Tuesday, July 26, 2011

That one time in Japan…. I found out what my name sounds like [the bad]

One of my first days of school, I was being introduced to a couple boys who were friendly with the girls I hung out with.

One of them had lived in America (and was pretty cute), but was too much of a “oh, I’m a Japanese boy so I have to pretend to be shy” kinda high-school boy, so he never really talked to me. But I do remember this horrifying conversation which sprung a nickname that ended up solidifying my disdain for my name.

The quiet boy asked one of my friends my name.
Boy: 名前は何? (What’s her name?)
Girl: ステイシーだよ。(Stacy)
B: ええ?セイシって言ったの?(Did you say “seishi”?
G: 違うよ!ステイシーって。(No, it’s Stacy.)
B: 本当にセイシだと思ってたけど・・・(I really thought you said “seishi”…)

Seems innocent, right? He just misheard. But then I asked what “seishi” meant. No one would tell me. The girls acted surprised and murmured to themselves a bit. The boys close by laughed. The quiet boy and another boy thought it was funny, so they kept calling me “Seishi” but wouldn’t explain what it meant. I knew it couldn’t be good, so I looked through all of my dictionaries. Nothing.

A few weeks passed and I purchased an electronic dictionary. Shortly after I bought it, I heard them call me “seishi” again. I looked it up immediately. The first entry was 精子 and the meaning listed was “sperm”.

Yes. “Seishi” means sperm. Without even scrolling through the other options, I knew this was why I had this nickname.

My name in Japanese sounds like the word for sperm. Sperm. Now tell me that you would not instantly start making you hate your name.

If that wasn’t bad enough, they weren’t the only one who confused my name.

My first host father’s brother came to visit. When they were introducing me, he too thought that my name was a bodily fluid produced by males rather that a name derived from Anastasia. My host dad thought this was hilarious. I, however, did not. So embarrassing~~ 

And to wrap things up, here's an amusing picture explaining how birth control works... haha.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Earthquake Alert App Review

This is the first app review for my mini-series on the EEW system in Japan.

Intro to EEW

I made a video app review for you guys. Yes, my first video笑
I know nothing about editing or anything like that so please forgive me!

Earthquake Alert:

Works in Japan? Worldwide? Yes&Yes
Language(s)? English only.
Best feature: The map.
Good things: Runs/loads fast. Can set filters based on magnitude, date, distance. Can set the units. Map powered by Google Maps. Only works in Real-time so less data storage.
Bad things: No push notifications (separate beta app available). Real-time only (for up to the last week).
Ease of usage: Very easy to navigate, simple to understand.
iPhone app? Yes.
Recommended? For those looking for a simple, wordwide notification app, yes. For those looking for more specific/advanced features or push notifications, no.


Hopefully as I make more videos, I'll get better at them and now sound so crazy. haha.

Do you like the video review? or would you prefer pictures/text? Let me know!!!

Thanks for reading/watching! 

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Early Earthquake Warning [EEW] System Introduction

A long time ago I made mention that I would do a review of different apps you can use while in Japan for earthquake alerts and safety information, and after the recent 7.1 earthquake that hit just minutes ago, I figured now would be a decent time.

I clearly remember the first earthquake I ever experienced. It was about a month after I came to Japan. It was a sunny fall day and I was sitting in English class. It was a very, very weak one but I freaked. Everyone else just kept working and minding their own business but I was terrified. (I'm from Northeastern Pennsylvania - ie: No tectonic plates close enough for earthquakes)

Once a couple months had passed they had stopped being terrifying and just became an annoying part of everyday life. Sometimes they happened, sometimes they didn't. Towards the end of my exchange they started happening more frequently, but since most were during the time I was at school or the middle of the night, I never knew much about earthquakes or for that matter, earthquake alerts. At my last host family, we'd watch TV during dinner and my host brother would sometimes predict the earthquakes.(freaky, right?!) We also had a guard dog that would start barking sometimes 15 seconds before it happened! It was at my last host families that I saw the TV's earthquake alert for the first time!

Then the Tohoku Earthquake or Great East Japan Earthquake happened. While I wasn't in Japan when the earthquake happened (I was in an airplane, flying close to Sendai actually), I experienced many of the aftershocks. It was during this time I actually experienced what a early warning alert sounded like, many times a day!

About the 緊急地震速報 (きんきゅう・じしん・そくほう, Earthquake Early Warning system)
The Earthquake Early Warning system was launched in 2007 as part of the 全国瞬時警報システム(literally: all country-instant-warning system) or the J-Alert. The J-Alert system is a satellite system developed so authorities could quickly broadcast alerts for things such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, even military alerts. According to the wikipedia article, Japanese officials claim it takes 1 second to inform authorities and 4 to 20 seconds to inform citizens.

"The EEW system can detect the approximate source and magnitude of an earthquake and send out public alerts via TV, radio, and cellphone--all in less than a minute of a quake's start. It also transmits signals that can automatically shut down computers, stop elevators at the nearest floor, and halt factory production lines."[article] (Note: for more information on the differences between S-waves and P-waves, I'd recommend this article for that as well!)

緊急地震速報 for 携帯(けいたい, cell phones)
Probably the most handy part of the Earthquake Early Warning system is the message alerts that can be sent to cell phones. This article from Japan Angle has a good description: "What happens first is that your phone gets automatically “flashed” by the earthquake warning centre. An alert ring tone goes off (irrespective of whether you’ve set it to silent or not) and a message pops up on your screen telling you the approximate epicentre of the quake. There is then usually a number of seconds before the ground actually starts moving beneath you – the amount of time you get depends on how close you are to the epicentre. This is just enough time for you to open a door or window (to ensure an easy escape route) and duck under something sturdy (to protect yourself from falling objects)."
[source] Translation of the message sent. Messages are usually available in English also.
For Docomo users, here is the page with more information, including a list of compatible devices.
au by KDDI users are unlucky in that the page with information on the EEW system(including how to set it up) is only available in Japanese. More information may be available in your handset's user guide or through customer service.
Softbank on the other hand, doesn't have any information linked from their English website. However, after searching through their Japanese website, I came across this page.
However, on both Softbank [link] and au [link] 's English websites you can find information on the Disaster Message Board Service and how to sign up.

緊急地震速報アプリ(あぷり, application) for スマートフォン(すまーとふぉん, smart phones)
I think this part will be the most appealing to my readers. If you're simply traveling or planning to stay in Japan for any extended period of time, you're probably fairly concerned with safety. If you can't speak Japanese, this probably makes your anxiety even worse.

I want to make this clear: The number and strength of earthquakes has toned down a lot. And it is not unusual at all to experience an earthquake in Japan, as the tectonic plates Japan sits on are very active. I am only doing this to give you a little peace of mind and hopefully help those in the future.

I am going to rate these apps, to the best of my ability, based on the following things:
Ease of usage(from a non-Japanese perspective)
Features such as: GPS location, push-notifications, maps,

I will also list pros/cons of usage, best/worst feature, an over-all star rating, if it works world-wide or if it's limited to Japan, and if it there is both an Android and iPhone app. Please note I have an Android phone and can only review Android-based features.

I have four apps I am going to review, and I will also mention any other apps specifically for iPhone that I cannot review personally.

So be prepared for those in the immediate future. :]

Friday, July 01, 2011

Just a quick post.....

.....before I reply to all the past comments and start working on some upcoming posts. (Blogger awards, moar Taiikusai photo spam, app reviews, ninja themepark, Tegomass concert, GazettE live?!? WHAT! haha)

So first things first....
My boyfriend came to visit yesterday. I hadn't seen him in two weeks, since our argument, so I wanted to do something special for him. I made him confetti cupcakes with confetti frosting and decorated them with my writing pens. I made them with my special heart-shaped mini-cupcake maker that I got for $6 at Wal*mart!
He goes by "Ricky", but his real name is "Iwei" or "Great Happiness", which is exactly what he brings to me!
To be honest, it was my first time making cupcakes all alone, and I'm not very practiced in frosting. Guess I need to start baking more~! Despite the sloppiness, my boyfriend said he really likes the "homemade" feel of them. What a good boyfriend笑
Earlier this week, I had tried the Master Cleanse diet, but after two days, it made me break out in hives! Online forums said it was just the "diet working" but honestly, if it's going to make my skin look gross, I'll just go back to cutting calories! I felt like a failure though, and started crying while on the phone with him. I just felt so frustrated. Some people can easily drop three, even four pounds a week, but I felt like I was struggling with every ounce. My boyfriend kept encouraging me and said I should just try my best to figure out what works for me. And he also said that he'd do whatever diet I do with me, so I don't feel alone♥

He came over, and we decided to get pizza (so much for "supporting" my diet, right?haha) We then took my nieces to the park again, which was a lot of fun. He played hide-and-seek with my five year old niece and promised next time he'd bring her a Frisbee!

He brought me my birthday present, too! Last time I was with him, we went to the Asian market(how typical XD) and browsed around the Korean gift shop. We saw a bunch of cuuuute mugs and I said that someday, we should get matching mugs! He said he thought that would be really cute, too.
He got us matching panda mugs!!!! and look at that spoooooon!!!! *dies of cute overload* At first, he didn't say we had matching ones. I thought he had gotten me a mug. Then I mentioned how cute it'd be if we had matching ones and he goes "....Why do you think I got them? Of course I got two. I wanted them to match our bowls!" (panda bowl picture here) Now we're gonna look for matching panda chopsticks to make the set complete!*is a nerd*...*doesn't care* haha

And MORE! good news!!!! I got a job!!!!!
Yep, it's not the most glamorous job - just working at a call center, but it pays good and it's a good step towards a career. I start my [paid] training July 18th! I'm so excited! My boyfriend also wanted to plan a beach trip into that day, but we might be able to rearrange it so I can still go AND start work. But we'll see~!

Do any of you guys have plans for the fourth? I'm not too sure what I'm doing yet, but I hope it'll be fun! And if you're not American, does your country have an independence-related holiday?

Hope you guys have a great weekend!!!