Friday, November 18, 2005


The police numbers are still high around the embassy even now that Bush has left the country again, but last Friday they the most numerous I've seen so far. There were probably a hundred police, mainly grouped far from the embassy, at the intersection where they stop the protestors. My coworker Peter exchanged some heated words with some pro-Bush demonstrators before the police stepped between them. Apparently my earlier remark about the majority of Japanese people being opposed to Bush's policies is wrong. A lot of Japanese like the fact that Prime Minister Koizumi's close relationship with Bush has put Japan into a stronger global position. Some also like his conservative politics. I even saw a "Welcome to Japan, President Bush" banner on Friday.

Today I noticed a non-Japanese looking man getting stopped near a train station and asked to produce his ID. The police let him go on his way, but if I was him I would be pretty ticked off by that. There was also a pair of security guards on the subway, which I've never seen before. Needless to say, that made me real eager to get off the train.

Today was also the end of my current project so I cleaned out my desk and erased my personal files from my workstation. The project is so large and sprawling, and I never felt like I had sufficiently debugged my contribution, that I was unable to feel any real satisfaction with the project. Then this afternoon I attended the newspaper systems tradeshow and got to see the whole project demoed before a crowd. That gave me a sense of achievement, which was quite nice. Then I went out to eat (sashimi and hotpot) with my boss and a business associate of his and a friend of the associate's, and didn't have to pay. That was even nicer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New Style Alarm Clock

I was awakened this morning by a small earthquake which struck around 6:55am. It wasn't large enough to do any damage, even up north where it was strongest. It did make our sixth floor apartment sway though. I wouldn't have any trouble getting up in the morning if I could only get reliably timed earthquakes.

Afterwards it ocurred to me that the fact that I can hear the Tozai ("東西", literally "East-West") Subway line go under the building if I lie on my futon on the floor isn't a bug, it's a feature! I take this line to work everyday and would be inconvenienced if the earthquake took it offline. Since I can hear it running though, I don't need to walk the five minutes to the train station to see if it's down. That being said, I'm glad it's not running right in back of the building or something more intrusive.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Police presence

As Bush makes his rounds in Asia, the number of cops guarding the US Embassy here has approximately doubled, with the addition of many locations where roads leading to it can be quickly closed off. Today when I went to get my lunch box I walked past the embassy as usual and noticed that the number of police was even larger than last week. There were several brawny looking guys in pinstripe suits as well, standing on curbs looking grim. While I stood and watched, a group of about ten cops marched down the block from the embassy, one holding a large blue flag with a "3" on it, another carrying a bullhorn. I stood around to see if something else would happen, but nothing did, so I returned inside to have my lunch. I'll check back this afternoon to see if anything's going on out there.

In other news, I have finally purchased a ticket to travel back to Mass/NJ/NY during Thanksgiving. I'll be in the US from 11/21 to 12/6. Hope to see you all!