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Amparo Bertram

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08:20 pm: A ghost of a chance
I had the pleasure of another visit from mangaroo this weekend for a board game day...which was tragically cut short due to traffic expected from the sports event being held in San Francisco. (Bah, sports. I will never understand why people watch that stuff.)

I spent most of Monday harvesting the last of my ripe tomatoes, roasting them in the oven, and running them through a vegetable strainer. I ended up with about six pints of juice/puree that should make great soup later. I hope to harvest all the remaining green tomatoes next weekend to turn them into relish, since that worked so well last year. That should be the last of the harvest for now, until I get around to digging up the oca and yacon in January.

Tuesday evening I went to another board game meetup. This time I played Tsuro (which I won) and two games of Ghost Stories (which kicked our butts both times).

I had heard a lot about Ghost Stories being a highly regarded cooperative game, so I was glad that I had a chance to try it, but it seemed far too luck-based for my taste. It felt like the decisions I made didn't really matter; or, rather, I had very few options that could impact the outcome. On the other hand, we had about two minutes of game play explanation before actually starting, so we didn't really get into the subtleties of the game (assuming there are any). For example, the first game ended very quickly because too many tiles became haunted, but we hadn't been told the rule that we could turn in certain tokens to un-haunt the tiles. Even so, the game felt like trying to save the Titanic by bailing with a bucket. That's not strategy, that's just flailing around.

Anyway, one of the people at the gathering told me about a Palo Alto group that has monthly game meetings in my town, so I signed up to attend that next week.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:November 14th, 2013 01:43 pm (UTC)
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Even so, the game felt like trying to save the Titanic by bailing with a bucket.

Is it possible you were starting at a difficulty level too high for inexperienced players? (Like when we played Fire Rescue...) I mean, I have played games of Pandemic that felt like that, but that's because I like playing the game on a really hard level.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 14th, 2013 02:07 pm (UTC)
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Is it possible you were starting at a difficulty level too high for inexperienced players?

It's possible, since I didn't read the rulebook personally, but the owner of the game said that she would use the easy setup. I just have to take her word for it.
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:November 14th, 2013 03:49 pm (UTC)
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Where do these gaming groups meet? Game stores? People's homes? And how are games agreed-upon? Does everyone just bring something?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 14th, 2013 11:34 pm (UTC)
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Where do these gaming groups meet?

This particular one meets at a bar. The San Mateo group met at the club house of the host's apartment complex. The Palo Alto group will meet in a hotel lobby.

And how are games agreed-upon? Does everyone just bring something?

Everyone pretty much just brings whatever games they can. Once we see the options, people split up into appropriate sized mini-groups for playing whatever games they're in the mood to try.
[User Picture]
From:jojobruin
Date:November 15th, 2013 07:48 am (UTC)
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I came across your summary of tips for learning Japanese when I was googling some random slangy spoken Japanese. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~weyrbrat/fanfic/anime/japanese/index.html#point12

Your tips are a goldmine for anyone learning Japanese. I was surprised to find out that you never formally took Japanese classes and learned totally on your own. I lived in Japan for a month as an exchange student. I have friends who worked in the JET program. Anyway, I just want to thank you for putting together the irregular Japanese conjugation and contraction webpage. That must've taken a lot of time. Thanks!

By the way, I moved to SF a few years ago from So-Cal for work. Are you permanently in the peninsula now or still going back to Japan for teaching?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 15th, 2013 11:59 am (UTC)
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Are you permanently in the peninsula now or still going back to Japan for teaching?

I'm living here now, though I take vacations in Japan every year or two.
[User Picture]
From:jojobruin
Date:November 16th, 2013 06:10 am (UTC)
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I should apologize for barging into your journal like this. O_o I just realized that's kind of rude of me... I literally found your japanese learning webpage by chance when I put in a line from an anime. Then I got curious about who the person was behind these great tips on irregularities in japanese. Then I landed on another page with a link that took me directly to your LJ account. Just now I realized that was kind of rude of me to just post randomly on your journal. I hope you are not offended. I just meant to thank you. That's all.

I guess it's only fair that tell you a little about me. I'm a resident doctor in San Francisco. I moved up here from So-Cal after medical school. I was in Japan for a month in my 4 th year in medical school to survey their health care system. I'd love to visit again.

Welcome back to the states. When did you come back? I hope your have a great weekend.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 16th, 2013 11:32 am (UTC)
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It's not rude of you at all! Anything on my journal that's open to the public is there for anyone to read and comment if desired.

When did you come back?

I moved back a little over five years ago. (I really should update my website to say that, but I'm quite good at procrastinating.)
[User Picture]
From:jojobruin
Date:November 17th, 2013 03:45 am (UTC)
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Hahah! Thanks for not taking offense to my random posts.

I spent one month in Japan traveling from places to places all over Honshuu, visiting different clinics, medical schools, large and small hospitals. It was fascinating to see such a different health care system. I met a lot of interesting people along the way. I wouldn't mind going back to Keio university to teach a course in their medical school after finishing my own training.

How did you decide to come back? How was living in Japan for you? =)

I hope your weekend is going well!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 17th, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
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How did you decide to come back?

The school where I was working was bought out by a private school, and they hired their own teaching staff, so I didn't have a job anymore.

How was living in Japan for you?

I enjoyed it a lot, though there were the occasional frustrations. I would have liked to stay longer, but then the appeal of having a permanent job where I could earn retirement benefits just became too strong. So now I limit myself to vacationing in Japan.
[User Picture]
From:jojobruin
Date:November 17th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
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What a shame... It sounded like you would've liked to stay. Why didn't they just retain the old staff?

I think a lot of Japanese systems offer good pension plans. But that probably wasn't available through JET, since people work as contractors, more or less?

I'd love to vacation in Japan. But work has been busy and I'll have to wait. I know I'm definitely going back to visit Himeji-jou when it re-opens. Any places or things you still want to do in Japan?

May I ask what permanent job you are doing now?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
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Why didn't they just retain the old staff?

They turned it into a college-prep high school, so they wanted a more highly trained batch of teachers. As a foreigner, I didn't have a Japanese teaching license, so I could never be more than an assistant anyway.

But that probably wasn't available through JET, since people work as contractors, more or less?

Essentially, yes.

Any places or things you still want to do in Japan?

I have done quite a bit already. Mainly I go to enjoy the food and shopping, and to take pictures. Hot springs are a bonus.

May I ask what permanent job you are doing now?

I'm an agriculture canine handler with Customs and Border Protection.
[User Picture]
From:jojobruin
Date:November 17th, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
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I see... It's licensing... I would have the same problem as a physician in Japan. I think I have to pass a bunch of exams in Japanese to see patients. But teaching at the Keio university wouldn't require that as far as I know. Medical specialties are still in its infancy in Japan. I think I could do a lot of good for Japanese medical students who want to specialize in radiation oncology. Anyway... that's another topic for another day. =p

How difficult was it to get a teaching license in Japan?

The food was great. I remember going to the tsukiji fish market with Japanese doctor friends. They treated me to the most amazing sushi I've ever had. For that alone, it'll be worth it to go. And onsen! I miss those too. The best one I had was after a long (and kind of dangerous) hike in Nikkou national park at the end of the trail. It was fantastic.

You are a federal employee then! I hope the shutdown didn't affect you too much. I hope your weekend is going well!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 18th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
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How difficult was it to get a teaching license in Japan?

I don't really know. I think it's generally just done as part of an undergraduate college program. I didn't ever ask anyone.
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