id photos

2020-05-24 TOKYO, JAPAN -- Noriko took my ID photo. In Japan, you glue your ID photo on your resume or CV when you apply for jobs -- unthinkable in the USA. I printed 24 pictures on photo paper stock for only 120 yen ($1.20). What a bargain!


oomiya hachiman

2020-05-24 TOKYO, JAPAN -- We walked over to Oomiya Hachiman. In 2 days, when the lockdown in Tokyo is lifted, we can take longer walks than today.

We passed through a ring that cleanses us of evil.

The shrine is known for the Frog Stone.

Frog amulets abound.

A flower show was in progress.

remote controls

2020-05-22 TOKYO, JAPAN -- After several embarrassing mistakes, I installed remote control holsters on the wall. The remotes control ceiling lights and air conditioning.




2020-05-20 TOKYO, JAPAN -- We discovered candles among our moving boxes. We had a candlelit dinner!



hone knives

2020-05-18 TOKYO, JAPAN -- Weather was bad. Instead of running, I exercised by honing kitchen knives.

Can you guess which knives are my favorite?

In the above photo, from left to right: (1) Noriko's heavy Chinese chopping and crushing knife, (2) my favorite Japanese nakkiri (veggie chopping) knife that was a gift from my mom, (3) my favorite Japanese gyuto (meat) knife that I bought in Sapporo about 15 years ago, and (4) Noriko's mom's Japanese deba (meat and bone) knife, which alas is beyond repair.

3 photos of nakkiri showing detail after sharpening.



3 photos of gyuto showing detail after sharpening.



cooking for family

2020-05-13 TOKYO, JAPAN -- Now that our pantry and refrigerator are full with food, it's time to feed the family!

I made diabolically hot mabotofu. Oops!

Baked sweet potatoes. These are beniharuka potatoes. Big and sweet.

Roasted beef. I improvised a roasting rack out of a yakitori (skewered barbecue chicken) rack and chopsticks.

We shared food with our sister and her family. I wish we could eat together! 10 meters away but not a word exchanged face to face.

clean the house

2020-05-13 TOKYO, JAPAN -- I did minor chores around the house.

Clean the air conditioners.

Read the manual. Daikin manufactures excellent air conditioners, but they need help with technical writing.

Wipe the floor. (Oops took no photos of me with my favorite mop.)

Hang shoji paper on windows.

Glue shoji paper on wooden frames for our tatami room.

Attach light-reducing fabric on the railing.

costco again

2020-05-12 TOKYO, JAPAN -- We went shopping again. Shopping is a rare event these days. We hadn't gone grocery shopping in 16 days.

We feel like we are living in medieval Japan or wild-west America, when market days were spaced apart. Instead of riding our horse and buggy to town, we rented a car and drove to a hardware store, a supermarket, and Costco. These 3 stores are located close together.

The driving distance from our house to Costco is about the same as from our house in Lincoln City to Depoe Bay (the next town south) but it feels much farther! There are lots of stoplights that run on timers rather than sensors, so traffic is slow even if it's not congested. Our traveling speed averages at less than 20 miles per hour, compared to about 40 miles per hour between the not-so-fast roads between Lincoln City and Depoe Bay.

We spotted a truck with frog sign! Sorry for the poor resolution photo. The truck was too far to capture legibly on our dashcam.

We are fully stocked on food. There were some items that were sold out, such as macaroni (wonder why) and fish heads (they tend to sell out quickly when the fresh fish section opens). Fish heads are tasty when grilled.

attenuate more sound

2020-05-05 TOKYO, JAPAN -- I added loudspeakers to my semi-soundproofed closet.

To save space, I placed the sub-woofer on top of my cabinet.

Mirrors and flashlights help see behind the equipment so that I can connect wiring.

The loudspeakers are easier to listen to when I play backing tracks for trumpet practice. Alas, low frequency sounds (which carry the bass beat that I need to hear to keep time) escape from the closet. This is a problem only when I play backing tracks.

The speaker amplifier generates considerable heat. (My previous speakers were battery-operated Bluetooth speakers that were cold to the touch.) Just another reason to stand up, open the door, drink tea, and rest my chops (lips and cheeks) so that I can practice some more.

As a side benefit, I can listen to FM radio stations. The white wire in the picture above is the FM radio antenna. However we rarely enjoy broadcast stations. We don't have a TV set. This is our first and so far only radio in the house. I do have amateur radio transceivers but they are not for listening to commercial radio stations.


2020-05-02 (PHOTOS ADDED 2020-05-07) TOKYO, JAPAN -- At long last, I completed soundproofing my closet so that I can practice trumpet and listen to music.

The result was 16 dB attenuation at 1 kHz. (The degree of attenuation differs by audio frequency.) I was fairly confident of reducing by 10 dB, and hoping for 20 dB.

Professional installations promise 35 dB, and achieve that in only a few days of construction work (the workers assemble soundproof panels that are pre-fabricated at the factory) compared to a year of on-and-off do-it-myself labor. Professional soundproofing costs about 20 to 30 times more than what I paid for materials and tools.

I learned a great deal through this soundproofing project. The fit and finish is awful (haha) and the acoustic attenuation is much less than professional quality (hmm) but I love my outcome more. I would gladly and eagerly practice in my tiny spot.

What is most important (and will be evaluated over the next several weeks) is how much less I bother my sister and her family who live downstairs.

The initial indications are promising. Noriko cannot hear me from her office. Standing outside the closet door, I can barely hear music played through loudspeakers placed within. Although I do hear sounds, unless I follow the bass beats I cannot tell which part of the song is being played. If doubt neighbors would hear anything even if our windows were open. Practicing during the day seems acceptable. We will discover more in the following days.

Here is a chart showing before and after degrees of attenuation. I should note that because "attenuation" means "decrease", the values in the chart ought to be positive. I may replace this chart later with a correctly worded version.

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 21.32.36

I played sine waveforms (that is, pure tones) at frequency values of 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 kHz through loudspeakers placed inside the closet and facing the door. I stood just outside the door facing the loudspeaker, and compared the audio level when the door was open versus closed.

In the chart, the orange and gray values represent respectively the degrees of attenuation before and after soundproofing. For instance, closing the door decreased the 1 kHz tone by 24 dB before soundproofing, and by 40 dB after soundproofing.

The yellow values show the difference before and after. For instance, after soundproofing, the 1 kHz tone decreased by 16 dB more than before. This 16 dB is the improvement after soundproofing.

For all values, the lower values (that is, closer to the bottom of the chart) are better.

At 0.5 kHz, soundproofing made no difference (only 1 dB, but values below 3 dB are almost certainly within the range of measurement error). In general, low frequency energy is difficult to stop. I am disappointed because I was hoping to see at least some difference. Even a modest 6 dB would have been cause for celebration.

At 1 kHz, soundproofing made a respectable difference if I may say so. Not bad for a first attempt by a rank amateur. I was hoping for more but I am happy with what I got.

At some frequencies at and above 1.5 kHz, I obtained fair to good attenuation. Given the loudness of my trumpet (I tend to play rather soft), I am fairly confident that from a distance few people would hear these frequencies. The degree of attenuation differs by frequency, however. We see that 2, 3, 7 kHz tones are reduced less than 4, 5, 6, 8 kHz tones. I do not know why this happened in my case. Generally speaking, soundproofing materials (which are acoustic filters) have 1 or more passbands (that is, frequencies that are not attenuated). Perhaps that is what I am experiencing.

All in all, combined with my subjective hearing evaluation, my closet muffles sounds emanating from within to a level that I hope does not bother my loved ones when they are active during the day. If I were to play my trumpet at night, my family will probably notice.

Here is a picture of the door, sandwiched by sound-absorbing wadding. The door closes rather snugly.

The walls are covered with sound-absorbing wadding. The closet does look like a room in a psychiatric ward.

View from where I sit and practice. The closet is L-shaped. I sit at the end of one of the legs in the L.

Surrounded by technology, haha. Sheet music on the left, backing track on the right. I sit on the floor, Japanese style, so the music stand is low.