The Kobe Hotel

Yesterday I went to tutor my student, but her mother's phone service had gotten cut, which meant the student's did too. The school kept texting but never got answers. When the student's family regained phone service, they all got new phone numbers but neglected to inform the school, until 5 minutes before the tutoring was to begin.

Having arrived early, and not knowing about the aborted tutoring session, I walked to BookStop, a used bookstore on hipster 4th. I picked up an old paperback of Catch 22, which I have neither read nor seen. Wandering the aisles, a spine for The Kobe Hotel caught my eye, because my first wife was from Kobe and I had thus visited the city many times. I had never heard of Saitou Shinki, who was a leader in charting a new course for haiku in the post-Taishou prewar years.

Though it seemed a bit pricey at $6.50 for a rather slim volume, the vignettes from his life in the hotel on Tor Road, which I have walked in places a number of times, are quite engaging and often touching. I look forward to the haiku that fill the latter third of the book.

A Student to Marry

I greatly enjoyed most of my Japanese students and colleagues, but I have retained contact with only a few of them. Most of my acquaintances are from my Tokushima University days, during which my Japanese ability began to improve and the size of the city, smaller than Sapporo and Tokyo, helped me get to know people better. My last unwed student recently sent photos of the man to whom she is now engaged, who proposed by writing "Please Marry Me Rie" in fruit syrup on a dessert plate at dinner.

Congratulations Rie!

Display non-Roman Script in Seasonality Go v4.0

One of my favorite applications for Apple products is Gaucho Soft's Seasonality, which I have been using for years. It is a great weather monitoring application, with the particularly nifty animation of particles indicating wind temperature, direction, and velocity.

The iOS version is Seasonality Go, which is well worth buying if you monitor multiple weather locations. If you want to see your locations' maps in the local languages' scripts—e.g., see Tokushima City in Japan as 徳島市—the app itself does not (currently) offer a language display setting. You must flip the following setting for Maps, which you find by going to:

Settings : Maps : Always in English and switching it off, as shown below. Turning it on (green) leaves you with the Roman alphabet.

Settings : Maps : Always in English

Now we can see the weather in the language where it's happening.

Not Tokushima weather but 徳島市のお天気

Final Semester

The first week of classes has ended, with both relief and repudiation. Since returning from my internship in Arizona, there has been much to do here in Indiana. I have also spent three days taking a Japanese friend to a doctor for a dangerous eye infection. My 2011 Honda Fit has all-electrical steering, no hydraulics, that has begun failing briefly and intermittently, so that is in the shop to be examined.

In addition to doing a final section of the assembly programming lab for ECE 362, I have three electives:

  1. ECE 321: Electromechanical Motion Devices about motors, generators, magnets, inductors, and such.
  2. ECE 463: Fundamentals of Computer Communications about networking, which looks to be quite interesting.
  3. ECE 421: Advanced Digital Logic Design, a VHDL course that requires much work with Xilinx' Vivado.

Tokyo Housing Stock and Demographic Decline

Today I read an interesting article on Tokyo's growing number of abandoned homes, though it's a problem everywhere in Japan. Every city I lived in or passed through during my life in Japan had vacant homes, or homes so overgrown with vines that they surely were.

Not uncommonly I would watch a TV program about an island of fisherfolk where the youngest person was in their 40s. I would read about schools closing, because there were no longer enough children to justify the expense of an elementary school, which forced parents to send their children to boarding schools or move to other more populous locations. Junior colleges and four-year colleges were closing because there were no longer enough students; the good colleges maintain their capacities at the expense of the lesser colleges, with the result that the better colleges' students' quality begins to drop.

One thing I wonder is whether this problem might encourage Japan to loosen its property ownership laws. As I understood it, only foreigners married to Japanese nationals or foreigners with residency right (e.g., a work visa as I had) can buy Japanese property. I briefly considered doing so in both Tokushima and Tokyo, but I never did.

We're it possible, I would love to own a bit of land in Tokushima Prefecture. Indeed, I would be most interested in areas that are already probably rather inexpensive.