Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry (nano) Christmas?

Photo: National Physical Laboratory

The UK's NPL (National Physical Laboratory), is celebrating the holidays this season, with the creation of a nano snowman. Constructed of two tin beads, facial features milled with a focused ion beam, and a nose made of ion beam deposited platinum. It is 1/5th the width of a human hair. See how they do it HERE.

Is it just me? I thought snowmen had three sections.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shanadoo - Launch Party!!!

2 years after the release of The Symbol, Shanadoo releases another album, Launch Party!!!. The latest compilation seems to stray from the heavier Techno/Eurobeat of the previous releases. They have also slowly transitioned from being German produced to Japanese. Don't forget to check out their first album Welcome to Tokyo.

Off the new CD:  Love Space Ship | World's End Supernova | Next Life

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Steampunk Keyboards

Saw a G4 episode on Steampunk last night. One of the cooler things I think is the Steampunk keyboard. So, I though I would collect a few pictures and post them here. If you want to make your own Steampunk keyboard, amongst other Steampunk creations, check out The Steampunk Workshop.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Iwako Erasers

Iwako erasers seem to have become popular in our area. I just saw these the other day on Amazon, a few days later my wife found and bought some at a local toy store. The detail is quite amazing. Some come with stickers you have to put on yourself for more realism. I'm not sure how practical they are a erasers, as I have not tested them yet, though I am thinking they are not meant to be used for erasing anything. The Japanese website is HERE. The English is HERE.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Redneck or Practical?

When I showed this to my wife the first word she said was redneck. All I know is, we get tired of emptying the stock shredder bin every other day. Sure I had to bypass a safety feature, but as long as you are careful, you can shred till the thing overheats. Best of all it goes right in a trash bag.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Google launches a Japanese IME converter.

Google has launched a Japanese typing converter (IME) for the language bar. Once installed it sits right along side the built in converter from Microsoft, giving you the choice to revert back if you want to. One thing I wish it did, that The Microsoft IME doesn't do either, is let me select Hiragana as my default input for every application. Why it defaults to "direct input" all the time, I do not know. If someone could tell me how to choose an input method, other than "direct input" as my default, please help. Get it HERE.

Google 日本語入力は、変換の煩わしさを感じさせない思いどおりの日本語入力を提供します。

Monday, November 16, 2009

Learning with J-Drama's

After a short break from J-Dramas and studying Japanese, I am back in the habit again. As always Japanese TV, for me at least, is a great way to retain vocabulary and keep up do date on slang.

Started Fugoh Keiji last week, and have some others waiting to watch. Fugoh Keiji is a funny concept. A super wealthy grandfather tries to make right is sordid past by allowing his police detective granddaughter to try and spend all his money solving cases.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Japan's rice fields in September

Again, my friend 花火 in Japan has been kind enough to send me an update of the rice fields. I am posting this just now, but this was taken at the end of September. Thank you 花火!

Selected for Google Earth!

I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of my pictures made it into the latest update of Google Earth.

The GP-1 GPS unit for my Nikon D90 was well worth the investment. It is especially handy when you have no idea where you were at the time you took a picture. It is fun to go back and see where you were exactly on the map. When planning my trip to Japan I relied on the Panoramio photos on Google Earth to get feel for different areas I would visit. Since I got back I have been geotagging points of interest around the area I live in for others to explore.

Friday, August 21, 2009

McDonalds Japan's Mr. James TV Commercial

This commercial pokes fun at gaijin in Japan. I don't find it offensive at all really, what do you think? More info on Mr. James and the Nippon All Stars HERE.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Total solar eclipse in Japan on the 22nd of July








The news article.

’’Totality in a solar eclipse, partial eclipse of the sun"!

On July 22nd, a partial eclipse of the sun will occur in various regions in Japan. Also a total solar eclipse will be seen in Amami Oshima north , Tokara, Yakushima island each , Those areas will be considered a "total solar eclipse area".

In Japan, many TV companies will begin a live broadcast of the century event in that day. Now in Japan , I think many foreingner and tourist will visit to see this centry event on each island. Anyway, please don't miss it out! ;)


Friday, July 17, 2009

Asus Eee Keyboard spotted in Neuromancer artwork!

The Eee Keyboard by Asus has an uncanny resemblance to the one seen below. The artwork is by Barclay Shaw for the 1986 Phantasia Press edition of the 1984 novel by William Gibson. Looks a little bulkier than the Asus model, but has the same LCD display on the right. Could this have been the inspiration for Asus's new keyboard PC?

Friday, July 10, 2009

The rice fields are growing up.

One of my friends in Japan just emailed me this picture this morning. How thankful I was to recieve this. It brought back so many memories. Of course when I was there the fields were full of water with people everywhere planting little rice plants by hand or with little tractors. During my stay I must have passed tens of thousands of these little fields all carefully placed and planned out. I still don't quite understand how the tractors they use to plant the rice don't sink into the flooded rice fields, but they don't.

I wish I were there to walk through the fields in person, but pictures will have to do. Thank you 花火, for bringing back memories of the Japanese countryside and my journey through Japan.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

やなな at Gekijo Dori

やなな at Gekijo Dori. You can see they are in front of Takashimaya Gifu at one point. I didn't know about やなな until I got back from Gifu City. It would have been fun to get a picture with her. Maybe next time. I added this to the GIfu City Fanpage.

See やなな's blog HERE.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

かぶと虫が逃げた!Run Trypoxylus to escape in the final of sumo wrestling.

In the final, a Trypoxylus sumo wrestler escaped. This final determines which is strongest, but suddenly, one of the players escape from the final match! See this boy's face? It looks so sad... This boy is the owner of the escaped Tryposxylus.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Japanese family chronicles 10 years of life.

If you are a true fan of real life in Japan you should like this video. It is 10 years of ordinary family life in Japan in chronological order.

I have often thought about trying this. Pretty sure I don't have enough pictures to cover 10 years without large gaps.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yakitori Grill - やきとり!

So, I am in Japan, and they are cooking all these wonderful things on these stick grills. I should have thought to buy one of these when I was there, but didn't think of it till afterwards. So far the one below is the only one I have found. It is not like the ones the street vendors have, but looks like it would do the job. This one is from Mitsutani Electric Corporation.

I'm thinking that with my rudimentary welding skills I may be able to create my own, which would use charcoal. You can see my Japanese Beef page on Facebook here, where I have more pictures and videos.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cherry picking tour in Yamanashi (山梨)






Hello! This is Miki.
Long time no posting!

I went on a cherry picking tour last week. I ate alot of cherries in this tour. I could eat as many as I like, but couldn't eat as many as I wanted to. After eating too many cherries I did not feel well, appropriate quantities are always best, but still I like cherries though..


Friday, June 19, 2009

メイド - There's a maid on the floor.

This image was removed at the request of the owner.
You will have to take my word for it.
It was funny.
Give me your email if you would like to see it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Japanese Beef

Japanese beef is one of the greatest things on earth! Another example to prove the Japanese have the best of everything. The fat is amazing, soft and buttery, melts in your mouth. I am not just talking about Kobe. If you go to any store that sells meat regardless of the cut, it is sure to be the best thing you have ever tasted. If you like meat that is.

I find it interesting how in America we pride ourselve on finding the leanest percentage of fat possible, and the leaner it is the more expensive it is. What a sharp contrast, you would think the opposite, that Americans would go for the fatest cut of meat possible, yet it is the Japanese who are blest with such fine beef.

The picture and video here were taken in Takayama. This is a great example of Hida beef. These sticks were 3500 yen each.

I started a Japanese Beef fan page on Facebook please join HERE!

Friday, June 12, 2009

No Pictures Please! (写真だめですください!) - Akiba Cafe Maids

It did not take long to find out that the cafe maids handing out flyers in Akiba did not like their pictures taken. More than once I was told no pictures please, as well as given the the Japanese sign of "No", which is the forearms crossed like an X. One of them actually followed me until I stopped and made me delete a picture while she stood there and watched. So, most of my pictures are of them walking away.

I did mange to get a flyer from one of them, where as most of them went out of their way to avoid me when they saw my camera. She was actually very nice and insisted that I examine the flyer on the spot, and kept asking me what I thought.

See more pictures HERE.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tilt Shift Gifu City

Sometimes I think I may be living under a rock. I am always finding cool things that have been around forever, that I have never seen before. Regardless, here are some nice tilt shift photos of Gifu City, by Pinboke. Please check out their other tilt shift photos here.

Tilt Shift Time Lapse of Japan

Who doesn't like the effect of tilt shift? This is the first time I have seen it in time lapse. Great find by The Awesomer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

WD TV HD Media Player Firmware Update

Western Digital realeases firmware update 1.02.07! 

This player is still my choice for watching all those GB's of Anime and J-Drama's. Just attach your portable HD and go. Unless you have a dedicated Media PC, this is the way to watch your downloaded TV and Movies. Although I have been having some trouble with some subtitle files on occasion, I still like this player, it handles just about anything I throw at it.

From the WD Website:
Version 1.02.07 Now Available!

We've received tremendous feedback on WD TV and some great suggestions to improve the product even more. In response to your requests, we're pleased to offer release product enhancements to make your viewing experience better than ever. Updating your media player is simple. Just follow the instructions below, grab your remote and enjoy the show!

What's New?

Release 1.02.07 (4/27/2009) 
(includes all previously released updates)

  • Enhanced cover art, album art, and thumbnail support for media files and folders
  • Additional subtitle languages and decoding support
  • Improved media playback and navigation
  • More audio formats for MKV container
  • Fixed bugs reported by the WD TV user community

Monday, June 8, 2009

Japanese Food

One of the more popular questions when I cam back was, "How was the food?". Overall it was very good. I can think of other places in the world where they eat scarier things. I had some amazing things that I cannot get here, and some things that I don't need to try again.

My goal was try as many different things as possible. My host family did their best to help me meet my goal. Just ask what it is AFTER you eat it, and you will be ok.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Swine Flu Quarantine Inspection

Upon arrival at Chubu International in Nagoya, we had to pass quarantine inspection. Took about an hour. Fortunately the air blowing out of the vents was very cool, I turned mine up high and hoped for the best. Not that I had a fever, but I didn't want to take any chances. So I passed, and so did everyone around me. I have heard other stories and if someone close to you has symptoms it could mean 1 week isolated in a hotel, not fun.

I took this video with my Nikon D90 DSLR and a 10-20mm super wide Sigma lens.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Two amazing weeks in Gifu City.

Finally after 2 years of talking about it, I got a change to visit. After reading about Japan and scouring blogs for information and details about this country, it was my turn to see for myself what it is was all about. I can say for me, that it was more than I had expected. It is truly an amazing place in so many ways.

The picture above is just one example of my 2 incredible weeks in Japan. I can't even put into words the experience that I just had. I can not thank my host family enough for everything they did for me during my stay. Finding a family that would allow me to stay and live with them allowed me to experience the country in ways that would not be possible otherwise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shoebill "動かない鳥" in Ueno zoo in Tokyo, Japan.


上野動物園のnext idle に会いに行きましょう♪

Shoebill of '' 動かない鳥 Not moving bird is called next idle in Ueno.

Hello! I'm Miki.
I will show you the latest news from Japan.
Have you ever heard Ueno zoo in Japan?
Check the following site.

Shoebill will become most popular bird in Japan soon. Unfortunately the number 1 idle ''Panda'' died last year. Ueno zoo had lost many visitors. No panda means it became the same as a usual zoo. They lost rare charactor in the Ueno zoo.

Speaking for Panda, many people came to think about ''Ueno!'' like that.
But it must be very difficult to import a giant panda from China again, but they caught the chance finally, because many people have visited to see the Shoebill recently. I think this is a good news for them .

So I visited to see that bird last Sunday. There are three Shoebills in the cage,
and Those Shoebill didn't move first time. I visited their cage again after while, and the
Shoebill cried once then. If you could see those birds's moving when you visit a Zoo which has Shoebill, it will be a lucky day for you . ;)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Medical check at Chubu

Still on the plane. Looks like I passed though.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Getting ready for the long haul

Boarding at Detroit for a direct flight to Nagoya. Sorry for the awful picture. They really need to update the BB Storm software.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

MOSDO! - Mos Burger and Mister Donut Combine Forces

What could be better than having a hamburger that looks like a donut. Oh I know, a donut that looks like a hamburger!

Check out these new items at Mos Burger and Mister Donut.

Japanese for beginners.

This one made me stop and think. 

Joking aside though, smart.fm is a great tool if you want to learn Japanese.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sanoramen ''OGURAYA'' in Sano city in Tochigi prefecture.

Hi! This is Miki.

I went to Sano on a short trip. This is the famous Sano ramen house "OGURAYA'' in Sano. Everyone waits a long time for ramen. My family waited there for 40 minutes. This ramen restaurant is crowed all day, but the Sanoramen and dumpling is very very nice, and well worth the wait.

And.. I found this bollard (?? Umm like a guardrail post I think), which someone put sparrow statues on. It's rare and cute.




Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2 weeks in Gifu City

Bofore anything I need to thank my wife for this. Without her support this adventure would in no way be possible. I will be in her debt a long time for this. This may possibly be the craziest thing I have ever done. I am at the point of no return and am leaving very soon. Ready or not..

Why Gifu? Yes, I have done a lot of reading, anytime someone mentions Gifu, "Why Gifu?" is the question back. My interest goes a lot deeper than the western so called otaku wanting to hang out at Akiba. I want to experience the real Japan, everyday life with a family just like mine. And that's where I found them, Gifu City.

I think this homestay will be a little different than the average. My hosts are of similar age and I am not a student. Although we have been in contact through email and Skype, neither one of us knows what to completely expect. Indeed it will be quite an adventure..

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Forever 21 in Harajuku open, huge line by customers

Hello! This is Miki.

Today American fashion's brand ''Forever 21 '' opened in Harajuku. There were lots of people who made a huge line before the opening. With H&M opening in November 2008 and GAP is already in Harajyuku, there are now a lot of fashionable stores from overseas. I've never heard of Forever 21, but I did read some information. Forever 21's items seems very reasnonable. I do want to visit there. Maybe I will soon.

Forever 21

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mt. Fuji! on the 26th of April


Hello ! This is Miki from Japan.
This picutre is Japan's famous Mountain '' Mt,Fuji '' .
My sister took it on Shinkansen bullet train yesterday .
Many people say Fuji is covered with snow is much better than nothing.
Nothing snow is in summer season.
Fuji in summer looks so sad .
I feel that something is missing at Fuji .
because it 's only an ash color mountain.
so , The best shot of Mt, Fuji is with snowclad peak.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Japans latest trend - People buy magazines for supplement



Recently, Many magazines have been sold with a limited edition supplement which is some famous brand bag or purse. These items are a collaboration between the magazine's publisher and the brand companies, such as,  Lesport Sac, Cath Kidston, Liberty print, etc.

So, we are apt to buy things on impulse whenever something is on limited edition. Sometimes, I feel that depending on the magazine, the limited edition's quality may differ from the original. Magazines that sell monthly, can have a  supplement with a cheap feel. But, magazines that are published specifically for selling a supplement, vs. a monthly magazine, I feel those supplements are a better value. Although, those magazine's content is worse, because they show only a catalogue of the brand of the supplement. Regardless, I've been very exciting to buy magazines like this recently.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Awesome Stop Motion Film

This was too good not to pass around.

Hello! Lion's cute cub



This is a picture of a lion cub.
I took this in the Fuji Safari park.
Fuji Safari Park is a unique zoo park .
It is a little different compared with an ordinary zoo park.
There are no fences around the zoo .
We watch many zoo animals in own car or park's bus.
It seems like as if I were in Africa.
I also took a video on my zoo trip.
I will show the video later. ;)


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tokyo Street Fashion

One of my favorite things is East Asian fashion. Whenever I watch a J-Drama or am following my friends at Jacco Fashion, I just can't help but love the style. 

If you want to keep an eye the street side of things, the guys over at Trends in Japan have a great monthly segment on Tokyo street fashion. Check it out and see who's really wearing what every month. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Almost-Otaku Goes Bilingual!

I am excited to introduce Miki! Thanks to Miki for being my first native Japanese speaking blog guest.

It seems Japan is a very popular subject these days.  You cannot watch American TV without Japan or Tokyo being referenced. What do Americans/Westerners find so interesting about Japan? Anime and manga, would most likely come to the mind of most. What about average everyday life? I think that is what intrigues me the most, what another culture so differnt from our own finds interesting to themselves.

I have asked Miki to not only post about interesting happenings in Japan, but to post about her everyday life.  I hope you will find it as interesting as I do.

I'm bringing up some herbs!

Hello! I've been bringing up some different herbs and spices.

Bringing up herbs is so cute and fun. After they grow up, I 'll cook with them.

Fresh herbs can be very healthy for you. What I want to try the most is drinking a cup of fresh herb tea. Have you ever tried that? It's really good and much better than a cup of dry herb tea. ;)

After growing up my herbs, I will show a picture of fresh herb tea.



Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Unique Habit of Japanese

I think Japanese people like to know what your blood type is. Most Japanese are keen to know the blood of type each other and start thinking what your blood type is from the time they first meet .

I think it must be a type of communication in Japan, similar to what you look like. It's kind of an instrument of measure. Most people know their own blood type as well. I don't know why, but many Japanese want to associate blood type with a character, and if I said my blood type is A! they would say ''Ah , I see, I thought you were A!!''. It's an interesting custom and I like that. 

Many people would say ''It's impossible and divides people into 4 types", but I believe those people associate 4 kinds of blood type to each other somehow.

Please enjoy the website attached that is one of instruction manual for each blood type, that would help you like a business card .



4つではなく、6つの、A ,B, O, AB, AO, BO なのかもしれません。



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