Thursday, February 3, 2011


I received an e-mail the day before yesterday notifying that I am admitted to the EMBA program I mentioned previously. The program starts in May and I have to do a lot of preparation before that.

Yesterday, I replied to the offer letter from the faculty by e-mail and by snail mail after that, and went to the bank to have my balance statement made in English for the I-20 form and eventually F-1 Student Visa by the U.S. Government.

I haven't talked to my superior about my enrollment since I was not admitted yet. I am really unsure whether they would approve of my study when I tell them even if I only have to take time off from work to attend the 6 sessions 2 weeks each during 15 month period of the program... I might have to quit my current job although I have to fund the extremely expensive tuition.

Still, I'm optimistic despite the situation and looking forward to attending the classes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Absolute Pitch

I'm thinking about having my daughter acquire "absolute pitch" ("AP"). AP (aka "perfect pitch") is the ability to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of an external reference. More plainly, if you have it, you can tell which sound it is in the musical scale ("C, D, E, F... " or "do, re, mi, fa...") when you hear whatever sound it is. It's an amazing ability. Even when you hear a chirping bird or a dripping tap, you can identify its note. That well-known classical musician Mozart is also said to have had such an ability (he was said to have the ability to SEE sounds as various colors!).

It is said that children can acquire this ability only during a limited period of time (between 2 and 6 years old) and that it generally takes 1 to 2 years to earn it. The earlier you start, the easier. Once you earn it, it will last for the rest of your life. There are some music schools where they train children for AP in Japan (mainly in Tokyo).

In Japan, not a few parents at least once consider the same thing as myself especially if their children are females. The reasons are sometimes unclear. In most cases, it is not that those parents want their children to become professional musicians. In fact, they tend to think the ability as a gift for their children only parents can give since its window is open only for a limited time when they are too little to decide anything on their own. They expect their children to appreciate it in the future because it would make their lives more joyful. These children will be able to compose and play music very easily.

From time to time I clumsily strum my guitar and hum a song for fun. I imagine what my life would be like if my parents had let me acquire the ability...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I sometimes spend time in a Starbucks in Roppongi because it's close to my workplace.

I think Roppongi is the most multicultural city in Japan. In the cafe, there are always foreign people from all over the world, like the Philippines, US, China, South Korea, Latin Americas, African countries, Russia, Romania, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, UK, Middle Eastern countries... It's because there are many foreign embassies around there.

Roppongi is well known for its night life especially among foreign people in Tokyo. There are a lot of clubs, bars and restaurants open until morning.

TV celebrities also love Roppongi and are often seen in those places, some of which are rumored to be run by yakuza (Japanese mafiosos).

Rumor has it that a real estate company that acquired a piece of land in the center of Roppongi a few years ago leased it out as a public parking before construction of a building on it and had to offer eight free lots to local eight yakuzas respectively in return of "protection". The company must have been very careful for the yakuza lots not to be next to each other. Otherwise, there would be a war between them...

Now I'm writing this in the Starbucks in Roppongi over a coffee. I'm feeling like I'm traveling in an unknown country surrounded by different faces from every corner of the world...

Sunday, January 9, 2011


The German friend also recommended me the book "The Creature from Jekyll Island" by G. Edward Griffin. It is about the history where central banks played significant roles in waging wars and exploiting people especially in the UK and the US. They have allegedly detached their money from the true value such as gold, attached it to mere paper and manipulated it by inflating and deflating "money supply". The book was somewhat shocking to me, for it displayed many an evidence documentation indicating the governments and corporates have conspired to make wars, revolutions and depressions happen to profit from them.

I like this book very much because it is mental intriguing, but I hate it when I have to explain the book to my friends because I always sound like I am talking about a dubious conspiracy theory.

When I look into related articles, I bumped into a book called "Meltdown" by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. The book is a recent bestseller in US and also covers "Lehman Shock". Woods is a scholar from "Austrian School", the most famous from which is Friedrich Hayek, a former Nobel Prize Laureate in economics. This book is non-conspiracy but very critical of the central banks along the same line with "The Creature from Jekyll Island". They have also had significant influence on Ron Paul who is a Libertarian congressman from Texas that wrote "End the Fed".

This is the book that explains the current economic situation excellently and I have recommended all my friends to read it.

The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse


A German friend (and client) lent me a US movie called "Idiocracy", which is not released in Japan, the other day and I loved it. He was saying he had also loved it and already seen it several times. The story is about the human world 500 years from now. A very ordinary military man and a street girl are frozen in an experiment by the US military and travel through time by accident. They end up with the first couple in US where people's intelligence has deteriorated for 500 years. It was a hilarious comedy but contains something you cannot enjoy blindly. I like the character, "the former US President Camacho" the best!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Android Kindle

I started using the smart phone as my e-book reader after downloading a Kindle application from Before that, I was using a Kindle reader to read my e-books. I decided to use the former as my default reader because it is lighter and smaller, it responds to my commands more quickly, and its display is brighter and clearer, than the conventional Kindle reader. With this, I can read e-books in a crowded commuter train without any frustration.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Green Tea

I usually drink coffee or black tea after lunch at a coffee shop (in Tokyo, Tully's, Dotour and Renoir are popular chains except Starbucks.) However, as most of the food you can eat in central Tokyo is fatty and greasy, I sometimes miss green tea to cleanse my palate. Strong green tea is an acquired taste that I love the most. Yet as opposed to your expectation, there is practically nowhere you can drink proper green tea. You can buy proper green tea at any supermarkets or green tea shops all right. You are still even served proper green tea at your client's office with considerable probability (although you don't normally drink it at your own desk for some unknown reason!) Therefore, for the most part, I have to wait until I'm back at home whenever I want to drink green tea. I really wish someone would make proper green tea for me while I'm working...