Tag Archives: heiaheia

Hiroshima へ

Morning of the Journey

Waking up at 5 am is rarely a treat, yet this particular dawn it all felt like a necessary evil that would prove well worth my while in the long run. Or even the immediate run, depending on your perception of time. Not even staying up until 3 watching the 4th season of the Big Bang Theory could have deterred me from jumping up unprompted at the first rays of sunlight to scavenge the fridge for anything of value in order to prepare me for the long train ride ahead. This great nutritional treasure hunt included two packs of natto and the humble remains of the only reasonably priced full fat yoghurt I’ve ever found in the land of the rising sun. Also coffee and butter. Don’t ask.

The streets were relatively quiet at that ungodly hour, but similarly to last week’s Tsukiji visit, both the Seibu Line and Yamanote Line consisted of man’in densha from as early as 6 in the morning, an epiphany that made me cringe, though silently. At Shinagawa after buying the shinkansen ticket, I noticed that the potassium iodide pills from April had completely disintegrated inside my wallet, forming something not completely unlike cocaine both in color and texture. I should know, I have cocaine in my wallet all the time. The remnants of the pills had to be disposed of, rendering me vulnerable once again to the exaggeratedly deadly winds of Fukushima. A few moments later I boarded the train while making sure to avoid the smoking car, a skill I had learned through trial and error a few years earlier. Nothing compares to paying ¥18000 for a 4-hour smoke-in-your-face experience.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Nozomi shinkansen bound for Hakata.

To be perfectly honest, it only took the sentence above to divert my thoughts from the original target city and contemplate continuing all the way to Hakata, Kyushu, in order to sample the eponymous thin noodle tonkotsu broth ramen in its natural habitat. And not only for the ramen, either. It turns out that despite having lived in different parts of Japan for well over a year in total I still haven’t set foot outside of Honshu. Luckily, the responsible side of my brain, which is noticeably small, was able to stay in control. Thus, I soon relented and continued the journey to Hiroshima as planned. Old MUCC songs collected from my ex-roommate as well as the more recent Fairy Tail soundtrack kept me company.

Camaraderie, adventure and steel on steel. Or rather, EMIT on control point.

In non-local news, there is now less than a fortnight left before the traditional Jukola orienteering event and I am currently gathering anxiety in relation to the fact that I’m unable to attend possibly one of the most legendary sports events of (not) my life. Marko has been able to whip the team into shape and get people to commit at a level I could never have dreamed of, so clearly there is much to yearn for. Hopefully the deer in Miyajima will help me overcome this loss. I hereby refer everybody to the valiant adventures of Team HeiaHeia.com, the most versatile tongue-in-cheek yorozuya sports team in the world.


Beefcake! BEEFCAKE!

“I actually don’t treat life any differently than an RPG. I’m always thinking of leveling up myself, which in this case, is actually myself, not my World of Warcraft character.” -Brian Wang, co-founder of Fitocracy.

What can I say? Someone has unknowingly answered my wishes. I alluded to the lack RPG-type real life achievements in the last couple of sentences of the first Sebaattori post, more than half a year ago. If I had had any functional knowledge in coding I would’ve attempted to create such a service myself. It would appear that in addition to not being possible, it is also no longer needed. Fitocracy is a service that has now been in beta since February. It offers its users experience, quests and achievements for logging real life physical exercises and sharing them with others. Tsumari, it’s like a HeiaHeia for gaming nerds and objectively the greatest invention since those cat ears that read your emotions.

At least that’s the image I’ve gotten from surfing around the site. I’ll need to test it in practice later tonight but it’s needless to say that I’m enthralled by the mere concept. Originally I was slightly reluctant to go to the gym today because it’s raining and the place is boring, lacking in fundamental equipment and whatnot, but the possibility of leveling up from doing a couple upper body exercises is far too tempting. Therein also lies the danger.

Yatta, yatta!

According to Owen Good of Kotaku, “[Fitocracy developers] are of course exploring ideas like mobile applications so you can ‘play’ at the gym; the community constantly asks if nutrition will be integrated into the XP system, and they’re considering that too. The manner in which I created my new weights workout was absolutely intended, and Fitocracy wants to grow that out in the quest system. “Character classes” or something approximating that are also a possibility, for those who want to specialize in, say, running, or weight training, weight loss or toning up or whatever.”

If Fitocracy is as effective an incentive as I currently believe, I may well die from exhaustion in the next couple of months while relentlessly trying to multiclass into a Runner/Leaper. I wish I was pumping iron already. That’s a first.


Update: Reached level 3. Ding! Grats! Ding! Grats!

Delusions of Grandeur

It has proved quite interesting to follow the amount of traffic generation to the site before, during, and in the aftermath of the Tōhoku earthquake. While most of the hits are generated by my mom and the innumerable people she has forwarded my blog to, it’s still encouraging to see that I’m not paying for hosting only for the sake of draining my bank account.


Not surprisingly, public interest in my life multiplied by 40 on the very day the earthquake hit. Then it dwindled for a couple of days until the nuclear scare got out of hand and traffic reached a record number that most likely won’t be surpassed until the first shots of World War III occur in my back yard. Potentially.

The World at Large

After seeing the huge influx in readership numbers during the earthquake crisis I’ve began to follow traffic charts slightly too much, forcing myself to write posts even when I haven’t really felt like it, just to see if I could artificially keep the numbers up. That strategy will now be revised as no matter how much I write, the stories are still aimed at people who at least know me, or are otherwise interested in stalking my life. This severely limits the amount of general traffic to the site, and I don’t really see any reason to change that. Writing about tourism tips is hardly appealing, and writing without inspiration is both taxing and results in lower quality output.

Although I would like to embrace Frank Herbert’s comment on inspiration and looking at my older texts I can agree with most of his views, I have a very difficult time putting words in the right order when I’m in lazy mode. I also recently realized that I usually only get an urge to write when I am bereft of outside distractions or otherwise deep in thought. Most frequently this inspirational time lapse occurs when wandering around aimlessly, getting incredibly frustrated with something or just before falling asleep. Rarely in these situations am I able to write things down on the spot. This dilemma often leads to the dismissal of a topic altogether or the creation of a watered down version later when I eventually reach the needed tools.

One of the things I really enjoy with writing, and life in general, are quotes. I tend to include them everywhere, much to the chagrin of people around me. Their amount varies strongly by post, but I am quasi-unable to publish any text within which I would not be able to accredit several words or expressions to specific people or situations. Some references are very direct and apparent, while others are taken out of context and surreptitiously hidden from those not concerned. In theory, at the very least. This is also something that I will not give up on, no matter how taxing it is for the reader.

Both my current and former blog contain a wide array of personal, historical, linguistic and pop culture references, which leads to a situation where the full extent and depth of posts can sometimes only be understood by people who enjoy similar hobbies as I do, are very close to me, or at worst (or best), only me. Different people can decipher different things within a post and may feel like missing some others. In the ideal circumstances, readers should be oblivious to not comprehending an obscure reference as they are not meant to notice it in the first place. Maybe some day I’ll be able to write about things that the public at large could care about, but now is not the time.

Enough of this pseudo-artistic nonsense.

I recently had a phone conversation with my boss. Due to random rolling blackouts and confusion in Tokyo, the office will remain closed until further notice. The main implication here is that I’m still stranded in Osaka until at least early next week. Today, I went to retrieve some KI pills from the honorary consulate general in Shinsaibashi and explained that they weren’t really for me to use, but rather work as a placebo to lower my dad’s blood pressure some 8000 kilometers to the West. He agreed that it was an acceptable reason and gave me a 5-day supply of emergency iodine to fill my thyroid with just for kicks.

Days in Osaka keep following the same general pattern, except I managed to catch a cold now, which makes everything so fucking much more enjoyable.


P.S. Nyt on hyvä aika alkaa seurata kaikkien aikojen oudointa Jukola-suunnistusporukkaa johon itsekin kuulun (ainakin nimellisesti). Fanittamaan pääsee osoitteessa http://www.facebook.com/teamheiaheia ja blogia voi seurata osoitteessa http://heiaheia.larksnest.org. Samalla asiaan vihkiytymättömien kannattaa liittyä heiaheia.comiin ja alkaa pitää kirjaa liikuntasuorituksistaan sekä kannustaa muita tuttujaan verkossa. Lisään edellämainitut linkit myös sivupalkkiin kaikkien iloksi.

Boost Social

I just got back from the Boost Turku‘s social meetup and for some reason I felt like blogging about it. Yes. An event I decided to attend on a whim. Blogging seriously for the first time in 18 months. Miracles do happen.

I had to leave right after the guest speaker, Richard von Kauffmann of Zipipop (the last part isn’t actually his name), had finished his main presentation, which is unfortunate because it would have been interesting to stay and chat with him for a while afterwards. While he was no Seth and could use some additional presentation tips from Garr, I was still impressed enough to write about it, so I guess I have to admit that the presentation was, dans l’ensemble, very well done.

Technology, the internet and gaming have interested me since I cannot even remember but social media only really came in slowly with internet forums, IRC, web messaging and later on Friendster, Bebo and Facebook. Eventually, I made viral marketing in online communities the goddamn subject of my undergraduate’s thesis, which came out awesome.

For some reason I’ve been getting more and more involved in social media lately, although I initially have refused to join twitter, posterous or other places I just haven’t found any use for. Richard mentioned Yammer as a platform they use at Zipipop and I got the sudden urge to try it and shove it down all my friends’ throats in order to enhance communication. Apparently it requires company email adresses though, so fuck it.

In almost, but not completely unrelated news, I’ve now been following a plyometrics training program regularly for 8 weeks. Nobody cares, but this is a segue so keep reading anyway. Now, I don’t actually remember ever practicing any sport without laziness-induced interruption for this long, not even as a kid when my parents were in charge of taking me to practice different sports they felt were important but I couldn’t give two shits about, like field hockey. This leads me to a point Richard also briefly mentioned during his presentation: positive feedback and gratification. Although there are several reasons as to why I’ve suddenly taken up sports again, the reason why I haven’t quit is on the web, namely HeiaHeia. For me, it’s a brilliant means to keep track of what I’ve done, see what others are doing, cheer for them and get cheered on. The system is not perfect and I could think of a dozen of useful user interface features to add but it’s still good enough for me to keep using it.

Similarly to achievements in gaming, I would also need some kind of program that would reward me with achievements whenever my master’s thesis reaches a certain amount of pages or references or whatnot. I need those little virtual medals to be effective! You just don’t put as much effort into something that you’re not really sure is advancing at all and that won’t be finished in the foreseeable future as you would into something that would reward you step by step as you get closer to your goal. That’s why life really needs some kind of achievement collection feature. HeiaHeia is a good start but I’d love to see more.