This is Arisa, the “Information Robot.” It was recently installed at Yamato-Saidaiji, a Kintetsu Railway station in Nara City that I travel through to go to work.
Actually, today I went through the station on my way to renew my driver’s license. Interacting with the robot was much easier.
She (oops, I mean “it”?) can speak four languages (Japanese, English, Mandarin, and Korean) at the touch of a panel. But the functionality is still only limited to basic phrases about where to change trains and which platform to use. Still, it’s a first step (toward replacing human-controlled info booths, so get started learning programming, kiddos!).
“Rather than turn Family Mart branches into essentially giant vending machines, where products are automatically replaced after a customer selects one for purchase, the plan is to use remote-control robots, operated by human beings using VR terminals at a separate location.”
Hi, everyone. I guess I should have planned a little better — should have written a “new year’s post” and then saved it before the holiday season began, scheduled the post, and then enjoyed overeating, overdrinking, and sleeping in.
Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. I know it’s been about two months. Summer was filled with fun family activities in Montreal. September was filled with trips to libraries and feeling sorry for myself. Got into a bit of a funk.
Now I’m back in Japan, back to the daily grind, and trying to find time to sort out all the stuff I mailed back from Montreal.
Rest assured, there’s lots of stuff to write about. Some of it even makes sense.
I’ll be writing a few quick posts about various cool science and space things in the upcoming days. Then maybe a couple of longish ones about weird family history. And maybe even an update on my SF novel.
Yeah. I still didn’t finish the first draft. Stuck on 70,000 words. But the end is in sight!
A joint Nara Chapter-ER SIG Event DATE: Sunday, June 18th VENUE: Yamato Conference Hall TIME: 10.00 a.m. — 4.30 p.m. Speakers: (1) Ann Mayeda Integrating ER into the Curriculum (2) Paul Goldberg The benefits of doing extensive reading online with Xreading (3) Mark Brierley How to persuade them to read (4) Ann Flanagan ER: Building […]
Finally, a post after two and a half months! Yes, I was/am/will be busy. And so it goes.
As requested, I have finally managed to put some previews of my work online. The new page of “Freebies” has one short story so far (The Lost Bunny Shrine of Annandale), which is currently available as a .mobi download for Kindle. One commenter on Goodreads complained that it was about a bunch of drunken college guys.
Yep. And a bunny shrine is, of course, involved. The horror…
I don’t view that as much of a criticism, to be honest. It is what it is. Check it out for yourself!
I can make other formats available (maybe, if I can figure out how to convert it) if people ask. Other stories have a pic but now file right now. (Coming soon!)
I’ve been meaning to add a personal essay page to my web site for stories that didn’t seem to fit into any neat categories. The immediate impetus is an essay that was recently “rejected” by my former graduate program’s in-house literary journal…probably because it’s an essay and not a short story (I posted elsewhere an article about the quirkiness of the English-speaking world’s insistence on an artificial separation of “fiction” and “nonfiction”).
Rather than wait up to half a year to see whether I could get it published online in a magazine (most of which seem to only publish US-centric, “woe is me” or “OMG look at THIS” sensationalist drivel) I thought that at least I could share it here…
The essay is “En” (縁), a topic that Asians (particularly those in Confucian-influenced societies) know a lot about. I first encountered the concept as a teaching assistant in Gojo High School, Nara, about 15 years ago. Almost like a previous life. Maybe it was…
From first to last: the final story in the collection, “Training the Mountain Warrior,” is based on two specific events that happened to me shortly after moving to Japan in 1999. The date thus places the story barely in the Nineties; the paired-poem (“Asian Dreams”) was written hastily—scrawled, really—in an old yellow lined notepad the night before I left the US (permanently, as it turned out). I still have the notepad, well used and abused.
The short story describes my attempted nighttime climb of Mt. Fuji (which ended short of the summit due to high winds) and my trek through the ancient mountains of the Kinai peninsula, whose hiking trails later became a World Heritage Site. There were a lot of details that I deliberately left out, and of course the dialogue is completely fictional. But I did, actually, dangle my friend over a cliff.