Hmmm...

Apr. 6th, 2005 10:55 pm
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I can see why this article (Sunday Times: on 'Impoverished professionals': 'debt juggling') might offend some people (not just those on LJ)...

As a pretty judicious saver and investor at heart, it does frustrate me to see people who clearly should be able to live quite comfortably, mismanaging their finances to such an extent.  How can they have 'no savings' - have they not heard of the pensions crisis that awaits them in a few years.

Maybe it also has something to do with the hours I've been working lately to maintain my own income - past 2am two nights last week, the last two weekends, 1am on Monday, 2am yesterday and so far it's 11pm tonight with the end being at least an hour away.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new chemical compound, part-cat  and
part-human, may provide an end to misery-making cat  allergies,
U.S. researchers reported on Sunday.
http://reuters.uk.ed10.net/t/105CE/QP8U8/OS/4C5PV

Posted for the interest of certain cat-owners and cat-allergy suffers!
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Happy birthday my dear [livejournal.com profile] lilitufire!

Yes, I did lose track of the number of days, so your card will not be there today (even though I know you are not)...

Oh well, I'm sure I'll find some way to make up for that :)
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Just caught up with my expenses for the last several months... Yen 1,108,210 (~£5,500) claimed in six claims.  That and the fact I've finally completed negotiations of this year's pay rise (back-dated to last July) - also to be paid in April, should give me a cash-flow boost.

That said, last time I looked at the web, there was some fairly dispiriting news about investments... (Yes, I have a pension fund like this.)

(Reuters) - British pension funds finally wiped out their losses from the dot.com stock market collapse when their combined performance over a five-year period just edged back into positive territory by the end of 2004, a sector survey has shown.
http://reuters.uk.ed10.net/t/VHO1P/J9FK2/AZ/GDJCY

Engrish?

Mar. 10th, 2005 04:19 pm
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Elephant family are popular with us.
Their humming makes us feel happy.

Seen on a paper shopping bag being carried by an older (60+) Japanese man in the lift in my office building.
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"PARIS (Reuters) - Funds with more money under management charge
lower fees than those with only a small amount of assets because
of economies of size, says research group Fitzrovia, a Lipper
company."

I'm sure there's more to the story than the headline, but based on the précis given it sounds like a misuse of statistics to me. It would be surprising indeed if a larger fund (of comparable nature) did not have lower percentage (of AUM) fees, given not all of the costs are going to be variable.
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[Well almost] I'm currently in the air over Canada en route to New York for the remainder of this week.  Have a client dinner tonight, followed by teaching a training course for a group of international Internal Auditors tomorrow, meetings on Wednesday and leaving the US on Thursday afternoon to arrive back in Tokyo just in time for the leaving due of one of my colleagues.

It's been a busy few weeks since I last updated here - what with the impact of the first application of the Sarbanes-Oxley section 404 legislation, and new auditing standards promulgated by the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), a visit from the lovely [livejournal.com profile] lilitufire and most recently, this weekend a 'look-see' visit from a potential secondee to Japan.

Sundry ramblings... )

[And here I ran out of time and this has been sat on my PC for days! Appalling journaler?]
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fissiparous - adjective

1. Reproducing by biological fission.
2. Tending to break up into parts or break away from a main body; factious.

Seen used as 'fissiparousness' (noun) in this article on the North Caucasus in The Economist.

I like The Economist (as those who read here regularly will know), finding it well written and informative and opinionated (in an interesting way).  However, I rarely find myself tripping over words in the articles I read, other than in the sense of not necessarily being completely au fait with (say) the differences between M0 and M3 when talking about money supply (or of the supply of airline miles).

While [livejournal.com profile] kateaw's word of the day posts are interesting and occasionally intriguing, I prefer to come across 'new' words in context and in practical use.  Hence my need to go find fissiparous this morning...
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For those who haven't already read about it on [livejournal.com profile] lilitufire's journal, here is a taste of Sapporo's 56th Snow Festival...

Cut for size... A 15m high castle of snow! )
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If these are the best British songs of the last 25 years... please!
Brits25: Best song award
Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart
Kate Bush: Wuthering Heights
Queen: We Are the Champions
Robbie Williams: Angels
Will Young: Leave Right Now

Source: The Guardian

Now, I know this is a very personal and subjective thing, but Will Young on a list of the best songs of the last 25 years?  It's also interesting to note that none of the nominees other than 'Angels' has won the best British Single award (link to all prior winners of Brit awards).  Now I know that best 'song' will not necessarily be the same thing as best 'single' in a given year, but...  Finally, does anyone but me find it odd to give an award for best 'song' without crediting the songwriters (where appropriate) as well as the band/artist that performed it.
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Well, as promised, a brief post from the BA lounge at Heathrow as I start my journey back to the Tokyo mayhem that I'm sure will await.  I've had a remarkably restful few days away from all contact with a work computer, email and other distractions - which has given me some opportunity to recharge my batteries.  I'm convinced I'll need them all and more over the next month...

[Receiving email 16 out of 88, approximately 18 minutes remaining]

A quick run-down of my festive season, would seem to be appropriate at this juncture.

  • Arrived back in the UK on Sunday 19 December and travelled up to stay with my brother and sister-in-law in Hertfordshire (on a remarkably convenient, if slow, bus that runs direct from Heathrow to Harlow via Hertford North station).

  • Worked for four days in London, doing a mix of working on Tokyo email before breakfast and then catching up with London colleagues in the office. This included making a connection with my mentor through the next promotion process (he's also a lapsed-mathematician with parents who were both teachers!).  I also got in four hours of one-on-one coaching with the leader of our Organisational and Executive Development group, discussing the development of a more effective leadership style that will work for others and me.  Interesting discussions - much still to process.

  • On Wednesday night, I caught up with Nicole, a close friend, and listened to her tale of woe about moving in with her boyfriend - who wasn't quite what he seemed and seems to have an unhealthy attraction to a certain white powder.

  • Christmas Eve was reserved for Christmas shopping.  Surprisingly London was quiet - with everyone who was more organized than me, I think, having already completed their shopping.  Found it difficult to feel very festive, and didn't end up buying much in the way of inspired Christmas gifts.

  • Travelled up to my parent's on the Essex/Suffolk border on Christmas Eve and spent most of the evening wrapping presents and chatting to my parents. 

  • Christmas was the usual family occasion, starting with Church in the morning with parents and Adrian and Cathy, the arrival of Aunt Susan in time for lunch, and then some Christmas presents, and games of Scrabble and the anniversary edition of Trivial Pursuit (with inter-generational teams to make it fair).

  • On the 27th I travelled down to London, and onwards to [livejournal.com profile] lilitufire's mother's near Cardiff.  Travelling to London proved to be a game, with buses replacing trains from Witham and the police having cordoned off the access ramp at Stanstead (which we'd thought might be a quicker option).  An hour and a half in London enabled me to do a little shopping (Sports jacket from Aquascutum, Suit from Mark Stephen Marengo, and a couple of shirts and ties from Thomas Pink) before catching a train to Cardiff.  Even this proved non-trivial with the clerk at Paddington thinking Exeter was Cardiff...

  • A day and a half in Wales, I think saw me survive the parental character assessment (though I'll await positive confirmation of that from [livejournal.com profile] lilitufire) and also get a guided tour of The Valleys north of Cardiff - which was educational and, in places, surprisingly scenic.

  • Arrived in Edinburgh and watched the cats get bribed with Ambrosia custard(!) and then spent a very pleasant couple of days with Lisa.  These included the 'mince pie party' (which you can find reported elsewhere), shopping in the rain and dinner at The Tower restaurant (on top of the Museum of Scotland) (very good, though Lisa's main was a little disappointing).

  • New Year's eve brought a journey to St Andrews, for the aforementioned New Year's party, preceded by a stop for a very pleasant lunch at The Peat Inn (in Peat Inn, outside St Andrews).  The Peat Inn is a very traditional sort of place - where menu's are consulted over aperitifs in the lounge (with log fire) and wines are decanted near the the cellar and then brought to your table (in an, in this case unsuccessful, attempt to avoid stirring up the sediment).


[Receiving email 87 out of 88, approximately 1 minute remaining]

All in all a very pleasant few days.  I've added a few new people to my friends list, and if other's I've met wish to add me, I'm sure I can reciprocate.  I will try to post more regularly this year with some observations from Tokyo - but cannot promise!
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Happy New Year one and all.

Had a very pleasant few days away from a computer (and with the lovely [livejournal.com profile] lilitufire), both at her mother's outside Cardiff, then at her house in Edinburgh and then mose recently with [livejournal.com profile] tobyaw, [livejournal.com profile] kateaw, [livejournal.com profile] qidane and others in St Andrews.

My flight from Edinburgh to London is now boarding - will probably post again from Heathrow tomorrow en route to Tokyo...
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First up, and thanks both to [livejournal.com profile] haggisthesecond and [livejournal.com profile] ljwin32_sema for the reminders it's:

Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] papijo

Hope you are having a good day!

In other news, life continues to be reasonably manic here - averaging 14 hour days (including some work on at least one (and often two) day(s) at the weekend), 70-90 emails a day (usually checked around 0630 for the first time and near midnight for the last), and endless requests for more information from clients, colleagues (in Japan and overseas).  Being kept sane by the knowledge that my flight home for Christmas and New Year is only a couple of weeks away, and regular chats with [livejournal.com profile] lilitufire

[livejournal.com profile] haggisthesecond, thank you for your comments on your this isn't really a meme post - I will, I hope, find time to say more about Japan.  Indeed I did intend to write something last Saturday about the impact of a quiet. rainy night on the behaviour of massage touts in Akasaka - but somehow getting some sleep won. 
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Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] pisica the news of another sad loss to the British airwaves (and the Internet, more recently) comes in the shape of the passing of John Peel while on holiday in Peru.

As someone commented on [livejournal.com profile] pisica's journal he managed to combine being a great DJ (with very broad musical tastes) and our favourite uncle at the same time. I cannot put it better.

Earthquake

Oct. 23rd, 2004 06:33 pm
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"Strong Earthquake Shakes Northern Japan"

Well, that was entertaining... 27 floors up in my office, a 6.8 on the Japanese 7 point scale for earthquakes, fortunately centred a reasonable distance (200km) away in Niigata prefecture.

EDIT: That's now the third big aftershock (one, two, three). Had they not turned the elevators off, I might be tempted to get out of the oldest skyscraper in Tokyo....

EDIT: Fortunately there was nothing really to worry about in Tokyo - but from here you can see it has been an active seismic month in Japan. On top of the typoons!
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I thought this one might be interesting - since it does at least tell you something more about me - albeit tangentially.

The Unique Things meme... )

So, that makes me a Francophile, real-music and obscure film loving, Japanophile, foodie, then...? Any other guesses?
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You can watch a nice animation of this large typhoon (number 22) that is currently depositing vast amounts of rain on us (courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Association). Apparently it is the largest in a decade to hit Tokyo.

Its path up to Tokyo can be seen here together with it's projected path for the next few hours.

At least I'm indoors!

[Edit: Since the animation is no longer visible - here's a link to what Ma-On looked like before it hit Tokyo.]
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We've just taken the move of implementing a standard 50 hour week from October to December and April to June. Anyone care to swap for my job?

Whether that really represents a change, given my notional 35 hour week here is regularly >50 hours anyway is open to question. However, I'm going on record to say that I am not up for a 143% increase in my current working hours - since I think this would probably result in my expiry before Christmas!

Can people please remind me of this on a regular basis...

Amusing

Sep. 24th, 2004 01:19 am
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Not at all biased... )

The 'possible other interests meme' suggests I need some more unusual interests before I run it again...
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