Nov 042005

Thanks to the web programming skills of Scott Kimler, I’ve at last got my photos zooming exactly how I always wanted. Previously, if you hovered your mouse over an image it would push aside all of the other page elements as it expanded. Now the images zoom over the rest of the web page, leaving everything else unaffected. Provided there aren’t any problems with this new method (please let me know if you have any problems!) I’ll be preparing my posts this way from now on.

Update 2016: This method has been replaced by a more mobile-friendly lightbox; you must now click the images, rather than hover.

The verdict is in. The official best thing since sliced bread is Apple’s new Video iPod. I just got mine yesterday and let me say that it’s the coolest thing ever. 60 gigs, thinner than my original 20 gig and with a gorgeous color screen capable of playing movies in such detail that I can read Japanese characters as subtitles. These past four months without any form of portable audio in the gym have been quite a challenge. It’s time to spoil myself 🙂

This I could scarcely believe, but after October’s bump in visitors I went ahead and upped my web hosting plan. Still not enough. I’m in the process of looking for an entirely new hosting company that offers a better ratio of bandwidth to storage (I’m leaning towards Godaddy, who offers 100gigs of bandwidth versus my current 40). There may be a bit of downtime one of these days as I make the transition (although I really have no idea when that’s going to be). Just a quick heads-up.

So, on to news from Kyoto. The Koyo, or “autumn leaves” have started to pop up every here and there. I’m stoked. Even though Kyoto’s cherry blossoms have achieved world wide fame, I’ve heard from a number of last semester’s students that Koyo can at times be even more amazing. Instead of overwhelming scenes of pink flowers filling every inch of scenery, you have cherry-red maple leaves. And better yet, while the cherry blossoms last a mere week, Koyo lasts somewhere around a month. It’ll be great once they come out in full-force. My guess is another week or so.

Today we took this semester’s first field trip with our Kenkyuu class. Kenkyuu literally translates to “research” – it’s a class that Ritsumeikan makes every abroad student take (unless you reach the native language level) involving a self-chosen research project and presentation at the end of the semester. Last semester I did mine on mythological creatures in present day society. This semester I’m doing it on health and fitness (big surprise!). But because the class’s big assignment doesn’t come until the end of the semester, every once in awhile we fill up a day with a nice little class outing. Today’s activity was paper-making! Ahh, to be an elementary school student again.

But really, it was pretty fun. The process went a little something like this:

1) Reach your hand into a huge trough of water and shredded tree fibers that feels something like milk might feel after being left in the sun to bake for a month or so. Mix the fibers thoroughly.
2) Using a fine wire mesh, scoop out some of the mystery fluid and swish-swash it as if you were panning for gold. Soft swishing results in a more solid construction paper-style result, while faster swishing results in something like toilet paper.
3) Once the excess liquid has drained from the mesh, vacuum the extra water out through the mesh with a special ruler-shaped vacuum nozzle. This pulls the fibers against the mesh and makes it 99% paper.

4) Add colors that would make Jimi Hendrix proud.
5) Vacuum again, this time harder.
6) Blow onto the back corner of the mesh until the paper detaches a bit, then pull it off with your fingers and slap it onto a vertically oriented hot-plate. Do not mistake the hotplate for a metal wall and lean against it with your elbow. Wait five minutes for the product to dry.
7) Enjoy your paper!

Now wasn’t that much easier than just taking a trip down to the corner stationary store?

  10 Responses to “Paper Making”

  1. I’m browsing your site from work using IE v6.0.2800.1106.xpsp2.030422-1633. The pictures are not even showing up. Weird.

    Yeeha. I’m getting paid for reading your blog. That’s what I’d call sweet.

  2. You can’t beat

    Special FREE HOSTING for a year for a terabyte package.

    Dang, I already bought a gigabyte package from them a while back. Everytime I go to their site they offer a much better value package, and it’s starting to piss me off.

  3. I owned up so hard on the paper making last year they offered me a job.

    Your koyo mission: go to Tofukuji. It is the nicest place to view them that I saw. Just make sure to go by yourself. For added enjoyment, skip class on a nice day and bike down there. You’ll thank me later.

    P.S. Tell Kitade-sensei I said “Matcha.”

  4. Hey Laura – Wow, that sounds like a ridiculous deal! How long have you been using them? How has your experience been (customer support, downtime, speed, reliability, etc?) Their packages almost look too good to be true, I’d want to make sure that they’re reputable and reliable before committing myself to them – moving all of my crap to a new hosting company ain’t easy 🙂

  5. Justin, I grabbed the Gigabyte package before I was ready to publish, so I haven’t any real experience regarding speed, reliability, etc. But I have been corresponding a lot with their support staff by e-mail, and their response is good and fast. I went with them because of the good reviews I kept reading about them.


    Hey, it’s free hosting, man. The only charge I can think of would be the transfer fee of your domain name. Whatever you choose, good luck with your future hosting.


  6. S$, a few other people contacted me regarding that problem too…I beleive I got it fixed, but if not please let me know 🙂

  7. I like the new images a lot more. I might have to steal it for my site 🙂

    Do they validate?


  8. No idea. This is the most shoddily built website you will ever come across. I personally tinkered a lot with his photo zoom code to make it fit my purposes, so I’d recommend going straight to Scott’s site and checking out his original code 🙂

  9. Hey Justin. Kouyou is the awesome. A few spots not to miss Arashiyama (duh, I know you knew that) and the little known but awesome Daigoji, in Daigo (end of the subway line past Yamashina). It’s just starting over here too.

    How is the S2IS working out? Dude.. ok I am emailing you right now actually hahaha.

  10. Hey Justin,

    I highly recomend looking into I’m on their “gigax5” deal or something like that. 5gigs of storage, 75 gigs of bw, all the software loaded one could need, and fast as hell pipes (friend downloaded 25 megs in a 3 or 4 seconds off of his edu connection) and have had zero downtime problems. If not them, I hear dreamhost is pretty good as well.

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