Greetings from Singapore, to all my McDermott family!
I've only been here in Singapore one night, but I think I'm going to love it here -- they seem to have an appreciation for the finer things in life, namely free WiFi, cheap homemade food, and Toy Story 3. I just had a S$2.20 homemade Chinese supper -- that's about $1.57 USD!
Before Singapore, I spent 16 days in Tokyo, 13 of which with the UTD class Lang 2342 with Dr. Yuki Watanabe. It was amazing. Watanabe-Sensei knows Tokyo very well, and had some exclusive connections. We got to meet Dai Sato at his home in Tokyo, who wrote the story for several anime and video games, such as Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell Standalone Complex, Samurai Champloo, and contributed to Halo: Legends. We also viewed the taping of an episode of Science Zero, a science talk show on NHK Educational Network, a show that doesn't usually allow an audience.
I've had a lot of fun, but my main goal was to learn about the differences in communication technology in the countries I'm visiting. In Tokyo, for instance, I learned that two popular technologies in America, public WiFi and SMS (text service) just aren't as important in Japan. At first I thought this was breaking the American perception of Japan -- aren't they technologically superior? It turns out they're just technologically different in this sense -- 3G is so widespread and reliable, even in the subway tunnels, that if a Japanese person wants to access the internet while outside of their home, they'll just use their phone (since virtually every active phone is internet enabled). And instead of using the SMS system we're used to, every Japanese cell phone has its own email address, and since the internet is enabled on just about every phone anyway, everyone just emails each other's phones. The students we met had no distinction between emailing a phone and "texting" a friend.
I miss everyone, and hope everyone's travels, studies, and work are going as well as my trip has so far. Here are a couple pictures of me in Tokyo.
Here I am at Tsukiji Shijo, the largest seafood market in the world, standing next to possibly the largest seafood knife in the world. To be sure, that blade is touching the ground, and I'm 6'0". They use that knife to cut through the 650 lb tunas that frequently come through the market.
This is most of our class (there were 7 of us total, one girl was fighting with a finicky ATM at the moment) in front of the famous Kaminarimon, the torii gate that leads to Sensoji, one of the most popular temples in Japan. The lantern in the background weighs roughly 1,500 lbs. I did not know that before I took my time walking under it.