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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 June, 2013

Making Progress Towards a New Career

Posted By Dave on June 24th, 2013

http://www.biginjapan.co/biginjapan/making-progress-towards-a-new-career/

About a year ago, you might remember (although most likely not) I talked about getting some IT study in and maybe entering the IT industry in Spring 2013.  Well, the intended timeline for that didn’t go exactly to plan, as I’m still here teaching and most likely will be until the end of my contract at the end of March 2014.  But this is the year that I’m setting foundations for my future, and hopefully getting a foothold in the IT industry.

Since the turn of the year, but especially from the end of March, I was working on my Cisco Certified Network Associate qualification.  Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ll have still most likely got broadband or WiFi internet access, and the importance of computer networking is getting even more vital for consumers and enterprises.  So I decided that this certification would be a good base to work from in my IT career.  I’ve got a decent enough IT knowledge, but the course I was taking (using online study guides and material) really pushed me, and every time I turned the page I was learning something new, and enjoying it.  As an educator, I know very well that enjoying what you’re studying is one of the big keys to success.  And enjoy the challenge I did.  I even bought a couple of Cisco 2950 switches to make my own mini testing lab so I could have real experience of the Cisco equipment, and not just relying on simulation software like Packet Tracer.

Anyway, as the calendar turned into May my study really ramped up.  Almost every minute I had free at work, and all of my evenings, were spent going over the information, trying to remember key concepts, acronyms and rules, and getting ready for the test.  The initial plan was that once I’d come back from my trip to England at the end of July I would look to take the exam.  But with the rate I’d gone through the material I decided to bring the test date forward quite a bit.  And so on June 7th I headed down to the Industry Support Center in Naha to take my CCNA exam.  I was a little nervous, but as confident and prepared as I could be.  And I was in no mood to fail, not when the exam costs $300 whether you pass or fail!  I’m glad to say the time and effort I’d put in turned out to be well worth it.  I passed pretty convincingly and can now call myself “Cisco Certified”!Cisco CCNA Certified

But I know I’m not going to drop into a nice job with just one certification.  So a couple of days later I started to study for the CompTIA Security+ certification; with a that I will hopefully be taking and passing in the next couple of weeks.  Once that is over I will switch my focus towards either a Microsoft Certified IT Professional certification, or the CompTIA A+ cert.  I will probably get both, which will then give me a nice qualification foundation, with network, computer & network security, and IT equipment use & maintenance.  From there I can choose where I want to focus, possibly with a further security or wireless certification, given how important those are.  And then, with a little luck and a lot of work, I might be able to find myself a job come next Spring.

As for work in the IT industry, I am trying to keep my options relatively open, both position and location wise.  I would love to stay in Okinawa, but I do realise that there aren’t too many positions for IT staff (and especially those who are not fluent in Japanese).  The situation isn’t a whole lot better in mainland Japan actually, from what I’ve seen.  So I’m keeping an eye on things overseas.  The US has plenty of jobs I could get into, but I don’t know how difficult a working visa would be.  Other areas include back in the UK, somewhere else in Asia, or even the Middle East.  I’ve heard of some opportunities available in the Middle East, where I’d get worked very hard but it would give me some very good experience for a year or two, and I could come out of it with a bit of money saved up and in a lot better position to move up.

But I can’t get anywhere unless I put a lot of work in over the next 9 months.  So with that in mind, I’ll head off now and review another chapter of Security+.  Will hopefully be in touch again soon with more exam success.  Until then, thanks for reading.

I’m Writing Again, and with Bluehost Website Hosting

Posted By Dave on June 18th, 2013

It’s been a while, but I’m back on here.  I know I keep promising I’ll write more often but money motivates, and having just spent money on another 3 years of hosting and the domain name, I’d better make use of it!

It all came around last month when Fatcow.com, my previous hosting company, told me that my 2 year lease was almost up on website hosting, and that at the start of July my site would be taken down unless I got a new hosting package.  “No problem” thought I, until I read that they were wanting to charge me over $200 for 2 years of hosting and one year of my current domain name.  Wasn’t happy with that one bit so decided to start looking for alternatives.

I looked at self-hosting from my little Raspberry Pi microcomputer.  Could have been possible (and I think I will still look into the possibility of it in the next few weeks), but I’ve read when you start adding a few scripts and plugins to a WordPress site, it can slow it down.  This page doesn’t pull in visitors in the millions, but on rare occasions it does get a little traffic.  But it wasn’t looking like a good option.

I then thought I should just let the site die a death, as I hadn’t been updating it much in the last few months.  Had quite a few people telling me I should keep it going, but with car tax, the 2-yearly car inspection (shaken), an expensive computer-based test I had to take etc, it was looking like a lot of money.

Then, surprisingly yesterday, a call from the Kobe Kanagawa Eye Clinic changed my mind.  After discussing how my eyes had been progressing over the past few months (very well, but more on that later), the guy I spoke to once again thanked me for the testimonial I’d written about.  He told me that someone had contacted the clinic after reading my article on LASIK it had encouraged them to contact the clinic and start the procedure.  It was strange, but that little thing made me think that I should keep the site going.  Maybe between my inane ramblings I can help one or two people out sometime with this site.  And that alone makes it worth keeping.

But not at $260 for 2 years of hosting and domain name!  So I headed off to look for other hosting companies and one that kept coming up again and again was Bluehost.  They had good prices, and a lot of good reviews online.  So I decided to bite the bullet and go for 3 years of hosting with them and get my domain hosting done by GoDaddy.  The transfer of website and database has been surprisingly simple (which I’m sure means it’s not worked and everything is going to go offline very soon!) and setting everything up couldn’t have been easier.

But the money’s spent so I’ll have to get every single penny’s worth out of it!  Expect lots of writing to come soon…

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