September 17, 2006
Tokyo Disney Sea
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September 10, 2006
Somebody doesn't like my bike...So this morning when I went to grab my bike to go home from Jiyugaoka (why I was headed home early this morning is another story entirely) my front tire was entirely flat. This is actually the second time this has happened, and it was strange because the tire itself was not punctured, the air had just been let out of the tire. So it looks like someone doesn't like my bike. Or, more accurately, someone doesn't like where I park my bike, and is going to great passive-aggressive lengths to let me know. They could try something more direct, like a note, but I guess it is more fun to keep my guessing. I'm pretty sure now that this isn't some spontaneous leak in the tire though, since when I filled the tire up with air again it was as good as new.
On the ride back home, the front tire was making some really interesting squeeking sounds. I rode past two police officers, just sitting on their little scooters and waiting for something to happen, and thought "I bet a white guy riding by on a bike with a flat front tire will get their attention."
Sure enough, a few seconds later the two officers pulled me over (I think I could have given their scooters a run for their money if my front tire had air in it though! I can't imaging police officers in America on those little 50cc motorbikes.) and checked on the bike registration. Since I registered the bike with the police when I purchased it, everything was fine, but it was a little scary. I forgot the first rule of being a foreigner in Japan when it comes to police: don't speak Japanese. Anyway, the two guys were nice, and just concerned that I would crash my bike because of the tire. Since I only lived about two minutes away though, I didn't think it was a big worry. They let me go on, and one of them thought it was very important to tell me that someone was "teasing" me by letting the air out, since he didn't find any damage on the tire.
Is that a common itazura in Japan? I guess maybe on the level of keying someone's car?
Anyway, I put air in the tire this afternoon, and my bike is as good as new. It is still about two feet too short for me though. That is getting to be annoying. I would not want to ride in a triathalon on it, that's for sure!
September 9, 2006
Kuhonbutsu Taiko pulling festival
August 25, 2006
Awa-Odori in KouenjiKouenji, in Tokyo. I went with some friends from work, and really had a great time. I've posted some pictures up to Flickr, so take a look!
August 18, 2006
David Huang and Alana Evans' Wedding
August 17, 2006
Salk Institute in San DiegoSalk Institute for a tour. The Salk Institute was designed by Louis Kahn in consultation with Dr. Salk, who developed a vaccine for Polio. It is a really beautiful and flexible building for lab spaces.
August 13, 2006
Omak Stampede Indian EncampmentGalactic Civilizations II, a great turn-based strategy game that everyone should buy. We drove back to Brewster in the evening, barely avoiding some deer on the three hour trip, and then on Sunday I went to Omak to visit the Indian Encampment at the Stampede. The Indian Encampment is a neat thing where there are some tradiational teepee encampments, and there is Native American dancing judged over different groups. It was really interesting. There is great drumming and singing to go along with the dancing. I stayed for a few hours and watched that, and have some pictures and videos here to share. Stampede weekend is a lot of fun overall, the little town of Omak is full of people that weekend, there is a big carnival, and lots of things to do and see. There is a lot of (sometimes kitschy) shopping, and food stalls. I had fry bread for the first time, and while I thought it was good, I didn't think it was good enough to be the scourge on the nation that is has been made out to be.
August 11, 2006
The World Famous Omak Stampede and Suicide Racea set of pictures about the Omak Stampede on Flickr that you can check out. I've also got a few short videos up on youtube.com from the stampede.
2006-08-10 New Directions in Multilingual Information Access
- David A. Evans' invited talk: From R&D to Practice - Challenges to Multilingual Information Access in the Real World
- Combining Evidence from Homologous Datasets
- Translation Disambiguation in Web-based Translation Extraction for English-Chinese CLIR
- Real World Understanding for Multilingual Statistical Tables
- Multilingual Summarization at DUC and MSE
- Identification of Document Language in Hard Contexts
- Integrated Content Presentation for Multilingual and Multimedia Information Access
- Studying the Use of Interactive Multilingual Information Retrieval
- The Remarkable Search Topic-Finding Task to Show Success Stories of Cross-Language Information Retrieval
- The Future of Multilingual Summarization: Beyond Sentence Extraction
- New Directions in CLEF
- The Way Ahead of Multilingual Information Access Evaluation at NTCIR
- A Data Curation Approach to Support In-depth Multilingual Evaluation Studies
- Designing Multilingual Information Access to Tate Online<
- Implementing MLIA in an existing DL system
- What is the Future of Multi-lingual Information Access?
August 9, 2006
2006-08-09 SIGIR NotesWednesday's keynote:
Information Access in the Extended Boeing Enterprise
Overview of Boeing's information technology and information distribution structure.
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August 8, 2006
2006-08-08 SIGIR notesKeynote:
Social Networks, Incentives, and Search
Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University
An introduction to social networks, and some parallels to information retrieval.
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Back in the USA, and jetlagged (or, "Sleepless in Seattle")I'm back in the USA for the first time since early March in 2006. I flew into Seattle from Tokyo on Saturday August 5th, 2006. The flight left at about 6pm in Tokyo on Saturday, and arrived in Seattle at about 9am on Saturday. Unfortunately I don't usually sleep well on airplanes, and didn't get much sleep at all on the flight over. Professor Kando was meeting a friend of hers from Singapore who has been living in Seattle for the past few years for lunch, and invited me along. The plan was to go to the best pizzaria in Seattle. We had a bit of a tough time reaching the place due to traffic, since it was SeaFair (some sort of Seattle festival type thing) and some parades shut down the roads to the place. As we drew closer to the place, I became more and more sure that we were going to Tutta Bella Pizza, also said to be the best pizza in Seattle by the Weaver family. So it has been confirmed by two independant sources, the best pizza in Seattle. The next day I woke up and had the complimentary breakfast at the hotel. The star of the meal was the waffle in one of those rotating auto-timer waffle irons, just like back in the dorms at SMU. Actually, I was really full after that breakfast, and decided to walk to the University of Washington to register for the conference. I got a map from the hotel desk, and struck out for campus. I didn't know how the map or I was oriented though, and walked for about fifteen minutes in one direction before realizing that I went the wrong way. I went back to the hotel, and tried another direction. About fifteen minutes walking on a nice biking path, I realized that was the wrong direction as well, and turned around. I got it right the last time, and made it to the conference site. After registering for the conference I walked back to the hotel (about half an hour when you know the way) and collapsed on the bed for a few hours before the reception. I also met with Professor Kando briefly and gave a practice talk. I received a lot of good feedback, and a list of changes to make to my slides. In the evening we took busses to the Boeing Future of Flight center for the welcoming reception. It was really nice. I met many people, and by the time we made it back to the hotel, where I was not tired at all. I stayed up maybe until 5am or something stupid like that. The first day of the conference was just terrible. I was ready to go to bed at about 3pm, and had a really tough time following the talks. I decided to skip the poster session, went back to the hotel, and fell asleep for about four hours. I then got up and spent four hours working on my slides. I'll do slide review with Inoue-san from NII today, and probably work on them some more tonight and tomorrow as well. Since I got a full six hours + 4 hours of sleep yesterday, I hope that the worst of the jet-lag is over. It has been horrible though. It doesn't seem to be as bad when I go to Japan, but we'll see what happens on the way back.
August 7, 2006
2006-08-07 SIGIR in Seattle NotesKeynote talk is by Keith van Rijsbergen (recipient of the Salton
award, the highest SIGIR honor.)
Talk entitled "Quantum Haystacks", and is more on the fun side of things according to him. Early work has been on clustering, and went over other areas he has worked in as well.
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July 22, 2006
Notes from Friday 2006-07-21 COLING/ACL conferenceNotes from Friday's sessions at the last day of COLING/ACL.
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July 20, 2006
Wednesday, 2007-07-19 Part II: Seasickness, food poisoning, or a heart attack?!?We headed back to the boat, and I think the next stop was a two hour cruise with drinks. I decided that I wasn't too comfortable on the boat for two hours, so wouldn't have any alcohol. read more (1213 words)
Wednesday, 2007-07-19At Coling, traditionally one day is reserved for an excursion to see the sites in the area. I think this is a nice idea. I'm fairly bad at planning sightseeing when I'm on my own, so it is nice to have a large group to go with.
Part I: The Zoo and Manly Beachread more (404 words)
July 19, 2006
Notes from Tuesday 2007-07-18 COLING/ACL 2006 session2006-07-18 Invited Keynote Tuesday morning
Argmax Search in Natural Language Processing
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Tuesday 2006-07-18I went to lunch with Min-Yen Kan and Kathy McKeown. We had a very nice lunch, and Kathy was very helpful with career advice. Met up with a Group of Columbia related people for dinner.
July 18, 2006
Monday 2006-07-17Yesterday I met up with Stephen Wan and got the keys to his sister's apartment. The plan was to take a nap and get up at 7pm to go to the welcoming cocktail party for ACL/COLING. I started my "nap" at 4:30pm, woke up at about midnight, and then kept sleeping up 7:30am. I somehow managed to find the convention center, about a fifteen minute walk from the apartment, although it took me closer to half an hour on my first try, and attended the conference. I've got blog posting with my notes from the talks over in my research section if you are interested. The first day was very nice.
Post-conference drinksI met up with Stephen and his crew, which was large, and we went out to a bar for dinner and drinks. During the conference I had a nice chat with Professor Nanba from Hiroshima University at the conference.
July 15, 2006
Mitama Matsuri at Yasukuni JinjyaOn Friday, I with some friends from work to the Mitama Matsuri at Yasukuni Jinjya. This is a very interesting trip all around, because it is a traditional Japanese Matsuri (festival) that takes place in a temple that honors those who have fallen during wartime (Yasukuni Temple.) The temple itself has been the center of, in a peripherial manner, a long-standing controversy between Japan and its neighbors, mainly China and Korea. The main controversy is not over the temple itself, but visits to the temple by Prime Minister Koizumi, who has been going there for the past few years. He says that he goes to the temple as an individual, and not a representative of the government.read more (1717 words)
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