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I cannot stress enough just how thankful, grateful, & appreciative I am to have Jian in my life…to even know such a generous, kind, caring, thoughtful, wonderful person such as he. Honestly I am so grateful beyond words. Actually, words cannot even properly express the level of gratitude I am feeling right now. Aaaaahhhh! I have to stop gushing over Jian for a minute so I can properly explain what is going on, & why I’m feeling all of these warm & fuzzy feels towards him.

You know what? I really abhor discussing my birthday. It makes me somewhat uncomfortable talking about it because I dread that the person I’m talking to will bring up my age, as in, ask about my age, & although I’m not very old, I’m no spring chicken either. I will only go so far as to say I’m approaching middle-age at an almost breakneck speed. In my heart & soul, I still feel like I’m in my somewhat-twenties, but in truth, I’ve already surpassed that decade. Ok, moving on!

So, my birthday is coming up in a few weeks, & in anticipation of that, as well as knowing the fact that I’m not a big celebrator of birthdays, Jian decided to pick out my birthday gift in advance. He had a really thoughtful idea in mind for my birthday present. He had thought about surprising me with a vintage typewriter. Then last weekend, we were in the big city, just having a quiet day to ourselves window shopping & going out for a few drinks. Towards the evening we were casually browsing around a smart-tech shop, & I happened to spot a really cool USB computer keyboard. It’s a wireless USB keyboard that looks like a vintage typewriter, complete with typewriter-esque keycaps & a real, working carriage return bar just like the ones on a traditional typewriter.

Jian caught me playing around with the display model, & suggested that we get one for our home computer. I kind of brushed off his comment, thinking he was joking around & didn’t really take him seriously until he started asking me which color I’d choose if I could buy one of these bougie keyboards. The shop had the classic black model, & the limited edition white & mint green models on display, & I casually mentioned that I liked the white color. That was when Jian got very serious, & told me he was getting this for me as an early birthday present. My jaw nearly dropped to the floor in surprise.

Of course I told him that it was totally unnecessary for him to buy me anything for my birthday, let alone an expensive piece of technology such as this. That was when Jian revealed that he had been looking into getting me a vintage typewriter for quite some time. He said that a hi-tech keyboard like this one would be the perfect compromise, & that he’d be willing to shell out a few extra Benjamins on my birthday present to show his appreciation for all that I do for him. (Now do you see how much I appreciate Jian & his extreme generosity???)

I had always fantasized to one day get a vintage typewriter for myself, but I’ve come to realize that this fantasy is not very practical. Every once in a while I will casually browse the internet to see if there are any shops selling old typewriters, but all of the listings I’ve found are all so damn expensive (Some I’ve found cost $700+ USD)! I have seen other USB typewriter keyboards on the internet (a.k.a. Etsy) that are basically real vintage typewriters modified so you can USB hook-up this working typewriter to your PC & type like you’re using a traditional typewriter, & although they’re aesthetically gorgeous, they’re bulky & not portable. That’s where this innovative USB keyboard comes into play.

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I’ve been using my USB typewriter-keyboard hybrid for over one week now, & I love it so much. The name of this fun keyboard is aptly called: Qwerkywriter, & it’s by a company called Qwerky Toys. It’s such a fun keyboard to use, yet it is also super practical. I feel like it’s a perfect combination of a typewriter feel, with a PC keyboard’s sensibility. My Qwerkywriter keyboard has all of the traditional functions & keys of a PC keyboard, but when you’re typing, you still get the feeling like you’re click-clacking away on an old fashioned typewriter, like you’re a secretary for a big-time boss in the 1950s.

The model Jian let me pick out for my birthday present was the limited edition ‘S’ model in the color white. Ever since I started using this new keyboard, I have noticed that my typing accuracy has improved. I really enjoy the feel of the rounded & indented keycaps that are more spaced apart then a traditional computer keyboard. The keycaps on this new keyboard are spread out enough that I can stretch my fingers more when I’m typing which improves my spelling & typing accuracy.

I also get the aesthetic feeling as though I’m typing on a traditional typewriter, even though the keys still sound like a regular computer keyboard & doesn’t have the click-clack sound of an old fashioned typewriter. The carriage return bar, which is like the ‘enter’ key on a PC keyboard, really adds an authentic typewriter feel to this keyboard. Plus, as an added bonus, it’s oddly satisfying to hit that carriage return.

Here’s where I finally get to show you all of the cool functions & features of my nifty new USB keyboard… Huzzah!

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Overall, I am very much impressed with this USB keyboard. It really inspires me to type write more, & so far, for the past week I’ve been getting so much good use out of this keyboard. I’m super excited to continue using this typewriter-keyboard hybrid on many more posts to come. I also want to give one last big, fat, giant, huge shoutout to Jian for hooking me up with this insanely cute piece of technology. I am forever grateful for his generosity. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

 

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As Jian has been logging in more & more hours on the boob tube, I’ve been winding down, watching less. I don’t know…blegh. I’ve been becoming increasingly uninspired by the television programming lineup over the past few years. There really haven’t been many shows that have caught my interest. Also, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to do more productive things other than just sit on my lazy cuss & watch mindless hours of TV.

I know it’s very easy just to turn on the television & have it running in the background as comforting background noise while you’re off doing things like washing dishes, folding laundry, or writing term papers for school. I am very guilty of doing this, especially while I’m in my kitchen. My parents, especially my dad, insisted on putting a small TV in our family kitchen when I was younger, mostly so that he wouldn’t have to miss a minute of any baseball game during our precious family bonding time, but also so that we could watch the early evening news & popular family game shows (like JeopardyWheel of Fortune) as a family while we all sat at the kitchen table for supper.

That TV in our family kitchen has become embedded into our family life so much so that, as a family unit, we bascially cannot live without it. Every family member who enters our kitchen gets sucked in by the boob tube. At least one person or another will turn on the TV, & it will not be turned off until everybody heads off to bed at night. It’s a pretty sad fact, especially when it seems like this TV has become some sort of social crutch that we unconsciously rely on.

I don’t know how Jian does it, multi-task while he’s watching TV. He can watch videos on YouTube while having the TV running in the background. Both electronic devices have their volumes turned up pretty high (well, high for my standards). Sometimes when we’re all gathered in the kitchen after supper, my mom will be watching some sort of weird Chinese video on her smartphone, & the TV will be on, & Jian will just be sitting in his designated seat watching some random meme video on his phone as well, & all the competing noises don’t even bother him one tiny bit. For me, it’s extremely distracting. I can’t have the TV on while I’m watching something on YouTube or 9Gag.

Man, when I was a teenager I watched everything that was hot in pop culutre during those days. I watched every single show on MTVVH1 (remember Pop-Up Video anyone?). I watched all of the after school cartoons (like Animaniacs, Gummi Bears, Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers, & every Asian girl’s mandatory viewing material: Sailor Moon). I used to watch the block of Friday night shows like Boy Meets World, Family Matters, & Step by Step. Then, as I got older, I really got into watching Japanese variety shows & drama shows. I also loved to watch re-runs of old British TV shows on the PBS channel (like Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served?, & Sherlock Holmes). From there, my tastes evolved into watching mind-numbing reality shows like The Vapid Houswives Seeking Attention They Don’t Get From Their Lame Husbands, watching cartoons like Family GuyAmerican Dad, & watching more home improvement shows like House Hunters. Oh…I also loved watching the globaly popular hit TV show Top Gear (but I quickly left the fandom after Jeremy Clarkson was unceremoneously kicked off the show).

Now, there aren’t very many shows that I actively follow & watch full seasons of, with maybe the exception of Outlander (on the STARZ network). That’s one show I really enjoy watching, not only for the storylines, content & costumes/set props/filming locations, but also because there is one very specific actor that I am a huge fan of, & I like to follow his/her acting career. Other than Outlander, I used to watch a lot of The Big Bang Theory, but I forget to follow the show each week, & then when I try to watch the previous episodes using my cable provider’s On Demand service, they make me jump through a cuss load of hoops to watch. Or else I have to buy the old seasons, which I don’t want to. So, I just watch episode clips posted on YouTube by the show, just so I can keep up with the storyline.

There’s not a lot of current shows that I follow these days. I watch a few episodes of popular shows here & there (i.e. Game of Thrones) just to be able to keep up with the “watercooler” banter with my friends, but I don’t religiously follow many shows on TV. I’ve been trying lately to genuinely follow the newly popular cartoon Rick & Morty, but I’m getting more & more turned off by all of the annoying whining/complaining by the Sanchez-Smith family that is the center of the show. I’m rapidly losing interest in this show.

I think this is a good thing, watching less TV. I am, however, watching more On Demand movies & watching more movies/shows on Netflix (but that’s mostly just because I don’t want to waste my paid membership). No, I don’t sit around all day on my flabby cuss, watching movies on a loop. I’ll usually watch a movie while I’m doing some sort of stationary chore (i.e. washing dishes, or folding laundry). I’ll pick a movie to have on in the background, then once the movie is over, I’ll turn off the TV & go about my day as usual. Sometimes, I’ll have a movie on while I’m updating my blog, but that’s a rare ocassion, as the movie will end up distracting me from writing. You all probably know by now that I’ll always have a movie playing while I’m taking a bath. However, I actively try to not watch any movies or videos before I go to bed. I hope that I can continue this trend of watching less TV. I want to be more productive, rather than sit on my cuss for 4-6 hours a day, channel surfing. I don’t want to rely on the television to keep me company. I’d much rather be doing what I’m doing now, writing. And this is where I end my post because I need sleep. Cheers, mates.

Today’s song of the day:

The last time I visited Japan was in December 2010, with my fiancee & my friends.  These are some of the fun things I learned from my trip.  Enjoy.

1. When you go to a cafe & sit outside and/or next to the window, you will be given a blanket to keep your lap/legs warm (only during Winter season).

2. Most restaurants/cafes have a designated basket with a cloth cover at each dining table.  When you are seated, you can put your purse and/or shopping bags in the basket to keep your bags clear from the aisles & to keep them from getting dirty.

3. Hotel rooms will recycle your  bed sheets & towels for 3 days unless you put the “change my sheets” card on your bed.  This saves a lot on cleaning & water!

4. When it rains, all shops/stores will put a plastic cover on all of your shopping bags so they don’t get wet. (This is the one thing I wish our stores had in the U.S.)

5. Dudes are paid to drive big trucks with giant billboards around town while blaring the most annoying KPop music by the popular Korean boy band 2PM. (Do you notice that I don’t like the band 2PM?)

6. During Christmas time, even though you are overseas, you will NOT escape Western Christmas music…You will hear it EVERYWHERE.  You will also hear “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” & Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” about 50 times a day, while not really sure if the locals even know what the lyrics mean.

7. If you go shopping at a major department store, the sales people will try to sell you everything & anything. They are insanely pushy, but polite as hell about it.

8a. I love the clothing brand A Bathing Ape, & I’ve noticed that ALL sales staff at every single Tokyo region Bathing Ape (a.k.a. BAPE) store are friendly & cool.  Although they can’t speak much English, they can understand it & try to speak it to make you feel welcome. (I have also found that the sales staff at the BAPE stores in NY & L.A.(which is now closed) are also friendly/nice.)

8b. Every single time I go shopping at a Tokyo region Bathing Ape store with my fiancee, we will get special treatment, we will make friends with at least one sales clerk.  I don’t understand this, but I guess my fiancee just appears to be outgoing & perhaps that is why others tend to gravitate toward him & can talk to him easily…even when there is a language barrier. (P.S. If you are ever in Shibuya, Tokyo….look up a guy named Saito at the BAPE store in Shibuya.  He is one of the coolest store clerks I’ve ever met in Japan.)

9. You will see cheesy American restaurant chains all over Tokyo (eg. Outback, TGI Fridays, Denny’s, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, El Torito, Sizzler), but don’t expect crazy lines out the door.  You will only find that mind-numbing queue at Eggs ‘N Things (which came from Hawaii).  The whole Western food trend has come & gone already.  (Plus, I’m a little biased & think that the Japanese spin on Western/American food tastes so much better than the way it’s cooked back home.)

10. You will hear Western Pop music everywhere compared to Japanese Pop music (which is not played nearly as much as Western Top 40/Pop).  I couldn’t escape the songs “We R Who We R” by Ke$ha or “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz when I was in Tokyo.

11. The new latest invention in Japanese technology: Otohime.  Every public bathroom stall will have a device that will make a running water sound for a more discreet bathroom experience.  You just press the button on the device & it will make a flushing noise to mask the sounds.  You can eve buy this in a handy pocket device for travel and/or public use.

12. Most public bathrooms will have a “regular” stall with squat-in-the-ground toilets or “Western” stalls with sit-down toilets.  I thought this was pretty cool…that some rather old fashioned traditions still remain.

13. Fruits are not as expensive as you think they are. It’s not as if every grocery store in town will have that $40 watermelon you saw on reddit.com/ebaumsworld.com. Ok, so compared to American grocery store prices, they are pretty pricey ($6 for 2 apples).  However, they are much more beautiful in color & shape, much more sweeter, & bigger in size compared to our U.S. market fruits.  So, it’s almost like getting more fruit for your money.  Plus, the only $40 fruits you will find are the organic ones, grown on some special farm, & comes in a fancy wrapped box that are supposed to be for gift giving.  Those fruits you will find at super luxe department stores like Matsuzakaya or Mitsukoshi…or at fancy grocery stores that specifically sell organic goods.

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