Mar 102005

To make up for the delays caused by last weekend’s (mis)adventures in Osaka, I’ve amped up my daily kanji goals to 125. It’s been consuming every waking moment of my life. I’ve cancelled all of my other plans this week and weekend. If I can just manage to stay on track for a few more days, I’ll have finished RIGHT by my target date – 2,050 kanji in one month exactly.

And the timing couldn’t be better. Springtime is here.

When I first arrived in Japan on December 27th, I could scarcely go outside without getting frostbite. I got on the plane in LA wearing board shorts, flip-flops and a tank top – and boy, was that a mistake. The giant thermometer at Shijo and Kamogawa rarely read above 2 or 3 degrees Celsius. The out-door hangouts were dead, roads were slippery, and bikes were rusting.

But today I saw that thermometer all the way up at 19 degrees. I saw groups of teenagers gathered around the riverbanks drinking beer and playing the guitar, little old ladies walking their dogs in kimonos, and a young girl dressed up as a bowling pin. Yes, the city has officially come back to life.

And as I said, what perfect timing. While spending the last month Starbuck’s-hopping may not have been the optimal way to spend my time in Japan, I’m glad that I got all of the Kanji out of the way right from the start. Now I have a trip to Tokyo with my roomates to look forward to, followed by the move to my new apartment, followed by the commencement of classes at Ritsumeikan. And of course, Sakura.

And to top it all off, I have my camcorder back from the states, so I should be able to document all of the fun.

Yes, indeed. Things are looking on the up-and-up.

Plus, the geophysicist I mentioned in a previous post has expressed interest in my continuing to work on his software. In a recent e-mail to his clients (including NASA):

“I would also like to inform you that I am currently outsourcing some programming work for the first time, to a young gifted programmer who is a graduate of UC San Diego in software engineering and is currently studying Japanese in Kyoto for the next year. I asked him to help create a 3D module which users will eventually be able to use to do real time slicing of the 3D volume binary file. Eventually this code will be a real-time dynamic slicing software which users will be able to export with their animation menu to give to their clients. I hope to have a prototype of the 3D module available before the end of year.”

This is wonderful news from an income’s standpoint, however he’s said that he’d like the next version of the software ready before my friends arrive on March 20th…so I’m not quite over the hump yet. I guess it’s actually going to be more than just a couple more days to push through before relaxation time starts. But hey, gotta keep life interesting 🙂

Anyways, as I’m sure you noticed I finally got around to putting up those ume (plum blossom) pictures. The first three I took about two weeks ago at a plum blossom viewing festival at Kitano Tenmangu, one of Kyoto’s more well-known shrines. The next two I took in Gion, perhaps the most famous area in the city, known for it’s old-style buildings and Maiko going from teahouse to teahouse on Friday and Saturday nights.

Just one more thing I’d like to mention. I’ve revised my last post with some updated information on Dan’s new movie. Dan has been amazingly supportive of me and my decision to come to Japan, and he has asked that I provide him some feedback. In turn, I pass the information on to you. My steadily increasing hit-count has made me more than happy, to know that all the time I put into these posts is being enjoyed by someone out there. So again, if you could take a moment and re-check the post below and let him know what you think, it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Until next time, BACK TO THE KANJI!

  4 Responses to “Springtime in Kyoto”

  1. As always, impressive goals… & achievements. Makes a mom very proud. I really like these photos, especially of the stone statues. Are they Buddhas? Thanks for putting the movie on the site.

  2. 2 degrees celsius is like 36 F right? can’t get frostbite in weather like that unless you’re basically naked and outside for SEVERAL hours. Take this from someone who has now lived in subzero FAHRENHEIT temperatures.

    nice goal on the kanji…good luck!!!!

  3. sweeeeeeeet…check out those sakura blossoms

  4. Jeff: You can when the temperature gets UP to 2 degrees celsius. Especially when you’re riding your bike around and the wind is pounding on your fingertips on the handlebars!

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