Saturday, September 29, 2007

Jaxtr [Link your Phone]

There is this new service that would enable people to make international calls for free! If Chikka is used for free text messaging (Philippines) and Skype is generally used for free PC to PC calls, Jaxtr would give free credits for you to call directly to someone's mobile phone or even landline.

While Jaxtr is still on its Beta phase, they give 100 "jaxtr credits"(jax) per month. I have already registered my Japan mobile number and the site says that I can receive calls for about 8 minutes (12jax/min) per month. I think the 'credit rates' vary depending on your location. Jaxtr is based in Palo Alto, so probably linked phones in the US might even receive more call time at about 100minutes (1jax/min) a month, I think. You can switch to voicemail mode if you want, at least for this it is unlimited (perhaps to be used after consuming your monthly credits).

I have not test-called using the service yet, although when you register Jaxtr will call the registered number for verification. The line was a bit choppy but maybe because of a low-signal PHS or to the low quality machine operated voice.

Of course, nothing still beats Skype for its unlimited PC to PC video conferencing. But in my case, my home in Baguio City isn't wired to the internet so communication with my family is very limited. The best way for us so far would be through Chikkasince they can text back straight to the messenger for Php2.50. However, I still don't have my own stable internet connection (I'm still leeching wifi and most of the time signal is weak), I seldom open my Chikka.

Jaxtr should be paying me for this. But I would be more grateful if their service would bloom and help realize the possibility of having free international calls.

Jaxtr ID: scion_cho


posted by ScIoN 1:41 PM |

Monday, September 17, 2007


Akihabara Electric Town (Akihabara Denki Gai) is known to be one of the world's largest shopping district for Electronics, anime, et al. It is a neighborhood in Tokyo which has duty free shops and sells different kinds of interesting merchandise.

On my first week (September)here in Japan, we were given 2 free days to explore. Since my partner wanted to buy a laptop, Akihabara was the very first thing to come in mind. During our first time in Akiba (for short), we had just stepped out of the Akihabara JR station when we received an email from Sakurai-san (Sr. Manager from a-LINK) that we should go to office because Adachi-san, the president would be expecting us. A train ride coming from Shin-Yokohama to Akihabara costs 620yen. It was our mistake that we did not drop by the office but headed directly to Akiba instead.

Now that we are in Satte City, total cost for going to Akiba amounts to 1140yen (single trip). Our way was to ride at the Tobu line in Satte then go north towards the nearest JR line (Kurihashi). It takes 1 hour and 2 minutes (based on the time table) from Kurihashi to Akihabara, not counting the time when changing trains. Japan's Railway system is very efficient that you would be less likely to get lost. The railways are interconnected that you often have to transfer trains in order to reach your desired destination. What's fascinating is that the trains always come on time. [inset: part of JR line map]

In the Philippines, people tend to go to Greenhills when searching for electronic stuffs such as laptops, PDAs, cellphones, etc. Another place to search for goodies is Quiapo which has a variety of stuffs ranging from electronics (Raon), entertainment (DVDs) and even the weird stuffs (pampalaglag, sex toys, etc). Here in Japan, you can see lots of merchandise here in Akiba. [inset: me with Akiba as background]

Just like Quiapo in the Philippines, Akihabara is a very interesting place because of the different kinds of people who go there everyday. Foreigners are rare in Japan but you would see many in Akiba; probably shopping for electronic gadgets or for their line of hobby. Foreigners are not the only customers of the Akiba shops, but Japanese people as well, particularly the ones referred to as Otaku. Otakus are described to be dedicated fanatics of certain genre/hobby such as anime, manga, toys etc.

Maid Cafe
Due to its popularity since 2000, Akihabara had been closely associated with the maid cafe concept. Maid cafes are cosplay restaurants having Japanese women usually clad in French-maid costumes wherein they generally role-play as a household servants and treat you in honorific terms. This may be a weird for us, but these generally caters to the Otaku culture. So when you come to Akihabara, you get to encounter a lot of maids doing their cutesy stuffs. [inset: maid handing out free paper napkins]

The Streets

We went to Akihabara on a Sunday, and the main street was closed to traffic (I'm not sure though if it is normally closed). People are able to walk freely within the place and it sort of reminds me of Baguio City during Flower Festival (February) wherein Session Road is also closed to traffic; thus, people are able to walk along the streets.

These are shots I took from the main street:
[Audio system is connected to the motorcycle. Japanese singing J-pop]

[Balloon tricks]

[for the kinky minded]

[Cosplayers and the Maids]

Computers and Laptops
Anyway, we went to Akihabara not to ogle on chicks but rather to buy electronic stuffs. My partner desperately needs another laptop so that he can communicate with his wife and daughter in the Philippines via Skype. Electronic gadgets in Akihabara are indeed cheap, but if you plan on buying computers and laptops, you have to be aware about compatibility issues.

Most laptops are pre-installed with Japanese OS versions, and when we asked if we can install English versions on top of that, the answer was always a No. The duty free shops sell laptops that support English OSes but they have a more premium price compared to the Jap OS laptops.

Another example are game consoles, Wii sold in Japan costs about 25k Yen, but the English versions are being sold twice the price of the Jap versions! (50k++yen). I am not sure though if there is a cheap workaround for these compatibility issues. I'd be very much interested to know.

My partner bought his laptop for 100k Yen. It's not really bad and is still cheap compared to buying in the Philippines, but the Japanese OS laptops are even cheaper. So maybe, if I'm already good at Nihonggo (with all those Kanjis), then I would have no problem buying those Japanese laptops.

Electronic Dictionary
I bought myself an electronic dictionary for 24k Yen. It's not really the cheapest, but I aimed for it's "IME pad" capabilites so that I am able to write and search for Kanji. I believe I got it at a good price because similar items are being sold at an average of 28k Yen and above. In the place where I bought it, they told me that the model was in SALE (Japanese call it as 'campaign'). I was even given a free stylus pen(aside from the default). Great!

On this same day, Geoff Fadera (Anritsu) and some Astra peeps had gone to Disneyland. I did not join them because I 'promised' that I would help my partner buy his laptop at Akihabara. Maybe next time.


posted by ScIoN 11:20 AM |

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Free Wifi at Apartment

This is a very rare opportunity so I thought it's worth blogging.

I've been here in Saitama for exactly a week already, and it is only now that I was able to connect through an unsecured wifi in our area. I hope the owner wouldn't mind. I promise I won't be hugging too much bandwidth. So long as it's free. :D

Yes, I'm in Japan but since I'm still with a business visa, we can't apply yet for anything like an internet connection. I have already asked our Director for a connection though, to speed up our learning process. (First time kong gumamit ng Windows Vista, Japanese pa hahaha... nahirapan pa ako)

Even though I was given the go signal of using my PDA for internet, I'm not sure if it's unlimited data access. Kahit libre sa akin, nakakahiya naman kung mataas ang bill na babayaran ng company ko.

posted by ScIoN 6:28 PM |

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Celebrity Profile

We had a small meeting with Naka-san, Jr. Manager of client company's Tech and Research dept. He discussed to us their corporate profile and a short discussion about color filters, one of their main services. Naka-san knows some English pero nauubusan din hehe. After that, he brought out 2 of our resumes, the ones submitted by our company. Probably he wanted to talk about anything else, business aside.

I was shocked when he brought out another paper which was a full colored printout of my friendster page! Nakakahiya! hahahaha!

Naka-san told me he found it when he googled for our company name. Apparently, my profile included my current company. I know that my friendster profile was set for public viewing but I did not intend it to be seen by the whole world. Only for my 'long time no see' friends. Actually, I had it set to private last August, but unfortunately Naka-san had discovered it earlier.

Nakakahiya talaga, tennis pose pa ako nun. Buti na lang hindi yung gradpic ko na nagsha-shave yung nafeature. haha! So peeps, beware! Google-able na ang friendster profiles. Dati hindi eh. bad trip haha. Halos matunaw ako sa upuan kanina. Pero oks lang. Natuwa rin naman siya hehe.

posted by ScIoN 6:14 PM |

Monday, September 10, 2007

Client Side

This day was my first day to work at our client company. I bet it's going to be quite hard since the people speak poor english. Elementary Nihongo is not enough since point of conversations also include technical discussions.

I had been issued a company uniform and a security ID. The uniform is top-bottom including leather sandals.

The very first thing I noticed while walking coming from the station was the tennis court which I think is owned by the company. Oh, I can't wait to play tennis. Maybe I should invite the 'sachiyou' for a match. ;)

posted by ScIoN 5:57 PM |

Saturday, September 08, 2007


I'm having a hard time accessing blogger so I had no choice but to open back the connectivity b/n multiply and blogger. I'm blogging only through a PDA so please bear with me. My company gave me the latest PDA provided by willcom however I can't use it properly since it has no english manual.

I have been in Japan for almost a week already, and stayed temporarily at Center Minami. Good thing I had arrived here a bit earlier because Typhoon no.9 had just hit the country. Later flights to/from Japan had been cancelled because of it.

We had just transferred to Saitama, where I would be staying till the end of november. Saitama is a prefecture North of Tokyo.

On Monday, I'm going to report and work at our client company. I hope we'd be at ease there since I might work there for a longer period of time.

Right now, we don't have pc internet access. It's very hard; good thing I was given the go signal of using my PDA to access the net.

posted by ScIoN 4:49 PM |

Friday, September 07, 2007

Blogging through Multiply


posted by ScIoN 11:58 AM |

Phone Blogging (via Gmail)


(*Yess!!!! finally edited!!!!! -- Since I had blogged using Gmail, pati yung signature ko napost. Dami tuloy spam na nareceive PDA ko :D)


posted by ScIoN 7:21 AM |

Sunday, September 02, 2007


The term Japayuki is commonly associated with Filipinas working in Japan as entertainers (singers, musicians, dancers et al). There is a significant number of Filipino entertainers in Japan that when applying for a Japan Visa, there is a specific category for them alongside Business visa, Engineer visa et al. One negative connotation for Japayuki is when it is being referred to the flesh trade of prostitution. Try searching Japayuki in wikipedia and you will be redirected to this wiki page.

I am a Japayuki. NO, not a prostitute, not even to be classified as an entertainer (I can be a high class gigolo though, but that would depend if the client would be a goddess). Let me explain further.
With my Nihonggo training, I had learned that the term Japayuki literally means "Japan bound". The main reason why Japayuki had been commonly associated with entertainers is because it is the common profession for the "Japan bound" foreigners. Japanese are known to be open perverts so I guess they had been craving for those "Japan bound" prostitutes as well.
Japan is a highly ageing society, entertainers are scarce and pretty soon even engineers. Tomorrow, I'm going to Japan (thus, I'm Japan bound = Japayuki) for my real assignment (= work) at our client company. I think I'll be quite busy for the next 90 days, I may not be able to blog or be available online. After being quite lax for the past 3 months, the next 3 would now be the real deal.
I'll be back by December this year, but I don't know if I'm going to stay long. There is a chance that I will fly back again as soon as possible and may not even spend the Christmas holidays here. This is a big step in my career and I do hope I would enjoy the work there.
sore ja,
Wish me luck and good health.

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posted by ScIoN 11:36 AM |

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

ScIoN is a former Systems Engineer in Japan who specialized in industrial imaging and digital hardware design. He is now back in the Philippines pursuing graduate studies in Finance at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.



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