Friday, September 29, 2006

Google Reader

For anyone who doesn't read the blogs of his friends: there is no excuse anymore. Today Google published a completely revised version of their Google Reader. Although I was already happily using the old version, this version is much and much better. In my opinion feed readers are a piece of web technology everyone should use, just like e-mail. Just invest that 30 minutes of your time to check it out, and live happily ever after.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Life in Tsukuba

Today it is exactly a month ago that Annett and I arrived in Japan, and it is about time that I tell you what it is like here in Tsukuba. All the pictures are, however, from our trip to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Easy life

What I probably like the most here in Tsukuba, is that life is so simple. Last year I had many things to arrange and was mentally exhausted when the summer holiday finally arrived. Here in Tsukuba, however, each day is uncomplicated. On a typical weekday I get up at 7:00, shower, have breakfast, do one and a half hour of learning Japanese, work for 7 hours, buy together with Annett some food at the supermarket or go to a noodle place, and have a relaxing evening. Practically no administration, and the only thing we have to arrange is which place we are going to visit in the weekend.

Our apartment

We have a fantastic apartment here. In contrary to what one would expect near Tokyo, it is about three times as big as the place where we used to live in Oslo. Furthermore it has air conditioning, internet, a washing machine, a modern Japanese toilet and everything else we could wish for, and more. As the land lord explained to me, the Japanese are gadget minded people. :)


Tsukuba Science City is a planned city, officially founded in 1987, that is home to more than 60 research institutes and of course the University of Tsukuba (where I'm a guest). It is a very pleasant, rather western city where everything is within biking distance. This is nice, since we were able to rent two bikes here. Its construction is ingeniously. The biking and shopping streets are on higher grounds and connected by air bridges, eliminating the "car factor" and enhancing the inner city feeling, while still easily reachable by car. After biking around a little bit, I discovered a road over these platforms leading, through parks, all the way to the University of Tsukuba with only one traffic light. It's a very nice place to go jogging.

Public Transport

As of 2005, there is the very rapid Tsukuba Express that takes you within 45 minutes into Akihabara Station, almost in the center of Tokyo. It leaves from under the bus station (underground), therefore not bothering you at all. The public transport in Tokyo is really amazing. Each day, about twenty million people use this system to travel within Tokyo, and it is extremely efficient. Despite its scale, it is very easy to understand. Even for a foreigner. I wish we would a system like that in Oslo...

The Japanese People

The Japanese are the kindest and most polite people I have ever met. Since one week before we came to Japan we were still in Romania, the culture shock was even bigger. We've had people stopping their car to give us directions, just because we looked lost, and coming after us again to give us extra help. When we went out biking to the middle of nowhere, getting terribly lost when it got dark, somebody led us home by driving in her car very slowly in front of us. I will write more about that in another post. :) They are all amazingly nice, and I doubt if we ever want to leave this place...

For more pictures, see Annett's picture site.

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'Hypoallergenic cats' go on sale

According to BBC news, 'hypoallergenic cats' go on sale. That's great, now we can also have a cat! 4.000 dollar is still a little prizy though, but it might go down pretty fast.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

News from Tsukuba

Yes, I'm still alive. I know I am being lazy, but Annett has written another piece about Tsukuba. Very soon I am going to make a post about what we do here, and that's a promise.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Goonies Remake is Finished!

In a previous post I wrote to tell you that Brain Games had started to remake The Goonies, one of my favourit MSX games. Three days ago they finished and submitted the result for the Retro Remakes, The Big 2006 Compo. The result is amazing and a must-play. It is released under the GPL and there are Windows and MacOS binaries available. Check it out on The Goonies Website.

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First Week in Tsukuba

Annett has written about our first week in Tsukuba. If you're interested, check it out!

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