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blog-L  (2004)

2004/12/25 14:21

An article I spent much of 2004 thinking about and working on has finally been published.  It's about the Boso Peninsula, and I've scanned the title page of the magazine (which has a small color version of the black and white Buddha picture in the article) and the two pages the article appears on (with photos).  The scanned pages can be seen at:


- and (BTW) the main "Recently Published" page is:


The color photo of the man on a bicycle looking back at the ferry is one of the pictures I submitted to the magazine, but they didn't use it.  Since the other two posted articles both consisted of three pages and also due to my unhappiness at the publisher printing both pages in black and white, I've added that extra color image.

2004/11/29 11:37

And... as I said I might do, I went over to a park in Kodaira to see the Musashino Art University outdoor exhibit.  I put around 30 pictures of the park (not all of the art there) into a PDF file which can be viewed (and/or downloaded) from the "New Files" PDF page:

About the PDF file... it was created with a black background and with the entire file as one long page, so I don't think it can be printed, or if so, you will probably get a very narrow strip of black with very tiny photos lined up down the middle of the narrow black strip - all on one page.  For viewing, the file is pretty much like something on-line in that you can just keep scrolling down the page to see the photos and text.

Note: The file is 1.7MB, so if you have a dial-up connection, it'll take a few minutes to download.  Probably the best way to see it is to download it onto your hard drive and then open it from there.)

2004/11/24 11:55

Ryogoku.  A photo of the area and a ghost story of 1989 (or was it 1990?) are newly up in the photo gallery:

- on this page:

Now I may head across town to see an outdoor art exhibit arranged in a park near the Musashino Art University.

2004/11/24 07:28

Manga.  I was recently asked about a manga-related issue, so I put together a PDF file with several images from the current "Shonen Jump" serial comics book.  To see it, click on "Manga" on the following page:


2004/11/10 17:04

Flash news!  New PDF file on the PDF file page!!!

- or more specifically, from this page:

To view the newest file, entitled "Trans", click on... er... "Trans", which will take you to the PDF file.  Depending on your Internet browser, it will either open up automatically or ask you if you want to open it or download it, yabba-yabba... you know the routine!

It's been months since I made a new one, and that one ("Suburbia") was primarily a test to try out OpenOffice.org's PDF file making capability.  I was happy to discover that it works well and basically overjoyed today to discover that I was able to create a PDF file that is viewed pretty much the same way you view on-line things - just by scrolling down the page.  Very cool!  To the good folks at OpenOffice.org, I say "OpenOffice.org - Banzai!, Banzai!!, Banzai!!!".  Their fantastic (and fantastically free) software can be downloaded from:


So... any comments on the photos?  (The last one is crooked... sorry about that - but anything else?)

2004/11/03 17:06

I just uploaded a 1948 train and streetcar map of Tokyo.  It's buried fairly deep on the PDF page, so here's a direct link to it:

Most of the surface train lines are the same now as then, but all the streetcars other than the one that runs by Otsuka, have been eliminated or replaced by buses and new subway lines.  The subway system is radically different in comparison to 1948, by the way, with most of the system having been built between 1948 and now.

I've been busy with different things, which has prevented me from doing anything with the site, but I'm working on getting some new photos uploaded.  More on that later....

2004/10/09 17:44

A typhoon is blowing over Tokyo as I write this.  There was a lot of talk in the media about its being the strongest typhoon to directly hit Tokyo in a decade or so, but in the event, it doesn't seem like such a big deal, although there is some flooding and mud slides, etc., and the shinkansen trains are stopped, all flights are on hold while waiting for it to blow over, etc.  Mainly it's a lot of water falling from the sky without winds all that impressively strong.

I just posted LL-329 on the LL-Letters page:

The direct link to it is:

2004/09/27 14:05

WiMax... WiFi, Bluetooth, IEEE-802.16d, etc. etc. etc.  Help!  I'm trying to figure out what's what with wireless these days and while there's a lot of info on the Internet, I would very much like to hear from people about what you've heard about wireless in general and WiMax in particular, as well as your perception of effortless connectivity while out and about within your own town, as well as when travelling out of town and even out of country....  Any info can be sent to lylehsaxon at yahoo dot com.

2004/09/12 10:56

"Banzai K-Cars!"

Oops... I haven't updated this for a bit.  I've been busy taking pictures, which has been fun and productive, but it has kept me away from the keyboard.  I probably should write more things by hand when I'm out, but I've gotten so used to typing everything, that I tend to only use a pen for notes here and there, and even then, I'm far more likely to take a photo of something than write words about it, so writing tends to only happen when there's a keyboard under my fingers.

One thing that is very much in mind at the moment is "Banzai K-Cars!".  I rented one of the kei-cars (called "K-cars" for foreign consumption) for some motoring around on the Boso Peninsula and was quite pleased with the car.  Not only did it save me money in rental fees and fuel costs, but it was fun to drive, had plenty of power, and went on even the very narrowest roads in the most out-of-the-way places.  The model I rented was a Suzuki Wagon-R - not nearly as cool as the kei-class Honda Beat (two-seat, mid-engine convertible) I rented over a decade ago, but definitely more practical, with room for four adults (hopefully short ones in the back seat due to leg room constraints) and enough head room for a top hat... not that I've ever worn one or even seen a single (living) soul in one, but the extra head room does have the interesting effect of making the car feel much larger than it is... until you get out, look back, and say "Whoa!  Is that tiny mini-car really the one I've been driving around in?".  But after being shocked by the apparent size inside the car and it's small external appearance about twenty times or so, your brain begins to tie the two together and then the car takes on a normal appearance.  I'll try to get a photo or two of it up at some point - when I do, I'll mention it on this page (blog-L).

Well, I have some material with a deadline awaiting, so I'll get back to that!

2004/09/02 13:42

"Central Tokyo"

Trying to remind myself that there is green even in the heart of megacity Tokyo, I entitled a new picture of green "Central Tokyo".  That particular garden is of historical interest as well by the way....  A direct link to the photo (on the Photo Gallery page) is:

2004/08/29 10:51

A friend mentioned that they were expecting the text at the top of the site to link to something....  Their wish is my command!  It now links to a new index page:

All of the links on the new page are already on the front page, but they might be easier to use in the vertical layout of the new index page.

I've got some photos I want to put up, but I'm working on something else right now... hopefully I'll get them up in a day or two.

2004/08/21 11:15

"New Stuff & Ideas..."

There are a couple of new things in the Photo Gallery - "Over Earth" has eight photos of earth taken from space:

 - and "Here & There" has several photos sent in from various e-pals living on different parts of the globe:

A word of caution about the three new categories:

"Space Photos"
"Over Earth"  &
"Here & There"

As they all have several photos on one page, they are a little heavy for dial-up users, but it doesn't hurt to try clicking on them - if they are taking too long to come in, you can just go to a different page or hit the "Stop" button in your browser.  Each of the three pages is between 1MB and 2MB, so for broadband users, they should load up quickly, so long as the Internet isn't bogged down with the spam monsters, etc.

Idea... maybe we can have a page to showcase lite versions of photos that could be sold to interested companies, etc?  Feedback welcome.

2004/08/19 14:39

"Space Photos"

I've posted ten photos from the Hubble Space Telescope on a new page that can be accessed via a link on the Photo Gallery page.  To have a look, go to the Photo Gallery page and click on "Space Photos", which will take you to this page:


As I mention on the page, the Hubble Space Telescope was scheduled to be upgraded and maintained, as it has been a couple of times already via space walks, but the idiots in charge of deciding how to spend the US tax-payers' money have decided to cut off funding for it and let it just burn up in the atmosphere when it next needs servicing.  I think it's insane not to do whatever it takes to maintain our best eye on the heavens - I hope the idiot decision can be rescinded and an intelligent decision made in its place....

Note that most of the photos on this new page are down-sized versions of the originals from the Hubble site, so check out the Hubble site and download some of the high definition original images for a good look.  Be sure to watch the size and also be sure your computer can handle the heavier ones - one photo I downloaded from the site was 300MB!!  Fantastic detail, but you need broadband and a decent computer to view that size.  They also have many light-sized photos that are no problem to download with dial-up.

2004/08/17 16:59

"Out & About"

"Out & About" is the latest photo in the Photo Gallery.  Have a look (via the "Photo Gallery" link at the top of this page)... what do you think?  I could have titled it "Immigrant Blues", but we're just talking about one corner in this vast city after all.

Feel free to write more often folks, I don't get much feedback on the site, so I end up wondering what people think of it....

2004/08/14 00:00

"Publishing Opportunity"

As I mentioned in an e-mail to LL-Newsletter members, there's a possible publishing opportunity in the air at the moment.  The time frame is that it would be for an issue of a magazine to be published early next year, with the deadline for the final version of the text being the end of this year.  In my e-mail I was in a rush to get ideas off to the publication in a hurry, but if they actually publish something, there are several months of lead time.

2004/08/04 16:07


I just posted a new photo to the Photo Gallery page called "Island".  The text on the page explains what it is - I'll just say here that the island is in the middle of Tokyo Bay.  You can see it by clicking on the following URL:

Incidentally, I made a technical change to the front page that might result in its opening a little bit quicker.  It has opened quickly for most people I think, but a few reported back that it was slow to open, and on investigating, I found a minor technical detail that might have been slowing things down.  Now that it's been fixed, I'd appreciate it if the people who earlier mentioned the time issue would fill me in on whether that's been sped up or not.  The front page is here:

2004/08/02 09:31

"Search Engine Blues"

I don't understand how search engines work.  I've applied to Yahoo's search engine, but they haven't accepted it apparently and nowhere does my site appear when doing a Yahoo search.  Google is always on the move and you never know what's going to come up when doing a Google search.  Sometimes my main page comes up, sometimes a photo page, and this morning the book order page came up.  There's no consistency at all, but I guess that's normal with Google, since (if I understand their system correctly), their results are based on traffic, so whatever the traffic is in a given period, that determines what comes up with a search.  I don't know what to recommend for people wanting to see my site - just to bookmark it I guess!  No other way of finding it seems consistent.

2004/07/31 19:48

"Sumidagawa Fireworks"

The huge Sumidagawa fireworks display is going on tonight... several times I've braved the crowds and invested two hours (round trip) in train time to see them up close, but I decided to skip the crowds and trains and kick back at home this year - watching the event on channel 12 (Tokyo-TV) and having a cool, non-nonalcoholic drink (wink) - alternating between answering e-mail and leaning back and watching the fireworks.  One definite plus to watching it on TV is that they have some cool helicopter shots looking straight down at the fireworks, etc.  No crowds, no sweat, no trains, new views... almost like heaven!

........  A great broadcast, but with some irritating spots.  They have a group of television personalities on an outside stage near the event, and sometimes they go a bit overboard with "Ah... ooo... wa... wow.... ah..." in the background.  You're sitting watching the beauty of the fireworks on the screen and that "Ah... ooo... wa... wow.... ah..." soundtrack kicks in.  "Ah... shutup!" is what you end up wanting to broadcast back the other way.  There are two areas near each other where they are simultaneously shooting off the fireworks, one broadcast group is quiet, the other breathtakingly noisy....  Silence is bliss/golden/happiness/etc.?  Sometimes!

2004/07/28 18:02

"The LL-Letters" book is now pictured on the "The LL-Letters Book" page.  It can be obtained in Japan at the stores listed there, and ordered from overseas via Caravan's On-line service.  For overseas orders, click on the cover of the book which will take you to the orders page, and from there click on the book cover again to connect with Caravan's site, where you can enter "Lyle Saxon" for a search by author, and then go from there when the book title appears.

2004/07/25 17:27

I'm not sure if anyone is interested in Theodore Roosevelt's 1903 trip to California or not, but I've posted 21 photos from that trip (scanned from a 1903 book I have - anyone know if it might be a valuable book?).  They're all on one page, which is easy to view by scrolling down the page.  All 21 are less than a single megabyte, so it's not overly heavy - even with dial up, the page should only take a few minutes or so to completely download, but the lead pictures will come in rapidly, so you can start looking at the photos at the top of the page while the rest of them come in.

I put it within the Historical page on the PDF page, which is confusing from the file type standpoint, but that's the only page that is specifically for historical material, so....

A direct link to the 1903 California trip photos is:


2004/07/25 01:05

"Iidabashi Station" is the newest photo (two actually) hung up in the Photo Gallery.  While putting it together I watched a Korean television drama (dubbed into Japanese) that is really popular in Japan right now.  The two main characters promised to get married in the show tonight... meanwhile, behind the scenes, it seems that the man's mother was very good friends with the girl's father way back when and they might be brother and sister!  That set me to laughing - an earlier laugh being when the man, who had amnesia from a blow to the head, recovered some of his memory by... getting a new whack to the head!  HaHaHa!  Television dramas are always good for a laugh!

Back to the Iidabashi Station photos... there are four sets of tracks that cut right through the center of Tokyo between Shinjuku and Tokyo stations (15 minutes via the Chuo Line).  There is periodically talk of putting them underground and then filling up the space aboveground with buildings, but I hope they don't do that - it's so much nicer to be able to travel on the ground than under it....

2004/07/23 17:05

I've just posted LL-328 on the "LL-Letters" page.  In other news, I'm looking for companies who will pay to have a link to their site on my site's front page.  Is there any information about that out there?  Hello?  Help....

2004/07/16 13:20

"Shinjuku Station" is the latest photo (two actually - be sure to scroll down for the second one!) to be put up in the Photo Gallery.  A lot of people (a *lot*) go through Shinjuku Station every day.  Not only the people from the high-rise office buildings in Nishi-Shinjuku, but vast numbers of people transferring there as well.  A few years ago, an old student of mine - an aikido master - laughingly told me about a report he'd seen on the TV about a family from India who had gotten separated in the station and the man had ended up searching for them for over an hour and was on the point of tears when finally the police helped out and eventually found them.  Once you know the station, it's not so bad, but if you don't know the station and you haven't experienced something similar (where but Japan?), it can be downright terrifying!

2004/07/16 11:12

Auugghhh... I just discovered a really stupid mistake I made in "New Cultures & Large-screen TVs" - the sentence:

"And... a hazard that CBG had better watch out for is that when you transplant yourself into a new culture, different aspects of it hit you in different ways at different times, the result being that your new culture has a tendency to alternately appear better or worse than the one you left."

- should be:

"And... a hazard that CBG's friend had better watch out for is that when you transplant yourself into a new culture, different aspects of it hit you in different ways at different times, the result being that your new culture has a tendency to alternately appear better or worse than the one you left."

There's a big difference between "...CBG had better..." and "... CBG's friend had better...".  Oops!!  A big "Sorry!" to CBG for that one!

2004/07/16 10:46

I've made an editing change to "New Cultures & Large-screen TVs" in LL-327.  After sending that out, I heard from CBG and discovered that the sentence:

"I wonder why Japanese women put up with that stuff.  If I were them, I wouldn't even bother."

- was referring to something we were discussing off-line, so I've taken that out and modified my response.  Actually... my answer of:

"The J-women are very solidly half of the situation described!  Don't blame that all on the guys!  How do the J-woman put up with it?  They help create it!"

- is largely - if not precisely - accurate.  Men and women both have a hand in their problems with each other.  Naturally I'm referring to normal people here - and not taking into consideration the age-old problem of some men abusing their physical strength.

Anyway... CBG - sorry for the misunderstanding.  I've edited that part out of the on-line version of LL-327.

2004/07/15 10:52

"Looking Over Meiji Shrine" is the latest photo to be on display in the Photo Gallery.  The photo was taken in the evening, about an hour before sunset, which explains both the side lighting of the buildings and the golden tint to the image.

2004/07/14 16:36

The site has been up for over a month now!  I'm not sure if that's longer or shorter than it seems, but longer I guess.  I'm starting to get used to the fact that it's up - for the first few weeks it felt very strange that the stuff was just sitting out there in the hard drives, computer chips and wires... ready for anyone to have a look at - but it's starting to seem about as strange as having running water.  Not as dependable as the sun rising on the far-western country Japan from the eastern ocean, but not feeling like something in a science fiction book either.

At this point, I've sent out LL-327 via e-mail, so if you haven't received it, but would like to, let me know and I'll see what's what with my address book.

2004/07/13 13:51

A few days have gone by since I've put anything up at the site....  I was working on the latest LL though, which is as good of an excuse as most.  And... as I mentioned on July 5th, I had some trouble with buggy software from a certain predatory and illegal software company, so I fully eradicated that horrible OS and put in a proper one (Linux), but I had some difficulties with the LAN board.  Finally past that, the computer is working fine now and seems very happy to have escaped the tyranny of the horrible OS that had occupied its hard drive for about three years (it came from the factory that way).

So - have a look at the newest LL on the LL-Letters page, as I am posting it there first and won't get around to sending it out via e-mail until a little later on.

2004/07/05 16:36

The ideal lifestyle to have in Japan (or just about anywhere I suppose) - have a look in the Photo Gallery at "One Evening in Niigata" ("Niigata Evening" on the title page) for one idea of an enjoyable way to live....

Computer blues... the NEC laptop I mentioned before... it was working fine, but then I made a few too many changes and put in too much extra stuff.  It could have been surgically repaired, but I decided to just trash everything on the hard drive and put everything in from zero - which means I've completely eradicated a certain buggy and unreliable software package from a certain horrible monopoly company.  This time it will be 100% Linux (I'm working on the install as I write this).

2004/07/03 00:55

"Kamakura" - with two photos, and "View from Takao" are two new pages in the Photo Gallery (three pictures altogether).  I basically like the idea of having one photo per title, but some things belong in sets, so I might put up some long pages with several small photos.

G-Mail... I've begun testing it and some aspects of it I like, although for overall e-mail I think I prefer the workings of Yahoo... then again, keeping letters connected with G-Mail's system will be useful for some threads (not all).  Actually, I probably wouldn't have even tried G-Mail were it not for the magic "Giga" in the name, but it's turning out to be interesting.  Are there many G-Mail users out there?

Book cover... I'm steamed at a friend right now who was supposed to be helping me with that.  I got the graphics finished except for cut lines for the printers, which I'm not sure how to put in, so I asked this friend with graphic art training and experience(?) for help.  Using Illustrator he got the lines in... but he reduced the resolution(!) in the process.  Why?  "I assumed that a resolution of 300ppi would be sufficient given the size of the image."  (That should be "dpi" shouldn't it?)  Considering how important the data is to me, that's very nearly unforgivable in my book - especially since I wasn't warned and the result is unusable.  Fortunately, I discovered the mutation of the data before sending it off to the printers.

What's next?  Throwing myself at the mercy of the printers I guess.  Does anyone have any tips regarding using Illustrator or know something I would be happy to learn about printing in general?  Info appreciated!

2004/06/30 13:55

I was asked if I had some photos of Meiji Shrine on-hand by a local publication, and while I did, I thought it would be a good idea to get some more, so I spent a day getting photos - including of a traditional Japanese wedding that I happened to stumble upon, one example entitled "Meiji Wedding" and posted in the Photo Gallery.

The rain was heavy enough this morning and the timing such that I expected water to be falling from the sky all day, but it's cleared up mostly and the water isn't falling any more....

2004/06/29 12:36

I've posted the rest of the 2001 LL-Letters - going all the way back to the last letter of 2000.  Aa-yaa... those office warfare days were something I had forgotten a lot of the details of.  I'm glad I just rediscovered my letter where I mentioned that I was getting physical chest pains from the stress of that place, and that I figured (correctly I think) that if the job was going to ruin my health, I might as well start firing off attack e-mails back at my attackers.  Better to go out with a fight than to just sit there and take it!

2004/06/28 16:00

Text... it's great how flexible it is in a computer, but it would be even better if simple formatting were more compatible across different formats.  I'm wasting a lot of time reformatting the old LL-Letters, but hopefully the HTML version I'm posting will be more useful down the road and more amenable to converting into other formats.

Recent posts:  LL-290, LL-291, LL-292, and LL-293.  Great to remember how fun the GW Office was... what is it about offices that makes people behave like sub-human back-stabbers anyway?  Fear of not being able to eat I guess.  If you back-stab enough of the competition, there will be enough of the spoils of life left over for yourself?  Very (veryveryvery) uncivilized that!

2004/06/26 11:51

A few new bits - "Black & White" in the Photo Gallery and LL-296 and LL-297 on the LL-Letters page.  I'm finding it interesting to read parts of the old letters... which bring back to mind experiences I related in real-time that I haven't thought about in a long time.  I keep wondering... if someone goes through life and doesn't write anything down - how much of their life do they really remember?  Only a tiny percentage it seems....

2004/06/25 15:24

Small-town Tokyo?  I spent a few hours walking around in the Iidabashi Station area yesterday, and ended up just stumbling upon places I'd already been to over the years.  Tokyo is starting to feel like a small town that I know too well and am getting bored with.  That shouldn't even be possible in such a huge city, and there is always something to see, but still... Tokyo is Tokyo, it's what it is, both good and bad (like any city) and there's a common theme to life here that cannot be escaped other than by going to an entirely different city.  Just common sense, but the city is so huge, I used to always feel that no matter how much of it I saw, I would never see it all and there were always new and exciting discoveries to be made.  That view is changing....

About the photo gallery... I'm finding that people respond to photos in radically different ways!  One person's favorite photo is another person's least-favorite, etc.  I had one person (incredibly) complain that since "a picture is worth a thousand words", I shouldn't have so much text explaining the pictures.  I hope that's not a predominant view!  I wrote back:

"I am disappointed to hear that you think if there is a picture then there shouldn't be words.  They are different mediums each suited to different aspects of our mostly mysterious and impossible to pin down existence; the stuff on the "Photo Gallery" page is a merge of text and words.  They need each other - they are not in competition."

Any comments?  Send them to the usual address.

2004/06/23 14:22

I posted LL-298 and LL-299 to the LL-Letters page.  Regarding tales of the old consulting company and the acronyms I used - "eigodekinu" is a great search word if you want to find the LL-Letters page.  It seems to bring up the letters that refer to Ms. Eigodekinu and from there, just click on [Home] at the top of the page to get the front page.  In rereading parts of the the 2001 letters, the memories of the fun times come back....

I'm constantly wondering how the different search engines work... Google seems to be the most thorough and speedy.  Yahoo seems to be sluggish about updating - some really old stuff comes up, but not more recent pages.  Dogpile.com is okay, but for my site, not as good as Google.  I'm beginning to be a Google fan here!

2004/06/22 16:02

"Authentic Japanese Women" is the title of the latest addition to Lyle's Photo Gallery.  When you open that page, it might not be apparent that there is text under the picture, so scroll down for it....

A typhoon blew through/by yesterday.  It didn't hit Tokyo directly, so we just had strong winds and heavy rain... and clean air today!  Someday... someday the world will be rid of the cursed internal combustion engine and people will be able to motor around in something that doesn't dump toxic junk into the air.  In the meantime, we mega-city dwellers breath the toxins of our beloved automobiles and trucks along with the air that keeps us alive.

2004/06/21 20:19

More back issues of the LL-Letters posted today - LL-300, LL-301, LL-302, and LL-303.  As LL-300 is dated July 4th, 2001, there are now nearly three years worth of the letters on the LL-Letters page.  LL-300 takes us back to when the PR company moved to a new building - the building with the recirculating air system where they used toxic spray in the office and my battle with top management began over the employees health... leading (no surprise) to my getting fired later that year....

2004/06/21 12:28

A couple of things about the site.  First, if you do a search for it, you have to put in "The LL-Letters" and not just "The LL-Letter", although it would be nice if "The LL-Letter" also brought it up... in any case, for now it's got to be "The LL-Letters".

Another thing I've noticed about the site is that sometimes the most recent page doesn't display until you click on <Reload>, <Refresh> or whatever your Internet browser uses.  I'm not sure why that is, but the result is that by just going to one of the pages at the Images Through Glass / The LL-Letters page, sometimes you keep getting an old version.  It is easy enough to fix by clicking on <refresh> however.

2004/06/21 11:00

Posted to the LL-Letters page: LL-304, LL-305, and LL-306.  These take us back to before the twin-tower collapse and into another era - a time when I was fully engaged in fighting top management at the PR agency I was then employed at over use of toxic spray glue in an office with a recirculating air system!  Glancing at parts of my record of that battle, I again feel a sense of the urgent battle mode I was operating in at the time.  Would I do the same thing again today?  I hope so!  What is clearly wrong should be clearly opposed.  A little more sense of outrage at things that can be easily fixed - but are ignored through fear of taking a risk - would be a good thing for society as a whole I think.

2004/06/20 09:07

Takao... the most convenient mountain to visit from central Tokyo, and still a surprisingly nice place, considering the huge number of visitors it attracts.  I've posted a photo I took there in the Photo Gallery entitled "Takao", which is a photo I like quite a lot and was hoping a local publication would use with an article I wrote for them, but they picked another picture of mine, so since this one didn't make it into print, I'm putting it in here.

2004/06/19 21:17

Good-bye W-ME!!  I am no fan of MicroMuck and ME caused me more grief even than older versions.  (I don't actually mind W2K - so long as it's not on the Internet!)  I never would have had an ME computer in the first place, but since I was given one, I decided to give it a try.  One month is more than enough!  I put in Linux today and that laptop is running with far more stability now.

It doesn't seem to matter how much time passes... always the blasted machines require about as much be put into them as they give back.  Like shoveling coal into a steam locomotive or something.  Too much of today was wasted servicing machines....

2004/06/19 09:48

Ah... the shame of it.  I have not been getting enough freelance writing work so I agreed to teach an English class for an "English conversation" company, and the first class was last night.  The first time in about three years and I report this with a full sense of shame.  I thought - I really thought - that I had finally escaped the horrible world of being a disposable English teacher, but it's either humiliate myself in this no-respect profession or take to the hills and swing from the trees with the monkeys, so....

The contract.  Shameful!  One example - it states that I must give a full month's advance warning if I want to quit, but the company reserves the right to fire me at a moment's notice if they take a disliking to me.  Totally and absolutely one-sided!  Shameful... shameful.  But what's a person who wants to eat to do?  Well... anthropological duty calls, and so I shall be reporting on the details.  The flip side?  Being a disposable no-respect English teacher is light-years better than cleaning toilets, picking up garbage or sweeping the street by hand.  Heck, I suppose it's even better than working in the subway down there out of the sun (although not financially I dare say).  So... looking on the bright side is all well and good, but when you're so near the very bottom of the totem pole, how can you not want to get those other totem pole bits off of your head?

2004/06/18 12:56

Posted to the LL-Letters page: LL-307, LL-308, and LL-309.  I reread my opening paragraph to LL-307, which was written on September 19th, 2001.  I still agree and think events have shown that it would have been better if certain... people... had been a little more intelligent and responsible in their actions.  Here's the paragraph:

"Attempting to....."
(September 19th, 2001)

Since last week, I've gone from thought to thought, and from emotion to emotion... getting ideas that I want to write about, but which go from timely to outdated in 24 hours.......  At this point, I'm not sure what to say (overall) really, but there are a couple of things that are persistently begging to be put on the screen.  One thing in particular that I acutely feel, is at least partially due to my status of being part of a tiny minority here in Japan.  It makes me very nervous when I see anyone being attacked on sight for their race and/or nationality.  For the first couple of days after the attacks on New York, I was in a vengeful mood myself... a vengeful mood to be sure, but still I can't understand how someone could take a gun and just go shoot someone for no other reason than that their nationality seems to match that of a criminal/terrorist/madman/whacko... I mean... if that's all it takes for justification for murder, the answer is the total annihilation of the human race.  In having been in and out of a large number of different groups of people on both sides of the Pacific, I've found it to be quite true that "There's one in every crowd" - both in a positive and a negative sense.  Justice is one thing, but revenge against a terrorist act directed at the wrong people isn't revenge at all, but rather just another act of terror.

2004/06/17 18:23

LL-310 & LL-311... which are the tail end of the whacky PR agency period.  Yikes!  One tale of office fighting after another... I think I've had about enough of offices.  Not enough freelance work at the moment, but hopefully it'll pick up.

Are the old LL's interesting to read in 2004?  It's my own history, so it's interesting to me at least, and I suppose if someone wants to know how an office can be on this island, it could be interesting... feedback welcome!

2004/06/17 16:22

"Tokyo Housing" - in the Photo Gallery.  All three photos were taken on the 15th, when I took a four hour walk starting from Shinjuku Station.  I've also put up two more of the archived LL's - LL-312 and LL-313.

I'd write more, but I've got to get back to a project I'm working on.

2004/06/16 19:39

LL-314 and LL-315... I just posted them (see the "LL-Letters" page), and in reformatting them, I reread parts... it brings back memories!  Truly, if you don't write things down at the time, you don't really remember events in enough detail at a later date to do a subject justice.  If you keep a written record of things though, rereading something years later that was written in the heat of the moment brings it all back!

I'd like to be posting more photos, but I think I'll concentrate on getting a few more of the old LL's reformatted and on-line first.

2004/06/16 10:46

Colors - I've changed the colors on the LL-Letters page.  If you get the right combination, color on color is great, but it can be difficult to hit on the right combination - as color sitting on another color takes on the appearance of a different color - even if it is not (yes, what is see is not reality!).  That... is both an excuse for the somewhat jarring appearance of that purple and to say that I think a lot of sites are lazy to just give up the search for good color usage and use a start white background.

FAQ - I've added one to explain the site in general and the LL-Project in particular.  Also to point out that images are for sale - so send your $$ my way, hoho.

2004/06/16 00:48

I will be taking a break tomorrow from reformatting old LL letters so I can work on some other more pressing issues, but I did post a few back issues today, so the "LL-Letters" page now has LL-316 through LL-326, covering the period of January 2nd, 2003 until the last LL which was dated June 2nd, 2004.  Now that the letters are back into a different office tale than the one that wrapped up last year, I feel like getting all of 2002 on-line as well, but I need to get some sleep first!

2004/06/15 20:15

A four-hour walk in the hot sun... that's what I did today, but I have 460 new photos for the effort, so it was worth sweating and wearing my soles thinner for.  One of the things I stumbled upon is... wait... I'll mention what it was *after* I get a photo of it posted!

Speaking of photos, a couple of writers both commented on one of the photos in the Photo Gallery - one saying that it was the best picture and the other saying it was the worst!  I should rename it "Passion" maybe!

Links, I think the "Back" button works well for most of the site, but as someone pointed out, if someone comes into the site laterally and finds themselves on one of the LL-Letter pages, the "Back" button won't take them to the front page, so... I added a "[Home]" link to each of the LL-Letter pages (top left of page).

2004/06/15 09:28

Archiving and formatting.  I just put LL-319 up - which takes the letters back to nearly the beginning of the last "Fun at the Office" series.  Formatting has been a small headache.  I noticed that some of the HTML files I'd posted were set to "Letter", so I've been going in and changing that to A4 when I find them.  I haven't gone through the Photo Gallery yet, but I changed all the LL letters (LL-319 - LL-326) to A4 in any case.

2004/06/14 15:39

Formatting text the way I like it takes a bit of time.  I would like to just dump the plain text on-line, but even when the fonts are different, people tend to get who said what mixed up, so I think some kind of visual clue to keep the reader on track is in order.  For the most part, the standard fonts are what I wrote, and the italics are letters contributed by e-pals.  I thought I'd get a whole batch of older letters on-line, but there were some distractions and I've only gotten another two up.  Hopefully I'll get a new photo up in a couple of hours.

2004/06/13 22:18

Oops... I was going to leave the site alone today, but I ended up doing a couple of things anyway.  First, I added another LL to the "Recent LL's" page (LL-322).  I could put a lot of them on the page at once, but I'd rather get the italics and bold fonts where I want them first.  As I find time, I'll add old ones in sequence from LL-322 today, LL-321 next, then LL-320, etc.  I'm not sure how far I'll take it, but I would like to get all of 2003 on there at least.

There's also a new photo - entitled "Speeding Reflections", at the top of the "Photo Gallery" page.

Good news!  "The LL-Letters" finally turned up in a search engine!  I hope it stays there, as the address itself is not an easy one to manually type in, so being able to find it via search engines is great!

What else... um... projects, projects.  I'm looking into getting a proper cover (or "dust jacket") for the book printed.  Being the key that makes or breaks too many books, I suspect the printing companies take a larger part of their profits from the covers... which is why I didn't have one printed up when I published the book in the first place.  After insisting on decent paper for the inside, I couldn't afford spiffing up the outside.  Backwards from the way it's usually done I realize, but don't you hate reading books printed on horrible paper?  I do, so....

2004/06/13 10:18

I'll try to put things up on a pretty regular basis, especially since I'd like to get more photos posted, as well as get more of the LL-Letters stuff on-line.  Today, however,  I think I'll take a rest from it.

2004/06/12 18:42

Uuuu.... lots to write about here.  One of my e-pals wrote concerning this site, so I think I'll put part of my answer to him in here, but before that, have a look at the "History" page within the "PDF Files" page.  I put up a photo collage that I put together today - there being space on that page I thought I'd get some photos on there... which are all within one file, so it's a single picture as far as your computer is concerned, but consists of... of..., sorry, I'm not going to count them, but several images!  (I also put that photo on the "Photo Gallery" page - click on the "'51 & '52 Korea & Japan".)

Now - on to the abovementioned e-pal, who kindly mentioned my site at his site:


Some parts of a letter I wrote are relevant to the site, so I'll put part of it here.

Re: "A couple of comments about the design. I like the way it's nice and simple, but I think the navigation could do with a little work. Most sites now have some kind of navigation bar: a menu of links, in the same position on every page, that allows you move around the site more easily."

Uh-oh - complaint number two regarding this issue.  I think having a navigation bar on some pages would be nice, but not on the photo pages - the bar would further reduce the viewing area for the picture.  Already there's less viewing area than I would like - in order to accommodate the usual tool bars, etc. of browsers, so I don't want to add to that.  Are people so adverse to using the "back" buttons on their browsers?  If they were stranded on the page with no way of getting back to where they were, I would stay up nights to rescue those stranded souls, but I really hate it when computer programs (and everything else) are designed downward to deal with the very lowest common denominator.  Must we all stoop down in the mud, or can't we help those down in the mud up onto the sidewalk of progress?  If I absolutely must put that in, I guess I will, but I hate to further cut down the viewing window.

Also - there's another reason not to put too many shortcuts into the window.  If too many websites have that kind of thing, then people just get stupider and stupider about their computers - computers should help us to grow, to advance, not to regress into neanderthals.  Oops... heading for a rant I am!  Run, run... to anther topic.

Re: "It might also be nice to have "thumbnail" images of the pictures. The images are quite big: people browsing on slow connections especially might be reluctant to open them without an idea of what they're getting."

Well, I wonder if they are so heavy really - one advantage to not having a lot of little icons and other graphic junk cluttering up every page is that a lean design speeds things up - all those spiffy little graphic bits and pieces have to be downloaded after all!  I went and had a look at the actual size of the photos posted in the "Photo Gallery" and discovered the following figures - all in kilobytes mind you, *not* megabytes:

81, 40, 45, 47, 50, 155, 49, 42, 89, 66, 54, 122, 37, 61, 89, 115, 28, 49, 24.

The only two that I see might be slightly heavy are the 155kb and 115kb ones - most are around 50kb, which, even for dial-up, shouldn't take all that long to download.  I think there's a huge misunderstanding about electronic photos generally... which is understandable considering how complicated they are.  Firstly, the size displayed is often considerably smaller than the size the file would naturally display at - which can be wasteful of people's time.  All of the photos I have posted look large, but they are displaying at their maximum size for their resolution.  In other words, I've already downsized the lot of them to make them as light as possible for that display size.  A side benefit of this is that if someone decides to rip off one of my images and claim it as their own, they will be stuck with only a low-resolution version of the original, which isn't worth much - not for paper printing anyway.  (While I'm on the topic, I don't mind people downloading files from the site for personal use or personal storage.  Commercial use is another matter however, if you want to use one of my images for commercial purposes, contact me and we'll arrange a price.)

.jpg... is not a set compression!  The format is variable, and a lot of digital cameras use low compression to provide higher memory write speeds and also provide higher quality images.  I'm using a compression level that doesn't destroy the image, but does provide a smaller file size for the total pixel count than a lot of cameras do....

This is getting technical... and llllooooonnnnggggggg.....  Anyone on dial-up who can give me some feedback regarding download times for the photos?  I'd appreciate it!

2004/06/12 12:37

I fixed the "Suburbia" PDF file and have uploaded a new photo - "Shinjuku Skies".  What else?  There is lots to do, so I better do it and not spend time on the blog right now.  Talk to you later!

2004/06/11 21:25

There were a couple of typos in the 1:25 p.m. entry that I've fixed.  (I was in a bit of a rush when I sent that out....)  A couple of things, only one that I'll put in here for now - which is that I took the Sardine Run set of photos off the site.  They weren't so bad, but - considering that the trains are not usually quite that crowded - I thought it might be best for me to consider local sensibilities and not leave those up.  I wouldn't have put those up in the first place, but other mega-city dwellers were boasting that their cities had more crowded trains, so I was eager to prove them wrong!

2004/06/11 13:25

I was asked what software I used to make the PDF files and if it were free.  The answer comes in two parts.  The first part of the answer is that I used proprietary software from a certain horrible company that I will not honor by naming here, and then converted it to PDF format via Adobe Acrobat.  The reader for Acrobat is free, but not the full version with which you can make and edit PDF files.  So... I tried OpenOffice.org's Writer - software that I've long used for writing, but never for layouts with photos in them... until today.  I tested it (result on new "New Files" page under "PDF Files") and found it to work very well!  Better than the software I used for my earlier files.  One caution is that a photo I made transparent didn't transfer to PDF that way, so there's a small section of text hidden behind that file....

OpenOffice.org's software can be freely (and for free) downloaded at:

2004/06/11 05:51

The most recent photo up in the Photo Gallery is "Sidetracked" - a photo I like, but it probably doesn't sound too interesting:

Q: "What is it a photo of?"

A: "People on an escalator."

Sounds... very ordinary... but have a look and let me know what you think of it.  Stubborn bugger that I am, I don't even care if anyone else likes it actually, because I already do.  Well... I take that back, I care very much if other people like it, but whether they do or whether they don't, I'm still convinced it's a good photo, which is why I posted it.

...... Obviously nothing profound to say, so I'll stop here!

2004/06/10 11:56

No discernible change after putting that in.  So it's all determined by the volume of traffic then?  Hmm....  Info about my site came up with a Google search for "The LL-Letters" via a first page listing of Bondi Books' blog at:

But that was this morning - as I try the same search again, now it doesn't come up.  Hmmm... I guess I'll just stop thinking about it for now and see what happens over time.

The LL-Letters - Letter-Letter - Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

2004/06/10 11:41

Okay, so what's with the stuff above?  I'm trying to make it so people can find the site via search engines.  Will it work?  Let's try it and see....

2004/06/10 06:31

Welcome to everyone from the LL-Letters group!  I've held off on letting most people know about the site until I got the framework and a few things posted.  Now that a certain framework is in place, I suppose I might as well start working with it.  Please bookmark the site, as the address is not the easiest one to enter manually, what with that "~" mark in it.  That wasn't my choice by the way, but rather something the provider stuck me with.  The provider offers a different address arrangement for something like 205 yen per month, but I don't like the address options they offer and so need to look into registering a more normal site address.  Does anyone have any information on how to do that?

Anyway - please have a look around at the site and let me know what you think of it.  If something isn't displaying correctly, please let me know and I'll try to fix it.

2004/06/09 17:50

I wish I could get things up on-line a bit speedier....  In any case, there's an all-new photo up - "Singing in Kichijoji", at the top of the list on the "Photo Gallery" page.  Feedback welcome.  I got very soppy with the text, so let me know if you felt dizzy and had to postpone dinner after reading it. ;)

2004/06/09 06:45

I put up six photos under "Photo Gallery" yesterday and will be doing more work on the site today.  The site seems to be displaying okay, except there was a strange problem with "One Cold January Day in the Suburbs" where the photo was displaying with Linux but not with Windows - even when using the same browser (Firefox)!  I re-saved the file and the photo and now it works, but I wonder what the technical reason for that one was....

As for the blog - sorry that it's only boring musing about website creation so far, but that's all I've been doing since I put this up.  Once I get more of the backlog of stuff I want to upload taken care off, I can return to writing about non-computer issues!

2004/06/08 17:06

Website building... a bit more work than I had anticipated!  It's a strange feeling having my material *sitting* out there.  Up until now, I had always only sent things with e-mail, so there was that beginning-middle-end aspect to any project, but when something is posted and is just... *there*, then it's a perpetual middle, until some unknown time when the data is deleted, but by that time, who has downloaded it?  Where are they?  Are they going to repost it sometime?  As far as convenience is concerned it's great!  I used to carry a CD-ROM around with some of my stuff on it, now all I have to do is go to the site if I want to show someone some of my work.  While I'm on the subject, I'd be interested in hearing different opinions regarding HTML editors.  I'm using a hodgepodge of different software at the moment - trying to figure out what will work best - any tips welcome!

2004/06/08 08:21

I'm beginning to see what a lot of work a site is.  No one piece of it is any big deal, but putting all the pieces together takes a bit of time.  I guess once I get past the development state, things will smooth out and I can get back to writing and photography.  I put a number of PDF files onto the site last-last-night/early-this-morning.  The resolution of the photos in the files isn't as good as it could be, but they were created to be light for e-mail, so I had to use light images.

Well, back to it.  There is a lot of work to be done yet!

2004/06/07 06:45

"Ah... but of course..." I realized upon receiving advice to be careful what I publish in a blog... it is just *sitting out there* after all!  Just sitting there, always available!  Yeah, I can see you long-time blog writers shaking your heads and thinking (saying out-loud even?) "What's with this loony?  Like... the sun comes up every day, right?  What's the point?  Are you stupid, or what?".  To which I just had a mental flashback to my first cell phone in 1997.  The first several calls I made were with a sense of science fiction - I'd call someone and say "Guess where I am?  In a train!" which demonstrated the possibility of what had been impossible for bipeds for all time leading up to cell phones (I noticed several other new cell phone users at the time doing the same thing incidentally).  Now it's just a piece of plastic with electronics inside that I use like... everyone else, hey?  And now I find myself wondering at the availability of material after spending the past eight years publishing exclusively via e-mail; I have just put this blog on-line (still don't like that word "blog"...) and I haven't programmed the biological computer to recognize "always available text" as something "normal".  Give me time, I'll get used to it.

(If you noticed that a piece of my 2004/06/06-16:26 posting has gone missing, you have just discovered the reason for the ramble above.)

One other thing - this will be sloppier than my e-mail text, as I'm going to be tossing stuff onto the site without carefully editing it in order to get a regular flow of text going....

2004/06/06 16:26

I still feel more comfortable with letters than posting text and having it just sitting out there on disks, in chips and on the wires ready to be looked at anytime, by anyone!  I think this will affect my writing in the "blog" (still not quite comfortable with that word...) as well.  So, this in no way is meant to replace the LL newsletter, but rather to augment it.  Another issue is the fact that the attack on the e-mail system by the spam blizzard monsters (WhoWhoWho?) has been making it increasingly difficult to communicate via e-mail, so - in that sense - putting text on-line, whether I like it or not, may be the only way to communicate with many people.

2004/06/06 14:27

Pressed for time at the moment.  The key to getting things done is to not do them right?  Thus this meaningless blurb is going on-line so I can pat myself on the back for getting the blog page on-line... on time!  HoHo, Banzai!!