Thursday, November 9, 2017

Moving house and visiting Denver

We've moved house again. Just 500 meters or so, mind you; we're not leaving Okinawa or anything. When we moved to Okinawa last year we had to pick an apartment in a hurry, and while the one we found is quite good, it was only meant to be a temporary place. We've now had a year to search for something that will fit us better, and last weekend we moved in.

No pictures yet; the place still looks like a giant magical giraffe with stomach ache poked her snout through the window and threw up a truck-full of furniture and cardboard boxes into the living room. It's getting better but it will be some time before we're fully settled in.

Also no internet. We'd like to get a fiber connection, but we still don't even know if it's possible or if we have to settle for cable internet. Either way we probably won't get connected before the new year. Life without the net feels strangely like play-acting an earlier era, as if we should darn socks and churn our own butter by candlelight as well.

The new place is a bit larger and much brighter. I get a room of my own, and Ritsuko gets a bedroom without computers, oscilloscopes and random electronic junk. That's a win-win situation right there. It's on an upper floor without a garden so there's less insects and less humidity. It's also noisier, but that's what you get for living in the city center. No place is perfect.

We have a few of these tiny (the body is only 2-3cm) geckos as co-tenants. They apparently like living here and they don't seem to mind us very much. They're cute, and they eat any insects that stray inside. Good neighbours.

In other happenings, I'm going to Denver, the 1.609344 kilometer-high city, on Saturday. We're attending Supercomputing 2017 — and for the first time in forever I'll attend a major conference without having to present anything! Much relax, very relief. I can just go to seminars and workshops (I'm focusing on application software and user training) and not have to worry about giving my own talk.

I haven't been to USA in 20 years so it should be fun, although I'm a bit (and perhaps irrationally) wary about immigration control when we arrive. The overall impression you get from the news is not overwhelmingly positive if I put it that way. I also need to find my winter clothes in our disaster zone of a home before I leave. Now let's see how much swag I manage to collect while I'm there...


  1. hopefully you will go through immigration control at Denver airport, it is a little less hectic than New York, Houston, etc. I went to England last year and back, they still let me back in, funny accent and all.. being whitish probably helps.

    We have snow in the mountains and none in town, a good situation. So far the weather looks mild into Wed next week, highs 10-15C and sun..

  2. Oh, hey, welcome to Denver and hope you enjoy your time here (when you get here). Looks like there are a few of us locals here if you end up looking for advice on places to go (though I would hope the conference would have a decent guide for that, too).

    As for immigration, I haven't travelled internationally in a bit over a year, so dunno how things have changed, but it's not like it wasn't kinda awful before anyway, and despite everything I doubt it's changed much. Mostly, though, it depends on where you enter. It can be kinda bad even if you're an American (and even if, ahem, you don't look TSA's idea of shifty), but I do have a few near-horror stories from before my wife got her American citizenship a couple of years ago. As other Douglas says above, Denver's not so bad as an entry port if you're lucky enough to be flying the US leg direct.

  3. Yes, we're flying from Narita to Denver, and I think the immigration thing was one reason we chose that flight. Still, the stress of immigration, getting your bags, customs inspection and so on is nobody's idea of fun anywhere after a full day of travel and jetlag.

    Weather does look tricky. Proper winter and proper summer is easy enough to pack for, but this in-between state is a hassle. You basically need to bring a bit of everything just in case.

  4. Yeah. I guess do what the locals do... Bring layers. Being dry, the temperature swings tend to be pretty large, even beyond the sort of fickle weather Denver is known for (weather forecasts more than a few days out can be pretty inaccurate what with the mountains nearby). That said, next week doesn't look too bad; could have been a lot worse.

    Sometimes I rue having family on three continents: Asia (mostly Malaysia) and more recently (ironically?) Sweden now. Probably visit there next year -- tempted to just not come back.


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