Japan 2017 – Day 2

I started the day searching for the Heavensward PS Vita again. No luck.

Eventually bought a brand new one from BicCamera Tax Free, and getting another 5% discount by paying with a credit card.

It’s weird to get discounts by paying with a credit card instead of cash. In Singapore, quite a few places charge you an extra fee for making your payment with a credit card. Take our taxis for example. You have to pay an extra $1 “admin fee” if you wish to pay using a credit card.

This is because credit card companies charge businesses a transaction fee. While businesses are not allowed to pass on this fee to the customer, they could just call it something else like “admin fee” and claim that it has nothing to do with the credit card transaction.

Anyway, back to Japan.

Tried to get tickets for the Ghibli Museum but they were all sold out. It was a last minute decision to go there so I didn’t buy them online in advance. Next trip perhaps.

In my second trip, a friend brought me to Cat Street in Shibuya and I absolutely love the environment there. No tall buildings. Rows of shops. I can’t describe it well but I love this place.

So I went there again seeking a restaurant for dinner. I got off from Harajuku station and it was drizzling lightly and the skies began to darken. Perhaps I should’ve come here earlier then search for my PS Vita at night.

I found a nice little restaurant, Creperie, which… sells crepes. But really good crepes.

I ordered a course meal (or was it a set meal?) that served this.

Then this for dessert.

A glass of tea was included. It was all delicious.

From there, I walked to Shibuya station, stopping by to check out this alley of very small izakayas, before returning to my hotel room.

Japan 2017 – Day 1

This marks my fifth visit to Japan and 10 years since my first visit, 2 years since my fourth.

It is now my custom to have ramen with beer on my first day. I wish they had draft beer instead of canned ones.

Hakata Furyu's Tonkotsu Ramen
Hakata Furyu’s Tonkotsu Ramen

Once again I’ve chosen to stay at Remm Akihabara because of it’s close distance to the train station and it’s in Akihabara! Haven for people like myself. It makes shopping easy as I can unload stuff I bought and then head out for another round of treasure hunting.

The only peaceful place on Earth

I quickly began searching for a used PS Vita Heavensward Edition and ended up with sore feet on the first day. Not good. I should get some shoes comfortable for walking long distances.

Never found the Vita I wanted and began considering getting a new one instead.

Another custom of mine is to visit Shibuya and order coffee from the Starbucks there that has a good view of the famous Shibuya Crossing.

It might be a waste of valuable vacation time but I enjoy it.

Things I look forward to

Everyday I look forward to my morning cup of coffee.

Every week I look forward to the weekends where I can relax.

Every month I look forward to meeting up with my friends.

Every 6 months I look forward to traveling overseas.

Every year I look forward to looking back on all the things I’ve achieved.

A Good Dream

A good dream that lasted only a month.

It helped me learned what my limits were and unlocked all the potential I have. Stubborn ideals I once had fell like the Berlin Wall.

It triggered another change in my life, gave me energy and made me feel young again.

Many mistakes were made.
Words that shouldn’t be said were said.
Words that should be said weren’t said.

I’m sad that it’s over, I’m thankful it happened.

Now to put this newfound energy into my career.

FastIris

There are only 2 bus companies in Singapore. SBS Transit being the largest and whose buses I travel on most frequently.

They released an iPhone app called iris, for poor people like me who cannot afford our own mode of transportation,  which we can use to check the time the next bus will arrive at a specified bus stop.

It was frustrating to use. I hated the loading screen which wastes a few seconds of my time. And then I had to spend a few taps to get to my favourites list which I’ve added the bus numbers that I frequently use.

On top of that, there are frequent unknown errors and I would have to try and reload the bus timings again and each load takes a long time to complete.

I happened to learn about the mitm proxy tool from an article that exposed how the Path app was sending user’s address book info in plain text to their servers.

This tool can be used to analyze traffic data between a phone and the internet. So I set it up and used it to analyze the HTTP requests made from the iris app.

It made a lot of requests which explains why it’s always so slow.

So knowing the structure of the data that was sent and received from the iris servers allowed me to write my own web app to get the information I want. And the result…

fastiris

It worked perfectly. And very fast.

I’ve added it as a bookmark icon on my phone. One tap, it brings me to the browser and loads my web app. Instantly, I’m shown a list of bus numbers that I frequently use. Tapping on the bus number, will load the next and subsequent time remaining till that bus arrives at the bus stop. That’s all I need.

There’s even a short cut to load the timings for 2 buses that I travel on everyday to get to work.

It uses cache.manifest to make the browser cache the jQuery file and the index file, this made loading the app almost instant.

I’ve also added 2 fields at the bottom which takes in the bus number and bus stop number so I can check the bus timings for other buses just in case.

tl;dr: programming and computers are fun.