Archive for August 2005

First Day of Class

August 31, 2005

T

oday, classes officially started… As is my custom, I wear a dress shirt and neck tie. It is, afterall, the day I have to impress my students, many of which I will meet for the first time. Today’s class was J-Lit in Translation. Students interested in Japan take it, but there are a good number of students who take it just to fulfill their foreign culture requirement.

So I do as I always do–speak Japanese for the first five minutes. Since this is a J-lit in translation class, many students in previous courses have looked at me or started whispering to the person next to them trying to confirm if they had to know Japanese to take this class. It is such a mean trick. But this year, not a single student batted an eye. They all looked at me ready for class to begin.

Hmph! No fun… I wonder if the word is out and they knew it was coming? Did someone from a previous year warn them? That would really suck. What fun is teaching if you can’t tease the students from time to time? I better come up with something different for next year.

Totally bummed…

Wireless

August 30, 2005

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ireless is so cool. I’m at a Language Center meeting where the language lab administrator is explaining the use of the equipment. Since our Chair said she’d come, I thought it important to show my face–gotta look involved, y’know.

But the stuff the administrator is talking about is old hat. Too boring. So I sit in the back of the room, turn on my laptop, and logon… Every five minutes or so, I look at the administrator as she talks about how to use the overhead projector–duh!–make sure I get firm–if brief–eye contact, nod in understanding as if I am absorbing every word she is saying, then start typing as if I’m taking notes of what she said.

Of course, I’m writing this post! Hahahhahaahaha. I’m so bad….

Is it Sunday Already? II

August 28, 2005

O

h my God. I can’t believe I went a WHOLE week without even looking at Xanga! Me! The prototypical Xangaholic, not even checking my comments for… a WEEK! Okay, so where do I turn in my official Xanga secret decoder ring. I am so not worthy…

Anyway, I have spent the last week doting on wife and family. I have been working non-stop for what seems like two years. During my last two recent breaks–winter and spring breaks–I was sick, so neither was really a vacation. Yeah, this was the first real break I’ve had in a while. I should have been working on the paper that’s due… last June! But I needed to be with the family and relax.

Of course, it was not all relaxation. M and I had to go to court last Wednesday to resolve her permanent residency status. I am happy to report that the judge saw fit to stay the proceedings and rule that the issue is administratively finished since we have already completed most of the necessary paperwork and seem to be on the right track again. In other words, M is no longer under the threat of being removed from the country. Of course, the case is not completely closed as we need to file the appropriate papers to “remove conditions” of her green card. So this weekend was spent putting together evidence that proves that we are still married and living together–a letter from our bank, affidavits from friends, etc.

I wish we had had the wherewithal to go somewhere, but lawyers fees and my new computer have basically left me broke. No, worse than broke, in debt! I not only have no money, and the money I earn I owe to the bank. I also had my car worked on last week and there were some issues with the front axle which cost me another $1400. So, yeah, I did not have the ability to take the family anywhere. The only thing I could give them was my time, so I gave it.

Now school starts this week, and once again it is busy, busy busy. But I’m back on Xanga for the duration. Hope all of you have been well for the past week. I will try to make the rounds as soon as possible.

And thanks to all you who offered advice and help regarding the last two entries.

Peace, all…

Is it Sunday Already?

August 21, 2005

W

ith the end of the summer session, I have been trying to catch up on all the things I have neglected: family, cleaning around my desk, gardening, etc. I can’t believe I’ve haven’t updated since Thursday. One of the things I ‘ve been working on is a new website design fro our department. I’ve been struggling with dropdown menus. I found a free program called uMenus at download.com. It’s okay, but the direction of the the menus is limited.

Anyway, this is something I can work around if I design the site adequately. But I wanted to add some images to the page that represent the three languages we teach: Chinese, Japanese and Korean. I thought that among us scholars I could get a few photos that I could crop and edit to use on our site. But, egads! Scholars are definitely not photographers. I looked on the Internet and there are, of course, a lot of great photos, but they are all copyrighted. So here’s another question for y’all.

Is there a site that offers free images or stock photos? Or would any of you be willing to send me a photo of famous/recognizable sites from China, Japan and Korea? I will, of course, attribute the photo to you if I use it. Leave me a comment so I can email you… Or you can email it to me at onigiriman at gmail dot com.

Anyway, thanks to all of you for your advice and comments on the previous post. I think I will seriously look into Verizon Fios. It’s actually $25 dollars cheaper–$300 annually–so I could probably buy space for much cheaper. Don’t some of those domain name places also provide Internet space? Maybe I should get onigiriman.com or .net or something… Muwahahahahaha, The narcissistic get even more so…

Is it Sunday Already?

August 21, 2005

W

ith the end of the summer session, I have been trying to catch up on all the things I have neglected: family, cleaning around my desk, gardening, etc. I can’t believe I’ve haven’t updated since Thursday. One of the things I ‘ve been working on is a new website design fro our department. I’ve been struggling with dropdown menus. I found a free program called uMenus at download.com. It’s okay, but the direction of the the menus is limited.

Anyway, this is something I can work around if I design the site adequately. But I wanted to add some images to the page that represent the three languages we teach: Chinese, Japanese and Korean. I thought that among us scholars I could get a few photos that I could crop and edit to use on our site. But, egads! Scholars are definitely not photographers. I looked on the Internet and there are, of course, a lot of great photos, but they are all copyrighted. So here’s another question for y’all.

Is there a site that offers free images or stock photos? Or would any of you be willing to send me a photo of famous/recognizable sites from China, Japan and Korea? I will, of course, attribute the photo to you if I use it. Leave me a comment so I can email you… Or you can email it to me at onigiriman at gmail dot com.

Anyway, thanks to all of you for your advice and comments on the previous post. I think I will seriously look into Verizon Fios. It’s actually $25 dollars cheaper–$300 annually–so I could probably buy space for much cheaper. Don’t some of those domain name places also provide Internet space? Maybe I should get onigiriman.com or .net or something… Muwahahahahaha, The narcissistic get even more so…

Quick Question

August 18, 2005

I

have a question for all you computer and Internet experts. Verizon Fios optical Internet lines are now available in my area. In terms of speed, they are basically the same as my current cable service, Cox Communications–15 mbps download, 2 mbps upload. The difference is that Fios is $20 cheaper a month. Cox has been a major headache ever since they were my cable TV carrier, which is why I switched to Dish satellite. I wanted to quit their Internet service but they were the only provider in town, unless I wanted to go with dialup or DSL, and cable is much faster.

But now I have an option.

Cox provided e-mail addresses and webspace where I can upload my images when I share them with you guys here–70 mb total. Fios offers nine e-mail addresses and 10 mb of webspace.

Okay, here’s the question. Has anyone heard anything about Verizon’s Fios? Does anyone actually use it? It’s optic fibers so I can’t think of anything bad to say about it technologically, although Cox claims that Verizon cut and duct taped their lines when Verizon was laying down its own lines. They sound like kids fighting over a small piece of pie.

Also, does anyone know where I can get web space to upload images if I decide to quit Cox. I have more than 10 mb of images and other stuff, so the 10 mb that Fios offers isn’t enough.

Thanks for your input, guys…

A Bright Light 4

August 17, 2005

A

s Yoshiko stifled her cry, she noticed that she could move her body a bit more, and began to wonder if the moving ruble affected anyone else beneath it. If she could move more, maybe others in the same predicament could move as well. Maybe there was hope.

“Mr. Shimizu? Can you move?”

But all she heard were moans. And they were not Mr. Shimizu’s. Who’s moaning? Why didn’t I notice them before? When Yoshiko first regained consciousness, she was still in a daze. The first voice she heard was the one that was most familiar. But as she slowly gained a sense of time and place, her senses sharpened and she began to notice more than the darkness.

What happened? she thought. How did the building collapse? She tried to recall she had experienced up to this moment–she woke up, then ate breakfast, then walked to work and entered the office, then… A bright light, a flash that kind of filled the room, like a camera’s flash bulb when you look right at it. What was that? Yoshiko had no idea. All she knew was that she was trapped under some rubble and she had to get out of there.

“Mr. Shimizu? Are you there?” But she did get a response. All she heard were the moans faceless others.

Dear God, please help us, Yoshiko thought. She had never been an especially religious person. Like many young people in Japan, her life was filled with the symbols and rituals of religion, but little understanding of it. She knew that the state religion was Shinto and that the emperor was a direct descendant of the Goddess that created Japan, Amaterasu Omikami–the Great Deity Who Lights the Heavens–or at least that’s what the text books taught her. Every New Year, she went to the Shinto Shrine to give an offering and received from her mother or grandparents an amulet that was supposed to protect her, sometimes to help her with her studies, others times to ward off illness, usually a general purpose amulet. She would happily accept it, then shove it into her small dresser when she got home. When she went to the shrine, she always copied the adults she was with by washing her hand with the water at the well near the entrance. It had never occurred to her that this purification ritual was related to her taking off her shoes before entering a house, or the mounds of purification salt placed in front of many shops and restaurants around town.

At home, they also had a Buddhist altar in which were displayed a faded sepia-tinted photo of her great grandparents. Everyday before a meal, either she or Tadao would place a small bowl of freshly cooked rice–or whatever staple they had for dinner–at the altar as an offering. Tadao once wondered out loud why they had to waste such a precious commodity as their dinner–rice was so scarce–but he was roundly scolded by their mother. It was simply there way of honoring their spirits. Their grandfather was also a devout Buddhist. He was a strict vegetarian who refused to even kill pesky insects. Yoshiko, who wouldn’t think twice about swatting a mosquito feasting on her forearm, would stare in amazement at her grandfather who calmly shooed away the bloodsuckers by fanning his hand or blowing at them.

And yet, with all these symbols and practices around her, she did not understand religion very well. But she began to try very hard in the darkness of the fallen building.