Two Months After Switching to Colemak

I made my first post about Colemak (C) two months ago. I still occasionally use Qwerty (Q) on my work computer when a task is too short and not worth booting up Portable Colemak (app).

First, I should say I cannot type one handed with C at all! So if I’m taking notes with a pen in one hand, or using a mobile device, Q is my go to keyboard. So that means, I’m probably using C for at least 70% of my typing time. Let’s get to my review.

C is better suited for touch typing in English. Most Q typists don’t truly touch type. I didn’t. You probably don’t either. We have to use all kinds of hacks to accommodate for the layout’s shortcomings—not so with C. The biggest difference I noticed is I feel a lot calmer and more focused when using C. There is a lot less random finger movement, and I really do feel what this keyboard often touts, “Your fingers travel less.” It may not feel so at the beginning, but you’ll definitely feel so once you can type comfortably.

Most people are only interested in speed though. So far, I’m still faster on Q… even though it feels like chaos to me. My fingers being all over the place… yet I can type accurately. It’s a weird stressor for me. C, however, feels calmer and more comfortable. The speed on C is something I expect to come with time though. I mean, I typed on Q for over 25 years! I’ve only been using C for two months. So despite my typing speed being cut in half, I feel Colemak is the best layout for typing on a physical keyboard in English.

Legend of Dragoon

I’ve been playing the Japanese version of Legend of Dragoon on PSP for a few months. I originally played the US version in the winter of 2000 on PS1. I was a senior in high school at the time. Back then, I can’t remember having any trouble with the difficulty of the game. I didn’t have to think deeply or stress out over boss battles. Well, what a different story it is now! The Japanese version has been killing me over and over again. I often have to spend a few hours leveling up my party before the insanely difficult boss battles. In the Japanese version, the enemies hit harder and more often. They don’t drop the same items either.

On Learning Korean

I started learning Korean a few months ago. My first step was to learn hangul, Korea’s intuitive alphabet. I meddled with it for a few hours. It amazed me how I was learned to read and write without strain. I still struggle with Japanese after studying for over ten years.

Back to Korean. My daily study routine is studying vocabulary on the mobile Memrise app. I usually do this for about five to fifteen minutes a day. If I’m not mentally drained from a long day of work/studying, I’ll take notes on these videos.

Korean alone is not a stressful study load for me. It’s actually fun to study. However, combined with studying Japanese, my other odd projects, and a full day at work… It sometimes feels like I have too many things on the go.

Sexist? No

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/school-dress-code-debate-catches-maritimers-attention-1.3078403

A case of some teen just doesn’t want to be told what to do. If I remember correctly, not only girls, but boys also weren’t allowed to wear tank tops or expose their shoulders (in school) during my school days. The only exception was basketball jerseys during basketball practice or games (for both boys and girls).

There was no explicit dress code in my days, the wonderful 90s, but I think both boys and girls exercised caution with regards to school clothes. How you dress in your private time, and how you dress at school are not the same. I think asking either gender to cover up their shoulders or wear shorts, skirts, etc. that are at least mid thigh length is reasonable. If the school dress code is applied to both genders, how is it sexist? Authoritarian? Maybe. It’s a school, not some local teen hangout.

I hope the teachers and school board put their feet down firmly on this one. I personally would prefer uniforms if I were a student again. It’s definitely better for an environment of education. However, I also think students should be happy to have the freedom to dress as they please (within the school dress code).

Health & Wellness Manifesto

I try to meet all of these points every day.

  • at least 10 minutes of sunlight exposure; less clothing is better; worst case scenario, a vitamin D supplement
  • no blue light from electronic devices at night; I try to go completely off by 9:00 pm
  • movement or exercise (any of the following: walk around the neighborhood; a few 50 meter sprints; skateboarding; lifting weights, push ups, pull ups, or squats
  • at least one serving of kimchi or some fermented vegetable, e.g., ‘kraut
  • staying away from wheat products and processed industrial foods as much as possible
  • a good piece of animal protein or at least a fish oil supplement
  • green time (time around plants, e.g., my veranda garden or the local park)

The points I break most are sunlight exposure and blue light. The former because I work indoors, so it’s hard to get outside for more than a few minutes during the midday sun. The latter because I usually spend more time online than I should, e.g., watching YouTube, studying Japanese and Korean, and reading articles.

iOS vs Android in Japan

My first smartphone was an iPhone 3GS. At the time, few Japanese people around me were using iPhones, even smartphones. I remember the early versions of Android seemed years behind iOS. I upgraded to a phone I dearly loved, Apple’s iPhone 4S, two years later. Not long after the iPhone 4S release, it seemed like Android was catching up and iOS was slowing down. It didn’t matter though, my 4S met all my demands and worked seamlessly. Then carriers in Japan also started offering a better variety of other phones, e.g., Samsung and LG. I was using the 4S but becoming curious about Androids’ specs and bigger displays.

There were many more iPhones around me now, especially the iPhone 5. Months before the end of my two year 4S contract, I was checking the news for the iPhone 5S daily. I was hoping for a five inch 1080p display, which wasn’t so rare on Androids at the time, even Sharp and Sony devices were offering these specs. Then I saw the 5S news. Apple disappointed me. I began looking elsewhere. The Note 3 and the G2 were my main interests after deciding to part ways with iPhones. I tested the Note 3 and G2 for hours at my local Docomo shop on several occasions. I was lured in by the Note 3’s big display, removable components, small bezels, thin and light design, and S pen functionality.

I was happy at the beginning and am still satisfied a year and a half later, but my problems are with Touch Wiz and the carriers in Japan. First, Touch Wiz is bloated and hasn’t been updated more than once since I got my Note 3 almost two years ago. Newer versions of Touch Wiz seem lighter, faster, less intrusive, and more useful. I’m not expecting any updates from Docomo anytime soon though.

Second, Android updates are a rare sight. When I got my phone, it was running on Android 4.2. Now it’s running on 4.4.2. iOS updates happen across the board, regardless of your device at regular intervals. When I was an iPhone user, the Japanese updates were always in sync with the American ones. I remember being excited when I saw tech gurus on YouTube discussing the updates. I knew the updates were coming soon for the general public too. Android, on the other hand, while it’s updated more frequently, you never know if you’ll get these updates. While Android has continued to improve over the last year and a half, I haven’t experienced any major updates. They’re probably not coming to my device either. Whether these updates get to you is dependent on your local carrier. This is the problem with Android devices in Japan. Android updates are dependent its developers and the local Japanese carriers. iOS updates are dependent on Apple only.

This fall I’m going to upgrade my device. It’ll be two years with my Note 3. I’m still following Samsung’s and LG’s devices, but iPhones, with their bigger displays since the iPhone 6 update, wonderful OIS cameras, ever improving OS, fast processors, and lack of bloatware … are definitely back on my radar. It’s unfortunate the carriers in Japan are playing a bigger role than necessary against Android. Apple may have won me back.

New Wave in Japan

If you live in Japan, you’ve probably noticed an increase of Japan is Great ads and TV specials in the last few years. I’ve also noticed there are more chauvinistic books spreading the same message. Let’s have a look at some of the titles.

japanese-book-1

1. JAPAN CLASS – Collection of foreign reactions from Japan’s voyeurism sites.
2. The US and China’s Arrogance and Lies
3. Anti-Japanese Korea’s Self-Destruction Has Begun
4. There is No Future for Anti-Japanese Korea
5. Japan, Respected by the World
6. Shameful Korea Written by a Korean
7. The Birth of Asian Hegemon Japan
8. Evil Korea
9. Tried Living in the UK, Japan, France and America: Japan was the best place for me.
10. Japan is Nearly a Utopia From a UK Perspective
11. I Have Lived in Europe. Japan wins by 9 to 1.
12. Why Muslims Respect Japan.

japanese-book-2

13. Thank You for Fighting for Us, Japan. Japan Praised by Asia
14. True Reasons This Briton Living in Japan Does Not Return to the UK
15. China: Defeated by Japan and Ostracized by the World
16. Japan is Ahead of the UK by 50 Years
17. Why is Japan Beloved by Asian Countries?
18. Big Lies of Anti-Japanese History that Curses Japan
19. Japan’s War; It Was Righteous: The Facts China and Korea Want to Hide
20. American Occupation that Prevented Japan from Rising up Again
21. The Japanese: Why are we so different from the Chinese and Koreans?
22. 33 things that Japan Can Show off to the World
23. Why is Japan Respected by the World?
24. The Japanese are Fundamentally Different from the Chinese and Koreans.

japanese-book-3

[Source for images and title translations here.]

Seeing titles like these will leave you with a strange taste in your mouth. As someone concerned about the social and political future of Japan, I start to speculate about the potential damage such titles could cause. I can’t imagine such titles being published in my country of birth, Canada. I think most Canadians would oppose such an ultra nationalist stance. Anything that can be seen as nationalism (ahem, propaganda) just ain’t cool. So why is this happening in Japan now? Is Japan becoming more insecure about it’s image? Why do people (suddenly?) feel compelled to tell each other how great their country is? This is what makes me more suspicious of the media recently. What good is it to shout on a megaphone how wonderful your country is? A beautiful woman does not have to tell everyone she’s beautiful.