Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bike bug

I've been bitten by the bike bug again. My bike was sent to me by my wonderful parents late last year, and that satisfied by bike desires for a while, but now I want a fast bike again. My friend Lyle, who is also into cameras photography, was talking about buying a bike last week, and we ended up talking about bikes. It's amazing how much some bikes cost here, like the Specialized Allez, a aluminum frame with carbon chain stays and fork. It's $1800 in the US, but it sells for ¥280000 here. Their Japanese distributor must be taking a huge cut. Plus, they don't sell frames larger than 52 cm in Japan, so they are ruled out even though the bike looks good. A few bikes that I'm interested. The Giant OCR Composite 2, is a full carbon frame with Ultegra components which I've seen for ¥220000. Not really sure how they can sell a full composite frame for that cheap though. The Felt F55 however is $1800 in the US, and ¥190000 here. Basically the same price when you adjust for the exchange rate. This bike is basically the same type frame as the specialized, Trek, and a lot of the other bikes, but it's got full Dura Ace components, nice wheels, and carbon cranks.

There are just so many to choose from. I'll probably be limited somewhat by availability of frames in my size, and I've heard that ordering one can take quite a while. It seems that Lance Armstrong has fueled quite a resurgence in the popularity of road biking in the US, and component makers like Shimano can't keep up with demand. It will probably take me quite a while to locate the bikes I'm looking at in my size, and the get them all test ridden. Buy that time, maybe I'll actually be able to afford one.

The other consideration of buying a new bike, is where to put it. You can't exactly leave a $2000 bike out side. It will be in my room, hopefully on a rack that I will design to hold it above my TV.

My boss asked to see one of the catalogues that I had yesterday. He said that he used to do a lot of touring, like riding across Kyushu when he was 19. A lot of things have changed since then. I guess that he figured that technology had improved since the time when he had a 15 speed bike, with a 5 speed rear cassette, because he asked me if it has a 6 speed rear. When I told him that it was 10 speed, he was pretty shocked. That all that most bikes had in total when he was riding.

Even if I don't get a new bike for a while, I'm having fun shopping for it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Missing Post

Yea, I deleted a post. I was requested to make some changes by the editor, but I couldn't make them satisfactory enough, so I just deleted it. But I'll forward Marcia's comment onto the editor. She was asking me if I could ask my HR aunt.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Keeping a job

I don't know what's so hard about keeping a job, but this week, 1 person at my language college job, and 2 people at my part time job quit without notice. I don't know what's going on, but is it really that hard? Shouldn't you know what your getting into before you start? Shouldn't you know whether or not you have the time for it?

The guy at my college job, I'll call him J, no.. how about -eremy? What the hell... His name is Jeremy, and he's from Eugene Oregon, and if you know him, tell him I said he has no spine. He told the administration that he would be gone for 2 weeks starting in Golden Week, but after one week, he called (or probably sent an email, it takes less spine) and said that he was not coming back. Is it just my misunderstanding or does signing a one year contract not mean that you intend to work somewhere for one year? Both the contract (and I think national law) say that you have to give 30 days notice before you quit a job. So now we're left one teacher short, which is requiring some classes to be doubled up, and some teachers to take on extra classes. Now I know he was just a Nova teacher, but it's really not a hard job, and he students are really pretty fun. What's up with leaving 3 weeks into the school year? Too bad work history doesn't add up like a credit history, he wouldn't be able to get a good job for a long time after this one. Apparently, after being home for a week, he decided he didn't want to go back. I don't know how he's going to get all his stuff back, and even if he does, he's going to loose half the property and savings he has.

At my other job, teaching a high school class two afternoons a week, two teachers quit after the first day. There was one girl from Australia who I didn't like from the start after she was bitching about having to walk up and down an extra flight of stairs or two when the head teacher was lost in the new building. She could use the extra exercise anyway. The other guy seemed okay, but when I came for the second day of class last week, they had both left the country, and there were two replacement teachers (one of whom they seemed to already be having problems with). The other guy seems pretty cool though. He's half Japanese, born in the US and has been living in Japan for the last eight years. He's been working for this company for seven years, more than just about everyone at the company.

Today I spent a few hours at the immigration office. It's always an interesting experience. The immigration offices are never air-conditioned, and they have what seems like the old furniture from other government offices that was taken out in the last remodel. It's always pretty dirty, and there are always screaming kids wandering around destroying things.

The purpose of my visit was to renew my residence permit. I got a one year work permit when I came here last year, and that expires May 28th. This time, I'm trying to get a 3 year one, mostly so I wont have to worry about visa deadlines and stuff for two more years. That was one of the main reasons I couldn't spend more time looking for a non-teaching job this year. The renewal process isn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. You don't actually need a company to sponsor your visa anymore. All you need is a contract or two showing that you will be making over a certain amount, and papers showing that you have paid your taxes for the previous year. In two weeks or so, they will send a post card saying that your papers are ready, and you come back to get a sticker in your passport. Even if you have he work permit, you can't leave the country since it's not a visa, so you have to get a re-entry permit too. So next time I go, I will have to pay about $40 for my new residence permit, and $60 for a multiple re-entry permit. So hopefully, I'll soon be a new legal three year resident.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Survived Golden week!

I've only had to work two days since last friday because it is golden week. Beginning with last friday, was green day, Emperor Showa's birthday. Tuesday was Constitution Day (or National Foundation Day, maybe both) , and Thursday was Children's Day. Back to work tomorrow for one day, before the weekend. Most people are taking both Monday and Friday off and making a 9 day holiday of it. Therefore, Tokyo is empty. Not sure where they all went, but somewhere, there are 10 million too many people.

The week started off bad, (don't ask) then I almost make a emergency trip with Ai to Fukui, on the other side of Japan, but there were no seats on any form or transportation that would get us there. On Saturday, we are having a party at a bar near my house with my coworkers, and I might try to go sailing on Sunday.

Still no internet, so I've been eating at McDonald's far too much. I hope they come to set it up sometime soon.

That's it. Boring week. Happy Mother's Day to my mother and the other mothers.