Sunday, April 09, 2006

ただいま (revised)

お久しぶり。Long time no blog.

Japan. Finally got a chance to visit. And whet my appetite for more.

First impressions.. Japanese seem humble yet proud. Proud of their language, country, culture. Even using their own year numbering system (based on the reign of emperors) for a notice at the airport. Yet humble to one another, even to stranger gaijins. Parts of it were as neat and tidy as their disneyland, not a single leaf out of place, even more extreme than Singapore.

Attack of the kawaiis. Somehow all products have cute line-drawn mascots. Even the inflight video (which very gently informed passengers of dos and don'ts) was an animated comic drawn on lined paper. Akihabara (秋葉原) was full of girls in maid costumes.

Mount Fuji. TV or poetic descriptions pale in comparison to the real thing. But we were freezing inside the bus as we rode up to the 5th station (9 stations in all, only lower 5 accessible by car).

Sakura. A little disappointed? Somehow the colour is not as brightly pink as it appears in photos, but a more subtle shade of pink.

Crazy transport costs. At every highway toll station or carpark, the bus had to pay like $30-50 worth of fees. It cost SGD 2000+ in toll charges to drive from Osaka to Tokyo. A 1-hour taxi ride will set you back about $500, and I don't mean yen. Shinkansen costs $25 for 1 short stop.

Shinkansen. AWESOME! Tried to take a photograph of a passing train but was blown away. When I recovered from shock, the train was gone. There was a smart girl who took a video of it though. Top speed: 300 km/h

Flight there was very eventful. Someone fainted on board, but apparently there wasn't a single doctor on board, in spite of the stewardesses' pleas for help. And still a couple of hours before touchdown. Hope that guy was ok.

Ramen. Only had a chance to try out a couple of shops. The one near my hotel was pretty decent, but the one at the airport wasn't too great. Abit disappointing, I think even Ichibantei in Singapore can easily beat those 2. Oh well, better luck next time.

Haruki Murakami (村上春樹). Picked up Kafka on the Shore at Narita. Am currently hooked on it. At this rate when I finish it I think I'll pick up the original Japanese edition as well. Or maybe the untranslated edition of his new novel, After Dark.

Regrets.. no time to visit Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, back alleys of Akihabara (where bleeding-edge stuff like invisible cameras and other prototypical tech resides), Ginza, Sony tower. But perhaps graduate studies there will fix that.

And wow so many things I missed this last week.. Apple allowing users to dualboot windoze, Anthony Leggett visiting NUS, and OMG the Big Red cannon sitting in front Fleming House (the house I was in) at Caltech was swiped by some MIT kids pretending to be "Howe & Ser Moving Company" and transported all the way to the East Coast?! "Howe & Ser Moving Co. is an accomplished national moving firm known for its excellent customer service. It has been described as, "assertive, low-key, and really willing to go the extra 3,000 miles to ensure a bang-up job." I guess they finally started to get a little upset about the "MIT" T-shirts that Caltech people were distributing at MIT's Campus Preview last year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

so... you think my gmails were crap huh? wtf with the tech man... murakami... kafka... WD was reading that the last time we lost contact. kafka... is coming up on radar... d.f. wallace. interestingly was reading one of leggett's paper yesterday. measurement problem has been condemned as a dead-end: for senior citizens only. is he so long winded in person? so you applied for gradschool in nipland? knew you would leave me to rot.
got enlightened w.r.t lesbians. turbulence: whoa. i saw RG in there. and experiments are doable too. have you heard of pole decomposition? navier stokes still unsolved. hope you saw this:

also this, from my today's readings:

WOW. half an hour of separation from Chaitin to Lamda the ultimate from my reference frame.

Tue Apr 11, 09:25:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oooo. Leibniz the Ultimate Pwner.

Tue Apr 11, 09:26:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karlskrona is in Sweetland. What the hell huh. Still won't convert to Scandinavism? Burn in Uncle Sam hell, you infidel!!!

Hey we even beat Nipland and Iceland

Tue Apr 11, 09:35:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger bean said...

dude can u relax abit. sometimes u don't make sense even to me. and even if i get into nipland, sch won't start till next year. stop spazing. i'm reading GR now. how was the leggy science article?

Tue Apr 11, 10:41:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shit reddit is catching with me too fast. today there's a post abt d f wallace. d. f. wallace is a dandy who loves kafka and reports about porn conferences at defcon(?)... my fave author for these days... artsy fartsy but recently tried to write a "rigorous" math book for the masses. just like visual basic.

Wed Apr 12, 03:20:00 AM GMT+8  

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