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。



Friday, April 17, 2009

The Japanese Tradition of Sushi

Comprehensive guide for sushi lovers.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Apartment from Trick (トリック)

A nice find by The Hopeless Romantic.

Running for 3 seasons, Trick was a catchy series about 2 mismatched characters dispelling majical mysteries. The series started in 2000 but is still poplular among some, including myself. Someone found the apartment from the show that Yamada Naoko, played by Nakama Yukie, lived in. See below.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The infinite soda can pull tab - プシュ!

Rough translation: Enjoy the exhilarating sense of infinite moment to open the pull-tab cans!

Bandai, the people who brought you the infinite bubble popping keychain does it again. Don't suppress your OCD, feed it!

KeyHoleTV 3.13 Download - Japanese TV

A new version of KeyHoleTV is available. Download Here.

KeyHoleTV allows you to watch the most popular TV stations in Japan from the comfort of your PC. It also streams a few radios stations as well. Versions for Linux and Mac OSX are also available.

Link to the KeyholeTV English page here. My previous post with detailed info is here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Japanese Translation Button

Thought I would try this. I put it on the sidebar. I know things don't translate very well with these services, but it is better than nothing I guess, I hope.  Give me feedback on how well it works!

Edit: Yes, it is google translate.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

City of Ember and Zork

While we are on the subject of Zork, am I the only one that had flashbacks to Zork at differnt scenes in this movie?  I know everyone has their own images in their heads of what the G.U.E. (Quendor) looks like, but this movie really had me wanting to dust off those old text games again.  How I did not know about this movie until 2 weeks ago, I do not know.

For me it was the presence of the movie more than anything. Set underground, lighting, costumes (especially the Mayors), etc.  The most noticable similarity was the generator control room.  Was that not an uncanny resemblance to the control room for the FCD #3 in Zork?

Please comment, I want to know if anyone else had the least thought of those old infocom games when you saw this.  I find it hard to believe that the author of this was not influenced just a little.

Get it here:  City of Ember

LOZ doesn't quite live up to the name, yet.

For a review of this disappointment please go HERE

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro HSM

Picking a camera body for my trip to Japan was easy, lenses are a whole nother story. After reviewing 4 different lenses I have decided on this one.  The only thing missing on this is OS, but it makes up for that in other areas.  It makes up a little for this due to it's f/2.8-4.5 aperature range.  Having the 2.8 at 17mm is really nice for indoors if you like to minimize flash, althouhg a boost in ISO is still  necessary if your subect is moving. Bokeh is decent, and it is very close to true macro at 70mm.  The picture below was taken at 70mm - f/4.5 - 1/25sec. shutter- ISO 200 - Hand held - Nikon D90. Lighting was from my desk lamp.

It's not the best out there and build is about medium, but the focus is fast and images are relatively sharp and I like the close focus.  For the price it's a very nice lens in my opinion.   If it had OS it would be the ultimate midrange lens.  I got mine from Amazon - Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC HSM Macro Lens for Nikon DSLR

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Zork Lives!

I got my first taste of Zork on an Osborne CP/m machine.  In a dimly lit basement with a glowing flourescent lamp over head, I delved into the world of Zork, the Osborne's 94k 5-1/4" drive chattering away with every command. In green text on a 5" screen, Infocoms's ancient world of Zork came alive. 

But, that was a long time ago, since then there have been several releases and sequels with graphical versions as well, all of which are in my collection today. It has been a while since a new release, with ZGI being the last and one of my favorites. 

Just when you think it will never happen again, the guys at Jolt/Activision put some life back into the series with the online game Legends of Zork.  Success or failure, many thanks to them for keeping the legend alive.  Head over to Legends of Zork and try it out!  

Thanks to my brother at the Atomic Cheese Melt for finding this. Make sure to keep an eye out for his big fat review on this game.

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