Archive for February, 2007

Technical Difficulties

February 21, 2007

On the weekend before last, I bought a TV tuner/capture card so that I can watch and record TV on my computer (I don’t have an actual TV). Alas, when the card is installed, my computer won’t power on. I’ve figured out that the tuner card is tripping my computer’s over-voltage protection, so that power cuts off right after I push the on button. That’s pretty weird. The opposite problem – the card drawing too much power – would make sense, but since the tuner isn’t connected to anything but the computer, how would it be feeding power back into the system?  I imagine the card is just broken, whatever the case. Right now I’m waiting for a reply from tech support. Hopefully they’ll send me a replacement, but meanwhile this headache has eaten up way too much time.

But in good news: Today I received official notice that my request to re-contract for a second year of JET has been accepted. Woot! Also, a few posts back, I mentioned that I was helping some students prepare for the English test and interview for the special, international high school. Two of the three got in, so congratulations to them.

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An Invitation

February 7, 2007

This is short notice, but I’m extending an invitation to anyone who has the time, funds, and interest. The last week of March and the first week of April are spring break (more accurately, it’s the break between school years). If you can come over here sometime in that window, I’ll show you around and let you crash at my apartment. Of course, if a bunch of people take me up on the offer, not everyone can stay at my place. But I’m guessing that no one, let alone a group, has both the time and money anyway, so I’m not worried. Still, I wanted to put out the invite. If you’re interested, let me know by the end of next week.

It’s So Easy!

February 4, 2007

I don’t have time to write a second decent post after all, so I’ll give you this not-new-but-still-awesome video instead.

Yatta!

Foiled Again

February 3, 2007

So much for writing anything during the week. Some 3rd grade (i.e. 9th grade) students are applying to a high school that has special international courses, and I stayed late after class this week to help them prepare for the English interview that they’ll have to take. I’ll be doing the same thing next week, but I’ll try to make two posts this weekend. I really do need to get caught up.

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Picking up from where I left off . . .

The last picture of my previous post was taken from across the valley, to the northwest of my apartment. The view is a little deceptive, as you can’t see the actual valley between the houses and the apartment buildings, but it’s there.

The area where I took the picture is a patch of family farms and neat, old-style houses. I don’t have any pictures that really capture the feel of the neighborhood, but this is better than nothing:

Kamitanigami 1

It’s a shame that the soulless, cookie-cutter duplexes and apartments that you can see across the valley (lower and to the west from where I live) are a more common sight than tile roofs. Although old-fashioned doesn’t equal old:

Kamitanigami New House

Agriculture is a heavily protected industry in Japan, so some small farmers do quite well.

There is a Buddhist temple in the area. It has a mechanical bell-ringer, although it looks broken.

Auto-Bell

I don’t know which branch of Buddhism the temple belongs to, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Zen. Having an auto-bell would just be too lazy.

There is also a Shinto shrine.

New Year’s Decorations

The arrangements of pine, bamboo, and mandarin bitter oranges are traditional New Year’s decorations.

Well, it’s time to make dinner. I’ll write more later.

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Edit: Apparently, bitter oranges are used, not mandarins, although mandarins are common substitutes when the real thing is unavailable.