the world of jen keidleir

From Japan Probe:

Some Americans put a video camera on the belt in a kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) place. This is what it caught.

(See it here at

I especially like the change in point of view — seeing things from an angle you normally don’t. Also, I’ve always wanted to see what the kitchen of a sushi place looks like, and this gives you a peek.

(Update: WordPress seems to thwart my attempts at embedding the video here. Maybe I should have stuck to Blogger after all.)


{May 10, 2007}   Notes in a Haze

I am back from Osaka, and recovering from my trip. Need to close my tabs and head off to school.

Here is a short story by Spider Robinson which won the Hugo in 1983. I like the twist at the end, which I shall not spoil by talking about here. I also like the characters: how they’re complex, tough, yet human.

Here’s an excerpt:

She needed no time to choose her words. “Do you know how old art is, Senator?”

“As old as man, I suppose. In fact, it may be part of the definition.”

“Good answer,” she said. “Remember that. But for all present-day intents and purposes, you might as well say that art is a little over 15,600 years old. That’s the age of the oldest surviving artwork, the cave paintings at Lascaux. Doubtless the cave-painters sang, and danced, and even told stories–but these arts left no record more durable than the memory of a man. Perhaps it was the story tellers who next learned how to preserve their art. Countless more generations would pass before a workable method of musical notation was devised and standardized. Dancers only learned in the last few centuries how to leave even the most rudimentary record of their art.

I am sad because Stardust will not be showing in Singapore when I am back in July, and isn’t playing in Japan at all.

Stephen Dubner talks about a tax on gluttony, which is an economic way of looking at the charge buffet restaurants levy for leaving food unfinished on your plate. Buffet restaurants are a big thing in Singapore, and I think owners there learnt very quickly the hard way that without the proper (dis)incentives, food is going to be wasted. What I do find interesting is that such a charge is not levied at buffet restaurants in Japan. Is it because buffets have yet to catch on, or because of some cultural reason? Maybe, having been taught that wasting food is unacceptable, the Japanese pay their gluttony tax in guilt/shame rather than in money.

Finally, my friend YM has gotten an offer after months of job-searching. Congratulations!

{May 2, 2007}   Visual Images

Cafeteria, 4:35pm



What are you doing?

Um, blogging.

Cool. I’m waiting for the rain to stop.

Haha. Me too, actually.

Really? That’s cool. When we had that discussion in class, did you get my point about men having to conform to visual images as well?

Yeah, I thought I did… Did I get it wrong?

Oh no. I was just afraid I didn’t say it correctly.

Oh. No, I thought you put it quite well.

Yeah. I’m just embarrassed that we (the Japanese) weren’t participating enough.

I thought you made a good contribution, so did that guy sitting on my right. I was actually afraid we were going too fast.

Oh, so… er, do they speak English in Singapore?

Yeah… yeah, we mostly speak English in Singapore. (In the broad definition of “English”.)

‘Cause your pronunciation was really good.

Thanks. Well, haha, it’s my first language.

So… Er, can I ask you if they all look like you in Singapore?

Haha. Actually, back there, people were saying that I look Japanese.

Are your parents from Singapore too?

Yeah, they are. But my grandparents were from China.

You look more Japanese than Chinese.

Haha, yeah, I get that a lot.

I thought you were Japanese until you said you were from Singapore just now.


Visual image conformation in ethnicity as well? Although in this case, I guess our genes don’t lie. I wonder what mine say about me.


1. How it’s really about life and living; surprisingly profound while pretending not to be.

2. The theme that our lives are all connected in ways we never know, and the problem of how to live with that responsibility.

3. How the characters are so interesting and real and are ultimately defined by their actions.

4. How Robo is such a kid, and Sexy Voice is so old and cynical, that they meet somewhere in the middle despite their real difference in age.

5. How Sexy Voice reminds me of my partner at 14.

6. How the two leads really play their roles well, and the chemistry between them.

7. How there are quaint little shops with dodge wares and even more dodgy proprietors who seem to know everything.

8. How each episode is so tightly written; how every little element is tied up by the end and contributes to the theme.

9. How each episode makes me speechless, laugh, and cry; sometimes at the same time.

10. The theme that there are no coincidences, only necessity.

et cetera