October 6, 2005
Talk and interview at ATRI gave a talk today at ATR (also in Kyoto) and met with some people there: Dr. Yutaka Sasaki, the head of the Natural Language Processing department. I also spoke briefly with Dr. Eiichiro Sumita, a principal researcher in the NLP group, and I heard about Dr. Kiyonori Ohtake's work on Japanese paraphrasing / simplification.
After lunch with Dr. Sasaki, I met with Yoshinobu Tonomura, the deputy director at NTT. We talked for about half an hour I believe, and I think he was impressed with (if nothing else) my Japanese.
October 5, 2005
Shinkansen to Kyoto, talk at NTTI took the Shinkansen to Kyoto today, from Shin-Yokohama. It took about 20 minutes, not including the ridiculously long time it took me to get to Shin-Yokohama. To get there, I took the Toyokosen to Kikuna from Jiyugaoka, about 25 minutes, then at Kikuna realized that I had forgotten my passport (which I will need to exchange my order for the JR Rail Pass I bought) so I turned right back around and was back at Jiyugaoka 25 minutes later. A short 10 minute taxi ride to the apartment and back to get my passport, and then another 25 minutes to Kikuna, from there one stop on the JR Yokohama line, and I had about 2 minutes to spare to catch the last Hikaru Shinkansen (the fastest type you can get with a JR Rail Pass.)
Of course, that train had no reserved seats remining so I had to chance the unreserved seating, but since it was only the second stop, there was plenty of room. I arrived at Kyoto at about 11:45am, and arrived at NTT at about 12:30pm.
The talk went well, and I met with Hideki Isozaki, supervisor group leader of the Knowledge processing group, Eisaku Maeda, Tatsuto Takeuchi (HR, Research Planning Supervisor), Naonori Ueda (Executive Manager), and Hajime Tsukada (Senior Research Scientist.) I really got the feeling that I would be welcome there. It was a nice visit, I saw a demo of their Q&A system, and heard about some knowledge ontology work that they are doing.
September 20, 2005
Cafes in Akihabara: Maid and Linux
A few days ago, I saw a show on "Maid Cafes" - places where the staff dress up in Maid costumes, but otherwise normal cafes. There are apparently a lot of them in Akihabara. Admittedly, that is a very popular destination for their presumed target audience: Otaku, but there still seems to be a very large number of these things. There are at least 5 or 6 in Akihabara, and that was just after a quick internet search. I didn't think it was worth counting after seeing there were that many.
I resolved to go check one of these places out when I got a chance. I went to Akihabara today to pick up a cooling pad for my laptop since it has been getting very hot lately. I decided to get lunch at the first Maid Cafe I came across.
I found a place called Cure Maid and went in. I had a nice Tonkatsu Curry Set for 1000 yen. What really surprised me was the normalcy of the place. There were at least twice as many women in there as men, which was the big surprise with me. It seems like these are just normal mainstream cafes, where the wait staff happen to dress up. I think maybe some of acceptance might be due to the wide publicity the "Otaku" has been getting recently in the Japanese media, especially from shows like Densha no Otoko, but it is still pretty surprising.
While I was there, I saw at least two couples come in for dates. In both cases the girls in each couple were semi-cosplaying. One of the girls was wearing a very cute dress, most likely handmade, that was in an Alice In Wonderland theme. It had a cute hearts and spades pattern, and some cat imagery (possible Chesire-inspired, but it didn't look like the Chesire Cat to me.) Anyway, that was a bit more in-line with my expectations.
After making my purchase, I wandered around for a while and saw this sign for the Linux Cafe. Now that is some place that I would like to visit. Apparently, they offer free wireless with purchase, which is very rare in Japan. It is a place that I will try to visit on my next trip to Akihabara. I can't say that I go there all that often though, so who knows when that will be.
September 18, 2005
Apple Store in Ginza
Yesterday, Eric, Sharon, and I went to a Matsuri at Toritsu Daigaku. They had a Taiko drum that Eric and Sharon enjoyed beating on for a while.
September 3, 2005
Job hunting in Japan, blog softwareI arrived in Japan August 24th, 2005 to start my job hunting activities. I also installed bBlog on FuguTabetai.com, and I think it is quite nice software. I should be able to post a bunch more because this automates a lot of what I was doing by hand.
May 20, 2005
Successful Thesis DefenseOn Friday, I successfully defended my PhD thesis at Columbia University. Oh yeah.
March 21, 2005
Japan Girls Night US TourThis is the second time I've gone to Benten's Japan Girls Night tour in New York. Lots of fun. Puppy Pet, TsuShiMaMiRe, Titan Go King's, Gaijin a go-go, and Petty Booka.
February 18, 2005
January 21, 2005
We Are Scientists at CBGBsBishop Allen and We Are Scientists at CBGBs. I was late and missed BA, but made the Scientists part of the show.
November 25, 2004
Evans Siblings ThanksgivingThanksgiving at my place. I even cooked a Turkey, since both of my sisters came here!
October 31, 2004
Internet Halloween PartyCarl Sable had an Internet-themed Halloween Party. Click on the thumbnail to check out my pictures.
October 24, 2004
DeVilla VanNoy WeddingMy best friends Ron and Michelle got married at Princeton University October 23rd, 2004. I have the pictures here to prove it.
August 7, 2004
Trip to Washington StateBack from my trip to Washington state, where I visited the family.
July 16, 2004
Treo 600 as a modem in linux (Fedora Core 2)I haven't had much interesting to talk about lately, but I did today get my Treo 600 phone working as a modem on my linux Fedora Core 2 install. If you are interested, check out the amazingly simple things I had to do to get my Treo 600 working as a modem on my Fedora Core 2 linux install.
April 23, 2004
Asobi SeksuAsobi Seksu played at Lounge 13 on Thursday, and I went to check them out. I really, really recommend them. Their CD should be out soonish in NY area stores, but at least hit their website, check out their MP3s, and then go see them play.
April 17, 2004
We Are Scientists at the Knitting FactoryWe Are Scientists at the Knitting Factory. How cool is that?
April 14, 2004
Say Hi To Your MomCaught Say Hi To Your Mom at the Mercury Lounge. It was a great show. They are a great band. Had dinner at Waikiki Wally's (a really kitschy Tiki place, sister restaurant to Lucky Cheng's) before that. Really cute ambiance, and surprisingly good food.
April 9, 2004
Macy's Flower ShowSix years in the city, and this is the first time I've ever been to the annual Macy's Flower Show. Pretty amazing actually.
April 4, 2004
Rock 'n Rollerskate2004/04/04 Rockin' Roller Skate at OfficeOps in Brooklyn was just a blast. Take 4 bands, put them in a cage, give the audience roller skates, add beer and stir. Of course, since Bishop Allen was one of the bands, I thought I should lace up some skates and head out there.
March 29, 2004
FuguTabetai.com cookbookI cook sometimes, so I threw up a cookbook that I wrote for my friends and family. Mostly family, since I bought most of them rice cookers.
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