Month: February 2009

Tokyo – Ueno and Akihabara.

Ueno held our attention because it had the very cool Yamashi Roya, which is a toy shop several stories tall. There were more Gundam style toys than I could conveniently describe to you. And there was pretty much a whole floor of model tanks and planes and things, and about a zillion kinds of brush and types of paint used on these models. I was thinking of peterfitz while wandering around it – the kind of obsessive qualities had by people who generally do that kind of modeling, coupled with the Japanese Otaku personality, must pretty much combine to form a giant robot of nerdiness. Go Go Autistic Rangers!

Talking about nerdiness segues neatly into Ahikabara. A zillion shops full of electronic and electric stuff. One guy had a stall with just different types of connectors (“I’d like an F-connector, please?” “What colour?”) and the guy next to him was selling a vast array of shrink-wrapped oscilloscopes. I tried to look in one place, and had to give up, it was just too small to accommodate me. I could have worn the whole store as a hat.

Needless to say, I was happy as a pig in mud.

Another store had a wide selection of airsoft weapons, all replicas of actual weapons. Here’s a picture:

Airsoft Guns - Japan

I did actually think about getting one of these, basically just in case I ever want to do any Stargate cosplay, but I didn’t buy anything because:

(a) Everyone knows a guy who has replica guns and swords and shit. That guy is only one step removed from wearing camo clothing when he’s not actually in the military. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want anyone to be that guy. Oh, and

(b) My chances of getting a full-scale replica P90 through NZ customs are not good. “You see officer, I need that in case the Wraith attack.

We got dinner from a convenience store. No idea what mine was, I picked something that looked visually interesting. It was very very tasty. Annette has postulated that when it comes to food in Japan, the cheaper and more generic the source, the more delicious it is. Experimental evidence so far does not refute her hypothesis.

I also ate cheese flavoured chocolate. It tasted exactly like you imagine it would.


We got in late last night, checked into our hotel, then crashed. We spent today wandering around Ginza and Marunouchi. I’m posting this from a cafe at our hotel in Ikebukuro.

Some initial thoughts on Japan:

– The combination of the Japanese dislike of any fuss, coupled with our inability to speak Japanese, has led to some amusing scenes in shops.

– Japanese schoolgirls actually wear those little outfits. I was worried it was something cooked up by manga and anime. It’s not. This is AWESOME.

– Tokyo public transport works amazingly well.

– Which is good, because Tokyo is enormous.

– The aesthetic tropes of television, advertising, architecture and dress are quite different in Japan, and the sense of strangeness this engenders in we filthy gaijin is significant, and unsettling.

– Conveyor Sushi places are MAXIMUM WIN.

– My mac charger blew up on the first day here, so I went to the Apple store in Ginza and bought a new one. Amount of Caucasians seen on the streets of Tokyo? … Greater than zero, but statistically insignificant. Amount of Caucasians in the Apple store? 25% to 33%. White Folks Love Apple Stuff.

More detail, and pics, later on. Much more, if I can actually convince the hotel staff that the internet connection in our room is genuinely not working, and that I know what I am talking about.


So, Annette and I got married yesterday. Which was awesome. I shall post pics, as soon as the photographer gets them back to us. It was great fun, we had the exact ceremony we wanted, and everything went off without a hitch. There were a few friends that I wished could have been there, but sadly, life conspired against it. Fitz & Annette, Emma and Karl, I’m lookin’ at you.

My wife is so totally awesome, and I feel very very lucky to have her beside me.

How long does it take to get used to wearing the ring? I keep tinkering with mine.

Tomorrow morning, we’re off to Japan for our honeymoon. We’ll be blogging regularly from there, and posting pictures.

I know exactly zero japanese, I can’t even remember the phrases that Annette tried to teach me, which translate to stuff like “Please Excuse Me!” and “Does anyone here speak english?” and “I am a howling barbarian ghost from beyond the edge of the world, and thus I do not know any better.”

Personally, I have a plan to just wave my arms and make a huge fuss if there are any problems, in an effort to leverage Japanese distaste for making a scene into me getting (a) what I want, and (b) out of trouble. I’ve seen this referred to as “Gaijin Smash!”.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hip hip! HOORAY!

Work gave me a morning tea and a card signed by all for my birthday today. Here’s some excerpts from the card:

“Happy Birthday and Many Ph4t Lewts!”

“I was going to say that I hope there were no network outages on your birthday .. but too late!”[1]

“I’ll see you on E1M1 for a showdown.”

“I hope they baked you a pretty cake for your birthday .. WHAT!!!”

I like working here.

[1] By the way, thanks for that present, TelstraClear. You rock.[2]
[2] You don’t actually rock.

A good time was had by all.

Friday night was my Stag Night, kindly organised by by good friend Chris. He and my other groomsman Grant attended, as did various other chums.

I requested something civilised, since I’m old enough that the prospect of hookers and drunkenness[1] fills me with an emotion that I’m not sure has a name, but is basically a mixture of horror, embarrassment, and boredom.

We ended up having a very good meal at Cin Cin, a restaurant and bar down on the waterfront. I’ve had drinks there a few times, but never eaten there. It was actually quite excellent. Then we jaunted off to a burlesque show called the Hoochie Kootchie Review. It placed, pleasingly, little emphasis on skin, and lots of emphasis on entertainment, tease, and humour. Well worth it! After this show, we decamped to the back room of a bar in Ponsonby, for drinks and chat.

I had a very good time, and would really like to publicly thank Chris for a great job, and thank everyone present for being fun to hit the town with.

I should also state that during this, I was presented by Chris with a gift, in the form of a MONOCLE, which I shall now wear every time I am expecting something to greatly surprise me, so that it can pop off with a “Boing!” sound.

[1] At least, the kind of drunkenness where you throw up, as opposed to the kind of drunkenness where you happily give the Glad Eye to the girl selling candy at the show.

Operating Systems _AND YOU_!

So, as was my custom, I was thinking about operating systems the other day.

It occured to me that after my first two computers (a ZX81 and a ZX spectrum), I had a Commodore Amiga. This was around 1986 or so. Used it right through to the early 90s.

The Amiga had a Unix-derived, fully pre-emptive, microkernel based OS, with a propritary GUI on top of it.

After several years, I moved to a PC running DOS (Why? You find out below.) and then went through a series of Windows, from 3.1 to 95 to 98, and then XP. Until XP

Now I use OSX, which is … a Unix-derived, fully pre-emptive, microkernel based OS, with a propritary GUI on top of it. I bought my first OSX mac in 2008.

What’s weird is that the stuff in between AmigaDOS and OSX was, by and large, utter utter shit. DOS literally could only do one thing at a time, and the multitasking in 3.1 and 95 was hilariously bad and the operating systems were almost comically unstable. 98SE was better, and XP is pretty usable. But they still suck compared to the excellence which is OSX.

So, architecturally speaking, it’s a full circle, from awesome to awesome with bollocks in the middle.

But it was that exact bollocks I simply had to have, because of … Doom and later, Quake.

Those games were archetypal killer apps. I changed from a awesome computer model to a literally terrible one, because I had to do so in order to get a quad damage and gib my friends.

I do wonder what things would have been like if the unix/gui model had actually been the dominant one throughout that whole time period.

I’m guessing pretty damn awesome.

A Delicious Slice of My Life

[MojoBob] jsr: aren’t you supposed to be getting married or something? It’s February
[jsr] Affirmative.
[jsr] Wedding looming.
[@jenza] Where you holding it?
[@jenza] Ironforge?
[jsr] jenza: Man, that would be _sweet_.
[@rob2] Only if you could book it out.
[jsr] On the AH bridge
[jsr] FTW
[@jenza] till you got ganked
[jsr] jenza: QQ
[@rob2] nothing like a wedding ruined by Hairyballz the night elf hunter