Is the approx. number of media files I have stored locally on my main hard drive backup. The digital photos go back to 1998 or so. I have them mostly arranged by date in the file names so I can look up people and events chronologically. The 3TB HD in question is old and unhealthy, so it’s currently being synced to a new external 12TB one I picked up on amazon for a hundred bucks!

The US remains the low price king for certain consumer goods, PC components being one of them. The same drive in Thailand would cost many times more, but partially because only a few big brands and questionable knockoffs are sold here- there is no reliable middle ground for many items (large capacity external HDs being one of them).

Here’s to hoping this sync completes trouble-free!

Botanical Printing at Columbo Craft Village

At the end of 2022, we took some overseas students to the Columbo Craft Village in Khon Kaen and learned to make botanical prints at a workshop. In this clip, Nam has chosen local plant leaves to incorporate on a shawl, and is being taught the wrapping process to imprint the plant tannins on the cloth. The whole process took an hour or two. It was really great to experience the local knowledge and processes used! #handmade #culture #thailand

DTAC International Roaming

If you are planning to visit Japan from Thailand and haven’t been suckered into buying an eSIM yet, I highly recommend buying a roaming package from DTAC/TRUE (AIS also has similar plans, but I haven’t tried them). The main reason is that it’s much cheaper, but also because I saw many travelers struggling with SIM cards/eSIMs purchased from both vending machines in Japan and online. In the space of one week, I saw at least five people complaining about weak coverage or spotty connectivity.

The DTAC package we chose also came with free travel insurance for a week, which is great, but very difficult to actually find on the DTAC site/mobile app. The DTAC site now directs through the TRUE roaming website (because of the merger last year), but I’m leaving this reference here because we have students going to Japan later this month.

This is the package we chose for a ten day trip, which probably has enough data if you’re not addicted to TikTok (hint, hint, daughter):

And this is what you need to click on to begin the process of registration for the free health insurance from Dhipaya Co. The process will include registering your phone number, filling out online forms, and running a special USSD code.

The graphics for the roaming packages also have English translations, but the insurance one does not. I’m not sure if the insurance is intended mainly for Thai nationals or not, but it accepted the ID number from my pink Thai ID card (it did not accept my passport number).

IMPORTANT NOTE #1: One thing to look out for regarding the insurance is that the coverage is only for a week, and it starts on the day you register for it. So you should register it just before you depart from Thailand.

IMPORTANT NOTE #2: You have to apply for the roaming packages within Thailand.

Once you land, the international roaming should activate automatically. If it does not, you can try switching the Roaming setting on your phone on and off. The coverage in Japan is provided by several carriers. In Osaka, it seemed to mostly be the KDDI network. On the train from Nara, I saw it switch to other networks (maybe DoCoMo or SoftBank – I was sleepy and reminiscing on salaryman/bartender train rides between Tenri and Miyakojima).

Mina’s new Warbirds

We picked up an incomplete set of Callaway Warbirds for Mina at the Tsuruya Golf (Japan’s golf Mecca) main branch in Honmachi. It was exactly the kind of deal I like to find in Japan, because any imperfection in a product can result in huge bargains – we scored the set for less than half off because it was missing the hood (removable top of the golf bag) and a putter. Nam’s good friend ended up gifting Mina a really nice putter anyway, so we packaged the set with bubble wrap and brought it on the plane back to Thailand. Tonight was Mina’s first lesson in nearly a month, so we were peeling the plastic off of the heads before trying each club. It was like golf Christmas.

She’s only had a dozen lessons, and she seems to really like it (which is great now that we are invested in it LOL). This range is currently the only one open in Sarakham, and it’s owned by Mina’s schoolmate’s mom: Non Duea Driving Range Maha Sarakham

Highly recommended.

I rather like smashing balls with a weighted stick (although I have no proper form and employ only brute force – I hope Mina teaches me the form part someday), so I hope we can start actually golfing soon.

Raw Liver at ลาบ ลับ ลับ ปรีดี 43

Either Taro or my cousin knew about an awesome Japanese street restaurant in Bangkok that serves raw beef liver – a dish once very popular in Japan that is now very hard to get (where it is available, single portions are apparently given out to customers in a sealed plastic container with origin/tracking information). Everything was excellent, but the liver, served traditionally with rock salt and sesame oil, was outstanding. Taro and I ate too much.

The sashimi was also pretty good:

It was very hot that night, but we had a blast: