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
- 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.
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.
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.)
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
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:
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?)
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....
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:
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.
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
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
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
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.
"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:
"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
Idea... maybe we can have a page to showcase lite versions of photos
that could be sold to interested companies, etc? Feedback welcome.
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.
"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....
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.
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
"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.
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
........ 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!
"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.
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:
"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
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....
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....
"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!
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
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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
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).
"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
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!
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....
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!
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!
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....
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.
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!
"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.
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....
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.
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.
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.
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....
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?
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
(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.
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
Not enough freelance work at the moment, but hopefully it'll pick
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!
"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.
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!
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
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,
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
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
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"
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).
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.
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.
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!
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,
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
Today, however, I think I'll take a rest from it.
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 &
Now - on to the abovementioned e-pal, who kindly
mentioned my site at his
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."
- 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
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
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*
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
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....
getting technical... and llllooooonnnnggggggg..... Anyone on
dial-up who can give me some feedback regarding download times for
the photos? I'd appreciate it!
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!
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
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
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....
software can be freely (and for free) downloaded
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?"
"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
...... Obviously nothing profound to say, so I'll stop
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
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
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....
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
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.
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. ;)
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!
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!
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
Well, back to it. There is a lot of work
to be done yet!
"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....
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
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