New Design

Hey, what do you think of the new design? I'll admit, the excellent theme is taken straight from the Typepad Theme Gallery (with a tiny bit of custom CSS), but I put a flickr badge in one of the columns (haven't found a flash one that sizes right for me yet). I really like the typefaces in this theme, though I think I'm leaning towards lightening up the blue link text- it seems a little tough to read.

Other things going on (once I get my Mac back up, I'll have some pictures to illustrate):

  • Apple may give me a new power adapter for free. You might be able to get the same deal if you have the sort of frayed or discolored cord described here.

  • Went to Ginza for the first time today, Tokyo's brand-name shopping district. Fifty-foot Gucchi and Burberry posters, a nifty Sony showroom with both amazing and ridiculous wares, and a music store where the transliterated album titles made browsing alphabetically a real pain.

  • Direct<em>rail
    As much as I love the trains here, they are deceptively expensive. When I'm not on my "Tei-Ki," a discounted commuter pass that gives you unlimited travel along the route from home to work/school, I find myself blowing through money unbelievably quick. It's not that any one train is expensive- most hops run from $1.50 to $2.50- but each system is owned by a different company, so you pay every time you transfer, and you're almost guaranteed to transfer at least once or twice on a given journey. However, the same little pre-paid transit card works on all the systems (as well as the vending machines in the stations, which is nifty), so you don't notice the Pasmo</em>re
    money go. It's 160 yen here, 160 yen there, and when you get home you realize you spent $15 for not much transport in terms of either time or square mileage. That said, even the subways are manned by courteous, informative white-gloved conductors, and they run on time, all the time, so the money's going somewhere.

  • Finally got my Japanese bank account, so I won't have to deal with the tendancy of American credit cards (even the big ones) to randomly decide not to work at particular stores.

  • Anki-logo
    Thanks to some genius who figured out how to harness the databases feature of Mobile Safari, we SRS geeks now have a very slick solution for using Anki on our ipods and iphones (before, we had to jailbreak them and run an embedded webserver pretending to be the Anki site). Sorry about the technobabble, but if you're studying Japanese, or any other subject that requires retention of a multitude of facts over a long period of time, Anki is a program/system well worth checking out, and as of right now, you can study on any computer platform, as well as the Anki website, for free, and have all your sessions synchronize. I'm in heaven; I study whenever I'm on the train, and Kanji are no longer an all-consuming chore destroying my social life.

Anyway, that's most of life here. On the agenda for the next few days: get the power adapter for my computer, hit the gym (the beer and rice is getting to me), and study enough to be able to go enjoy the weekend. Cheers!