Random Wisdom #1

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein

HDHomeRun Prime and Windows Media Center After Router Change

Recently I decided to watch some sports on WMC. After attempting to watch TV on Windows Media Center, I kept getting the error, “Viewing or Listening Conflict, No tuner to Satisfy The Current Request”. I tried to reinstall the HDHomeRun drivers, I tried to scan all channels again. It seemed everything I tried would not work, and Google was not being much help.

Then I remember that I recently upgraded my home WiFi Router and dug in to it a little bit more on that front. I found that since WPC is always in the foreground, when then network changed, I never classified the network type (Home, Work, Public). Windows by default will set any new connection to Public for security concerns.

I went in to my network settings, updated it to Home, and voilà my TV tuner now works again!

s3cmd 1.5.0 Fixes Multi-Part Uploads on Ubuntu

Recently I ran into an issue with the default s3cmd package (v1.0.0) in the Ubuntu repositories. When using a very specific IAM user with PutObject only allowed for a bucket, files over 15MB would error out. After digging into the issue, I found out this was due to the way s3cmd (or maybe just s3 in general) handles large file uploads. Anything over 15MB will be broken into smaller pieces of a multi-part upload.

I am still unaware as to why the PutObject permissions were insufficient on v1.0.0, however if you upgrade to the latest, currently 1.5.0, it handles multi-part uploads much better. Here are the commands needed to get updated.

Update: The previous method will only work for Ubuntu 14.04, here is a better method that will work across distributions and versions.

First ensure that pip is installed. On Ubuntu run

sudo apt-get install python-pip

Then install s3cmd

sudo pip install s3cmd==1.5.0-alpha3

Ghibli Museum in Mitaka

Well, it’s been nearly a year since my last post. Yes I’ve been busy, but I have had time to post, but just haven’t. Hopefully I can get back into a normal posting routine.

Anywho, this post is about the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. I went there several months ago with a friend who came to visit me. The adventure began when we found out we had to buy tickets before hand. People online had suggested getting them anywhere from 1-2 months in advance. We were trying to get them less than a week in advance. I found out that to get them you had to go to a Lawson convenience store, and purchase them through the computer there, “Loppi”, which is used to purchase tickets for a variety of events.

We went to the closest Lawson, a few minute walk from my apartment, and I stepped up to the machine. The first thing i noticed was there was no English button. I somehow managed to navigate the whole thing, and in the end I was half surprised we ended up with the correct tickets for the correct date instead of some Sumo championship tickets for an event in Hiroshima. Needless to say, I was quite impressed with myself.

We ended up going to the museum on a Friday at around 4pm. This was one of the latest times the tickets allowed. We got off at Inokashira-koen and took a nice long walk through the park. We ended up getting there a little early so we sat on a park bench and people watched for a little. It was several weeks before hanami time, but the sakura were already starting to blossom.

Finally around 3:45 we got bored and decided to try to go in early. We were let in without a problem and got our tickets to a movie preview they do. We decided to go see that first, and were pretty excited in being able to see a never-before-released piece of Ghibli magic.

The movie that was playing was Chu-zumo, which was a 15-20 minute flick about sumo mice. It was very cute, and even though it was all in Japanese the plot was really easy for my friend and I to follow (him not knowing a single word). We left the flick with smiles on our faces.

After that we wandered around the museum. It was a very nice and unique place, fun for all ages. There were no pictures allowed inside, so the few that I have are from outside.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience that i wouldn’t mind doing again. I think that people of any age, regardless of whether or not they are Ghibli (or even anime) fans would enjoy it. There is a lot of eye candy and hands on things to do. My only regret is that i was over 12 years old and couldn’t play on the cat-bus.

Odaiba – Giant Gundam and Fuji TV

A few months ago i went to Odaiba. It was an interesting place witch quite a lot of history behind it. From what i remember, it is one of seven man-made islands in Tokyo. I know that it originally had several cannons on it, but now there are only two.

There are several places of interest that i went to in Odaiba. The first is a replica Statue of Liberty. I don’t quite know the history behind it, but it’s basically a mini version of the one in New York.

Another interesting place was the Fuji TV Building. Other than looking like it is some weird transformer, it was an interesting place to tour. I only wish i had a TV so that i could have related to, or understood, a majority of the things there.

Lastly was the Giant Gundam. This was interesting to see, however the area where it is reeked of manure. Im not quite sure why that is, and it didnt seem like anyone else noticed.

It’s taken me a while to get this post done, so without further a due, here are the pictures.

A Trip to Kamakura

Two weekends ago i met up with some family in Kamakura. It is a very quaint old town. I heard some of the history from them. Basically Kamakura was once the capitol of japan, it marked an end to one era and the start of another. When i first got there there were not many people around. It was far from being dead, but i thought it would be a very touristy place.

We proceeded to go see some of the shrines/temples (don’t know what the proper term for them is). It was all very interesting and fun to see. Then we went to Yumi’s favorite one that was about 30 minutes walk from where we were. The more we walked the less and less people we saw. The closer to the shrine we got, the more the vegetation seemed to surround us. At several points but outside the shrine and inside, i had a very nostalgic feeling. I think it reminded me of back when i was a kid in boy scouts going out on camping trips and seeing all this new vegetation for the first time.

It was very interesting feeling nostalgic in such a historically important and, not to mention, foreign place. After viewing this shrine, we headed back toward Kamakura station, and at this point it was swarming with people. While the walk to the first shrine took us less than 5 minutes when we got there, the walk back took a good 20 minutes. That’s how many people were there.

All in all it was a great trip and a part of Japan that can only really be viewed with native Japanese with you.


So i finally went to Kagaya in Shimbashi, and i am speechless. While using Stumble Upon about 2 months ago i stumbled upon this page: http://gaijintonic.com/2007/02/08/kagaya-maddest-bar-in-tokyo/ . It looked very interesting and i told myself that i needed to go sometime. Well time past and i found myself looking for something to do one weekend. I had already talked to Cheung, and called him again to see if he wanted to go out for dinner and drinks.

We went to a Mexican place in Shimbashi for dinner, and then headed over to Kagaya’s. It is a small place in the B1 floor of a building. Once you walk in it looks like a bare Japanese diner with not much going on for it. He greeted us and showed us our table then disappeared into the back. Moments later we heard him humming the Dark Side theme from Star Wars. A little bit after this began a robot popped out of the back room with Mark following. He continued to hum the music while the robot brought us our hot towels to clean our hands with.

The rest of the night followed suit. After an incredibly interesting display of the drink menu, we were told to choose a drink and a country (from one of the ones listed). We chose a beer each, from France. Mark appeared about a minute later with old french music playing in the background.

French Mark getting ready to painting me
French Mark getting ready to painting me

Mark continued to paint a picture of me, and then served us our drinks. Cheung’s which vibrated violently every time he lifted it, and mine which made a frog sound every time i set it down. The girls at the table in front of us were getting a good laugh out of this, as were we. They seemed to be friends of Marks since none of his silly antics applied to them, and he even brought them a birthday cake and pulled out a guitar to sing happy birthday to them.

As the night progressed, the events continued to get weirder. I dont want to ruin it for anyone who is planning to go so i’ll leave it at that and some pictures. If you want to visit Mark and his establishment (which i highly recommend) you can find a map drawn by him here http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~kagayayy/newpage3.html

As childish as it looks, it is actually a great rendering of the area, and makes it very easy to locate!

A Trip to Kaihinmakuhari

So two weekends ago I went to Kaihinmakuhari, the main purpose of this trip (other than getting out on the weekend) was to visit a Carrefours. Carrefours is a french supermarket. I went with Cheung who is french (now can you see why?). We first visited the supermarket, but then decided to not buy much and go out exploring.

We went to a nearby park on the bay. This is on the opposite side of the bay of Yokohama. We walked down past the stadium where the Chiba Lotte Marines play. Then we ventured to the beach. The beach, like the rest of the park, was rather run down, almost forgotten. When we went back to the park we found that it was an old rundown amusement park of some sorts.

It was very interesting to see what time can do to a place if it is left unattended. I have no doubts in my mind that this was once a flourishing amusement park. Now all that was left were a few attractions that hadn’t completely broken down yet.

After venturing the amusement park we followed a path to a Japanese garden. It was only $2 to get in, but we saw enough from the outside, plus at that time our feet were getting sore (neither of us had walking shoes on).

We finally went back to Carrefours which is when I spotted a Big Boys and a Bad Ass coffee, which up until now i didn’t know existed outside of the USA. We went back to Carrefours and got the rest of what we wanted, which was some baguettes and bree cheese.

After i got home i devoured the bread and cheese and was left with some cereal (cocoa crispies and frosted flakes) and some Bombay Sapphire gin which i got for ~$15. All in all this was a great experience and a very interesting place.

The search for Killians

So it’s been over 5 months that i’ve been in Japan. I know your thinking, well thats not that long. And while that may be true, i’ve been without my favorite beer for that long.

So i decided to go on a hunt for some george killians irish red here in japan. my search brought me to tanakaya in mejiro which is known as being one of the stores with the most foreign beer stock. While they didn’t have killians, i tried 5 amber ales to find something that was close.

Below is an account of my finds.

first up was pike pale heirloom amber ale.

pike ale
pike ale

it’s ok, your average amber ale. no where near killians, but a decent beer. i’ll have to wait until i try the other ones before i can say safely that i wouldn’t get this one again.

next up we had red rocket ale.
red rocket ale
red rocket ale

A very bold beer. Has some character to it. A good beer that i would buy again, but still not what im looking for =\.

third up we had balast point calico amber ale
calico amber ale
calico amber ale

A bit like the pike ale, but i would rate it a little higher on my scale. A little bitter, but it helps to give it flavor.

following this we have the rose red amber ale.
red rose amber ale
red rose amber ale

i believe that his beer is made in japan. it tastes a lot like the pike pale, but with subtle differences. it is decent, but not really what i am looking for. i guess in a few words i would say it is an average amber ale but with japanese influences.

lastly was the satan red.
satan red
satan red

now before i go on to review this, let me tell you a little story about this devil (get it?). so i’ve finished my 4 other beers and have one left. I take it out of my fridge and take out my bottle opener to open it. I start to open it and… *SNAP* my bottle opener shatters. At this point my mind goes back to college tricks on how to open bottled beer. I put the end on a sharp surface and smack it with my palm… nothing, just foam fizzing out as if to laugh at me. i try this on several surfaces and end up bruising my palm.

in the end it took skillful pries with a spoon to finally open it. go figure that this thing had a devil pointing and laughing at me the whole time. alas, in the end it was worth it. this is the closest i have found to killians thus far and forgetting the whole fiasco i went through to open it, was the best beer of the five. when i go back to buy some more to sample i will be sure to pick up one or two of these!

Oktoberfest in Hibiya-koen

Saturday morning i went to the Oktoberfest (German Festival) in Hibiya-Koen. I must say i had a blast. It was good eats and good food, not to mention MANY japanese having a good time.

Hibiya-Koen is very near where i work, though i have never been there. I transfer at Kasumigaseki every time i come or go to work, yet i had never exited there till Saturday. It was a very nice, beautiful, and spacious park. I dont know how often they hold festivals, but if they had another one there you could count me in!

Not much else to say, there was great music, dancing, beer, food… i mean what more could one ask for?!

Below are some pictures of the experiance.