From Fukui, with Love

The geekiest way to go sightseeing

Posted by in Mike's blog

There was a day last fall when the way we see the world around us totally changed.  Places that once were uninteresting became much anticipated attractions.  We started seeking out nooks and crannies in our city that other people couldn’t care less about.  We began to go for long drives with the kids (while they nap) with no set destination, far into the mountains, through tiny villages, and often in circles. Mary and I got involved in a little game called Ingress. Except it’s not little.  There were more than 500 000 active…read more

Banking in Japan without bankbooks

Posted by in Mike's blog

I discovered a new app called Moneytree a few months ago, and in the past few days I finally got it set up the way I like.  Now I can bank like it’s 1999 again (as opposed to 1989)!  This isn’t a sponsored post…I just really really enjoy the way this app has made our lives easier. A bit about banking As much as I’d like to be an expert on different countries’ financial systems (OK, not really), I’m not.  What I know is what I and other normal people…read more

Sorry, this content IS available in your country

Posted by in Mike's blog

We had gotten pretty used to seeing “sorry, this content is not available in your country” messages on streaming video websites when we lived in Canada.  Every time we heard about a new American service, our hearts sunk a little bit because we know that countries have very strict borders on the internet because of copyright policies.  Hulu?  Not north of the border.  Fox/NBC/CBS/ABC?  Not a chance.  Life was still good, though.  Netflix launched in Canada in September 2010 with significantly less content than its American counterpart – but hey,…read more

Dealing with farewell emotions by keeping in touch

Posted by in Mike's blog

This morning I drove Miriam to Fukui station.  She got on a bus.  That bus will take her to Komatsu airport, and from there she will fly to Norway – she has left…but is she gone? Miriam has been one of our closest friends here in Fukui, and no one can contest her as the Bunny’s third favourite person right now.  One of the more difficult parts of living abroad is making good friends and then seeing them leave.  In Japan, most foreigners are here for a time…and then they…read more

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Pretty smart for a dumbphone

Posted by in Mike's blog

This is part 3 of a 3 part series about how we got our phones, how we get away with paying peanuts for great service, and what our awesome “dumbphones” can do without any kind of data plan. “Can you send me a pin”?  We had no idea what this meant after the first time we heard it…but it didn’t end there.  Everybody wanted pins, and everybody wanted to send me pins when I asked for directions to anywhere.  I later found out that “sending a pin” is the local…read more

Mobile services: Japan vs. Canada

Posted by in Mike's blog

  This is part 2 of a 3 part series about how we got our phones, how we get away with paying peanuts for great service, and what our awesome “dumbphones” can do without any kind of data plan.    Yes, yes, I know – Japan has awesome technology and it’s not fair to compare it to Canada – but from a consumer’s point of view I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth here, and not because of the technology.  It’s because of the policies of cell phone companies…read more

Getting cell phones in Japan without selling a kidney

Posted by in Mike's blog

This is the beginning of a 3 part series about how we got our phones, how we get away with paying peanuts for great service, and what our awesome “dumbphones” can do without any kind of data plan.   Before this year, the last time I remember being satisfied with my cell phone service was in 2006. It’s been a long time coming.  When the mobile industry in Canada went from being poor to thievery, I got out.  I happily functioned with only a land-line for years before we moved…read more

Powerful wind

Posted by in Mike's blog

High-tech gadgets are more fun when we can use them. When we first arrived in our new apartment in Fukui, we were surprised to see that our place was spacious, modern, and it came with some neat gadgets. About a week later we had some friends over and they helped up translate our gadgets so that we could use them. When they left, I had detailed maps of all the buttons on our washing machine, rice cooker, air conditioner, intercom, stove and toilet. These translations gave me a basic understanding…read more

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