Brian is a researcher, technologist, and futurist working in Kyoto, Japan as a programmer, web developer, and software engineer. He has a CS degree from VT in VA plus several years experience and a wide interest in many topics. Oportunities and Interest Always Welcome.
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Words about Japan, Technology, Politics, and Entertainment seldom spelled correctly
Monday, April 29, 2002 permanent link
  The Picture of the Week is titled Time by the River. The picture was taken with a very slow shutter spead to increase the light in this night-time shot. It also created a blur as cars drove behind the subject, creating a nice effect of time passing this person by as he rested. It is very common in japan for people to drink too much, take a nap, often times in the bar while their friends continue to party, and then wake up to pick up where they left.

SIDE NOTE: Sometimes my pictures may not show up correctly. If this happens, just try again please. They should eventually show up.

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  I just finished reading this article. I have read others similar to it. Each one scares me. I love technology, but I think we are not ready for the kind of changes to our bodies and minds that this article mentions. I see it seeming at first to lead to great things, but eventually getting out of hand and creating chaos, and perhaps the end of the world. It took billions of years for our planet and our bodies to develop as they have. We don't have the wisdom to alter them radically without destroying the balance. I had a chilling vision one time. I imagined a universe where we were the only intelligent being to ever exist. We are trapped on a blue island in the infinite sea of cold blackness. From the perspective of all time, if we do not prevail, we will be a flash, a spark in the expansive darkness, and then gone. Life existed for a short instant, and then it was gone. We must not let this happen.... but the truely frightening thing, is that we may not be able to stop it any more than the sun can stop itself from burning out. We are on a path and there are no turns.
Wednesday, April 24, 2002 permanent link
  Thought from the past: Out of my journal, "I saw my co-workers and 3 best friends in Japan walking down the street. It struck me as quite unique to see a black American, Chinese Canadian, and caucasian New Zealander walking down the street togher in the midst of what Japan, where diversity of race is not the norm."
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  Great One Liner: "Take my advice, I don't use it anyway"
Tuesday, April 23, 2002 permanent link
  Personal Article: I wrote a hybrid movie review / article about the movie Thirteenth Floor that I saw over the weekend.
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  The Picture of the Week is of the Kamogawa at night from Sanjo bridge. Kamo means duck and gawa means river.
Saturday, April 20, 2002 permanent link
  Personal Log: Sometimes I write down my dreams and this is what I wrote recently: I was saving someone, or practicing saving someone, lifeguard-style, in the ocean at night when I felt the water rushing backwards trying to pull me back out to sea. I thought it might be a really bad undertow and I dropped down to the sand to try and hold myself there while it passed. As I came out of the water I could see several bright mushroom clouds exploding over the horizon. The water had rushed back due to the shock wave of an explosion, however in the dream nothing near me was destroyed. There were many people on the beach and it may have been a 4th of July celebration. I worried about radiation, or a new explosion close by, feeling anxiety and fear, but not panic. I hoped out loud that it was some other country we could bomb back and stop, and not terrorists we couldn't find. Because the explosions seemed small, I thought they might be caused by smaller mobile bombs carried by suicide bombers. Some people other than the group I was with thought the bombs were just really impressive fireworks. We yelled at them to get indoors, that it was nuclear explosions. I was frustrated and a worried that they were oblivious to the truth.... and then I woke up.
Thursday, April 18, 2002 permanent link
  "Palestinian residents of Bethlehem looked on in disbelief as Yuji Makano and his girlfriend Mina Takahashi walked through the debris towards the church seemingly oblivious to the evidence of war." From this article.
Wednesday, April 17, 2002 permanent link
  I'm sure many of you watched the recent taping of the Oprah Winfrey show where her guest was Tommy Hilfiger. On the show, she asked him if the statements about race he was accused of saying were true. Statements like"...if I'd known African-Americans, Hispanics,Jewish and Asians would buy my clothes, I would not have made them so nice. I wish these people would *NOT* buy my clothes, as they are made for upper class white people." His answer to Oprah was a simple "YES". Where after she immediately asked him to leave her show.

Did you believe that? Even for a second? I got that email from a Japanese guy the other day. It is unbelievable how willing people are to believe things they read. Among other things, my response to his email said "my advice, only believe 20% of what you read in email, and 50% of what you read on the internet."

Two places you can always start your search about the validy of a topic are and

Monday, April 15, 2002 permanent link
  CNN has an article titled: Researchers find 3,600-mile ant supercolony. The article itself is quite interesting, but the final reason I decided to post it was because of the "entomologist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute" :)
Sunday, April 14, 2002 permanent link
  I got an email recently about a new threat to the rainforst that asked me to "add your complete name and location to the list below, and send it to as much people as possible. If you are the 400th person to sign, please send a copy to: [email address]"

This is my response:

Hi. Sorry Narumi for bothering all your friends. But I have to say something. Don't bother following the advice of the previous letter. Narumi is a super sweet and caring girl and I'm sure she had the best intentions when she sent that email. But if you really care about the environment, then ignore that email. There are two possibilities.

1. The email is one of the many tricks people use to create "chain" emails, to see how many people they can get to send around their email. Even though deforestation of the Amazon is real, the actual story may not be. Sometimes, but not always, these chain emails are created so someone can steal email address and sell them to spam marketers.

2. The email could be real and [email address] is a real person who will send your name and location to the Brazilian government saying that you are against deforestation. So what! The Brazilian government doesn't give a damn how many people put their name on an email. It doesn't show any commitment to affect their government or impact the financial reasons for making their actions. The only way you can really make a difference is to get more directly involved through money or action. Anything else is a waste of time. So I suggest if you care, to find a real organization doing real work and contact them for real news and information on real ways to help.

Start here:

I hope we can all help to change the world. But we have to realize that even in this world of drive through fast food and 2 minute MTV videos, all truly good things take time and effort.

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  The Picture Of The Week is a random scene captered walking down a random street in northern Kyoto that I titled stone work. I don't have a good background story for it. Just look at it and make up your own.
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  I never owned an Etch-A-Sketch. I still don't. In fact, I don't know anyone one who does. But I can still play with one and make circles more accurate than humanly possible. This guy hooked his up to the internet so anyone who stops buy can control it through a webpage. This is not a virtual Etch-A-Sketch. It is the real thing with a camera pointed at it. If you look soon, you might see the spiral I put on it in the middle of the top half. Do some people have too much time on their hands? Maybe, but it is fun to see what some of them do with it.
Thursday, April 11, 2002 permanent link
  Even though this freak... er, I mean unique individual has forever tarnished my memmories of the childhood fairytale of Peter Pan, I'm not going to judge him. We should cherish the exposure to freaky... I mean the exposer to variety that the internet can expose us to, and choose to open our minds. Or laugh at them and call them freaks. It is up to you.
Tuesday, April 09, 2002 permanent link
  I recently ran across a bizarre yet wonderfully mesmerizing flash video that repeated one phrase along with some bad techno and some pop icons. So far nothing terribly interesting, until I did some research on the phrase "all your base are belong to us" and found this excellent web site and this very interesting article about how a poorly translated Sega video game created a minor net phenomenon that says a lot about fads and our consumer culture.
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  Man I miss Calvin and Hobbes. The link has a new comic strip everyday in the order it appeared originally in the newspaper. Today's comic is from April 9, 1991. Check it every day!
Sunday, April 07, 2002 permanent link
  The Picture of the Week is a set of colored windows in a marble store. Each windows pane is actually full of colored marbles. I took this last fall near Arashiyama in Kyoto.
Friday, April 05, 2002 permanent link
  I found a really well done video clip. I found it funny and entertaining, but a bit perverse. It is definately rated R for explicilty sexual language, but it has a purpose and is not gratuitous. Watch it and see how long it takes you to figure it out the story. The older folks might not understand and should probably skip it.
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  Personal Log: I have discovered something amazing. While not revolutionary, or shocking, it still made me go "mmmmm MMM. oh god, that is good". What is it you ask? Or maybe you don't give a damn. In either case, I'll tell you: chocolate covered pretzels dipped into peanut butter. It is five times better than any Reases cup you ever had. I guarantee.
Thursday, April 04, 2002 permanent link
  Two very different items again. The first one erreverantly and pointlessly explains what to do if you don't know Jack Schitt. The other is a short article about an amazing medical procedure that saved the life of a young boy with gene therapy.
Wednesday, April 03, 2002 permanent link
  Some random surfing led me these two interesting picures. Sort of two different paths in life: either be a good housewife or face a downward spiral. Notice the name, and date, of the good housewife magazine article.
Tuesday, April 02, 2002 permanent link
  This article is about the addoption of English words into Japanese. Sometimes it makes me angry. I don't want to learn a crazy version of English, I want to learn Japanese. Other times I find it convenient. The article itself is a bit humorous, but you may need to be a gaijin (foreigner) to fully appreciate it.
Monday, April 01, 2002 permanent link
  Personal Log: Not an April 1 joke. I worked until about 2:30 AM because of a problem at work with a computer. I went home to my apartment building and in the elevator waiting on the bottom floor was a young woman in a wheelchair. She was passed out and had foam on her lips. My first thought was that she had epileptic seizer and might wake up, so I tried to wake her. She didn’t wake, so I felt for pulse in her neck. She had one, and upon a closer look, seemed to be breathing, so I wasn’t too panicked. I called my girlfriend on my cellphone to standby for translation. Then I tried and failed to wake the woman again. I realized that I needed to get some help, and I wanted someone who could describe the situation well in Japanese to authorities. I realized that I could ask my girlfriend to call, but to be honest, I don't know how to pronounce my address. Though I used to have my address written down in English characters, I lost the paper, and the only other version I had of my address is written in Japanese characters I can not read. So I rang the bell of the door closest to me, but no one answered. Then I went to the next door and rang and knocked. A lady answered on the intercom and without taking time to explain myself well, I said “Simasen, tasukete kudesai. Watashi no nihongo hetta desu” (Please help. My Japanese is bad). I hear her walk away without saying anything. I thought she might be getting her husband or getting dressed to come take a look. However, he never came back. Angry, frustrated, and worried, I yelled into hallway “Taskette kudesai”, and them maybe some English. Going down the hallway, I knocked on and pushed the doorbells of each door as I walked by. Finally a man answered on his intercom and I said “Simasen, taskettete kudesai. Erebaeta no naka de, ano hito ga warui desu” (Please help. Inside the elevator a person is bad). I realized later I should have said “byouki”, meaning sick, instead of “warui”, meaning bad. He said in Japanese that he would call the police but never came out to examine the situation. I let my girlfriend off the phone, and then waited outside elevator, looking throught the glass window, to monitor her and make sure she kept breathing. I could tell by the rise and fall of foam in her mouth that she was breathing. I was angry that the guy was either too afraid of me or too uncaring to come out and get more details. As I waited I thought about how unfortunate it must be to have a body that fails you like that. It also made me feel sorry for myself, realizing I have a body that could fail me some day also. The police had not come and I was beginning to wonder if I should seek help again. I also thought that if the police were taking this long to come, then perhaps I should try to have an ambulance called now instead of waiting for the police to call it. Since the guy had no idea what the problem was, besides a crazy foreigner bothering him, he may not have explained that there was a medical problem. Just as I was about to go try again, a young guy came into the building from outside. I called up my girlfriend as he was calling the ambulance. She explained to him on the phone that I had no relation to the girl. I had just came home from work and found her like that. Just as he was finishing his call for the ambulance (kyukyushya, I now know), the cops showed up. The cop even talked to the emergency personnel through the young guy’s phone. I then went upstairs to my apartment. Later, looking out the window, I saw that they had her in the ambulance but had not left the parking lot. I thought perhaps they felt it was a ‘routine’ seizer, not worthy of a trip to hospital. I took a shower and played a little bit of video games to calm my mind before I went to bed around 4 AM.
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