One World Market

Although the number of Japanese in Indianapolis is perhaps small, there is a good Japanese market and eatery in Castleton called One World Market. I had visited it to buy certain Japanese items, like the yuzu ponzu, the best brand of which they carry: 馬路村柚子ポン酢. However, it was only this week that I finally ate there.

The menu is a solid list of normal Japanese fare, the types of things common Japanese eat. It's not high-falutin' stuff: It's the real deal. A few days ago I had the katsudon, a breaded pork cutlet topped with egg and onion and a mildly sweetened sauce, with some pickled stuff (they provide a palate-cleansing zip), on a bed of rice, with a bowl of miso soup for $9. The only thing missing is help-yourself tea and water. It was pretty good, very worth the price, and had me feeling nostalgic for the buying katsudon in the basement of Takashimaya in Tachikawa.

The other day I returned to order kakesoba, which wasn't bad for $6. However, that's pretty easily made at home, if you have the ingredients. Buy something like the tempura set, which is a real nuisance to make yourself.

A Japanese friend notes that the takeout sushi gets discounted by half about 30 minutes before closing, a common Japanese practice and one worth taking advantage of. You'll see some Japanese customers coming in about that time for that very reason.

Brazil Nuts

The other day I did some shopping in the nearby Walmart and happened on bags of nuts. I was rather excited to see Brazil nuts, from Peru and Bolivia, especially since I was never able to track any down in Japan; not even Brazilians and Brazilian-Japanese could get hold of them.

But here they are, in photo taken with my iPod then simply tweaked in Vintique:

Yen Devaluation in the Offing?

When I left Japan at the end of 2010, I was concerned about its long-term situation. The national debt was high then (and it's higher now) and the population had begun declining (more deaths than births). Though I think very highly of Japan and the Japanese, their future looked bleak. Few Japanese seemed concerned about the future, although many students dismissed it with amused resignation. Most industrialized countries have looming sovereign debt problems that are being shunned by politicians, which will only make the problems worse over time, but Japan is determinedly moving toward the edge of the financial cliff.

In 2010 and beyond, I have wondered how the yen could continue to appreciate against the dollar, especially when Japan's indebtedness was roughly 200% of GDP. According to this Telegraph article, it's now almost 250% and the strong yen is choking Japan's export-driven economy. The Telegraph's expectation: intentional yen depreciation through careful inflation. For the large and growing number of elderly Japanese, inflation will be particularly challenging.

I hope that, if targeted inflation is indeed the chosen path, it will be successfully managed; however, I am not optimistic.

Today in EECT112

Today was our second exam, which was split into two parts: test and lab. It was heavy on Boolean logic, with reduction, Karnaugh maps, and symbolic designs. Plenty of questions about the rules of Boolean logic and using NOR and NAND to make other gates.

We also received paperwork about our projects, which constitute 13% of our grade. I need to think about what I want and can do with my circuitry knowledge. I like the ASCII to 7-bit display, but a timer would be neat, too.

Programming an FPGA

Last Tuesday in my "Digital Fundamentals" lab, we wrote up a Boolean logic equation involving an AOI. In Quartus, we drew the equation as a schematic and wrote the VHDL. After compiling, creating the waveform, and running the simulation, we attached an FPGA through a USB cable to program it.

The design was to send a high signal for odd numbers to 9. We thus wired switches to be thrown as binary values. If odd, up to 9, an LED came on. Not terribly complex, but from small things come greater things.

Seasonality 2.3 Released

Some while back I bought a copy of Seasonality for Mac OS. It is a very nice weather program with information overload: scads of charts and display options, slick graphics, and--now--animated wind streams that are colored to reflect temperature ranges.

In particular, I want to thank the author for adding Tokushima, Japan, to the program's list of cities.

DriverQuest

In the Macintosh world, things tend to work. Updates don't cause failures normally, although one current instructor lost the use of his video camera, or significant functionality, after upgrading to OS 10.8. That's been quite unusual in my experience. Apple has done a decent job of telling me what will no longer be supported if I upgrade or update, thus letting me make a choice.

It now seems I made a mistake by allowing Windows to install an update that broke USB flash memory support. Trying to find out what has happened inside Windows is challenging.

Windows' own updates sometimes don't install, or they break something. A faulty Intel USB file can be deleted, but it's seemingly impossible to replace it.

Two lessons have been learned:

  1. Do not ever use Windows, if you have other options. Macintosh and Ubuntu are robust.
  2. Do not install Microsoft updates, as they'll probably break something.

I'm deleting my Boot Camp partition and reinstalling everything again. Thanks, Microsoft, for causing me to waste hours of my time over your flaws.

Windows 7 Update Failures

I have been trying to apply some Windows 7 Home Premium updates from within Windows on my Boot Camp partition.

One kept failing, so I finally sought help online. A forum post said I should download the update directly, which I tried to do, but that required Genuine Windows Validation. I downloaded the proffered application, which when opened, said I needed a newer version; however, no newer version could be found. Gah.

Then I discovered that what was needed was not Chrome but Microsoft's own browser, IE: no other will work for validation, a "feature"-type "bug," perhaps. So I opened the update link in IE and downloaded it. Installation successful!

The other update, however, wouldn't work through Windows' own updates, so I downloaded it directly, thinking that's I had found the key to Windows' updates.

Once downloaded and run, however, I got a message that said the update isn't applicable to my machine. It would be nice if Microsoft's own updated tool knew this.

What a buggy OS.