Mr. Wake

Are you understand?

Location: Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hail Britannia

Guess who gets to go to England? Sasaki-san does. He's one of our engineers. But guess who doesn't speak any English, so guess who gets to go with him? That's right. From the first of May for nine days. No more blood donating for me (which is unfortunate). Now I'm cool with helping out Sasaki-san with ordering a warm pint, getting fish n chips, telling the waitress his steak wasn't boiled enough, etc. But I'm not comfortable doing simultanious interpretation in a technical meeting. I wouldn't even understand the English. I explained my misgivings to Shacho and he said, "No problem. Don't worry about it." Which either means that there will be Japanese speakers there or that Shacho has faith in me and just knows I can do it. Which I can't. But, hey, free England.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Plasma Wakefield Acceleration

I was doing some research on particle accelerators to respond to Charlie's excellent comment on the Pizza entry. I found the below entry on the wikipedia. You don't have to click on it. I have copied the relevant passage below with my comments in brackets.

As of 2005, it is believed that plasma wakefield acceleration in the form of electron-beam 'afterburners' and standalone laser pulsers will provide dramatic increases in efficiency within two to three decades.[I know] In plasma wakefield accelerators, the beam cavity is filled with a plasma (rather than vacuum).[I know] A short pulse of electrons or laser light [usually electrons. The laser guy is a tool.] either constitutes or immediately trails the particles that are being accelerated. [I know] The pulse disrupts the plasma, [Yes] causing the charged particles in the plasma to integrate into and move toward the rear of the bunch of particles that are being accelerated. [A simplification, but basically true] This process transfers energy to the particle bunch, [I know] accelerating it further, and continues as long as the pulse is coherent.[Yes]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm Being Watched

Literally. Right now. Recently we hired some new workers from China. We have a recruiting office over there. It's in the middle the middle of nowhere, China. The last batch of workers we got did not have indoor plumbing or 24 hour electricity back home. On a visit to their Japanese apartments, Shacho found that they were keeping goldfish in their bathtubs. It's morning now, and I got to work a little early. The new Chinese workers got here a lot early, as today is their first day. Right now they and I are the only ones in the office. So as I'm typing this they are sitting at a table in their shiny new uniforms, drinking canned coffee, speaking in hushed tones, and studying my every move. This is probably the first time these guys have ever seen a Westerner.

I should go over there and do a card trick or something, so they will think I have magical powers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I swear I have actually made some effort at collecting material for the sausage blogging project. But it's tough to polish my own stuff to perfection when someone else keeps doing a better job and delivering it right to my door. I give you the newest creation by Pizza Hut Japan. Take a second, click on the image, and see what we're dealing with. Just look at that crust, straining to hold in its meaty treasure.

The big red letters at the top say "Crispy baked sausage is delicious!" The white and gold at the bottom say "German King."

And what is the secret of the German King's deliciousness? That zoom in of the crustal cross section taps us on the shoulder and whispers it to us. "Delicious secret #1: the crust is full of sausage." OK, but that really stretches the definition of the word "secret," now doesn't it. But there is another. "Delicious secret #2: beneath the ring of sausage is a layer of bacon. And tucked beneath that is a layer of cheese!" (emphasis mine)
Elaine Bennes once said, "It'll be years before they find another place to hide cheese on pizza." Well, it did take years, but the Japanese finally figured it out: under the bacon, which is under the sausage, which is in the crust.

But the German King is not the only pie to feature this miraculous crust. Sausage also incircles the Shrimp and Egg Land pizza, as if the shrimp and egg combo on a pizza wasn't good enough. And as if the shrimp and egg and sausage and bacon and cheese combo wasn't good enough, it has been slathered in smooth, rich, piping hot mayonnaise.

If I worked for Pizza Hut I would have called this the Sausage Colliding Pizzacle Accelerator.