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November 30, 2005

Men Cut Maguro with Long Blade

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/30s / f/4.5
ISO800

As we were walking about Tsukiji we had an overwhelming feeling of not knowing what to expect next. A forklift could turn into you, a huge fish could be in its final death throws, or three mean could be seen hacking away at a giant tuna with what appeared to be a sword. Crazy.

 

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Main > Photoblog

November 29, 2005

Gutted Maguro

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/40s / f/4
ISO400

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It has been five days since my last posting. Too much turkey at Thanksgiving must have gone off to my head. This week I shall do a short series on tuna.

Here you can see like when the tuna is whole, sans head and tail of course. Why this guy is off by himself on a box, I'm not sure. Perhaps he's special somehow!

 

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Main > Photoblog

November 23, 2005

Creatures From the Deep

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/60s / f/6.3
ISO (Adj.)400 (+0.30 EV)

Too bad it is Thanksgiving and not Halloween. This picture I feel would have been very apropos. There aren't many things that make my stomach squirm, but I have to say that seeing something else's stomach squirm can induce a little sympathetic motion.

I am nearly certain that the sign says these are "アニコツ" (anikotsu) but I haven't been able to find a definition for that word anywhere. For all I know this is Japanese fisherman slang for, "scary looking as hell, but probably good on rice." Anybody out there have a clue what these nasties are? Extra points if you can tell me if they are good eats!

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

UPDATE: My friend Satoshi wrote in to tell me how my near certainty was certainly wrong. The sign reads, "アンコウ." They are still disgusting looking although I am warming up to the idea that properly prepared it could, perhaps, taste good.

 

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Main > Photoblog

November 21, 2005

Roe

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 40mm
Shutter / Aperture1/100s / f/3.5
ISO400

Let's keep it orange. Does this picture make you appetized or disgusted?

It was really interesting to see these in still shaped like a tube just as they were unpacked from the fish. Now that's fresh!

 

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Main > Photoblog

Fashionable Red Snapper

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 45mm
Shutter / Aperture1/200s / f/3.5
ISO (Adj.)800 (+0.30 EV)

I think these are red snapper, but I don't think I had ever seen red snapper with such big eyes before. Several of them had nose rings like the one in the middle, above. I thought that that had made them very fashionable.

 

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Main > Software > jFlash

November 20, 2005

jFlash 1.5 Released

After more than a year of on-and-off development I finally got up the intertia to release a new version of jFlash. There are many changes in this release. Here is what is most important:

jFlash v1.5 Screenshot

JavaScript Code Clean-Up

The real value of the jFlash system is within the JavaScript source. It is fairly well thought out, well organized, and portable. There have been many enhancements to the JavaScript side of things this release, most importantly compatibility bug fixes and the breaking out of the many JavaScript classes into seperate files. I am using the method outlined in "Javascript includes - yet another way of RPC-ing" over at phpied.com.

UI Updates

Visual feedback on whether you got an answer correct or not is more clear now. Counters change color, your score is updated likewise, and a little message is printed. Keybindings were added so that a user doesn't accidentally terminate their jFlash session by pressing the enter key. There were also a few other, smaller tweaks.

Fuzzy-Logic Answering Capability

I must be crazy.

About a year ago, I experimented with a few fuzzy text-matching algorithms and discovered that the simple MCWPA string-distance algorithm wasn't bad for drawing a line on how close to answers were to eachother.

My purpose was simple: have jFlash ask the user to type in a phrase or translation and score it as "correct" if they do not butcher it too badly.

The result was a 100% JavaScript implemenation of the MCPWA algorithm and an extra parameter in the XML format that allows a user to set a threshold for how close an answer must be before it is scored as correct. I could imagine it might be useful to use this algorithm in other spots, including (possibly) form validation.

You can try your hand a this rather contrived Italian phrase translation demo here.

What's Next

It had been a year since the last release and I am hoping that it will take substancially less time before I make another. As I stated before, the "good parts" of this application are all within the JavaScript. The PHP front-end is hackish and poorly organized.

I would like to reimplment the front end, possibly in ruby, and remove any web-server requirements. Let me know if you have any thoughts.

As before, pleasse drop me a note and tell me how you find the software!

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Main > Photoblog

November 17, 2005

Tenative Disapproval

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/80s / f/3.5
ISO200

It is impossible to capture the true sense of scale of Tsukijii. Imagine what genuinely feels like unending rows and rows of fish stalls with walking paths barely a person wide being shared between shopper and forklift alike. Qiuet does not exist here naturally, it must be created and saved in moments such as these.

 

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Main > Photoblog

November 16, 2005

Bloody Eels

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/3.5
ISO800

Tsukiji is an intense carpet bombing upon the senses. Color, smell, sound, and millions and millions of small deaths in a square kilometer of fishy Auschwitz. It may be graphic but it is sure is good on rice.

 

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Main > Photoblog

November 14, 2005

Fish Wallah

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 42mm
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/3.5
ISO800

Clean little pans of silvery little fishes.

 

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Main > Photoblog

November 11, 2005

Tako Butt

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 50mm
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/3.5
ISO800

Okay, okay I know this isn't actually the octopus's butt. Butt once the title came to me, I couldn't shake it loose.

 

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Main > Photoblog

Geoduck Clam

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 40mm
Shutter / Aperture1/100s / f/3.5
ISO800

Technically definitely not the best picture in the world, but I wanted to share it with y'all because I love these little critters: the geoduck clam. Did you know they can live up to nearly 150 years? Well...not these guys anyway.

 

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Main > Photoblog

November 8, 2005

Blue and Gray Fish on Ice

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 42mm
Shutter / Aperture1/30s / f/3.5
ISO800

 

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Main > Photoblog

A World of Bonito

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 42mm
Shutter / Aperture1/40s / f/3.5
ISO400

Here comes an exhausted pun: things are about to get fishy around here for awhile. And so horribly begins my series on Tsukiji Fish Market.

 

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Main > Photoblog

November 5, 2005

Karaoke

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/20s / f/4.5
ISO (Exp. Adj.)3200 (+0.3EV)

When I review my pictures of Japan, I find a lot of them are pictures of people in small rooms taken without a flash. Despite the physical intimacy imposed by a constant lack of space I find Japan to be one of the least intimate countries in the world. In my experience, one must carve out a sense of belonging and home in Japan—especially as a foreigner.

For this reason it makes me happy to think that I've got people I can instantly pick up a conversation and feel comfortable with on the other side of the Pacific. Jesse (pictured right) I have already briefly introduced you to in one of his poorer moments. Akiko (pictured left) I have known now going on six years.

She and I had met when I was barely 20 years old and had been sent to Japan by my employer to help salvage a potentially large engineering project that wasn't going well. Akiko and I spent 18 hours of every day for more than two months trying to make things go right. I felt as though I was on board the International Space Station and we were orbiting the moon. I think in all the time that I spent in Japan, I had two weekends off and a vacation back to the United States for the forth of July. Our relationship being forged and in tempered in the hellfires of unreasonable computer engineering project expectations, she has become one of my closest friends living abroad today.

Since college, Jesse has been one of my closest friends living anywhere. When the three of us get together in Japan there is a tendency to have such a ridiculously good time together that we tend to feel depressed the next day. The depression could have something to do with all the booze and the multiple-days worth of sleep deprivation too, I suppose.

 

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Main > Photoblog

November 3, 2005

Typically Tokyo Subway Scene

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/30s / f/3.5
ISO400

The uniformity of Japanese macro-culture can be deafening at times. Always interesting to me is the practice of looking as annoyed, bored, or displeased as possible while riding any form of mass transportation. How you can sit next to a close friend for two hours and not share conversation until exiting is a mystery to me.

This practice is so strong I've even found myself scowling at those young upstarts that think they can have a good time. Shut up! I'm trying to be miserable over here!

 

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November 1, 2005

Throngs of Shibuya

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/25s / f/4.5
ISO1600

Part of looking back at a collection of photos you've taken is having that photo act as a key to unlock a thought that had occurred to you when you were snapping the shutter. At the time I took this photo, I recall comparing the multitudes of people I had just left in my daily life in India to the people crossing this famous intersection.

In both places there were many twenty to thirty year olds. All were busy, in a hurry, trying to get where they were going. In both places there was a distinct sense of chaos. But in Japan, the people where well fed, clean and neat in their designer suits and shoes. There were no missing limbs or piles of garbage or billowing yellow-brown plumes of pollution from some unregulated factory. Only shiny bright lights and shiny bright people.

I remember the chill that having that thought gave me and the wash of guilt that followed. The contrast was exhilarating.

 

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