October 19, 2004

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SAND CATS – 563 words

“Here, kitty, kitty…” The girl made a welcoming sound in the back of
her throat as she coaxed the shy tabby out of the sand. Loving hands
ran over the cat’s smooth, soft back, brushing away excess grains from
the tabby as it turned a pebbled stare on her. Beside it, a sleepy cat
yawned and stretched, oblivious to the inscrutable gaze of a sphinx
who studied the retreating sea. Behind the girl, a calico cat twitched
its coconut-ribbed tail as it stalked a mouse, teaching a pair of
kittens how to hunt. A timid kitten peeked out of its mother’s shadow,
terrified by the sea spray. Carefully stepping back, the girl surveyed
the gamboling cats and clapped her hands with delight.

Just one more, and then the light would be perfect for a picture. The
girl worked with an easy rhythm, digging into hot sand with glee,
raking away powder-dry layers to uncover memories of this morning’s
tide. Nimble fingers shaped the sand into an arched back, alert ears,
and a bushy tail that almost seethed with anger. She bent to brush her
lips against the cat’s warm forehead and for a moment she thought she
could feel it move under her hands. Asking the fierce cat to stand
guard, she ran, breathless, to call her parents and show them the sand

Her mother put her newspaper down, said “That’s very nice,” and went
back to reading the entertainment page. Her father—ah, her father had
a camera, her father would take a picture of her cats, would love them
as she did! She flew down the beach, clambered among the rocks and
pulled her father’s sleeve insistently. He laughed. Of course he would
come. He would take their pictures.

Her father ambled along the beach taking pictures of every wave, so
slow she pulled him in impatience. Couldn’t he hear the cats call out
to them? Didn’t he want to learn their names, their stories? Didn’t he
understand that her cats were waiting to be photographed, worshipped,
loved? She dashed ahead, then circled back, alternately pulling and
pushing him as she chattered about the cats’ antics.

As they crested the rise, she heard the sea keen, a long, low note
that sent shivers up her spine. The once-angry cat bowed its head in
apology and pain, his face mauled by a vicious footprint. She cried
out to shoo away the kids gleefully stomping on the other cats but no
one paid her any heed, and when they moved on to other distractions,
she ran to the ruined tableau of all her cats wounded and grieving.

She turned away so that her father couldn’t see the saltwater that
stung her face. In a wavering voice she said she’d do them again,
already stooping to reform the cat closest to her, pouring all her
love into it. Sand caked her skin and got under her fingernails but
she didn’t mind. She didn’t even notice when her father strolled away,
laughing about the simple joys of childhood.

When she smoothed the last cheek and pinched the last ear, the sun was
too low and her father too far away to call for pictures or
admiration. No one would understand anyway, no one but her cats. She
sat there, still and silent, a sand-girl-cat guarding her kittens. The
tide came in and claimed them all.

Good news and bad news: Pictures and Internet

The good news is that I managed to grab a copy of all the pictures I’d
taken, after some panicking as I couldn’t find the share listed.
(13-character limitation of smbclient. Pfft. Accessing the share
directly worked.)

The bad news is that apparently, I won’t be able to access the
Internet from my room in Tokyo Kenshu Center. My phone can do e-mail,
though, and there’ll probably be a small computer room there. =) If
I’m really nice, maybe the company will let me plug in my laptop


Did okay on my presentation. Met Uematsu-san and Tanaka-san.
Tanaka-san is the president of MSI. Whee! =)

Kato-san is coming to Japan next week or next next week! I’m really
looking forward to thanking him in Japanese.

Have to return the LAN cable now, so there won’t be any updates until
I get settled into TKC. Assuming TKC has room Internet. I really,
really hope so.

Notes from AOTS talk

Good afternoon, I am Mr. Yamamoto. I myself have bought an electronic
dictionary. Before I bought, I asked the shopkeeper what would be
good. He recommended Casio, which is why I bought the one from Casio.
It is my regret, I should’ve listened to your presentation, then I
should’ve made up my mind. I have a plan to change to new mobile, so I
should listen to your recommendations. Your generial orientation
training started from end of August, and very soon, your OJT at host
company will take place. I believe that you are the future bridges to
make the interface between your country into the Japanese companies.
My last word to all of you is that I definitely hope you will have a
fruitful training session. We wish you great success and prosperity as
well as the people from your host companies. Do your best.

Good afternoon, my name is Mr. Usui. I myself already bought an
electronic dictionary. I must comment on your presentations. I’m very
amazed by the amount of improvement you have all made over eight
weeks. Selection of theme was also very good. The kind of electric
dictionary I bought is the Sharp PW9000. However, I didn’t make a
thorough survey like you did, because I bought it on instinct. Despite
the fact I bought it just on instinct, now I know my instinct was
correct. Obviously, your OJT is going to take place, so I must ask all
the people from the host companies to look after the trainees. I have
three things I’d like to mention to all of you trainees. The first
point is your technical training. You are here to receive your
technical training and you will be receiving that from the
specialists. The Japanese way of keeping time. As you know, the people
working in this industry tend to keep long hours, so I’d like you to
get used to it. I encourage you to build personal relationships while
you’re working here. I believe all of you future leaders will try to
make the initiative when you get back to your country. It is a good
opportunity for you to make contacts while you are here in Japan. The
third point is that I hope you have the opportunity to get acquainted
and receive lots of knowledge and information about Japan as well as
the Japanese culture. As you already know, there are many sightseeing
spots near the Tokyo area, including Kamakura as well as Hakone where
you can see Mount Fuji, Nikko. I hope you can visit these spots. I
hope you will learn to understand many good things about Japan and the
Japanese people. When you go back to your country, I hope you will act
like our PR man so that you can promote Japan and its people, and I
hope … (gah, buffer full).

Allow me to make a comment on behalf of all the attendants. So we are
kind of giving AOTS AOTS has been giving us many services to our
companies. I’m very honored to bbe here, invited to this meeting. I
heard your Japanese presentations today. I am amazed and surprised to
hear such good Japanese presentations. If I put myself into your
position just learning Vietnamese language for just eight weeks, I
could not make that fantastic achievement. If I recall when I was your
age, that was maybe about 30 years ago, we Japanese, we didn’t have
the opportunity to study abroad at that time. So looking from my point
of view, you have a great opportunity to study here in Japan, it’s
like a dream. So I must encourage all of you to study and continue to
study our Japanese language lessons which you have received from AOTS
as well as the culture and the technical learnings you will receive
from your company. And I hope that one day you will grow up to be a
person who can make a contribution not only to your country but also
to Japan, other Asian countries, and the world. On the way back home,
I will definitely purchase the dictionary manufactured by Sharp.

04YIT8W General orientation countres: closing meeting

Before we start, I’d like to mention some of the points. Today, we
have a number of people from the magazine publishing company called
Arc, providing both English and Japanese studies. They are here to
record your Japanese presentation for your studies.

Secondly, we would like to thank you very much for the attendance from
the host companies. Some of them will not be able to stay until the

This is a request for all the trainees. After the closing ceremony,
would you please remain in this room? There are a number of things we
would like to give to you.

From now on, we would like to start the 04YIT8W final presentation to
show your achievements. For the people from host companies, please
look at the schedule. As of 1 PM up until 4 PM, or a duration of three
hours, we would like to show the achievements of our trainees. First,
I would like to introduce all the attendants. I will be extremely
grateful if when I call the names of the person from the host company,
if they could stand up. … Thank you very much for the attendance
from the host companies. … more introductions …

Allow me to give you the outline of this YIT8W course. For the people
from the host companies, please look at the handout material with the
itinerary. The trainees, please look back over your past eight weeks.
Your eight weeks general orientation weeks is aimed to achieve a
smooth transfer from here at YKC to the OJ training to be received at
your host companies. During your stay, you were given the essential
training, including Japanese language as well as adaptability to
living in Japan and smooth learning for your training. We have
established your general orientation curriculums to provide you with
Japanese language training in the morning. In the afternoon, you had a
mix of lectures and company visits. For the lectures, we have invited
specialists as well as professors from different universities, and you
have been given the five lectures. A number of themes include Japanese
society from the viewpoint of foreigners, and the current status of
the Japanese IT industry, and the structure of the Japanese software
industry, and the exchange with … And project management carried out
by Japanese software companies. During these lectures, you have gotten
quite an indepth knowledge of the Japanese industry as well as the IT
industry. So far you have had two visits. The first visit was to a
company called Arc Information Technology. The second visit was to the
CEATEC exhibition. During these visits, you have acquired knowledge on
how these software companies manage their products. You have also
learned about advanced technology in the IT industry and how these are
applied in the curernt business. Every week, you went through a number
of projects. … Independent and autonomous way of acquiring studies.
… Your studies don’t only take place inside the classrooms, but also

(At this point, I decided to just keep abbreviated notes.)

228 hours so far in our training.

(Presentations. I have decided to just listen.)