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Phuket. HELP!

Hi TFers. "Golden Week" is coming up in Japan -- a week long string of national holidays -- and inspired by my friend Chianti Ruffino I've just booked a flight online to Phuket from the end of April.I have never been to Phuket. Can somebody give me some intel please? Specifically, what I need to know is...1. Location:  I need Internet, and I'm travelling alone so I don't want romantic beaches full of starry-eyed couples. lol But I also don't want to be in the true heart of the action. So somepla

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Permanent Residence. Booya!

Well, after 5 months of waiting, I finally got the call yesterday. I have finally been granted permanent residency status in Japan. No more visas. Beauty. All the time, effort and cost of this ordeal, just for this...     If you happen to be somebody living and working in Japan, I wrote some details about what you have to go through to get it. Check it out here. The only problem, of course, is that I'd rather be living in Thailand than Japan. Hmmmmm.     

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Hate boy bands?

If you pretty much hate boy bands and other pre-fab soul-searching music, you'll love this. This is by the same guy, Spanish Mike, who made the "One semester of Spanish love song." This guy is a genius at ripping on musical genres.  

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Pattaya 2008 in 1:05 minutes

Well, it's almost all Pattaya. A wake up in Koh Laan looking out at Pattaya...Meeting ELVIS while drinking at my buddy's bar (Cherry bar on Soi 8)...a 5 second cameo that only a few select members will recognize who were at Absolute 7 on the 25th...and then some chill time again at Koh Laan. Ahhhh...how I love my vacations in Thailand.   Also, based on Shortyg's journal about the VIMEO video sharing site, I converted the same video for comparison. I won't post it here as it would be too annoying

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Suan Luam...is it true?

I recently hear a rumor (and a vicious one, at that!) that Suan Luam Night Bazaar is going to close!! That's one of my favourite places in Bangkok! Tell me it's not true!!

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Canada, baby!!!!

Hi all I'm now into my 2nd week in Canada. I spent about a week in Victoria at my brother's, and now I'm in my home town -- Port Alberni, British Columbia -- staying at my sister and brother-in-law's place. It's only about 12 degrees Celcius at night, so it's chilly compared with Thailand or Japan, but it IS gorgeous, I must admit. Got some weird family **** happening, but don't we all. Nevertheless, the drive up Vancouver Island to my hometown in my shiny new Ford Escape rentacar was lovely. Ju

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Absolute 7 party pics

Thanks to everybody who came out to say hello last night. It was a nice mix of old friends and new faces. I don't have many pics, and those that I do have mostly feature me (the sign of a true narcissist), but here they are anyway. I know that a few other people where taking a lot of pics, so hopefully some of them will find there way here.Unfortunately, I don't have any pics of CherieAtwood -- who was amazing on stage. What a great voice! But there are a few pics here of the usual suspects.    

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Absentee Mod at Absolute 7.

Well, I'm finally heading back to Canada -- Via Thailand!! -- and so I've posted an event in "Parties and Events." Just an informal gathering at the Absolute 7 bar on Sukhumvit Soi 7/1 for Thursday night (August 2nd). If anybody is free and wants to hang out, I'll see you there. I expect to arrive at about 8PM, probably already half-cut!  Also, I'll be away in Canada for family stuff much of the month of August, and so I won't be around much to do moderator stuff. I'll try to check my mails ever

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Travel Help!!!!

I have to go back to Canada this August. Flights from here in Japan are, as usual, outrageously overpriced. So I'm thinking of using a travel voucher I have to fly to Thailand, then fly to Canada from there. The bonus is that I can have a few days on either side sipping beer Chang by the beach! Question: Can anybody point me in the direction of a reputable online Thai travel agency? The winner gets a free night of drinks out at whatever TF party I can make when I'm there. Cheers! Mike

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Leave of absence

Just want to let everybody know that I will be mostly away from TF for the next 2 weeks. I'm moving to a new place closer to Tokyo on Thursday the 17th, and I'll be without Internet at home for at least a week to 10 days. I'll try to log on from work or an Internet cafe if I can find one -- but for the most part, I'll be away. So if you have problems that require a moderator's assistance, unless you can wait a few days, I'd suggest you contact one of the other mods for the the next week or so.So

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Pics from Bohol, Philippines

Hi everybody! Sorry I've  been away from TF so much. I've had people send me PMs about TF problems, but I didn't have a decent connection, so I wasn't any help as a moderator at all. Sorry about that. So where the hell was I?For the last week, I've been in Bohol, in the middle of the Philippines, about an hour south of Manila. I flew to the small city of Tagbilaran on Bohol island on the 20th. I took a taxi over the bridge to Panglao Island. My destination was Alona Beach, about 40 minutes drive

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Ghost Rider: The Chatty Edition

So far, all is well in Manila. I have set up a sort of beer-riddled work schedule, I've found time to have the occassional jog up Roxas Blvd by Manila Bay, and I've even found time to catch some movies -- and at about 150 baht for the movie AND snacks, it's a deal. I've seen the new Hannibal (a bit slow, but sufficiently gory), Night at the Museum (childish, but entertaining), The Messenger (scared the piss out of me) and now Ghost Rider. What a GREAT movie. Loved it.And now it's time to complai

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Manila, here I come...

Well, it's 9:30PM and my bags are packed and ready to go. I fly to Manila early tomorrow morning. Can't wait to get there. I have a lot of work to do during my time there, but I have a lot of side trips planned, so this should be a great trip.Anyway, just wanted to let people know that I won't be accessing TF every day -- at least not for the first few days, so if you write to me needing moderator assistance, it could take a few days. If you need something done in a hurry, it would be a good ide

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I give you all my heart

I give you my heart...    My impure, but healthy heart...        Attention to all the old farts on TF (yes, I fall into that category).   As I've gotten PMs asking me about it, I thought I'd give a brief summary of the comprehensive check I had done at Bumrungrad Hospital during my visit over the New Year.   To find the check, I went to the Bumrungrad Hospital website and looked through the health check options they had (Packages ==> Health screening). I chose the full-Monty: Th

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Pics from Dec 2006 trip

Well, I'm finally back in Japan. This trip I took mostly video, but I thought I would just post a few pics from my trip.   I spent my first week in Bangkok. The first few days, I was having a full health check up at Bumrungrad. It was well worth the money I spent, and I'll post more on it in another journal. I was planning to hit Angor Wat, but due to an extra check I had to have on my heart (they thought it was broken , I didn't go. I did, however, make a few TF events.  First, I showed up

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Thanks Bobbyboy!! The VIRUS buster!

I just want to say a big thanks to Bobbyboy for helping me solve my virus nightmare (no, not THAT one, the computer virus!). And just so YOU don't get it, read on:A couple of weeks ago, I got an offline message on Yahoo Messenger from a good friend. It just said something about some new photos that she'd uploaded. (nudge nudge, wink wink??). The link says something about vacation pics, and in the URL you'll see the--coolpics.If you get a message like this and click it, you'll get the SOHANAD wor

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Pimpin' it in Kyushu

I just got back from a 5-day trip down in Kyushu, in the south of Japan. Specifically, I was in the city of Fukuoka ? my all-time favourite city in Japan. I was down there for a conference, so I have no photos that are particularly interesting. So I thought I would just post a few regular pics from my trip, so people can see a bit of normal Japan (as opposed to pics of Mt. Fuji and Geishas).  First of all, geography lesson time. Kyushu is the island in red below. I live in the blue bit, in So

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Another notch in the belt.

It's done.   I just got the sample copies in the mail last night. You'd think I would have gone out partying to celebrate, but instead I just had a nap, and sat around watching Prison Break episodes I've been downloading.   But I thought I'd write a short journal to share the good news, and to talk about some of the highlights of writing this latest textbook in the series I've been working on for the last 6 or 7 years in Japan. This one took just over 2 years of writing, editing, piloting, r

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Absolute7 Pics

At long last... My apologies for the delay in getting these pics up. I brought a new computer on this trip, so I had to run to Phantip Plaza to get Photoshop to resize the pics, then get FTP software to upload them. Oh, and I had to drink till 6AM everynight as well, which is a rather time consuming endeavor. Thanks to everybody who showed up. It was fantastic to meet so many new people. Thanks also to Khun Lung, ONeil and any other people who might have uploaded pics. Looking forward to the

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Beers and workouts in Thailand

First of all, I finally got my ticket. I'll be landing in BKK on July 30th (Sunday). If you have nothing better to do, come on out for a beer at the Absolute 7 bar that night (see "Parties and Events"). And a question. Does anybody know of gyms in Sukhumvit or Silom/Siam area where you can just pay to go for the day? I know of Fitness First, but they charge an enormous amount of money for each workout. I just need a simple place with a couple of step machines and some dumbells. In any case,

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Pics from the beach trip

A few pics from my weekend trip to Puerto Galera. (See map for a free geography lesson.) If you are in Manila, dreaming of the beach, but too lazy to fly, then Puerto Galera is the place to go. The Sea-Kat bus (with transfer to a ferry to Mindoro Island) leaves from the City State Hotel on Mabini at Padre Faura Street at 8AM every day. Just book at the Puerto Galera booking agency in the hotel, and they will have you sipping San Miguel beers by the beach before noon. There are several be

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The doctor is....OUT

Just a few bits of news. First of all, I will be away for a few days at a beach resort just south of Manila. I'll be diving and drinking beers by the beach in Big Laguna near Puerto Galera on Mindoro. Can't wait. The reason for this trip? Well, as it happens, today is my birthday. The big 41. That's part of the reason. The second is that...yes...last night at about 4AM I finally finished writing the latest textbook. Yes, I still have loads of editing to do, but the content and all other crap f

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Absolute 7 party pics

OK, here are some pics from the party at Absolute 7 last Friday night. Thanks to all those who showed up. In fact, it seems the photos are mostly of the same group of people, but a lot of other people showed who aren't represented here. My bad. I'll try to get a wider variety of photos for the next party. 2 Mikes with Neti, Kanoon, Ak and Deester. If you look closely, you can see Babe's tongue! 2 very good reasons to move to Thailand. Man can these women dance! Hey Chantelle! Stop tryi

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BKK TONIGHT! Ode to Manila

OK, I'm now sitting at the airport in Manila, killing some time before flying to BKK. I'm quite excited about the TF party tonight, as there will be so many people who I have only "met" virtually, but tonight we can actually connect face to face and beer to beer. Very happy about that. See you all there tonight! In other news, Duke Togo was right. It's a bit of a challenge getting into the airport here. And word around the campfire is that there will be huge demonstrations tomorrow, and possib

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