June 8th, 2019


nomad outline

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When I started my last job, my boss agreed to be friendly to "working vacations", going away part of the time (vacation) and working remotely. At first I used it just for 5 Christmas weeks in LA with S, but as partially described, last September I decided to go in for it full time. Since then:

LA (Xmas)
Osaka (current)
Hong Kong

Try guessing when my company stopped having an office to go back to!

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Osaka: arrival, June 6

Between getting off my plane and getting past customs, I think 50 minutes. Steps:

* biometric, get photo and fingeprints taken.
* wait in long but fast moving line to have immigration paperwork checked and passport stamped.
* Pick up bag
* Customs inspection.

When I visited Tokyo in 2008, I noted good English signs in the international section and Engrish in the main (and scruffier) section. Here, I passed a sign sayings something like "temperature monitoring being executed", and a not completely fluent sign I've forgotten in the immigration area.

Got a SIM card for data, 7000 yen for 10 GB and 90 days.

Got an Icoca transit card with cash I'd gotten in SFO, and took the Nankai train. Man, US trains suck. Train was as fast as a car, according to Google Maps, 50 minutes for both.

Rice paddies between the airport and the city.

I have a whole apartment to myself. Bedroom has two full mattresses and open floor space for another four people doing push-ups at once. Kitchen/dining room decent too, though the fridge is dorm sized, and there are two hot plates. Plus a rice cooker and a microwave.

Toilet is in one room, sink and shower in another. I think that's common, but new to me (based on my 2008 hotel room, and someone's Tokyo studio.)

My place is on this weird "shopping street" with a covered roof.

Closest supermarket is a bit anemic in fresh food choices. There's milk, but not non-sweet bread. A lot of pre-made food is pretty cheap.

Bedroom and living room each have an A/C unit of a type I haven't seen before; later reading told me it's a ductless mini-split unit. The compressor is somewhere outside, keeping the noisy part away from me, while each wall unit has its own thermostat. 'split' because the thermodynamic cycle is split, the wall unit is pumping coolant through to expand and suck up heat, vs. a central air system where cold air is made in one place and ducted through the house.

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Osaka: June 7

Was tired and it was raining, so I stayed in much of the day. Finally left before 5 to go meet W. I crossed the main street north of me, into yet more covered shopping gallery, and a young guy from Toronto asked me to take his photo. We chatted a bit, intertourist socializing. I forgot to mention last night, a young Asian woman asking me for directions as I returned from the supermarket. I think I was able to help orient her on her map, based on recognizing the market I'd just been at.

Anyway, after Toronto guy I crossed Tennouji park. I'm right by a zoo and a museum, though the zoo is said to be rather sad in animal treatment and the museum is mostly about its special exhibitions. The park itself looked nice, and had some interesting shops in it. Also a bathroom which I sought out because I'd shaken hands with the Canadian and I'm paranoid about germ contro, but while there was a sink there was no soap or drying facility. >_>

W had told me to meet at the JR Central Gate exit of Tennouji station; by sheer chance I wandered downstairs and followed JR signs until I found it. I'd expected a surface exit.

W has long dark hair and is apparently 5'2", despite my memories of her being taller, so blends into Japanese crowds pretty well.

She took me to a soba place, which was decent, though the English menu had errors, translating the duck soba as having chicken and vice versa. Then ice cream, including a milk flavor. We passed a food store where I found the most literal egg sandwich for sale: tamago omelettes (a la tamago sushi) between pieces of bread. I got some, it was tasty. But funny.

All this was taking place in MIO Plaza, a big multi-level mall. My orientation was shot to hell.

Walking home along the south side of the park, I passed trees full of a flock of white birds. My guess was cranes but I'm not sure.

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movies: Frozen, Clueless, Moana

Eleven hour flights are really long. And the cabin was dark, making book reading hard. United's entertainment system turned out to have things I wanted to re-watch: Frozen, Clueless, and Moana. Plus a couple episodes of Game of Thrones (actually all of season 7, I think, but I saw most of two eps.)

I'd never re-watched Frozen or Moana, or seen Clueless for many years; all held up well. (Clueless is on the very very short list of movies I bought to own.)

Frozen: there's been debate over Hans's face-heel turn, and why he didn't kill Elsa earlier if he was being a villain who'd planned to kill her later. One idea is that he didn't know if killing her would end the winter; another is that he wanted to keep her handy until he recovered Anna. Personally I thought that his plan was plausibly to pretend to be a good guy, as much as possible. Yeah, he didn't love Anna, but doing all the 'right' things is pretty practical. Including keeping the queen alive. Only when Anna presented him with a challenge he couldn't live up to -- a magical kiss of true love -- did he get derailed.

Why not kill *Anna*? Worry about later investigation, perhaps. Better if she freezes than someone later ask why she looks smothered. It's not a great plan, but at that point I'm not sure there were any great plans possible.

Clueless: still awesomely fun, and cute. I like how Cher is ditzy but kind of lazily (and socially) smart, not emptyheaded; her Valley girl debates are surprisingly deep in essence, especially the immigration one. There's popular girl sniping but not deathly so, on either side. Her dad's a rich attack lawyer but "we divorce wives, not children" is a nice sentiment. I hadn't noticed before (thanks Tropes) that Cher, Dionne, and Elton are all singer first names, the first two providing cover for Elton which comes from Emma.

I was greatly amused to realize that the climax is basically a college student with his own apartment French kissing his 16 year old (ex-)stepsister. With her father's implicit approval (there's a very telling grin earlier). And I would bet against their waiting all that long for sex, so post-movie statutory rape (in California, with 18 age of consent), too. I don't see anything wrong, but dang.

Less amused to notice nothing really happens to Elton for assaulting Cher and then leaving her stranded.

There were some subtle production touches. Tropes mentioned musical ones I wouldn't get, but when Tai meets Travis "skater pothead" Birkenstock, they're both wearing plaids.

The ending credits were way shorter than those of the other two.

Moana: nothing much to say, just fun. Both it and Frozen started with mouth music, and had alternate versions of their songs playing during the credits.

On the TV front: I've followed GoT secondhand, so get plot gist but miss details. I was surprised to learn that people actually did talk about the Frey death somewhat: soldiers going up to keep the peace, Jaime going "whoever killed House Frey has no love for us".

I also sampled Gilmore Girls A Year In the Life, but it seemed to be some post-series sequel, and I stopped after a bit.

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