Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows: September 2011

26 September 2011

Disorientated Feelings (Part 40)

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Me: "Is there a way to tell how stressed Saeko is if she can't express it emotionally?"

Principal: "Well, one way to tell is from her actions or the number of things she has to cope with sententiously. You can ask her yourself, of course, but you should be careful about the timing that you do it. Since she respects you the most and relied upon for emotional support, she might approach you herself while not in a good mood. Another way to tell is to check her system status, which is the most accurate, but hard to access without Saeko herself being aware of it even though she has no control over it. Do you have other questions? I might not remember everything I'm supposed to tell you since it has been a few decades."

About Seko or Mizuho Academy... that I can ask someone else later. Oh, there's one thing that has been bothering me.

Me: "You said that I have children that I gave birth to, right? But why do I find it had to see them or have gender-specific terms that refer to them appear censored to me? I could only sense their presence, but Itsuki and Saeko could see them normally. There isn't a problem with other people's children. So far, no one but Saeko could understand my problem. I don't know if it's related."

I find it odd that I even have this strange illness to begin with. It's not that I don't care about them, it's just that I find it hard to see them.

Principal: "Oh, I forgot about that. Well, it's hard to see what it's like form your point of view, but based on your behaviour, we could tell that it has been bothering you of being able to maintain a good family relationship. We are thinking that it could be related to you being completely genetically turned into a girl from a boy, and this being one of the few oddness that doesn't show up until a long time afterwards. It's like a part of you not accepting that your body is able to give birth to your children, a subconscious part of you that had developed as a male even though most of your mind, and your entire body is female."

I am subconsciously denying that I even have children? How come I wasn't aware of it myself? No wonder that there's even confusion with my own mind. No wonder it felt as if my body was on auto-pilot when I came across a problem I don't really understand. I knew that there was something odd about me doing so well academically.

19 September 2011

Teary Promise (Part 9)

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We had attended Tatsuya's funeral, which seems to also include his parents who were working at the bakery below his house when the tsunami hit it. His extended family, friends, and co-workers attended too.

For being his girlfriend, and quite close to him, his death impacted me the most. It left me a huge void in my heart. My willpower to find another boyfriend is weak since I had already poured my heart and soul on Tatsuya, but if it wasn't for my brother who comforted me, I would be feeling worse now.

It was that day after the tsunami on returning home, dad was comforting me and my brother who... hold on. Something is wrong with my memory: dad had clearly said "my two daughters" instead of "my daughter and son" when he hugged me and my brother on seeing us for the first time since the quake. I also kept thinking that my brother was a girl that whole day. How on earth did I not notice it until now? Why did I actually see Tsukasa as a sister instead of a brother crossdressing?

Tsukasa: "Um, are you okay? You seemed oddly shocked instead of sad..."

Me: "Were you with me on the day after the quake?"

Tsukasa: "Of course I was. You were with me the whole time at the evacuation centre as a matter of fact."

My memory from that day is clearly that of me being with a girl that I oddly refer to as my brother. However, I couldn't bring up that topic up. His answer a while had me doubt if that girl was him or if someone else was in his place.

Tsukasa: "If you are thinking about that, I can assure to you that what you remembered is exactly the same as what happened."

Remembered what exactly? Or are you saying that the strange memories I oddly have actually happened as I remember seeing?

Tsukasa: "I think you would be less confused if you just think of me as your older sibling and don't think too much about what I looked or sounded like at any point in time."

Spring has arrived, but the atmosphere is gloomy despite the blooming cherry blooms around. (Quite a number of its flowers dropped during the quake.) The area where the harbour town was looked like a big open land filled with rubble and ships washed ashore. The furthest the tidal wave reached could easily be seen by the vegetation. Only concrete buildings, and steel frames of some others, remained standing. Worked has started to clear the rubble, but due to the vastness of destruction and limited manpower, it's progressively slow. So far, it's limited to clearing out the roads.

Besides rubble, foreigners were seen in the destructed area either helping out the affected, or picking things in the mess, including a safe. It's unknown if the latter group are helping out too, or looting.

Since a nuclear power plant in the neighbouring prefecture was damaged by the tsunami, and straining the remaining working power plants, people are also faced with blackouts and radiation fears. People who didn't know what radiation was were overacting, especially people overseas, and referencing it with a nuclear plant explosion in eastern Europe about 25 years ago. It's true that there's dangerous radiation emitted from both incidents, but not as big as the one in Europe. Also, my town is certainly within the safe range even though it's closer to the plant than the capital.
Around my town, and the city where my school is, quite a number of electronic signs, vending machines, and even escalators, were turned off to relief the strain of electricity demand.

The news of students at my school affected were known to everyone. Staff, students, last year's third years, and this year's first years too. People who knew I was Tatsuya's girlfriend, or knew I had a boyfriend that had died, were trying to have me feel more comfortable.

18 September 2011

564th post

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This is possibly the umpteenth time that someone has asked me about my contact information. I'm starting to get annoyed about it. Seriously, did anyone read the "FAQ/About Me" section of this blog at all?

First was around early 2009, where this person (with a DP of Hiiragi twins from Lucky Channel) gave me inside info about the person who was plagiarizing things from me around that time. I never gave him my home address, but he sent me things to me. Back then, I didn't know it was from him, until I mentioned it. I was spooked at how he knew it.

Next were countless number of people who wanted to add me to Skype/"MSN"/Facebook, but I have to reject them for the following reasons:
  1. Are they stalking me?
  2. I don't use them regularly
  3. Past experience tells me that I would either be ignored or bombed with questions I don't want to answer. Relations are also likely to become sour, so they are better off not adding me.

*sigh*

16 September 2011

Windows 8 development preview

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(cross-posted from my inactive technology blog)

I've got my hands on the preview version (a development stage earlier than beta) of Windows 8. I installed it on the laptop I bought earlier this year on an another drive partition, keeping the pre-installed Windows 7 intact. According to the specifications, you can also install on a PC that meets the requirements of Vista on it too. (Windows XP or other operating systems? It depends on your hardware, but certainly a PC from 1997 won't do.)

It features a new start screen, and the more familiar desktop screen somewhat secondary. I don't have a touch-screen based interface, so bare in mind that this was used with a keyboard and mouse. Since the aspect ratio is 5:4, with a resolution of 1280*1024, certain features like snap to the side of the screen are unavailable.

To access all programs here, press the WinKey and C. To have those black boxes at the bottom of the above screenshot to appear, just hover the mouse at the bottom left. Option to shut down, sleep, restart, etc., are in there too. Wifi could be selected either in the settings menu here, or the taskbar of the desktop.

This is the weather app. Depending on your screen resolution, you can see only part of it, or the whole thing plus other cities you added. The background image is animated, which is based on the current weather and the time of the day. I don't know how to adjust the settings, but the date/time is in Japanese format, the temperature is in degrees Fahrenheit, and wind is in mph.

Next is the Twitter app that it comes with. I don't see where the settings are, and clicking on a username will bring up the user profile on the Twitter website via Internet Explorer instead of the app itself. CJK characters don't seem to be rendered smoothly. For some reason, when I tweet from this app, the tweet went through, but doesn't update here. (I knew the tweet was successful via another device.) Another oddness is that my timeline is blank, though when I sign in with my other twitter account (below image), it appears fine. I don't know what the problem is.

(Parts of this image is censored out to protect privacy)

Next up is another social app, but for Facebook. It features feeds from friends, your photos, profile, and the Foursquare-like thing called Places. The interface looks like it could be improved further. In the photos section, any images that are not of 1:1 aspect ratio have ugly black bars surrounding it, especially vertical images (not shown). The image thumbnails were simply resized instead of cropping it.

I would like to try out other applications, but the app store isn't open yet. The apps that it already comes with seemed to be specifically designed for touch interface. They work with keyboard and mouse, but I don't feel comfortable using those with those apps.

Overall, Microsoft has done some great effort in radically changing the user interface that has not been seen since Windows 95 with an interface called Metro. Metro is based on the (now discontinued) Zune player interface and has been applied to UIs, such as Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Dashboard. However, I have to say that it's confusing to people who have been used to the older interface. I know a lot of companies that still run Windows XP with the classic interface (Win2k/ME/98-like) today. Then again, I don't want to see a visibly old interface that is still being used a decade later.

11 September 2011

A Day to Remember

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Today, around this time 10 years ago, terrorists has struck the World Trade Center in New York city. There were many deaths of people that resulted from this.

Since then, security, particularly bording planes, has heightened.

To those who were affected by this, I apologize for posting this, but those who didn't know what it was like exactly, or what the atmosphere was like, particularly children, this actually happened. Something that can happen to anyone anywhere.

The video below is a recorded footage as it happened.

10 September 2011

Alternate Dimension (Part 77)

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Girl with long hair: "Where... am I? That flashing green light has knocked me out... Wait, why am I speaking perfect Japanese as if it's my native language, English ability reduced, and forgot the other languages I know? And, did someone adjusted the pitch of my hearing, or have I become a...? Saeko, is that you? I haven't seen you in months. And... who are these two other girls wearing the same outfit as me?"

Takagi's friend has woken up from sleep, but is shock at what he has been turned into. The impact of this shock seems small though. Well, if he wanted to have his identity changed completely, he wouldn't want to look like his former self and is willing to accept anything that he would be turned into. I'm also surprised that his language abilities was affected by the change too. Whether this is something that the professor or that mysterious doll has done is unknown to me as I don't have the details.

04 September 2011

Alternate Dimension (Part 76)

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After that last company meeting, the perception of me to the Powell staff has changed. They used to imagine me as a lady somewhere between the 30s and 40s, doesn't show herself except in the messaging system or important meetings, and, just as the staff personally think they can get away with doing something bad, they would unexpectedly receive a notice from me that I know what they had done. Now they see me as someone they can't fool, has a lot of knowledge of things, and a deceiving appearance of a high school girl instead of a middle-aged woman in formal business suit people imagined me to look like. I could sense that my staff were distracted by how I looked when they talk to me. In terms of what the average staff wears, how old they look, or how they behave, I would stand out a lot. Who knew that what seems like a teenage girl running around like a child is the founder and big boss of one of the largest research companies around?

People in high position tend to be greedy, I would listen to the regular staff more than the people in between. An example of how I caught supervisors abusing their powers were when they were abusing the staff under their direct supervision, and threatened to blackmail them by having prepared fake, but convincing, evidence and present it to me and have them fired over things they never did. To make matters worse, they have more of their colleagues to side with them enough to make it look like the victim really did something wrong and threatened to give me the fake evidence if they tell others who could help them. Of course, I would side with the victim if I get a word of it, but due to the threat, they never did. I only know of it when it got to the last stage where they would need my approval for a supervisor to fire a staff over an alleged wrong-doing thing.

Once I got the notice, I investigated the case and, with my time viewer that allows me to look at the past, I could see events that aren't even recorded. (It's as if the whole world I'm in is a game, and I'm given administrative privileges to look into the things behind it.) They would be stumbled when they found out that I knew the truth among the very convincing lies and reject the request. Depending on how corrupt the supervisor and the people involved are, I might also dismiss them at the same time too. When people caught wind of this, the number of such cases dropped. Of course, some didn't believe it and did the same thing.

01 September 2011

Teary Promise (Part 8)

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As we walked into the sports hall, my brother seemed uneasy. She has been like this since we got here.

Me: "What's wrong?"

Tsukasa: "I was thinking if my friends are affected by this. They may be living far away from the sea, but you would never know if they were there when it happened."

Me: "Me too."

Tsukasa: "So, here we are. The list of the refugees here, and the list of the dead over there. I'll help you to look through the list. What's the Kanji of this Tatsuya person?"

I wrote "立谷起也".

Tsukasa: "Okay. Got it. That's a normal looking name, until it comes to the pronunciation. Sorry if I had made fun of you. Until you wrote down the name, I though you were mentioning his name twice."

I search through the list of the refugees in here, while my brother looks at the rest. The name lists might look as if it's not listed in any particular order, but it's actually arranged according the first syllable of the family name.

I checked and double checked the list of refugees here because I can't seem to find Takuya's name anywhere. I have to ask someone.

Passerby: "A name with these characters? Hmm... If I'm not mistaken, it's on the list right next to the girl in a school uniform over there that she's looking at now. I remembered that name because I regularly buy bread from Tatsuya Bakery every morning."

He was pointing to the list of the missing and deceased. There's no other person over there besides my brother, but her appearance does match the description as described by the man I talked to.

Me: "Thank you..."

Passerby: "If you're unsure, you can ask the staff around here."

I didn't want to go over there, but I didn't have anything else to do than to hopelessly look through the list that I had already looked at in detail twice.

I walked over to my brother, at the list she has yet to look at: the missing and dead lists are longer than the refugee lists.

Tsukasa: "Did you find his name?"

Me: "No luck there. Maybe he had went elsewhere... WHAT?!"

I saw Takuya's name on the list of the confirmed dead. No... Tatsuya... Why...? I don't...

My world was turned upside-down. The very person I loved the most has died... But I just saw him just earlier this week... I was too sad that I didn't realize that I was brought to around the area of dead bodies where we talked to a safety officer earlier, the area where the identified dead are. Suddenly, in addition to my brother, I was surrounded by a number of people. Some were staff, and the rest mostly the refugees. They wanted to confirm if it's who I think it is.

They opened the bag the dead body is in. I don't know what...

Me: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TATSUYA-KUN!!!"

The dead body in question is indeed him. My brother was trying to comfort me as I cried loudly. My sadness was too great that it did little to calm me down. Everyone simply stood there, looking downwards, out of respect to me. Nobody tried to stop me from crying, nor was I able to stop. It was really sad to think how much we both loved each other, but he's gone. It left a big void in my heart.

The trip back home was rather quiet. I felt as if my life was meaningless now that the very person I loved is dead. Ambulances and police cars with sirens turned on still reminded me of the tsunami that killed him.

Tsukasa: "We're home..."

Dad ran to us on sight and hugged the both of us, with a hint of relief in his voice. It did not make a difference to me to my mood at that time. I wasn't in the mood to speak, and neither was I paying attention to what was being said: I was depressed on thinking about Tatsuya's death.

Dad: "Oh! I'm so glad that my two daughters are okay. I was worried since our house is not far from the shore. Yumiko? What's wrong? Your mother is fine too, though she's working at the moment."

Tsukasa: "We went to an evacuation centre in Ooarai town earlier to check on her boyfriend, but he and his family was among the dead. We both saw the bodies."

Dad: "Poor thing.... Well, take care of her and make her feel better. I'll go prepare dinner. Food supplies are quite scarce from people stocking up on food and delivery of new supply possibly disrupted."

My brother brought me to her bedroom and sat next to me and patted my shoulder. As she made physical contact with me, my level of sadness level has been mysteriously reduced.

Me: "Hey... how did you do that? I'm mysteriously feeling better the more you touched me."

Tsukasa: "I- I don't know..."

She seemed genuinely shocked.

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中野区, 東京都, Japan
帰国子女 英語能力は堪能。趣味はアニメや漫画やプログラムコードを編集。通常、あたしの小説を英語で書いてです。Grew up abroad &travelled to different countries. I write my own fictional novel on my blog.