Friday, December 29, 2006

WORD of the Year, KANJI of the Year

Being that it is the end of the year, I thought I would introduce you to the Japanese version of the American "Word of the Year" tradition hosted by Webster's dictionary.
Not surprisingly, the Japanese version is not so much a "word", but a character, ie kanji, of the year. (Actually, I was aware of the Japanese Kanji of the Year first since they show the drawing of it in a ceremony on National TV. ;> )

So, without further delay, the American word of the year is....

1 : "truth that comes from the gut, not books" (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," October 2005)
2 : "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true" (American Dialect Society, January 2006)

excerpt from the article:
As expected, there were a few surprises in store for us as we pored through your submissions for our first Word of the Year online survey. Either the vast majority of you out there in the Merriam-Webster online community are big fans of The Colbert Report, or Time Magazine was right on target when it honored the show's host Stephen Colbert earlier this year as one of the most influential people of 2006. By an overwhelming 5 to 1 majority vote, our visitors have awarded top honors to a word Colbert first introduced on "The Word" segment of his debut broadcast on Comedy Central back in October 2005.

Read full article here.
See the original broadcast featuring the first use of truthiness here.

Other words rounding out the Words of the Year 2006:
2. google
3. decider
4. war
5. insurgent
6. terrorism
7. vendetta
8. sectarian
9. quagmire
10. corruption

Looks pretty dark and cynical compared to Japanese Kanji of the Year:

Inochi (Life)


translation from the article:
The Organization for the Japanese Kanji Proficieny Test (head office: Kyoto)
announced on the 12th, the country wide publicly selected "Year's Kanji" at Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple. From 92,509 entries, the top was "inochi" (life). Since November, 9.04% (8363 votes) of the entries received through the Internet and postcards were for "inochi". The reason given was from the ongoing children suicides resulting from bullying, the birth of the rule son-Hisahito, and accidents caused by DUI. In second place was "falling-away" (3793 votes), third place was "birth" (3303 votes). Last year was "love"; and the year before that was "disaster".

日本漢字能力検定協会(本部・京都市下京区)が全国公募した「今年の漢字」が12日、京都市東山区の清水寺で発表された。9万2509人の応募の中 でトップだったのは「命」。11月からインターネットやはがきで受け付けた応募の9.04%にあたる8363票が「命」だった。相次いだ子どものいじめによる自殺や秋篠宮ご夫妻の長男・悠仁(ひさひと)さまの誕生、飲酒運転による事故などが理由にあげられていた。  2位は「悠」(3793票)、3位は「生」(3303票)だった。昨年は「愛」、一昨年は「災」だった。

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

How to Mask Your IP and Use Country Restricted Services

Tired of getting the "only viewable within the US/UK/..." messages when you try to view THE OFFICE or NUMB3RS? Well, here's how we fix that. ;>

How to Mask Your IP and Use Country Restricted Services

If you want to watch ABC streaming TV episodes even if you don’t live in the US or see the Football Worldcup in the BBC Sport site, even if you don’t live in the UK - the next few steps will help you mask your IP. This will help people who want to use different software and services online that are usually restricted to the locals. This little IP and proxy tweak also makes your surfing much more anonymous.

Get yourself an anon IP and port number from one of these sites:
free site 1
free site 2


Get firefox HERE by clicking one of the buttons on the right.
With firefox you will be able to ALSO view those "blocked" videos on and See how, here. You won't be able to do this with Internet Explorer! Need more convincing as to why Firefox is better? See here.

Follow this path at the top of your browser tool bar and make your edits.
Tools > Options > Advanced > Network
Then, select "settings" in the Connection subheading.
A new window will pop up. Here choose "Manual Proxy Configuration", and enter in an IP and Port from our list into the text boxes.
Click OK and your set to view and exchange info, FREELY, the way it's supposed to be.

Random Notes:
You can easily switch back to the original setting--"direct connection to the internet" by going through the above steps and selecting that instead of the Manual Proxy. I've learned that you'll have to if you want to use Blogger. ;>

If you’re having any problems, please read the original, very detailed post here.

WARNING: Whoever runs that proxy can see all your internet communications - including MSN conversations and any passwords that are not encrypted! Use this at your own risk and do not transmit any sensitive data through the proxy.

OTHER PLACES TO VIEW STREAMING VIDEO--MOVIES AND TV--refer back to here! (in an upcoming post)

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Viewing BLOCKED VIDEOS -- yes you can !!

Once again proving that Firefox is far more superior than IE...

Watch all the deleted videos on DailyMotion Hassle free!

OK, here's how you do it.....

First of all this is only an option for Firefox users. If you haven't got Firefox then click on one of the download boxes to the right. It's easy to install and it incorporates all your favourites from IE into Firefox.

Plus, you can easily change your mind after since you don't have to uninstall IE ; you're not "converting" to anything. You can just revert back to IE whenever you want. I run both FIrefox and IE on my computer with no problems (not that I use IE much anymore. ~.^ )

Download the Firefox addon "Noscript" which stops the script that stops you from watching episodes that have been deleted from Daily motion.

You can Download it here:

Once downloaded (a few minutes at the most), Follow this path:
Go to the top of the firefox toolbar and go into TOOLS ->EXTENSIONS.
A small window will pop up and the recently downloaded NOSCRIPT will be there.
Highlight it (single click), then choose the "options" button.
In the GENERAL tab, make sure is not in the ALLOW list.
If it is, single click it on and choose REMOVE SELECTED SITES.
Treat other sites like, etc. individually, hitting REMOVE SELECTED SITES everytime.
Click OK at the bottom.
Restart Firefox (to make sure it took effect.)

To make the video go fullscreen simply, right-click on on the video itself. Depending on the viewer, it will say either "GO FULL SCREEN" or just give you a "SETTINGS" option. Going through settings will allow you to go full screen.

1. These settings are permanent and if you want to turn them on/off, must be changed manually through the above steps.
2. This works perfectly but not on the customised URLs that have been resized.
3. You'll find there are some good scripts it blocks, like those from google, blogger, and meebo. HOWEVER, NOSCRIPT will tell you when it's doing this and you can again easily set those scripts to be "allowed". ^.^

Once everything is setup, and the intial sites are choosen to be allowed/disallowed, it's smooth sailing!!

Long live freespeech and creativity on the Internet!!!

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Chocolate ER

Between, the oppresive heat, the typhoons, and the snow, one is often reluctant to venture outside. (Or maybe just smart enough to not want to.)

However, the chocolate-yin has no regard for the rest of the body's comfort; it is inexorable...unquenchable.

So, to that end, I have devised what I call my "ER Brownie Fix" recipe for that quick choco fix:

1 mashed banana (small)
1/4 cp sugar
1 cp flour (For those that need wheat/gluten free use 1/4 cup tapioca flour and 3/4 cp "white" sorghum flour plus 1-2tspn baking powder)
1/4 cp of oil
1/2 cp of honey
1+1/2 tspn baking powder or soda
1+1/2 tspn vanilla
4 TB powdered coco
1/2 cp mini choco chips (optional. But is it really an option???)

mix in microwaveable bowl then sprinkle with choco chips and microwave for 4-6 minutes on low than another 4 minutes on high!!! (If you don't have that option on your micro, cook while watching for 5-8 on high/regular setting.)

**if the brownies gets hard after cooling down, a simple 10-20 second reheat will do the trick. I also find it very nice if you splash some Bailey's or Chocolate liqeur on top of those puppies before you reheat them. ;>

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Movie Links - part 1 (legality)

Before I put up all the best links, ie all the free movies and videos you can watch online, the issue of legality should be addressed since FOX has recently starting making a fuss.

As copied directly from one of the forums:
Linking is not illegal, and I work in the legal profession, albeit it, as a legal exec and copyright is not my field.

Sure, depending on the content of what is uploaded, both the uploader and video hosts may be guilty of copy write infringement.

Even with the above in mind, we can see that the laws are a bit unclear and taking action is very hard.

This of course can be seen in the fact that the host sites such as google vid and youtube etc carry on with NO problems.

The internet is an 'open access resource' and linking to these sites is not illegal. How does the linker know the material is copywrite?

They don't! We can't be aware of these things. We don't know if any of these hosts have arrangements or rights to the material.

The buck stops with the hosts.

This is just scaremongering. Fox of course can't do anything about these hosts and have now turned their attention to people linking to them. How pitiful.

This should be a clear indication of what powers they have, surely people linking to these sites are by the by and the issue lies with the hosts, yet they complain here. This in itself should be a clear indication of things.

I PM'd videocentral about this and their comments are in agreement, with the added comment that Fox can kiss their ass.

Moviefan (username)

So rest easy, and browse happy. :) You can cruise the Internet freely...
For now at least.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Laundry - the neverending battle

Let's start off with something rather blaise, but necessary--laundry.

If you're lucky you will at least have a mini washing machine in you apartment. Mini in that it can wash about 1/2 the amount of an American washer so you will be forced to wash laundry4-5 times a week.

Even the smallest dryers will cost you a minimum of 300 US dollars or 3o,000 yen, so unless you both have the room and plan on staying at least 2 years, it's not worth it. Every single apartment I've ever seen has a small balcony or patio or something that allows you to hang your clothes out doors.

Bike Grease STAIN REMOVAL: As 99% of the foreigners here will be forced to only have their bikes for local transportation, you will at some point get bike grease on your clothes. This happened recently and after searching the web (my stain book didn't cover that type of clothing disaster.), I found a rather curious "cure" and it WORKS!!
--> Let that one piece of clothing run through the whole washing cycle by itself, but instead of using any stain remover or detergent, add a can of COKE. After it goes through one whole wash and rinse cycle, you can wash it normally with other clothes. ^.^
I used this trick on my favorite light beige pair of pants and they came out perfectly.
I couldn't believe it.

WARNING FOR WOMEN: Do NOT hang your underwear outdoors! Japanese men have a weird fetish about women's underwear (hence the used underwear vending machines in the seedier areas of metropolitan cities), and it may be stolen. If you have to hang it outside, make sure you only do it while you are at home. This applies to people living on the uppen floors, too. There's nothing more exotic than a foreign women's underwear (apparently).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Brief" Introduction

I have lived in Japan going on 3 years now and have taught in both the private school (juku) and the public school systems.
Fortunately for me, I speak both Japanese and English, but even so, I had to find out everything myself when I got here. There is no ONE, encompassing resource for people either trying to live in Japan now or trying to prepare before they go. So, I figured, all my hard work, blood-sweat-and-tears (and many, many, MANY hours) searching should not go to waste.

Depending on popularity/public-demand, I may offer a full website with more resources, but for right now, I want to get a feel for public reception with a BLOG only.

UPDATES: At this point in time, I expect to update on a weekly basis.

FIREFOX: I strongly, highly recommend you download Firefox from any of the links on this page. Windows has limited features, is not standards-compliant, and regularly crashes. Case in Point: Although I rarely use the Windows XP portion of my laptop, lately I have been. Previously, I kept up-to-date on American news by watching cbs and msnbc online. I upgraded to IE 7 and now, instead of the news, I get a giant GREEN screen. Comparatively, with FIREFOX, there have been no online video issues/problems. Runs smooth as a whistle. ;>

If you are interested in watching any of the free movies or TV shows on the many sites I will be listing, you will want a stable web browser because many of the sites are hosted "overseas" where the bandwidth isn't so good and having to reload a show FROM SCRATCH you just spent 20 minutes waiting for is .....*deleted for content* ;)

Besides, with Firefox you can do all this and more:
  • Block ads with adblock and filterset G.

  • Download the videos to watch later with VideoDownloader extension.

  • Use the most sophisticated tabbed browsing system available. Once you learn to use tabs, you’ll never go back to having tons of open windows.

I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian who did SysAdmin work for over 6 years and currently runs three OS systems on her laptop. I know a thing or 2 about computers. ;> Do yourself a favor and download Firefox.

  • Where and How to watch LOTS of free online movies and TV

  • Public vs. Private Schools-the reality of the system

  • Public vs. Private Schools-handling Japanese students

  • Where to find food - regular and vegen

  • What do those characters on my home appliances mean?

  • Battling the 3 Extremes - heat, humidity, cold

  • Straight Facts @ NOVA & AEON - compiled reports

  • various ESL resources

    As this site is run by popular demand, please leave any requests for answers/advice on certain topics on any post with the "comments" link. (simply leave the comment anonymously.) Or leave a note on the "messages" board to the right. Comments there are not publicly displayed, but go straight to the private account.

    Saturday, October 14, 2006

    Oshu-shi : The Japanese Youngstown

    "It's country living", they said.
    The hell it is.
    This place is Youngstown ,OH transplanted to Northern Japan.
    What that means is that it is a dying city filled with delapidated, rusted out factories interspersed with rice fields.
    It's the rust-belt all over again!! (And everyone knows how much I despise, l.o.a.t.h.e. Youngstown.)
    The school itself is located close to a small factory so every once in awhile we get the wonderous perfume of burning metal and welding wafting throughtout the entire building.

    And the driving!
    Youngstown ALL over again.
    The worst driving I've ever seen--cars blatantly going through stale red lights, driving 50 mph through side streets and the streets here would be only wide enough to fit a single Hummer, if that.

    Country is pretty fields and this ain't it. (We won't even discuss the overrunning spider population. I'm sure they outnumber us 3-1 at the very least.)

    That being said with some concentrated searching, I have found that I can buy just about everything I need online except for eggs. Soymilk, rice, a dozen different lentils, detergent, spices; literally everything but eggs--all online. Thank god because not only does the wind NEVER stop blowing, but I had to go to my favorite clothes depot today (which they actually have in this backwater) and buy turtlenecks--it's that cold already!
    I'm literally busy battening down to hatches--marking where I can buy clothes online, ordering food in bulk for storage so I don't have to go out in the -10 weather come January. I'm almost finished hanging extra "curtains" in the living room/bedroom. There's no such thing as insulation in Japan so the key to staying warm is wearing many layers--not just for yourself, but for your home.

    From now on, I'm hibernating with my bag of Ghiradelli chocolate until March.

    Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

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