27 Sep 2013, 8:54am
Admin blogging

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What do you want to read about?


As part of my efforts to make this blog more professional (read about the previous step, setting a schedule) I would like to hear what readers are interested in seeing here: what kind of posts would be useful or interesting for you?

25 Sep 2013, 5:59pm
blogging personal

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A change of scene

Koh Nangyuan

I am away from my desk this week, enjoying a change of scene. It hasn’t been very productive so far, but it has been relaxing.

We’ll return to regular service next week.

iPhone 5S in Japan

iPhone 5s

So we have a new iPhone coming out today, one that has finally achieved full market penetration -it will be available on all three major networks in Japan.

I have owned two iPhones (a 3GS back in the day, and a 4S that I’m using at the moment). I will have paid off the 4S in a couple of months, so have been thinking about upgrading.

I’m on Softbank, and they are running at least two special deals that may affect this decision:

1. they will pay off any remaining payments on an iPhone 4 or 4S if you upgrade to one of the new phones
2. they will set your monthly data charge at 4,500 yen for a year (a saving of 1000 yen or so off the standard rate for the LTE network)
3. they will buy back your phone (I think mine is worth about 14,000 yen according to their program)


Another factor is that I upgraded my 4S to run iOS 7 yesterday, and so far I am very happy with it. The battery seems to be holding up fine, it runs fast and does everything I want it to. I really like the new operating system, and it seems to be happy on my old phone.

The new iPhone 5S has had some pretty good reviews, and is technologically interesting, but basically is not going to improve my life. The only thing it does that my current phone does not is provide an internet hotspot (like the iPhone 5).

Doing some rough calculations, upgrading to a new phone is more or less cost neutral, at least for the first year or so. After that it will cost me about an extra 2000 yen a month.

Verdict: undecided. I am going to wait a bit longer and see what the new phones are like. Quite a few people around me are planning to upgrade. I’ll also go in and talk to Softbank and get some accurate numbers off them.

Has anyone got an iPhone 5S yet? Is it worth it?


English in Korea


I was in Seoul last weekend for the 2nd Extensive Reading World Congress (video of our workshop coming soon).

Seoul is a great city, and I get the feeling I would become very fond of it if I lived there and got to know it well.

This time though, I was very surprised at the general lack of English. My impression of Korea is that it is a country that is really emphasizing practical English skills. I have visited a couple of leading universities in Seoul in the past and was very impressed with their curricula.

However, walking around the city, I found that very few people seem to speak English outside of hotels and the airport. Everyone was very friendly and I didn’t have any problems that couldn’t be solved with a smile, some sign language, and a ‘kam sa ham ni da’, but the lack of English proficiency surprised me.

Does anyone have more extensive experience of Korea? Is my impression accurate?

13 Sep 2013, 9:01am
expectations personal


What do I desire?

I had an interesting thought the other day: I have decided to assume that I will only live to 50. I’m now 36, so that gives me another 14 years. In that seemingly short time I need to accomplish everything that I want to do because I won’t have the chance to do it otherwise.

Why 50? It just seems like a nice round number. Also, both my parents died in their 40s, so I may well have a genetic time-bomb ticking inside me. In fact, 50 might be a bit too optimistic. I could also live past 100, but I am assuming that having reached 50 and accomplished all the important things I want to do, any extra time is just gravy.

In almost any endeavor, setting limits helps define what needs to be done and helps people get started. If you only have 200 words to write it’s much easier than if you have 80,000. It’s easier to be given a topic than told to write about anything.

So what do I want to do? I haven’t quite decided yet. There is a lot of travel in there, some writing, and spending time with my family. There is a lot less Facebook checking and random web surfing.

What would you do if you had less than 15 years left?

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