Living the urban life

I’ve had a car of my own since I was 18 years old. That is at least 10 years. Or more. Now I am carless. What do you do when you want to get a 42.4 lb (19.2 kg) computer to the Apple Store to have a wireless card installed? If you live in LA – you simply put it in your car and drive to the Apple Store and carry it in. But I believe I just pointed out that I don’t have a car. Also, what do you do in the middle of rainy season? My only option was to hail a taxi and time it when the rain wasn’t too heavy. So that’s what I did today. I schlepped my MacPro (in its box) to the Apple Store, expecting to maybe leave it overnight to get a wireless card installed. At 7:30 pm they suggested that it could be ready in an hour. Cool! Welcome to Japan customer service (in spite of my earlier rant about my commuter pass the service really is good over here). That gave me an hour to spend money … I mean kill. Unfortunately most shops close at 8:00 pm. Except apparently the Apple Store. I decided to go to LaChic. On my way there I heard, “Jonathan!” I bumped into one my colleagues (American) who lives in the area too. That was funny. So I wandered around LaChic and ended up having dinner and checking it out. Now I know where I can go to D&G, Comme des Garcons, Banana Republic (nothing fits me there since it is an Asian cut), among other places. I went back to the Apple Store (it looked like there had been a downpour in the meantime), waited another 10 minutes, and then loaded the box into a taxi and made it home! Round trip taxi fare about 1260 yen, or $11. That’s the cost of living in Japan. Not bad really.

Why didn’t I get a wireless card to start with and why do I need one now? Interesting question. At the time I bought my Mac I had no idea about coming to Japan. So I figured I could just use a wireless bridge if necessary, and anyway my desktop is connected straight to my LAN. Here in Japan, I’m still connected to the LAN but I wanted to use this computer for music too since my laptop disk is full (how do you fill 80 GB? Music and photos). Yesterday in between rain showers I bought an AV セット(AV Set – home theatre system), a really cheap one! I hooked my TV up to it and now my TV sound comes through speakers. Not great sound but OK. I also have an AirTunes Express (Airport Express) to create a wireless network in my apartment. I hooked that up to the AV Set too so now I can stream music wirelessly, provided of course I can go wireless. My laptop was fine – but I needed my desktop to stream as well. It became an obsession. Anyway, it is cool – I can stream to them and also use my speakers in the office and so my house is a chamber of music (through cheap speakers unfortunately). How about that?!?

Yesterday (and today) I did some bicycle shopping. I found a local bike shop where I can order an around the city bike. Cool. I wanted to check out another bike shop too, but I’d rather spend a little more money at a local place than less at a Walmart-ish chain. I’ve decided on a Bridgestone. It rivals my Litespeed I think. It may end up the same color. It is available in silver, blue, and black. A tough decision. I might trick it out and put a rack / basket on the back. Tomo needs a place to ride side-saddle like in all the J-movies I’ve seen. Almost all these bikes are produced in China. Here’s an interesting link about Japanese bicycle production.

So that’s one of my plans for the week – to order my bike and hopefully get it for the weekend. Current weather forecast? Rain!

Oh, one other thing – in what I think is some good news it looks like I can buy printer ink here. I don’t want to speak too soon, but the product ID of one of the ink series matches my US product ID. Of course, there is nothing similar in terms of printer model numbers or ink series. Sigh. On the bright side I finally found something cheaper in Japan than the US!

And yes, I know this is all rather mundane. For those looking for a theme – yes I actually was doing some laundry when I wrote this. Some things in the dryer. But anyway, daily existence happens whether it is in Nagoya, El Segundo, or Buck Creek (a real town in Indiana).

One Reply to “Living the urban life”

  1. hi jonathan, just got caught up on what you’re doing. apartment looks good but needs pictures and more clutter. there is a funny story an LA Times writer in tokyo wrote about about getting his bike stolen. he got his bike back but was chided by the police for leaving it unlocked and also received an apology from the thief, who was drunk when he took the bike to get home having missed his station. it was also about the writer’s embarassment at having such a rusty, poor looking bike. this is what japan can do to you.

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