Softbank, mortgages and Halloween

There are a few things I want to mention today, but they’re quite random, hence the unimaginative title. 

Last week was ‘Halloween Week’ at my school so I donned my mage hat (imagine a samurai’s hairstyle) and pulled out my sword. The sword retracts into the handle so I had fun stabbing my students and scaring many of the younger ones as I attacked their mothers with it. I’m glad the week is over though, as my 9 year-old mage gave me a rather embarrassing rash on my forehead, and I was getting annoyed with the older kids for throwing balls at the balloon-ghost hanging from the ceiling.

Softbank bought the failing cell phone company Vodaphone a while back and the shop next door has finally changed all its signs to Softbank. Backed by an enormous advertising campaign fronted by Cameron Diaz, Softbank has thrown the Japanese cell phone industry into hysteria. Offering ridiculously low rates (about 70% cheaper than previously I think) and the ability for customers to switch from its rivals without changing their phone number, Softbank has been swamped by customers in the last week. Apparently, demand was so great that their computers overloaded and they had to stop accepting new customers until they got the mess sorted. The car park for the Softbank outlet next to my school has been packed all week. Personally I’m sticking with AU in the hope that they lower prices to counter Softbank. Incidentally, NTT DoCoMo has released a video phone which leads me into…

I signed up with and got a cheap webcam so I could try video chat online. Unfortunately I only know a couple of people, both students of mine, that actually have a camera and sadly neither use SightSpeed. Interestingly, most of the webcams I could choose from in the shop were promoting their compatibility with I’ve been using Skype for ages to call my parents, but now I’ve upgraded to the latest version to make video calls possible. I still prefer SightSpeed for quality mind you! If you’d like to chat with me you can find me on either service using my email address nick AT the name of this website.

On Monday, Mami and I had a meeting with the bank to organize a mortgage for our new house. While I was worried I’d be turned down because I don’t have permanent residency status yet, according to the bank there’s a “100% chance of our application being accepted” Yeah!!!! This means that the winter vacation will be spent moving house, decorating and shopping for new furniture. I’ll keep you up-to-date on how all this plays out.

Finally, since I’m on holiday this week, I’ve been working hard on one of my other websites: If you teach English to children then please visit the site and try the Worksheet Generator. I’m ever so proud of it – in fact, I don’t think you’ll find anything else like it!

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

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