Saturday, April 21, 2012


About a week ago, I had just finished processing my weekly picture after a ridiculous 2.5 day business trip to Spain (more on that in another post). Desperately in need of sleep, I turned off my computer for the night, planning to write up the story behind the picture the next day. The following morning, I boot up my computer, expecting to run through the usual flow of email, facebook, soccer news, and weather, just like any other day. That's where everything went terribly wrong.

My computer is dying. The only way it can start up is in safe mode. Everything is still safe on the hard drive, but the computer itself can do almost nothing. Startup Repair couldn't fix it and System Restore didn't change anything. I've read around on a lot of help forums to try to find the cause of the problem, but there's not much out there that actually provides a conclusive answer. It seems to have sorted itself out for some, while the discussion just sort of trails off for others... I'm hoping it's a software error, an update gone bad or something, though some have suggested that it means the hard drive is starting to fail. The general recommendation is to run the Disk Check program from safe mode and go from there. It came up clean, but still won't start up properly. Time to look for new ideas...

 I've backed up all my pictures with my external hard drive, but need to buy another drive to take on the rest of my files. In the meantime, I'm borrowing my girlfriend's spare Sony netbook. The screen is tiny and it runs about as fast as a three-legged dog, but it's better than nothing. My Sony computer worked well for about 3 months after I bought it back in 2007, but has been disappointing ever since. I'm not talking about disappointing in a "the hardware is old and slow" sense, I'm talking about being a shitty product. I've taken pretty good care of it in terms of maintenance and what not, but it has still had countless stupid problems, both hardware and software related, on a consistent basis. The touchpad, the fingerprint scanner, their special function buttons, the power management software, there are sooooo many things that this computer has failed at. I will most certainly never buy another Sony computer again and, quite honestly, I might not buy another Sony product. I had fully intended to replace this computer once I was back home anyways and now I imagine I will be that much more delighted to finally get my hands on a computer that doesn't suck.

This is probably the worst possible time for my computer to have died. I'm less than two months away from moving back to the US and most certainly not going to buy a replacement with a Japanese keyboard and Japanese OS. At the same time, I have so many things to take care of that require a computer: hotel reservations for a trip to Thailand in two weeks, logistics for moving back to the US, finding a place to live and roommates in Cali, the list goes on and on. Between this little hot pink netbook and my work computer, I can get by for the absolutely crucial tasks, but there is lots more that will have to be put on hold.

Weekly Mad Men fix? Dead. This computer can barely handle youtube, much less HD video and I'll be damned if I'm going to watch the show on this 6in screen. Looks like I'll be having a Season 5 marathon sometime in June.

52 Weeks Project? Probably on hold. This computer would probably self destruct at just the thought of running Lightroom for photo editing and I don't want to post pictures for the project that aren't great. Even if I were to shoot in JPEG instead of RAW and just upload as-is, this screen is too small to properly check whether or not I got the shot right and I can't access flickr from the office because of the company'S firewall. I want to keep taking the weekly pictures, so maybe I'll just write the stories now, upload the actual photos later and backdate posts once I've got a proper computer again.

Even the existence of this blog is now in question. "Tekitokyo" is hardly a relevant name for my blog if I'm not living in Tokyo anymore and I'd already been playing with the idea of starting up a new blog once I moved back. Given that I likely won't be able to upload pictures for the near future, I probably won't post much, if at all during the next two months. I've got one last weekly photo that I managed to get up onto flickr before the crash that I'll write about, but that might be the last I have to say on here before signing off in June.

I'll keep fiddling around with my computer and see if I can't save it somehow. Maybe I'll wipe it clean and completely reinstall Windows once I've backed everything up. Hopefully something will work...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

[ 14 / 52 ]

Week Fourteen : Onward
Week 14

After nearly nine months fighting my way through the nightmarish process of MBA admissions, I have made my decision. In the end, I was admitted to three top-tier schools and waitlisted by another, but there was only one school that was right for me and what I want to do with my future. Starting this summer, I will be a member of the UC Berkeley MBA class of 2014.

I hate the word "passion" and think it is widely abused these days so I won't use it here, but the tech industry is definitely where I see myself in the future. Going to Berkeley will put me right in the heart of that world and I'm excited for all the opportunities that this will offer me. I haven't decided what specifically I will be aiming to do but, regardless of that choice, there are few better places to open the right doors.

In many ways, an MBA is huge turning point in one's life and career. I expect big things to come from this and am as eager to see what the future brings as I ever have been. This will be a fantastic adventure and I hope to truly make the most of it.

Camera Info: Canon 7D | 35mm | f/ 8.0 | ISO 1600 | 1/6 s

Monday, April 2, 2012

[ 13 / 52 ]

Week Thirteen : Good Morning?

Week 13

Technically this picture wasn't taken in time for week 13 of the 52 Weeks Project as it is sunrise on Monday morning, but I'm going to let it slide.

Friday afternoon, we got a call at work from a client telling us they wanted us to come in and pitch our services to them. It's always great when clients are calling and this is one of the biggest names in Japanese electronics, so we would love to have their business. The catch: they wanted us to come in Monday afternoon.

The result was a whirlwind 72 hours that saw me leave the office at 4am, 6am, and 4:30am. Working with my colleagues in London in Madrid, it was like living on some obscene hybrid of JST and GMT. I got to be at the center of everything happening on the Tokyo side I think I probably felt more like a proper banker than at any other point since joining Daiwa and while it's certainly not the way I'd want to spend most of my weekends, as an experience it was great.

With the project completely sneak attacking me on Friday and the consecutive late nights, I never had a chance to take my picture for the week. I did, however, get to catch a couple of great sunrises (It was already light out on the day I left at 6am). This shot is from the last of the three days and thus technically Monday morning, but I've always been of the opinion that a day doesn't actually end until you go to bed, so from my perspective it still counts as Sunday and fair game for Week 13.

I think the fact that it marked then end of what felt like an epic battle makes this picture beautiful to me. I look at it and remember the way I felt looking out from my balcony as the sky grew lighter. It was a feeling of knowing that as intense and exhausting as it had all been, we had done some damn good work. It was a feeling of conquest.

Camera Info: Canon 7D | 10mm | f/ 5.6 | ISO 500 | 1/8 s