Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tip #4 refills...

Okay this is probably overdone...but! I have a good one for ya.

So you've already read that to save some money, you should buy refills. Yes that is true and I completely agree. You can find many household and body care items that are in refill packs at a reduced price.

Hand soap is even one of those items. But what type do you get? Say you buy the fancy foaming soap and then you want to get the refill? But OOPS! you bought regular soap!!! Oh noes! (lol) well to me, you bought the more economical one. "But mine's a foaming one and the regular soap won't work," you say...well don't go back to the store just yet. All you need to do is fill your container with about a third of the regular soap refill + water...yes water. Then give it a quick shake and test her out. It works! Woot! and you still have more of the soap left meaning you saved on your next refill! The only "problem" with this method is the occasional buildup of soap around the spout..but just clean that up and it's good as new. So not really a problem ;)

happy hunting!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Woot! Debian 6.0.0(Wheeze) is out and installed on my netbook!

So I had Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "installed" using wubi from Windows7. That was a pain in the ass and it often froze. Boy did I have to use the alt+sysreq+f and all other combos a lot to stop it from freezing. Had to do the a+s+reisub combo plenty of times too! But it was still half a year till the new Debian would be out so I stuck with it. Not that Ubuntu is just wasn't my flavor. In the past I've used Slackware (something like 3.5-7), Red Hat (4 - don't remember) so Ubuntu wasn't as in depth of an OS as the others since it's geared for newer linux users (yes I know it's based off of Debian but it really isn't anything like Debian). I like tinkering so Slackware was great. But yeah I installed Wheeze on the netbook and it worked like a charm. Only had 2 issues.

1st was that Windows 7 was detected during the install but not listed in Grub2 but that was easily remedied by doing update-grub (as seen here towards the bottom in the Errata section). That will look at your partition tables and reinstall grub2 with windows included.

2nd was getting UIM (Universal Input Method) to work properly. I got everything installed and started but it wouldn't respond to my hot keys or input Japanese! So after hours of searching, I figured it out. You have to change which input method your system uses! So if you have im-config or im-switch, use that and click on the radio for your input method. Mine for example was UIM so I chose that...otherwise if you use SCIM choose that, etc. After setting that, my hot keys worked and the Japanese input worked like a charm!

I have to say that I like it a whole lot better and it is much more stable than Ubuntu. I didn't however like Iceweasel too much since Coolpreviews didn't work with it...So I installed Firefox 4 beta and wow, that thing is pretty fast! It still uses a lot of memory but cpu usage is really low! And I have my coolpreviews back, although a few other addons don't work now. ugh. Anywhoo....I need to update my main amd64 laptop to wheeze soon and that should be fun backing up my system and then restoring everything to working order. After that, I won't be looking at Ubuntu again and no more updating every other day either! sheesh that was a pain.
Debian ftw!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Japan Tip #3...what you really don't need to bring from back home

Okay so you're coming to Japan and you've been told that you need to bring this and this because they don't have it in Japan or it's too expensive to purchase there. Well, they were telling you half-truths.

1. Yes they do have deodorants but NOT antiperspirants (although there are a few if you look hard enough).

2. Neckties are expensive, NOT! I've found decent ones for just 3-400 yen! so just bring a few and get the rest here.

3. For women...They in fact DO have tampons and pads (are they the same things? they have the little thing you put in and the pads). So don't fret, you can get them here.

4. Toothpaste...if you have a preference then yeah bring it. Otherwise there is only ONE toothpaste with flouride (which you will need since they don't put it in the water system or anywhere in Japan). They have Aquafresh so if you don't mind that brand then save the weight.

5. Mouthwash. Well there are a lot here now but you have to look a bit for Listerine. But I think it's worth the hunt. Don Quixote (not spelled that way though >_>; ) is a major super center so you can get tons of stuff cheap and Listerine for cheap too! The only place I buy it.

6. Hot peppers! Although it's hard to come by, you can usually find pepper plants at a home super center. I found Habanero, "chili bombs", jalapeƱo, korean spicy chilies. But if you don't grow them yourself, you're out of luck. You can freeze them after harvesting time and add it to food as you go during the winter months. But if you have a sun room, you can continue growing them throughout the winter. I did that with the habanero and it continued until Feb when I decided to cut it down to get it ready for the next season.
Tip: as long as you don't let a ripe chili drop naturally, you can continue thru the next season. But if it does drop then the plant automatically stops producing and you need to use the seed to start over from scratch. So harvest when it just turns ripe and it will continue on.

What they don't have but should...

1. Flaming hot cheetos, and lots of it!

2. Affordable's too damn expensive here!

3. Taco Bell outside of the US bases!!! argh! I want taco bell so bad >_<;

4. a lot of other things that will make this list too long!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tip #2...for those that are about to come to Japan and don't have a place to live...yet

Well, I say to you, don't wait for someone to get you a rocking place. For you future ALT's out there...You might get lucky and have a place provided by the BOE or even partially subsidized for you. One friend (well 2 since one took over for the other) had a place provided for only 2000 yen a month! Mine was a lot more at 25000 yen a month. That's the equivalent of $25, and $280 a month. But then, I decided to go close to the city. But I didn't want them (the company) to find a place for me since they have a deal with Leo Palace. Which to me is overpriced. Even if you get most of your essentials, 50000 yen is not worth it. As living proof that time spent searching beforehand is essential, I give you that tip to try for yourself. Or get a tiny apartment that costs an arm...and maybe a leg for the space that will only fit them. After 2 years in the country I decided it was time to go back into the city. Well that and wanting to be closer to my GF did warrant a move. So several months before that I found a few free magazines with apartment/house listings and started to look. As the time drew nearer, I was a bit hopeful and empowered by my research. With some magazines, you can filter out those places that require all that 'Thank you' and non-refundable money. I got a great 'mansion', a 3LDK (3 rooms + combined living/dining/kitchen room) mind you for just above what a freaking 1K (1 room + tiny smaller than a desk 'kitchen') Leo Palace would cost...well a little more but still under 60000 yen including parking! So where did I search?

Here -->

So again, if you have the time, search your future area and you might just get a place that you really enjoy.

Tip #1 for living in Japan - the dreaded squat toilet...

So you have to go bad...but you don't want anyone to notice that you just got back from a #2. Well you really only have 3 options.

1. Buck up and hold it like a man (or gently like a woman).
2. Look really hard for a nice bidet (usually found in newer parts of buildings).
3. Take off your pants and hang it up and go commando.

I usually choose #2 but if that fails and I can't #1...then I strip and go with #3. But if you are in a public area, make sure to take out any valuables and keep it close to you. Someone might try to steal your pants for quick cash if you leave your wallet in. When done, just clean up put your pants back on and off you go without a new wrinkle on your pants.

Well, someone is probably thinking..."What if it's really cold outside?" Then, again, you have the 3 options but with #3, you can wear thermals underneath and keep those on while you go! You stay warm and still keep the wrinkles away.

Bonus tip...

You hate going to public toilets because the toilet paper (TP) is like sandpaper. this case you have 2 options.

1. Take your own damn paper and stop complaining about FREE TP...Be glad that they even provide it. Some places will have TP dispensers that you have to BUY!

2. Keep a little bottle or zip lock bag with you and fill it with water at the sink. Then as you roll up the paper to wipe, just wet the TP and it's nice and soft. The added bonus is that you really get your pucker clean without any I mean cling ons.