Thursday, October 23, 2008

missing Honjo

Come Saturday (October 25, 2008) I will be spending my first month back here in Manila. Initially, two weeks after arriving here I started to ponder about what I miss most in Japan and the things I wish Manila have. To share this pondering with you, I listed here my Top 10 things I miss about Japan (Honjo* for that matter).

TOP 10 Things I Miss About JAPAN

1. JUNK Street sa Akihabara
2. WASEDA DAIGAKU (especially GITS)
3. ang aming DORM and my DORM mates
4. ramen, udon, and soba
5. Kappasushi (name nung Sushi shop na name din ng isang klaseng sushi)
6. DAISO!!
7. my bicycle
8. maingay na mga UWAK
9. TRAINS (JR (local), subway, and shinkansen)
10. CLEAN and FRESH air!

*Honjo is a city in Saitama Prefecture where I spent my whole 2yrs while finishing my graduate studies.

Monday, September 22, 2008

MS in Global Information and Telecommunication Studies

I finally got it! Last Saturday (September 20,2008) I finally received my diploma for the Master of Science in Global Information and Telecommunication Studies from the Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunication Studies of Waseda University in Japan.

GITS is an interdisciplinary graduate school integrating information and communication technologies, multimedia technologies, and social sciences pertaining to fields of telecommunications. All in all, an alliance among three research areas; (1) Computer Systems and Network Engineering Area, (2) Multimedia Science and Arts Area, and (3) Info-Telecom, Socio-Economics, Network Business and Policy Area.

The Graduate School offers the program under four different course track; (1) Project Research Course, (2) CIO-IT Course, (3) Interdisciplinary Research Course, and (4) Career Development Course. In Project Research Course under the first area, where I was a part of, students are required, under the research guidance of a supervisor, to conduct project research on a specified theme and release the outcome of project research to an academic society, academic journal, etc.

It is a bit tough for most of us, as although the program is interdisciplinary still the primary focus is on the telecommunication sector. I came from the software side of computer science and am not really that familiar with the technologies under telecommunications. GITS have introduced me to these technologies and have provided me knowledge that I know could help me in my field. This, and aside from meeting great senseis who are involved in the international scene and they themselves are accomplished individuals, make me proud to me part of this great institution.

I guess my only regret was that I wasn't able to accomplish the things I have first planned to do like getting additional course load, enrolling for some subjects in the MBA program, and write and present more paper (I was only able to present one). I am hoping that I could come back again to further my studies and really push myself to accomplish a lot of things.

Unfortunately I don't have great pictures during the ceremony as most of the people I know who knows how to take great pictures either didn't attend the ceremony (as Honjo where I used to live is quite far and no bus service was provided) or are out of the country. Never the less, I have some here and more will be posted in my winkflash site.




*with my sensei and adviser


Monday, September 08, 2008

Bored, Trapped in Your Job?

Bored, Trapped in Your Job?

5 Signs It's Time to Move On

by Jenna Lebel, Experience, Inc.


When you landed that new job, the world looked great. Now it's been a while, and one of your worst fears has come true -- you're unhappy in your job. When you're spending at least five days a week at work, it makes sense that you'd want to like what you're doing. But there are times when you're in a position or company that doesn't work for you.

If you're unhappy with your job -- and everybody around you probably already knows it -- it might be time for a career transition. Results from an Experience.com survey provide some insight into making the change. According to the survey, the top signal that it's time to transition to a new job is not the boss yelling at you. In fact, the number-one warning sign is:

* Your job has become boring. Most people are not in it just for the money. On the contrary, they're looking for something that gives them the chance to make a difference. If, in fact, you're finding a lack of intellectual stimulation and challenge, you have lots of company -- nearly 30 percent of respondents cited this as their biggest indicator it's time to leave a job.

* Another warning signal to workers that it may be time to make a transition is the lack of growth opportunities. If you're in a dead end job, with no place to move (unless a lot of people grow old and retire), you're in trouble. Twenty-two percent of respondents felt trapped in a position with little room for career progression.

* Others felt they were receiving inadequate pay or benefits. It may not all be about money, but some of it certainly is. Do you feel underpaid? Do you have lousy (or no) benefits? Seventeen percent of employees feel the economic pinch, and when that happens, may have to decide whether their job is really worth it.

* Work friends are very important. If your relationships with co-workers have gone bad, that's a definite sign that it's time to move on. Seventeen percent of those surveyed agreed -- if you're not getting along, you're going to feel like you're suffocating.

* Lack of investment in the company's goals/mission. This is more than just a self-esteem thing, but was mentioned by 13% of the respondents as a key factor indicating a career change. You need to be part of the big picture, or you're not in the picture at all.

Once you encounter the warning signs that it might be time to make a career transition, how long do you wait before you leave?

Most people (52%) said they would wait at least a year to see if it improved. Others were not as patient and hopeful. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they would quit as soon as they found another job, while 16% reported they would stay no longer than six months.

"When you clearly communicate you are under-challenged, wait a few months to see if your superior responds, and if not, it's time to take your knowledge and expertise to a company that will let you grow," one respondent said.

Copyright 2008, Experience, Inc.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Moving out...

Have emptied my room. Sent my things back home Monday of last week (Aug. 25). Sent my luggage to the hotel where I will stay for the remaining days I will spent here in Japan. I can't believe it has been two years already. Now I can finally come back home and return to my work. Been missing it so much already. Though right now, as everybody else in our group, I have mixed emotions of leaving Japan. A kind of feeling that makes me feel sad and happy. Happy because finally I can reunite with my family, meet my friends whom have also returned from other countries, return to my work and be with the company of young adults, and relived that Manila experience. But sad, as I will be leaving behind wonderful memories and friends, and I think the life that I have always wanted. Independent and convenient. Though at times it sucks living in rural Japan.

Passing the time with Internet surfing and watching online videos. Just one more night and I am out of here. Out of this lonely and quiet dorm as if you were in a dungeon. A dungeon I loved to call my second home.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What's Your EQ?

For this one, I really don't know whether it is true or not. Though now I learned how to assess things first before making any actions.



Your EQ is 147

You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin.

You are warm and open. Even when life gets you down, you're unafraid of the world and its challenges.

You are comfortable with who you are. And you accept your weaknesses - as well as the weaknesses of others.

While you are quite stable, you don't respond perfectly to every bad situation that comes up.

But you have enough emotional intelligence to know when you need a course correction.

Are You An Optimist or Pessimist?

Optimist or Pessimist? Well I think I am more in the middle and the test only proved that. Although I know I tend to be more optimistic than pessimistic as I try to see the good in things rather than always thinking of something negative. I have always believed that if you think negatively everything will turn out bad, but if you try to think positively everything will turn out good. But yeah, my optimism is always restrained by the reality of things.

You Are a Realist

You don't see the glass as half empty or half full. You see what's exactly in the glass.

You never try to make a bad situation seem better than it is...

But you also never sabotage any good things you have going on.

You are brutally honest in your assessments of situations - and this always seems to help you cope.

The Three Question Personality Test

Ok, now I can't get enough of this personality tests. Now I have done this 3 question personality test which you can only choose between to possible answers.

Your Personality Is

Guardian (SJ)

You are sensible, down to earth, and goal oriented.

Bottom line, you are good at playing by the rules.

You tend to be dominant - and you are a natural leader.

You are interested in rules and order. Morals are important to you.

A hard worker, you give your all at whatever you do.

You're very serious, and people often tell you to lighten up.

In love, you tend to take things carefully and slowly.

At work, you are suited to almost any career - but you excel in leadership positions.

With others, you tend to be polite and formal.

As far as looks go, you are traditionally attractive. You take good care of yourself.

On weekends, you tend to like to do organized activities. In fact, you often organize them!

Getting to Know Your Aura Color

Talk about personality and aura. The questions are too confusing for me as I think I have varied personalities and cannot settle for one. I think I am still lost.

Your Aura is Orange



You're a bit of a loner, but you're never lonely. You know how to entertain yourself.

Whether you're trying an extreme sport or a new weird food, you always live on the edge.

The purpose of your life: testing limits - both physical and mental... and then telling people about it.

Famous oranges include: Timothy Leary, David Blaine, Tony Hawk, Carey Hart

Careers for you to try: Snowboarder, Circus Performer, Undercover Agent

Taking Risks

I always have this question in my mind whether I am really capable of taking risks. I always say that I do, but in reality I think I am not. From getting my first work right out of college or applying for a credit card, I always have doubt of my decisions. I took the challenge of assessing myself with respect to risk taking and though I am not really a risk taker, I do am up to the challenge of getting into unfamiliar things and adventures.

Your Risk Taking Level: Medium



What's life without a few risks?

You're willing to be daring when the time is right.

You know that there's no reward in life without risk.

You just always make sure that you look before you leap.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

50 Years of Bossa Nova

This article taken from MSN News.


Agence France-Presse - 8/15/2008 4:03 PM GMT

Brazil celebrates half-century of silky Bossa Nova music

Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes, seen here in an undated file photo, was part of the trio of Brazilian artists who brought Bossa Nova to the world in 1958. Brazil's unique mix of jazz and samba, celebrates 50 years this month.

Bossa Nova, Brazil's unique mix of jazz and samba, celebrates 50 years this month with shows by one of the genre's pioneers, Joao Gilberto, who brought "The Girl from Ipanema" to the world.

The three concerts by 77-year-old Gilberto in Rio and Sao Paulo sold out within an hour of going on sale Thursday, testifying to the lasting appeal and inspiration of both the silky music and the singer's hypnotically breathy performance.

Gilberto -- the surviving member of the trio behind Bossa Nova that also counted composer Tom Jobim and poet Vinicius de Moraes -- has not sung in public in Brazil for five years.

His reputation, though, has never diminished, ever since August 1958 when his singular voice and guitar playing appeared on "Chega de Saudade" (Enough Longing, or, more commonly in English, "No More Blues"), a tune by Jobim and Moraes.

That was the first track to lay out the cool, intimate harmonies of Bossa Nova that add complexity to samba's more basic rhythms, giving it a jazz evolution whose impact has been felt over decades.

US jazz greats Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd fell under its sway and added to its popularity.

But it was a 1962 worldwide hit by Gilberto, with his then-wife Astrud and Getz, that became the Bossa Nova standard.

"A Garota de Ipanema", adapted to English as "The Girl from Ipanema", was picked up by many singers, including Frank Sinatra.

It was said to have been inspired by a tall, beautiful 15-year-old girl who frequented the Ipanema cafe where Jobim and Moraes hung out, and who "When she walks, she's like a samba / That swings so cool and sways so gentle."

In 1963, the English version of the song raced up international charts. "We only lost to the Beatles. And there were four of them," wryly remarked Jobim.

Back when Bossa Nova started, it epitomized the indolence and desire for change among Brazil's youth, especially the middle class.

Soon, it found a larger audience through the soundtrack in the 1959 French-directed Brazilian movie "Black Orpheus", which helped turn the page on the Hollywood-peddled image of Brazil as a tropical song-and-dance set inhabited by Carmen Miranda in a fruit hat.

Bossa Nova spread everywhere from the mid-1960s, from Copacabana apartments to New York jazz clubs.

"Listening to Joao Gilberto was like a revelation. I listened to 'Chega de Saudade' for hours and hours without pause and I just couldn't believe that someone could sing like that," said one of the more prominent disciples of the genre, Caetano Veloso.

In 1962, Gilberto, Jobim and other Brazilian musicians such as Carlos Lyra, Sergio Mendes and Luiz Bonfa performed in New York's Carnegie Hall in a high-profile Bossa Nova concert. US legends Miles Davis and Dizzie Gillespie were in the audience.

In Rio de Janeiro today, Bossa Nova has been supplanted by other genres, notably other samba variations and US-style hip-hop or rock.

But it can still be heard, a persistent note characterizing Brazil's iconically beautiful seaside city.

"Today, there are a lot more albums than 40 years ago. It (Bossa Nova) is not at the top of the charts, but it is still a style picked up by people of all ages," said Ruy Castro, an author of several books on music.

Lyra, the singer and composer who appeared in Carnegie Hall 46 years ago, was less generous.

"If somebody asks me today where they can hear Bossa Nova in Rio, I say 'nowhere'. The music is more popular in Japan and Europe than in Brazil," he said.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Performance by Joao Gilberto and Caetano Veloso
A Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema)




Performance by Sitti Navarro*
The Girl from Ipanema


*Filipino Bossa Nova Artist

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Most Comprehensive X-Men Personality Quiz 2.0






Most Comprehensive X-Men Personality Quiz 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Cyclops

Cyclops is the team leader of the X-Men, and a skilled one at that. He loves Jean Grey very much. He's a strict and sometimes uptight leader, but he believes in his cause and he knows what he's fighting for... Peace between Mutants and Humans. Powers: Optic blasts


Wolverine



90%

Cyclops



90%

Iceman



80%

Jean Grey



75%

Beast



75%

Colossus



70%

Nightcrawler



70%

Gambit



60%

Storm



60%

Emma Frost



55%

Rogue



45%


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Let the games begin!

WOW!! A really really BIG WOW!! That's all I can say. China surely have made a very very wonderful show. Make that a spectacular show. From the moment they have started, I could feel my heart pumping with the beat of their drums. The pageantry and artistic execution of the choreography made everyone's efforts and sacrifices fade off. Add into it the brilliant use of lights and colors. A truly magnificent and well directed event.

I could say that there were many highlights of the one hour opening act. But what I like most in that act (I think it mostly centered on it) was when they introduce the Chinese visual arts of calligraphy, printing and painting. Dancers made some patterns on a big size paper-like canvas (I really don't know if it is still paper or some other material as it is quite sturdy to carry some people on top of it) which turned out to be mountains and valleys. A part of the act made some children highlight the initial drawing with colors as a group of young men (I think in their teens) perform martial arts (I am not sure if it is tai chi as there are some fast movements).

With that I thought that the image was already completed. But once each country were introduced, they walked into something like a giant ink pad that added colors to the drawing as they walk along. Eventually, as more and more people pass by, a clearer picture emerges. The final image was then used as the stage platform.


Now the climax of the entire show I would say would be the lighting of the olympic flame. I already noticed earlier that they placed a small platform in one part of the stadium but I was wondering how would they light the olympic flame. Then the answer came with a magnificent and out of this world act. The torch bearer where lifted from the ground with a harness then raised up near the top of the stadium with the torch bearer moving his body as if he was running around and around the stadium as images of the torch's travels flashes in the background. The highlight was when the olympic flame was lighted with everyone in awe with its magnificence.





I remember the best olympic flame lighting ever (for me). During the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when an archer from the ground lighted the Olympic flame which is on top of a tower. A truly spectacular thing to see. Click here for video.

*UPDATE 13 Aug 2008 - Found this video in YouTube



* Beijing Olympic photos taken from Yahoo
Picture of platform from http://en.beijing2008.cn/

Monday, August 04, 2008

Another personality test

Don't really have anything to write about though I have been thinking of something lately but still don't know if it will turn out ok. Found an entry from a friend's blog and took the challenge of determining my personality (again). They say it is accurate, but I am not sure if it says the same for me as during the test I think some of my traits were listed down on the other. To take the test, click here.

Reliable Realists are down-to-earth and responsible-minded. They are precise, reserved and demanding. Their most prominent quality is reliability and they will always make every effort to keep any promise given. Reliable Realists are more quiet and serious persons, they do not talk a lot but they are good listeners. They sometimes seem reserved and distant to outsiders although they often have a great deal of wit and esprit. Their strong points are thoroughness, a marked sense of justice, doggedness bordering on pigheadedness and a pragmatic, vigorous and purposeful manner. Reliable Realists do not dither about if something has to be done. They do what is necessary without wasting words. Reliable Realist

This personality type not only expects a lot of himself but also of others. Once Reliable Realists have set their mind on something, it is difficult to persuade them otherwise. They do not like to leave anything to chance. Planning means safety to Reliable Realists, as well as order and discipline. They have no problem respecting authorities and hierarchies but do not like to delegate tasks. They are certain that others would not deal with them as conscientiously as they do. In management positions, they are very task-oriented - they make sure that things are well done; however, they do not have a great deal of interest in personal contacts at work.

In relationships too, Reliable Realists are reliability itself. As partners, they are faithful and consistent, well-balanced and sensible. Security and stability are very important to them. They have little time for extravagances and flightiness. Whoever has them as friend or partner can rely on them for a lifetime. However, it takes quite a while for Reliable Realists to enter into a relationship or friendship. They have little need for social contacts; they therefore take great care when choosing partners and friends and limit themselves to a small but exclusive circle which meets their high demands. They tend to show their closeness to people who are important to them by deeds - their partner should rather not expect romantic declarations of love.

Monday, July 28, 2008

In Memoriam...Randy Pausch


Should've blogged about this much earlier when I read the news at ACM's website. Though I really don't know much about the guy, he will surely be missed especially in the computing science community after all his work with virtual reality.

Anyways, I got to know about this guy from a video posted at YouTube about his "last lecture" which I have seen about 3 months ago (although the lecture itself was presented on Sept. 18, 2007). He talked about how one must achieve their childhood dreams and that along the way, enable the dreams of others. Although presented before a packed auditorium, the entire talk was really for his children that he knows he wouldn't see grow old, enter school, graduate, date, have a work, get married, have children, have a family life and, most importantly, achieve their dreams. What a really remarkable way to teach your children to follow your dreams. He may be gone, but what he presented in that lecture will surely be remembered, not only by his children but by everyone who have seen and heard that "last lecture". I guess it is about time for us, for me, to rethink about my childhood dreams and where have I gone so far. To see what's beyond the wall facing me and try to reach that other side of the wall.



For a link of the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo

*Picture taken from ACM's website.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

One Piece...update

Just to let you know that after three weeks of staying up late, I was able to finish the entire collection of One Piece. Still waiting for the next episode to be released on Aug 3 (?).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nagano Tour

In an anticipation for a need to relax after the defense, I signed up for a tour with the Honjo International Friendship Association a few weeks ago. As the scheduled date for the trip closes I was having doubts whether I would join or not. I'm a little bit out of cash so I was hesitant to join but also I only have a few months left (about 2) here in Japan so this would be a great opportunity to maximized my stay. I really don't have to worry about the travel fee as I have already settled it a bit earlier, what worries me is that I don't have any cash at my disposal once something happens.

But the eager side of me triumphs as I joined the tour last Sunday (13 July 2008) and I am glad I did as I joined fellow students who are also joining the tour. It was fun to travel and see new sights. The itinerary for the tour starts from Matsumoto Castle, then lunch at Azumino Swiss Village, a tour at a Wasabi Farm (大王わさびのうじょう -だいおうわさびのうじょう), and finally a quick tour at Azumino ArtHills Museum just near the farm.

Here are some of the pictures I took during the course of our travel. More can be seen at my winkflash site.