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November 30, 2002

Hanabi!

When I was a kid, I thought Hanabi (fireworks) were entertainment that was unique to Japan. So, it came as a shock when I knew that wasn't really. Hahaha! Fireworks are fun to watch, aren't they? Cyberfireworks.com offers you virtual fireworks shows. You click anywhere in the sky on the photos there, and fireworks come out. It's this simple, but once you start, you can't stop, uh, maybe.

Hanabi festivals are popular summer attractions throughout Japan. I've missed them for the past couple of years, though....

You know...I feel like shooting off fireworks ... NOW!

Yeah, I did it. Look at the calendar here. All the numbers are now bold-faced! I know, there are a lot of bloggers who keep posting more than one entry every day, so what I have done is not a big deal. But it's an achievement for me, because this is the first time I've covered a whole month since I started blogging this February and I was a once-in-three-day blogger for the first couple of months. There may have been entries for entries' sake, but my blogging philosophy for now is here in Joy of Blogging. Thanks for all the encouragement, folks.

yatta! proud calendar Yay!

As a reward for myself, I will vote for my site for the ATB Award. Yeah, actually I haven't voted yet. I'm so happy to have been nominated there at all, and so whether I can win the award or not doesn't really matter. I mean it. But now I think I'll vote for me as a bit proud blogger. And I'm grateful to all those who have kindly voted for my site. :)

Thank you for reading my blog. It's really fun to blog with you!

November 29, 2002

Sushi

Though I am Japanese and live in a fishing town in Hokkaido, I'm not very fond of sushi and sashimi. Funny thing is, I can eat maguro (tuna) and like it, but not toro, the fatty and more "expensive" part of it. I don't understand why uni (sea urchin) is so popular. Yeah, I do think, if only I could enjoy them! But raw fish (and raw meat as well) gets me down.

If you like sushi, enjoy Sushi Fortune Telling.

Now, my wife and I are going to Abashiri, a nearby city, to do some shopping and have ramen noodles for lunch.

Boy, one more day. Hey, I'm getting a little nervous. ;)

November 28, 2002

Foreign Dreams

If you study a foreign language and reach a certain level, you would have dreams in the language. Have you ever experienced this kind of phenomena?

I don't remember when I had my first English dream. I usually dream in Japanese, of course, but have English ones every once in a while. Strangely, there is one thing that is common in every English dream I have. That is, native speakers speak "perfect" English, while I speak the way, you know, I'm supposed to do. Well, there may be no such thing as "perfect English," but anyway they do perform and speak perfectly the way native speakers would do, and sometimes I even think, in the dreams, that certain expressions they just uttered sound new to me and so I have to remember them. --- How can I have dreams that would be beyond my English ability? That is a mystery.

Unfortunately, I will forget the details of the dream soon after I wake up, and the supposed-to-be-useful new expressions are gone forever.

November 27, 2002

Collapse!

This small game is really addictive. When things are so busy, of all times, you will want to do something else, won't you? I will, often will. I don't usually play this kind of games, but once you start, you can't stop.

If you have time, go and play this game on my school site. Oh, don't care about the Japanese description below. It's a Space-Invader type of game. Nostalgia.

OK, I have three more days to go. Phew. Thanks, Jennifer, I had a fun time. ;) Oops, it's time to prepare for today's classes.

November 26, 2002

ET

A recent poll conducted in the US shows that "two-thirds of Americans believe there are other forms of intelligence life in the universe." And 56 percent say they believe UFOs are real.

I don't think it's funny. Do you believe in UFOs? I would say, I'm neither a firm believer of UFOs nor a stubborn naysayer. I haven't seen UFOs myself. Nor have I heard of any rumors about them around here. But human beings may be nothing but tiny beings in the universe. We know almost nothing about the space outside of the earth. So it's nothing strange if some intelligent lives existed somewhere. Hey, why am I using "nothing" this much? Nothing is certain, after all.

November 25, 2002

Language

Parents teach their children how to greet people properly. Seems like it isn't necessarily done properly these days, though.

There are certain set expressions that should be used depending on the situation. For example, when you enter into someone's home in Japan, you are supposed to say "Ojama shimasu" -- literally it means something like "I'm going to bother you," yet is a very polite phrase. Young kids may not know the meaning, but anyway they are told to say so and practice it. By using this phrase repeatedly, they'll be able to use it naturally, and it will be a living expression for them.

I think learning a language is the ultimate form of "memorization." You can learn your mother tongue without being aware of learning it, because you are exposed to a shower of the language all the time and have vast opportunities to use it. In the process, however, there are times when you try to memorize certain words and phrases and use them. The mixture of intentional and unintentional learning -- that will make you a native speaker of the language.

If you learn a foreign language in your country, things don't go that way. You have very limited chances to hear and use the language. But you should try anyway. Try to read and listen as much as possible. Try to memorize as many expressions and use them as often as possible. Knowing is one thing, and practicing is another. It's a long and winding road, to be sure, but worth going through. Yeah, I'm on the way of learning.

Reading and writing blogs is an effective way of learning a language - whether it's your mother tongue or not. Why not make use of it? :) -- Oh my, I didn't think of saying this kind of stuff when I started writing this entry. Haha. I'm just blogging away.

November 24, 2002

Night Fever

It's Sunday. Time flies. So it's time for Sunday Special, eh? OK, let's enjoy Sozaiya Tyon's wonderful web graphics this time again!

noren

This cloth is called Noren, a kind of doorway curtain. Here in Japan, you can see noren hung at the entrance of stores and restaurants. Noren indicate the business is open or they are offering some specialties within. On the noren of this image is a kanji character "kori" (ice). Do you have any idea what specialty it shows? It's kakigori, shaved ice flavored with syrup. kakigori A typical summer treat. Don't eat it in haste, or you'll have a headache!

take

Bamboos. A bamboo forest is a usual scene in Japan. So, this image gives off an air of Japan-ness. However, there is no bamboo forest in Hokkaido! This fact well explains the northern-ness here. When I saw a bamboo forest for the first time, I felt like I was in a foreign country.

disco

Nothing to do with things Japanese? Right. This image reminds me of my college days. Do you know or remember the film "Saturday Night Fever"? I think it was released in late '70s. The fever came to Japan as well and it brought disco dancing into fashion. Even the word "fever" got to be on everybody's lips, in the Japanese way of course, and "Fiibaa (fever) suru" became a key word for having any fun together. If you want to be uncool now, say "Fiibaa shiyo!" (Let's have a fiibaa). It's perfect.

November 23, 2002

Harry Potter

Ohayo, guys! We are off to see Harry Potter. Since today is the film's opening day in Japan, and it's a national holiday, though not a Harry Potter holiday, the theater will be terribly crowded. Though I don't like to be in crowded places, it's shikatanai (It's what I chose to do). I only hope there will be no chatterboxes around us during the movie. See you later harry potter....

... Konbanwa (Good evening), folks! We are back. So the film was..."Bloody hell!" No, no , I'm joking. It's a lot of fun. And if you are to see the movie, you'd better not leave your seat when the credits roll.

November 22, 2002

Bowing

So you have mastered the pronunciation of "Ohayo"? Now you know my handle "Kiyo" is not like "Key! Oh!", but more like "Key! Yo!" OK everyone, repeat after....

As you may know, the common way of greeting in Japan is bowing, or ojigi in Japanese. We bow very often in various situations, consciously or unconsciously. The way you bow means a lot. In fact, quite a few companies give their new employees special training for proper bowing. Some ojigi "specialists" bow even when talking on the phone! Bowing in Japan is an art to be pursued. I'm, uh, well, kinda, serious.

I often see on TV that Japanese travelers often bow to the persons they meet for the first time in other countries. How would you feel or react if a Japanese visitor bowed to you?

November 21, 2002

Blogroll

For those who don't know Japanese, "Ohayo" is not actually pronounced like "Ohio." It's "O-ha-yo." OK everyone, repeat after me -- Oh! ... Ha! ... Yo! ... Very good!

With the increase of the number of my fellow-blogger links, I finally decided to sign up with Blogrolling.com to maintain the lists. I've known about the system itself, but at one time I happened to read a post somewhere that said Blogrolling would make your site heavy, and so I've tried to look the other way. Now that I suppose most of you are using fast connections, it couldn't be a problem. Mine is ISDN. Seems like my narrow band gets a little affected by the program; it takes just a bit longer to load my page than before. Anyway, I'll give it a go. Oh, and by pointing your cursor over the "by blogrolling.com" link, you'll know what time it is in Japan.

By the way, my winning streak has been continuing. I accomplished 20 straight days yesterday. If I make it to the last day this month, please congratulate me. ;)

November 20, 2002

Ohayo

A sixth grader asked me during class, "Why is Ohayo 'Good morning' in English?" I answered, "That's because, in the English-speaking world, they greet each other saying 'Yoi asa' (good morning) in the morning. And we say 'Ohayo' in the morning in Japan. So 'Ohayo' can be translated as 'Good morning'."

It's interesting that, even though the literal meaning of the two expressions is different, they must be regarded as being of the same meaning in translation. What to say in a certain situation is different from language to language. Also, we aren't usually aware of the true meaning of such expressions when uttering them (you are?).

So "Good morning" is originally "I wish you a good morning"? That, I'm not sure. "Ohayo" in the full form is "Ohayo gozaimasu," which is a super polite way of saying "It's early." The counterpart of "Good afternoon" is "Konnichiwa." When I think about the meaning of "Konnichiwa," it is something like "Today is..." Yes, it's only the subject of a sentence. So, today is what? I dunno. Perhaps it could be "Today is a good day, isn't it?" But you don't have to be inquisitive. You "feel" the unspoken words. The pause speaks. Things go well that way in Japan, uh, kind of.

November 19, 2002

Link Button

Link Icon

Yeah! TheRich of RUHome kindly made a cool link icon for me. And Tyon-san of Sozaiya Tyon has generously OK'd the use of the image on it. So this is a kind of joint work of Rich-san and Tyon-san. I would say it symbolizes the friendship between Canada and Japan! Exaggerated? Never mind. I just felt like saying so.

I haven't had a link icon for my blog, simply because I can't create it. Actually I've made one once for my school website. Looks good? Kind of. But I got burned out after making it. I'm not suited to creating images or that kind of things. I got Paint Shop Pro as a prize for joining the web hosting service I'm using now. Chances are, it will be left unused. It's likely to be "Takara no mochigusare." (Unused treasure is a waste of treasure.) Mottainai! (What a waste!) OK, so much for Kiyo's Japanese lesson. Thanks.

Blog!

実に久しぶりの更新である。別にここを見捨てたわけではないし、書きたい気もあるのだが、今はやっぱり英語 Blog がメインになってしまっている。そこへいくと、Ken Loo は英語と日本語の Blog をきっちり更新していて、しかも両方とも彼にとっては外国語なのだから、これはすごいと言うしかない。見事。あ、そうだ、彼のサイトに ping(そっちの投稿に関することを書いたよ~ん、と相手の Blog に自動的に知らせる機能)しておこう。これも Blog のいいとこだね。

この数ヶ月の間に、日本語 Blogger が続々登場しているようだ。すばらしいことである。Blog の細かい定義なんかにこだわることはない、まずは気軽にはじめてみるのがいい。そして、気軽な Blog 空間、コミュニティーができてくればいいと思う。"Fellow Bloggers" の精神だ。

ところで、私の英語版 Blog である "KEC Journal" が、今年の All Things Blog Awards の "Best Asian Blog" 部門にノミネートされた。この広大な Blog 空間の中で、誰がどのように私の Blog を発見し、ノミネートしてくれたのかわからないが、ありがたいことである。投票は12月26日まで。よかったら投票してね。

November 18, 2002

Ping

Though M sent a TrackBack ping to my "Haiga" entry, my site didn't seem to receive it. Neither have I received a notification message from the program. Hmm...what's wrong? If there were a problem on my side, one possible thing would be that I downgraded my Movable Type from Version 2.51 to 2.5. Ken Loo successfully pinged to my site when I was using Version 2.5. But could it be the case? Well, could anyone please send a TrackBack ping to this entry to see if it works?

Speaking of my images of Texas -- cowboys, Rodeo, Houston (Space Center), spectacular views (though I've never been there), Texas Rangers, called "Tekisasu" in Japanese... I'll learn more about it reading M's blogs.

November 17, 2002

Images

OK, guys, it's Sunday Special! -- What is it? Um, don't care, I just felt like saying so. ;)

Well, I like the feel of good old Japan. The website "Sozaiya Tyon" offers cool web graphics, and many of them give me some nostalgic feelings. I'm a big fan of the works there. Though the site is written in Japanese, you will be able to enjoy the gems by clicking the icons on the upper part of the page.

Here, I'll show you a couple of images from the site that have much to do with things Japanese.

A traditional Japanese-style house. The narrow wooden floor that adjoins the tatami room is called "engawa," which acts as a smooth transition between inside and outside of the house. I like it, but this kind of house isn't suited in Hokkaido because of the cold, snowy climate here. Too bad.

OK, this is a perfect scene that well creates Japanese mood - the moon and susuki (Japanese pampas grass). It's a Japanese legend that there is a rabbit doing mochitsuki (pounding rice-cake rice) on the moon. So, when I was a kid, I felt the shadow on the moon looked like a rabbit.

Nice face, isn't it? It's "henohenomoheji." Every part of the face consists of a hiragana character.

November 16, 2002

Haiga

Every culture has its own characteristics. What do you associate Japan with? Fujiyama, geisha, technology, Carry-Okie.... By the way, why "Fujiyama"? Nobody in Japan calls it that. Actually, it's "Fuji-san"!

Japanese culture is rich in traditional arts as well - kabuki, noh, kyogen, haiku, tanka and that. But the reality is that most of us are not so familiar with them now. I must admit I'm not either. It's a shame. And it's kind of fun and at the same time ironic that I stumble upon English websites that explain various aspects of Japanese traditional stuff and I learn a lot from them these days.

Meanwhile, with regard to MNW's comment about Ban'ya Natsuishi, a Japanese haiku poet, on my "Iguanas" entry, Mr. Kuni Shimazu recently posted about his website "see haiku here," where he displays a lot of his works of digital haiga (visualized haiku) collaborated with haiku poets from all over the world.

Haiku comes with brevity, but talks a lot. For someone who is not familiar with haiku like me, it's often difficult to know what a certain haiku indicates. Haiga will stimulate your imagination. Just go and see some. I like this one.

November 15, 2002

Joy of Blogging

I've been in the winning streak this month, kinda. What? Well, as you can see on the calendar, I've kept posting for 15 consecutive days so far. Don't you feel the calendar looks as if it were a win-loss table? It's my secret pleasure to make it filled with bold-faced numbers.

I had a little hard time blogging a few weeks ago. My blogging style is to write about whatever comes to my mind from moment to moment, and that one post a day. It would be a usual matter that there are times when you can't come up with anything to write about. I was, however, in the extreme end then. Literally nothing came to mind once I sat in front of the monitor wondering what to blog about. Or rather, it could be that I didn't feel like blogging. I was aware that I had grown a little tired of it. I even thought of throwing it up. -- If you have been on the Net for quite a while, you may understand me. But I tried not to dump my blog anyway, because one of my objectives in blogging is to maintain and improve my English skills. Even if the quality or content of entries were poor depending on the day, it would be at least useful for my English training to keep it up. The thought made me relaxed. Usually, I don't brood over things, but maybe I was beginning to think of blogging too seriously.

Yeah, keeping it up is really important once you started blogging - in another sense as well. Fortunately I've been blessed with wonderful visitors, who, to my great pleasure, think my blog is not bad. Being able to interact with people through blogging means a lot. How could I cut such valuable links?

There are ups and downs in doing anything.

November 14, 2002

Dialects

It's a freezing morning! In fact, the lowest temperature goes below the freezing point. It's such a time of year. Though the snow is not around yet, the air is that of winter.

In Hokkaido dialect, we describe this freezing coldness as "shibareru." I remember an American guy once said jokingly, "'Shibareru' is somewhat similar to the English word 'shivery' both in meaning and pronunciation!" Ah, kind of....

Speaking of Hokkaido dialect, we say "nageru" when we dispose of something. Nageru in Japanese means "to throw," so it's just like the expression "to throw something away" in English. In standard Japanese, we say "suteru" for this kind of action. In Nagoya, which is my wife's hometown, they say "hokaru." When I was first told this way, I didn't know what to do. "Hokaru? What??"

There are many regional dialects or accents in Japanese. I think people in Hokkaido have come to use the local dialect less and less. Dialect intensity varies greatly depending on the person here. I myself don't speak in Hokkaido dialect very much. Probably the most powerful dialect in Japan is Kansai-ben - Kansai dialect spoken by the people in the western part of Honshu such as Osaka and Kyoto!

November 13, 2002

What dya think?

Much to the disappointment of the fans here, the major league all-stars have lost three games in a row. The scores are 8-2, 8-4, and 8-6. So it'll be 8-8 in the next game, eh?

They might have been exhausted from the rush of the same questions repeated by the Japanese media -- about Hideki Matsui, a star slugger who has expressed his intention to play in the majors next season. Wherever they go, they are exposed to these questions - "What do you think about Matsui?" and "Do you think Matsui will make it in the majors?" How can they answer? They have seen just a bit of him. Who cares? A stupid TV interviewer called away some of the players from the dugout DURING a game, and asked, "Would you like to see Matsui hit a home run?" Ha! Why not let them concentrate on the game? That's the way things are done in the (ugly) Japanese TV media.

By the way, Japanese like to ask "What do you think about Japan?" kind of questions when talking to people from other countries. So, be prepared when you come here for the first time. Oh, but you don't have to be serious about this. In most cases, they are like "How are you? - Fine, thank you" kind of things. And if you are a woman and happen to be at a drinking party with some uncool oyajis (middle-aged men) around, you will almost certainly be asked, "What do you think about Japanese men?" Answer whatever you like.

So, folks, what do you think about my blog? Haha!

November 12, 2002

ATB Awards

How would you feel if you got an email from a website you didn't know saying you were nominated for some blogging award? Well, honestly, I first suspected that it was a kind of spam....

The fact is, I've been nominated in the "Best Asian Blog" category for the Annual All Things Blog Awards! A surprise. Can I feel honored? I have no idea who happened to find my blog in this broad blogging sphere and nominated it, but I'd like to express my hearty thanks to the person(s). The fact that my blog was nominated for this kind of awards at all is very satisfying to me. Oh, there are some 'Nominee' buttons to choose from? OK, I'll place it on the left hand column and feel good for a while. Now, folks, if you enjoy reading my blog and think it's good enough, please go vote for me. I'd be glad. Even if you don't, there are a bunch of interesting blogs nominated there. Enjoy!

November 11, 2002

Majors

Almost nobody in the US may know this, but Major League all-stars have come to Japan to play a seven-game exhibition series against Japan's all-stars.

The opening game was held yesterday, and the big leaguers lost to their Japanese counterparts 8-4. Surprisingly, Barry Bonds struck out three times and Jason Giambi twice, in spite that, in the pre-series game held the day before, they had overpowered the Yomiuri Giants, this year's Japan League champions, hitting two home runs each. Ichiro also went 0-for-4. I hope they will prove themselves tonight, though I can't watch the game because of work!

November 10, 2002

Snow and Onsen

Getting up this morning, I found everything outside white with snow. Beautiful! ...No, wait, hey, Winter, give me a brake, no, break! I don't want to see snow now. It's only November 10th. Besides, I haven't changed tires yet!

Well, yesterday's Sento entry was what I was inspired to write about by tatroyer's questions. It's nice to blog about something asked by visitors. It's instructive to me as well. I feel like I've learned many things about Japanese bathhouses. If you happen to find a topic that you want me to blog about, please let me know anytime.

Though I'm not a big fan of Sentos, where I haven't been for around 20 years, I like to go to public bathing places at Onsen resorts. I bet you'll get hooked once you're there. Oh, and this morning I came across an interesting web page by a British guy that describes his bathing experience in Japan.

Nothing would be more relaxing than soaking in Onsen on a cold day like today.

November 9, 2002

Sento

Public bathhouses, or sento in Japanese, have more than 400-year history. Initially, both men and women used the same baths... but they wore something light. In the 19th century, this mixed bathing (kon-yoku) was prohibited by the then government, and gradually the facilities got to be separated by sex. Public bathhouses were very popular until fairly recently partly because they functioned as places for social interaction. There is an expression "hadaka no tsukiai". Literally, it's "naked companionship." Got any idea? Well, it actually means a friendship with frank communication, socializing without hiding anything.

Public bathhouses are located all over Japan now, but the number of them have been significantly decreasing year by year. It's become a hard age for bathhouse owners. The bathing fee is around 300 - 400 yen (2.5 - 3.3 USD). (statistics via Tazzmorry's website - Japanese)

Still, the idea of bathing with other people (without clothing) itself is nothing strange for the Japanese. We are simply used to it. Oh, not with the opposite sex, though. Going to Onsen (hot springs) resorts has a high popularity. You may find it funny, but most of us cover ourselves with the washcloth when walking around the bathing area.

For the Japanese, bathing means not only washing themselves, but also relaxing both mentally and physically. I like to stay soaking in the bathtub, after the day's work, thinking about life and ... everything.

November 8, 2002

Thank You

One of the fun things in blogging is to interact with people - visitors and fellow bloggers. Yesterday I got a thank-you email from TheRich of RUHome. I don't think I have done anything special to be thanked. So, it was a surprise. In the mail, he said he wanted to send me thanks for "introducing him to Movable Type." That is, my blog indirectly inspired him to start using the program, which is why he wanted to say "Thank you." ...Hey, isn't that great? It's one of the coolest emails that I've ever received.

Now TheRich and his friends are testing out the program. And they are planning to change the default templates shortly. I'm looking forward to seeing how it will turn out from now.

I'd like to say "thank you" to TheRich for saying "thank you" to me. He made my day.

November 7, 2002

Furoshiki

After posting yesterday's entry, I suddenly wondered why "furoshiki" is so called. "Furo" is "bath," and "shiki" is "something to spread." Then, it's like "something to spread in the bathroom." But, thinking of the actual use of a furoshiki, what can it have to do with bathrooms?

So I searched the Net, and sure enough, got the answer.

Furoshikis were originally used for wiping one's feet after bathing - spread on the floor like a bathmat. In the Edo period (17th to mid-19th centuries), people frequently used public bathhouses (sento). They went there with their towels and something necessary wrapped in a furoshiki, putting their clothes in it during bathing, and dried themselves standing on it after that.

Interesting. The words whose original meanings we don't usually care about have their own histories. I would often go to public bathhouses with my friends when I was a college student. I can't remember what I carried with me when going there, though it's certain that was not a furoshiki.

November 6, 2002

The Mouse

Thanks to Jason for wondering what the mouse in the left side bar is doing, I finally carried out the work of linking to the websites that offer the fine web images I use here. I'd long left it undone, though I'd thought I should do soon.

Now, here is the mouse in question. What do you think it is doing? Oh, before that, is it he or she?


For Jason's question, I asked the author if she had something special in mind when making it. Hey, she was kind enough to answer it:

She drew a mouse, and for no special reason let it carry a bundle wrapped in furoshiki on its back. Then the name "Nezumi Kozo" occurred to her, and so she let it run.

That's about it. Oh, I have to explain "furoshiki" and "Nezumi Kozo." A furoshiki is a piece of cloth used for wrapping things up. It's a traditional article, giving much of the flavor of the Japanese culture. Various bags have taken the place of furoshiki now, though. "Nezumi Kozo," or "Jirokichi the Rat," is a famous robber in the Edo period. He is said to rob mansions of daimyo (feudal lords) only, and give money away to the poor. "Nezumi" is "rat" or "mouse." I guess he was small in stature and moved as swiftly as rats.

So, Jason, your guess seems to be correct. ;)

November 5, 2002

Googlism

Need a good laugh? Then Googlism could be a good place to visit. It is a "fun tool to see what Google 'thinks' of certain topics and people."

I went there and typed "Kiyoharu Hatano" in the search box. No match. Phew, it's a decent result, I should say. Kind of scary, isn't it? OK, then what about "Kiyoharu"? --Wow, it came out!

>kiyoharu is actually trying to sing like a punk artist from america

No, I'm not good at singing. I wish I could try. Ha!

>kiyoharu is doing some weird dialogue towards the end making it even more freaky

Mind your own business.

>kiyoharu is back

Oh year! I'm back! ...What?

>kiyoharu is very attractive

Oh, really?

>kiyoharu is really

Really what??! Come on!

>kiyoharu is a shitass

Uh-huh.

Below the search box are four buttons that read "Who is," "What is," "Where is," and "When is." Clicking on them, you'll see alphabetical lists that show keywords. I clicked "What is" and then "k". Surprisingly enough, I found "kec journal" listed there. Wow, is my blog that famous? OK, let me know what "kec journal" is like....

>kec journal is a journal in english written by kiyoharu hatano

Only this? No joke? Well, it's just as it is. Yeah, actually I feel a little relieved. But I wonder who wrote this.

November 4, 2002

Stylesheet

So, on IE 6, this page looks like #2. That's what I intend to display here. But, actually, it is supposed to look like #1.

The thing is -

Initially I wanted a two-column layout, placing the blog entries on the right, without using tables. Also, for readability reason, I didn't want the content to be too wide. So I set the width of each column accordingly. But I got to know later (thanks to bcj.) that this didn't seem to work well on IE 6 (I was using IE 5.5 at that time). I tried shrinking the width of the right section a little. I don't know why, but by doing so it looked just fine at least on IE 6, and so I've left it as it is. I think it's an IE 6 issue, but as long as it looks like #2, or #1 anyway, on your browsers, it's OK for now, though not all comfortable. (Truth is, I'm scared to examine the templates. haha)

On another note, I noticed that the comment counter at the bottom right of each entry wouldn't update. Wow, this is the first time I've had any trouble with MovableType. I searched the support forum of MovableType for help, and found it's a phenomenon newly seen in Version 2.51. According to the answers there, I have to ask my server to install a module called "Digest::MD5." Since I don't like the idea, I did "version down" (Japlish) to 2.5. Just wait and see.

November 3, 2002

Looks OK?

Oh, hi! You came at just the right time. Could you tell me which this page looks like, 1) this, 2) this, or 3) this, or possibly 4) this? What browser do you use? It's a stylesheet thing, and this page seems to look differently according to the browser and its version you use. Thanks.

November 2, 2002

Calls

I've upgraded to Version 2.51 of MovableType. I'm pretty swift this time, eh?

Do you ever experience that once there is a phone call, there will follow a series of another ones, and that will happen, of all occasions, when things are so busy? I do. If they were some sweet ones, say, from the parents of my students thanking me for their kids' accomplishments or something, it would be most welcome any time. Well, things are not so easy. On such occasions, the calls will be unwanted ones like investment sales. Once I respond, they will talk on and on and on....

Yeah, I know something like "A sale begins when you get the answer 'No' from a customer." You may have read a bunch of how-to books like "36 Ways To Make An Able Salesman." Good. I know where you are at. But I'm saying "No," knowing all that. I have simply NO interest in that kind of stuff you are talking about. When it's all clear that neither of us gets anything keeping this garbage going on, why should you be so persistent? It's waste of time, you see, so I think you'd better look for another possible customer. Good luck. So, why, well, I'm saying ....

I wonder if there is any good way to turn down unwanted sales talks on the phone.

Hey, let me blog. Oh yeah, thank you for giving me something to blog about today. You are an able salesman, in a sense. And if you were to write a book titled "18 Ways To Refuse A Persistent Salesman On The Phone," I would buy it. I promise.

November 1, 2002

Chatting Hell

Teachers talk, and students listen. Teachers write on the blackboard, and students take notes. Students rarely ask questions during class; they are supposed to be quiet.

For better or for worse, this is how classes go at school in Japan - traditionally.

That being so, that may not be so any longer. It seems that a lot of school teachers throughout Japan are having a hard time keeping their classes quiet, or conducting classes at all. Kids these days really talk a lot no matter what situation they are in. Trouble is, it's like they will chat without so much as realizing they ARE chatting, which makes them free from feeling guilty. There is no volume control. Their mute buttons are out of order.

Yesterday at a seventh grade class, I called on a student and she answered correctly. I said very good and she smiled. Then, she turned to the girl sitting next to her and said in a natural voice, "Sensei (teacher) sometimes raises his eyebrows. It's funny!" As a matter of course, I heard it, feeling amused, and said to her, "Oh, is that so?" To my surprise, she looked terribly surprised at it, and said in a panicky voice, "Uh...um, y, yes...isn't it funny?" Obviously, she never thought her chat could be heard by me. Wow. Good that was not something more terrible about me.