Sunday, May 9, 2021

Win some, lose some

Japan has finally joined the developed world in offering a decent amount of mobile data at a not-ridiculous price. We just switched this month to an IIJMio plan with 20G data per month for about 2600 yen. Even better, as before the unused data will carry over one month, so in a while we could potentially use up to 40G in a month if we had to. 

This changes everything, as they say. 20G is enough that I don't need to know or care exactly how much I use every day. No pressure to find and use some dodgy public Wifi whenever we go somewhere, and I can tether my laptop to my hearts' content. I might even get a Spotify subscription now that I could actually use it away from home.

About as close as we got to other people. It's a nice place for a quiet holiday.

We spent the last few days of Golden Week at a small hotel in Onna. It's pretty secluded, and there's not a lot of people around. The natural beach is too shallow and rocky to draw many people (but is great for watching marine life), and we had a room with a kitchen so we didn't even visit the restaurant. We spent the last three days literally cooking, reading and taking long walks on the beach. The cliche is real.

No underwater camera this time. I did manage to capture this cuttlefish (or squid? Not sure) in the shoreline with my usual camera. This area is pretty great for casual marine life observation.

Alas, no silver lining is ever without a cloud. My phone decided to die on me while we were away. I've ordered a new phone (a Nexus 5) and it should show up later this week. Meanwhile I'm without a phone. I'm sure it's good for my moral fiber or something but it is also bloody frustrating. At first I got the urge to check it maybe every fifteen minutes or so; I've mostly lost that reflex now.

Worse, I realize now how dependent I am on that phone. I couldn't log in to my Google account (or to my work account) since I need my phone for 2-factor authentication. I can't use PayPay to pay for stuff, and I can't use Line to stay in contact with people. I can't record my running sessions, or check the weather, listen to podcasts, find a recipe, look up a Japanese word, read the newspaper...

The last (backed up) picture from my phone. At least the breakfast was delicious.

On the bright side, I did have plenty of time to read. Specifically, I read "Project Hail Mary" by Andy Weir (of "The Martian" fame). It's difficult to say much without giving away the plot, but if you like your science fiction properly sciency — if you enjoy, say, Dragons Egg, or The Martian, or anything by Arthur C. Clarke or Isaac Asimov — then you'll probably love this one. Expect lots of danger and close escapes, vaguely plausible future science, and some instantly likeable characters. It's a fast, engaging read; perfect for a few summer days at the beach or by the pool. Do read it.

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