First Days in Japan

June 29, 2009

This is going to be a long post. Just warning you now.

Saturday morning and I’m all packed and ready to go. I have to say I did not cry as much as I thought I would. I think that’s a good thing for now. I can see myself getting very homesick soon. At the airport I checked in, which only took like 5 minutes then my parents and I went to find a Tim Hortons. The last time I’d have Timmies for a whole year! Crazy! Sat there for an hour just talking about travelling all these different places. They reassured me that they also went on these crazy adventures. Seriously, how do you decide to leave home at 17 and move to Denmark from India!? That’s an even stranger adventure than my own. After some heartfelt goodbyes I was on my own from then on in.

The place ride was ok. Can’t complain really. I had a good seat, lots of tv readily available. the first meal was ok. I had the Yakitori. The gentlemen beside me ordered the chicken. Man, was I glad I didn’t get that! After that was a cold lunch. They first brought around little green boxes that had apple slices, a cookie, and some sandwiches in them. The sandwiches were bread with either 1 slice of ham or 1 slice of cheese. not even buttered. So what did I do? I took out the contents of the sandwiches and just assembled them into one more interesting sandwich. I thought I was pretty smart. But then I had all this leftover bread, so i ate that first. Curiously enough the box also contained a pair of chopsticks. That definitely confused me for at least a few minutes. I then saw a flight attendent walk by holding a tray of cup noodles. Ahh! It all makes sense now! I didn’t even want to eat the last hot meal. Neither choices sounded appealing and the smell made me sick.

Arriving at Narita, I focused on getting to customs and baggage. No time to think about other things. While at the customs officer though, things were going smoothly then he started stamping  things. I thought “ok, pretty procedure.” And then he had a “D’oh” moment and called over his supervisor who then proceeded to take me into ‘The Room’. Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long before the supervisor returned with my documents all corrected. I just hope it won’t cause me and difficulties in the future. That would suck. I got my luggage, and went through the rest just fine.

Hopped on the bus to Shinjuku and fell asleep on the way there. Woke up somewhere along the way, but it felt like a long nap and I thought that perhaps I forgot to get off. That wasn’t the case luckily, we  were just stuck in traffic. Awesome. After 2 and a half hours on that bus I finally arrive to my hotel, check in, and drop all my stuff in the room. The first thing I did was try to hook up my computer to the LAN network they had in the room. After I got that all set up, I gave Isaac a call and arranged to meet for dinner. We went to wait for some of his friends at Shinjuku Station. After 30min and deciding that we were both starving, we decided to go on ahead without them. Came to a little ramen shop down the street, sat down, and ordered. Just as our order arrived, he got a call from his friends and we left to pick them up from the station. Poor waitress! After getting them we then went *back* to that restaurant. The waitress didn’t like Isaac too much. Hehehehe. That was an interesting dinner and I really enjoyed the ramen noodles. I love ramen.

Morning after got up early (5:30am!), chatted with family and friens online, then went to check out and meet Ian. Met him as I got off the elevator and we went to catch our train at Shinjuku station to Matsumoto. The ride was 2 and a half hours, but very scenic. I love the look of rice paddies. I think they’re so interesting. (Maybe I should go into farming) Upon arrival at our stop, we had to haul ass to catch the local train. That was the most intense workout I had in months! We had to carry my luggage up one flight of stairs and down another in 3 minutes. I feel bad for Ian cuz he had to carry my larger one which is 45lbs! It was a pretty impressive sprint though. We took the local train to Murai where the office is. I met Matsushita-san and Miyasaka-san. I also met the the head honcho, Ino-san (I think).

There were forms to be signed, forms to have my seal put on it. I thought that was neat cuz apparently everyone has their own and its essentially just a stamp of their name, but you use it for all kinds of legal documents and contracts. Cool stuff. I ate lunch in the cafeteria with Miyasaka-san and the other ladies in the office. I thought that was kind of interesting because all the women sit together and all the men sit together. Everything is very clique-y where you just sit with the people you work with directly. I do like their cafeteria system though. I can’t wait to get my own ID card to bye food and items at the store next to the cafeteria. I love the convenience of everything.

After lunch I introduced myself to the company. That was a little scary. After that Matsushita-san took me to my apartment. I must say I’m pretty happy with it. He showed me how to use everything (it’s hard to learn when all the buttons are in japanese) and helped me get set up with internets (*essential*). It’s large enough for one person, but I have to say I think 2 visitors at a time is definitely the max and very cozy. They would need to bring sleeping bags though. I spent the rest of the day taking a nap and going to the store. I unpacked some things and I’m kind of settled for now. I have to live through my luggage until I can get hangers for my closet. No Biggie.

This has been a *brief* overview of what’s happened so far. Little details and things I’ve notices, I’ll put into my next post to keep from boring you, who read this blog.


Happy Birthday Me!

June 22, 2009

I am officially 21, which means I’m legal in all countries now. yay! I want to thank everyone who has and will wish me a happy birthday today. My parents were very happy that I’d be in the country for my birthday. We had Father’s day/Birthday cake yesterday at the restaurant. It was nice to see my aunts, uncles, and cousins again. Actually I see them almost every weekend so it’s going to be sad when I leave and can’t take part in the craziness we call family bonding.

Plans for today:

  • Shopping! Must finally get around to buying work clothes
  • Spend time outside
  • There is potentially more cake to be eaten.
  • Start packing winter clothes in my new Hey’s luggage! 🙂 (Thank you family!)

Not too busy. I don’t like to be too busy during vacation.


Lacking on the blogging

June 17, 2009

I feel like I haven’t blogged in a while. Of course the last time I did was like last week. I’m just going to take this time to summarize some personal stuff. NOT basie related, so if you’re not interested you can stop there. 🙂

Let’s see. Last Friday I had tons of fun bar-hopping with friends. It was a kind of final good-bye party, only not really because I’m seeing most of those people again before I leave. But I set that date before I knew my flight date (June 27). It was really nice to see friends again in a less stressful environment (i.e. not during school). It was also nice seeing friends I haven’t seen since high school graduation. Saturday was a quiet night. Sunday was good family time. Good food, good company. I’m definitely going to miss those gatherings with all the yelling and teasing and the laughing at all the stupid things we do together. Good times.

I have 2 days left on Basie. Kind of sad, but I want to pop in on IRC from time to time while I’m away. Maybe I’ll even be on the RB. I don’t know. I could be crazy. Greg says I’ll be too busy.

This friday is the retirement party for my elementary school principal. She was like a mother to me and a great influence on my life. She taught me all my manners and how to be incredibly punctual out of fear. I can still hear her voice when I’m doing something I shouldn’t be. It’s scary. It’s going to be sad that she’s retiring, but I’m also excited to see my friends from elementary school. I’ve heard lots of good things that people have been doing. I’m also secretly excited to tell them what I’ve been up to. Not bragging of course. Hehehehe.

Saturday is for Jenny and other high school friends. Dinner is going to be good. It’s supposed to be a celebration for 3 of our birthdays. It’s also a last big gathering for me. It’s going to be sad.

Sunday is fathers day, but I don’t know what I’m doing. I think that we’re just doing cake at the restaurant.

Monday is my birthday. I’m turning 21! Eeek! Not sure when I’m going to get to celebrate that with my family. Probably going to the Keg. I want steak before I leave. Hopefully we can go on monday.

Other than those things, next week is a week off for me to finish my shopping and final gatherings with certain people. As well as preparing documents and travelly things.

*sigh* only 10 days left. I’m SUPER excited now! EEE!


June 8, 2009

So I’ve spent the past week fiddling with the dashboard and I think it looks pretty snazzy now.

basie_dashboard_5
basie_dashboard_6

The first image is the dashboard upon entering a project. The second image shows what happens when users click on ‘details’ for each graph. Things to note:

  • Navigational bar above the main content area. There is still some debate about what ‘Home’ should be. I think that it should be the project home, Florian said it should be the project list. Any input on the matter will be helpful.
  • Only the 10 most recent events get displayed and there is a link to see all the events in the events page. The events page has not been modified as of yet, but I am in the process of redesigning it.
  • When the user clicks on’details’ it opens up the detailed graph with dates just as it used to be and pushes the events down.
  • This is the screen that users will see if they are logged in. However, what should the user see if they are NOT logged in (i.e. an unknown user)? Should this information still be available if the project is public? I’m going to assume that there will be public projects that anyone can see as well as private projects that only registered members can see. SO, in the case of private projects, users not registered to that project shouldn’t even see the project in the ‘Home’ project list. For public projects, non-registered users should still see activity and the dashboard.
  • Another questions is whether the login and user preferences are now in the right place. Personally I think that they’re fine where they are on top of the search bar. However, that can be debated.

There are some other areas of concern now though. The following is what the ‘Home’ page looks like.

basie_home

Because the navigation and search bar is project specific, the ‘Home’ page now looks very bare and lonely. Now imagine that nobody is logged in, that’s another thing that is taken out from the home page.

Clearly, there are several new issues that have surfaced. Any and all input is welcome. Thanks!


Basie Dashboard – Go!

June 4, 2009

So this week I’ve started working on the Basie Dashboard. I’m picking up where Heather left off essentially. Although I don’t know much about the flot library or java scripting, so manipulating the graphs is going to be tough. I have added a recent events table and a list of quick links for users. I think these are very important especially to get a quick overview of the most recent things that has happened on the project. 

Here are some things that i think could make the graphs useful to users:

  • hide/show ability -> this way users can choose which graphs they want to see. I think that having the overall graph visible at all times is useful. This we can toggle the more detailed graph, which is the one that takes up the most space. 
  • I want to have some way of changing the graph styles to be either lines or bars for each user. I know people like to see the totals as breakdowns of individual users in different colours (personally I like line graphs). I’m just not sure how managable that is especially if the project has a lot of developers on it.

As far as the ‘quick links’ go, I added it to the dashboard, because if this is going to be the screen that users see once they sign in, then it is important to be able to navigate away from there. That being said, we still don’t have an easy navigational system for other parts of Basie. At the moment, users have to click ‘back’ or on the breadcrumbs we added to the top of the pages. I think adding a ‘quick links’ widget to each page would be best. 

So far the dashboard is also project specific and not user specific. In the future I would like to have the dashboard user specific, which will display data and news relevant to that user across all the projects they’re in. This may be a v3.0 feature.