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Preview: Japan - a dream becoming true

Japan.. A dream becoming true..





Updated: 2017-08-15T03:52:40.751-07:00

 



Yes, Japan also researches about toilet paper!

2010-02-25T05:06:58.402-08:00

And this research can save you 100,000$/year!

A revolutionary machine that transforms shredded office paper into toilet paper!! Yup you heard it right! The useless shreds of paper has a role now, an important one!

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10 tips before you come to Japan..

2010-02-08T01:44:58.394-08:00

Actually this post is not mine, it is for kirainet.com, but I found it very interesting and useful. Please note that these tips are for those who come to Japan as tourists.1.-Do not worryYes, Japan is very weird, very different, but the Japanese aren’t going to eat you raw as if you were sushi! Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, it has an impressive transport network that makes tourism easy, the whole country is full of signs (sometimes only in Japanese) and there is 127 million Japanese willing to help you in case you have any problem. With this, I mean you won’t get lost and you won’t miss anything in Japan. Above all, Japan is a “useful” country (Are you climbing up Mount Fuji and you feel like having a coffee? There you have a vending machine!). Summing up this first tip, even if it sounds a little bit silly: the only thing you should worry about when you come to Japan is the Japanese language.2.-Buy a Japan Rail PassThe best thing to do when travelling is using the trains from the JR network (Japan Railways). The cheapest option is to buy a Japan Rail Pass that will allow you to travel on a “flat rate” basis using any train from JR all around the country. You can ONLY buy this pass outside Japan, so ask your travel agent of choice for information. You can find infomation in this website. The typical question is whether it’s worth the price to buy the JR Pass. The answer is YES. It is really worth it, so do not hesitate to buy it. It’d be a huge mistake to come to Japan as a tourist without a JR Pass.3.-PlugsElectricity in Japan runs at 110V and 50Hz, and plugs have a different shape. I recommend you read the small print on the transformer of the device you want to bring. If it says, for example, INPUT: 100V-240V (from 100V to 240V), there’s a good chance you won’t have problems when using it in Japan. If it only says INPUT: 2**V, you may only use that device in other countries. In that case, you’d have to buy a transformer that’d probable cost you between 20 and 50 Euro depending on amperage, blah, blah, blah… I recommend you only bring devices with the INPUT: 100V-2**V thing. Nowadays, most laptops have those universal transformers, but mobile phones, for example, don’t. As far as the plug is concerned, I recommend you to go to the first electronics shop you find when you arrive here and buy an adapter, which will cost somewhere between 200 and 500 yen depending on the place.4.-Mobile phone and InternetMost European/American phone companies offer roaming with Japanese companies. Before coming to Japan check if your company offers it! You may also rent a mobile phone at Narita Airport when you arrive. Ask at the information desk and they’ll nicely help you find the renting place, etc. You may also rent PHS cards for your laptop which will allow you to surf the Internet anywhere in the country. They say you can even get a connection with a PHS card on top of Mount Fuji.5.-Japanese language and mannersLearn how to say a few things in Japanese, like ARIGATOU (Thank you), SUMIMASEN (Excuse me), etc., and the Japanese people will surely appreciate it. Also try to bow as a sign of gratitude when someone helps you during your trip.6.-Electronic devices shopping in JapanThere is this myth that says that all electronic devices in Japan are supercheap, the cheapest… and maybe that was true in the 90’s when we still were “globalizing”. Nowadays prices are very similar to any place in Europe/North America, and even some things are more expensive here. For example, laptops are usually cheaper in Spain than in Japan. The only thing I recommend to buy in Japan is digital cameras because, due to the huge competition among Japanese companies in the local market, sometimes they can be between 50 and 100 Euro (depending on the model) cheaper than in Europe/North America.7.-AccommodationYou may stay at a traditional Japanese hotel or Ryokan for a few days, or at a regular hotel, or at a youth hostel, etc. Choose where you want to stay and send an email [...]



Homework is fun!

2010-01-27T04:34:42.947-08:00

Homework is fun, especially if it is the Japanese way.

A while ago we had a writing homework to do, in Japanese. The homework was to describe specific scene and write about them from different point of views. Here is the scene of our last homework:


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It was fun, yeah. But never an easy task. At the end, we sure learned alot!
Creative, eh?



Lines.. why?

2010-01-19T00:27:04.408-08:00

Do you see the lines on the ground appearing in this picture?


Why are they there?
This is a public hospital in Tokyo. Why would they draw lines on the ground?

Can you think of a good reason?

Ok I will answer you now.

Lines in this hospital are everywhere, and in every color. Lines simply connect offices together. So when you (or the ill 70 years old man) come to an office, they process your papers and then just tell you "Please follow the red line and submit your papers there". Or "Please follow the yellow line and wait on the chairs there until your name is called"!!

Yes. No more giving directions. No more turn right, turn left, or search for a desk or window. Just follow the line. As simple as that, and convenient for the majority of hospital visitors: ill people!

"شوف يابا. بتاخذ أول دخلة على ايدك اليسار أيوه أيوه عند بياع القهوة. بعدين ثاني يمين ها مش أول يمين! يعني بتترك أول يمين تبع الحلاق و بتاخذ ثاني يمين عند مطعم أبو الفول. امشيلك أبو ميت متر بتلاقي دكانة أبو أحمد الخضرجي. اسأله وين دار أبو ابراهيم و هو بدلك".



Our visit to the city of Kawagoe..

2009-12-25T09:29:40.069-08:00

We were invited by our Japanese friends to visit their city, Kawagoe in Saitama.

The feeling was indescribable. The old city of Kawagoe did a great job in keeping its influence on us. It is my first time visiting an old typical Japanese city, and I could notice a lot of difference compared to Tokyo. It was a refreshing experience away from the metropolitan atmosphere.

I will leave you with some pictures.














Have fun surfing with Furigana Injector..

2009-12-21T04:25:10.570-08:00

I like to surf Japanese websites. They are usually full of news, and sometimes they are the first to post the news on the web (for example videogames news).

Eventhough I reached a level where I can understand the Japanese grammar and sentence structure well, I still have difficulties understanding the meaning of the Kanjis. Sometimes I feel if I knew how the kanji is read, I can know its meaning. That is why I try to avoid using Rikaichan, which gives the reading and the meaning of the kanji.

Now my wish can become true with Furigana Injector. This is a tool for Firefox and Chrome browsers that injects the furigana reading of all the kanjis in a webpage!! Absolutely amazing! This will make me enter a whole new dimension in the process of learning kanji. I just love it, and recommend you to use it.




Monbusho students are poor. Yet... Rich!

2009-12-11T06:44:53.579-08:00

The reason for writing this topic is the short dialog that took place while I was waiting the train the other day.

A Japanese old man was next to me, and was peeking on the papers I was reading. He noticed that I noticed that he was peeking, so he started some little small talk about Japan and life in Japan. Then he asked me about the reason why I came to Japan, and I answered him that I am here to study. As he knew that I am a Monbusho student, his tone kind of changed to a sad pitying tone. He told me, and I am quoting here, "A Japanese man can not eat with this small amount of money you are getting". Our conversation ended when we took the train, each in a separate carriage.

Here I have to confirm one thing. Yes. Monbusho students are poor, financially. The amount we take compared to usual Japanese salaries is low, but sufficient enough to live in the most expensive city in the world. For example visiting one's home country, Jordan in this case, is not an easy decision to do due to the financials. I, myself, have not visited for two years now as I also was too busy to take such a vacation.

Yet.....

There is one important statement that should be confirmed also here. Monbusho students are very rich. And now, I am not talking about the financial aspect, but from the perspective of power.

Once you say you are a Monbusho students, doors magically open in front of you. If you are in trouble, all you have to do is to say that you are a Monbusho student. If you want to extend your visa, just say you are Monbusho. If you want to work after your graduation, say the magic word: Monbusho. If you want your family to be granted a visa to visit you: Monbusho. If a police officer stops you to check your ID, just say it: Monbusho. If you want to impress someone, spell out the word: Monbusho.

So, the lack of finance is overcome by the presence of power for Monbusho students.
But still, we kind of a li~~~ttle bit wish that the Japanese government takes some of this power in exchange for a li~~~ttle bit of a raise in our monthly income!!



Takao-san, in pictures..

2009-11-27T08:01:18.084-08:00

Click "Read More" for more..[...]



Test your Japanese level online..

2009-11-25T01:26:18.014-08:00

Now you can test your Japanese language ability online using the website of Tokyo University International Center.

The test is aimed towards students who wish to enroll and take courses at the International Center of Tokyo University. Yet, as the test measures general Japanese knowledge, you can use it to know your level too. The test is professionally prepared and covers the most essential parts for each level, while the last three questions of each level measures your listening ability and how much you can understand conversational Japanese.

Give it a try, and tell us your result, either to congratulate you or cheer you up and help you continue.


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Keep your legs warm for 7 hours, in bed!

2009-11-22T07:50:25.774-08:00


All you have to do is put this into your Microwave, then under yours legs while you are in bed.

Neat, eh?


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The black side of living in Japan..

2009-11-27T06:47:44.979-08:00

Is Japan an all perfect country?

No it is not. For me, it is the best country in the world, relatively. And I will tell you now about one black side of living in Japan.

Every day, at 13:35 I reach that station. Not 13:34, not 13:36, it is 13:35. Every day I exit the train from that right door of the same train carriage I am in, and with me there the man in the tux exits and heads directly to the same vending machine. With us an older woman exits and heads left. Today she is wearing all black maybe she has some kind of a special occasion.

Going up the escalator, yes, there are these 3 people ahead of me: A school girl and two school boys. I then head towards exit #1, where I will find the traffic light flashing to tell the world that it will change to red any second now. So I run, along with the school girls beside me, who are laughing. One of them sees me and mumbles some words to her friends in Japanese thinking I can’t understand, but I just reply with the usual head shake and smile.

On my left a car is ready to leave a building so I stop to give it space. The same driver, same head shake and same smile. I shake my head back, and I do my best to smile fighting the Jordanian blood in me preventing me from smiling back on streets. I walk for 5 minutes and enter that store to buy something to drink, and there she is that old lady who is shopping and looking at some items. Sometimes I find her on my left and sometimes on my right but she is there! She shakes her head to me, as we have become best friends because of our daily meetings in the store. If one day I did not find her, I should definitely hurry to attend her funeral.
You got the idea. Every day is the same and before is the same as after. Weekdays in Japan have the worst routines, to its maximum extent.

The change comes on weekends. Not because I have much free time, but only because these people I see on my way everyday to university are taking the day off, unlike myself. Yes everybody takes the weekend off except for the major portion of "Toudai" students. On weekends, on late nights and until sunrise they are there in their places working, as usual. Ofcourse after the huge effort I spend all week, the one day I take off, if existed, is usually spent in bed.

Yes, I get results.
Yes, there are achievements.
But all this is not for free you know?



McDonald's in Japan..

2009-11-02T18:04:29.982-08:00

As I wake up in the early morning getting ready for a very long day of continuous heavy work, I made a new discovery. McDonald's sells the very best coffee I have ever tasted. Not only that, it contains an amount of caffeine enough to keep me awake throughout the whole day.

In addition to that discovery, there is another one. McDonald's in Japan is not a fast food restaurant, but a restaurant where you sit and spend a long time eating and doing your own activities, including sleeping!

For example, inside McDonald's there is a free WiFi connection for those who wish to play Nintendo DS. So you can find lots of people who finish their meals then sit there playing DS for a long time. Also, if you visit McDonald's in the very early morning you will notice people sleeping inside. Those people are the ones who most probably had a long night partying then missed the last train, so they go to McDonald's instead of staying in the street and sleep there! They spend the whole night sleeping and then take the first train early in the morning back home (or back to work!).


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The picture is from boingboing.net

Note: As far as my knowledge goes, McDonalds in Japan is not considered halal so basically I do not eat any meat there. I buy only coffee or ice cream.




الصين: الهبوط من الجنة الى الارض

2009-11-27T07:05:07.707-08:00

اعذروني فما سأتحدث فيه اليوم لا يصلح الا ان اتحدث به بالعربية. ففعلا ما شاهدت و رأيت و أحسست جعلني ادرك انني عشت تجربة لا أقدر على وصفها الا كالهبوط من الجنة الى الارض.فقد هبطت من جنة تعيش فيها كل حقوق الانسان الى مكان تشك ان ساكنه انسان. هبطت من من جنة تزخر بالامان الى ارض القانون فيها شريعة الحيوان. اصبت بصدمة ثقافية ايجابية حينما رايت و شاهدت اليابان بابداعاتها و نظامها و شعبها ، و ها أنا اليوم أصاب بصدمة ثقافية سلبية حينما غادرت اليابان و انتقلت لاسبوع واحد الى الصين.الصين. تلك الامبراطورية العملاقة التي طالما هابها و ما يزال العالم. الصين ، التي علمونا انها قاب قوسين او ادنى من ان تحكم الارض. أقول فأطمئنكم، ما زال امامها شوط طويل كي تلحق او حتى كي تقارن باليابان او بدول اقل مرتبة من اليابان و غيرها. لم يحتج الامر سوى نصف ساعة على ارض الصين كي ادرك انني هبطت من الجنة الى الارض. فكما احتاج الامر الى نصف ساعة كي ادرك ان اليابان هي جنة الكرة الأرضية ، أيضاً احتاج الامر نصف ساعة او اقل لأدرك ما أدركته عن الصين تعرضت خلالها الى محاولة اختطاف و محاولة نصب و احتيال. نعم في نصف ساعة حدث كل هذا على الرغم من انه لو لم يحدث لما تغير رأيي قيد أنملة لما رأيته من الصين كدولة.لن أتحدث عن تفاصيل ما جرى معي شخصيا معتبرا ان ما حدث هو "حالة خاصة استثنائية" رغم انني اشك في ذلك، لكني سأتحدث عن ظواهر اخرى حدثت أمامي و تكررت بشكل يجعلها من المستحيل ان تكون حادثة استثنائية. فمثلا بمجرد خروجك من المطار يتهافت عليك موظفوا الفنادق و شركات الاتصالات بشكل غير حضاري املا في الحصول على جزء مما تحمله من نقود. فالصين دولة ذات دخول متدنية و حتما اي سائح فيها هو أغنى من المعظم في الصين. ولذلك الناس معظمها في المطار تنظر لك نظرة موحدة هي كما ينظرون للدولار. فتجد في اعينهم شراهة غريبة لم تعهدها حتى في أسوء ظروف دولنا العربية. بسيطة.ان حاولت ان تشتري غرضا و شاء الله ان تدفع بورقة نقدية عالية تساوي عشرين دولار مثلا، ففي البداية سيرمقك البائع بنظرة ( و في حالتي أنا شخصيا البائعة) تجبرك على أن تركع و تعترف بأي جرم من قسوة تلك النظرة!! فانا مثلا عندما رمقت تلك النظرة كدت ان اعترف انني لم أغسل يدي قبل وجبة الغذاء اليوم!!! تلك نظرة تأتيك لأنك تحمل فئة عالية من النقود و بالتالي اغلب الظن انك اما سارق او مخادع. ثم ما يلبث البائع ان يرفع الورقة النقدية باتجاه الضوء ليتأكد من شرعيتها و انها غير مزيفة. و حتى عند[...]



A kotatsu is your weapon to face winter in Japan!

2009-11-27T07:51:03.053-08:00

In Japan houses are made of wood. Even buildings in Tokyo, they are still made of wood. Wooden houses mean lots of holes, and incapability to preserve heat inside the house, and a very cold house in winter.

As winter is approaching fast, we have to think of a way to preserve heat inside the house, you know to save the environment, and more importantly -honestly!!- to save our pockets!

A Kotatsu is an ideal solution for this problem. Let me now introduce you to a kotatsu.





As you can see in the pictures, a kotatsu is a table that is covered from all sides with a heavy blanket, and a person can sit and put his legs inside the blankets to protect them from cold. Pretty warm yeah? Not so much before you know that under the table there is an electric heat source that will keep you, and your legs, very warm.

The basic concept solves the problem of using ordinary heat sources in Japanese houses. As I said above the wooden nature of the houses allows cold from outside to be in the house, which will render any heat source you use inside the house useless. But with a kotatsu, the head comes from under the table and stays there as it is protected by this heavy wall of blankets.

Some Japanese also sleep under a kotatsu, which is a very clever idea. But ofcourse, this will raise the chances of catching a cold!

Maybe I will buy one for my own house, you know as a spoil for my legs!!



Acknowledgement...

2009-11-27T07:14:30.717-08:00

In the name of Allah, the all mighty god, the one and only one, I hereby start my thesis.Praises to Allah, for his mercy upon me. For his generous gifts of health and brain which allowed me to proceed higher studies at one of the best universities in the world, University of Tokyo.Praises to Allah, for gifting me with a perfect wife, my supporter through this journey. Thank you Randa for all your support and your cheers through the difficult times of research. Thank you, for your acceptance to accompany me in Japan, while you knew I will always be busy, away from you, working in my laboratory. You went through a hard time, spending most of your time alone while I progressed in my research connecting days with nights, but you only greet me with a smile and a welcoming heart, when I knock your door. Thank you, for making your house, my home.I deeply thank and raise the hat for my supervising professor, Prof. Ikeda for his continuous teaching and support. Each time I sit with him, I gain a huge amount of knowledge not only in my research field but also in life. His welcoming helped me to settle in Japan and feel it like home, while His teaching provided me with solid knowledge and helped me to become a better Electrical Engineer. This work could have never been achieved except for the guidance I received from him.I also thank Prof. Asada for his guidance and support throughout the research, and his fatherly advices to help me become a better researcher. All the thanks for Prof. Nakura for his help during my experimental research and measurement. He was always open for any questions, and his words were fulfilling answers.My appreciation and respect for Dr. Abbas, for his support. He tended to calm me down during rough times, and his experience in our field could help me through complicated situations by providing me his suggestions. He is like an older brother, always there when you need him. I also thank Dr. James Tandon for his support during the start my Masters, and for his precious advices.I send my thanks to Jordan, for Dr. Khamis, for his fatherly support and help in any matter I need, and for Dr. Yaser for helping me when I got married and supporting me like his son.I thank all my lab members and research-mates for the friendly environment and healthy atmosphere that makes research and creativity easier.In addition, I can never forget the trust of Yamashita-san, or the faith of Kobayashi-sensei in me. I can never forget how Taymour-sensei helped choose my desired field, or how Saqf-san helped me through the difficult transition of starting a new life in Japan.Finally, no words can describe my appreciation for my father, god bless his soul, who wished before he died to see me holding a higher education degree. And my mother, who provided me with everything I needed since I was a child until I left the house coming to Japan. Without her, getting a professional degree would have been impossible. I thank her for all the prayers she has made to help me through my research.I feel so proud of that picture above..But now is not the time to stand still...Let me go back to research my way into PhD..[...]



Iftar, Japanese style!

2009-09-12T01:43:49.496-07:00


So I would like to share with you my iftar for today. I decided to make it all Japanese, nothing non-Japanese is allowed.

I will leave the pics to speak for themselves..


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6000$ as a monthly mobile bill....??!!!!!

2009-11-27T07:09:01.687-08:00


My legs shake, my hands sweat. My heart beats while my throat dries. My jaws drop, my eyes open wide and I get this very strong urge to run to the nearest bathroom..!!!

That was me, when I saw I have to my mobile operator, 6000$ for the month of august!
Yes, dear reader. You did not misread that figure. It is three zeros beside the six, to the RIGHT of the six. In yens, it is 600,000. I spent 5 minutes trying to count how many zeros there are in this number!! I forgot the 3rd grade elementary maths, I even forgot how to speak, in ANY language!!

Is this 60,000? no no, there are five zeros!! five means what?? five zeros means.. wait wait.. Ten has one zero, hundred has two zeros, thousand has... what? thousand is hundred multiplied by 10 or 100? Thousand is ten hundreds. No a thousand is hundred tens!! wait wait. repeat again! Ten has one zero, hundred has two zeros. Ok so far. Thousand has 3 zeros. Fine. Ten thousands has 4 zeros and hundred thousand has 5 zeros. So this is SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND. Ok this means what? roku man (counting in Japanese)? no no this is roppyaku! no, this is roku sen man? NOO! this is ROKU JYUU MAN!!



At that moment I regained my consciousness. I calculated, in a less than one tenth of a fraction of a second (Yup, that is the adrenaline effect!) how long it will be taking me walking from my house to Tokyo University every day to save the train money. In the next fraction of the same second, I thought of just buying an air ticket and run out the country leaving everything behind, and never look back!!!

After taking a deep breathe, (and answering the strong bathroom urge), I realized the reason for this amount is using 3G internet on my new iphone. Yeah, they told me it is expensive, but I never thought it is 6000$/Month expensive!! I dont even have to check my email through the phone as any email I receive will be pushed as a notification! Ofcourse I have internet at home and internet in the lab so I do not need to use the phone so often! Urrrgh, I thought, Softbank is sooo dead for me!!! Those freaking thieves!!!



And thats when it hit me....
Yup it did...


I remembered when I first signed the contract that if I use 3G packets with a cost more than 4,000 yen (40$), the price will be frozen at 4,000. Why does it show up as 600,000???!!!
I called them. And here was their answer: "Yes sir, you will pay only 4,000 yens. But this is only to show you how much you used, and how much we will ask you NOT to pay, to let you appreciate our greatest offer of freezing your bill at 4,000 yens!!!"

Oh my god!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know what I answered then???
Can you guess???


Guess!!!


I said...




"4,000 yen?? Can you please tell me how many zeros are there in that???"





Khawater from Japan..

2009-08-29T11:19:45.077-07:00


MBC's TV show, called Khawater خواطر (Thoughts) is a program presented by a Muslim youngster called "Ahmad Shuqairi". It's the fifth year for the program to be broadcasted on MBC, and this year it talks about Japan.

Through the previous four years I liked that show a lot, as it talks about how to be better Muslims by applying the Islamic rules in our daily lives. My wife and I were watching it episode by episode every year. This year we were surprised that Ahmad-san will be coming to Japan to present his program, and talk about Japan as an advanced country which could successfully mark its name among the best in the world. The program asks one main question "if they could do it, why cant we?".

The way Ahmad-san talks about Japan is really great! It is very similar to how I talk to my friends about Japan, and in some cases he used the exact same words! To be honest, even though I like the guy so much, I was disappointed and mad to know he was in Tokyo and yet he did not even try to contact Muslims there. I would really have done anything to talk to him and help him go around Tokyo, in addition to giving some thoughts about the program.

Its an amazing show presented by an amazing guy. Its on the top of my recommendation list.

Here is a video for the first episode. (Sorry no translation).

allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.blogger.com/video.g?token=AD6v5dx76OO3LjXKew6Ts-5TPv9PvWfCh8U-lEDYQFICymy_ypBmhvKuezrcF2Dnb93VGL1VNNBA-Y4TV7jsHzT8qg' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />



A new era for Jordanians in Japan..

2009-08-14T21:17:17.206-07:00

It has been a great day, to say the least.We, my wife and I, were invited to have dinner in a very friendly environment, at the house of the Jordanian ambassador in Japan. The moment we stepped through the door, we felt that we traveled all the way back to Amman. The family gathering, the warm welcoming, generosity and ... ofcourse... the delicious food!It was a private invitation to meet the ambassador, Mr. Demiye Haddad, and his wife, Mrs. Shifa Zgoul. We spent the time talking about Japan, and talking about our beloved Jordan. I went into a hot discussion with Mr. Haddad, who proved to have a clever mind and his talk was all based on logic. I enjoyed the talk as it has been a while since I was evolved in such a discussion. We also met the new Jordanian staff at the embassy who only recently came to Japan, so they were interested to hear our talk about the country. I have been given a huge amount of support from their side when they heard about my research and my studies. I was so proud to be Jordanian at that moment, when I saw Jordanians very proud of me. I felt like I want to double, no triple, my efforts just to reflect the perfect image about Jordanian scientists.Truth to be said, Mr. Haddad is bringing a new era to Jordanians in Japan. They have plans to gather all Jordanians together and to build strong connections between them, based on the fact that we come from one country and we shall stay one unit all the time. I totally like their new plans towards the relations between Jordanians and the embassy in Tokyo. I, without a doubt, am sure this new era will be the best.From here, I thank Mr. Haddad and Mrs. Shifa for their generous invitation and great support. That night was a masterpiece drawn by the hands of brilliant artists.Thank you.[...]



Microsoft support, with Japanese flavor..

2009-11-27T07:09:31.545-08:00

I am not a fan of Microsoft. Or at least, I think Micorsoft should only concentrate on designing Windows, and office. They should leave the internet for google, the gaming hardware for Sony, and the desktop sets for Logitech. Anyhow, they usually have competitive pricing so I get tempted and buy.A couple of months ago, 9 to be accurate, I bought MS wireless ergonomic desktop 7000. Shown in the picture. The price was right and since at home I usually use the keyboard while on the couch, I needed something to well fit my position. I can say I am satisfied.The story begins when, as usual, MS hardware started to fail. After almost 6 months of daily usage, the keyboard stopped responding. I did everything from reinstalling drivers up to changing the batteries, and I got nothing. This totally blew me up. I paid some good money on this set and I expected them to live 3~4 years at minimum, and they did not live 12% of that period. It was time to try and taste how customer support really works. I know for a fact that if this happened in Amman, then kiss your money goodbye since no shop will still identify you as a customer after 6 months. So I wanted to see if things go different in Japan, or rest of the world or not. According to my friends with experience in returning items in the United States, they confirmed this should be as easy as driving to the store and replacing the keyboard with a new set. I liked the idea, so I called microsoft support center in Tokyo for more information.Eventhough I still have far-from-perfect Japanese, I was easily able to call them and tell them my problem, and hear what they have to say, all in Japanese. They offered to give assistance in English, but I refused. If I can understand 70% of what you say, they why not make use of the free practice! They understood my problem, but I did not exactly understand what they wanted me to do. They said I do not really have to come to the store, as I only have to send my malfunctioning keyboard by mail. I liked that idea, thanked them and hanged up after giving them all my information.I could not send the keyboard for being totally busy in the lab. Three days later, my door bell rings. I open the door and its a mail from Microsoft. A big box. I open it, and its a totally new keyboard set, just like the one I have. I was shocked. I did not send them my old keyboard! This was totally surprising for me! They sent the whole package with a new mouse, eventhough my old mouse is working fine. With the package, they had a massage saying please send your old keyboard to this address. This kind of service, was totally new experience for me. Right now I had two keyboards, and I could have ran away with the two of them and gained some good money selling the mouse! On another hand, what if I called them lying about my problem, and my keyboard was just fine? How did they make sure I had a problem? How are they guaranteed I would send back my keyboard? That is something I did not understand!Ofcourse, two days later I sent the keyboard back to Microsoft, and as they detailed in the massage, I asked the post office to make Microsoft pay for this delivery.My new keyboard now works just fine, and I like it. I am now confident if I had any problems, it wont be a problem! This was a very nice experience.[...]



What I missed in Tokyo..

2009-05-16T14:01:39.015-07:00

During my time away from Tokyo, here are some of the stuff I missed:

1. The japanese female voice thanking me for choosing Tokyo metro to ride, eventhough i have no other choice!

2. The feeling of an emperor when entering a shop. Yeah, in europe they dont bow to u when u enter a shop. They dont thank you for not buying anything or just visiting their store. And when u buy, I missed the fact that the cashier uses his both hands to open the plastic bag for u not by using one hand and BLOWING inside the bag to open it coz the other hand is busy with the mobile! Yup! This is how the cashier treated me!

3. I missed paying for a 100 yen item using 100 coins of 1 yen each. I tried to pay an amount using 6 coins in Prague and I received a look I will never forget!

4. I missed strange people shaking their head to me only by walking past them.

5. I missed using the suica card, and not needing to count coins for every train ride. Using the suica card, you just put your wallet against a reader and it will read and charge your train card wirelessly.

Feels great to be back!




Europe in the eyes of a tourist..

2009-05-02T06:55:33.340-07:00

Living in an expensive city as amman, which has a very low income/price ratio, gave me no chance of feeling like a tourist when I visited other countries. But, living in a city with a high income/price ratio with very expensive prices but yet higher incomes as Tokyo, made me see Praha (Prague) as one of the cheapest cities in the world. Yeah! Believe it or not I even felt that the chocolate in the mini bar of the hotel room is not actually expensive! I bought a whole L size pizza, with salads and a cold drink for 1000yen (10$)! A 500ml cola is for 80yen, and a one hour bus from one city to another is 350yen! Let us just clear some stereotypes about the Europeans: 1. Europeans are very organized and exact in time.Nope. Far from the truth. When the bus leaves 16:04, that means its 4 minutes late. In Japan, this would never occur unless in rare occasions it was accompanied with a huge apologies. 16:00 means 16:00. 2. Europeans are so open minded and free. Yeah right! Thats why they kept staring at me and my Japanese professor. You have never seen a Japanese person before? Yeah, I do not drink Alcohol. Yes never. Live with it and please do not keep giving me that weird look and stop whispering about it to your friends! 3. Nobody drinks Alcohol more than the Japanese. Oh yeah, except for the Europeans. Europeans drink a beer between each two beers. And even during their working hours they drink. 4. Europe is soo clean that we wish Arab countries to be the same. You are far from the truth here. For two years living in Japan, i did not notice 1 paper thrown carelessly in the middle of the road. That was probably the default case in Praha. Writing on the walls is so spread that you wonder how a clean wall looks like. Ofcourse, do not let me start to talk about their subways and metros! Shinjuku subway station in Tokyo (3 million visitors per day) is much cleaner than whole Praha (population of 1million). Amman also is much cleaner. All in all, it was a very nice trip where business mixed with pleasure! Ofcourse, since my beloved university paid for all this, who am I to complain? Haha![...]



Speaking english is.... Weird!!

2009-04-25T07:48:04.424-07:00

First let me state that I am no fluent in Japanese. Far from it, if u consider reading and writing. But what happened during my trip to Praha was just amazingly weird. Since I left Tokyo and arrived Munich, I have this huge urge to speak nothing but Japanese. In Japan i would be extremely happy if I met a Japanese person who can make a conversation longer than 30sec in English, beside ofcoruse university professors. And now because I have the chance to babble in English, the words refuse to exit my mouth except in Japanese!! In addition, English words sounded heavy on my ear and annoying too! I felt the language is slow and contains many unneeded particles. For example, I say to someone: “would you please do me the favor of buying this for me?” In English, or “kattekuremasenka” in Japanese! Yup! Short, fast, and delivers the same exact meaning you want. After taking a break for one week from Japanese, I returned to feel that the language feels much easier, smoother and more understandable. Right now, I have no problems at all in detailed shopping, making long phone calls (like customer support calls) or understanding what my lab mates are talking about. I can also express myself and deliver the message I want to a person infront of me. In the class room, now I only ask my questions in Japanese. Ofcourse, that is in addition to daily life conversations that cause me no problems. A strong language is defined as a language where you can express more in shorter time, or using fewer components. We say this man is a great speaker if he delivers his ideas using clear definite short words. And that is the case of Japanese compared to English. Still, I have to apologize to the Japanese before I state, without any doubt, that Arabic is even stronger than Japanese. Since in Arabic you can express and deliver much better using much less components and in shorter time than Japanese. I am sure now readers would be wondering why i am typing this English then. I did not use Japanese because as I stated above I am not a fluent. And I also did not write in Arabic because simply typing in English is much faster. In addition, I have a lot of foreign readers of this blog and English would be the only suitable language for this. Still, maybe in a couple of years I open a Japanese-language version of this blog! Who knows?![...]



Coming up on this blog..

2009-04-20T06:32:17.462-07:00


Yup. Back alhamdulellah safely to Tokyo from a long tireful full-of-events-and-joy trip to Praha (Prague) in Czech Republic.

This blog is only aimed at posting helpful information about Japan. So, I will be posting about my experience in Europe, from the eye of someone living in Japan.

Thanks to Lufthansa's old planes (but really, REALY amazing customer service) there was no video on demand in my seat so I spent the time reading books, papers, playing DS and preparing posts for this blog. I have prepared the following posts I will be publishing soon, enshallah:

- Speaking English is.... Weird!
- Europe in the eyes of a tourist
- What I missed in Japan

Soon.. Just keep following!



First paper published..

2009-04-09T06:11:26.281-07:00

(image)


In short,
I will be leaving to Prague, Czech Republic, very soon enshallah.
Through my research, I have reached to an equation that relates *cough, cough, Technical details alert* the noise in a wireless signal with the digital processor used in the receiver. I submitted this equation as a scientific paper to the 12th IEEE (Insitution of Electrical and Electronic Engineering) Symposium on Design and Diagnostics of Electronic Systems (DDECS) and it G O T A C C E P T E D!

I am so happy for such news. But, I could have never reached such results without the absolute full support of Tokyo University. They have provided everything starting from laboratory equipments ending with supervision by the professors. In addition, Tokyo University will be paying for the whole trip expenses I have to make to Prague to present my research infront of the world's scientists. I thank my god for giving me a chance to study in such a University.

Ofcourse, this full support in the University could have never had an effect except if I had another full support at home. My wife, may god bless her, has helped me all the time and always gave me the confidence I need to reach such results.

I will be detailing more about the trip soon.