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Archive for December 2007

Lately, me and S are watching an animation caller ‘His and her circumstances’, or something along those lines. The Japanese title is “彼氏と彼女の事情”. I’ve watched this animation before and I really liked the timing and the pace of the story, as well as some of the pretty rare (odd?) storytelling techniques used.

Basically the story revolves around the classic voes of young love, and how two people get to know their true selves through the their reflection in the other. The unfolding of events as well as the flow of the story might not offer that much new-and-exciting, but the way the story is told and the imagery is put together in such an extraordinarily and beautiful way that the show becomes more like meditation than entertainment….

Another animation that I highly recommend.

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Today, using FireFox, I can’t seem to access any page related to MS in anyway… Blogs, msn, msdn every page causes the browser to freeze… Works fine in IExplorer though…

The oddities….

Ny brittisk studie visar att det mesta onda som drabbar barn i England (sakerligen aven sant for manga andra lander, inklusive Japan) ursprungligen stammer fran kommersialiseringen av samhallet. Nagot som val torde vara uppenbart for var och en som ids anvanda sitt sunda fornuft.

I samband med denna rapports offentliggorande star foljande att lasa i ‘Allt Om Barn’s artikel:

I Sverige har vi sedan länge ganska strikta regler om marknadsföring av produkter direkt till barn och kan väl sägas ha förstått det nyttiga i att inte utsätta barn för allt för mycket påtryckning från kommersiella krafter.

http://www.alltombarn.se/aktuellt/fetma-och-mobbing-marknadens-fel-1.4879

Sla sig sjalv pa brostet och satta pa Idol pa Tv, tur manniskan ar skapt med tva hander…

Listening through some old mp3 folders I came across the soundtrack of the wonderful old anime The Vision of Escaflowne (1996). Not sure if you can still get your hands on it, but I thought I’d recommend it to anyone with a knack for robot/love animations :)

hitomi20.jpg

I just wanted to point out that this months issue of MSDN Magazine features a very nice and accessible article on writing reliable .net code. Especially on how to deal with asynchronous exceptions that arise from thread aborts and resource exhaustion. The article shows some available techniques and also points out some of the pitfalls and performance issues associated with implementing them. A good read for anyone working with asynchronous patterns and code.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/issues/07/12/CLRInsideOut/default.aspx

These last few months have really been a tumultuous time here in Tokyo. First we got the amazing news that S is pregnant (just about to enter 6 months now) which of course came as a wonderful but somewhat unexpected surprise to us both :). We were not planning on this for maybe another year or so, until work and other matters had settled down a bit, but that doesn’t mean we were not happy when we realized it. To tell the truth it was probably one of the happiest moments of my life.

This was in late August, and I was just about to get down and serious with a set of projects that I had been slowly building up momentum for during the summer. Thus, starting late august and just about to finally slow down again, I have been working literally around the clock several times every week. I have to admit that because of this I sometimes feel really bad for not being able to spend more time with S right now. If it was up to me I’d stay home every day and rub her back and just do what ever I can to make her feel relaxed and so on. S has been absolutely amazing though and I am filled with so much respect for her not only as a person and partner but also as a woman.

Following the great news of our family expansion, we also decided to speed up another project that we had been discussing on and off for the past year or so. Buying a house.

Buying a house in Tokyo is not easy, especially when you are a foreigner with a one year visa. Also, it is definitely not cheap, but as any big city in the world that depends on where you look. The area where we used to live was a very old and expensive part of Tokyo. It was really charming and the people living in the neighbourhood were great, but buying a house in that part is impossible unless you have a relative who owns land and/or you are filthy rich and famous.

(Note: So how could we afford living there? We rented a small and very old, but also very nice, apartment on top of a Post office. The owner of the property matched one of the above descriptions and was a really nice guy who rented us the apt for a far-below market rent. This however is another long and winding story…)

So taking reality into account for once, we decided to start looking further out from the city center, and through a chance I happened to glance upon a commercial banner on a subway train one morning, promoting a new residential area in the middle of Chiba. Chiba, as some of you may know, is not Tokyo, in fact it’s even a different prefecture. You won’t know the difference though since going by train means the cityscape barely changes.

I had actually visited the location of this new development land on a couple of occasions to hold meetings with a client, so I was vaguely familiar with it. S and I decided to take a drive to check it out, and signed a preliminary contract on first sight.

The house and its surroundings are just great. Quiet, calm, clean air, lots of nature, but still with the center of Tokyo just a train ride away. (In this case that train ride means a 45 minute ride without transfers, which is actually not so different from our old place…)

Having signed the contract though was only a way of formalizing that we were serious in our intention to buy the house if possible. After this first step began the long and very complicated process of getting a bank loan approved and finalizing the move.

We had great help from the real estate agent who handled most of the negotiations with the bank, but I still had to provide all the material that would form the basis of the evaluation process before the bank would even consider our case. This meant digging up every old article, photo, paper, poster, anything that I have ever published, plus reports, graduation evidence, former employment, written explanations as to why I came to Japan and why I intend to stay here and so on. All to prove to the bank that I am a serious and organized person who can be trusted with a 35 year loan, despite the fact that I only have a one year visa :).

This material was then submitted to several different banks and to our great joy a loan was approved by a not-to-be-named bank as of November first.

So now S and I are living in a new 5 room, 2 story house in a small community in Chiba, with a garden, a huge bathroom, a Japanese style room and all the other goodies. S went to the hospital two days ago and the soon-to-enter-this-world third member of our family is kicking around and looking very healthy. Also, two days ago I held a press conference at Tokyo University to announce the application that has kept me way to busy for the past 3 months. Finally things seem to be calming down a bit again ;).

I’m really sorry that I haven’t been able to reply to emails or keep in touch with everyone lately, things have just been crazy busy over here.


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