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October 31, 2003

Shinjyuku

October 28, 2003

Computer Shopping

We took a walk to Shinjyuku Sunday. I had a wallet full of cash, thinking that I would come home with a new computer. Instead the only thing I came home with was a full memory chip and a dead camera battery.

October 27, 2003

Legs

To Mac or not to Mac (again)

I have an amazing headache after spending the afternoon looking for a new computer. I had pretty much decided to go with a cheap pc and install Linux / Windows XP. The Mac Powerbooks are just too expensive.

I found a little Sotec with a 12.1 inch screen weighing in at 1.9 kg for around 100,000 yen. I would have to buy a second battery (8,000 yen) because it only lasts 2-3 hours.

Then I decided to just check the macs to make sure. The Powerbooks are still just too expensive. The iBook, with G4 / 800 was 124,000 yen, and light enough, with a 6 hour battery. I am very tempted once again to get the Mac. I was warned that the G4 iBook was a consumer computer, and too slow, but checking it out in the store with the new OS, it was fast. Maybe it's enough. Probably it's enough. I think I want it... ?

Anyone know where I can get it cheaper?

This time the biggest minus was that if I want to use it with my bigger monitor at home, I have to keep the iBook open. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but my birds will just love the chance to poop all over it if it's open. I also wonder how much a keyboard costs... I hate notebook keyboards. I have a nice full-sized keyboard that I use with my current notebook, and I really don't want to have to use the iBook keyboard while I am working on it at home.

I really should just quit worrying about all this, buy a computer, and spend the time doing something that will make me the same about of money I didn't save by not shopping around.

October 25, 2003

What's In A Name

I saw this website (via How to Save the World) that "simply explains how your name creates your mind", and what you name your child will create his/her future. If you go there in type in your name, it will give you a brief anaylses of who you are. Be forwarned however,

Do not choose a baby name based on the short analysis given [at the site].

For that you should buy a full report from the site.

How accurate is it? Let's find out...

I have made two little quizes for the readers. See if you can match up the analysis with the appropriate Japan(mostly Tokyo) blogger...

The subjects, taken in no special order, were selected mainly because I know that some of them have visted my site in the past, and they mostly know each other, and most likely read each other's sites regularly.



The name has given you an appreciation for many beautiful and refined aspects of life--music and art, literature, drama--and the outdoors, where you find much peace and relaxation, but it creates a far too sensitive nature. You sense and feel much that you do not understand, and sometimes you are alarmed at your thoughts and wonder about their origin. You rarely experience the tranquility that comes with stability of thinking or emotional control. At times, you are very inspired, desiring to be with people and to entertain others as the "life of the party," while at other times you are aloof and choose to remove yourself entirely from association. You crave understanding and affection but your intensity of desire and your self-consciousness prevent you from finding the happiness you desire. You have suffered many disappointments and misunderstandings because of your inability to express your inner thoughts.



* * *

While your name gives you an intense desire to be of service to others, it brings out a practical, technical nature, and you become involved in fussy little details that detract from the fulfilment of your greater ideals. You are a very patient person and will work hard one step at a time to accomplish your goals. Not interested in large undertakings, you are content to live from day to day to save for your future. Always budgeting carefully, you do not believe in frivolous spending. You tend to be thorough in building a solid foundation of fact and logic, but you are not especially imaginative or investigative. You are particular and quite set in your way you want things to be done. Once you have made up your mind or formed an opinion it is not easily changed. Hence there is a restriction in friendships and business opportunities.



* * *

Sorry, but your name is not yet part of our database.



* * *

Your first name creates a dual nature for you desire to systematize your life to progress step by step, but so frequently, you are taken into new experiences, instability, and change. You are intrigued by a challenge, especially in mechanical and technical fields. Scientific concepts appeal to you. You like activities that require physical effort as well as mental ingenuity. Your questioning, critical, practical nature makes you prove all ideas to your own satisfaction, rarely accepting anyone's word or ideas. At times you are torn between your desire for system and order and your desire for change and new experiences. You have to guard against impatience and criticism of the weaknesses of others. Your impulsive nature could lead to accidents.



* * *

Your first has given you a very practical, hard-working, systematic nature. Your interests are focused on technical, mechanical, and scientific things, to the exclusion of interests of an artistic, musical, or social nature. You have a rather skeptical outlook on life and rather materialistic standards. In reaching your goals, you are very independent and resourceful, patient and determined. You can be so very positive and definite in your own ideas and opinions that others sense a lack of tact and friendliness in your manner of expression. You are inclined to be rather demanding and self-centred in your personal wants, and your own desires can be so overriding that you fail to recognize or appreciate the feelings, opinions, or desires of others. As a consequence, difficulties in relations within the family or with close associates can arise.



* * *

The name creates a very aggressive and independent nature, one with big ambitions, giving you original, progressive, large-scale ideas, salesmanship and promotional ability as well as the excellent business judgment which enables you to gain the financial accumulation to which you feel entitled. You have a versatile, restless nature, and could do any job well, although you would not like to do menial tasks. You are seldom satisfied and are always seeking something new. However, you do not know the meaning of relaxation, for when supposedly resting, your mind is forever active, planning out some new project or seeking new ways to improve your present enterprise. You could organize the work of others, though in your impatience to see the job done efficiently, you would likely step right in and do it yourself.

+

* * *

Your name gives you a very responsible, stable nature. Your calmness of mind enables you to analyze objectively, and to make decisions quickly, making it possible for you to do well in business or in any professional capacity. Because of your serious, self-possessed nature you can appear domineering and forceful to others. You have a strong humanitarian nature and many times you are called upon to assist others with their problems. Your desire to help sometimes is not appreciated, however, because they feel you are interfering. You are fond of home and children and desire a settled environment. You have an appreciation for music and art, and could express along these lines.



* * *

Your first name gives you a very independent nature, yet you are friendly, approachable, and generous. You can be a spontaneous, expressive, and talkative person. Generally you are good-natured, though at times you can be rather blunt and sarcastic. This name incorporates creative, artistic, and musical abilities, and there would be an element of originality in all that you do. You like to do things on the spur of the moment without planning or prior arrangements. Your spirits are buoyed up greatly by encouragement and appreciation. There is a tendency to be scattering in your efforts and you prefer to avoid menial jobs of a routine and repetitive nature. You are inclined to pursue good times and emotional indulgences to excess.



* * *

Your first name creates a serious, thoughtful nature, shrewd, efficient, and business-minded. You are one to make your own decisions, and not be influenced by others. You desire independence and freedom from the authority and interference of others. You are not overly ambitious, preferring instead just to seek stable, settled conditions which are adequate to meet your responsibilities. In your personal relations with others, you are inclined to be rather serious, and not to see the humour others see, or to respond spontaneously. Your positive manner and outlook can make others feel that you are imposing your will on them and even interfering in their affairs.



* * *

Your name has many sterling qualities but does not give you an overall stability. You do everything with an intensity to the point of fervour, and either you feel tremendous elation or you are in the depths of despair. People often disappoint you because you are idealistic and are apt to place those whom you admire on a pedestal. Then you become disillusioned when they fall short of your expectations. You are quick mentally and like to see things moving at an accelerated pace. Patience is not one of your virtues; you want to move when the impulse strikes you. While such spontaneity is fine at times, you must take account of conditions and employ careful analysis so as to avoid disastrous results such as accidents due to hasty actions. Most things you do, you do well, but as soon as the task, hobby, or job becomes familiar or routine, you are bored and crave a change. Travel and new horizons ever intrigue you, but your hunger for greener fields is insatiable, and so you do not experience contentment and peace of mind. There is such a driving power within you that, you cannot find an outlet or if your actions are thwarted in some way, you feel the reaction through extreme tension in the region of your solar plexus. The intensity and consequent outbursts leave hurt feelings in their wake, usually involving those closest to you.



* * *

You have a natural interest in the welfare of your fellow man, and a desire to help and serve others in a humanitarian way. You are responsible and generous, although somewhat scattering and disorganized at times. Any jobs requiring systematic and conscientious effort, or involving any form of drudgery, dismay you. In your work, you would seek a position offering self-expression through contact with people, such as sales or teaching, or a position giving scope to your creative, artistic talents. You are good-natured and likeable, and people tend to confide in you and seek your advice in personal problems. Others sense your sincere interest and desire to help, and you can always be counted on to see the bright side of any problem. You enjoy making others happy and you never let your own problems "get you down" for any length of time, even though you do tend to worry too much at times. Your optimism can be a source of inspiration to others as well as yourself. In close personal relationships you are usually thoughtful and considerate. However, your natural interest in others, coupled with your sympathetic reaction to problems, could draw you into emotional situations which may be difficult to get out of.



* * *

The name creates an overly-sensitive nature which causes you to sense and feel far more than you can understand or put into words. You have a deep, artistic, and creative side which shows through a love for music and literature. Writing is a more natural mode of expression for your deeper thoughts and feelings than the spoken word. You have an ability to concentrate and work intently on anything which holds your interest. However, you prefer to avoid routine, monotony, and mental tasks. You enjoy the out-of-doors and find your greatest peace and relaxation from the beauty and harmony of nature. You prefer to limit your friendships and associations to those who share your interests and appreciate your quiet, refined ways. Others often find it difficult to understand you. Your feelings tend to build up within you and, if you cannot release them through a creative, constructive channel, you could suffer with frustration, moods, and much inner turmoil.



* * *

October 24, 2003

Meaty

October 23, 2003

Little League

October 22, 2003

Comments back

So a plugin I started using yesterday, SafeHref, started messing with my comment cop. Comments were down for a while (even though I mentioned turning comments off for the Photoshop Tennis post, it was not intentional). Comments are turned back on and i suspect someone will have some comments about who really "won" the tennis match...

October 21, 2003

Photoshop Tennis

A while back I wrote that one of the items on my to-do list was "Master Photoshop". Rudolf, from tawawa.org (The Big Tree), also of Mfop2 site-designer fame, A.K.A SpamBot (who has been bugging me for months to get rid of the blue bird in the corner of my site!), decided to get his European butt kicked at Photoshop Tennis.

Unfortunately, I didn't do much butt-kicking, as Rudolf's design skills kept me and my weak Photoshop knowledge on the run. Until he made that fatal move that sealed his own doom... adding a bird into the design... he was destined to fall as I called on the spirit of Guri to see me through. (also because I get to do the write-up, and I guess that means I decide the winner... maybe I should turn comments of for this post.)

Below are thumbnails, but I really think this deserves being watched in the gallery slideshow. The first image is from my site, the second is Rudolf's edited version, and from there we alternate, Kevin, Rudolf, Kevin, Rudolf, etc...

Original (kevin)RudolfKevinRudolfKevinRudolfKevinRudolfKevinRudolfKevin

October 18, 2003

Construction

More photos of constructions workers in Tokyo

October 17, 2003

The Slump Continues

My photography slump is showing. Today I only have one photo from the past three days to put on the site.

I do however have some photos with absolutly no artistic value, but are interesting for me. These were taken Sunday, the day of the great flood. The first picture is from my archives, showing the normal level of the river. The pictures after that show what the river reached after less than an hour of rains. Of course, for all I know, they just opened up a damn upriver in the pond in Iinogashira Park. It was probably under control the whole time.

I Want to Believe... but...

Again, I'm looking for someone to give me a good reason to buy a Mac. Last night at the blog-geek meetup, people were showing off their toys, and an ibook started looking nice. The main feature that looked nice was that it was unix. I would love to be able to have Apache, MySql, PHP, etc... all running on my lap-top so I can do development work locally and only have to connect to upload everything to a server when it is done. This is a big deal since I will probably be trading in my broad-band connection for 128k.

The ibook was looking nice, people had the new Jaguar (or whatever it's called) OS, it wasn't too heavy, and the prices they were quoting were under 100,000 yen.

I went to an electronics shop today to check it out, convinced that I'd try a Mac this time. They were not under 100,000 yen. The cheapest was 160,000 (no new OS), and it was Slooooow. I don't know if that is a feature on all macs, I hope not, but it took several seconds to open applications. I'll chalk it up to the fact that it only had 128k of memory, and the CPU was only in the megahertz range (so why is it so dang expensive?). Right now, even with my four-year old pc it only takes that long to open a huge application like Photoshop.

To make matters worse, there was a nice little pc for 110,000 with more storage space, double the memory, double the CPU, and half the weight. Now I don't know what to do again. The price difference alone negates the benefits of having a development environment on my local computer. With the money I save from buying the cheaper, higher spec, lighter pc, I could afford to keep my broadband connection at home, and STILL get the 128k Air-H for mobility.

I would really like to try the mac, seeing as how so many people swear by it, but I need a reason... help me. Tell me you know where I can get a decent spec ibook for 110,000 or less.

UPDATE: After writing this I checked out the Apple web page, and find that there is basically not much variation between models, and the highest CPU is 900MHz. If some of the things I say up there sound stupid, just realize I could care less about hardware, so long as it gets the job done, but the least I want is for the computer to react when I click on an icon. It seemed slow, but I guess it was just my imagination, since it must be the same for everyone.

Another thing I noticed on the Mac site is that the cheapest one, which is indeed $999, doesn't have CD R/W. What's up with that?

I also found that the Jaguar is the old OS, and Panther is the new one. Why don't they just call it something like "Version 1"? I'm not going to be fooled by a snazy name anyway... it just makes their marketing department look silly to me, or extremely insulting.

October 15, 2003

Every Little Boy's Dream

Last week I was walking by the local fire-house, as I do four times every day, and this time I noticed some pictures of kids dressed in the fireman suit, so stopped to take a couple photos. The fire chief saw me and quickly called an underling over telling him to give me a tour of the fire house.

I met all the firemen, saw the bunks, the office, the fire engines, and asked a ton of questions. It was fun and interesting for me, but not near as fun as it was for them. They got the biggest kick out of dressing me up in their fire gear.

Ladies at night with chains and constructions workers

October 14, 2003

Anti-comment-spam

I've been living in fear since yesterday when I saw a post on jeansnow.net saying

It started the other day with 2 new comments that appeared in really old posts, and linked to porn sites .... I deleted the comments, only to have them reappear the next day at the exact same places. Today there was a whopping dozen or more,

I also received two little porn-related comments Friday, and was not looking forward to dozens more.

So, I began work on comment-cop, my little anti-comment-spam plugin (which also required a little editing of the main MT code). It displays an image with a secret key that must be entered when you post a comment. I'm assuming that the spammers aren't spamming by hand, so this should stop any robot spamming.

Please leave a comment on this post to try it out. I guess some people will be interested in having this for themselves also, so once I have racked up a few comments, and see that it works correctly, I'll post the plug-in and instructions about where to edit your Moveable Type source-code.

UPDATE:
I just did a quick google to find stuff about anti-blog-spamming, and Joi-ito's site popped up. There are a couple people who mention the image verification there as well. Boris points out that it is not good for screen readers and text-only browsing. Didn't think of that. Dang.

But then does it really need to be an image? Just in case, if anyone happens to be reading this with a text only browser or screen-reader, and has the urge to start commenting after a year of silence, let me know. I'm sure there is no need to have it an image. The reason MT is so spamable is that all MT bogs are the same behind the scenes. It makes it too easy to make one script that can automate spam to all/any MT blogs. Throw in a little variation, and it's no longer worth the spammer's time to figure out how to spam most blogs unless your getting mega-hits.

Thinking about that makes me wish I didn't waste my whole day working on this when adding a simple, random, hidden value to my form would probably stop any spammer unless they are directly targeting my blog.

The Flood

Recently I have been trying to decide what to do about my apartment. Get rid of it and crash at Tomoe's, or Tomoe move in here becuase it's cheaper and basically nicer...

Looks like I may not have to worry that much anymore. It has been pouring rain for the past hour or so, and the water level of the river next to my house has risen to within a meter of the top (about 3 meters in the past hour). Once it overflows it will attack my aparment.

I'm trying to decide what to take... obviously my passport, and i have the small cage ready to evacuate the birds. I was considering setting up my kayak and putting as much in it as I could (along with the birds) and just sitting in the street and wait for the water... kind of like my little Ark.

I have decided however that the kayak can stay in the apartment, since it wont be damaged even if it gets wet. So far, all I have is my passport. I suppose if the siren goes off, I will cary as much as I can to the upstairs hallway, then head out with my camera.

Cool.

October 12, 2003

Moving Day

Three day weekend here in Japan. I have time to move my huge (2GB) web site over to the new server.

There may be a day or two where some people are still looking at the "old" website, but hopefully there will always be at least *something* for you to look at.

The same goes for my sister's site. If you haven't checked it out yet, give it a try. Until a few months ago she was living in Kyushyu Japan, now she's in Sweden studying asian studies. She took my old digi-cam with her, and is equiped with the latest version of Gallery, so there are lots of photos of meatballs and stuff.

October 10, 2003

Saturday Afternoon in Medaimae


Last Saturday I went for a walk in a nearby neighborhood looking for a photo of a door for the Japan Photography mailing lists "Door in Japan" photo scrim. I didn't get any good door shots, but I found some other things of interest.

It's a lot of photos to put on one page, and the other day someone noted how heavy my site was getting. I just can't help it. I can't trust my users to go into the gallery, so I gotta put everything I want to show on the top page :-)

But, should you have a little extra time, you can find more:

Photos of fruit stand in Kichijyoji
Photos of senbei shop in Medaimai
Photos of dang cute dogs

Back By Popular Demand

Inspired by a comment from a Cockatiel keeper in Germany, whose site has lots of great cockatiel stuff...(I'm suprised that I was able to read more than I thought I could).

More photos of cockatiels here

This last shot is the piece of paper Tomoe and I used to plan Guri's cage a few years ago (before Awii & Klee were even born.). I didn't use this when I built the cage, but it must have been in my mind...

Spam Pays!

Last night I sent spam to everyone who has ever registered for Mfop, asking for some donations to pay for the new hosting arrangement. I learned that spam pays. It makes me happy. What doesn't make me happy though, is the fact that since I singed up for the new hosting deal a month ago, I have been watching the server and testing the support, and everything seemed to be on the up and up, so I figured it's OK to move Mfop over there.

This morning I was horrified to find that within a half hour of spamming everyone, I wasn't able to connect to the server or use Mfop. I was able to fix it in about twenty minutes by hitting the refresh button on my browser again and again while I attempting to connect with SSH every minute or so.

I noticed that some other unrelated sites were unreachable in the US around the same time, and am hoping it was just a cyber terrorist attack, not a regular occurrence. I don't want to have to keep moving around all the time.

Anyway, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who donated! It has releaved a lot of stress to not having to worry about paying everything... now I just have to worry about that dang server.

October 09, 2003

I wish I was in Frangipani-land

i turned around and woh! sugoi! fujisan had emerged from the clouds where she has been hiding for the past few days, to show off her new cap of snow....

October 08, 2003

Japan Photographer

It looks like I've been outted (here,here, here, and here), so I guess there's not use trying to keep the secret.

Japanphotographer is a site I've been working on that is showcasing the photography of members of the great Japan Photography Mailing List set up by Lil and Juergen a few months ago. It's one of the first mailing list I ever belonged to and actively participated in, and have since learned tons about photography and cameras.

I hope the site can be a place where members of the list can showcase their work via various projects. So far, it's where we are putting the photos that come out of our monthly field trips (two times now). around the Tokyo area, where members get together for a couple hours of wandering and shooting, then drinks and camera talk afterword.

There is also a burgeoning photo-contest (though there is no real winner or looser) starting up there. It hasn't been integrated with the design yet, but Contest #1 had a theme of "Doors in Japan", and drew a wide range of four entries. There is a second contest in the works with a theme of "Fall Colors in Japan". If you live here, or have photos laying around from when you were here, and you would like to participate, join the list to find out more details.

I have a bad habit of starting something, and never going public with it because I never feel it's ready. Until I am forced to by a deadline, or somebody linking to me, a project will usually just rot and fester in some unadvertised directory. So if you haven't received a Christmas card form me for a while, it's probably sitting here in the re-write pile. Same goes for email.

Of course, once I do make a site live, I soon forget about all the bugs and mispleings that I fully intended to "take care of over the weekend". As you look at the site, you may see why I resisted the urge to make it public... there are probably some little mistakes, and I'm still waiting on contributions from everyone else who was at last month's outing. But since some others already made it open for me...

October 07, 2003

Want One

One thing I have been thinking I have to post for the last week now is that everyone should check out Rufus Wainwright's new album, Want one. I'm not a professional music critic, so I don't have the flaky words to describe how good it is... All I know is that it leaves me wanting two.

Want One [due Sept. 23, 2003, on DreamWorks Records] is a presentable, accessible entity, Wainwright explains. "Want Two will have some of the more daunting tracks, the operatic, weird stuff, some heavy numbers that relate to my classical sensibilities." Not that the initial volume eschews the daunting, the weird or the heavy, all of which have emerged as distinctive arrows in Wainwright's ambitious, gloriously stylish musical quiver.

Can't wait for the operatic weird stuff, and I am imagining what it will be like now. Since I bought his first two albums, Rufus Wainwright (1998) and Poses (2001), last year, he has joined the ranks of one of the musicians I get genuinely excited about and wait for the next album. ( Joining the ranks of Olu Dara )

Kelly, if your reading this, I recommend making your way to Stockholm this weekend for his concert.

You can listen to two full tracks from his new album here, and see some videos from previous albums here.

For some reason I

For some reason I feel like I don't have time to update my site as often as I'd like. This is despite the fact that I am staring at a computer 90% of my time each day. I remember how I used to write long posts a year ago, and now it has somehow turned into just a bunch of photos. I often see, hear, and do things that make me think "Hey! I gotta post that on my site!". Somehow nothing ever makes it.

I try to tell myself "Hey, I'm busy" but when I really look at it, I'm working on things that made me busy a month or two or three ago, then, every time I think about that, I get depressed that I am not moving. I hate feeling like nothing is changing. I suppose it's my parents fault for making me watch too much TV when I was a kid. It must have totally destroyed my attention span.

In actuality though, much is happening and much is changing. It's all stuff I can't really write about on the site yet, cause I don't know who might be looking. I am putzing around on too many projects, and always find that I am daydreaming about some new project, which I can't possible even start if I don't finish what I have now... Luckily one of the "projects" I am working on now is officially called "Master Photoshop". It could fit in with posting lots of photos to my site... but manipulating an image takes way too long. If I play with an image or two, I only have time left for incoherent babbling for the rest of my post...


More photos of Tokyo in October

October 05, 2003

Fujino

Two weekends ago, as a follow-up to our trip, Tomoe and I took our bikes to Fujino, where I almost moved to a year ago. I came back disappointed, thinking I didn't see much to take a picture of, but looking through my photos today, two weeks later, I am a little happier.

As for Fujino, I'm a little glad I didn't move there. It's nice, nicer than Tokyo for sure, but after Nagano, Fujino seemed somewhat empty. Not of people, but of life. Nagano had a low population density, same as Fujino, but the difference is that in Nagano, the people lived there. In Fujino, people sleep there, and they live in their offices in Tokyo. Both Tomoe and I sensed the difference, having the benefit of comparing it with a fresh impression of Nagano.

More photos from Fujino
Pictures I took in Fujino back in June

Monk Checks Chick Out

October 03, 2003

Nagano By Bike - Finale

I'm falling way behind on posting my recent photos, so I'm going to cut the trip short with this post. These are the photographic highlights after day IV.

The only one I want to comment on, is really one of my favorite photos from the trip. Artistically, I guess it's not much. It doesn't compare with some others, but as far as subjects go, I really love this one.

In all the photos, the woman feeding the calves looks deceptively young, but when she turned toward us, we could see that she was actually quite old. I guess that's part of why I love this photo. Here's an old woman, probably been a farmer her whole life, milked hundreds of calves with a heavy bucket of milk, maybe every day of her life... but look at the smile on her face. It's obvious the calves have not become just another crop... to me the smile looks as though she knows this calf on a personal basis. This calf is an individual, a familiar friend. I love the fact that she look like that after a lifetime of back-breaking work, and I would feel extremely confident drinking milk from her farm, as I trust that she treats her cows as sources of life and health, rather than a "cash cow".


October 02, 2003

Birthday Special?

Tomoe was able to get out of work earlier than she expected so we met up in Simokitazawa to look for someplace with a good birthday special.

After thirty minutes or so of wandering around,we could not even find a restaurant we liked enough to bother asking about a birthday special (we can never find anyplace to eat out because generally most restaurants server what we can make ourselves -just a little worse- and they charge four times what it would cost us). Finally we decided to just pick one, and so we did. I think is was called "Goo" or something like that.

I asked about the birthday special, and they said that for 1,000 yen ($10) they would give us a piece of cake (about $1 worth) and a bottle of wine. The bottle of wine sounds like a good deal, since two drinks would come to 1,000 yen anyway, but wait... there's a catch! We can't drink the wine there! So now as we understand it, the birthday "special" is that we pay them 1,000 yen for a 100 yen piece of cake, and a 300 yen bottle of wine that we can get at the corner 7-11 on the way home. Yipee!

We were hungry and tired of looking around, so we decided to stay there anyway, and Tomoe ordered one birthday wine... if we can drink the wine there. The waiter agreed under the condition we both order one other drink, and he told us he would go to the store to buy an extra nice wine. No problem. Thanks. They even brought out two pieces of cake!

So we paid the bill and left. When we looked at the receipt though, we noticed they had charged us for two birthday specials! What craziness is this! Not only is the birthday special designed to be a rip-off (if we had not insisted on drinking the wine there), it is also a mandatory fee if you happen to eat there on your birthday!

We went back to complain.

Him: But it was both of your birthdays.
Us: Yes, but we only ordered one birthday special...
Him: So I gave you an extra special bottle of wine.
Us: But we didn't want an extra special bottle of wine. We only ordered one birthday special.
Him: But it was both of your birthdays.
Me: So it's a rule that if it's your birthday you have to get the birthday special?
Him (changing his story): But I told you I would use both of your birthday special money to get an extra special bottle of wine.
Us: Bull-unko! (unko means poop)

In the end, once he realized we are not going to leave, he refunded the thousand yen. Crappy "special" aside, I'm sure it was an honest misunderstanding on his part. He wasn't trying to rip us off (any more than the special is designed to). But what amazes me is how long he argued about it. Sure he's young, but that kind of basic sense that tells him that 1,000 is big deal to us, and we have nothing to loose, that it will not have a negative impact to never eat there again (and we wont after that), shouldn't be so hard for him to grasp.

This may sound like a bad story, but actually it turned out very nicely. We need some kind of drama like that to enjoy our night. There's nothing like arguing with the manager in a crowded restaurant. Seriously.

October 01, 2003

Happy Birthday To Us

Happy birthday to us.
Happy birthday to us.
Happy birthday to uuussss.
Happy birthday to us.

photo from Christmas of 2001