Monthly Archives: April 2008

Japan the Third

Again, too lazy to actually blog about the trip in detail, so here’re the (partially annotated) photos. Didn’t do too much travelling this time, actually, but strangely enough the photos still piled up.


Junk foods of Japan

I didn’t really eat out that much while I was in Japan this time, but I did try some of the weird stuff they sell in the supermarkets (and the local McDonald’s).

The only reason McDonald’s made it to the list is that this burger, the Teriyaki McBurger, tastes exactly like (my memory of) the Samurai burger, a limited-time item that was available sometime in the early 90s (I think. Maybe the late 80s?) and once again in the late 90s. (again, I think. It’s not like I keep a record of these limited-time burgers!)

Basically, it’s just a simple burger with a beef patty (Japan uses a sausage patty I think), some lettuce, and teriyaki sauce – and I’m lovin’ it!

I’ve recently become a fan of corn chips, and here in Japan they must of course have wasabi-flavoured Doritos chips. Sadly, it wasn’t particularly good, but it was interesting. As were those Pizza-la (a local pizza chain) tie-up ones I’d tried – yes, they are branded under both Pizza-la and Doritos!

Now this is just weird. They had some special edition (I think) black sesame cereal thingy and I thought I should try something Japanese for my breakfast cereal needs (yes, traditionally Japanese I know) as opposed to sticking to Crunchy Nut. Again, pretty interesting, but not something I’ll eat on a regular basis =P

Maybe I should do a better junk food catalogue when I’m next in Japan! Then again, it’s not really something I’d want to deliberately set out doing… Having proper food seems a lot more enticing, somehow.

The great queue for BJ

So it’s 29 April and everyone’s queueing up in the hopes of getting a free lick or two.

That’s right, it’s Ben & Jerry’s free cone day today! (Sorry, couldn’t resist joining the thousands of people on the net who’ve probably inserted some innuendo into blog posts about the event. Who’s betting that occurrence of ‘free’, ‘BJ’ and ‘lick’ in one post will increase hits from Google?)

Anyway, today I hopped down to United Square in the hopes of grabbing a free cone or two with my sister, only to find a crazy-ass queue already there. By crazy-ass I do not exaggerate. It covered most of the second storey, and even looped once. Kinda like a Disneyland queue, except those loop a zillion times. But yeah, figured it wasn’t worth the wait and went to McDonald’s for a sundae instead.

As I left the building I’d thought to myself – I’ll come at 12pm (when the offer starts) next year, those school kids shouldn’t have shown up yet, at that time. Then I realised that I’ll probably be in school too (NIE) this time next year, and in school (teaching) the years after, too. So much for free cone day for me…

MWBS Wiki guide status update

So it’s been about a month since the MWBS Wiki first went up, with a limited trial audience, but I’ve recently released it for public consumption, and so far readership has been higher than expected (I was expecting something in the range of ~50 per day).

Stats for MWBS Wiki

It’s also slightly depressing to know that a website detailing the mechanics of a game involving little animated flying ships receives like 400% more visitors than this blog does.

Stats for this blog

Then again I don’t advertise this site much. But, well, ego aside, it’s nice that my little project seems to have taken off relatively well, hopefully it gains even more popularity in time to come?


I’m not really a fan of Simple Plan, nor do I usually listen to lyrics in songs, but somehow this song just jumped out at me while I was listening to (iTunes) radio today. It’s not particularly complex or impressive, but serves as a simple commentary on today’s (Western) society, I think.

Crazy (Simple Plan)

Still alive

Here’s a shot from Miyajima, just to let everyone know that, well, I’m still alive. =D

I think I’m done with travelling around Japan for this trip (not that I’ve done very much of travelling – just a weekend trip to Hiroshima, and more recently another busy weekend going to Yokohama for a Jack Johnson gig). It’s been exciting enough, but I think I’m kinda drained from it all (Old already, no more stamina for all this moving about).

Plus, I really need to get working on my project…

So, guess I’ll just be bumming around (and hopefully doing some readings and statistical analyses) in my remaining two weeks in Japan. Doesn’t sound too bad, really.

#%!$ scammers

So i got a call from +868712249705 recently. Forgetting that I’m overseas (and thus paying roaming charges), I instinctively answered the phone and lo and behold, a Chinese started speaking on the other line. I’ve been getting quite a lot of this crap lately (on my Singapore line), so I just said “What? Sorry? Can you speak English?” and hung up.

On retrospect, I think that was being too kind, that idiot probably wasted nearly a dollar of my calltime.

In the future, I’ll just keep in mind to ignore all calls from +86 (China) numbers, and to feign inability to understand Mandarin should I accidentally pick up any such call, especially with so many scams floating around.

Hope I stop getting so many scammy calls, I’d hate to change my phone number. Have had it for seven years now, after all.

Dell support 2

Say what you will about inferior build quality, but Dell’s customer service is truly excellent. So here’s what’s happened in the past few days, with a rather amusing mix up.

Tuesday – Dell Japan called me. They arranged for on-site service, the engineer needed to speak with a Japanese-speaker to arrange for a time for servicing, so I directed them to Ailin who got help from a colleague.

Wednesday – I receive a package with the new HDD inside. I’m a bit confused since the engineer’s only supposed to come the next day, but I decide to replace it myself anyway.

Thursday – The engineer arrives, is a little surprised that the problem’s fixed already (though he looked relatively pleased that he didn’t have to do anything), fills up a few forms and picks up the spoilt HDD.

hdd swap

How was I supposed to know that a replacement part addressed to me was meant to be put aside for the engineer to use, right? =P

In fact, Dell’s customer service has been so wonderfully efficient I’m actually a little sad to be switching back to Apple. If only Dell sold Apple products and provided their own follow-up service, haha. Oh well.

Back to Mac?

Hmm managed to get contacted by Dell Japan, but the process of changing HDD seems to be somewhat troublesome. I might just get a HDD of my own here and get the old one fixed when back in Singapore…

But it seems so sian to restore everything fully, I’m thinking of asking a friend to get a MacBook Pro for me. It’s something I’d been considering recently, I thought I’d wait till next year when my Dell warranty expires, but now that I’ve got a dead HDD, the USD is cheap, and I’ve got friends in the USA, I’m really considering it. At US$1799 (with education discount), it’s not really that costly either, given the current exchange rate…

Decisions, decisions…