Fan of anime, robots, planes, sci-fi or anything similar? This could be interesting to you. If not, sorry. I will write briefly about this anyway.
Macross (and Gundam) is a staple of Japanese culture. Even if you’re not a fan of it here, you’ve at least heard of it. Anyway, the VF-25 Valkyrie is an iconic transforming fighter jet.
On my way to school, I noticed a poster advertising this on display nearby. After school Monday, I made a stop over to check it out to take a few pics and a video for my friend Amit. He’s a fan of Macross.
The Valkyrie was on display as part of a promotion for WOWOW, a subscription television channel. It is currently showing the original “Super Dimension Fortress Macross” (超時空要塞マクロス) show, as well as the movie “Macross: Do You Remember Love?” ((超時空要塞マクロス 愛・おぼえていますか). I didn’t sign up. I just wanted to check out the fighter.
Of course, I thought it’d be nice to share it with everyone else as well. The only disappointing part of this was that, yes, it’s 1/1 scale, but it’s only about half of the vehicle. The rest simply doesn’t exist. =(
I’ve never really liked sports. I greatly dislike American football and basketball. I’m not into hockey, soccer or most other major sports. But I can watch and enjoy baseball. I don’t know why. Many people say baseball is one of the most boring.
I’ve been to maybe 6 or so Major League games in the U.S… and now two games of professional baseball in Japan. First thing I noticed: Teams are often associated with their sponsors. Take for example the Hawks. They’re from Fukuoka, but Softbank is the sponsor or owner (too lazy to look it up right now). Anyway, people may say “Fukuoka Hawks,” “Softbank Hawks,” or some combination of the two. (more…)
Professor Layton was one of my favorite game series for the Nintendo DS. I loved the short, but wonderfully animated and voiced videos sprinkled throughout the series. I enjoyed the setting, music, and really just about everything about it. Oh, and the puzzles. But what I hated was how EVERY GOD DAMN THING LED TO A PUZZLE!
Hey Prof, my dog died last night.
I’m sorry to hear that. Say, that reminds me of a puzzle!
Can you help me put this book back on the shelf?
Of course. By the way, can you figure out this riddle about books?
Regardless, I still enjoy the series. And so do the Japanese. A few months ago in Japan convenience stores around the country were selling small boxes of Professor Layton chocolates. Also, inside each box was a puzzle similar to what a player encounters in the games.
Below are pictures from inside the box as well as a puzzle and the solution. (more…)
A few weeks ago I was discussing Japanese “cuteness” with Rachel at a small cafe in Tokyo. While there, the topic of acceptance of cute things in Japanese society came up.
I never thought about it, but it’s something I think I enjoy. And I’m not talking about girls, guys, or things like that. I’m talking about mascots, characters, icons, etc. A perfect example is 豆しば (Mameshiba) seen in the picture above.
Mameshiba is a cute bean (literally a bean) that pops up in the most bizarre times to instill some random knowledge on its listeners. Check the video below for a collection of commercials featuring him.. her… it? (more…)
March and April here were cherry blossom viewing season, or as it’s known in Japan, お花見. It’s an excuse for people around the country to relax, go to a nearby park, drink and be merry with friends and family. You don’t really need a reason to do that, but it’s a good reason if you’re always busy. You’re pretty much expected to go to at least one of these parties each year.
The sakura, or cherry blossoms, bloom at different times throughout the country depending on the weather and location. This year they bloomed earlier than had been originally predicted, thanks to some warmer than average weather.
I went to three parties this year:
- The first was with some classmates. It was a small gathering that also served as someone’s going away party. We ate at a restaurant prior to going, so we ate some snacks and a few people had beer. It was held at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo.
- The next party was with my host dad’s friend’s company. We were invited to tag along. Food included sushi, wraps, pizza and beer. This was at a park in Yokohama.
- The third party was party was also held at Yoyogi Park. This one was a gathering of people in Japan who create YouTube videos. This one ended earlier due to rain, so it was moved to the Tobacco and Salt Museum… while we waited for a nearby pub to open up.
It’s always a fun experience, and I recommend everyone try to take part in one of these parties.
In level 4A of my school, I had to write about a strange experience that happened to me… real or made up. This is partly true, but not completely.
Here’s a hastily edited video to show you a bit of my life the past few months. From January until about the end of April. There was snow, cherry blossom season, a KFC colonel dressed as Goku from Dragonball Z, a YouTube party, and some other stuff. A bit of 6 minutes long.
In the next post will come pictures! But for now, just this one video. And yes, I realize there’s not much Cherry blossom/花見 stuff in that video. I’ll work on something much better for that soon.
On Friday, March 1, everyone from my school (I think there were about 300 of us) went on a field trip to 箱根 (はこね, Hakone), Kanagawa-ken, Japan. It was about 1.5 – 2 hours by bus from Shibuya. So why did we go there? I mean, just what is Hakone known for?
Well, it’s probably most known for its 温泉 (おんせん, onsen), or hot springs. We didn’t actually go to any though, which is probably for the best. I didn’t really want to see my male classmates in the buff. However, 混浴 would be OK! ^_~
Hakone is also known for its 黒卵 (くろたまご, kurotamago), or hard-boiled black eggs. The story goes that if you eat one, you’ll have 7 years added to your life. I ate two.
Now, before you get weirded out about the idea of a black egg, I have to tell you that only the shell is black. The rest of the egg is white and yellow and otherwise normal. And it tastes just fine. They’re black because of the sulfuric water the eggs are boiled in. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of them, but you can see them in the video below!
While there, we also took a boat ride around 芦ノ湖 (あしのこ, Ashinoko), a lake located in Hakone. There was a pirate ship type boat there, but unfortunately we road a normal one. Still, it was nice to get out and see some nature. It’s a joy to see it after being surrounded by urban things all the time in Yokohama and Shibuya.
It was on the boat ride that I had the chance to eat two “strange” things. They can both be seen in the video above. The first was a piece of squid filled with some type of peppers inside. This came from a classmate who brought it from her home of 大连 (Dàlián), China. As said in the video, it’s not something I’d try to find on my own, but looking back while I type this, it was pretty tasty.
Next was a duck tongue. Yes, the actual tongue of a duck. I really wish I had taken pictures of this with my camera rather than only video. Still, watching the video you can get an idea of how alien that thing looked. The flavor was good, but the texture was a little strange. I’m glad I tried it though!
It was a trip of about 7 hours with the bus ride and all. I really wish we could have two field trips each term, or at least a few days to walk around areas of Tokyo and get out of the classroom more often. But I guess once is better than none!
As always, there are plenty more pictures. Click here for to view the rest of the pictures.
School is an interesting thing. I get to see classmates and some friends, learn some things, and have an opportunity to get out of my home. Of course, there is always homework to do if I attend class, as well as taking one or two tests every week. All in all though, it’s a good time.
After my first quarter (the year is split into quarters), I thought I would have become accustomed to the workload, which would leave me with a bit more free time right about now. Haha, silly me! If anything, class and homework is more intense. At least I don’t have to worry about having nothing to do and becoming absurdly bored like I was during winter break. (more…)
My “semester,” or first session of class, has come to an end. I’m proud to say I passed and am moving on to level 3. Basically, that means more vocab, kanji and grammar to learn. Woo!
From Oct. 9 – Dec. 14, I learned about 1,000 words. I learned approximately 200 kanji. In class we went over something like 20 chapters from our textbook. Each with at least two important grammar points to remember. Oh, and I learned some inappropriate Chinese words from some Chinese classmates. =)
Our finals were about 3 days of various tests. That was probably the most stressed I’ve ever been about testing in my entire life. You see, for better or worse, I’ve never been one to worry about tests. I would see friends pull all-nighters, become so stressed they couldn’t eat, sleep… basically unable function.
It’s not that I never cared about tests–I did. But I think I never cared as much as I do now.
At one point in this session, maybe three weeks ago, I felt so stressed and emotionally overwhelmed about things I silently started crying in class. It was strange–I was sitting there listening to the lecture, smiling and laughing a bit… and there were some tears.
The past three months have probably been the most fun I’ve ever had in school. And for that, I say thank you to everyone supporting me: my family, my friends, my teachers and some of the greatest classmates I could ever ask for.