The internet is like outerspace - lots to explore, lots of junk

This goes to show you how big and disorganized the internet really
is! Good luck to Google in attempting to "organize" it a little bit.
This one I have heard about over 10 years ago and still it is
floating around out there. I just couldn't help myself and laugh at
how big this internet really is. I just thought of this interesting
anology: it seems as though the internet is like outerspace there
are perhaps 100s of old broken satellites floating around in space
known as "space junk" - the internet is like space - only not just
100s but millions and trillions of "internet junk" floating around
out there. Of course we have all heard the expression "what we
send out comes back" - quite true for the internet!


Is it just me or has anyone else heard of the Bill 602 - it is/was
supposed to be some sort of tax on E-Mail because the
US/Canada Post is/was complaining of lost revenues. Well I
don't know what's going on here. Seems I did hear of something
like a tax on E-Mail 10 years ago and it probably was this same
E-Mail. I just searched Bill 602 and came up with these links:
(Related will be Bill 602 P)

Then some guy in Las Vegas posts this as back lash the hoax:

He quotes this site: http://thomas.loc.gov and asks you to
check for yourself, I did and got nothing.
also gives reference to:
http://thomas.loc.gov and says the same thing as I did - there
is no such bill.

Seems to come from the US, and I see Canada post listed at:
www.kylgrafx.com/bill602.htm but clicked the link but
the page doesn't exist at Canada Post.

I heard that there is in fact places thatl internet users have to
pay for each E-Mail they recieve but now I don't know if this is
true or just a hoax for the unweiry internet user. Not sure
what's going on but I have heard of this E-mail for the past 10
years or so, so I wouldn't spread it around too much.


What's your sign?

Short post today as tomorrow is the lunar new year and I'm heading up to Taipei for the day. I found an interesting PHP script, which allows you to enter your birthdate and it tells you your Chinese zodiac sign. It is written by the FlexPHPSite. Give it a try here.


A week of holidays

Today head office sent a teacher down to check files and observe
classes. I have to admit, it went very well I am happy to say.
It all depends on how prepared I am and how much advanced
notice people give me, I suppose. First, I told my students. I
believe children do have the right know and they do understand
when I said that someone will be comming to observe the class.
Children do tend to think "what's going on" when someone new
steps into the class, it's their class too and they should know.
Secondly, I was told by office staff someone will be comming a
week before, thirdly I prepared what I wanted to do the night
before... I felt I had total control of the class and the children
had their fair share of games. How could you ask for anything
more, when a class goes so well? haha

The day after tomorrow I will have a continous week off - What
in the world I'm I going to do? It's too crowded to travel anywhere.
There is nothing to do in Taiwan when you are without
transportation - so what can you do but sit at home and write in
your blog. Blogging daily ok, but blogging hourly? Who could
come up with that kind of content?


The world's calendars

Returning to the topic of calendars, I was searching around
looking for the world's oldest calendar. The calendar that we
all know and use everyday, and computers have accepted
widely is based on the Christian calendar – or the calendar
of business and commerce. Of course, over 70% of the world
does not identify with this Christian only thinking – including
myself. In
China, the next year January 29, 2006 will be
January 1, 4703
. In Jewish places the year will be 5765 or
5766 (I am not sure of how exactly this is to be
calculated – please correct me). In Islam the year is 1426, and
India 1927 for the Sakra Era. However, the Belizean Maya
have the year from the old calendar at 9999! While calculating
from this the new Mayan calendar year would be about 4999.

So what is the oldest calendar in the world? I guess between
the Chinese, the Jews and the Mayans you can take your pick
and use what you wish. The Christian calendar is probably
the youngest and the most non-sense calendar in existence.
How can we be 2006 years after the birth of Christ? How can
they have just skipped an entire lifetime, leaving all the peasants
who were born at about the same time as Christ was to be
completely forgotten about? Among all the religions of the world
the Christian is got to be the craziest one. I came across an
article in the BBC’s news files about the oldest know lunar
calendar dating back 15,000 years. What could be the oldest
lunar calendar may have been discovered on the walls of the
Lascaux caves in France. Whatever your preference
in calendar maybe don’t forget the other 10 to 20 other or more
calendars in existence that are still used for religious
ceremonies and special events.

Happy New Year to all, what ever your calendar maybe, and
let’s not use dates too much, it may well be the reason for
so many Jihad wars.

A Victory (??)

When Harper's Conservatives have sweaped into power, not a
majority but still they managed to take control until the next
election. I was watching the coverage on the live video feed
from cbc.ca. The NDP did surprisingly well even though they
still don't have official party status yet. Between the Bloc and
the Liberals they really slipped. I was listening to the leader's
speeches and they mentioned how Canadians wanted a change
in government. Change in government? What change? Do you
call a change from Liberal to Conservative a change? I think
that Canadian federal politics is very much like a coin, with
two-sides the Liberals on one side and the Conservatives on
the other side. Whenever an election comes along the coin is
flipped to see which way Canadians will be lead in the comming
years. I could be mistaken but I cannot remember a time that
the other major parties held the power - the NDP, the Greens,
the Bloc. Come on give the minority powers a chance! But what
can I say there NEEDS to be change but Canadians in general
are scared of change, I think.

Election 2006

The federal election in Canada is now well under way today in the
east and beginning in the west. Am I so detached from these
elections? or could one call me a run-away voter here in Taiwan?
I am very much interested in what goes on in politics no matter
where I am and including wherever I am.

It will be an interesting one I should correct myself and say that
all elections are exciting even those here in Taiwan and other
places. What will be interesting is all the negative campaign ads
that each party uses to defame each other. Does it work? Does it
affect the voter's final decision? Well to be honest It doesn't affect
my political decisions but even if it does affect voter decision I am
sure (at least I hope) it doesn't affect all the many people.

Whatever the results ends up being I am sure not much will
change because I find Canada like most industrialized countries to
be very conservative. The majority of people seem reluctant to
total/widespread change in government; therefore, parties like
the New Democrats, or the Greens may well just be another
minority in Ottawa.

During the last BC provincial elections there was the referendum,
which was defeated by less than 5% or whatever it was. I think
it was too bad that it was defeated because it would have made
some improvements in the way voters voted - they would have
more choice and even smaller parties would have more chance
of a seat in government. A bit closer to a more proportional
representation system. I've heard New Zealand (?) I believe
has passed a similar referendum but I find New Zealand to be
not as conservative as Canada. I think the reason why the
referendum was defeated in BC was because of a lack of
information provided to the voters because I worked as an
information officer during the BC election and I found a lot of
people had no clue what it was about and therefore destroyed
their referendum ballot. So there may have been an increased
number of destroyed ballots.

Another thing I am very much interested in is voter turnout.
Probably, will be much lower as expected as the younger
generation tend be more passive than in the past.
I honestly would be all for a manditory vote.

Well so much for that. We wait and see what happens then get
back to our routine lives as if nothing happened. Isn't that how
it is in most countries?


Eye exam anyone?

Get Gifs at CodemySpace.com

Well I don’t know if it is true or not. Last year I had my
optometrist appointment and he says that my eyes are
in excellent shape but I do have some trouble with
distance so he gave me a prescription for eye glasses
whenever I felt like getting them. I don’t drive so I
am in no hurry to get them but since I am in Taiwan
I may take the opportunity to retest and get a pair
just because glasses are cheaper here or so I am told.


Photo blogs are nice - if you have content

I was just blog surfing a minute ago - I have to say I like photo

blogs. Among all the places I have been to, and places I've
photographed - I just might exceed my quota on blogspot.
Why in the world don't put my photos up on this site? With all
the camera equipment I own - why not?
Has anyone heard of the worst traveler/tourist? Well I would
have to be nominated for that one because yes I am the worst
SOLO tourist. I'm not sure if I can go as far as saying that I am
the world's worst but close to it anyway. Whenever I go places
I just act and do everything local people do, and either forget
my camera at home or just don't bother taking pictures. Perhaps
I have the feeling that the camera is an intrusion. I don't seem to
have any trouble traveling with friends but I still don't remember
to click the shutter. I do tend to think that photography is more
of an art form rather than "memories". So my excuse for not
having a photo blog maybe that I just cannot find anything
worthwhile here in Taiping. Truth is Taiping is really just a big
residencial slum like all residencial slums - Vancouver, Toronto,
Tokyo, Osaka, Qingdao, Lyon, Paris, Venice, Prague, etc etc
the list goes on and on. What can you except from a city?
Just the same boring repetive home to work commute. I need
to see the mountains and sea but the public transportation here
in Taiwan outside of Taipei is useless.

The Chinese Lunar New Year

The lunar new year is coming up next week and I thought I write a
bit more on the subject. I thought it was interesting to note that
just like Japanese culture the house is cleaned on December 31,
the same is done here only the house is cleaned before the lunar
New Year and a special type of couplet/poem is written and
placed above the entrance ways.

Chun lian is a special type of duilian and is used only during the
lunar New Year. While duilian is permanent, chunlian is a
temporary decoration but with changing times some people may
keep them up all year long. These couplets are written on vertical
strips of red paper in the best calligraphic style, and not made on
Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia Fireworks like these. But in
these changing times I am sure it is no longer uncommon!

The first, called upper line is posted on the right side of the front
entrance way. The second, called lower line is posted on the left
side of the front entrance. In addition a third horizontal line may
be posted across and on top of the front entrance.

So this is the couplet

The translation is as follows:
The first(right side): Spring arrives, birds sing, fragrant flowers
The second(left side): Winter leaves, clear mountain water sparkles
The third(top): Spring returns to earth

**Please note: I am using a Japanese OS to type these characters.
There maybe some differences from the Chinese characters.
For example: 透or秀. The simplified and the traditional form.


Or Bingxu in Chinese, years are named in 60-year cycles with the name of the year repeated every 60-years. This year is the seventh year of the 60 year cycle. This year will be the year 4703. Interesting fact: Did you know that 2004 was a leap year? I don't mean just one day added to the year but according to the lunar calendar a month is added sometime around the second month of the lunar new year. ...and where was my extra pay check!

Digital paper cutout. The new age of an ancient Japanese craft, kirie (切り絵), originally Chinese. The idea is by no means original, a search will probably identify hundreds of sites.
I couldn't wait until next week, January 29th so I had to post it now, well more to come later. I suppose, that means I better get working.

Lunar New Year

It's that time of year to ring in the Lunar New Year, not this
weekend but the next. Unless you have family/relatives,
probably a better place in my opinion to be is outside China
and not here. Even for travelers, I'd suggest staying away
unless you like crowded buses, trains, airports etc etc....

Well reality being I am here and no way of leaving
because - THEY'VE GOT My Passport! The Canadian Trade
Office in Taipei that is. Well they do have good reason - renewal
so I'll be getting it back sometime late February --- Hopefully.

I couldn't imagine myself traveling at this time of year anyway
so I thought might as well get it done and over with.

There isn't much to do in Taiwan so I think I will be working on
my translations of Japanese dances for nearly the entire new
year break - one week. Something I have been wanting to do for
quite some time but haven't had the time. I should say that the
translations are actually lesson sheets with the dance
movements for students. I thought it would make an interesting
future post as well as perhaps the subject of a future second book.


Name cards

Well today I was given five packs of name cards by my school.
Probably, about 500 or so there. The thought is nice but I am
not exactly sure what am I going to do with 500 name cards.
Since I don't drive I am seriously limited to the places I can go
and when I go. Therefore, I do not have the chance of meeting
anyone. According to the contract I am supposed to be recruiting
students and teachers but actually how can I, when I don't have
the time to get out and meet people? Public transportation and
the internet is my lifeline here. Between two if one or the other or
both are cut I am cut off from all communication and social life.
Well that might be going a little too far.... There is ofcourse the
telephone, which I don't use that much.

Perhaps I should post the cards on public bill boards or
something, unfortunately my private information is on it and I
don't like the idea.


Brain size of administrators

I have decided to title this post: "Brain size of administrators"
but may include "business people" as well. When I say brain size,

I do mean that their brain size may be smaller than the average
human being. I have the feeling that they just do not do things
logically but rather what is profitable, which may include doing
things illegally such as many small/medium sized Chinese

I recieved an E-Mail from a friend yesterday, (whom I asked to
be a reference for me) he knew the call would be coming but was
caught off guard when the canadian government called from
Taiwan. It is not often that the canadian government calls from
Taiwan, when one lives in Canada. I cannot understand why they
could not have asked me for available/best times to call my
references - wouldn't that be more reasonable? What are they
trying to hide? Not very logical to me.

I recieved a phone call at work this morning from the canadian
trade office (I was not available in the morning so I recieved a
message). I called back later that afternoon and the call was
regarding the second reference I gave. They told me that I
gave the wrong phone number. I told them that I would have
to double check and get back to them tomorrow but feeling as
if I really wanted to know immediately I ran home to check
and found out the number was not wrong. I had written in:
"(+81)" for Japan and the phone number beginning with
"090-.......", don't they know that every country outside of
North America, I think uses the "0" prefix for domestic calls
and that "0" needs to be dropped when calling from a foreign
country? Or is the only country they call really just Canada?

I could go on and on citing strange examples of what
administrators/business people say or do but I do need to get
other things done.

Blog Changes

It's been about three months since I have started this blog thing and I have learned a few tricks and so forth but it is time, I think that I organize my three blogs according to topics. You may have noticed that the description of this blog in the header has changed and will no longer have: topics relating to pottery and foreign language acquision. I have added one topic and that will be travel - this topic will include photos of places I have been.

As for the topics on pottery and foreign language acquisition they will move to another more relavent blog - my main website. The third blog will is a blog entirely in the Japanese language.

Passport Renewal

It just gets more complex year after year. Not that the paperwork
is complex but it's the bureaucracy that gets complicated. I
wonder what is the benefit? Is security really that much of an
issue? I wonder if this security issue is just the fact that
everyone is so scared of losing their job to foreigners coming
into the country?

Anyway I spent two hours at the canadian trade office submitting
my application. When they looked at my passport photos, I get,
"Oh I'm sorry these are not acceptable, the color is off" They look
alright to me, besides a "professional" photographer did them, as
was called for in the application. They looked at my signature
and said again "Your signature must match your old passport".
After having so much trouble trying to sign like the old signature
I gave up and signed a declaration to change my signature.
They just don't make things easy. And the fees - three of them.
The passport fee of 75$ canadian, 25$ for consular service fee
(what is this I really wonder??!?!?) and because I didn't have a
garantor I needed to pay another 50$ to fill out another form,
which had exactly the same information as was contained on
the main passport application.

Just what is that consular service fee? And what is that
additional 50$ going towards? What service did I recieve? I
certainly didn't get "good" service from them to deserve that
extra 75$. Visa fees are pretty much the same as passport
fees - another way of ripping off travellers.


Amateur Radio

It has been over 12 years I took the amateur radio test in Canada,
after one call-sign change from VE7EIH I have had VE7ZAI ever
since. Since the new revisions by Industry Canada were
implemented I have never paid a single licence renewal fee. I am
ofcourse enjoying this delight very much especially since I don't
get a chance to get on the airwaves as much anymore. I think the
last time that I really enjoyed myself on the airwaves was in Japan
when I operated JA6GVM from Himeshima, Oita. The pleasures
of talking to people around the world using a mobile rig with only
a long wire antenna and 10 watts power! Ofcourse the second
delight was the fact that I was only one of three active DX
amateur radio operators on this remote little island of just
under 3000 people.

Well times are changing and I do try to get on the air whenever
possible. Last year, I acquired the cables for the THD7A (G)
portable transciever in order to allow me to set up a packet
station, I had some problems in acquiring the appropriate
software for Canada so I was forced to let the project go for
now, since I am in Taiwan at the moment. Hopefully, I will
be able to get back on the air one day.

New Portfolio

I am in the process of issuing or I should say re-issuing an artist
portfolio/catalogue of works soon. The first time I had trouble
with embedding the Japanese fonts. This time I managed to
re-design and the layout in Corel Draw 11. I am planning to have
an on-line version complete with links as well as the printable
Adobe PDF version ready by next month.

But I have first things first, my passport needs renewing. Not
that it is comming up for renewal but for anyone who has been
to China, Chinese visas are oversized taking up an entire page.
After having been in and out of China for the past two years I
have acculmuated my fair share and now I no longer have
pages left.

Since I have dual citizenship I thought why not leave Taiwan
on the Canadian passport, entering Japan on an American
passport and turning around and returning to Taiwan on an
American passport I couldn't see any trouble in it - completely
legal but after thinking about it I think I prefer to travel on a
Canadian passport just in case the USA is ever targeted again
and I become a victim of America's (or maybe it is better to
say Bush's) problems in the world.

The benefits of having two passports, and the consequences,
too perhaps!
If necessary you can play I spy, especially for me being
Japanese-American - Whose side are you on? or... It wasn't
me..... which one would you like to see ???
Government red-tape, you can't fight it but we can certainly
always have fun with it.

Well I might as well renew now rather than next year (when
my passport officially expires) as passport renewal services
are probably going to go up again.


Web content

They've done it. Those little Google Ads are amazing. They really do change and match my content even if the content on this page is not completely one subject but many subjects they manage to figure out what have I updated here.
It's a pretty amazing and powerful search engine I will say, they automatically configure to your browser's language - I admit I find it quite annoying at times when I do I search and my search is limited to just Japan just because my browser is Japanese. Why don't they have a country/language drop down menu so users can select which country they want to search if they really wanted to? Their new way of categorizing and listing websites, which  don't allow for the old fashion submit site is amazing and I have to say that I think I have created a pretty good website such that I have been placed at the very top of the Google search engine for the past month and a half! I guess good content truely is important to a good website and not just a bunch of hype. I have to admit that I often fail to pay much attention to my web stats , but I found it quite astonishing that this blog IF I write in it regularily gets on average about 15-20 hits a day with the average person sticking around for about 15 minutes! I never imagined that anyone would be wanting to read my content at all, let alone bookmark/refer me.
I have been reading a lot on web advertising lately and on average people tend to judge the content of a website in the first 10 seconds. I have never really believed this but after glancing at my stats and thinking about my own web browsering habits it probably is true.



I recently picked up a book about learning the Taiwanese

language. It's title in Chinese, 台語真簡単is a bit strange.
"Taiwanese very simple"!
Really?!?! For anyone who has learned Mandarin knows
that Mandarin has four tones but Taiwanese has more!
Well the book comes with 4 CDs and I have always thought
that words of encouragement should always be used rather
than negative words. I believe that there is just too much
negative words out there and they do nothing but discourage
foreign language learning.

It is not my intention to really learn the language but to
use the book for my personal research as well as have a
bit of fun on the side.


Africa AIDS Fund

I came across an interesting website the other day called the

Africa AIDS Fund. It is a US based NGO whom believe Africa's
AIDS epidemic poses a global threat to world health, which
according to the United Nations Committee on AIDS (UNAIDS)
by 2025, 90,000,000 Africans will die of AIDS.
Their plan, to send millions of units of an AIDS preventive drug
called, Genvia, to help stop the spread of AIDS. Genvia has
broad-spectrum activity against viruses, bacteria and spores.
It does not cure any disease but acts as a preventative measure.

From what I have read, it could be a break through in regards
to a female STD preventative measure but on the other hand
I wonder what if any are the long term or even short term side
effects are of using genvia. Can it be used as a contraceptive?
and I wonder if so is it reversable?

Apparently, the drug is approved by the Ministry of Health in
the People's Republic of China and recently the Republic of
Liberia has recently granted the Africa AIDS Fund official
representatives and the Philipines is curently reviewing and
taking the new Liberian law under advisement.

I wonder if this new drug may just become a habit and just
become a way of life for many in the developing world. I always
thought that if proper education about health were to be carried
out that health related diseases like AIDS could be reduced.
I remember when the avian influenza was taking toll on much
of South-East Asia Vietnam was one of the first places that
quickly brought the situation under control by way of a
nation-wide campaign focusing on education and hygiene.


Image vs Qualifications

From my experience working in Asia as a English language teacher

I am quite confident to say that Image precedes Qualifications in
most cases.
It is a very sad fact but it is the case everywhere in every country
but more prevalent in Asia. The difference may be very suttle but
still I believe it is there. School administration will never admit it
but it is implied through actions. There will never be strong words
like "fired", "white", "race", or any other words that may imply
"hatred" just a suttle brushing away of the subject matter anything
to avoid the subject will often be done. The truth may or may
never come out boiling away hidden underneath people's skins.

At one school I was never told that I was fired, at the end of one
month they just handed me my pay and complemented me on
being such a great teacher but the parents on the other hand
had a "grudge", or something "against" me. Obvilously they
were trying to brush it off of themselves and put the accountablity
on "someone" else, which is often the case in these situations.
Later the truth came out in what apparently was meant to be a
joke (definately not in my view), "Why don't you color your

Who takes the accountability? No one really in my view. The
accountability is always brushed under the table and onto
"someone" else's side of the table.


Foriegn Teachers vs Asian teachers

A Chinese friend once told me that foriegn English teachers are

supposed to be kind, gentle and make the students laugh. This
is the general thinking of most Asian students. Asian teachers
on the other hand tend to be stricter with thier students. I will
never forget the comment made by a former collegue of mine
who said how much he respected me in that I took the best of
both the foreign teacher and the Asian teacher and used them
both in the classroom. He further said that the foriegn teachers
tend to know how to stimulate their classes but they were hardly
ever strict with their students, while an Asian teacher would be
so strict but would lack ideas to stimulate their classes. This was
one the greatest things I have heard about me especially after
having being fired for being "too Chinese" looking. I remember
how some students would say how much they liked me but they
also said that I was just too strict.
I finally came to accept that maybe it is true that there perhaps
is a difference between foriegn and Asian teachers and that
although I was brought up in Canada I do tend to have more
Asian traits than foriegn traits despite an education mainly in


Traditional Japanese Dances of Himeshima

Traditional Japanese Dances of Himeshima



概要と七不 思議伝説、名誉村民、文化財、グラフティ、アクセス:詩情と伝説に包まれた島。

大 分県姫島村は瀬戸内海国立公園に位置する小さな島で、周防灘に浮かぶ四つの小さな火山でできた島であり、大分県東国東郡に属する村である。七平方キロメー トル弱で、村一つで成り立ち、その人口は、三千人弱である。美しい自然に囲まれ、深い歴史がある一つの小さな島で、古事記と日本書記にも記されている。こ れが姫島である。ここに私が書く本、五百年以上の歴史をもつ、姫島の有名な「キツネ踊り」と「アヤ踊り」を是非ご購読ください。そして姫島の住民たちが、 急激な変化とおしよせる近代化の渦のなかで、彼らの伝統を保ち続けていることを学んでください。大分 合同新聞平成16年11月12日の新聞記事

Learn English through Movies

Happy New Year!
I just came across this website learning English through movies

at: www.lingual.net through my Google ads. I checked it out for
the hell of it and they are pretty good, they have narratives,
animations , documentary as well as homemade.
Most clips are not too long and are quiet interesting.
A sure way to stimulate interest in learning English especially
amoung Junior Highschool students - hey the best thing is
that the price is right!

Now if I just can find a site dedicated to learning other languages
through movies that would be great....