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Fist Pumper (ガッツポーズ)

"Why the fist pumps?" You may ask. Well, there is a good reason.
『なんでガッツポーズ?』と思われたかもしれない。まぁ、それには良い理由があるのだ。

Remember the Comprehensive Exam that hurt my brain more then anything in my life and tortured me for two weeks? After all, all 1st ear Graduate students were tested on everything we had learned in our field and Yeah. In a twelve hour sitting, we were asked 10 impossible questions and were expected to produce well-constructed, organized, critical answers that demonstrate our grasp of the discipline.
このプログの3週間程前、わたしのことをひどく苦しめ、わたしの脳に激痛を与え続けた試験のことを覚えているだろうか? わたし自身はよく覚えている。なにせこのわたしがこの大学で5年間学んだ全ての事をテストされて、しかも12時間の間に解答不可能で、しかも教授でもとけそうもない問題を10問やらなければならなかったのだ。

While we prepared for this exam for 2 weeks, we had no classes or work assignments.... just studying all day long from early morning till late evening (usually till midnight). If we fail, we would be asked to leave the Masters Program. So you can see the tention and the pressure that we all felt.
準備するために2週間朝早くから遅くまで勉強したのだ。仕事もクラスも何もない。ただ単に試験にそなえるだけだった。プレッシャーも並ではなかった。これをパスしなければ大学院2年目に行けないのだから。落ちたら、統計学部の修士プログラムから抜けなければならないのだ。なので、一年生が皆必死だったのも予想できるであろう。


So I finally got a letter from the Graduate Committee for the Statistics Department, telling me m results.
そして試験をとった3週間後、やっと結果の手紙が大学院統計学部の委員会から届いた。


Many of you may have guessed what the results was. After all, didn't all the fist pumpers gave away the answer?
もう結果はわかっている人も多いだろう。ガッツポーズを載せているからなおさら明らかであろう。


Yep, I passed. Now I can focuss on fulfilling remaining courses and start doing my Master's Project. There is no more major obstable for me for getting the Master's degree. I just need to give up the good grades and do my project. You know, that is a lot of relief because during the first of graduate school we were so swamped with theory classes and statistical computation class and their projects. These were very difficult courses and time demanding. Make no mistake, courses we would be taking would be difficult and time demanding as well. But we are taking less number of credits per semester, and we have no future concern about how much stuff we retain in our brain because there is no more flipping comprehensive exam! Ha!
そう。パスです。これで残っているクラスをとることと、良い成績をとることと、修士論文を終わらせれば、卒業できるのだ。これで修士号をとるのに困難な障害物がなくなったということだ。これは大学院生にとって大きな荷が肩からおりたようなものだ。一年生の時にとったクラスはすべて試験のために覚えておかなければならず、統計の理論のクラスやコンピューティングのクラスばっかりだったので、非常に難しく、時間をくうクラスばっかりだからだ。しかも、そのクラス成績によって、試験の判定も大きく左右されるから、プレッシャーかかりまくりだったのだ。勘違いしないでほしい。もちろん、2年生でとるクラスは同じように皆難しく、時間のくうものである。しかし、一学期にとるクラス数が一年生の時より少ないし、もう二度と、今回のような解答不可能の試験のために死ぬような勉強をしなくてもいいからだ!!

Hence the fist pumper!
なのでガッツポーツなのだ!

Tomo's birthday

I turned 25 on 22nd May. On the day of, Masami made me a cake. It was a spongecake with pears. It was delicious. We shared pieces with Quiner family. 5月22日に25歳になった。当日は正美ちゃんがケーキを作ってくれた。洋梨が入っている僕の大好きなスポンジケーキだった。ロールケーキを横にしたみたいにスポンジが縦に巻いてあって、かなり手のこんだケーキだった。甘すぎなく、すごい美味しかった。クワイナー家にも少し分けてあげたら喜んでくれた。


We went to the Tucanos for lunch like we always do for birthdays. This was our 4th time going to Tucanos. If you go there during your birthday month, your meal is free as long as there is at least one other person with you. We go there for meat. Chicken, beek, pork, fish, and meat and meat and meat... 誕生日の月はいつもTucanosレストランに行く。今回で4回目である。誕生日の月に二人以上の人と一緒に行くと、一人分食事が無料になるのである。ここには肉を食べにくる。鳥肉、牛肉、豚肉、魚肉、肉、肉、肉、肉、肉、肉、肉...である。


The video below shows how they meat the meat in Tucanos. Remember that more pictures and videos are available in [Endless Journey] on [f-blood] website. このTucanosで、どうやって肉を食べるかは下のビデオを見ればわかる。いつものように、[f-blood]のサイトの[Endless Journey]のコーナーでもっと写真やビデオが見れます。

BYU sells assets? (BYUが不景気?)

We've seen many companies that go out of business in America during this past 18 months. Companies & Corporation that survive this economical turmoil continues to suffer from cutting budgets and firing their employees. Brigham Young University is not exempt from this. この18ヶ月間でたくさんの会社が不景気の影響で潰れ、たくさんの会社がリストラ、経費の減少などで苦しむのをよく耳にしたが、BYUもどうやら、この不景気の影響からは逃れられなかったようだ。

For example, BYU had greatly reduced the budgets in Graduate Program in Statistics Department. Few classes were cancelled, soome scholarships been reduced from full to half. As a student, I have seen how this depression has affected the academic world. 例えば、わたしの通うBYU大学院の統計学部の経費がざっぱりと少なくなり、来年提供されるはずだったクラスがスタッフの人数の関係でキャンセルになったり、奨学金のもらえる分が少なくなったりした。学生として、この不景気の影響が学問の世界にまでおよんでいるのを肌で感じた。

Department of Human Performance has dramatically changed their policy about school gym and other sporting facilities. Until April, BYU offered free access to gym and free t-shirt, towel, shorts, socks, swimming attire, and jocks rental. They discontinued that in May. Students must now bring their own t-shirt, towel, shorts, socks, etc.. スポーツ科学部も学生に無料でオファーしているジムや、設備のポリシーをガラリと変えた。今年の4月まではジムは無料で使え、無料でスポーツ用のシャツやズボン、タオル、靴下や、サポーターなどを便利にレンタルできたのだが、5月になって、レンタルができなくなって、ジムを使用する学生、教授達はすべてシャツやズボンなどを持参しなければならなくなった。

What suprised me was that they are now trying to sell their assets (BYU is not going "out of business"; it certainly is not). Here is the post I saw on the wall after my workout yesterday. 一番驚いたのは、今まで使っていた物を売ろうとしている事だ。昨日、ジムに行った時にこんな紙が壁にはってあった。


Basically, they are selling all the t-shirts, shorts and stuff. Wao. BYU is doing whatever they can. Recall that BYU is mostly funded by tithing money and the donations from alumni. The Church seem to be adjusting to the surrounding economy even though there are plenty of funds in the Church. 要するに、今までレンタルで使っていたスポーツ用のシャツやズボンなどを売るということらしい。BYUの資金ほとんどは末日聖徒イエスキリスト教会の什分の一や卒業生からきていることを思いだしてほしい。教会もまわりの経済環境に合わせて資金を減らしているから、学部側も色んな面で大変なのだろう。

On the different note (あまり関係ない事だが...)

We made a transition to new BYU ID card this year. 今年になって、古いBYUのIDカードから新しいにカードに変わった。

BYU is now trying to complete this transition. There seem to be lot of students who are procastinating to go to the ID center and get their new ID. The gym is now posting this paper around the building to give incentive to the student to get their new ID card. しかし、新しいIDカードを作るためにはIDセンターに足を運ばなければいけないので、グズグズしてまだやっていない学生も多いらしい。大学側はこのIDカードの変更を早く完全にしたいのであろうか、ジムに行っている学生達に早く新しいカードを作るように、このような紙を張って動機を作らせようとしていた。


It says "June 1 2009. YOU will need the new ID card." But then I saw this bizarre paper in a different part of the building. 紙には『6月1日には新しいIDカードが必要』とある。つまり、そうしないとジムが使えないのである。なるほど。しかし、今度は建物の違う所で同じお知らせ紙がはってあったが、こんな紙だった。


You may ask "Okay... whats special about that?" これを見て『この紙のどこがおかしいの?』と思われたかもしれない。

Are you out of your mind??? Look at this! It's a liquid spill on the paper? What kind of liquid it looks like? BLOOD! しかし、よーく見ていただきたい。何なら液体がこぼれたような絵が書いてあるが、一体何の液体と思われるか?血でしょ、これって!!!



I just thought this was so bizarre that they thought it would be nice to print the reminder about the new ID on the bloody paper. what were they thinking? Thanksfully, whoever printed this was wise enough to print it black and white. Geez. Are they telling us that there will be blood if we don't change to new ID card?? What a scary world we live in??新しいIDカードを作って下さいとお知らせするために使用するには奇妙な張り紙とは思わないかね?一体何を考えていたのだろうか?まぁ、誰が張ったのか知らないが、カラーではなく、白黒でプリントしてくれたので、まぁせめてのもんだと思う。まったく...彼らは早く新しいIDカードに変えないと血を見るよでも言いたいのだろうか??何て恐ろしい世界だ。

Deers in the backyard

When we were living in our last apartment, we often saw deers in our backyard when we wake up in the morning. When my wife saw them for the first time in the backyard, she was still half asleep (and she screamed, of course). We think they are families. They often came in a group of four. Here is a snapshot of some of them. For the related Photo Album, click here.

Ballroom Videos

These are videos from Dancesports at the Brigham Young University between 2006 and 2007. Same videos can be viewed from [Ballroom] section in f-blood.

Note that "silver medal" and "gold medal" doesn't mean we won the medal. Medal indicates the level of the examination. In competition ballroom, dancers are judged by diverse criteria. One of them is the medal. Medal examinations enable dancers' abilities to be recognized according to conventional standards. Competition are separated by this medal (i.e. Newcomer, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Championship).

Silver Medal Cha cha routine

This cha cha routine was class performance from Dance280 for international social dance. I'm hardly visible for the first 20 seconds but after that, I can be seen pretty easily. I'm dancing with a tall blonde girl (Alysse) right behind the guy with white suit.


My partner, Alysse, was excellent partner. Alysse and her friend Tiffany (who also was dancing in this video) have been dancing for a performing group for almost 10 years. Tiffany was one time a Aeriel for Disneyland in California. They are both extremely good dancers.


Gold Medal West Coast

This is another class routine from Dance 380. I'm dancing in the row behind with a girl with red shirt and black shirt (Rebekah). Not that exciting choreography, but all the Gold Level steps are performed in this routine and we never do a basic step (which is usual at the Gold medal). I struggled through this routine but miracly I was able to do all steps without any mistakes. So I was proud of that.


Silve Medal Tripple Swing

This is from the competition. The partner is once again Alysse. We made quite far into the tournament; semi-semi final. Since Alysse and I weren't expecting to stay for long, Alysse had planned to attend practice for her performing group. So unfortunately, when we realized that we could be in the semi-semi final, we had to give up the tournament. But we were both happy with the results.


Gold Medal Mambo

This is from the competition. Partner is Rebekah. She and I were both busy with school stuff so we didn't put much effort into it. Actually, you can see in the video how crap we are doing. Just kidding. We weren't too bad. We even went to the second heat.



Bronze Medal Samba

This dance was the first time I ever did the dance competition. And this is the only dance that we won the competition. And I think we won because my partner was really really good. As you can tell, I look very awkward in this video. As I moved onto more advance dance class, I could imediately tell what I need to do better from this video.



It's not that bad as I may think it is. We won the competition after all. But there are so much more room for an improvement.

Fanciest McDonald I've ever seen

So while I was in London for my brother's wedding in England, I came across a fanciest McDonald I've ever seen. Arty environment, comfortable couches, modern interior, etc.. I walked by this McDonald while I was walking in the industrial part of London. The video below shows inside and outside of the McDonald.

For more pictures from London, visit [Endless Journey] section of our website.

Wedding Photo Book

This video is from Masami's birthday this year. We didn't have any Wedding photo book (b/c we didn't hire a photographer) so I went to MyPublisher.com and designed our own Wedding Photobook. MyPublisher.com allows you to download a software that allows you to design photo book using GUI. Thanks to Dustin Fife and his website Fife Photography.

Photos from Masami's birthday can been viewed from here.

Our 1st Anniversary

May 17th was our 1st Anniversary. The day included (1) breakfast in bed, (2) suprise flowers and box of Kara chocolate (with "LOVE" tie). We took few pictures after Church. We thank all those who supported us thus far we hope that our family relationship will grow larger as we have our first child in July.

More pictures are posted here


Sports Day

VIEW COMPLETE PHOTO ALBUM

Our ward organized the Undokai (Sports Day). We were glad that the weather turned out perfect for the day. Thanks to the members of activity committee; especially the Sakita family and the Baker family.

The team was divided into the BYU team and the UVU team. All the BYU team members had blue t-shirt and their faces painted blue. All the UVU team members had green t-shirt and had their hair dyed green.

Remember that the photo albums are available here

My wife participated in apple peeling competition. The wives compete with each other to find out who can peel the apple fastest. Masami won the whole thing. I was pretty proud. Since Masami is pregnant, she could not participate in any other event.

I participated in the scanvanger hunt race and the relay race. I also helped out with for the sport event that involved kids throwing water balloon into a basket. Kids were wild.


Here are some videos.


There also was an eating contest.

Here are the cheer songs from BYU children and adults.


UVU ended up winning the game (shame after all that singing that "BYU is the best in the world." lol), but we all had fun. Quiner family, Ayumi and we went to the Macey's to get some icecream. That was a good treat.

The following is the short summary of the project from Winter Semester 2009. For the full article, click here.

The term "heart disease" is often used interchangeably with "cardiovascular disease" (CVD) — a term that generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. CVD is one of the top worldwide killer of men and women. It is of interest to investigate the effect of risk factors on the odds of diagnosing CVD.

Framingham Data

1,615 men, aging from 31 to 65, from Framingham Massachusetts were recruited to perform extensive examination on the CVD. The Framingham Heart Study was originally directed by the National Heart Institute The study has played an important role in identifying many major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and has led to the publication of about 1,200 research articles in leading journals.

The followinga were investigated as the risk factors for the cardiovascular disease: (1) overall average blood pressure, (2) overall average cholesterol level, (3) the difference in the average blood pressure, (4) the difference in the average the cholesterol level, (5) subject's age at the follow up period and (6) whether the subjects had the habit of smoking at the first examination. Model was created to predict the probability of diagnosing CVD given subject's profile. In this data, only 128 out of 1,615 subjects were diagnosed with CVD (7.925% of data).

Cardiovascular Disease Model

The data was randomly split so that 80% of data (1,292 subjects) is used for the model construction. Using this training data, a model was constructed to predict the probability of diagnosing CVD. The table below shows the effect of each risk factor in the model and the P-value for the Wald Test, which tests whether an risk factor effect exists or not.
The plot below shows how each risk factor e ects the likelihood of diagnosing the CVD.Model Validation

The performance of the model was evaluated using the remaining 20% of the data (272 subjects). The specificity (the actual proportion of no CVD prediction among subjects with no CVD) is 0.7368 and the sensitivity (the actual proportion of CVD prediction among subjects with CVD) is 0.7273. Therefore, given that probability of diagnosing CVD is 7.925% the probability of predicting that the subject has a CVD is 19.21%. This probability may seem small but considering that only 7.925% out of all subject (128 out of 1,615 subjects) actually had the CVD, the model seem to perform well. The model needs more subjects with CVD to increase its efficiency.

Conclusion
The age, systolic blood pressure and the cholesterol level have significant effects of the odds of diagnosing the CVD, while smoking, changes in blood pressure and cholesterol level do not have significant effect. Furthermore, there is no interaction of these risk factors. The model performance is moderately accurate. Model predicts the diagnosis of the CVD correctly 19.21% of the time, given that probability of diagnosing CVD is 7.925%.

ADVANCED SAS Certification

Now that the Comprehensive Exam is out of the way, my daily exhaution is directed towards the SAS ADVANCED Certification.

What is SAS?

For those of you who do not know, SAS (pronounced "sass; originally called "Statistical Analysis System." But because of its recent popularity and high recognition popularity, SAS is no longer considered acronym) is an integrated system of software products provided by SAS Institute that enables the programmer to perform data analysis, report writing and graphics, statistical analysis,forecasting, etc.. SAS system is well known in almost any major corporations.

Statisticians who are proficient in SAS have great advantages than those who are not. If proficiency is achived, one can not only increase career opportunities and marketability to employers, but also enhance their credibility as technical professionals and earn industry recognition for their knowledge.


SAS Certification Exams

SAS Institute offers certification exams for those who are wishes to gain such great advantage. BASE and ADVANCED SAS certification are only some of many exams that are available. (BASE is obviously "BASIC" SAS, and ADVANCED is "advanced" SAS).

Those who pass the certification exam can put the SAS logo on their resume, which greatly attracts employer's eyes. I have certified for the BASE SAS and I already have SAS logo on my resume (as you can see above). In my experience, that logo is the first thing any human resource people notices on my resume. And most of the time, they circle the SAS logo on my resume (which indicates to me that I am a strong candidate for the employer).

The effort to certify for SAS is greater than ever in Statistics Department. When I was first introduced to SAS, I only knew one person that was certified in BASE SAS (including graduate student) and only one or two people dared to take the exam each semester. Now I know 3 graduate students and 3 undergraduates who are certified in BASE SAS, and countless are trying to pass the exams. So far, no one has passed the ADVANCED exam.

What I aspire to do this Summer

My goal is to pass the ADVANCED SAS certification. That also means I will be the first one to get the ADVANCED Certification in the history of the department.

The textbook is astaunding 975 pages (while BASE SAS text book only has about 200 pages less). The exam costs $180 to take ($90 for me because department funds half of it). I have jobs that keep me busy 20-30 hours a week. If I fail, I won't be able to retake for 30 days. But I have until end of August to pass. I think I have a good chance.

Series of Events

Series of things happened while I was preparing for the comprehensive exam. Just so you know, the pictures I post here are only one of many that could be seen under "Endless Journey" section of my website. Visit http://tomofunai.com.

Event 1: Justin's Birthday
(see the photo album)

We threw a surprise birthday party for Justin who lives in our neighborhood. While he and his wife were eating out for his birthday celebration, we decorated his house and waited for them to come back.


video

Justin was thrown of by it. We had food and lots of talking afterwards.


The Quiners, the Chuns and the Ham families invited us for it. Thanks guys. We had a blast.


Event 2: Cinco De Mayo
(see the photo album)

Trevor invited us to celebrated Cinco de Mayo. Trevor cooked us nice meat for our tortilla wrap. The Hess, Trevor's aunt and uncle, the Sawadas and Matsushita families were also invited. Weather was perfect for the BBQ.


Nice work, Trevor.


It was heavenly...

Event 3: Indian Curry, Enchillada, Yakisoba and Tofu
(see the photo album)

Our friends, Katsue and Yuki from Japan visited us for several days. That also meant nice meals for guests and for me! (lol) We had curry at Bombay House, Katsue made chicken enchilladas, I made some yakisoba and Masami made deep fried Tofu. All of Masami's cooking can be seen on "Masami's Cooking" on our website f-blood, or you can visit that page directly by clicking HERE.




Event 4: Masami goes for a walk
(see the photo album)

Spring is finally here! Masami took a walk up the hill.




Event 5: Provo's last attempt of Winter
(see the photo album)

Here are some pictures I took on my cell phone on the way to school. See the photo album for more. I love my cell phone. It has really good resolution.


Comp Exam is passed... or past?

Over the last month or so I have focused the vast majority of my academic energies on preparing for my comprehensive exam.

For those of you unfamiliar with academia, the comprehensive exam, also known as a prelim or qualifier, is essentially the biggest, scariest, longest test you can possibly imagine while you are in Graduate school. In a twelve hour sitting, we are asked 5-6 questions related to our major field of study and expected to produce well-constructed, organized, critical answers that demonstrate our grasp of the discipline.

If you pass, you get to continue on to work on your thesis. If you fail, you have an opportunity to retake the exam at a later date or you are asked to leave the Statistics program. There is a lot riding on this test. While some of my colleagues were relatively prepared, the urge to continue cramming was fairly irresistible.

The Graduate Coordinator was kind enough to spend an hour with us three times while we prepared for the exam in the past few weeks. The coordinator told us that we all should have a feeling of whether we passed or not. But all of us walked out of the exam on Thursday and Friday devastated. I sure messed up on many questions.

But what's over is over. Thank goodness I won't have to do it again. Graduate faculties said they take into account how active we were in the Graduate Seminars and how much they like us on the personal level. I think I'm likeable person. I'll be alright.

It's passed... and it's a past.

Music of the Month: Scatman!

I'm the scatman! Who forgets the Scatman John? Scatman John was also famous back in Japan about 12 years ago (even few of his songs included Japanese language). He was also popular in Switzerland when we moved there. I was drenched in study for the Comprehensive exams that are coming in 4 days and Scatman truly relieved me from nerve and anxiety. His song suddenly popped in my head and I just had to go to the YouTube and find his songs. I listened to him for 1/2 hour.

The 2 videos below are YouTube Videos for "I'm a Scatman" and "Scatman's World."





About Scatman John For those of you who don't know Scatman John, his real name is John Paul Larkin. Born in California, he was born with a severe stutter. But he used his stutteredness for his singing. He after playing jazz for many years, he decided to debut as a singer. He was mainly scared that listeners would realize he stuttered, so his wife suggested that he talk about it directly in his music. He recorded the first single, "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)", a song intended to inspire children who stuttered to overcome adversity. He adopted the new name and persona of Scatman John. He has sold millions of recordings worldwide and was named "Best New Artist" in the Echo Awards in both Japan and Germany. He was a recipient of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Annie Glenn Award for outstanding service to the stuttering community and was inducted into the United States National Stuttering Association Hall of Fame.