Category Archives: Life and Stuff

Out with the Techo; In with the Bullet

I bought the Bullet Journal two and a half years ago via Kickstarter but decided I didn’t want it anymore once I got it. Now, after all that time, I’ve decided to use it.

Part of the problem was the size. It was too cumbersome to carry around every day unless I was carrying a bag. However, soon after I decided not to use it, I bought a Hobonichi Cousin that was about the same size and started carrying that to act as a daily log. Then I decided I didn’t want to carry it around and it became a colorful version of a diary.

Last  year I used the pocket sized Hobonichi Techo as a daily planner. I quickly adopted a version of Mike Rhode’s bar system, mostly because it gave me a chance to use lots of colorful inks on the Techo’s terrific Tomoe River paper.

The problem was that I spent a lot more time scheduling activities and making them look pretty than I actually did doing them. By the end of the year I wasn’t carrying the Techo every day, although I did spend time filling in activities for every day. When I was carrying it, I barely referred to it.

In addition, I’ve also slowly embraced online versions of planners as they can be programmed with reminders and can be changed more easily.

Because of this, and because the Leuchtturm1917 paper is pretty good–and because it forces me to use something that’s been sitting on a shelf rather than buy something new–I’ve decided to use the Bullet Journal as my planner/organizer this year.

I like the simple lists and bullet system especially when supplemented with an online calendar that links to all my devices and my main email account.

There is still the problem of the size of the thing, but I’m willing to give that chance. I will also tear off the annoying binder elastic strap thing.

At this point I’ve used it a week and am already rethinking how I want to use it. I kind of miss the daily log, especially recording the weather and what I wore that day, and want to incorporate a version of that in some of the extra space on the page.

I’ve already incorporated a “number of times postponed” system when things that get scheduled one day get moved to another.

Once I settle on a system, I’ll take some pictures and offer a follow up.

Until then I’ve got planning to do. Oh, and a few things to do, too.

New Year’s Booze, Breakfast, and Detox

Although I know it’s bad for me, having beer and sake with breakfast is kind of cool. Of course, since that’s more or less the same thing I had with dinner the night before, then I’m probably due for a detox.

Correction: A detox is very much in order.

Tomorrow we’ll be out and about which will give all of us a chance to detox a bit, but I’m betting that supper will be huge. I also suspect there will be beer and sake with breakfast.

Part of the problem is that the parents of She Who Must Be Obeyed have reached the age where they don’t drink as much as they used to. However, they continue to serve the same amount of booze that they used to. This means, for reasons I don’t fully understand, it’s my job to finish all the unfinished booze.

Note: I’m now responsible for finishing a bottle of wine. For some reason, this is a responsibility I take seriously.

Luckily this year they’ve switched from bottled beer shared amongst everyone to individual cans served to individuals. This means there’s less interruption as Mother of SWMBO insists on filling my beer glass even when it’s already full. I suspect this means that I’m actually drinking less than usual as it’s hard to keep track of the half-full glasses and I always end up having to finish the bottles.

With cans, there is, of course, lots of concern that my can might be empty within a few seconds of my taking the first sip from it, but that’s less intrusive than having to drink half a small glass of beer right after I’ve taken a bit of food.

I’ll also need a food detox, but that’s fodder for a future post.

Cleaning Up Before Cleaning

I should have been cleaning, but instead I was straightening and organizing, which is sort of like cleaning but not really.

It’s the season of cleaning here in Japan and we are getting ready to head off to my in-laws. This means we spent more time organizing the house for our return than we did actually cleaning.

The suitcase we won’t need was stored away, but that involved moving and then replacing/reorganizing the pile the protects/blocks the storage closet.

I was organizing the things I plan to drag along as if I will actually work on the things I drag along. Bringing them, though, makes me feel as if I have the potential to be responsible so they do, in fact, serve a purpose.

I will probably not review the notebooks I’ll be finishing on the trip, but I will be able to take some pictures.

Christmas Cheerishness

Today, our oldest had club practice. She Who Must Be Obeyed had work. I had nothing to do. A few presents were opened, but most had already been purchased and delivered.

Tonight, as is our family tradition, we had chicken, lots of bread and cheese, and way too much cake. (Wine, beer, and Japanese whisky might have been involved in a couple cases as well.)

Tomorrow the Christmas lights around Japan will be gone as if Christmas never happened and the focus will be on the New Year’s holiday, which is the real winter event in Japan.

Now, we have a few days to prepare for a trip to visit my in-laws. This means we’ll do nothing for a couple days and then madly pack at the last minute.

That’s part of the fun.

ps: Merry Christmas, everyone. All the best.

Done Days and Then Some

The end of the term is ambiguous.

Our youngest is done today. I’ve been done. I’m not sure about our oldest, but she has at least one more day. Then she might be done.

Our youngest showed off her report card today. The card doesn’t have marks, instead it has assessments. The assessments are “Very Good”, “Can Do It”, and “Well, Yeah, Present”. (Something like that.) Our youngest was mostly “Very Good” with only three “Can Do It” marks.

As for our oldest: well, I’m not sure. She has a concert on Sunday. After that I don’t know. School may be finished, but practice may be not. Band practice never seems to end.

Eventually, we will visit the in-laws. We’re still not sure how we’re going to get there. Or when we’ll get there.

That’s what things are like this time of year. More when I know it.

One Little Piece at a Time

I was worried our youngest might learn some new words, but in the end, things turned our much simpler than I thought they would.

I mentioned before how my headphones and video card all died on the same day. Via the magic of the internet, and a part of a day spent not marking, I managed to find a part that seemed to fit my ancient, in computer/dog years, PC and didn’t cost more than a replacement computer. I also found easy to follow instructions for installing it.

This means, of course, that I was expecting problems.

The part arrived and I warned our youngest not to listen to anything I was about to say, especially if I sounded angry. However, I was able to get things up and running surprisingly quickly and without any swearing.

I was also informed that I’d be getting a replacement set of headphones. Eventually.

This means all technical difficulties are more or less solved (except for a couple other parts that need replacing).

Then there’s the problem of the dead fly in the cheese. More on that in a future post.

When the Time Cometh It Pours

If i could summarize today with one word it would be:

bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk!

Actually, the real word would involve a lot more profanity but that scream/thunderclap will have to do.

First, my headphones died. Well, actually the left earbud died, which wouldn’t bother me except they were less than three months old. This means the game of “replace them, damn you” email tag with the manufacturer and seller has begun.

Oh, and I also have final exams to mark which means I don’t have much time to play tag.

That would be annoying enough, except the graphics card in my desktop PC also decided it was time to die today. This puts me in that annoying state where I have to decide to upgrade parts or buy an entirely new computer. That leads to the decision of whether to pay up for a domestic computer, after a painful hunt to find an English langauge system, or import a computer from the USA.

I’ll decide tomorrow after I do some parts hunting at nearby electronics stores. I suspect there will be more swearing involved at some point.

 

Another Year Mercifully Gone By

Well, that was another one I’m glad is now days gone by.

I’ve mentioned before, although I can’t find the post to like to it, that the one year of my life I wouldn’t want to repeat was when I was twenty. I was in a bad mood that alternated between cranky and dazed and then all of a sudden one day I was 21 and the spell seemed to break.

Now I have to add age fifty to the years I don’t want to repeat.

Lots of stuff happened this year that caused lots of extra stress. There were deaths and illnesses and lots of extra crap from work.

There were also pressures from extended family, mostly as a result of illness and injury and that has muddled things up on this side of the island as such things stress out She Who Must Be Obeyed.

As for writing, except for this bit of blather, I’ve been in a bad mood that alternates between dazed and lazy. I’ve asked friends to read things, sent them manuscripts, and then gotten no response at all (I’m zero for three now). That has me feeling down and has Kimberly laughing and saying she told me so. Unfinished projects seem to abound and I’m stuck about what to work on first.

There are a lot of decisions that keep getting put off.

That said, I got through October better off than normal. I haven’t been productive, but I’m finally getting ink inventory out of the house which has picked up my mood some.

Now we’ll see what fifty-one is like.

 

What is Important For Thee is Not For Me

A couple of weeks ago the Tokyo area got hit by Typhoon 21. (It had a name, but Japan doesn’t care.) As a result of the storm, a few people died and our local government has been heavily criticized.

They responded by giving people what they wanted, albeit  a bit too late.

Although we live near a flood control reservoir, it is clear that just down the hill form us is a bad place to be in a flood. Although we’ve talked about buying a house, I’ve insisted that it be up hill and not down near the “bank” or flood control reservoir.

Part of the flood. If you look at the back center, you can see the flood control reservoir bank.

After Typhoon 21, the areas near the schools (which are, ironically, evacuation centers) were under a couple feet of water. Near our youngest’s elementary school, people were being rescued by boats.

Just outside the parking lot of our apartment complex.

Just a hundred meters or so from our apartment.

Almost immediately, the local government came under fire for not issuing an evacuation order. Although the closest evacuation centers were under water, there are several others on higher ground.

The local government’s defense was “We were busy counting votes. You know, democracy and crap like that.” (Something like that.)

The storm, rather rudely, chose to strike during the official voting day of a national election. Even She Who Must Be Obeyed braved the weather to vote.

Because of this, the local government felt that counting votes was more important to the electorate than actually saving their lives and were too busy to issue an evacuation order.

Since then, there has been a lot of bowing and apologizing and at least two meetings with the public to explain “but votes!”.

Then, last Sunday, Typhoon 22 hit the Tokyo area. Almost before the rain had started, the local big voice speakers started wailing and our smartphones started beeping that we should get the hell out if we didn’t want to f@#king die. “Here’s your f@#king evacuation warning right here, just like you wanted it, good and hard.”

In the end we didn’t get any flooding–in fact the storm bypassed us–but no one could complain we didn’t get any warning we were about to die. Even if the warning scared people to death.

 

Back Home Again

As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about. The storm passed us and we got the warm, muggy, clear weather that follows a storm.

She Who Must Be Obeyed and our youngest made it back with no problems, although they did encounter some rain.

The rain before had messed up her reason for going: rice harvest. Now a group of cousins are being dragged out of retirement to help with harvest and we’ll probably have new rice in a couple weeks.

Our oldest also made it back from school on time, although there was some confusion about whether or not she needed lunch:

Me: When are you coming back today?
Her: ——————
Me: Do you need lunch today?
Her: ——————
(door slams)
Me: (shouting out window) Do you need lunch today?
Her: ——————

It turned out she did need lunch, but she arrived home after I ate so I sent her on a mission to buy a lunch at a convenience store.

Then, I tried to teach her how to answer questions.