sesam.hu

Engineering Manager / trail runner / Budapest, Hungary

Boldog karácsonyt

Továbbra is veszélyes Budapesten a biciklizés, nem is a járművek, hanem a vezetőik miatt. Ma reggel kis híján megvert az egyik…

Az ELMŰ felbontotta a Budai alsó rakparttal párhuzamos kerékpárutat, úgyhogy az úton nyomultam munkába. Amúgy is szívesebben tekerek az Óbudai rakparton, mert az Árpád hídtól inkább akadálypálya van, nem bicikliút. A Szentlélek térnél konkrétan macskakövön kéne menni a gyalogosok között, vagy a HÉV-peronon kerülni.

Ma reggel bevágott elém a csávó, satufék, kiszáll, és addig ordítozott meg fenyegetőzött, amíg el nem hagytam az úttestet. Hiába próbáltam neki elmagyarázni az útépítést, meg hogy nem erre vezet a bicikliút. Eddig csak alkalmanként dudált a türelmenetlebbje, ez a verekedős fajta újdonságként hatott.

Nem tudom, vajon a többiekre is rátámadt-e, mert korántsem egyedül vagyok biciklis errefelé az úton, és el tudom képzelni, hogy jobb időben még többen vagyunk.

Most biciklizzek fegyverrel, vagy mi?

New Terrorism

A „bárki-bármit-bárkiről-bárhol” – mértéket, határt, szabályt, normát, törvényt – nem ismerő sajtószabadsága, amelyben láthatatlanná válik, „csuklyát ölt” a „véleményét megfogalmazó” személy és amelyben a szerző és a szerkesztőség azonosíthatóságával együtt megszűnik a minden nyilvánosan közölt véleményért viselendő állampolgári, emberi és szakmai felelősség – nem a szabadság, hanem a vadság új állapota, amely káoszként, lélektani hadviselésként, hétköznapi média-terrorként ölt sokszínű alakot. (forrás)

Via Yummie.

Nos, kedves Szilágyi Ákos, welcome to the internet. Vajon a 4chanon jártál már?

Ezt a bejegyzést csuklya hiányában kapucniban írtam.

Over the top

Security is good and bots annoy the hell out of me as well, but this is really the case of going over the top. I tried to register to the forums of the popular Mac torrent software Transmission. However, I got this captcha to make sure I was human:

phpbb captcha

I challenge you to read it. I could make out 2NVR and a T at the end… but it’s supposedly six characters. I don’t consider myself visually impaired – as the site suggests quite cheekily – or otherwise challenged, yet after three tries and three different but equally frustrating captchas I was told to try again later.

Guess I have been measured, weighed and found wanting.

No can talk

English classes face a shakeup

A new teaching guideline released Monday calls for high school English classes to be taught primarily in English from the academic year beginning in April 2013.

[…]

However, there is some concern among English teachers about the draft guideline. It is scheduled to be finalized for announcement in February or March.

“This could embarrass particularly older teachers who know grammar well but are not very good at conversation,” one teacher said.

Oh god, some older language teachers who can’t actually speak the language they teach might get embarrassed. We can’t have that, no. Who cares if the kids don’t learn how to talk. After all, which idiot uses language to converse anyway…

Youth of today

Our presentation on the Holocaust went interesting… Of course most of our audience either slept, did homework or stared absently. When we finished and the professor asked if anyone had questions: no-one did. Again, no surprise here. She was adamant though and started to call people to ask something anyway and then a girl asked if there are any Jews living today.

I couldn’t help saying まだ残ってます。(There are still some left.)

So yeah, it’s good we worked on the presentation, it clearly had educational value.

Then we watched a part of Shoah. It’s an unusual documentary in the sense that it doesn’t use any archive material. All of it was shot at present day and it only contains experiences recounted by Holocaust survivors, guards, etc.

I was expecting a movie even I could enjoy, but it turned out to be in French. Additionally most of the interviewees spoke in their mother tongue, overdubbed in French, with Japanese subs applied. However much it bothers me for example that they silence the original English when dubbing the F1 interviews in Hungarian the lack of silencing here was very annoying. Try listening to someone speaking in German with French lagging behind half a minute…

For that matter, I actually have proper classes, where we’re supposedly learning professional material, not just goofing around and playing film aesthete. But those classes are lectures: a hundred students flock together, the professor gives a 90 minute speech, then we’re dismissed. No interactivity, no midterm papers, no nothing.

I find it absurd that we have to work for nonsense classes and where it could actually prove useful to do something outside of class we just have to mindlessly attend.

coal, petrol and socks

I hate that I can’t keep my window open. My room – a 4 meters by 6 meters hole that locals call an apartment – always lacks fresh air. It gets stuffy and stale in matter of minutes.

Right in front of my block there’s the back gate of a primary school. Which means every morning a dozen supply trucks come in quick succession, stop without shutting down the engine to open the gate, then enter. So if I keep the window open for the night it’s guaranteed I wake up to some exceptionally noisy lorry puffing away almost literally an arm’s length from my balcony.

During the day I am forced to listen to the noise reverberated between and amplified by the walls of the school’s gymnasium. They also hold orchestra training sessions there which even penetrates the otherwise quite soundproof window.

And there is the Japanese habit to leave the engine running whenever they stop the car somewhere. In the summer and winter I suspect it’s for the air conditioning to continue, but really they do it all the time. Like a while ago a car stopped right under my window and I was forced to close it after listening to the low rumbling of the engine for a good fifteen minutes.

Magdi told me that once a truck stopped in front of her dorm room and the driver forgot to change the gear, which meant it played the warning message and chimes that most trucks do in reverse in an endless loop for hours on end.

And to think that my agent had the audacity to tell me that the surrounding area is very silent…

Kaizen

I received a very ugly photocopied paper in my mailbox informing me that the Rules of Garbage Collection have changed and Failure to Comply will result in Severe Punishment. From now on garbage can only be placed at the appropriate Clean Stations in the Kobe City Municipal Designated Household Garbage Collection Bag (神戸市家庭系ごみ指定袋). The bags can be purchased at local supermarkets in three types. Red for burnable garbage (including plastic), green for non-burnable garbage (glass, chemicals), and finally blue for cans and PET bottles.

Now don’t be mistaken: there are still separate locations for the different garbage types. One can’t just place any bag at the closest drop-off point. The collection is still done on three distinct days at separate designated points once or twice a week between 5 am and 8 am. There is just the added requirement to use the new plastic bags.

My biggest problem with this all is that the bags are just huge: 45 liters. I probably produce 45 liters worth of litter in two weeks or so. So now the options are either to let the garbage rot until I fill the bag or just use a fraction of its capacity. The bags are of course pricey.

Exactly what this country needs is More Rules.

How can you have any pudding?

I have a class in which we watch a couple of movies revolving around racism, stereotyping and cultural problems. Then there is supposedly a discussion.

In the first class we received a list of movies we’d watch during the semester. One about Koreans living in Japan, one about the Holocaust, genocide in Rwanda, child soldiers in El Salvador, a political prisoner in Chile and finally about the Japanese history textbook scandal.

We were organised into groups and were given a movie to do a short presentation on them beforehand.

The titles of the movies were in katakana. I tried asking the professor how my movie, ショア, was really spelled, but she had absolutely no idea. Really though, I should have expected that. Japanese customs dictate to rewrite everything in katakana, following some rough pronunciation. The only problem is it’s usually futile to even try to decipher what the original word was, especially the case with names.

I know, I should look things up in Japanese instead. It would improve my language skills.

A few keywords in google helped me out soon enough, and the Wikipedia even has a disambiguation for ショア. Without any sarcasm this time though, I should have known the Jewish word for Holocaust (Shoah). Or could have known about this apparently famous movie.

Mentioning the Holocaust also led to an interesting experiment, when the professor asked the students if they knew what the word meant. To my honest surprise none of them could explain, and only a few have heard it before. Even considering the predominant attitude of japanese students towards questions asked by lecturers (stare at notes, don’t say a word), this was quite shocking.

I don’t think you could get away with not knowing what happened – for example – in Hiroshima in any European university. And how is the Holocaust any different? Maybe history is like geography: for those living in the top economic powers it’s safely negligible.

Or I’m being a snob.

Anyway, today we finished with the first movie, パッチギ, about the life of a Korean family (?) in Japan. To be honest I didn’t like it one bit. It had everything that makes contemporary Japanese movies unwatchable. It just pelt stupid, with the actors running around with flailing arms at supposed fight scenes, the incessant shouting matches. The acting was so overdid and insincere that could only be compared to the TV dramas here. It just didn’t feel right with a topic originally serious to fool around like that.

Coming home I looked up the title and I learned two things. It is actually a comedy/drama, which explains the absurdity of it. I suppose I just don’t have the same humour the Japanese have. And also that it’s a sequel (?) to a previous one with a similar title.

What the class completely failed at was the discussion part. It could have been actually interesting for once to pick the brains of my fellow classmates on the topic of foreigners living in Japan. Not that I expected anything resembling a honest conversation… not in class. (Well, not wherever.)

We didn’t have time to actually talk about anything we saw, and next week we’re going on to the next movie. I suspect though that even if we did have an attempt at discussion, no-one would have spoken up anyway.

Smoke on the Water

One thing I hate when going home is the increased exposure to cigarette smoke.

You’d think that it’s because an undeveloped semi-Balkan country like Hungary would have a lot more smokers. I don’t have statistics at hand but based on my observations there aren’t any fewer smokers in Japan compared to Hungary. If anything there are more.

It’s the attitude that makes it hard to cope with at home. In Japan the only time I can’t escape smoke is in the narrow streets. On the more crowded ones they even use megaphones to ask people to refrain from smoking.

Not the case in Hungary. People tend to disregard rules and they smoke where they damn well please. A prime example is trains: apparently the strain of being confined in the enclosed space of a passenger car is too much to bear without a couple of sniffs.

On the way to Szeged a girl went to the corridor at every station and puffed happily. The only problem was that with the practically nonexistent insulation of the compartments everyone else got to inhale the smoke.

Another time I asked a young man to please wait a bit with his cigarette until the train stopped and we got off, since it was impossible to escape the smoke while queued up in the corridor. He ignored me obviously. After all isn’t is his bloody birthright to kill himself?

Yet another time passengers watched dumbfounded as a heavyset man with a prisoner demeanor walked through the car (coach style not parlor) with a lit cigarette leaving a trail of putrid stench. No one was brave enough to challenge him of course.

It would be easy to blame the railway company. However I believe the main problem lies within the people. It’s easy to deduct that not even smokers can stand the prolonged exposure to smoke: this is why the majority of smokers tend to sit in the non-smoker cars, and use the aisles to satisfy their addiction. Obviously the doors cannot prevent the smoke from entering the compartments. People can’t even refrain from smoking when the trains are so crowded that the aisles are full as well. And I don’t think it’s the controller’s job to keep order, even if he/she could…

I have yet to see anyone in Japan smoke on a train. The concept of smoking cars in unknown too, except for the shinkansen, where there’s always one dedicated to smokers. However on regular trains it simply is forbidden. And however much they crave, Japanese would never break this rule.

In my opinion the Japanese overdo the whole keeping in line thing, nevertheless we could learn a thing or two about courtesies to others from them.

amakudari

Ülök a gép előtt, és azt hallom, hogy valahol közel víz folyik. Kinézek, hétágra süt a nap, esőnek nyoma sincs. Kinyitom az ablakot, és látom, hogy fentről ömlik a víz az erkélyre. A száradni kitett törölközőm már teljesen átázott. Csőtörés? Kimegyek, és megnézem: egy jómunkásember slaggal mossa a közvetlenül felettem lévő lakás ablakát és erkélyét. Az erkély szélein persze dől az áldás lefelé. Lenéz a csávó, és azt mondja: sorry. Amúgy szeretek itt lakni…