Welcome
An alternative look at life in the Land of the Rising Sun, coming from its southernmost prefecture, the island of Okinawa.
Posted By Dave on July 8th, 2014

http://www.biginjapan.co/biginjapan/getting-healthy-in-leeds-with-v-physique-body-by-design/

Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying.  It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though!  But after a couple of months of being back in England […]

 

Archive for October, 2009

Peerblock Guide: Stop Prying Eyes Looking at your PC

Posted By Dave on October 24th, 2009

Have had a few people ask me about this recently so thought it was about time I write up a guide on the installation and use of this software. About a year after I got here I received an email from my ISP saying that a movie company that will remain nameless had tracked my IP address from a torrent I was seeding. The email reminded me that this was a breach in copyright and that I should cease the activity ASAP. Of course, I did that:heh_heh: but I also took steps to make it a little tougher to access my computer. I found Peerguardian to be the best way of doing this.

Downloadable here, Peerblock (formerly Peerguardian 2) is an IP address blocker, supporting multiple IP address blocklists as well as blocking all IPv4. The lists can also be edited so that if you find a site that is recorded as a false positive, you can remove it from your blocklist and access the site. While it does work for Windows 7 and Vista, I haven’t had experience with it and have only played around with it for XP. Rarely have any issues with it and it’s very interesting to see who is accessing your computer. But either way, if you use torrents or any peer-to-peer software it’s a great little piece of software to give you that added protection.

Once you install it you’ll get a screen a little like this:

My first advice would be to click on the “Settings” button and set up your computer like you can see in the 2 pictures below:

The software is just half of the protection system; with it you’ll need some blocklists to tell Peerblock what IP addresses to block. There are a few places to get IP address blocklists but the best place I have found is here:

http://iblocklist.com/lists.php

This is a collection of the best blocklists and is updated as much as the lists are. I personally use the Bluetack blocklists as they seem to be updated frequently and should lock down your computer like it’s 2008. There is a guide to the blocklists available at the bottom of this post. Once you’ve found a blocklist you want, copy the update link and go back to Peerblock. Click on “List Manager” and then “Add”. You can then type in a description and paste in the URL, and also specify whether it’s a list of IP addresses to block or to allow. Once you’re done the List Manager page will look a little like this:

When you go back to the main screen the Peerblock software will update itself with the new blocklists and you’ll start to see IP addresses come up on the screen. IP addresses in black are incoming (ones that are trying to access your computer); those in blue are outgoing (addresses your computer are trying to access).
You should remember that even with just the Level 1 list downloaded (and especially with the Level 2 list), you might find a few sites become unavailable. If this happens you have 2 options. You can just click the “Disable” button on the front Peerblock screen and then re-enable it when you’ve finished accessing the site. Alternatively, you can right click on the address in question (it will be one in blue) and select “Allow xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx permanently). That will add the IP address you selected to your allow list so you can always access it. This might be a bit of a pain to start with but happens much less as you go along.

And that should be about it. Your computer will update the blocklists every day and keep your computer as safe as possible. Remember this isn’t a 100% guarantee that nobody will be able to access your computer, but it certainly makes things a bit more watertight. Let me know if you’ve any comments or questions about it all.

Here’s the list of blocklists and what they actually block:

LEVEL 1 BLOCKLIST
Companies or organizations who are clearly involved with trying to stop filesharing (e.g. Baytsp, MediaDefender, Mediasentry a.o.).
Companies which anti-p2p activity has been seen from.
Companies that produce or have a strong financial interest in copyrighted material (e.g. music, movie, software industries a.o.).
Government ranges or companies that have a strong financial interest in doing work for governments. Legal industry ranges.
IPs or ranges of ISPs from which anti-p2p activity has been observed. Basically this list will block all kinds of internet connections that most people would rather not have during their internet travels.

For more information on this list check the Anti-P2P & Fake Files Research Section on the forum.

PLEASE NOTE: The Level1 list is recommended for general P2P users, but it all comes down to your personal choice.

Have a look through each of the lists and decide if you want to use them or not.
Please do not blame us if something like your favourite website is blocked, because we will rarely remove something unless it is classified incorrectly.

LEVEL 2 BLOCKLIST
General corporate ranges.
Ranges used by labs or researchers.
Proxies.

LEVEL 3 BLOCKLIST
Many suspicious portal-type websites.
ISP ranges that may be dodgy for some reason, or media owned / related.
Anti P2P friendly web hosts.
Ranges that belong to an individual, but which have not been determined to be used by a particular company.
Ranges for things that are unusual in some way. The L3 list is aka the paranoid list.

SPYWARE BLOCKLIST
This list is a regularly updated compilation of known malicious MALWARE, SPYWARE and ADWARE IP Address ranges.
It is compiled from our own research and various other sources.
The SPYWARE blocklist may include data from other available Spyware Blacklists, HOSTS files, from research found at Anti-Spyware support forums, logs of Spyware victims and also from the Malware Research Section here at BISS.
For more information on this list check our Malware IP Research Section on the forum.

DShield Recommended BlockList
This list contains known Hackers and such people in it.
More information can be found at the DShield Website

Microsoft List
This list covers the known Microsoft Corp ranges that are not on Level1, as well as their known associated IP ranges from around the world.

AD TRACKERS BLOCKLIST
This list is constructed to block connections from advertising – marketing research data tracking sites, bad pop-ups…
For more information check out the General IP Research Section on our forum.

Educational Institution Ranges – EDU BLOCKLIST
This list contains known Educational Institutions – University IP ranges – Educational Networks – School Districts a.o..

Tor / Proxy BlockList
This list has been compiled from a list of Tor servers and various other proxy servers.

SPIDERS BLOCKLIST
Automated software programs also known as spiders or bots, survey the Web and build their databases for search engines and some are used to track people down to automatically serve them with copyright violation notices. This list is intended to be used by webmasters to block hostile spiders from their web sites.
For more information on this list check out the Webspiders and Bots Sticky

PLEASE NOTE: Google and other less harmful search engines are also blocked by this list.

Master Exclusions
This is a list of websites and other IP’s some people may not want to block.

Range Testing Blocklist
This list contains addresses of suspicious IP’s that are under investigation. If you see hits that looks suspicious, please report it to the Range Testing Report Section of the forum please.

IANA – Bogon – Hijacked – Non-LAN lists
Concerned Lists
IANA Multicast List
IANA Private List
IANA Reserved List
Bogon List
Hijacked List
Non-LAN List

Below is a short description of what is in these lists:

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) List

These are the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority lists. They are for reserved listings and IP addresses that are supposedly not in use as of yet. This list (IANA Private) and possibly the other IANA lists contain IP Ranges that will conflict with your connection if you are one a home network or a company network. You should add the IPs or Ranges that belong to your network to your Exclusions list in the Blocklist Manager.

More information on IANA can be found in the Bluetack IANA FAQ
Another important post for additional information about common IP ranges you may have trouble with and need to unblock to prevent internet connection issues is our IANA Sticky

Bogon List
Contains known Bogon IP-Blocks.
What is a bogon and why should it be blocked?
Note: We do not use the completeWhois bogons list any longer we have switched to:
http://www.cidr-report.org/bogons/freespace-prefix.txt

From CompleteWhois:

Bogons is the name used to describe IP blocks not allocated by IANA and RIRs to ISPs and organizations plus all other IP blocks that are reserved for private or special use by RFCs (the actual term bogons comes from word bogus, as in bogus IP announcements). As these IP blocks are not allocated or specially reserved, such IP blocks should not be routable and used on the internet, however some of these IP blocks do appear on the net primarily used by those individuals and organizations that are often specifically trying to avoid being identified and are often involved in such activities as DoS attacks, email abuse, hacking and other security problems. These activities obviously pose great danger to everyone and ISPs should try to filter all these bad IP routes and we are trying to help in that by working to create complete detailed list of unassigned bogon ips based on whois data.

In other words, if you get hit by an IP address from this range, then they have spoofed their IP address and they, most likely, are trying to do something untoward.

Hijacked List
Contains hijacked IP-Blocks and known IP-Blocks that are used to deliver Spam.
This list is a combination of lists with hijacked IP-Blocks
What is a Hijacked IP Block and why would I want to block it?

From CompleteWhois:

Hijacked IP space are IP blocks that are being used without permission by organizations that have no relation to original organization (or its legal successor) that received the IP block. In essence it’s stealing of somebody else’s IP resources.

These ranges are being used illegally and are most likely being used for illegal activities. They should not be being used and should therefore be blocked.

Non-LAN List
This list blocks LAN [Local Area Network] IP ranges. It is only recommended for use by people that do not have home networks and want to block the IANA Private address ranges which should not be used on the internet.

Bad Peers [ Previously known as Templist ]
This is a list of people who have been reported for sending corrupt data on p2p, sharing files that contain viruses etc.

Typically Okinawa!

Posted By Dave on October 20th, 2009

Some things you see when you’re walking around you just instantly associate with the place you are.  Obese people – America, a juxtaposition of paleness and fake tan – England, a trail of oil/coolant leading down the road – somewhere near me.  But I recently saw something that I had to smile at as I instantly said to myself, “Only in Okinawa…”

I had just got off the bus going to work and it had been raining heavily all morning.  The roads were slippery and as such I was surprised I’d not passed any accidents on my way into town.  I wasn’t to be disappointed though as I suddenly heard a feeble slipping of tyres followed by a thud.  It wasn’t a bang to indicate vehicles colliding with each other but still made me turn round to see what was going on.  Some guy in his twenties had braked too hard on his little motorbike, locked the wheels and fallen off.  He wasn’t going too fast and so had therefore just landed on his side.  He was wearing a helmet but, as is often the case here, the chinstrap wasn’t fastened.  I don’t know what it is with not fastening a chinstrap on a bike helmet if you’ve gone to the expense of actually getting one, but I digress slightly.  So the helmet fell off and goes rolling down the road.  This  has got me chuckling slightly, much to the bewilderment of the woman beside me who is als watching this scene unfold.

So the guy leaves his bike in the middle of the lane, blocking already packed up traffic in rush hour, and walks casually down the road to retrieve his escaping helmet.  He finally gets to it and heads back to his bike.  At this point I’m thinking to myself, “Maybe next time you’ll think to actually fasten your helmet to your head”.  As I say this to myself the guy gets to his bike, puts the helmet in the damn basket at the front of the bike, and drives off!  I’m in stitches at this point as I know that I live in one of the very few places in the world with that kind of logic absence so prevalent.

But it just sums up the mindset regarding safety, which is rather hypocritical at the best of times.  While parents think walking down a brightly lit street after dark is something only a person in full samurai armour would consider, they think that having a child bouncing around in the front seat of a car with no seatbelt on (or more recently, being sat on the driver’s lap with the car in motion) is perfectly safe.  It’s one of the pet gripes quite a few people I know have about Okinawa (maybe mainland also but don’t think it’s as bad there).  And the only two excuses I have heard have been, “Well I’m not going to crash” and “Child seats are too expensive”.  Make what you will of those particular gems of knowledge.

And so the Tuning Begins…

Posted By Dave on October 2nd, 2009

http://www.biginjapan.co/biginjapan/and-so-the-tuning-begins/

The Alto Works couldn’t stay stock for long and so something of a Frankenstein build is starting to take place. In an attempt to make the car feel like it’s going to stop before it hits the driver/fence/building ahead, I have replaced all discs with Dixcel brake discs and pads with some cheap Acre aftermarket sports pads. It’s given me some more braking solidity which is always good. Although I do have a small brake fluid leak coming from somewhere that I can’t source at the moment. Have to take a closer look at it soon to find out where it’s leaking out from.

The discs were a bit of a swine to source though – the fronts are no problem but the rears of almost all Alto Works are drums. Had to research for a couple of evenings solid before I found out that the Suzuki Cappuccino has the same rear brake discs as my Alto, so I got a set of those.

But now I have the ability to stop, it is time to have the ability to go a little faster. And so I’ve done a little raping of other cars from junkyards. From a Wagon R Wide I’ve got a Hitachi turbo, the size of which can only be described as “biblical”! As you can see from the picture below it’s not the biggest of turbos, and makes the stock Evo turbo I had look pretty sizeable. Please note the can beside the turbo for size is actually a smaller can than normal – it was a feeble attempt to make the turbo look bigger! But these are the turbos of choice for people wanting to make decent power at a decent price with the Alto Works.

Next up was an attack on a Toyota Starlet for some 295cc injectors; a big upgrade on the 225cc injectors that are stock on the Alto Works. The increase in power is going to need some better fuelling, and these injectors are ideal. But as you all know, there’s no point in increasing boost and fuel if there’s no way of controlling it. And that’s why the final part of my little parts trio is a Suzuki Sport stage 2 computer. The problem is these things are as rare as hen’s teeth and even if you find one for an Alto Works, you’re going to be paying crazy money for it. I thought I had found one, but then I realized that Suzuki, in their infinite wisdom, decided to make a whole bunch of different shaped harnesses for their Alto Works ECUs, and the one I had found had about 10 pins too many. Took a whole bunch of searching, but I found the Cappuccino come to my rescue once again. The Cappuccino ECU has the same pin configuration as my Alto Works, and I managed to find a used one on an online auction site. Wasn’t cheap but I needed it to complete my setup. I was a little nervous when it arrived as to whether it would work, but I plugged it in to test and the engine fired up fine, just idling a little unsteadily as the ECU is meant for the 295cc injectors which aren’t in yet.



Once these are all installed (which might be a pain as there is no room at all in the engine bay), then my power should go up from about 60hp to just over 100hp. Not so much in absolute terms, but that’s a 70% increase in power in a 650kg car, so it should make it pretty fun. And that’s running the stock Wagon R Wide boost levels of 1bar. It has been known for these stock engines to run 1.4bar+ without any problems. Won’t be doing that though for a while.

Although am sure I’ve said that before…

Posted in Cars

Farcical Crimes Making the Headlines in Okinawa

Posted By Dave on October 1st, 2009

I just knew that if I kept quiet for a little while something like this story would come up.  And lo & behold it has.  Haven’t had so much motivation to do writing on here for a while, but this story I saw on Japan Update I just had to report on.  The headline read “American GI’s arrested in two separate incidents” which drew me in for 2 reasons.  Firstly I’m sure the apostrophe shouldn’t be in there, and secondly to see what horrific crimes they had been arrested for.  Assault?  Rape of a minor?  Murder?  Not quite…

One American is in Japanese custody on charges of stealing game dices from a snack bar, while a second has been charged with being drunk and crossing onto private property.

A 22-year-old stationed at Camp Schwab was caught shortly after he stole game dices at an Okinawa City Chuo area snack. Police say the suspect took the dices, then fled. Staff saw him take the dices and chased him, while others called police. He was caught and charged with stealing two dices, valued at ¥3,000.

A 20-year-old Marine stationed at Camp Foster was arrested after he knocked on the door of a residence in Chatan Town’s Miyagi area. The suspect approached the residence and knocked on the door, frightening the woman occupant. She called the police who arrived shortly and found him still outside the door. The police asked him “Who are you? Why are you knocking on this door? This is not your area. This is somebody’s private yard.” The police then arrested the Marine who was reportedly drunk at the time.

I mean, really… where should I start?  I think bad English is as good a place as any!  In a week where I’ve seen an exhaust manufacturer inexplicably called Drug Bomber, and a car horn with the manufacturer tagline “We produced with spartan air” around the edge of it, this completes a Triple Crown of Engrish!  One of my English pet hates is people using “dice” as a singular word, when they should be using “die”.  But this article takes it one further, and introduces a new word into the Engrish language called “dices”.

Right – that’s that out of the way and now onto the story itself.  Is this even a story?  Well, according to Okinawan news agencies it is.  So this first guy stole a pair of dice from a snack bar.  Those dice, unless made from platinum or some special Louis Vuitton dice, would cost around 100 yen (70p) from the local cheap product store.  Although given that in these places a beer can cost over 1,500 yen (£10) then maybe it’s plausible.  But can you imagine the police’s reaction when they got the emergency call?

Bar owner: “Hello.  We have an emergency here at bar Papa Rich (not the name of the club in question but a similar snack bar).  Someone has just fled the scene stealing property from the bar.  Please come quickly!”
Police: “Calm down, ma’am.  Take a deep breath.  What has been taken”
Bar owner: “A pair of dice.  He’s getting away!”
Police: “…”
Bar owner: “It’s a foreigner!”
Police: “We’ll be there right away, ma’am!”

The last bit is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it’s not a big stretch of the imagination.  You think there must have been something else that would cause the police to take action, but maybe not given the stories that make the Okinawan headlines regarding members of the US military here.

And then the second story is another bizarre one.  The guy was arrested for being asleep on her doorstep, or did he try to break into her place?  By the sounds of it he knocked on the door and there is no mention at all as to whether she even answered it (although answering the door late at night is usually a no-no unless, like me, you are woken at about 5am by a dozen police officers as your neighbour has been murdered, but that’s beside the point).  It seems very unlikely that someone should normally be arrested for knocking on a door when it’s late at night, otherwise I’m sure the vast majority of salarymen throughout Japan would have been arrested at some point in their lives!

Maybe the police were just under their “US military personnel arrest” quote for September, and needed to get a few final arrests in before today.  Either way, it does look pretty pathetic and that they are really scraping the barrel for stories to put the old “round-eyes” in a bad light.

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