日本語 -

If you’re not aware of my little sleep adjustment experiment I’ve been doing, please first read the post below this one, There and back again, or how to outlast the Jet Lag

2/20/08 ~ 1:45 PM (San Francisco):
Status: Mission Accomplished
To all the nay sayers out there, it can and HAS been done. I got into SF at 10am, was a little drowsy by 10-11 PM, but slept well that night and haven’t looked back. There has been nothing even remotely close to the sleep/wake cycle reversal that usually accompanies distant global jet lag, and I was ready to go, on my feet all day, from Day 1. In conclusion, it looks like my theory of offsetting the misery with a few uncomfortable days pre-adjusting for the trip paid off handily, and I should be nice and completely on California time by the time I head right back into Tokyo.

2/17/08 ~ 12:00 PM (Tokyo):
Status: Mildly strained
This will probably be the last update I do before heading to SF. It’s about T-minus 6 hours till the plane takes off, and about 2 hours till I have to head out the door. I’m feeling pretty tired, bleary, and strained, all of which should make it that much easier to fall fast asleep after take off. I’m also not nearly done packing, so I think I’m going to get to that…

2/16/08 ~ 7:45 AM (Tokyo):
Status: Enthused
Major development! So as not to miss out on a networking opportunity here in Tokyo, I have for no charge altered my reservation, now set to depart exactly 24 hours later, on Sunday. In terms of adjusting my schedule, this extra day is a boon. I won’t be able to incrementally adjust my schedule any further (or I’d sleep right through what I changed the flight for), but being given another day and night that’s 3/4 adjusted to San Francisco time will make the last bit that much easier. In terms of my condition, it’s now almost the same time I went to bed at two “night”s ago, and I’m feeling just dandy.

2/15/08 ~ 8:50 PM (Tokyo):
Status: Ready to fight
No more Benadryl, so dramamine had to do. But regardless of the sleep aid, I got a great night’s sleep, even later than my schedule planned. My plane leaves in just over 21 hours and I need to pack, but I’m quite pleased with how things are going on.

2/15/08 ~ 11:00 AM (Tokyo):
Status: A little cranky
From 3 PM yesterday now is just about 20 hours, and so far so good. I hit a wall at about 9 o’clock when my energy bottomed out and I began to feel like I was just pulling an all-nighter, though it’s nothing in the realm of “suffering.” Just one more hour to go until sleep, where I plan to sleep as long as possible and see if I can’t cut into tomorrow’s 23 hour day.

2/14/08 ~ 3:20 PM (Tokyo):
Status: Surprisingly rested
Wow, Benadryl knocks me the @#$% out! This has been an excellent development, as I slept solidly from 8am until now, and really only got up because I actually have to DO some things during the day today. But this bodes extremely well as we go into the more difficult days ahead…

2/14/08 ~ 7:00 AM (Tokyo):
Status: Sleepy
If this is the worst it gets, I’ll be fine in the long run, though I am feeling a bit tired at this point. My biggest concern isn’t my ability to shut my eyes in about an hour. It’s whether my body will let me sleep a full “night” after I do so. Still, much as I’d like to lay down right now, I can plow through one more hour. I hope this pays off…

2/14/08 ~ 4:00 AM (Tokyo):
Status: Fine
So far so good. I wrote the intro post not long ago, and not much has changed. I’m a little tired, but being up and chatting with people back home is passing the time plenty fast.

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I’m back in Japan again (not that anyone reading this most likely doesn’t already know), living in Tokyo for what should be my final semester of law school. I have been here just over a month, and the time has come for me to briefly head back to the States. This Saturday, just over three days from now, I fly to San Francisco via Japan Airlines’ only non-stop flight to attend the Game Developers’ Conference. On the one hand, it’s an exciting opportunity to network and get my résumé into the hands of numerous would-be employers. But at times it feels like a nearly futile effort to break into the industry that interests me more than any other. I’m not going to give up on it, but with graduation and real life responsibilities waiting in the wings, at some point the practical side of me requires an alternative course of action. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there yet, and certainly not the focal point of this post.

It’s nearly 3 AM here in Tokyo, which corresponds to 10 AM Pacific Standard Time. I’ll only be in SF for one week, during which I’ll be required to go pretty full steam from as early as 8 in the morning till however late I can at night. I only have one law class before leaving, from 6:30 PM tomorrow night, and nothing at all on Friday. Thus, my thinking is to do whatever I can to minimize the effects of jet lag upon my arrival, and ease my transition (however brief) back into a U.S. time zone.

I searched online for any reports of others who have tried to implement a plan similar to mine, but to no avail. I’m certainly not first, but not finding anything solid, felt a need to document my experience here. Most suggestions went in the form of trying to fall asleep an hour or so a night earlier, as much as needed. That course won’t work for my situation for a number of reasons… Nearly all my classes, including tomorrow night’s, stretch from early evening until after 9 PM, and I can’t well hit the hay in the middle of a class, now can I? I’d need to go to bed in Tokyo at 8 o’clock at night to be hitting a cool 3 AM bed time in California, so even assuming I could go home right after class and immediately sleep (pretending for a moment I’d actually get to sleep), I’d still be staring down a 5 AM goodnight on the west coast. Much more likely, I’d lie in bed and gaze unproductively at the ceiling, and come out not significantly closer to my goal. By pushing myself to stay up, I force a certain level of cooperation from my body. I’m not hoping for complete success, but that’s what this documentation is meant to keep track of.

Starting out on this voyage through the Tokyo after hours, I project my ideal sleep schedule to go like this:

Current (Average)
  Tokyo San Francisco
Sleep at 2:00 AM 9:00 AM
Wake at 10:00 AM 5:00 PM

Weds./Thurs. Night
  Tokyo San Francisco
Sleep at 8:00 AM 3:00 PM
Wake at 3:00 PM 10:00 PM

Thurs./Fri. Night
  Tokyo San Francisco
Sleep at 1:00 PM 8:00 PM
Wake at 8:00 PM 3:00 AM

Fri./Sat. Night
  Tokyo San Francisco
Sleep at 7:00 PM 2:00 AM
Wake at 2:00 AM 9:00 AM


That schedule shouldn’t be too difficult, but a couple points are worth mentioning.

  • As you can see, my current sleep schedule is almost the opposite of what I’ll be needing in the U.S., so there is a lot of work to be done.
  • The hardest segment will undoubtedly be the push from Friday into Saturday, where if all goes according to plan, my already sleep-discombobulated body will need to stay awake a full 23 hours. This problem can’t be easily remedied, since my plane leaves Japan at 6 PM local time, so to attempt a “night’s” sleep before that would mean I’d be wide awake on the plane, through the wee hours by California time, and much of my work would be undone. It’ll be tough, but if I can make it…
  • …by the last day of the schedule, I’ll effectively be on San Francisco time. For the first three tables, it’s the Tokyo time that really matters, since that’s where I’ll be living. But look to the San Francisco time on the final table — that’s where I cross over the Pacific. Incidentally, my plane lands in SF at 10 AM PST.

Bear in mind, this schedule is optimistic at best. Even if I can force myself to it, there’s no guarantee my circadian rhythm will adjust at the same pace. Frankly, I’m really not sure how or if it will work, but only one way to find out, and if the alternative is to certainly be dead on my feet for 1/3 or more of my trip, I’m game to give it a try.

I’ll also keep a log in a second post of how things are going, how I’m feeling generally, and hopefully a wrap up post when it’s all through. Anyone have any thoughts?

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It was about two o’clock in the morning, mid February, with the snow sliding slowly down the windshield, illuminated by the street lamps of the parking lot. I was wearing my maroon dress shirt with dark slacks, black loafers, and my creased leather jacket, shivering in spite of my silver car’s steamy interior. It was time for me to be heading home, nothing more to be done here. She was out of my car, out of my life. Now I just had to pick up the pieces and say good-bye.

I had always wanted to go to Japan. Ever since I could remember, I somehow knew I’d find a life for myself there. So I learned to read, learned to write, all over again, and packed everything up my sophomore year. I flew out on September eleventh, and little did I know when I started that day that when I returned, my world would never be the same.

I went to live in Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capitol, a city bathed in the new age neon glow and old age cherry blossom. It takes some adjusting. She was there too, a kimono-clad beauty wasting her days away selling Star Wars merchandise in a tiny collector’s shop. I met her in a downstairs night club on Kawaramachi as she left behind drunken friends to bum a smoke on the club’s grimy steps before the last train home. She was twenty-one or so, small and gracefully put together. She didn’t speak much English and I didn’t speak much Japanese, but I was the only gaijin who’d give her a fix, and from that moment on, I was her gaijin.

We said our good-byes in the bustle of a hundred people in the center of Kyoto’s main station, a tearful embrace and a hunger to see the road ahead. We promised things that could never be. We wished for things that could have been, but were not. I left her that day for home, and I think my heart left with me. That was until she showed up here.

She closed her moist eyes and bit her lip, turning her head into the passenger window frame. Her world had changed and so had mine. The warm air of the interior fell silent as her fragmented voice died in her mouth, and I put my arm around her in a final, bittersweet embrace. She started to tell me if I ever came back again, but stopped. Squeezing my arm, she stepped out of the car and into the falling snow, a rush of cold air hitting my face like a castigation. You can never go back, I told myself, and started the engine.

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It’s been a while since I last posted, and while it isn’t entirely to blame (WoW and school are far worse offenders), I figured a recent project of mine deserved some mention.

The last month or so I have been translating the recent Square-Enix movie Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. A subpar fan translation came out almost concurrently with the movie in mid-September, and the official version will be out in just over a month, so the reason behind it was almost entirely to practice my Japanese.

I finished it completely yesterday and just for kicks threw it online along with some notes on the project and how I did it, so in the future I can try to improve. Some of it is my rambling about translation philosophy, so take a look if that sort of thing even remotely interests you. Cheers!

Unofficial Translation of FFVII Advent Children

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You’d think that spending the summer in Oxford without videogames would teach me the joy of keeping games from playing such a large role in my daily life. But alas, you would be mistaken.

In addition to revisiting long absent hobbies (piano, reading, etc.) and contemplating how to keep them from fading away on my return to a game-enabled world, I have also been brainstorming ways to revive my undoubtedly flagging Japanese language skills (absent, of course, any chance to return there or a surge in native speakers in my daily life). Since I did so much good for my Japanese years ago by slaving away translating Japanese games to English, I figured that would probably be as good a way as any.

My current musings are to throw some moderate time and effort into the forthcoming FFVII: Advent Children, then Kingdom Hearts II this winter, and Final Fantasy XII starting on (recently announced) March 16, 2006. If actually successful, I should at least be making some headway towards stemming the tide of atrophy.

Other suggestions for an Oklahoma-based law/business student to maintain and improve his language skills would be appreciated from anyone!

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