel bad about not finishing it (I ate three beans), so I didn’t!


This is a not properly exposed panorama from Tokyo Tower... but it gives you an idea of just how huge this city is. Buildings as far as you can see in all directions! Larger version at

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Exploring Sensoji Temple, lively Shibuya

Posted at age 25.

Saturday I woke up pretty early, so I decided to go for a run around one of the parks nearby. On the map it appeared to be a few miles around, so I hoped it would serve as a nice route. And it did.

I got slightly disoriented when I crossed a river I mistook for the water surrounding the park I aimed to run around, but I got to see some city streets and eventually got back on track. I ran about six miles total, though my fricken iPhone 4S GPS reported I ran almost 10 miles. I can’t wait to get rid of the iPhone.


All the crosswalks open at once!

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Arriving in Tokyo alive, discovering delicious noodles

Posted at age 25.

I got back from my trip to Denver Tuesday night, leaving only Wednesday to squeeze in a four hour clinic appointment, a haircut, two hours of weight lifting, and a full day of work. Oh, and I had to pack for a week in Japan, but of course I didn’t do that till Thursday morning in the 30 minutes before I had to head to the airport.


A street near our hotel

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