And man, is it fast! My recent (one-of-my-procrastination-activities) internet speed test showed the following results:
I honestly have no idea how to check its reliability so let’s just base it from experience then. On the average, it takes me …
… < 40 sec to download an mp3 file (4 – 7 mb)
… 5 – 10 minutes to complete a 350 mb – file
… 15 minutes to complete a 700 mb-file
…< 30 seconds to wait for streaming to start when watching online
Of course these values depend on the source and time of day. Upload is a bit slower (especially in Facebook), but still very reliable. Sometimes, I feel that the laptop that I’m using couldn’t keep up with the internet speed. Haha. I was never an internet addict in the Philippines. I could spend weeks without checking my mail and going online, and I never really saw how one could get addicted to social networks. But when I got here, well… Let’s just say that sometimes I had to remind myself that there is life outside my apartment. Hahaha.
But aside from the speed, everything is just so accessible through the internet here in Japan. Almost all establishments have detailed maps and/or instructions on how to get to their location in their websites, making them very easy to find. At the same time, most of the restaurants offer discounts when you print coupons from their websites. Google map, as in other developed countries, have updated street and aerial views of the different nooks all over Japan, even the provinces. Of course, most of the names are in Kanji (a fact which makes me wonder why I even bothered studying Hiragana/Katakana if I couldn’t rely on them when I need to find my location), but with a little bit more internet magic, it’s still very useful. Internet forums like Japan Guide also offer very helpful information about the sights to see in each prefecture, and how to get there.
But for me, the most frequently used sites are:
Hyperdia gives you very detailed means on how to get from one train station to another, complete with the option to select the time of departure/arrival, the cost for each transfer, the expected time of departure from one station and the expected time of arrival to the destination. While its “rival”, Jorudan , offers you several options depending on the total travel time and/or cost, hyperdia provides you options not only on the type of trains that you wish to take (local, express, JR, subway, limited sleeper express, shinkansen, etc), but also on the mode of transportation that you can take (airplane, airport shuttle bus, walk).
I cannot leave the house/office without checking these first. JMA has three-hourly forecasts that are most useful when the season is about to change (which usually means that it’s time to bring my 7-11 translucent umbrella). You see, unlike in European countries where (I’ve heard) the weather is mostly just gloomy and steadily cold, in Japan the weather is quite extreme and, recently, unpredictable. Temperature in winter ranges from -3 C to 7 C, while the summer heat is usually due to a temperature range of 34 C to 37 C and humidity of 90% ++. Just the other day, we experienced 33 C at noon and then a sudden drop to 22 C in the evening! At least with these sites, I can easily plan which clothes to wear for the day or if I need “reinforcements” for the night. But with these extreme shifts, of course, these sites also fail sometimes. Today is the perfect example. It had been raining so hard and was so cold this morning that I decided to wear 2 layers of clothing, one of which is a turtleneck blouse. And now, looking through the office window and seeing the glaring sun outside, I curse my turtleneck (and yeah, JMA, haha).
So, yeah, internet is definitely one of the top things that I will miss. But while I’m still here, maybe I can finish the whole 5 seasons of How I Met Your Mother… :)