Monday, February 3, 2014


   Today I decided to try to use the brick they call a laptop at my school today. It failed to do anything I wanted. I had to shut it down at least once and almost every website said it couldn't run on the browser I was using. Turns out the browser the computer uses is Internet Explorer 6. Not only does the school still only have Internet Explorer, but then they can't even keep it updated. I tried logging on to my Coursera account today only to have it say please update to a modern browser. I couldn't help but suppress a giggle and a sigh. Anyone who thinks Japan is this ultra techy society is wrong. Japanese websites are terrible with most still using flash and heavy on garishly colored text. Even the Japanese versions of foreign companies are less user friendly than their English counter-parts. ATMs actually close at night and the fax machine still rules supreme. There are things here that are amazing like super fast internet and fun gadgety things like toilets, but trying to do a basic worksheet on my school computer feels exactly like what I imagine banging my head against a wall would feel like. All of this resulted in a very long morning on my phone and making sample Valentine's cards for a special Saturday class because 3 out of my 4 JHS lessons were canceled today.

   Speaking of outdated things, I own a six year old Macbook. It works fine, but it seems like no matter how much we clear it out there is never any storage left. It's two OS systems behind so it's just running slower and slower and slower. So it's very exciting to both of  us that we have a brand new MacBook Pro coming in the mail. It's going to be so pretty with the shiny metal case and retina display. We're both kind of freaking out. We had to have it shipped in because Apple Japan would not take the 120,000 yen in gift certificates we had to use which forced us to spend about two days trekking across Osaka to find a place that would take them. Things we learned: Apple will let you get the teacher discount if you have anything that says BOE or Instructor on it, Yodobashi Camera does not sell English Macs and cannot order one for you and will be rude about it, Bic Camera does not carry them, but will order one in a month, and Sofmap will order one for you and send it to your house within two weeks. We went with Sofmap. One more week until we get our new shiny baby! Now if only I could convince Josh to let me get an Ipad.


  1. That sounds like my school (I work at a high school in Yamaguchi)! My laptop has a sticker that says "2007" on it, and was running Explorer 5 and Windows XP when I got it. The first thing I did was install google chrome, and now it's sort of ok. I totally agree with you about Japan not being techy! I asked my teachers how to connect to the school's wifi network when I first moved to Japan (because the school I worked at in Canada had wifi), and they looked at me like I was a crazy person. lol. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I appreciated your post :)

    1. One of my bosses happens to be the BOE's network administrator so he installed google chrome on the computers for me, but couldn't do anything else. I can't put new software on the computers at all. I'm thinking of getting a wifi thingy and bringing it to school with me.