September 2012 Archives

Me, morning

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Hey, it's me pre-coffee. Why am I posting this? I'm testing an iPad app called Blogsy that should let me post here while I am traveling.

In addition to blogging here and on Spin Matsuri, I will tweet as spinmatsuri, update Facebook, post photos to Flickr, and have access to Skype while I travel. My iPad is going to get a good workout.

Does the iPad keyboard have a non-destructive backspace? My fingers don't target precisely enough when I want to fix an error. Also, I really don't understand how to use predictive/autocorrect text. I'm turning that offf. Hmmmmmm. I may be too old skool for my device.

I love sharpies

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I prettied up my "indoor shoes" with flowery mandala designs in coloured marker. There's something about indelible ink in a fat nib that makes me happy. Sharpies are not serious and it's not Art if you're drawing on your clothes, either. So if you make a mistake or it isn't perfect, that is ok. Other mediums do not make me feel so relaxed.

Drawing on my shoes is one of the weird and completely unnecessary  things that I wanted to do before I left for the tour. I don't know why. Perhaps I recognise the calming effects of craft, or I like the smell of the markers. Anyway, my indoor shoes are going to be used outdoors at camp and now they are much more fun to look at. And as a bonus, they match just about anything I choose to wear.

WHD Dance Workshop Tour

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From September 25 to November 21, I'll be out in the world spreading this year's World Hoop Day dance choreography at workshops in the US, Europe and Australia.

It's an epic journey and standing at the brink of it now, I can't believe I'm doing it. 12 cities, 19 flights, 4 trains, 5 hotels, 2 campsites, 5 homestays, and a couple of nights without a plan. One small bag, a hula hoop and a ukulele. 

I'll see family and dear friends along the way and make new friends and connections in the hooping world. I am excited to share what I know, to teach the dance, and equally excited to learn. I will bring back lots of new ideas for Japan's hoop community.

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Want to attend one of the workshops? Check out the tour page on Facebook. You can find out more about the project on Spin Matsuri, and watch a bunch of video tutorials and dance training materials. And please take a moment to learn about World Hoop Day, the celebration/charity for whom I am dedicating this time and effort.

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And the song I've been posting about over the last few months? It's done! You can download Turning Around for free on Soundcloud.

I have so many people to thank for making this year's WHD Dance and the tour happen. First and biggest thanks go to Tod, who supports everything I do and is my lifetime executive producer. The music would not exists without Huw Lloyd, Rob Moreno, Jesse Koester, & Swinky. The choreography tutorial videos feature Kana Mikori, Ayumi Mitake, and Bekah Boehm. I had additional dance sessions with Minako Wada, Manami Asai, and various people at Spin Matsuri events who let me teach them the dance before it was quite finished. And in two weeks, I'll start saying thank you in person to all of the people who are hosting me and the workshop: Heather from Hoopcamp, Coelti, Saladora, Amanda, Sarah, Tomomi, Jo, Anna, Kat, Jewelz & Lisa at Hoopy Happenings, Ace & Jojo, and MJ. And a shout out to my travel agent, Juri, who somehow made this itinerary work.

Close to my heart, not on my calendar

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In an online chat with a friend this morning, I realised that with the exception of Tod, my closest friends rank among the people I see the least often. I connect with online acquaintances daily, my teachers weekly, hoopers monthly, my true friends as whim and winds dictate, and family not even annually. A few dear friends make it into the monthly category because we both attend the same events. 

Something is backwards here and I'm not sure how to fix it. By nature, I am an introvert and social interactions are not my forte but this is too skewed. Could I be afraid of being loved, being rejected, or showing my emotions? If I keep the people I care about most at a distance, then there is little chance I will be hurt by them. Hmmmmm....something to think about.

Rate Hike & Possible Reductions

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Electricity in Tokyo got more expensive starting this month. TEPCO requested, and the government approved, an increase in rates of 8.46% for residential consumers effective September 1. "We deeply apologize to our customers for the heavy burden," they wrote in their communique.

Rates are charged in blocks - the first 120kWh is now 18.89 yen/kW; 121-300kWh is 25.19; and if you use more than 300kWh, those cost you 29.1 yen/kW. Our usage in August was 493 kWh.

So I decided to look into ways to decrease our electric bill, which is already pretty high. TEPCO sent around a complicated chart of the new charges that seemed to show there were special programs for nighttime and off-peak electric use. I didn't understand the nuance in Japanese, so I checked out their English explanation. Didn't understand it there, either. Forget that. Maybe I can find ways to reduce our consumption by conservation.

Let's survey our appliances. 

  • Refrigerator: Sanyo SR 40-CR, circa 1999. According to eco reporting website, Ecost Plus, it uses 550kWh of electricity and discharges 183kg of CO2 annually. That's about 13,850 yen/year post rate hike. Looking at the other fridges in the same category, ours is one of the more expensive to operate. Replacing the fridge with one that uses only 2/3 the power will cost 80,000 - 100,000 yen.
  • Washer/dryer: Sanyo AWD AQ350, circa 2009. This is owned by our building, so we can't change it, but it costs us 78Wh to wash a load, and 2600Wh to wash and dry. If I wash and dry 140 loads a year, that's about 9,200 yen. If I air dry all of those loads, I can reduce the annual cost to under 300 yen. Drying is expensive.
  • Computers: Here's another big opportunity for us. We have six computers (four laptops, a server and a NAS) plus two monitors, and a printer. Two of the computers are quite old and I can't find their specs. There is definitely a way to economise here, but it requires Tod's follow through. My laptop with its 85W power adaptor costs about 9,000 yen/year to power full bore 12 hours a day.
  • Toaster oven: Sanyo SK-WQ3, circa 2008. 1300W for 6 minutes is about 1065 yen to have toast every single day of the year.
  • Coffee maker: Zoujirushi EC-JS80, circa 2011. 650W for 10 minutes brew time is about 8 yen per pot, or 2800 yen annually.
  • Oven: Tokyo Gas RN-6608, circa 1985. No data available. Fan forced gas oven.
  • Heater: Tokyo Gas RN-B230-FH-X, circa 2004. No data available. Fan forced portable gas heater.
  • Fans: we have two to cool our house. 47W * 24 h/day * 90 days (all summer long) * 2 fans = 5100 yen/year. This adds up, but it's a lot less expensive than aircon.
  • Stereo: McCormack Power Drive DNA-05 circa 1998 + SlimDevices Transporter, circa 2007. Most of the power used is in the amplifier at 100W, plus 10 for the Transporter. These are on all the time, though not always actively playing. Since I am feeling lazy about doing the math, let's just say we do listen to music 24/7/365. Then it works out to 22,000 yen/year.
  • Vacuum: Dyson DC-12, circa 2004. 1200W. I hoover about fifteen minutes a week, so it costs under 400 yen to clean the floors every year. I guess I can't slack off for the sake of saving money.
That covers most of our major and frequent use appliances. If we live in Japan another five years, it's not cost effective to buy new appliances even though we will have savings in electricity. Decommissioning a computer or two will help. Turning off the stereo and other appliances when they are not in use will also save money. Using electricity off-peak (i.e.machine drying clothes at night) makes no difference unless I can figure out those complicated service plans.

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