Thursday, July 30, 2009


It has been a busy week at Espero Heights (the name of our apartment) and so not much picture-taking has happened. Ryan has been really busy with interviews, doing some proofreading work and taking Japanese lessons at the community center. The lessons are with an old friend of Todd's from when he was here. Ryan says his brain is just fried by the end of each lesson, so I think they are working. Already he can read the two kinds of kana, so he can read menus and signs and help us navigate. He's also learning a bunch of kanji. I've got to say that kanji are (is?) absurdly difficult. Yesterday I was designing some parts for our set-up and, although it is probably my favorite part about experimental work, the task was particularly daunting. Not only are the standards for a precise design extremely high here (you could have chicken scratch on a napkin and the machine guys at Brown would make it for you, no problem), but I have to write all the notes in the columns in Japanese so that the machinist can build them.

I obviously don't know how to do that, so I meticulously copied all the kanji (for words like brass, teflon, diameter etc.) from my boss's previous drawings. Well, the result (left) had her giggling wildly. She didn't actually change any of my attempts, so they must have been close enough to read, but man they must have looked like a child with a crayon wrote them or something to her (what do you think?) And somehow she can tell the order (the incorrect order, that is) in which I wrote the marks. It's really beyond me, but I'll keep trying. At least she gets a kick out of it.

Speaking of getting a kick out of things, I have to say, I'm really loving my job right now. There I said it. Maybe it's because I found out about the free espresso in the next building over and I'm sipping it while eating some yummy green tea cookies, but I am just all blissed out over here. I've got a cool project, a really nice boss, there is enough familiar about what I'm doing that I can feel slightly confident, yet enough new that I'm challenged by something every day. Today, life at Todai is pretty damn sweet.

1 comment:

  1. I think your kanji are beautiful!! (but then I was never good at stroke order either)