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battle of attrition

weill in japan: day 21

We're losing people.

As the third week of classes continues, the absence rate has started to rise. Particularly in the dorms, a cold is now going around. I'll get it eventually. Also, the early start time of classes is still a problem: I'm pretty much certain that most of us aren't getting nearly enough sleep every night. Folks like me who are in homestays have an even earlier start, as we have to take public transit to the campus every day.

Yesterday's adventure in Odaiba caught up to me in a big way today. I got maybe 4 1/4 hours of sleep before dragging myself out of bed, into the shower, into new clothes, and out the door. There was enough time for me to treat myself to a large cup of iced coffee and a muffin from a local coffee shop (cost: ¥550, or about $4.70) to give me enough energy to make it through at least the first 2 1/2 hours of class. I nearly fell asleep near the end of classes, but made it to the end intact.

The situation looks pretty bad in class. Everyone's showing a severe lack of energy, for all the reasons above compounded with the general boredom of the material. One classmate told me that he plans to start cutting classes because the dull material could very well be causing us to lose Japanese proficiency. People are starting to arrive later, myself included. The classes have a fairly strict attendance and on-time policy, so that's a bad habit to be getting into.

Today was pretty much shot after class. When I arrived home, I felt terrible and took a few hours to lie down and rest. Even afterwards, I didn't have much of an appetite -- although the dinner of curry rice and cold fish didn't help any. I've tried curry a few times while here, but I can't convince myself to like it. With luck, I'll get a decent amount of sleep tonight to get back on track tomorrow.

the technology gods smile

I was pretty steamed yesterday about how the on-campus Macs ate the contents of my little USB memory device. After reformatting the device and restoring the contents, I decided to try again today. Everything worked better today: the firewall didn't block my binary FTP upload, all my files opened seamlessly, and I was able to make all my revisions. The Japanese version of Office 2001 for Mac is excellent, handling features like furigana (pronunciation guides) that the U.S. version can't do. I don't understand why Microsoft didn't add these capabilities to the English-language version, as they did in Office 2000 and Office XP for Windows. Guess I'll enjoy it while I can.


There are few foods that can't be saved by enough soy sauce or Tabasco. This applies mostly to the "food" served in the on-campus dining hall, and I don't think my stomach could handle the consequences of using those sauces on curry.

My hands have been killing me. I think I should cut down on the Taiko no Tatsujin 3: all that recoil from hitting the drums hampered my performance severely today

I've heard three songs from Dance Dance Revolution 5th Mix on television. "Beautiful Love" (?) was used on a commercial for The Yen Shop, the "Lupin" theme is heard on the third-generation anime made in the late '70s but still aired today, and "Swing It" played in the background of a variety show for reasons I can't quite understand.

I'm up to 14.6 Coke Points. Bottles and cans have one point each, while vending machine paper cups have either 0.6 or 0.8 points on them. With 20 points, I can enter a lottery to win a super-slim digital camera and MP3 player. Sweet.

Time for sleep.