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English

Messing with a public TV

One Friday night, I was waiting at a gate in Narita Airport where a plane was due to fly to Taipei in half an hour. In the waiting area, there was a public TV on display. It was secured to a wall, and its remote control was secured on a table in front of the TV, with only the channel buttons visible. Subtitles were turned on, yet no audio was audible from the TV, presumably set in such a way that no one will be disturbed by the loud audio.

At that time, a presumably live football match was broadcasting at NHK BS1. Feeling curious about what documentary programs were on air at NHK BS Premium, I attempted to change channel by pressing the [BS] + [2] key of the remote channel without any second thoughts.

Suddenly, I heard someone hissed at me. I quickly turned my back to find two men sitting and laid back on the passenger’s bench visibly frustrated at me, and started to cuss words at me.

The following conversation might have occurred between the two.

“What the…”

“C’mon!”

“The match!!!”

Hastily, I apologized, switched the channel back to BS1 and proceeded to a seat near the check in counter. From a distance, I still can hear them grumbling about the interruption they faced while enjoying their football match. (I wonder, how would they enjoy that match with Japanese subtitles constantly covering half the screen and without audio?)

Come to think of it, the TV that they were enjoying was a public property, and was meant to be used by the public. As a kid, if someone changed the channel of the airport TV when I was enjoying my cartoon show, I’d be pissed. But as an adult?

We’ve other things to do and care about.

Categories
English

Devastating Faxai

The Typhoon Faxai (or widely known as Typhoon No. 15 in Japan) hit Greater Tokyo area in the dawn of Monday, September 9. Living in the inner part of Greater Tokyo, I felt the power unleashed upon the area. I woke up to the strong howling wind and heavy rain at sometime after 4.30 a.m.. Unable to continue sleeping, I turned on the TV to know the latest update (the public broadcaster NHK has news show in its domestic channel from 4.30am onward in weekdays).

Looking through the glass door, I can see the rain fell heavily and winds blew strongly at high speed. It began hitting the Greater Tokyo area at around 5 a.m.. Around the same time, I received multiple alerts from the local government — evacuation advisory alerts, advising people to be prepared for evacuation in the event the disaster worsened, and urged elderly people to immediately evacuate to a safer place.

In the early morning, transportation modes were severely paralyzed, and train services were temporarily halted until midday. Usually go to work by bus, I resorted to walk to my office when even bus and taxis were unavailable.

Many people sorted to take half-day leave (which eventually stretched to whole-day) from the office, opted to stay at home for various reasons. Employees who lived at the vicinity of the typhoon-hit area were forced to stay at home, possibly due to the paralyzed transportation condition, or fixing damages caused by the typhoon.

There were severe blackouts, lack of water and mobile coverage outages near my area. The condition worsened when the temperature quickly rose to 30 C and above (and it was humid too!). I was extremely sad by the condition. A donation page was created on Yahoo! Donation, but I hope more will come soon.

Categories
English

The case of waxy gift

I had a dream.

I met a person who was precious to me after a long period of time not meeting each other, let alone talking to each other. I vaguely remembered that we had a conversation near a window in a room. It was bright outside, but I don’t recognize what was beyond the window. It was pure brightness with nothing in sight.

As we sat near the window chatting away, a folded white handkerchief was nicely placed on top of the table. This person stood up, seeming to leave the room, placed a part of the used pair of wireless headphone on the handkerchief. That wireless headphone resembled an Apple AirPods.

Intriguingly, that wireless headphone had a tiny layer of earwax, apparently used by this person. This person gracefully walked towards the door, opening it, and leave the room, for good, leaving me and that used pair of wireless headphone behind. Since only one part of the wireless headphone was left behind, I theorized that either the other part went missing, or it was an attempt to maintain communication, albeit only one way (i.e. receiving communication from this person without the ability to respond).

I don’t remember the specifics of the conversation we exchanged, let alone what happened. I cannot recall the instance where I had touched anything related to this person, so the fact that this person randomly appeared in my dream is outlandish at best.

This person still exists today well somewhere, probably preferred undisturbed.

Categories
English

The end of summer

Summer is quietly wrapping up in Japan as the weather began plotting course for the autumn season. Yet, the remaining heat that hinted summer still remain. Signs of typhoon and extreme heat still present, albeit not that as glaring a few months ago.

I left some signs of summer this year — the sunburn on my hands due to the long exposure under the sun, unfulfilled plans that were forcefully delayed, and places revisited with different impressions.

This marked my second summer in Japan. Although the condition is the same with Malaysia (albeit at some cases, harsher than that of Malaysia), I sometimes struggled to cope with the heat. With heat stroke warnings issued and continued hospitalization of unfortunate people on the rise, I realized I cannot take things lightly.

Speaking of taking things not lightly, I casually registered for the international communication oriented English exams (TOEIC) and had received my results. Suffice to say, the results were within expectations… but how would a typical Japanese think?

Some days ago, I received an internal email extending an invitation to take the Listening and Reading portion of the TOEIC. This exam mainly assesses one’s ability in listening and comprehending the English language in international communication context. A friend of mine questioned its usefulness in really evaluating one’s English skill. I concurred, but I can’t help but to think, what about the JLPT?

A coworker once told me that he feared looking at English words — it was as if he was looking at a bunch of garbled characters, and that they were hard to understand. I can understand his feelings and thoughts; quite precise when I first learned Japanese. Although there are kanji, the Chinese characters, they are quite different from the hanzi that I knew.

Japanese is still a fascinating language to learn (continuously). I picked up a book targeting primary school learners of native Japanese to continue learning. Needless to say, I am still amazed with the amount of things I didn’t know. I learned to appreciate my colleagues who are (probably) struggling to understand what I tried to say, and possibly (silently) absorbed the less polite form way of speaking that I used everyday.

I’m drafting a TODO list for travel, domestically and internationally. I found that taking the bus to travel overnight saves cost if you are not in a rush. I also found that one can go to Yamagata from Narita now at a relatively low cost via LCCs. So much to do yet so little time.