Tag Archives: Japan

Update on the Nibble

Unlike the majority of Amercians, I did not head back to the office after the Memorial day weekend. Well, not back to my office anyways. Instead, I whipped out my interview suit1 and went to a job interview. It was a really good thing that I left early to get there as I got slightly lost. I stopped at a coffee shop and got directions. Yes ladies, men can and will ask for directions when we know we’re lost2.

After getting the directions sorted out (I missed overshot the street I needed to turn onto by 1 block), I arrived at the company’s office3. The building looked surprisingly new, though it was a bit warm inside. Though that could have been a combination of me being nervous and me having “suited up”. I had to fill out some paperwork (boilerplate HR background check authorization forms) and then waited a bit for my interview. Shortly, my interviewer showed up and took me back to his office. We went over my resume a bit, though it turned out his copy of my resume was missing the information about me being a UofI graduate. Fortunately, I had prepared for that eventuality by having multiple copies of my most current and most generic4 and I gave one of these copies to him. We discussed what sorts of things I do for my current employer, what I did during my college days and so forth.

But we also got off topic several times dicussing a variety of side issues: my Japan trip, Mindbridge, working for companies who close their local offices, being a non-traditional college student and so on. While I do not have an overbudence of interviews under my belt; this one felt like it went extremely well. I really felt like I made a connection with the interviewer5. As it turns out, the company is looking for 1 person for their computer operations department and 1 for their data warehouse. According the interviewer, the operations position is a bit lower than what I’m really looking for in a starting salary but he thinks I could be a good fit for the other position as well. He went on to say the company really needs to get these positions filled quickly before their busy season hits and I should hear something back in a couple of weeks.

Since the interview went so well and the only reason I was on time for it was the helpful coffee shop; I went back to have myself a little snack6. The shop is called the “Coffee Talk Cafe”. When I got there after my interview, the only people in it were the staff. The lady behind the counter was very friendly and we chatted for a bit. She wished me all kinds of good luck on my interview, while she rang me up. I got a toffee nut latte and a orange/pineapple muffin. I ate in the shop and so they nuked up the muffin, putting a little butter on top. It was divine. Yum, yum. *smile* It took them a little bit to make the latte and when the lady brought it over we chatted a bit more. Apparently, I resemble the lady’s brother and in my suit look very “professor-ish”. I left a little bit after that and am now home chilling out. I’ll br browsing the online want ads in a little bit (looking for other nibbles) but right now I feel really good about today and the interview I had.

1 Okay, it’s really my only suit.
2 We just don’t think we’re as lost as you think we do.
3 Per my long standing habit, I will not be discussing who they were.
4 Given time and available brainpower, I prefer to customize my resume for the company & job I am applying for.
5 Did I mention this person is also the hiring manager? Oh well if I hadn’t yet; I have now.
6 To be prefectly honest, this was my breakfast. I was feeling too nervous prior to the interview to want to eat anything.

Sickday Links

I’ve been home sick the last couple of days and today while I felt mostly felt fine; I was running a bit of a temp. I couldn’t sleep so to entertain myself; I surfed the web and found this links which amused me.

  • Bento | Gmaps:Google Maps with English translations showing eating/dining options in Tokyo, Japan
  • Motherload: A flash based game where you drive a mining pod on Mars digging for ore. Sounds silly but it’s strangely addictive; I clicked it intending to play for just a few minutes and ended up spending hours on it today. Then again, part of that could have been the cold medicine.
  • MythBusters | Lost Experiments: The Discovery channel has put online short video segments from the MythBusters TV show where we get to see never before released footage. πŸ˜€ Very cool!

Back from “some rest”

After we finally left town for our honey-night1, Ariesna nodded off and went to sleep for most of the drive. Once we got to Davenport, I got a bit too caught up in looking for street names and went past the place we were staying… a couple of times. *sigh* I’m convinced I’ve got less direction sense than a rock. I can learn an area so I know where I’m going but it takes me a fairly long time and even after years of living in this area; I tend to turn down a street only to be surprised when it joins up with a different street I’m already familiar with. All this is building up to say that I ended up having to tell Ariesna where we were staying before we found the place2. I did so want it to be a complete surprise. *sigh*

Any hoo, the place we stayed at is called Fulton’s Landing. It’s a late 19th century house that has been beautifully maintained and is decorated with many a wonderful antique. When we finally arrived, Ariesna & I walked inside but found ourselves faced with a small problem. There was no sign of the proprietor! After a bit of shouting hello and ringing the doorbell, I went back outside and started walking around the grounds to see if I could find somebody. Later Ariesna confided in me that just after I’d gone searching that she found a small note saying that our hostess could be found painting the front porch.

After locating Pat, our gracious and charming host, we headed back to where Ariesna was waiting and then up to our room. Ariesna was thrilled and while I did find it to be a lovely room; it was a bit pink for me. We freshened ourselves up a bit and then went to a nearby Japanese restaurant that we are familiar with from previous visits to the area. Their yummy rolls weren’t as good as the ones we’d had back in Kansas City once upon a time, but the Hawaiian rolls were fantastic3! Then she had the Shrimp Tempura and I had the Chicken Katsu. Both dishes were delicious and much larger than I remembered from previous visits. After eaching our fill, we headed back to Fulton’s Landing.

Just a brief side note for the single folks who read this blog: when you get married some day; make sure to eat a good breakfast and/or hide some sort of energy bar in your pocket/purse for later. That way you don’t starve as your wedding guests are likely to keep you so busy that the serving staff will remove your food before you get a chance to eat any of it!

We did get back to Fulton’s Landing without any troubles and had a very pleasant evening relaxing… and doing those things that newlyweds do. The next morning, we had a marvelous breakfast with the other guests: a couple from Nebraska with their daughter from Brazil and a writer from England. Apparently, he writes a column called “The Best…” for The European; this has him gaunting around the world finding the best places to stay, best foods to eat and writing all about it for his clientelle. After listening to him talk for a few minutes, I’m became convinced that I’m in the wrong profession. πŸ™‚ After breakfast, we checked out but Pat allowed us to leave our car parked there so we could go for a walk around the area. There are many gorgeous houses over there, a few of them for sale –and quite undoubtably out of my price range–. It ended up being a longer walk than we had really thought we were in for, with a good chunk leading us up-hill but it also very enjoyable. Particularly once we left the housing area and got back down by the river with the cool breeze coming in off the water. Hmm, that was soo nice.

Then it was time to retrieve the car and head for home, which we spent just quietly enjoying the day & each other’s company. Later in the evening, Ariesna’s parents came up and we unwrapped all the wedding loot. It was a good haul. Heck, there were even gifts in there that were aimed more towards me than they were towards the bride. Don’t misunderstand me, there were plenty of gifts that were definitely picked with the bride in mind! And of course, there was also a nice selection of checks and cold, hard cash as well. All in all, I think Ariesna & I should get married more often if it’s going to bring in this kind of loot.

1 Due to time & financial constraints, we didn’t get to do a full honeymoon right now but we hope to do one later. Since it was just a night away from home, I’m calling it our honey-night. πŸ™‚
2 For the record, she’d already noticed the sign for the place a couple of times before I broke down and told her.
3 For those unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine, these rolls are actually types of sushi.

Photo-day

Wet Leaf

Ariesna and I went out walking today. Partly because I have a couple dozen rolls of unused film collecting dust, but mostly because AWelkin will get a chance to see Iwahara-san & Keki-san at a conference this month. Why is that important? Well, they were fabulous to all of us who went on the trip to Japan last summer that I feel the need to extract some hospitality vengeance upon them. πŸ˜€

Around 1pm, we headed out and started today’s walking/photography adventures. We went over to the Iowa River & Power Company’s parking lot and I started taking pictures of the river, some trees the remains of the dam1. However the main reason we were there is I’d heard from a co-worker that there’s a big nest of eagles in that area. We’d probably been there about half an hour without seeing anything when some other people came up with binoculars. From what we could overhear them saying; they were coming to try and see the eagles too. So I asked them about the eagles and they pointed the nest out to us2. We chatted with them for a couple of minutes and they mentioned some other areas around town we could go to look for eagles. Then we started walking away and spotted an eagle a bit further up the river. I probably shot 15-20 pictures using my 35mm camera and I know some of them weren’t focused that well. Hopefully, at least one or two will turn out nicely. We left shortly after that and went to a couple of the parks over in Iowa City and then down by the Iowa River and the UofI’s Art museum. It was a lot more walking than we usually do, but it was a good time.

I only ended up using about 2 rolls of film (~50 total photos) but I also took some shots with my digital camera. The image attached to this post (and now added to the Gallery) was the last photo I took today, as we walked back to the car. I’m starting to feel a bit tired, so that’s all for now.

1 They’ve torn a good chunk of it down, but I’m pretty sure the plan is to rebuild it.
2 To give credit where credit is due, Ariesna had spotted it but from the description I’d gotten; I told her that was too small to be it. Besides, we hadn’t seen any eagles near it or anywhere on the river.

Don’t take away my fansubs!

I’m a bit of an anime fan. I’ve bought many a VHS tape, Laser Disc and DVD in my time and I plan to buy many more… unless the anime studios shutdown the fansubbers. For those of you who might not be familiar with the world of fansubs; here’s the definition of a fansub from Wikipedia:

Fansub – short for “fan subtitled”; a copy of a foreign movie or television show (most often anime) which has been subtitled by “fans” into their native language. This has been done to provide shows that would otherwise be unavailable in one’s native language, but with the growth in the popularity of anime, fansubs’ purpose has expanded to include programs that would be commercially unviable (I.e. older or niche appeal market titles.) in one’s country or simply to reduce the amount of time one would wait to see a particular program. Also, many American anime viewers feel there is too much censorship of anime broadcast on TV, especially in scenes related to nudity, which is common in Japan (even in children’s shows) but is typically considered inappropriate in the United States.

I mostly get my fansubs from online sources via BitTorrent1. This allows me to:

  • Judge if a series will be worth the money to buy once a U.S. distributer starts selling it here.
  • See some of those niche shows that no distributer will bring over.

Given that I quite often am not fond of the “mainstream” anime that is brought over and that my budget is limited; being able to view the series completely via fansubs is a vital part of my process for deciding what series I will buy. If the anime studios force the fansubbers to stop their work; then I’ll be forced to spend my money elsewhere. Harsh, but I’ve already bought my share of crappy anime and I’m not willing to shell out ~$20/disc in the hopes that a given series won’t suck.

Oh and in case you were curious, this article over on C|Net prompted my post.

1 If you’re interested in more info on this; leave a comment and I’ll see about writing something up.

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