Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Business Card Get!

Hot off the press! My new business card! ^_^


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I <3 Yakiniku

Man, I don't know what it is, but I feel like I'm being reminded on a regular basis why I love being here. Whether its the food, train, stores, technology or people, I keep having these "man this alone makes it worth being here" moments. Eating Yakiniku (with great company!) definitely ranks way up at the top of those experiences as well.

For those unawares of the awesome that is yakiniku, its Korean style barbecue. Basically, you get strips of different kinds of meat (very good meat) that you grill at your table, and then dip in this delicious sauce and eat. Its kinda like a barbecue version of Fondue. And there's one just down the street from where I'm staying right now... VERY dangerous. I cannot explain to you how delicious this stuff is. Just... wow.

Perhaps these pictures will do it justice.

Theeeeeey'll Gllate!

Flosted Frakes! Yaaay!

Finally broke down and got some last night at the supermarket. I was starting to get sick of bread every morning. That said, Japanese bread is pretty nice. You can buy it in different thicknesses (i.e. 4, 5, 6, 8 slices per half loaf). Still, the occasional cereal is nice too.

*disclamer: as i'm officially on the 'inside' i'm having fun *with* the different/difficult pronunciations of English l's and r's, not making fun *of*, got it? good ^_^

Well I also found an apartment I like, and I'm going to sign the contract this morning. More details to follow

Wish me rots of ruck!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

PS3: The Best Purchase EVAR

Seriously, my PS3 CONTINUES to be the best purchase I've ever made, hands down.



More Torne details here.

Woo yea! Go Twins!

Twins Win! Twins Win!

I'm really liking these Friday evening games. A 7 pm central start on a Friday evening in the US is a 9am start over here in Japan. I've got an subscription, so I even get to watch it live. Plus using the picture in picture type view, I'm able to load up the radio broadcast in the small screen with the TV broadcast in the larger screen. Perfect.

Anyways, I've been here for a week and a half, and just finished my first full week. So far things are going pretty well. I'm finding the company culture is a rather interesting fusion of American and Japanese cultures. Actually to make things even more interesting, the company culture in the US is more open and transparent than most companies, or at least thats what I hear. I don't exactly have a whole lot of other jobs to compare with, but I wanna say its not exactly common for the CEO to have an open door office on the same floor/area as sales and customer service.

So you've got a very open US culture fusing with the more conservative Japanese culture. In other words, the American side of me is saying, "meh, customers rarely come to our plant, jeans and a t-shirt all the way. AMERICA!!!" But the Japanese side of me is saying, "What are you crazy?! This is Japan! Black suit, white shirt, tie. Every day. Also expressions and any emotions are prohibited on the trains." I think I'm falling right in the middle though, with the jeans and a blazer. You know, this:

Anyways, I've been to a couple interesting eateries so far - Ramen Kenkyujo (Ramen Research Institute), a Kaiten Zushi (conveyor belt sushi), Coco Curry (delicious!), and one of the floor workers restaurant down the street. I really need to start taking some more pictures! The only problem is that my camera is somewhat large to carry around for casual shots. I need to get a nice pocket size camera. Kana's got a *really* nice one that somehow takes AMAZING night shots even freehand. My phone does take some descent pictures though.

I'll leave you with this - a Porsche and Khing-san. Check out the license plate on the Porsche :)

Also no, that's not Khing-san *in* a Porsche, but we'll just pretend it is. Ignore the steering wheel!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Japanese Good Speak Can ^_^

Well this is interesting...

The 4 Most Bizarrely Difficult Languages to Learn

I mean I knew Japanese had its difficulties, but I didn't realize it could be considered to be the hardest language to learn. This article makes some good points tho. Yes you can express a wide variety of expressions, feelings and tense all in one gigantically long verb. But quite frankly I think thats kinda fun. I remember trying to conjugate something to make it as long as possible in class.


Which roughly translates to, "I (regretfully) shouldn't have wanted to go out to eat" all in one massively translated verb. I'm sure thats actually very strange Japanese, but I think technically its grammatically correct. And now you know how I spent my days learning Japanese. It was either making up ridiculous verbs, or talking about drinking beer and having my girlfriend make me a sandwich for every other example/homework question. Also there were ninjas and pirates. Good times...

Anyways to be fair, the nice thing about Japanese is that it really sticks to the rules. Once you get passed the new alphabet(s), you don't have to memorize nearly as many bizarre exceptions to the rules like English has. And as difficult as it is to memorize thousands of kanji (Chinese characters), English makes up for that with spelling. The different level of politeness is kind of nuts though. Here's a few ways to say eat


You can pretty much replace the word 'eat' with any of these verbs in the sentence "he eats" and the only thing that would change is the level of politeness. And those are just the dictionary base forms. You can conjugate every one of those to the -masu form which is your standard polite conjugation, and still maintains the same tense. Oh also Japanese has no future tense. Go figure.

Well thats cool though. Apparently I can somewhat fluently speak the most difficult language in the world. How bout that. Here I thought I was just having fun :)

Monday, April 19, 2010



Even if this is a couple years old, it far exceeds any phone I've had before.

I. Love. Japan.

So I'm looking through the menus in the phone, and I come across "Software Update." Wow.

And the Search Begins...

Went to Yokohama over the weekend to meet up with Kana and her mom for dinner. We went to a rather interesting and extremely delicious okonomiyaki place. Pictures to come later. Yokohama is only 45 min away from Ebina, same as Shinjuku. I'm definitely liking this area.

Anyways, Kana and her mom came all the way to Ebina to help me with my apartment search. That was... extremely nice of them. Its definitely a major help to have an actual Japanese along, as you can imagine. Well unfortunately all the places we set up to go take a look at were recently taken, so we were back to square one. On the other hand, there were a few realtors open even on Sunday, but I wasn't surprised to find it hard to find my ideal location and size for the price I was looking for.

I did find a pretty nice place in the station over (Atsugi). As boring as Atsugi is, the apartment is above a supermarket, and the station is only a few minutes down the road. And as it's the next station over, I should be able to bike to Ebina w/out much trouble. Gonna try and take a look at some more places before I make a decision, but so far I've got one place I'd be happy with.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kris Marose, IT Specialist

While working/training at Proto Labs in the US, technically my official title was intern, but my unofficial (and more appropriate) title was Software Developer. That was pretty cool, I like the sound of Developer (despite the fact that I think of Steve Ballmer every time I here the word). In my job offer for Proto Labs Japan, my official title was stated as Software Engineer. Developer is cool, but having the word Engineer in your title has its own set of connotations. Also cool. On a related note, my Visa status is Engineer. I like.

Well recently my boss here asked me to confirm what information we'll put on my business card - i.e. the proper Japanese spelling of my name, my work cell number, my email, and of course my title, which this time around was suggested as IT Specialist. At first it doesn't seem to have the same connotations as Developer or Engineer. It almost feels like a generic title that you could apply to a lot of different things. But then I did a little searching and here's what I found...


Planning and coordinating the installation, testing, operation, troubleshooting, and maintenance of hardware and software systems.
The planning, analysis, design, development, testing, quality assurance, configuration, installation, implementation, integration, maintenance, and/or management of networked systems used for the transmission of information in voice, data, and/or video formats.

Ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of systems, networks, and data through the planning, analysis, development, implementation, maintenance, and enhancement of information systems security programs, policies, procedures, and tools.

The design, documentation, development, modification, testing, installation, implementation, and support of new or existing applications software.
The planning, development, implementation, and administration of systems for the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of data.

...Yea, I'll go with that.

Also believe it or not, that is actually a fairly accurate description of what I do. I dabble in software development, network administration, database administration, as well as general IT support. Basically any IT needs fall under my jurisdiction since I'm the only IT guy here. How bout that?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Note to Self

Self, be sure to turn the water on before trying to use the washing machine.

In other news, pictures!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bank Account Win!

Shinsei Ginko, the bank where I had an account up to 3 years ago when I studied abroad - since my address bounced back when they tried to mail me something, it's been frozen ever since. I just called them, and they're going to send me a change of address form, all my account information again as well as what I need to do online banking, AND they unlocked my account completely. Just like that. So now I have an active Japanese bank account again. Heck yea.

Also coming to Japan for the 4th time is a strange experience. I can't tell if it was my zombie-like state or just that I'm getting used to it, but it wasn't quite the... OMG IM JAPAN!!!!!! feeling I was half expecting. Don't get me wrong, it was there, and I'm suuuper psyched to be here, but it was just different somewhat. Probably because I'm here to work, which is different and cool in its own way as well. The environment is new, but the work is similar to what I've been doing for the past 7 months. The biggest difference from the last time I was here though, is that money is coming in rather than going out. I am so touring the country over the next few years.

By the way, oddly enough jet lag didn't really hit me today. I guess I destroyed my sleep cycle so badly on the way here, that my body didn't care what time zone its in, as long as it can get back on schedule, haha.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hey, I'm Back

Well, what a ride. I've currently been up for 48 hours with 4 hours of sleep before my flight. But I made it, too bad I'm such a zombie it still hasn't sunk in. Crazy stuff...

Anyways, I'm resurrecting this old blog now that I'll be on the other side of the world for awhile. Should be an easier way to keep people up to date. So stay tuned!

Real quick before I go to bed though, my flight went well. I connected in Chicago from Minneapolis with ANA. Amazingly the plane was maybe half full. There were 5 of 18 seats taken in the two rows of my section. The easiest flight ever since I was able to move around, and even lay down across 3 seats in a row once! ANA's service was also amazing, definitely gotta check them out next time I fly.

Alright, much needed sleep, then its back to work tomorrow