first-hand tsunami account

Totally gripping first-person account from the tsunami. This is only one of hundreds of thousands of stories…

Hello sarah,
I’ve been getting literally hundreds of emails from people asking me and about my experience during the Indian Ocean tsunami. Long story short, lucky to be alive. I’ve been evaced to Male, after the experience…Here’s my account:
So much for my vacation. | Metafilter


Bram Cohen & BitTorrent profile

Pretty good profile of Bram Cohen and BitTorrent in the new Wired.

[BitTorrent inventor, Bram] Cohen knows the havoc he has wrought. In November, he spoke at a Los Angeles awards show and conference organized by Billboard, the weekly paper of the music business. After hobnobbing with “content people” from the record and movie industries, he realized that “the content people have no clue. I mean, no clue. The cost of bandwidth is going down to nothing. And the size of hard drives is getting so big, and they’re so cheap, that pretty soon you’ll have every song you own on one hard drive. The content distribution industry is going to evaporate.”Cohen said as much at the conference’s panel discussion on file-sharing. The audience sat in a stunned silence, their mouths agape at Cohen’s audacity.

Wired 13.01: The BitTorrent Effect


Tadakatsu “Chris” Takaishi

Poignant Washington Post story about an (initially undiagnosed) autistic Japanese boy, sent to the US at 15, who is returning to Japan at age 31 because his student visa has run out. Chris managed to control his autism to the point where he was able to live on his own, but being thrown back into Japan, without Japanese language skills, I think will be really challenging for an autistic person.

Tadakatsu Takaishi, as he was known then, came to the United States from Japan in 1989, a 15-year-old boy sent to military school by parents who thought he simply lacked discipline. In fact, those who know him say now, he had autism. Takaishi proved a survivor, learning English, eventually earning a college degree and finding a job in Bethesda.

He built a life, and at its center was Herb Stutts, a longtime American University dean who treated Takaishi like a son. Then this year, Takaishi’s student visa ran out, and though everyone who knew him tried, he was not allowed to stay. So came his toughest lesson: Sometimes, hard work doesn’t change things.

Tomorrow, after one last holiday with the Stutts family, Takaishi plans to leave his American life as it began, aboard a plane, bound for an uncertain future.

Then later in the article:

Takaishi’s parents, who live outside Tokyo, did not attend his graduation from Montgomery College, nor from the University of Maryland system. Takaishi’s father and sister traveled to the United States in 2000, but Stutts did not meet them. The family does not speak English and communicates with Stutts through a neighbor in Japan whom Chris recommended, Jimmy Abe.

With Abe acting as interpreter, Chris’s father, Matafumi Takaishi, said yesterday that he now realizes Chris has had a developmental disability since childhood. “Now [Chris] is an adult, and we are leaving up to him to make his own decisions,” he said.

The Takaishi family, Abe explained, is well-known in Japan, and as their only son, “Chris has to be a success.” He was sent away, Abe said, “to become strong and to break up his so-called shyness.” To support him, the family has spent the equivalent of $40,000 a year.

There’s a lot of sadness in this story. It’s sad that his parents didn’t diagnose the autism as a child. It’s sad that they sent him away to the US in order that they did not have to deal with him. It’s sad that he has to return to a Japan that he doesn’t know or understand because his visa ran out. It’s sad that the parents only think about how much they have spent on him, not the quality of the parenting. It’s sad that his “adopted” American parents were much better parents to him than his Japanese parents.

Good luck Chris.

Farewell to a Life: After 15 Years, Autistic Man Must Return to an Unfamiliar Homeland

Japan Photo

Christmas in Japan

My friend JJ captured a Christmas ad for the Japanese DVD release of “The Passion of the Christ.”

Too weird. (warning, could be offensive to anyone with any sense of religious respect)

Christmas in Tokyo []


Indian Ocean tsunami

I am still stunned by this natural disaster and hope for the best for all who are affected.

More info on the earthquake and resulting tsunami is here:

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake []

and first-hand photos of the disaster in Thailand are here:\

Phuket Tsunami photo gallery by Hellmut Issels []