Thursday, March 17, 2011

Staying cool

I'm no radiologist but from what I can tell I don't think Tokyoites have much to worry about. 

The first chart comes from a blogger in Tokyo who has rigged his computer to a Giger counter.  Recorded radiation levels seem to be normal (the spike at 9am occurred when he accidentally unplugged the counter). As you can see, readings from yesterday and today are more or less stable at 20 CPM. 

Second chart comes from the Japan Times.  It says the body can take up to 500 millisieverts of radiation before it has a toxic effect on the body. 

Math works like this:  20 CPM is equivalent to about 0.0002 millisierverts per hour. The radiation in Tokyo is lethal, it'll just take 285 years to (partially) kill you. 

That's not to say that we shouldn't exercise caution. The situation in Fukushima could take a drastic turn for the worse. Luckily radiation measurements are reliable and precise (anthropologists use it to date artifacts). If Tokyo were in trouble we'd definitively know. 

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Morality, religion, and the speedo

I found a wedding ring at the bottom of the pool today. When I waved in the direction of a life guard, a middle aged Japanese man came rushing toward me all smiles. He gave me the 90 degree bow and proceeded to grab both my hands and thank me as if I'd lent him my toilet after an Indian buffet. The demonstration would have been over the top without the speedo and swimming cap.

Sarcasm aside, got to say it felt good. In many ways I was as excited to return the ring as he was to receive it.

I'm a pretty careless guy. One time while rushing for the train bound for the airport I dropped my wallet. Some woman picked it up and literally ran to return it to me before I got on the train. Incidences like these are hardly rare in Japan. Foreigners are
typically amazed to see cellphones, cameras and wallets left in taxi's magically returned to them.

I've heard that the difference between Asian morality and Western morality is the difference between society and God. In the east you don't do bad things because society judges you. When you are alone therefore you can do whatever you want. In the west you are never alone. God is watching you always.

Learning Chinese

This translates to "I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Satoshi Kawase. I live and work in Japan but I am American".

It took me roughly 6 months of weekly 3 hour one-on-one language sessions for me to get this. Chinese is one hard language.

One of the great ironies of my life is that I'm fascinated by other cultures but an utter failure at languages. This morning my stated task was to study Chinese. I decided to wash the dishes first. Then, I cleaned my entire apartment. I don't particularly enjoy housework but apparently I enjoy it more than studying Chinese.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

NBA 2K11 - I have defeated thee

It took me nearly a month, almost destroyed my relationship with my girlfriend, and caused me to alienate nearly every person I know but I finally won the NBA championship on 2K11. That's my fantasy team consisting of Amare Stoudimire, Andre Iguodala, and Jrue Holiday hangin' with a CGI Obama that does't quiet cross the unreality valley. Was it worth it? I'll let the picture speak for itself.