October 8, 2006
Movies on FuguTabetai.comI'm starting a section for movies that I watch. I can't really say that I am a movie buff, but I do enjoy movies. What I used to enjoy most about movies was going to see a movie with my movie buff friend Carl Sable at the Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem, New York. That place is great because you can get food with your movie, and the crowds are usually lots of fun. Anyway, now that I am living in Tokyo, I do not see movies in movie theaters; it is quite expensive here, about twice the price as movies in New York. I do watch movies at home though. I particularly like to start a movie and work with my laptop, answering email or doing some programming when I come home for the evening. Documentaries are nice to watch in this way, since there isn't much action and you often can follow the movie quite well just by listening to the dialogue. Foreign subtitled movies are not possible to watch in this manner. In this section I'll post comments on random movies that I watch (or don't, as the case often is) while I'm in Tokyo.
October 1, 2006
Adventures in Cooking: OmuriceSkänka wok for about 2,500 yen. I thought it would be a good time to test it out. I'm big fan of Omurice. (Omelette rice - basically fried rice wrapped up in an ommlette.) I thought I would give cooking some Omurice a go. Based on this recipie for Omurice I started on some Omurice of my own. I also added a paprika and some bacon to the mix, and for the sauce in addition to ketchup I used some Tonkatsu Sauce which is just amazingly great. I didn't do such a good job on the Omelette part, but the rest of it was just great. I ended up with six "omlettes" but that's only because I had six eggs. I'm also left with a lot of fried rice, so I'm set for the next week. As long as I don't get tired of it...
September 30, 2006
Who killed the Electric car?
September 28, 2006
My new Fågelbo CouchAndy for being at my place to receive shipment. And oversee living toom redecoration. Now my apartment is pretty packed. I've got to think about how to change things around so it is less crowded, but I'm really happy with this sofa. It has a built-in storage compartment also.
September 22, 2006
Sumo Wrestling In TokyoSharon Stone also was there when we were. I think I saw her; the blond down in the very expensive seats, I imagine. I really enjoyed watching the Sumo matches. The last two matches of the day were Kotooshuu, a Bulgarian Sumo Wrestler who is quite popular, and Asashoryu, a Yokozuna wrestler who I've also heard of before. Asashoryu did the Bow Dance at the end of the day, since he won his match. I was a little sad that he won his match, because I was totally looking forward to throwing my zabuton. Usually if there is a big upset that people are unhappy with, they will throw their zabuton up in the air. We didn't get that chance though. The Sumo experience was really great. We ended up spending just about all day there, which was a bit tough because of the seating arrangements, but I'm glad that we saw the younger Sumo wrestlers also. I think I also now have a better grasp of Sumo. I'll try to catch it on TV if it is on some time. The people sitting next to us were quite nice too, and Andy also got a great picture of himself with some Sumo wrestlers. Just for completeness sake, you might want to surf over to GoneLiving.com and check out Andy's entry on our Sumo Funtime Adventure.
September 17, 2006
Tokyo Disney Sea
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September 14, 2006
IPSJ in Shinjuku Day twoWednesday was the final day of the IPSJ meeting. I've got more comments on the papers that I saw that day below.
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September 13, 2006
Information Processing Society of Japan Natural Language MeetingNotes from the 2006-09-12 to 13 Information Processing Society of Japan meeting. The Information Processing Society of Japan Special Interest Group on Natural Language Processing holds bi-monthly meetings all around Japan. Two months ago, the meeting was in Hakodate. This time, the meeting was in Shinjuku, very close to where I live, so I decided it would be a good chance to attend and see what research is going on in the field in Japan.
It was really interesting. All but two of the presentations were in Japanese, which was a very nice chance to get up to speed on technical Japanese, and to see how presentations here go. It was pretty tiring too though. I also had a chance to talk with some of the member of the 情報爆発世界ニュース group that I'm involved with.
If you are interested in reading some very surface comments about the papers that I saw on Tuesday's session, click to read more...
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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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