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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in leovitch's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, November 23rd, 2008
11:49 pm
Japanese Maple Leaf found on the sidewalk
So pretty. So autumnal. A reminder of the incredible beauty in the smallest pieces of nature.

From NaganoCity
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
9:29 pm
Tonight, tonight
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY

I'm sure it'll die down after awhile.

I'm going to a "Meaning of the Election" event tomorrow night here in Tokyo, we'll see
what the reaction here is.
Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
11:16 am
We can't let this happen just anywhere
In Singapore (I was there early this month), they don't like to leave human behavior to chance. So, when you're at the beach (down on Sentosa Island in this case), they give you some clear instructions:

From Singapore


On the up side, just to the right was an awesome beach bar, where we hung out on the wooden chairs all afternoon, ordered drinks whenever we felt like it, and watched the fire spinners perform all evening.

Current Mood: contemplative
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
12:42 am
So, I think I ran over a cat today
I left work about 10pm and headed home on my bike as usual. I was crossing a small, very narrow footbridge over furukawa, and the path merges onto a road about 5 meters after that so I was looking ahead. Suddenly, I felt something fluttery against the bottom of my feet (I was wearing very thin-soled running shoes) -- first on one side, then on the other -- and felt a small, small sensation through the bike. No sound at all, though.

I looked down and didn't see anything, but as I looked back up, there was a small, yearling cat of some generic dark color running ahead of me. It ran ahead of me up to the corner and we turned the corner together. I was still surprised and didn't really piece it together yet (and in fact sailed around the corner without looking -- good thing nobody else was coming). Once we rounded the corner, the cat ran ahead of me, going a good deal faster than I was biking.

At about this point I realized I had run over the cat, and it was what I had felt through the bottoms of my shoes. It must have come out of some side alley (there are a million tiny alleys and gaps in Japan that cats can disappear into), sensed me coming, and lit out running -- unfortunately right into me. However, whatever part of the cat I had run over, it didn't affect the cat much, witness it's fast flight from me now.

"Oh neko-chan" I said with instinctive concern... but Mr. Neko had by now disappeared into another of Tokyo's nooks, and I looked for it in vain as I passed by.

There must be something about animals here, maybe it's nothing more than the narrow streets. I ran over a pigeon last year in Japan, something else I'd never done in my life before coming here.

Current Mood: unsettled
Sunday, July 27th, 2008
5:44 pm
The Seoul Times
Got into Seoul Thursday night late, nursing a sore throat. We had dinner next door (good Korean BBQ of course) and drinks later served with seaweed wrapped around squid wrapped around peanuts (awesome snack food). Dinner Friday at a Japanese place, it was not so notable.

But Paul and I and his friend Shi went out late that night to Atay, a Moroccan Cafe in the Hongik University neighborhood. That was awesome, a total must-do for quiet-bar-out in Seoul. Sit on cushions around low tables, order wine (and appetizers if you want) from the nice wine list (mostly Chilean). It's downstairs and tricky to find even if you know it but worth the search (no URL afaik).

That wasn't so good for the throat so I could barely talk Saturday. We worked until about 10pm, so we just grabbed BBQ at a local place. Good but unremarkable other than that Jinny and Teddy made me try Bundigie (google it if you really want to know). I don't gross out easily so I ate several, but it's not something I'll particularly order myself (I also noted that Jinny and Teddy, the Koreans at the table, didn't take it upon themselves to finish the bowl either).

Today we saw the first half of Red Cliffs, John Woo's epic adaptation of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in the theater (I would have seen Wall-E, but it doesn't open here until Friday, that's high on my list when I get back to the states). It was epic all right, it's what Cecil B. DeMille would be making if he were alive and Chinese. It was in Mandarin with Korean subtitles so I don't feel qualified to comment too much on the story, but I know the basic outline of the plot from the book so it was understandable enough.
Monday, June 30th, 2008
2:39 pm
Shibuya Riot Police
8 arrested as 1,500 stage rallies in Tokyo against G-8 summit

I was in Shibuya yesterday, and I didn't see the protest at all but I sure saw the riot police -- at least dozens if not hundreds lined up along the sidewalks.
12:40 am
Day o' Photography
I went to see the Moriyama Daido show at the Tokyo Museum of Photography today.  It was interesting, in particular he loves images with lots of pure black, so he managed to make even Hawaii seem like a dark and foreboding place!  That was am impressive achievement.

Besides that, though, the museum also had the World Press Photographer's Association pictures of the year.  They were awesome, and sobering.  There were a fair number of pictures of Afghanistan, some haunting images from Colombia, and of course a lot of photos from Palestine.  Many other thought-provoking photos were there, including a surprising number of compelling sports photos. 

The two shows were almost polar opposites in term of accompanying information:  Moriyama says *nothing* about the context of his photos, even the titles are just "Shinjuku" or "Buenous Aires".  The press photos are a part of journalism, so communicating the story that goes with the photo is the core of their craft and even in a show of arresting images, they made sure the accompanying materials were copious.
Monday, June 23rd, 2008
6:07 pm
They get nasty towards the end
Ha, Marueen Dowd has quit pulling her punches.  In her article that is (mostly) about Carla Bruni, the new wife of Nicolas Sarkozy President of France, she talks about her Carla has charmed even the W. by saying (italics mine):

...then sitting next to the American president and keeping him entertained with a spirited conversation in English, one of her three languages and sort of his one language. At a press availability the next day, W. interrupted his own boring observation about ...

Hee hee hee.
Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
11:54 pm
Score one for the Swattie *
Just finished reading "The Paradox of Choice" by Barry Schwartz.  It tries to bring in a lot of the recent research on happiness and also on how people make decisions to show the pretty solid reasons why more choice has the potential to make a lot of people less happy.   In general I really liked it, although occasionally the descriptions of 'things we all feel' was so far from my own experience that it made me question some of his other observations.

I think in terms of his descriptions of our responses to choice and decision-making, I'm mostly a 'satisficer' rather than a 'maximizer' -- I've often noticed I'm very good at finding 'good enough' and pretty much never have buyer's regrets.    If you are troubled by past choices very often, give this book a read (despite the opportunity costs of taking the time to read it ;-).

* Schwartz is a professor at Swarthmore College
Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
10:59 am
Best headline of the half-year
"CNN Projects Obama clinches Nomination"

story currently at this link

There's a similar headline I'm looking forward to reading in November.
Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
12:11 am
Correct Korean Dining Form
This picture encapsulates everything I learned about how to eat in Korea. We are -
  • out late at night
  • in a tent in a parking lot
  • eating from a cheap stainless steel table
  • drinking Korean beer
Jinny is
  • holding a pepper
  • which she is dunking in chili sauce
  • with Kimchi standing by and case the chili sauce isn't hot enough

:)

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
12:11 pm
Tweets for Today

  • 19:34 heading to Nick's b-day bash in a couple horus #

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Monday, April 28th, 2008
12:06 pm
Tweets for Today
  • 12:30 still trying to get the twitter-jp-phone integration going... #
  • 12:31 tweeting from phone at last! #
  • 00:00 just started watching Heroes and i am totally addicted #
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Sunday, April 27th, 2008
12:08 pm
Tweets for Today

  • 17:28 heading to Shibuya to shop for a new jacket #

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Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
8:06 pm
Tuesday, April 1st, 2008
11:39 am
Movie-Be-Gone
Oh, the Bush administration wishes they had this kind of behind-the-scenes string-pulling ability. They would really have liked to make Fahrenheit 9/11 (not to mention An Inconvenient Truth) vanish in the same way:

Exhibs drop "Yasukuni" in Japan

No doubt, it's truly being canceled because it might cause trouble for other tenants. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the Diet (parliament) had a private screening of the movie last month. As I've said before, if you want to decrease your cynicism about U.S. politics, try living somewhere else for awhile.
Sunday, March 30th, 2008
10:58 pm
A Criminal History of Mankind
This book by Colin Wilson has the in-depth research and lurid topic that would seem to guarantee page-turning reading at the least. Now, maybe it's just because of my recent reading of Nassim Taleb's books, but instead when I read through Wilson's very thick book, I'm continually dumbfounded at a unsupported assertions made, as well as a the fact-making-by-anecdote (Reagan would have been proud) that abounds in it.

For instance, Wilson repeatedly asserts that, "this kind of crime (meaning meaningless acts of murder) only began when mankind started to live in large cities." Oh really? While in general urban crime rates are higher it's not clear that's true across all time, and he doesn't offer any statistics in support of that fact.

"Meaningless acts of murder are only a phenomenon of 20th century society" -- this one seems totally unsupportable. Widespread reporting of meaningless acts of murder is definitely a historically recent phenomenon - people in rural Scotland in the 12th century couldn't really hear about the latest grisly murders from Cornwall, but now they can. Furthermore, pre-20th-century mores also had a strong sliencing effect; there's little reason to think we would have had about the Michigan murders in an Elizabethan society.

Finally, "the criminal mind" is an incesssant topic of the book. While I'm open to the idea that certain thought patterns are more prevalent among law-breakers than law-abiders, lots of the criminal mind discussion is again based on anecdotal pattern-finding. As Taleb would surely point out, it's all the worse because Wilson is trying to infer patterns from an extremely small sample (serial killers who were in the end caught) making almost any claim to widespread patterns of criminal thinking dubious.

Of course, the book is an exercise in anecdotalism by design -- it's more interesting to read about that sort of crime than the infinitely more common shooting as the result of a drug gang turf war. But I'm having a tough time convincing myself it will be worth wading through this book!

(so I read "The Last Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu" while thinking about it...)
10:29 pm
Hillary turns further and further to the dark side
I'm growing ever more disgusted with Hillary Clinton's campaign. The capacity for innuendo, tricks, and underhandedness that I always worried was there is becoming more and more evident. It started with arguing that the sham elections in Michigan and Florida should be counted. Sorry Hillary, but as you agreed last year, rules have no meaning if you don't actually stick to the rules. But lately it keeps doing downhill every couple days:

We need to realize that propagating this kind of innuendo, attack politics is how we got to a situation where people feel disenchanted and disenfranchised -- which is turn is the greatest threat to democracy of all. If Hillary wants to debate issues, that's fine (although it's hard since she and Obama hardly differ on issues). But we've had enough of attack-machine politics no matter which party the initiator is a member of.
Thursday, March 27th, 2008
11:09 am
A telling statistic
As many problems as the U.S. has... here's a little slice of reality about the invisible Japan:

Silent Spring
Friday, March 21st, 2008
2:39 am
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