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Day six

Sorry this is late. I tied up my desk and bookshelf - something long overdue. Just to make this later, here's some stuff to read. After all, you expect more than just videos of me opening the calendar, right?

Just updated Amazon's AppStore (called "Appstore" in the shortcut icon, and "App-Shop" in the app) app after the older one I had kept failing to log me in. An interesting observation is that in-app purchases are enabled by default (haven't we learned from this?) and that you need to enter your account password to disable this. Also enabled is data collection, and the use-WiFi-to-download is enabled for downloads greater than 50MiB. Obviously I've knocked this back to 1MiB and disabled everything. I see Amazon has its own virtual currency - Amazon Coins. There's an original name for you.
There doesn't seem to be an explicit way to log out of the App Store. Force Closing the app does not log you out. Apparently there are two ways to "log out" of the AppStore. The first is to clear all of the app data - that's the sledgehammer approach. The second is to log out of the main Amazon app. Wait, what? What's so hard about having an explicit way to log out of the AppStore?
Looking on-line, people generally say "don't sweat it, Google has all your info and your Google account is always connected to the main app store (Google Play, or whatever dumb name they're about to give it).
There's a big difference.
Amazon has payment details on file for me.
Google...does not.
So, sorry Amazon. Uninstalled. There is enough risk of data loss and grief if my phone is stolen, I'm not going to expose my bank account to unauthorised purchases as well. It's a nice idea, to have an alternative to Google's app repository, but I would prefer it to work as a "log in, browse, use, log out". Especially since the App Store wants 1-click purchasing to be enabled, which I am not so keen on (makes it too damn easy to waste money). So the app has gone, and 1-click is disabled.
(I'm the customer, I do this on my terms, however irrational they may appear to be)

 

Anyway... Here are some pictures of "My Space". ☺

First up, an overall shot. And the pictures are lacking clarity as they were taken with the mobile phone (mom is using the iPad).

I'm not using RISC OS on the Pi, so the keyboard is propped up to provide more desk space. You can see I have my Christmas lights on now. They don't blink (that would drive me nuts). The only other thing worthy of note, I suppose, is the battery powered mini fluorescent light above the cherry blossom pictures. I have not needed it yet, but it is there in case of power cuts. Helps to be prepared! Oh, and the scrawling on the board reminds me what days HorribleSubs release.

Here's a close-up of some of my Playmo - with various DVDs behind - a good geek selection including Ghost In The Shell, Highschool Of The Dead, Steins;Gate, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, The Disappearance Of Haruhi Suzumiya. In live action, the recent Space Battleship Yamato (all sorts of epic), Kick-Ass (nice and epic), and Serenity (guess what, that's epic too!). The books on the left are the Suzumiya light novels, which are anything but light (you have to be pretty smart to catch the many varied references and concepts, it's a bit like XKCD in that way). School Rumble I got for a euro each in a vide grenier. Not watched it yet, subs in French. On a different shelf is the overflow - I Wish (live action), Sky Crawlers (live action, Korean), and the mindscrewfest that is Paprika.

And behind Nurse-Kitty (it was a charity thing after the earthquake/tsunami) is part of my book collection:

On the left, beside the DVDs are Milky Way Railroad, a popular Japanese story. A book that claims to tell me how to say anything in Japanese (but if I recall, it didn't tell me how to say "your panties are showing"). I do, however, know the response - 今すぐ出て行きなさい!
The green plastic box (lower left) is a clever clip together handles-and-ends set that can be either chopsticks or fork and spoon. I'll show you this another day.
Now to the pile. At the bottom is a guide to learning Kanji by pictures. Lots of Kanji, half of which look alike. I'm going to have to put some effort into actually learning the kana. I mean, there's only like forty six, twice, with a bunch of combinations. I think my main problem is that I don't really have much incentive to learn as there's not a lot I can do, except translating signs that show up in animé - I can tell "ice cream" (アイスクリーム) a mile off. And coffee. And ramen. Well, that's the main food groups covered, at least. The "Thriftbooks" barcode is because I got it from Amazon Marketplace.
The yellow book is for language specifics of the Kansai (Kyoto/Osaka region, more or less) dialect. It sometimes crops up in animé and I think it is a rather pleasant accent. Compare "Southern" to "standard American" (if there is such a thing), or "West Country" to "Home Counties" (English). If I was lots younger and lots smarter, I'd teach myself Kansai Japanese just to mess with the Tokyoites. ☺ But given that I still can't speak French without people replying to me in English, I guess I'll skip that idea...
Two language books, one in English, one in French.
The red book is a hard read. It is a wordy, lengthy, explanation of Shinto - the belief system specific to Japan. It is a spectacularly interesting religion, if bordering on slightly nuts. Two things are for certain: 1, if you watch any amount of animé, you're going to come across a pile of references to Shinto, from "schoolgirl is a part time Miko" (巫女) to ... well... to the likes of Noragami, Kamichu! and Pompoko; and 2, it isn't boring, unlike most of my experiences with varying interpretations of Christianity.
A bilingual atlas of Japan is the next book. About that, a small book with lots of pictures and how to say them. The two things written in Japanese (one black, one white) are Chihiro Onitsuka CDs. One was brought back from Japan (明美ありがとうございます!) and the other was mail ordered. Don't ask how much the postage cost.
Above that, a dictionary, useful to have I guess, though I tend to use Google Translate (often horrible translations, but better than I could do on my own). A set of flashcards (Kanji; I have Kana ones elsewhere) is the box. The red book is a cool open-out map of different parts of Tokyo. I want to "do" Tokyo (it would be dumb to go half way around the world and not have a photo of me mugging at the camera with Tokyo Tower in the background), I just hope my budget extends to going beyond that. More on that in a bit. An "Easy Japanese" book (it lies, no language is easy, and ones you can't easily read less so) is almost the top of the list. And I have just realised that I have two copies of The Mini Larousse book. Well, it's a nice book and it wasn't expensive (something like €5,90 if I remember correctly).
The big blue box on the right are my "free" business cards from Vistaprint.

As I said above, and maybe have already mentioned, having seen a number of Japanese dramas and films, something I would like to do on my (probably only) trip over is to not do the tourist special. I mean, it would be criminal to not go to Akihabara, to see Tokyo Tower, to maybe acknowledge that Sky Tree exists, to walk around Ueno, to see a real life gothloli... but beyond that, I'd like to see "real" Japan. To use my train pass to go out to somewhere like the town where Glasslip was set and walk around. Of course it'll be navigating in dangerous waters, I would be lucky to see much (if any) Romaji, and the chances of finding English speaking people will probably diminish logarythmically related to distance from a large city - and these small towns are... small towns. But real places.
I'll tell you what. Many years ago (a decade or so), mom and I went to visit Mont St. Michel. I hated it. It seemed to me to be a building of historical importance utterly ruined by tiny shop after tiny shop punting horribly overpriced religious tat. Damn it, I went there to see the building, not to buy a splinter from The True Cross. I bet even God himself would dispair over places like that. What greater blasphemy than to take something of significance and turn it into a sales opportunity. Well, that's my general perception of "tourist spots". I'm sure there are many lovely touristy places in Japan (they turn up on NHK World quite often, especially the "Cool Japan" and "Tokyo Eye" programmes). I'd like to see the other lovely places. I watched a film called... oh, what was it... "A Gentle Breeze In The Village" (or something like that) and it was set in Shimane (north of Hiroshima, along the coast; quite far to the left on a map). What was there? Rice fields and utter nothingness. It's the sort of place where the school is a single room with maybe half a dozen kids of varying ages. It is so rural it would make this place where I live now look sophisticated. The difference? The scenery was really pretty. Here's a Google image search link (large images) - take a look at what comes up.

You might have guessed, I don't really "do" cities. I can count the number of times I went into central London for my own reasons:

  • Late '80s, some posh theatre for a boring Shakespearian production (with school, it was supposed to be "cultural").
  • Something to do with a passport.
  • Live '94
  • Ideal Homes Exhibition
  • Acorn World (96? 97?)
  • Something in 2001 (went past the Millennium Dome, on the other side of the river).
With the exception of the first (school minibus parked miles away, we had to walk in a downpour, got soaked, I was sat next to a really cute girl from a girl's boarding school (who was also soaked) and we quietly mocked the entire performance, our respective chaperon/teachers were not amused) and the last (by car), I think I more or less went to London by train from Basingstoke/Fleet or Woking and took the Tube. Oh, I forgot one. School took me to the London Science Museum and The London Dungeon. The museum was great fun. I'm surprised they didn't lock us all up in the dungeon.
Paris? Never been. Not so interested in going either.
Madrid? I think I was a passenger as we went around the ring road on a north-to-south journey. My memory of Madrid is a big city surrounded by emptiness. I don't think we went in to Madrid. If we did, I don't remember.
At any rate, I find it disturbing that a million people can live on top of each other, and yet so many people don't know their neighbours. Some places are worse than others in this respect.
Small towns are different. Rural communities moreso. A place the size of an entire city might be home to maybe fifty or a hundred people, and I think a lot of them will know each other's families and lives. It seems to me that rural France is starting to lose this with the development of the "lotissement" housing, as people come out into the country bringing their city mentalities and driving like impatient city folk. It's a shame. A small close community is a nice thing. A large fragmented community is about as useful to the world as a mouldy pancake. Yes, I did just write that. You expect logical analogies at this time of the night? ☺

Well, I've taken long enough and written enough, so I'll finish by saying that when I go to Japan, I want to see the real country (the good and the bad), not the carefully rehearsed tourist traps.
Thank you for reading. Here's what you've been waiting for:

 

Day six

I think I put that on back to front, but not bad for doing it one-handed!

 

 

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