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I've been scammed!!
How crappy is this? I've been shopping around
for a new server/host for Hunkabutta because
I can't use Java servlets on the one I have
now. I came across the evil and despicable
SWHU hosting, I signed up and paid for their basic, too-cheap-to-be-true
service, and I got burned. They don't even
exist. It was just some guy running a scam.
The crappy thing is, I thought that I was
fairly precautious. I wrote them several
emails asking for information, talked to
two (apparently) different people, one from
sales and the other from support, and even
spoke to representatives from a software
site that they were claiming to use.
I still got burned.
After I paid (via a legit online market place)
the 'company representative' said that I'd
receive all of the necessary information
to begin setting up my site within 24 hours.
After a couple of days and several unanswered
emails I began to get really suspicious and
looked into it a bit more. I did a 'Whois'
search to see who owned the domain name for
the site (which I should have thought of
in the first place) and discovered that all
of the registry information was just garbled
garbage (i.e., whoever bought the domain
didn't use their real name and contact information).
I feel so used. So pissed off. Believe
or not I've never been ripped off before.
I'm not sure where to go from here.
mad enough that I could spend the rest
my life tracking this guy down and
him pay, but when I consider it, $42
isn't worth a lifetime of obsessive
Just to make myself feel a little better
I wrote him the following email, though
probably enjoyed getting it:
You thieving fucker.
I hope you have a miserable life and
I know its crude, and didn't really
much, but a guy's gotta let off steam.
Any suggestions for further action?
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I've always thought that you could tell a
lot about a person just from their shoes.
Shoes are very important in Japan. In most
of the places that I've been in East Asia,
actually, people seem to have a greater awareness
of the feet compared to the West. In Thailand,
for example, there are countless rules of
etiquette centered around the feet -- from
where to put them and when, to how they should
There's another thing in Japan that adds
to this general shoe awareness: people seem
very adept at coordinating their outfits.
I'm talking about things like belts, purses,
bags and scarves. Everything matches and
is obviously chosen with great care as to
overall appearance, men as well as women.
I could be wrong, but I seem to remember
reading that traditional Japanese formal
wear put a lot of emphasis on having
the right accessories. Men wore little
purses that came in and out of fashion.
wanted to have just the right brooch
clip to accentuate their kimonos.
Another thing I remember reading about shoes
and Japan was an article giving advice to
job hunters. The article was for foreigners
who were going to be interviewed for positions
in Japan. One of the nuggets of advice was
to wear the best pair of shoes that you could
afford. I guess the rationale here is that
good shoes make you look successful, and
more importantly, they would be something
the interviewer would notice. I guess this
is kind of analogous to having a nice watch
in the West.
So there you have it. My humble take on shoes
You should try checking out people's shoes
in your home town. Try it. Find some place
where you can only see the shoes and try
to imagine what the rest of the person looks
like. Then, check them out and see if you
I think that you'll find that shoes say a
lot about a person too.
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It's a long weekend here in Japan,
didn't even know about it until Friday
It just goes to show you how clueless
out-of-the-loop I am at work.
I wish we had planned something. During our
first year in Japan we used to go on a lot
of little excursions, but now we never do.
I guess that means we're pretty settled in
Have you ever noticed how you rarely, if
ever, do the cool but touristy things in
your home city? For example, I'm from Toronto
but I never go to see Niagara Falls, even
though I meet people all over the world who
tell me it's one of their dreams to one day
go and see it. The same goes for the CN Tower,
the world's tallest free-standing structure
(or at least it was the last time I checked).
I've never been up it; never even stood at
it's base, and it's one of the defining features
of my home town and a pretty damn cool thing.
It's kind of sad these ruts we get into,
don't you think? These habits of activity
that constrain our activity without our even
knowing it. I think it would be kind of fun
to live your life as a perpetual tourist,
even in your home town.
Maybe we will go somewhere this weekend after
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South of Tokyo is the city of Yokohama. It's
separate from Tokyo in name only, in reality
Tokyo and all of the cities surrounding it,
such as Chiba and Saitama, are one giant,
contiguous swath of urban development. A
The reason that I'm thinking about Yokohama
today is because one of my friends here in
Japan, an American guy who shall remain nameless,
lets just call him RD, was arrested about
two weeks ago. Right now, as you read this,
he is in a jail cell in the Yokohama Harbor Police Station. Karen, Jack and I went down to visit him
this past Monday.
I was debating all week whether or not to
talk about this here on hunkabutta because
it's obviously a very private matter for
RD. I decided in the end to tell you about
it because, a) he doesn't read hunkabutta
and none of you know him anyway, and b) I
learned something from this experience that
I think would be of interest to you.
What I learned was something obvious: without
friends and family to look out for you you
are at the mercy of the foul circumstances
that life will inevitably throw at you. The
idea that we are all independent, self-supporting,
and self-determinating, is a myth. It's a
myth that is easily propagated in our society
because generally life is very easy, and
because when bad things happen to us we fall
back on friends and family and forget about
all of this 'ruggged individualism' until
things get better.
RD is a really nice guy, affable and gregarious,
he has friends all over the city and is one
of the few foreigners living here that I
know of who truly loves Japan and never has
anything bad to say about it. Unfortunately
RD also loves another thing: pot. That's
what got him into trouble.
RD's a casual pot smoker, which was never
really a problem here (even though possession
can carry up to a five-year jail sentence!).
Then something unfortunate happened. Someone
sent him some pot in the mail, from a suspicious
South Asian country no less. It was intercepted
and the next thing you know 10 police officers
were knocking on his door, search warrant
in hand. Needless to say they searched his
apartment and found his little private stash
and this is what he is charged with, minor
The law here, though seemingly fair and light
handed, is quite different from that in North
America. Once arrested a person can be held
up to 23 days before they are charged. Once
they are charged, in the case of a foreigner
who is likely to flee the country, they are
held in jail until their trial, which can
be several months. In RD's case this seems
overly harsh, but he's obviously guilty;
imagine if you were innocent and had to go
through all of this.
He was gone for several days before
realized he was missing. The only reason
that we eventually found out is that
friend who was visiting from the US,
who was going to stay at RD's place,
found hanging out on the street in
of RD's house. RD wasn't there to meet
and that's when we all knew he was
Japanese people are famous for being vague
and cryptic, and that stereotype certainly
held true in this situation because nobody
would give us any information about RD's
whereabouts, not his landlady (who said some
mysterious stranger told her that he was
okay), not the embassy, and not the police.
After a week and a half Karen eventually
tracked him down, but only because the police
officer on the phone thought that she was
RD's mother. Too funny, really.
We went to see him, sat behind the plate
glass and talked to him through the sound
hole, and he was in pretty good spirits,
considering what he's been through. He's
not sure if he'll get deported or not, we're
pretty sure he will be, but we didn't tell
He'd been there a week and a half and
knew where he was. He could have been
in a ditch somewhere.
I guess the point that I'm trying to make
is that because RD didn't have his family
here, and because his group of friends is
fairly loose knit, he fell through the cracks.
Things could have been a lot worse, but it
just goes to show you. Rugged individualism
is a myth.
Now every time that I pass through Yokohama,
I'm going to remember how much I count on
my family and friends to be there for me.