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Super Karate Monkey Death Car

Browsing Posts published in October, 2009

AWOL Keitai

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AAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH

My cell phone has disappeared.

Last night went out with B and A – pretty usual for a Friday. After that we hit up the arcade nearby for some Street Fighter IV, and were there for like an hour or so before they closed. I was using my cell phone most of the night on and off, e-mailing and stuff like that. There was only about a 20 minute window between the last e-mail I sent and when we were leaving, which is when I noticed my phone was gone. We looked around the SF machines and didn’t see it anywhere. I stayed in the same area the whole time we were there, so it should have been nearby. Either I dropped it and it got kicked under some distant machine, or someone stole it from on top of a cabinet or off the floor. Japan is usually a pretty honest and safe place, but I’m starting to think it did get lifted.

After we finally left the arcade, we tried calling it a few times and it went to voicemail, so either the battery got detached during a fall or the thief turned it off pretty quickly. More than being angry about this whole thing, it’s just weird that it went missing because I was using it almost constantly and it seemingly vanished from my pocket. Strange indeed.

The arcade opened at 9AM this morning so I got up early and headed down at opening time to ask if the staff had found it. No luck. I grabbed an Egg McMuffin while waiting for the au Shop (cell phone company) to open at 10, and asked what they could do for me. They’re unable to check from the shop if anyone’s used the phone to make calls, but they helped me suspend the phone line to prevent people from making calls. They also helped me activate some service called Safety Lock where they can remotely lock the keys and features of the phone. That should also lock the ic chip on my phone which has my train pass and other digital money/wallet services. I was pretty impressed by the au Shop’s lady who helped me get that all sorted out. At the very least if someone stole my phone they won’t be able to call or hopefully access my data, etc.

After the au Shop I went to the Police Box to report the phone as missing and to check if someone had brought it there. That was pretty painless. Usually I hate this kind of thing, but having the officer tell me he was impressed with my (Japanese) handwriting was kind of nice. After the koban I went back to the arcade, where of course they hadn’t found the phone, before going home to finally get some sleep. It’s now been a full day since I lost my phone and so far no luck – I even checked at the train station although the arcade is definitely the most likely place for it to be found provided it wasn’t stolen.

It’s strange not having my phone – obviously for stuff like e-mailing and making calls, but also for the other things I used it for like calendar, alarm clock, train pass, memo pad, mobile web browser, etc. Went out with some friends for dinner tonight and just coordinating and meeting up with everyone was a lot tougher than it should be. It’s a huge pain to be without a phone, and the possible loss of over a year’s worth of address book contacts, downloaded ringtones/sounds, and cell phone pics is going to be a big hassle. There’s of course the chance that it will turn up while I’m away this coming week in China, but at this point it’s looking like a long shot. I get back on Friday, and if my phone hasn’t been found by then I’m going to have to cough up the yens for a new phone next weekend.

It also pisses me off that the au catalog I got at the store today has the J-boy band Arashi on the cover. HATE Arashi.

Level 100 Passport

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My passport is maxed out. No more blank pages. Well, there are two or three pages in the back that are blank but I didn’t realize until today that these are special pages only for amendments or stuff to your passport. I’ve got no more blank pages for visas/stamps. Normally this would be an awesome thing – a fine accomplishment for a world traveler. But today it helped make my morning a huge pain in the ass.

I’m heading to Qingdao, China next week. I was planning on going to the Chinese embassy last Friday to get my visa, but I realized that you have to already have your roundtrip airplane ticket and hotel reservation made to apply. I didn’t have that, so I booked them over the weekend. This morning, I headed to the embassy to apply for the visa. They’re only open from 9AM-12 noon, and the place is about an hour away from me, so it’s already a little inconvenient. I planned on getting there at 11-ish, and to play it on the safe side I grabbed a taxi from the station since I didn’t remember how to get there and didn’t feel like wandering around lost in the cold wind and rain. As an added bonus I found the long-lost sixth Great Lake separating me from the taxi, which I discovered by using my foot as a measuring device. The depth was “knee.” The taxi was also far away enough that I needed to step into the water with my other foot too, which ensured I would be squishing my way around town the rest of the day.

Got to the Chinese embassy, waited a while, then presented my finished paperwork and passport, at which point it was explained that I’m an idiot who should have read the actual passport text: the last two pages are for special amendments only and NOT for normal visas or stamps. So my passport hasn’t had any fully blank visa pages since July, and I find this out with less than 7 days before I’m supposed to go to China. Chinese embassy can’t let me apply for a visa with no blank space, so I’m referred to the US embassy who can add the necessary pages. Went into the hallway to call the US embassy, with a nice receptionist who transferred me to the passport department. No one picked up at the passport section, even after I navigated through 3 levels of their phone menu system, with each stage having what seemed like a 10 minute message of instructions, menu options, and probably the entire United States Constitution. The long menu at least let me know that the passport section is only open from 9-12 and 2-4, which is 2 hours better than China.

Either way I figure I should get out of there and head over to the US embassy, in hopes of getting helped during that 2 hour afternoon window of service. I already know I’m going to have to come back to Tokyo at least two more times this week. At this point I was getting pretty pissed off, walking back out into the pouring rain down the street screaming obscenities and making other weird noises. Probably not the best of choices since I was walking past Chinese guards who were likely armed and looking for an excuse to shoot someone cursing in English and growling like a dinosaur.

Finally got through to the US embassy, was told that they usually require a web reservation and all reservations for today were full. I explained my situation and they told me I could come and wait, but there was no guarantee they could help me. Chinese visa takes 4 days to process or 2-3 days with the extra 3000 yen rush charge, so I figured I needed to try and get my passport fixed ASAP. Grabbed lunch and entered the US embassy at 2, waited in line for about 45 minutes before I got helped, which wasn’t really that bad. During my waiting I got to observe some military wife who reminded me how annoying people can be, as she seemed unable to shut up. In between her sentences she spat out a constant stream of “OK”s and “yeah”s, and even when she was walking out of the lobby to the passport photo booth she was talking to herself the entire way. There was also what appeared to be an American guy with his Japanese wife and their kid applying for a passport. The kid was maybe 14 and had the rattiest rat-tail I’ve ever seen, going all the way to his waist. I hope he gets refused entry into the US – we’ve got enough of that kind of people as it is.

At first they were going to mail my passport back to me in “5-10 days” but I told them my story and they said I could come get it tomorrow. Of course it only takes 1 day; all they’re doing is putting a few extra pages in the passport! But I was at least grateful they could do it for me. I’m going to go back tomorrow morning to pick up my passport, then head back to the Chinese embassy. It doesn’t help that there’s a typhoon on the forecast.

But yeah in short it’s pretty sweet that I filled up my passport. But if anyone else is getting close don’t make the mistake that I did in assuming the last 2 pages are just normal visa pages. You can apply to get extra pages for free if you’re getting close. At least I didn’t find this out trying to get back into the US for X-Mas or something.

Boss of the Race

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Mario Kart x Boss Coffee

I like Boss coffee. I like Mario Kart. Thus I also like the current promotional item on top of cans of Boss coffee, these little Mario Kart pull-back friction toy cars. They’re in a little container on the top of the coffee can in convenience stores.

マリオカート x ボスコーヒー

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