Monday, August 21, 2017

Light Switch




Sometimes, the capsule ball dispensers have stuff for 200 yen ($2 USD) that I have to get "just because." The little LED light switches was one such item.



Basically, they're a plastic box (2"x1"x3/8") with the switch and the internal LED, plus a sheet with two stickers. Since the second sticker just had "ON/OFF", I tossed that one and used this one. I hadn't really been thinking about putting the sticker in the indented part of the face, but it just worked out that way. All I wanted was for it to be centered right.



You light up my life. To an extent. Primarily at night when it's otherwise dark outside.
I'm going to get some double-backed tape, and then stick this thing to the side of a utility pole.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Aug. 20 weekend




The whole past week was kind of an up and down thing. Obon Matsuri (Summer vacation) ran from the 11th to the 17th, but I had to work on the 11th to make up for missed English classes due to the non-typhoon the week earlier. I had planned to do a variety of things during the remaining break, including some long walks and one or two photo sessions outside, but instead ended up stuck in the apartment most of the time. I still made use of the opportunity to read many of the books I received for my birthday, and writing up almost a month's worth of blog entries and reviews. Obon officially ended on last Thursday, but a lot of people took one-two extra days of vacation to travel longer. In my case, I had 3 classes in the afternoon on Friday, with nothing much else going on, and another three on Saturday. Saturday was a different case, in that a JAXA rocket launch that had been postponed a few days earlier was rescheduled for 2:29 PM. The downside was that I had a class from 2 to 2:50 PM. The upside was that the owner of the school was willing to let me continue the lesson outside at the top of the building's stairwell. The problem was that I'd thought that the owner and the other teacher were going to go up to the roof as well, and when the clock hit 2:30 and they hadn't said anything, me and my student went upstairs by ourselves, only to discover that we'd missed the launch by a couple minutes. There was just a smoke trail in the sky. But, this is the closest I've gotten to seeing a launch in the last 6 years and now I at least know what direction to face next time. Sigh.

The main event, though, was the big Kagoshima summer fireworks display down at Dolphin Port, Saturday evening from 7:30 to 8:45. This year I didn't have evening classes, and I could have an early dinner so I got out of the apartment to go down to the bay at 7:10. From past years, I knew that Dolphin Port would be packed, and that the top of the Shiroyama hill would be too far away to see the fireworks properly, so I was thinking that I'd try visiting what I considered to be a "secret" viewing area a few blocks north of the aquarium. I'd discovered this area two years ago when I shot my time lapse video of the volcano. You have to walk along the main street north from the aquarium until you reach a hill with a street running 4 blocks down to the bay again. At the end of the street is a senior community center, and baseball and soccer fields. It's also where Saint Francis Xavier is reported to have landed at Kagoshima in 1545. That was the plan. However, as I was walking through Tenmonkan, I encountered one of the people I know here, and he decided that he had to guide me to the park in front of City Hall to show me the fireworks himself. The City Hall park is a long wide boulevard, lined with tall buildings. My guide sat down about a third of the way along the boulevard, and we waited. There weren't that many people, and the fireworks was fun to watch, coupled with a sound system playing Also Sprach Zarathustra during part of the display, and a laser show during another part, but there were three fireworks launch sites at Sakurajima, and two of them were mostly blocked by the lines of buildings. Next year, I'll know better.

On Sunday, I went to the aquarium for the afternoon and had dinner at the Royal Host family restaurant near the apartment. So, I didn't get a chance to visit Amu Plaza to catch the last of the live music for Age paku. Oh well. At least I could watch the dolphins, seals and squid swimming in their tanks.

The next event is going to be the Yukata Matsuri, which was also rescheduled due to the typhoon on Aug. 5th. That's going to be this Saturday and Sunday (26th and 27th), in Tenmonkan. There's going to be a stage in front of the 7-11, but I can't find a schedule for live music (just a bingo game for giving away prizes on Sunday). I'll have to wait and see if I have any classes Saturday night again.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ajin, Bilingual, vol. 1 comments


(All rights belong to their owners. Images used for review purposes only.
Image taken from the Kodansha page.)

Ajin, Bilingual, vol. 1, translated by Kou Ransom
Kodansha Publishing has joined the other Japanese manga publishers that have bilingual manga for teaching children English. I've seen English/Japanese Doraemon volumes recently, and I discovered bilingual copies of Urusei Yatsura in the Maruzen bookstore in Kagoshima shortly after I got here, 6 years ago, and there have been others. Right now, though, we have Ajin, AKA - Demi-Human, with Ko Ransom listed in the translation credits. Ko's name doesn't show up anywhere else in an Amazon.jp search.

Before I start on this, I'd like to lay a little ground work. There's a professional translators association based in Tokyo, and they offer periodic workshops for members trying to get started in the industry. I took one of these workshops last Spring, and the main focus was on fine-tuning our translations (Japanese to English) to be natural-sounding, rather than literally accurate. The point being that clients want high-level translations without having to hire a separate native-checker to do rewrites and clean-up. I think a lot does depend on the client, because in the case of Japanese companies, there is a need for the translation to be relatively close to the original text to avoid the sense that the translator made a mistake. Regardless, the workshop taught that translations shouldn't feel like translations.

So, looking at the first few pages of Ajin, vol. 1, the very first thing that struck me was just how stiff and unnatural the English is. I won't quote the dialog here, or scan any of the pages, because I feel like I'm skating on thin ice in commenting on this kind of book, especially since Vertical (owned by Kodansha) has the U.S. rights to this title. Anyway, yes, the translation is pretty faithful to the original Japanese, so anyone trying to learn English is going to get a decent exposure to English vocabulary, but the sentence structure is very tortured. Working backwards, from English to Japanese, isn't very easy either, because the English text fills the word balloons (which haven't been re-laid out to allow for regular English sentence structures) and the original Japanese source text is crammed into the margins in a really small font, making it hard to read.

As an English teacher, I find it difficult to recommend these kinds of bilingual manga to students of either language, because of the above restrictions, and the 1,000 yen price tag ($10 USD with tax). That's well over 40% above the regular manga cover price. So, yeah, not recommended.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Big Dog


(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

The Big Dog (Ookii Inu), by Sukeracko (2017), Grade: B+
There's almost no information on Sukeracko (spelled Sukerakko on Manga Updates) in English, and his/her main prior title is just Bon no Kuni. There's a little more information on their website, such as Sukeracko being an illustrator/manga artist living in Kyoto, but that's about it.

Ookii Inu is a collection of short stories that mostly ran in Itan magazine in 2014, but there are a couple older ones from 2013 from other publications. The artwork is very simple, with clean thin lines and cartoony characters. The stories are very gentle, and embrace the off-beat. The dialog is in casual Japanese with simple kanji, and is fairly easy to read. I do admit that I kind of skimmed over two of the chapters towards the end because they didn't really catch my attention. The rest of the book is good, though.


(Takada offers a fish sausage to the big dog, then wonders if it is lonely at night.)

Ookii Inu (The Big Dog)
Takada is a friendly salaryman that has learned how to speak to dogs. One day, his friend decides to go to India for a few months to study yoga, and he asks Takada to house sit for him. In reality, the guy only makes it to Okinawa, where he spends several months scuba diving and getting drunk. The guy lived in a neighborhood where all the houses look the same, and the only landmark is a big dog that lives nearby. A really BIG dog. Takada befriends the dog, brings it some small snacks, and decides to name it "Pero" for the sound it makes when snatching food out of the air. Takada gets talked into visiting his friend in Okinawa for a few days, and when he comes back, he wants to tell the dog about the new name, but it's nowhere to be seen anymore.


(Takara's grandfather prepares to go traveling with the other 6 Lucky Gods.)

Shichifukujin Tabe (The 7 Lucky Gods Go Traveling)
Takara (Treasure) is a young woman that broke up with her boyfriend, and the only person that consoled her was her grandfather. Now, her grandmother has died and Takara's grandfather announces that it's finally time for him to reunite with the other 6 of the 7 Japanese Lucky Gods and go on a trip again. He claims that they had ridden around on their boat for a long time together, but eventually split up and went their own ways. He asks Takara to help him get set up on the internet to track them down. Takara humors the old man, but pretty soon, it's clear that he's not crazy. One of the gods is a motorcycle fanatic, the other hangs out on Facebook all the time, and the two oldest gods just stay in their apartment and watch TV. When they're finally all reunited, they invite Takara to go with them, and her fear is that she's going to be taken to Heaven and the afterlife.


(Mikami is finally allowed to celebrate Christmas at home with her mother.)

Kurisumasu Mikami (Christmas Mikami)
Mikami is an office worker still living with her mother. It's now Christmas Eve, and Mikami runs out of the office to go buy Christmas cakes and presents to deliver to other people, like she's done every year after getting her current job. This time, she gets paired up with a guy working part time for the cake shop, Santa (literally "3 Fields"), who is dressed up as Santa. Mikami resents the disruption to her routine, but Santa stays out of her way and lets her buy up all the cakes and deliver them to her chosen recipients. Eventually, Santa gets Mikami to explain herself, and the woman says that when she was a child, she'd always wanted to celebrate Christmas, have a tree, exchange presents and eat Christmas cake, like all the other kids did, but her mother had never heard of Christmas and had no interest in these things. So, when Mikami got old enough, she started celebrating Christmas her own way in spite of her mother. Santa gets Mikami to act her feelings out loud, then tells her to say the same words to her mother. At the end of the night, Mikami goes home, tells her mother she wants to celebrate Christmas this year with a tree and Christmas foods. The older woman grudgingly agrees to the tree, and supplements her regular sushi with some Christmas chicken. Mikami thanks Santa, and promises next year that there will be presents. Meanwhile, Santa ends the season at home, eating Christmas cake alone in front of the TV.


(Sakura gets to see real tree blossoms for the first time.)

Ume * Momo * Sakura (Plum, Peach, Cherry)
Ume, Momo and Sakura are 3 brothers that have grown up together in the future. But, the Earth is dying, and humankind has found another planet to move to - Toui-sei (lit. "Distant Planet"). Ume and Momo decide to move to Toui, but Sakura refuses to leave their father behind. The old man has a few trees growing in the backyard of the house, where his wife was buried after she died. He's going to stay there for the rest of his life, with the memory of his wife, and he tells Sakura to move to Toui, too. Sakura refuses, and spends his days working at a parcel delivery service that ships packages to Toui (3 years one-way). Unfortunately, the ground is dying, as are the trees in the backyard, and people keep leaving Earth, so days will go by with no customers at the shop. One day, about 6 years after Ume and Momo left, Sakura is at the shop with his boss, when a huge typhoon hits land with hurricane-force winds. Sakura runs out of the shop and heads for home. He finds his father in the backyard, trying to protect the trees, and has to drag the old man into the safety of the house. A few minutes later, the trees come crashing down. A couple of days after that, Sakura himself gets a package from Touei - it's a glass case filled with cuttings from a cherry tree. His father sees this, and finally agrees that he will go with Sakura to Toui, with the approval of his wife's spirit.


(Asai decides to get drunk at home, only to have Ton pass out on their front steps.)

Kare no Tomodachi (His Friend)
This is one of the chapters I skipped over. A woman, Asai, is friends with a guy named Ton. The story revolves around her constantly reframing what the word "friend" means and who it refers to.


(The big eat-off comes to a peak.)

Hourai-kun (Mr. Hourai)
This is the other one I skipped. An older woman works in a soup kitchen, and ends up in a cooking contest against a kitsune (fox) named Hourai (Hourai only likes eating fried tofu skins). He tries to mess with the old woman during the contest, until his daughter snaps at him (she hates having to eat the same thing - fried tofu skins - all the time).


(Poro offers his hat to Pero.)

Chiisaii Inu (The Small Dog)
We're back with Takada from the first chapter. This time, the main character is Poro, a tiny chihuahua owned by the guy that had gone to Okinawa. We see the world through Poro's eyes, and his main concerns are eating, going outside for walkies, getting intimidated by a doberman, and talking with Takada in dog speak. One day, they head down to the beach and run into Pero (Pero didn't really disappear, he just wanted to go for a walk. He did come back some weeks later). Initially, Poro suffers from overwhelming shyness and embarrassment over having to wear a cute little hat. He overcompensates and impulsively bites Pero on the paw. After returning home, he crawls into a corner and hopes to die. But, his owner coaxes him out of the house, and they go with Takada to the beach. But, Pero is just waking up from a nap and, while still half-asleep, mistakes Poro for a snack and eats him. Poro comes to, thinking that the inside of a stomach is comfortably warm, then realizes that he's riding on top of Pero's head, well above the tops of all the nearby houses. Poro likes being able to look down on the doberman, and he apologizes for biting Pero. They become friends.



Summary: As mentioned above, these are gentle, off-beat stories with happy endings. The artwork is simple, but the characterizations are good. Recommended.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

TV Crew




Tenmokan is the biggest shopping district in the city, it's centrally located, with the tram line running through the middle, and there's usually a lot of people out shopping. So, it makes for a natural location for TV crews to shoot filler footage of crowds and occasionally interview people. I haven't seen that many interviews in-progress in the 6 years I've been here, but it does happen sometimes.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Near-Full Moon, June 11




(I'm catching up on my backlog.)
Another rare clear night a couple months ago. Tried taking photos with the pocket camera. This is the only one that turned out.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back Clock




I found this interesting. Why would anyone want a clock designed to be backwards?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Good Cut




Maybe not great, but at least good.
Goodbye July.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Agepaku, Aug. 13




For the next couple weeks, Amu Plaza is hosting Age-paku, which effectively translates to "Fried Food Eating." It consists of 8 or so booths selling fried chicken, fried rice, churros, etc. There is a live stage, but only 2-3 music performances each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All of the music is soft and/or J-pop. Nothing I have much interest in. I had to work all Friday to make up for the classes that got cancelled the week before because of the typhoon, and the fact that this Saturday is part of Obon Yasumi (the 1-week summer holiday). Technically, Friday should have been a day off as well, but at least I got paid for it. I pretty much stayed home on Saturday, focusing on one of the math books I got for my birthday. I did visit Amu Plaza for an hour on Sunday, but I wanted to just sit in a coffee shop and finish reading the math book, so I listened to enough of the above duo to know that I didn't want to record them, and then went to the coffee shop. The next singer, a female soloist, wasn't going to be on stage until 6 PM, which would have been 2 hours later, so I didn't stick around that long. When I finished my book, I did some shopping for the week, then went home to work on the computer again.


(Edit: This group's name is "second hand stores".)

Another slow week. At least, for right now, it isn't raining. It is hot and humid, though.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Seven Shakespeares, vol. 1 review


(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Nana-nin no Sheikusupia, by Harold Sakuishi, Grade B+
The title translates literally to "Seven People of Shakespeare," and alludes to Sakuishi's concept that the plays we attribute to the guy we call William Shakespeare were actually the results of a collaboration between 7 people. There's still no wiki article on this title, and very little information on it in English. Nana-Nin ran in Big Comic Spirits, from 2009 to somewhere between 2010 and 2011, and has been collected in 6 normal takobon volumes. However, in a simultaneous release with volume 1 of the sequel, Non Sanz Droict, the original series is being published in a large 500+ page format (1000 yen, so it's a bit pricey). I found myself in possession of the first book of this new edition, so here we are.


(Queen Elizabeth likes the theater, to the crowd's amazement.)

The story starts with "William Shakespeare" performing in his latest play, "Hamlet," while the facially disfigured Thomas the bookseller is trying to convince a thug-like client to buy the story from him. To show that he has the real wares, Thomas quotes one of Hamlet's key lines. Unfortunately, the client's partner had seen Hamlet in person a few years before, and he says that Thomas is lying - these aren't the lines in the play he'd seen. Thomas is called a fraud and tossed into the street. Thomas yells that the real fraud was "Shakespeare," and then the real story starts with "the truth." Lance Carter is a playwright working in Liverpool, trying to put on his own play, but he runs afoul of the Puritans, who control the local government and are trying to shut down all immoral activities, including the theater. Lance is living in a mansion (not the Japanese version of the word, which is just a large apartment), with his friend and co-worker, Hughs Worth, and the housekeeper, the diminutive devote Christian, Milo. The scene changes to Li (I used "Lee" in the Non Sanz Droict write-up).


(Li picks the verdict that to save the townspeople, they need a sacrifice.)

As a very young girl in China, Li had the ability to foresee the near-future. She'd blurt out that one person was going to get into an accident, or another was going to have a miscarriage, and within a day or so that's what would happen. Soon, her father, a brick maker, was losing work and her mother was refused service by the other merchants. Both parents blamed their daughter for their situation, and her father seared her throat with an x-shaped branding iron to "seal" her powers. A few years go by, and Li is taller and more beautiful, but she keeps her throat wrapped up to hide the "x" mark, and she can only talk with great difficulty. The family receives word that relatives that had made the trip to England have set up a new life there in a small "Chinatown," so Li's parents decide to join them. But, once in Liverpool it turns out that things aren't going so well. Li's aunt, a big, jovial woman, is barely eking by with a small restaurant, and the woman's husband is a nasty little rat who spends their money gambling and cheating with other women. Through Li's help, her aunt's restaurant becomes more famous with the nearby Brits, but the uncle-in-law's cheating gets uncovered, and Li's own parents resent the fact that they have to grub by as extra workers in the restaurant.


(Hughs and Lance survey the flooded town, looking for something.)

Eventually, things come to a head, with about half of the Chinatowners holding a grudge against Li, and the other half grateful for her assistance. Then, the weather turns bad and there's rain for several weeks. The farms get flooded, no one can work out of doors, and the next cargo ships expected in port have been delayed and are feared to have been sunk. The village elder is called on to make a decision, and he asks Li to pick one of three envelopes with different decrees in them. She does so, knowing that "The most beautiful girl, an undamaged virgin, must be sacrificed," is going to ultimately lead to her being executed. The Chinatowners are desperate to save their own daughters and come up with excuses for why Li's brand mark is not "skin damage." They attempt to half-bury her in the soil near the beach (Li hears a voice in her head telling her that all will be well and to be patient) when the rains trigger a mudslide and resultant flood that kills everyone in Chinatown but her. The scene changes again to Lance, who is outside at night. He catches a glimpse from the corner of his eye of what looks like the moon crying. The next day, he and Hughs go out riding in a carriage, where they roll past the remains of Chinatown. (Hughs is familiar with the fact that Chinese people have been living near Liverpool, but Lance isn't.) They find Li unconscious along the shore, and Lance decides to take her home with them, to Hughs' horror. The narrator then says that there's a 7-year period where no one knows what William Shakespeare had been up to, and that what follows is a recounting of the "Lost Years."


(Lance finds Li and takes her home, while Milo readies a bath.)

At this point, the household consists of Hughs, a salesman for a salt importer that's paying for everything, Lance, and the housekeeper, Milo. The last thing Hughs wants is for another mouth to feed, especially one that doesn't speak English. He gives Lance an ultimatum - if Li can't find work for herself by the end of one month, he'll find a buyer for her. Lance asks Milo to help out, and the cook goes into overdrive to teach the girl English, going from simple vocabulary to reading whole passages from the bible. Two months go by, and Li turns out to be a fast learner (she also wonders if the voice that spoke to her that one night might have been God, so she's extra motivated.) Lance believes in miracles and that he's destined to be a great playwright, and that therefore Li is supposed to be a member of their troupe. Milo goes along with anything Lance says, and Hughs is just dragged along as an unwilling slug. A little later, Hughs fills in a bit of Lance's background - both of them work for the head of the salt importer's guild at the docks, and one day someone came in to ask the guild master to write another script to be performed as a morality play for the Church. The boss' plays are boring and turgid, so he gets Lance to come up with something better. Lance's first work went over poorly, but instead of getting depressed, he just tried harder. His second play went over better, and he got more interested in being a playwright.


(When Li meets Moon.)

Unfortunately, Rosef, another dealer at the docks, has been taking the salt that Hughs sells to the merchants in town, and mixing in wheat to undermine his competition. No one wants to buy salt from Hughs anymore, and he takes it out on Lance while blaming Li for all their problems. Lance is convinced that their partnership is over, except that Li drags him out to the backyard where Hughs is throwing rocks into the carp pond. She defends the fish, urges Lance and Hughs to remain friends, and reveals Rosef as the true villain. Hughs, Lance and the dock boss confront Rosef as he is in the middle of doctoring more of Hughs' salt. The boss bans him from working in Liverpool anymore, but Hughs steps in and offers forgiveness if Rosef repays him 3 times the salt he'd lost. They sign a contract to this effect, and Lance likes the way things worked out, yet wants to know how Li learned of Rosef's name.



A little later, Lance wants to try something, as well as thank Li for helping them sort things out. When Li enters the dining room for dinner, she sees the two carp from the pond grilled and being served as the main dish. She goes into shock and bolts from the room. Milo is afraid that there's something wrong with his cooking. Lance goes to Li's room and hears her muttering Chinese through the door. He goes inside and apologizes, adding that he'd thought she'd known that everything growing on the land was only there for food for them. Li replies that she does know that; it's just that she hadn't had a chance to say goodbye to her friends. A little after that, Li is in her room with a bunch of candles set up on the floor (the group is thinking that she's afraid of sleeping in the dark), talking to two pieces of paper cut out to look like fish. Milo comes in, scaring her. The paper fish land on one of the candles, ignite, and then catch the hem of her nightgown on fire. Milo springs forward to pour water from a flower vase on her gown, then slaps the fire out with his hands, burning them pretty badly. Li apologizes, and Milo says its nothing. Hughs says this is why she should stop wasting his money by burning so many dangerous candles all the time.

The next day, Milo melts down the remaining candles and turns them into one BIG candle that won't get knocked over. Then, Hughs and Lance return home with a puppy that immediately takes to Li. She decides to name him "Moon", and is surprised that it was Hughs that had decided to pick up a stray in town. Lance has noticed that Li has a dark past, but also a brilliant way with words. He tells her to keep a diary, and what she writes down becomes the basis of "Shakespeare's Sonnets." Meanwhile, the sales of salt have been improving now that Hughs isn't being sabotaged. Unfortunately, the Wine and Sugar import guilds are sponsoring their own Church stage plays, and those are turning out better than what Lance is writing, so the Salt guild boss tells Lance that he's being let go, while the boss also gives his own trade route to Hughs to take over. The book ends with Hughs writing a letter to Lance from Bristol. He says that the religious situation is starting to escalate - the government captured some Catholic pirates, probably from Spain, and they've been strung up on a gallows in the public square as a warning.

Summary: The character designs pretty much match those in the sequel manga, but Lance looks much older on the covers.  The characters are a mix of realistic-looking and absolute caricatures. The story is mostly low-key, with lots of dialog, but also some pretty shocking scenes of violence. I still don't buy the premise that Shakespeare's works were written by a very tight group of friends, but some of the other historical elements are fairly convincing (building architecture, and the numbers of merchant ships lost at sea). Recommended if you like historical fiction.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Pokemon Festa




The space in front of Lotteria in Tenmonkan is being used for another 1-week-long Pokemon children's event. Shown here, the Emcee is leading the kids in cheering for different Pokemon.



Photo board for the latest movie.



Pikkachu jump room.



Some of the other Pokemon for kids to pose with.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bon Odori, Aug. 8, 2017




Bon Odori is a summer event, usually tied to the bigger temples, that involves dancing at night around a drum tower. I've recording video of the one at Honganji some years ago, and ran photos from last year's. August 8 is kind of a special date, numerologically, which is why Honganji had their event Tuesday evening. I was hoping to watch more of it, but things only ran from 7 to 8:45 PM, and that's when I had to have dinner. I walked by after school at 6:30, as people were gathering, and couldn't get back until 8:30 PM, when the dancing and music had ended and the MCs were getting ready to announce the winners of the door prizes.



A school band provided some of the music at the beginning.



Bon Odori is the name of the summer lantern festival and is related to the Day of the Dead. Obon Yasumi is the 1 week in August when most people return to their family villages to pay respect to their ancestors. This year it's going to run from the 11th to the 17th for me, although I'll still have to work the 11th (today).



People registering for the door prize giveaway.



The main entrance, showing the food and drink tables.



The dancing is over, and the MCs are announcing the names of the people selected to compete against each other to win one of the door prizes.

Summer is going by very fast.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sailor Moon Ad




I was at one of the department stores, and when I was passing through the hair care section, I discovered some tear-off fliers for Aroma Rich Sailor Moon hair spray. The ad campaign has a drawing for 1000 Sailor Moon themed Aroma Rich bottles, and 1000 coin pouches. Not going to see something like this in the U.S...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Anime Chalk




There's a muscle and bone clinic in Kagoshima that decided that Toriyama characters make for good referrals.





Oh yeah, and Mario, too.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Yokai Watch Movie Brochure




New Yokai Watch anime movie coming out in December. They're already advertising it in the first week of August. But I admit, if the entire movie looked like the above artwork, I'd be waiting out front for the theater to open in the morning.






Sunday, August 6, 2017

Small Non-Adventure #1


Well, this weekend could have gone better. To start with, I lost a crown on one of my teeth a week and a half ago, and last Saturday morning, I was scheduled to return to the dental clinic to have the temporary removed and the new crown put in. Unfortunately, the appointment was for 9:30 AM. Normally, this would be a good thing because I'd be in and out of the clinic with enough time to recover from the dental work by the time I had to start teaching English classes at the school at 1 PM. The problem was that I got very little sleep that night, and I was absolutely dragging when I had to walk the 6 blocks to make the appointment. So, I get to the clinic almost exactly at 9:30, and I'm called to the chair a few minutes later, and the dentist does all the work in putting in the new crown. That part went well, and the two visits only cost $50 total.

I get out of the clinic at a little after 10:30 AM, and as I'm about to go to the supermarket on the way back home to buy milk and some other groceries for the week, I get an incoming text message. It's from the school, saying at all of my classes have been cancelled for the day.

I'm bummed, so I do the shopping, get home, check my emails, and someone I know in Tokyo is asking if I'm surviving the typhoon. Huh? What typhoon? Turns out that typhoon #5 had hit Okinawa during the night and caused a lot of damage. The weather reports were predicting that it would reach Kagoshima at about noon, so the school cancelled all of its lessons so the students and teachers could stay home. But, actually, the system stalled at Yakushima, so by the middle of the afternoon, all we were getting in Kagoshima were strong winds and a bit of rain. At least now I knew why the grocery store had "stock up for the typhoon" signs on the shelves for cup noodles.

So, for the rest of the day, I stay in the apartment, getting work done for my science blog, and being completely unable to take a nap to catch up on lost sleep. At the end of the day, I finally go to bed, but only get maybe 7 hours of sleep anyway. Sunday noon, I get up and check the status of the typhoon, and yahoo weather shows that the system had gotten past Yakushima, and veered east to the other side of Osumi peninsula, missing Kagoshima city entirely. The winds have died down, but we continue to get moderate rain all the way up to about 9 PM. There's no point to trying to go outside to walk around, because any events that might have been planned for the weekend would have been cancelled between Friday and Saturday.

So, I pretty much stay home Sunday as well, reading an autobiography on Les Paul. Along the way, as I'm thinking of things being cancelled, I suddenly remember that Saturday was supposed to have been Yukata Night in Tenmonkan.

For the past few years, the shops in Tenmonkan have participated in a promotional event held during the evening of the first Saturday of August. Yukata are casual forms of kimono usually worn at night, and anyone buying anything in Tenmonkan while wearing yukata would receive a price discount. In the past, they've also had a live stage in front of 7-11, where Bon DX, and Seven Colors have performed. Initially, I had classes scheduled Saturday between 6 PM and 9 PM, and I would have missed the stage events, but my schedule got moved around so I would have finished the evening by maybe 7 PM. By having all the classes cancelled, I completely forgot that Yukata Night was on the 5th. I did go up to Amu Plaza on Saturday as part of my shopping trip, and the plaza in front of the train station was completely rolled up to prevent the astro turf and crafts shops from getting drenched, so I console myself with the thought that Yukata Night was most likely cancelled and I didn't miss anything by failing to go check. The most I can hope for is that it gets rescheduled for later in the month.

The Les Paul book was a good read, anyway.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bone Board




Sign board outside a chiropractor's shop in Tenmonkan, using the coach from Slam Dunk, to say that if anything hurts, they can fix it.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Yamakataya ad - Steve J and Yoni P




Yamakataya's cosmetics department is back with another bad ad.



Is Yoni's a face you want on Your purse?
Put a bag over it.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hawaiian Fest July 29, 2017




I'm a little late getting to this, but I've been working on a number of things, and I just hadn't gotten to pulling photos off the camera until now. Then again, this wasn't a big event so there wasn't as much pressure for running the entry before now. The open space in front of Lotteria and the Yamakataya department store hosted their semi-annual Hawai'ian Festa. In the past, this has included performers from Hawai'i, but this time we just get some vendors with themed products, and performances by many of the local dance schools over three days, last weekend. You can see how many dance schools participated on the schedule board above.





I've seen this kind of thing many times before. The dancers are at the amateur level still, but they are dedicated. I didn't bother taking video, and only stopped by on Saturday long enough for a few photos.