Archive for category Life in Canada

August 27, 2005 – Prank backfired

The main reason for my trip home to Canada was to spend time with my sick sister and help out my parents. However, since I am not sure when I will be home next, it’s nice to get to see people while I am here. Since my sister is doing a bit better, I decided to take the day for myself. Tracking down everyone individually was too difficult, so I told the fraternity guys that I was just going to spend most of the day at the Delta Upsilon House.

During the day, people came and went, and I got to visit and have a few beers. At one point, one of the guys suggested we go for some… um… exotic entertainment. I agreed, and we all piled into the car and went to the old reliable exotic entertainment venue.

Occasionally when I need to entertain myself, I attempt to pay with Japanese yen at businesses in Canada. This usually gets some fun reactions, and is a good conversation starter. I decided that I would attempt to do the same thing at the dancers. Usually during or after a dancer’s set, customers show their appreciation by leaving tips on the stage. I decided to put down a 1000 yen bill on the stage at the end of the set.

The dancer was picking up all of the tips when she came across my 1000 yen note. She picked it up, looked at it, and said “hey, this is a 1000 yen note, that’s like ten bucks!”. She told us that she dances a few times a year at a similar entertainment venue in Roppongi. My friends told her that I was teaching English in Japan. She told me she loved Japan, invited me to see her perform the next time she was in Tokyo, thanked me for the tip, and walked away. That was not the reaction I was expecting at all. My friends laughed their asses off.

Out of all of the dancers in Winnipeg Canada, I attempted my Japanese yen prank on the one that also works in Roppongi. What are the odds?

After another overpriced drink, we picked up BBQ supplies, returned to the fraternity house, and proceeded to eat way too much grilled meat. It was a fun day.

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August 26, 2005 – Being a helpful brother

Today I tried to be a helpful brother. I took my sister to her doctor’s appointment, giving my parents a nice break. I hung around in Winnipeg in the afternoon, and even managed to do some clothes shopping. I hate clothes shopping, but it was overdue!

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August 23, 2005 – Out of the hospital

Today my sister finally got released from the hospital! They had to remove some staples from her surgery first (yuck). My parents and I took her home, and got her set up in her apartment. We gave it a quick cleaning, picked up some groceries, and took care of the stupid cat that hid under the bed the whole time.

Jetlag is really messing with my sleep. My schedule is all over the place! Flying back from Japan seems to be harder on my system than going to Japan.

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August 21, 2005 – Day pass and Summerslam

Today I went to visit my sister in the hospital. She was recovering quickly from her surgery, and got a day pass out of the hospital. We went to her apartment, and I got to see her new cat. Well, I got to see the cat under the bed, because it is terrified of men and always hides when one is around. Getting a rescue cat is great, but this one needed a therapist.

We had a nice visit and hung out for a bit, but having a lung that is not working 100% makes you tired quickly. After dropping her off at the hospital again, I went over to the fraternity house in time for Summerslam 2005. The main event was Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan. Michaels oversold everything Hogan threw, flopping around like a fish out of water. It was still a lot of fun to hang out with the guys and watch the show.


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Steins;Gate The Game – A review

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A few years ago, my wife started telling me about a cool game she was playing called Steins;Gate. She described it as a dark sci-fi story about time travel from one of her favourite game companies; Nitroplus.

After watching the excellent anime version on Netflix, I found out there was an official English translation of the game available. I got it as a Christmas present, and dove in.

First off, Steins;Gate is more of a visual novel with some branching choices as opposed to an adventure game. You play Okabe Rintaro, an aspiring mad scientist in Akihabara. Rintaro spends his time hanging out with his friends (referred to as lab members), attempting to come up with new inventions and overthrow The Organization. The story revolves around the accidental invention of a time machine consisting of a cell phone and a microwave, but is driven by your interaction with your group of lab members. Everyone takes turns making small changes to the past, which end up having catastrophic effects.


Decision points are very subtle and all involve your cell phone: you can choose to answer or ignore incoming calls, you can choose to send or not send messages to the past, and you can choose if and how to respond to texts. There are 6 different endings based on how the story progresses.

What I found interesting about the game was the level of immersion. Because you are reading the story from the main character’s POV, you are really becoming the main character. You experience what he experiences. You have to make choices that could result in the death of your friends.

Make no mistake, this game gets dark. One possible ending involves Okabe reliving the same few days over and over to avoid having to let anyone die. Eventually he / you start considering all of the horrible things you can do and get away with. One possible timeline involves a homicidal little girl bent on revenge. And most plot lines involve watching your close friend Mayushi die over and over again despite your best efforts. Your character does not die, so all of the endings have you living with the results of your choices.


Even though it gets pretty dark, the game itself is very interesting. It’s very well written, well translated, immersive, and even comes with a glossary of otaku words and science terms. By the time you get to any of the endings, you will feel like you have spent weeks in Akihabara on a grand adventure.

If you like well written sci-fi, Japanese geek culture, or time travel stories, play this game. It’s worth your time.

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January 22, 2005 – First busy day

Today was my first really busy day at Mishima NOVA since I transferred in November. It reminded me of a typical day at Kawasaki NOVA.

The teacher’s room at Mishima NOVA is tiny, narrow, and chaotic. There are 6 chairs in a space barely big enough for 5, and we had 8 teachers working today. It is not a good place for claustrophobic people.

After work I met up with Azeroth and Palmer at Ryuu, which has now become our regular izakaya. There is nothing like beer and sushi after a busy day at work!

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December 28, 2004 – Carlos and Murphy’s

Carlos and Murphy’s – Winnipeg’s best nachos

Today I went to Carlos and Murphy’s for some of their famous nachos and beer. It was great!

It’s hard to find a giant plate of greasy, cheesy nachos in Japan.

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November 23, 2004 – Visiting Hello House

Today I got a late start and then went to Kawasaki to hang out with Lux and Zoe.

Not much had changed in Hello House in the month I have been away. I updated them on stories of my new city, and Lux filled us in on stories about her friend Fritz. She was always talking about Fritz – Fritz this and Fritz that. Other than tales of Fritz, Lux was getting ready to move back to Canada. Her recent trip home reminded her that she liked living in Canada better. This caused a bit of tension with her boss, who had just promoted her.

We went out to Gyukaku and watched horror movies in the evening. I ended up crashing on Lux’s floor in Hello House instead of returning home. I don’t think anyone ever completely cuts ties with Hello House.

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