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January 29, 2004

That Which Confuses

As someone who teaches English, I can't miss this interesting entry by David: Which or That? If you have a little time to spare now (I'm sure you have some because you are reading my blog! ;)), go and take this quiz as David recommends. Well, I personally am glad that I've got the feel of the usage of those words. Ah, possibly. Perhaps. Maybe....

Now let me give you a question. Which, regardless of the explanation given in the quiz site, would you prefer to use in the blank below, which or that? And, if possible, tell me why.

This is the first comment (   ) I have posted here.

January 26, 2004


I hear a lot about email fraud schemes that try to lure recipients into bogus websites disguised as reputable ones these days. Beth of mutated monkeys blogged about a scam targeting PayPal customers, which in fact comes from "PcyPal." I'm a PayPal user, so it gives me the shivers to think how I would have reacted if I had received that email even though it's from PcyPal or Peypal or PussyPal or whatever.

Now I have to be careful not to click on a hyperlink readily without making sure the spelling of the URL. Give me a spell checker.

January 24, 2004


I didn't know about the font display technology called ClearType until recently. It enhances readability on Windows XP, they say. So, I turned it on and saw. The effect was a dramatic one, well, in a sense. In fact, the fonts did look thicker and more sophisticated than before. But at the same time I noticed the text looked a little blurry. Here is how the text looks on my monitor with the feature on. And this is what I usually see without it. I wondered which looked better, and was better for my eyes. Digging into the ClearType site, I got to know the technology works best on LCD monitors. Too bad I'm using a CRT monitor!

I hear this kind of anti-alias technology is better developed under Mac OS. Does that mean Mac users enjoy sharper and clearer text on their machines?

Even though I'm satisfied with the way the text looks on my monitor, I can't help thinking it might be better if I hadn't known about the existence of a feature like this. ;)

January 22, 2004

Talking, Talking

I got a haircut yesterday.

I've written about it before. I always feel a little uneasy at a barbershop because I can't see very well what's going on around my head with my glasses off.

And what embarrasses me also is conversation with the haircutter. Most haircutters talk to their customers a lot while doing the stuff. That's a good thing for sure. But you know, I can't see his face very well through the mirror. His voice keeps coming over my head, and I'm at a loss where to turn my eyes - far from a situation where I can enjoy coversation. All I can do is reply briefly like, "Oh, yeah?","Uh-huh","Interesting!","Ugh","Oh, is that so?"... I'm afraid I may sound brusque even though I actually like hearing interesting stories.

Well, that may be an exaggeration. The fact is, I'm a fairly quiet person. I could spend a day without saying a single word if the situation permits. Sometimes I even feel it's too much of a bother to "talk" at all. So, although it depends on the situation, I can't say I'm good at chatting with someone I don't know well. Can be more so in such an uneasy situation as at a barber's.

You may find it funny that a quiet guy like me is in a job that requires a lot of talking. Yeah, but that's another story. It's my job after all. I talk a lot when I need to. ;)

To those of you Japanese fellows who are learning Ei-kaiwa (English conversation):

Some English teachers say that the more talkative you are (in Japanese), the faster your English will improve. I say that's not true. Also, it's content, not wordiness, that really talks. Oh....

January 18, 2004

After the Blizzards

It's calm and clear today as if all the confusion last week was like a dream.

The thing is, a monstrous snowstorm went through Hokkaido. It was reportedly caused by a typhoon-like atmospheric depression, which stayed near the eastern part of Hokkaido for a couple of days.

Fortunately, there was no damage around me and my house except for the damn amount of snow and no classes for two days. Even though I like holidays, I don't want this kind of days off.

So again, Hokkaido is not a place to live in, but a place to enjoy visiting. But beware. Chances are you can't be certain of getting back home as scheduled once you come here in winter. Still, the Sapporo Snow Festival is worth seeing, Peter.

January 12, 2004

Winter Sport

When you will do this, you have to be ready - both physically and mentally. It's lonely work no matter how many people are around you. Never rush. Keep your own pace. Regain your breath. Yes, you can make it....

Well, the weather here has been crazy for the past week: heavy snowfall day after day, and four sets of "major" snow shoveling in just six days. Just crazy.

Hokkaido is not a place to live in, you know. It's a place to enjoy visiting. The snow is, as I see it, nothing but a nuisance. It's as annoying as, as it were, comment spammers on the Net.

But that's a price to pay to live in this beautiful region.

Anyway, I'm tired out!

January 7, 2004

The Stars

Here are the dogs that my parents have. My brother, not I, took the pics during the holidays. No wonder they are well taken, eh?


Aobe. He may look a bit fierce, but he's actually a gentle guy.


Akane. Hey, don't you think she's a beauty?


Let sleeping Miyuki lie. She's very cautious, but once relaxed, she begs us to caress her, again and again.

They came from nowhere during the New Year's holidays two years ago. Very friendly puppies. Probably their irresponsible owner abandoned them near my parents' house. They are obviously siblings, because, as puppies, they all looked the same. They were named by my brother and his wife after some anime characters that I don't know.

January 5, 2004

Starting Work

Oh, it's already the 5th, huh? The New Year's holidays are over. My vacation ended with the first snow shoveling of the year. How sweet. Now it's hard to put myself in gear to work after spending the New Year's just sitting around.

Things are getting back to normal. Yeah. Concentration, concentration, concentra....

January 1, 2004

Konnichiwa 2004

Kinga shinnen
Kadomatsu Kagamimochi
Best wishes for the year 2004, the Year of the Monkey. monkey