Ramen Girl


Finally saw The Ramen Girl, the 2007 movie some described as "Lost in Translation meets Tampopo" -- yeah, Tsutomu Yamazaki makes a cameo appearance. I found it unexpectedly charming, definitely less offensive than LIT. Though, there were some fake moments -- some of the music was more Chinese than Japanese, and a typical salaryman who decorates his apartment with traditional dolls and a bright red kimono?

Toshiyuki Nishida doesn't disappoint, and Kimiko Yo remains one of my favorite Japanese character actresses. But really, it is stunning to think that Brittany Murphy passed just a few weeks ago..

Shopping for a Mac (4): A Kernel Panic

Okay, it had been three weeks since I got myself a 20-inch iMac as a birthday gift for myself. I was done moving data from my old Dell desktop, which I still kept on the bookshelf next to my desk, just in case. I had barely touched it, though, since the arrival of the iMac and I was getting tired of the sight of an ugly black box and numerous cords sticking out of it collecting dust. What should I do with the old computer? Should I get rid of it in light of the price of real estate it occupies (though it's been quickly dropping), or should I hold onto it until I am 100 percent sure about than my new iMac?

Then two things happened.

Earlier in the week, we had heavy thunderstorms in our neighborhood, and lightening struck alarmingly close to our home. We checked all the appliances right away, and discovered one of the air conditioners and a hot water supply machine had stopped working properly. And my old Dell. It had been dying a slow death for some time (that was why I bought an iMac to begin with), and I wasn't unhappy that I no longer needed to debate what to do with it.

"I'm so glad it's the Dell," I told a friend. "I would have been devastated if it was the iMac."

Talk about speaking too soon.

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Shopping for a Mac: A Journey (3)

I bought it. Ordered it on the Biccamera online (because I'm a slave to their point system) and it arrived three days later – “it” being a sleek, all-in-one ''20 display. As with any previous big decisions in my life, in the end, it was anti-climatic. I like shopping, and if a question is whether or not to buy something, I always opt for buying it.

And even when I was wondering if I wanted to become a Mac user, I knew I would have no choice. It has become more about whether I was willing to ditch something I'd been dependent on for a long time (Palm) than if I wanted to convert to Mac computers. And the answer was obvious. I wasn't going to be that royal to a dying platform.

Two weeks later, I'm happy to report that transition has been pretty smooth. Lots of people say that these days you can do everything you do on Windows on a Mac as well, but I'm still impressed with its ease of use. I took out the display, keyboard and mouse out of the box, plugged it in, and connected them with each other, and that was it. Within minutes, I was checking e-mails. (I know it would have taken longer if our house wasn't entirely wired for WiFi.)

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Shopping for a Mac: A Journey (2)

Okay, a decision is made. Now I've got to figure out the most painless transition. I've been told that a Mac-Windows move used to be difficult and a new Mac convert had to give up all the old data -- e-mails, Word and Excel files, address book and schedule items.

Not any more, asserts lots of recent Mac converts and the book titled "Mac Bible for Windows Users" (subtitle: "Answering your questions and clearing up your concerns") as well as Apple. On the company's snappy webpage titled "Why your next PC should be a Mac," where they give "It's gorgeous. Inside and out" as the top reason to buy a Mac, they tell me:

"(T)he easiest way is to let us do it. If you buy a Mac at an Apple Retail Store and bring in your old Mac or PC, a Genius can move all your files for you. Or you can use a USB or FireWire hard drive or a local network to transfer photos, music, documents, and more."

The Japanese Apple site has a tutorial video on how to do all that by yourself. Does make it look easy, but I'm still unsure. It doesn't show me a step-by-step process of how to move stuff on the applications I use -- Word documents, Eudora e-mails, and "Notes" items on Palm Desktop.

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Shopping for a Mac: A Journey (1)

I'm in need of a new computer. And for the first time in life, I may have to go for a Mac.

My computer broke down. It's a Dell desktop -- a black, cheap, no-frills and no-fun box I bought in 2003. As a woman who gets a lot of thrills out of shopping, I found the experience of getting this computer as disappointingly underwhelming as buying bread at a neighborhood baker. It was no different than shopping for a vacuum cleaner. You buy one of those appliances because you need it, not because you love its unique feature or adore the cool design. You'll get the same performance no matter whether you go with a Toshiba or a Sanyo. I could have bought a HP, a Sony, or a Fujitsu, or Matsushita computer; all sported Windows XP and many useless applications. I ended up with a Dell because it was easy to order online and was inexpensive.

I haven't since given much thought to what's happening in the computer market. I knew a new Microsoft OS -- Vista, right? -- has come out. But I had no reason to pay attention -- until my Dell began to slow down (and freeze at least daily) a month ago. Even then I thought I'd buy another box, probably another Dell. They have been sending me promotional e-mail newsletters, which for five years I deleted without ever opening. Now let's see.

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