Thursday, August 14, 2008

It's a Jungle in Here

Earlier this week the company that checks our school's safety equipment came in to do some more testing. The refrigerator-sized rack of equipment is two meters from my desk, so I'm able to peek over their shoulders while they work. During part of this testing they plugged in a portable CD player and broadcast that over the speakers that cover the school grounds. Presumably the constant audio from the CD let them test that announcements could be heard everywhere.

They could easily have used a CD with some elevator music or some sort of digital tone, but we were all pleasantly surprised to hear the chatter of birdsong fill our office for the afternoon. Occasionally this was interrupted by a woman announcing ongoing tests of the emergency public address system, but it was generally very peaceful. It actually made me want to pick up a set of those nature sounds CDs.

The next day I was doing some network maintenance in our ground floor main office and had to wheel some desk drawers out of the way. As I did so I exposed a tiny, light gray lizard no bigger than my pinkie finger for about half a second before it disappeared under a different desk. I succeeded in flushing it from cover a second time but really had no chance of catching it. I couldn't even locate it after that. We're not far from the garden beds and forests that surround the school, but there are no doors that communicate directly with the outside from the office where I spotted it. What's next, a raid on our snack stash by wild monkeys?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Moving The Office

My office is moving. A couple kilometers away. But all the staff in the building, along with all their computers, large-screen televisions, and whatnot, are all going. All at once.

I won't be sorry to leave the dilapidated, cramped structure where I've been working for Pioneer during the past year and a half, but I don't have high hopes for the next place being much more spacious. At least I won't have to worry about it falling down if a significant earthquake struck. I'm not sure I've ever been in a building in such a state of poor maintenance, let alone worked in one. I was shocked when I first started working there.

In preparation for the move, decades of old equipment, furniture, and everything else are piling up in the trash collection area. This morning when I arrived, the trash bay was so full of rubbish they had barricaded it off with the ubiquitous black and yellow striped safety poles so that people wouldn't add even more and obstruct the driveway. The bins for styrofoam, cardboard, and assorted circuit boards were full literally to overflowing. I only wish I lived closer to the office so I could cart more of the good stuff home. Unfortunate to see all those great pieces of electronics and office furniture going to the recycling center where they will probably not be reused.

Hopefully there will be more activity around the new building. We are currently a 15 minute walk from the nearest train station, and Kamata Station is nothing big to start with. On the other hand, it has been nice to get out into some of the less packed parts of Tokyo City. It's never crowded there (unlike near my apartment in Shinjuku) and people are friendlier. Once I got harro'ed at from a couple of high school kids as they rode past on their bikes.

Another time, when I was walking back to the office after a trip to the convenience store two blocks away, I passed two elementary school girls who were chatting on the side of the street. One was facing away from me as I walked by and I saw the one who was facing me tap the other on the shoulder. Their giggles reddened my ears as I walked out of range. Apparently they don't see too many balding, bearded & mustachioed white guys in those parts.

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