Super Karate Monkey Death Car

Browsing Posts published in February, 2009

Biznass cards


Had to get some business cards made for the new job; checked out the printing corner in Loft in Sogo, but they were mega expensive and it would take apparently 2 weeks or more. Instead, I went and looked online and found this site called Meishi Shop* (Japanese site) that can not only do it for cheaper, but easier and faster. They let you upload an Illustrator file with your own business card design, you choose the paper and quantity, and they ship it to you. Also, if you get your order in before 5PM, they guarantee next day shipment. Sounds good, right?

But wait! There’s more!

So Wednesday I put my order in at 6:14PM, and got the standard confirmation/”thank you for your order” e-mail. Then again at 6:49 they e-mail me saying my data file has been verified and they had started printing. At this point I was pretty happy, because service like that is not what I’ve come to expect, even living in Japan. It got better later at night when I checked my e-mail and had a message sent at 9:43PM saying my order has been shipped. Seriously. Less than 4 hours and my order was finished and shipped out. screenshot

My order arrived just a bit ago at about 11:45AM Thursday. 18 hours total from sending them my Illustrator file to having the Sagawa courier bring my finished cards to my door. Everything looks good; can’t say there was any room for disappointment with this shop. There’s like a 500 yen discount for new customers, so my order of 100 full-color double-sided business cards shipped only cost me 1180 yen. Awesome. If you’re (in Japan and) looking for some cheap business cards, this site is ridiculously good. And yes I realize this all sounds like some terrible endorsement, but I’m not being paid to say this. If I were, it would be a lot better and I’d use more words like mega, super, and kazowee.

*meishi (名刺) = business card

TheLeong @ Facebook

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Trying out having Facebook import my blog feed automatically. We’ll see if I leave it this way.

By the way, if there are comments left on Facebook I’ll probably copy them over to HaloScan for storage/OCD purposes. Can’t imagine anyone will have a problem with that (I’ll just put your first name or something), but let me know if you do.


This guy has spend at least $1,100 playing Street Fighter IV

Recently I’ve been re-getting into Street Fighter IV at arcades here, even though it came out last summer in Japan, and even though I suck. Coincidentally, the home version on X-Box 360 and PS3 just came out last week, but I own neither so that didn’t really have anything to do with it. Actually it’s probably because I started playing Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom in arcades and on Wii.

Anyway, you guys know Street Fighter: Rye-ooh and the Ha-doo-ken, etc. So I’m not going to write about the game so much as the players you see here. As expected, Japanese arcade players are insane. They know the games they like and they play them a lot. I don’t mean like every day they’ll throw in a few coins to play a few rounds. These guys spend their entire evenings (maybe days too) at the arcade, huddled around their weapons of choice, endlessly pouring coins into the games and being a major cause of Japan’s population decline. Normal arcade games here cost 100 yen, but the more expensive ones can go up to even 500 yen for the battlepod-esque Gundam game. Occasionally they’ll be there with a friend or two, but a lot of the ones I’ve seen are just there by themselves. OK, so they can socialize with the other people playing the same game, right? NOPE. With the exception of people who already know each other, I have never seen someone talk to another player. Not even something like “hey, nice game,” “wow, close one there,” or “TATSUMAKISENPUUKYAKU!!!!” Only silence. It’s kind of weird. At least that’s what I’ve seen.

Going back to how much these guys spend. Usually it would be impossible to know or even guess how much someone’s spent on playing a game. Luckily, SF4 has, like a lot of Japanese arcade games these days, a special card to keep track of your player information. When you’re playing at the arcade with your card, you accumulate points which can be used to get extra costumes, special content on the mobile site, babies, etc. Since this card also makes you commit to a character, a lot of people didn’t use the cards initially while they got a feel for which character they liked the best, etc. But when you do use your card, it’s all recorded. Your opponent during link matches can see your stats, like your ranking and win percentage*. This is where it gets scary. The other day when Brian and I were at one of the local arcades getting absolutely destroyed in SF4, we noticed the stats of some guy who was playing as C. Viper, jumping all over the place and embarrassing us horribly. Of course he had a fairly decent winning percentage, maybe 60 or 70%, but the shocker was the number of games he’d played on his card. The number was over 1,100. He has played a lot.

Let’s do some veeerrrrryyyy rough math. This might be wrong because it’s 2AM and I’m not wanting to think too much into this. Feel free to do some real thinking and correct me. So in SF4, each time you start playing, you pay 100 yen. If you win a link match, you get to play the next one for free, and so on until you lose. For today’s estimate, let’s say that the Player in question has spent 100 yen for every loss he’s had. If he had 1,100 games with around a 65% winning percentage, he lost 385 times. So right there he spent 38,500 yen. Of course we don’t know how many consecutive times he won on average, but let’s be generous and say he averaged 3 wins every time he played. So from the 715 matches he’s won, he only had to pay for a third of them, about 238 or 28,800 yen. That’s a total estimate of 62,300 yen (about $645 USD) he’s spent on this card alone. That is crazy. He could have just bought a new PS3 and the home version for that much. Again, this is just on the one card. It doesn’t include matches he plays on no card or with a different card. He could very well have it at home too. By the way, yes, that is him up in the picture.

The sad thing is that this is mainly just about arcades I go to here in Chiba, which I’m sure aren’t nearly as intense as the ones in super nerd districts in nearby Tokyo. And thus concludes our fuzzy math lesson about nerds.

*I am currently ranked “Rookie” with a “0%” winning ratio.

Am I the only one who’s annoyed by people who prematurely think they’re your best friend? Surely I can’t be. You know what I’m talking about: the kind of person you meet maybe once or twice, usually a friend of a friend’s cousin’s girlfriend’s friend or some equally distant connection, who for some reason or another instantly believes you’re their new closest pal? This isn’t really a recent thing: there have always been people like this and it’s always bothered me. Sure, there’s a certain level of “friendliness” and “politeness” that society expects you to exhibit when meeting new people, but taking that too far can be annoying.

I have nothing against making new friends; I’d like to think that I do that quite often*. But if there’s someone you haven’t gotten to know well yet, they shouldn’t act like you’ve known each other for years: that’s going too far, and a severe case of PPFS. Suddenly asking “where’s the party at?” when you’ve never actually done anything with the person without your mutual friend(s) present; calling you (when did you give them your number?) out of the blue and pulling the eternally loathsome “It’s me”; running into you at the store and insisting that you finish your shopping together when all you needed to get was TP – all of these are classic signs of PPFS. And yes I’ve been unfortunate enough to experience them all.

Does this make me sound anti-social? I’m really not. But come on. I’ve known our mutual-friend-separated-by-10-degrees for years, so yes, we hang out. But I only met you at the barbecue last summer and talked to your briefly about how hot the weather was. OK, I suppose we also gave each other the half-head-nod of acknowledgment at another mutual yet distant friend’s Christmas party. But that doesn’t mean we’re good enough friends** for you to call me up this weekend to help you move. Don’t you have any closer acquaintances?

Click for full size

*maybe even 1 new friend a year!
**we’re not friends

Change: Yes, I did.


Now that I look at the title I gave this entry, I’m a little embarrassed with myself. Ha.

The last two weeks or so have been pretty good. I finished up my old job at the head office on the 2nd, an overall short day because I was only in the office from about 10AM to 3:30PM, with about 30 minutes in there for lunch. It was also a mega busy day, with reports and text material for a mini-course I was writing to be finished. I was pretty much either cleaning stuff up on my computer or in my desk or typing away at my keyboard the entire day. Headed out of the office to go teach way up in northern Chiba, and got back around 9PM. Had a small party at Umaimonya as a kind of “graduation” party. It was strange to think that I’m done with that company, having worked there for so long. OK I guess it wasn’t really that long, but even my time at the head office seemed a lot longer than it actually was. Not in a bad way really – I just felt comfortable working here after less than a year.

Now for the change. I’ve started working for this new company, and from home! It’s a totally different industry, and I’m working on developing the business side since the company is really young and new. There’s a potential for more travel this year, and I’ll be staying here in Japan for the time being. First things to be done are the basics like a company logo, website, reading through a bunch of technical and scientific documents, and in general just trying to get myself settled into a new line of work. Working at home and with flexitime is of course awesome, but also as expected pretty difficult to stay focused. Since a lot of my work is done sitting in my apartment at the computer, the exact same environment that I’m usually in when relaxing at home, it’s tough to switch to work mode. Like right now. I’m slowly getting acclimated to it, and it’s nice to be working in a job where I have more freedom and impact. This is definitely making me want to move to a bigger apartment where I can have a nice desk setup though.

Other than working, I guess there’s nothing super interesting going on. Went out the other night with Brian and Andy, which was nothing out of the ordinary, until we were talking outside of AMPM and this weird drunk hobo (I think) in a yellow coat started talking to us. The guy couldn’t speak English at all, and we all pretty much acted like we didn’t understand Japanese, just saying stupid stuff to him to amuse ourselves. I guess that’s happened quite a few times in the past too, right? Well somehow we ended up talking to this guy for like 3 hours, hanging outside near AMPM and the 24-hour McDonald’s. I guess it was kind of a fun way to spend the night, but after a while we were all getting tired of this weird hobo yet couldn’t shake him. I remember when the other guys both escaped into McD’s, leaving me stranded with the hobo. As soon as I realized that I was stuck, I went and found the guys. We thought we were safe. The we looked behind us at the window and realized he was right behind us. Then he came in and continued his “conversation.” I think hobos love talking to foreigners late at night.

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