Weeknotes #144

in weeknotes

  • Emma had her first sports festival of primary school on Saturday. I’ve always known this event as an undōkai (運動会) but Emma’s was technically called an undōhappyōkai (運動発表会) (the ‘happy’ in there is pronounced more like ‘ha-py’). To my non-native speaking ears, that has the nuance of an event that’s less about pure physical exertion and more about the display of physical exertion. In any event, Emma had a good time. She had a dance routine that she performed with her entire year and a 50-metre sprint.

  • On Sunday, we rented a car and went over to Ikebukuro to get the kids’ Japanese passports. It’s embarrassing as an Australian how much better the process was comparatively. Eri paid less, waited less and picked hers up on a Sunday. I’m still waiting for Rowan’s passport to arrive.

  • After collecting the passports, we swung by Toshima Kids Park (Japanese website). The image on that site doesn’t do the park justice, you get a much better sense of how cool it looks from the photos on the Google Maps listing. Unfortunately it looks much cooler to everyone and so, as a result, entrance is limited on the weekends to those who’ve reserved a time. We made do by having lunch at the park immediately next to it.

  • While we’re not a strict screen time family, I do try to maintain some semblance of order by generally limiting television to certain times. One of those times is in the morning which, as well as keeping them occupied, doubles as an opportunity to watch live television (which they rarely do). From Monday to Saturday, that means we watch NHK’s educational channel but on Sunday we have a bit of a conundrum: like the Australia of my youth, Sunday mornings are a desert of children’s programming. My solution is to watch the livestream of Australia’s ABC Kids channel. This doubles (I guess triples at this point) as a means to watch shows that the kids might not choose themselves. All of which is a painful level of build-up to say that Sesame Street has changed since I was a child and I don’t like it. I was talking about it with Eri (who also watched it as a child) and we both noted the far greater level of focus on characters like Elmo and Abby as the problem.

  • Eugenia told me that Granny Smith apples are originally from Australia; a fact I didn’t believe until seeing it on Wikipedia. Perhaps this explains why they’re all but non-existent in Japan?

  • I enjoyed this post about Generation X by W. David Marx. It’s a short post, but he connects the complaints about ‘cultural stasis’ to the etymology of Generation X in a way that’s fascinating.

  • Amazon has a system now for reserving a spot to buy a PS5. I’ve put my name down but am still not sure if I’ll actually go through with it. The impetus was the belief (hope?) that it would lead to a better experience using Remote Play on the iPad. It works now but my lowly PS4 isn’t powerful enough to stream in 1080p and, even at 720p, has difficulty maintaining consistent visual quality.

  • Speaking of games, John Romero gave an amazing talk about the early years of id Software at this year’s StrangeLoop conference of all places (YouTube). The talk itself is about 40 minutes but he then does a 30-minute-or-so Q&A and it’s the only time I can remember willingly watching a recorded Q&A. Highly recommended for people as old as me.

  • I listened to Kid A again the other night (Apple Music). I wrote last week about falling out of love with Björk, and while that’s true to some degree with Radiohead, Kid A is an example of an album that I didn’t like when I first heard it but have grown to deeply appreciate over time.

Michael Camilleri inqk.net