There was a Verizon FIOS commercial that asked the question: How many devices do you have (at home) use the Internet? Good question. I started counting:
Desktops (including HTPCs): 3
Game console: 1
Disc player: 1
I have 15 devices! Barring any breakage1, this number is likely to increase. So if I’m left to my own devices, I’ll probably get more!
- Lost an iPod Touch, already [↩]
My family and I visited Mt. Fuji, for the first time. It was about 83 miles west of Tokyo. We took a Gray Line tour bus, complete with a tour guide.1 We were dropped off at the “5th Station” which was 2400 Meters high. People stopped here and hike their way up Mt. Fuji, hoping to circle the crater so they can be blessed. People from young and old climbed the mountain. Very dedicated (and superstitious) bunch, these Japanese. We only had 30 minutes to look around, so couldn’t do a hike even if we wanted to. In the summer, the peak of Mt. Fuji is usually covered with cloud/fog.2 It was difficult to see the top. Our tour guide got so excited when she could see just a glimpse of it, and told us to take a photo of it (right). Not exactly the postcard version, but hey, we saw it!
Nearby Mt. Fuji, there’s a small city called Hakone. It’s famous for its hot springs. We visited and took photos. After taking a cable car ride, at one of the main hot spring area, the phosphors smelled so bad, it was unbearable to stay there too long. We didn’t stay too long. We started heading down to Togendai to catch a “pirate ship” ride.
The highlight of this Hakone & Mt. Fuji trip was taking the Bullet Train (Shinkansen) back to Tokyo. Amazing speed. Wonderfully clean. Highlighting the people again, I noticed the train crew always bows before and after entering through the door. The locals didn’t notice it much, but us Americans, were just astonished by the discipline and respect to tradition. The bullet train is the symbol of modern, yet highly traditional Japan.
- A nice little lady named Michiko-san [↩]
- Best time to see the peak is during cold winter, with snow cover. [↩]
I just got back from a vacation in Tokyo, Japan, late last week. I haven’t visited Tokyo since I was 12, so obviously my view and impression of it has changed, quite a bit! There are so many wonderful, interesting, and unique memories. Let’s start from the beginning.
I arrived right before midnight at Haneda International, an airport closer to downtown Tokyo, on the west side of the city. It’s a small and non-sophisticated airport1 that I was frankly unimpressed with. Since we arrived in the middle of the night, immigration officers were scarce, so the lines were long. Not a good start. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. However, it was a good thing my airport pick-up service was there to drive me to the hotel. The driver spoke excellent English2. He was very courteous, and informative! Great service, as I came to expect from Japan.
My family and I stayed in the 2nd busiest part of the city called Shinjuku. The hotel was minutes away from the Shinjuku Train/Subway Station, so it visit it almost every day. When we walked in, we were overwhelmed with the complexity of it! There were multiple lines of trains, hundreds of destinations, and thousands of people! It was mind boggling. It took a while for me to get my bearings. I came to realize I needed to start asking for directions. Thankfully, there were station personnel could speak a little English and was very helpful. They pointed me to the how, where, and how much. So, on with the adventure!
Our first visit was Tokyo Disneyland. We had to see first-hand, what’s different about this place.3 Everything looked familiar: Disney Store, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney Hotel & Resort, and the Monorail. There are subtle differences, like toys that looked anime-ish. Some of the people who visit, mostly girls, wore costumes and heavy make-up. They were dolled up. Oh speaking of dolls, the popular new attraction is Disney Sea, which is pretty much like Disney California Adventures, but much smaller. The main attraction there is Duffy Bear. Incidently, Duffy the stuffed animal, can only be purchased inside the park. Great marketing stunt, Disney! I could see the girls carry Duffy Bears on their knapsack and purses, proudly. A badge of honor, paying at least US$60 for one – plus accessories, you can customize the bear!
Then, we were off to Ginza, the most expensive district of Tokyo, where condos can be bought for US$17,000 per square meter! No wonder coffee costs $15 in this part of town. Since we were there to enjoy the scenery, we hung around mainly along the Harumi-Dori4 and Chuo-Dori. Plenty to see. Walked into a few luxury department stores, like Mitsukoshi. Of course, I also found the Apple Store!
Next post, we’re off to see Mt. Fuji…
- I base the “International standard” as Changi Airport in Singapore, the defacto big and fancy airport. [↩]
- Driver went to school in Los Angeles area for 4 years. [↩]
- I live in Anaheim, California, where the original Disneyland is! [↩]
- Dori means street. [↩]
Every 6 months, or so, I take out my desktop machines and give them a through cleaning. Not just the outside, but the insides, where it matters. I hate to have the fans clogs up with dust and makes so much noise. Those dusts also get blown back to the room, making my allergies act up.
I take the computer to my driveway, set it on the ground, and open it up. I use a full can of compressed air to blow out the dust from every nook and corner. There are more build up on the fans and power supply areas. Every 6 months, I usually get a pretty good amount of dust to clean.
To get a good idea how much dust can accumulate inside a desktop case, this video is an extreme example of it. Phew, I can imagine myself sneezing my eyeballs out!
We went to Chick-Fil-A. It was a warm cloudy day when we talked about:
- Receipt day. This is one of the main attraction of Chick-Fil-A Restaurant in Irvine. The lines went out of the door during lunch.
- Solar panels. Not worth the cost, since it takes 20-30 years to start breaking even. The technology will be obsolete by then. It’s only worth it if my energy use is more than average.
- Take the train to work. Make sense for one of us, who lives next to the station and have flexible schedule. For the rest of us with demanding hours, it just doesn’t make any sense. But then again, Amtrak and Metrolink really do need to provide a more flexible schedule and cheaper cost for monthly pass.
- Living in Inland Empire. It’s redneck area! (Just kidding
- Visit the Nixon Library. I live near Yorba Linda, but never been there. Suppose to be a great place to visit. Nixon’s house was moved there. Alas, can’t see Nixon himself in a glass case. He was buried there, though.