Random activities in April/May (Photodump?)

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So, there are 2 places let in the Travel Features, but I’m going to take a little break to dump some photos from what my life has been like the last month or so…

So, school started up again, and I’m doing that… And there have also been a slew of birthday parties, outings, and whatever else you can imagine regular people do (though calling myself “regular” in Japan might be a stretch). I have some pictures, so I’ll post them.

Yeah, that’s about all the explanation I have… I guess I’ll jump right in:

A friend of a friend came to visit Japan (right before and during the earthquake), so we went to do some sight seeing… These pictures came of that trip:

It's a temple... Still pretty much done with seeing these for the rest of my life but thought others might want to see it.

A pretty awesome angle I shot of a temple in Asakusa.

...Pagoda?

The infamous Tokyo Sky Tree... Definitely does not look like a tree.

As I've previously said, my fascination with Japanese temples is just about gone...

Saw this primo-looking Civic after leaving the temple area, which happens to be right inside a bustling city.

I am sure the owners were nervous or curious as to why I was taking pictures, but I took another anyway

Oh, and this guy was also there. He was wearing a texan-like cowboy getup. No idea why, but I absolutely had to get a picture to prove he really existed, right then and there.

Yeah, he's wearing a cowboy hat.

Fast Forward to day xx of month… xx? And me and some friends travel to a restaurant in Kichijouji (a suburb of Tokyo), to a sort of anime/otaku themed restaurant… They had pictures and figurines of a ton of anime/manga/live action series everywhere. Evangelion, Dragon ball, Kamen Rider (like power rangers), you name it. At the entrance, they also had a huge display of a ton of figurines:

This restaurant had a really huge figurine selection... Wonder how they fared during the earthquake...

Aaand upon closer inspection:

.....

I sure hope that was the bad guys shelf.

Fast forward to some day of the same month (possibly?) and I am at Hanami (Lit: “Flower Viewing”) with some friends, and I take some shots. I unfortunately didn’t take many pictures, because I saw too many emerging on certain social websites that all looked just about the same, didn’t want to join that crowd too much.

We spent ALOT of time walking around this park. Way past my park walking comfort zone.

The most open space I've ever seen in japan.

They even had a Magic Garden... Japan spares no expense in making it's parks.

Cherry Blossom trees near a bridge... Pretty average picture.. Maybe even below average

Another view of the walking areas of the park, very colorful.

I guess a river used to be here, now it's empty, and I took a picture of that.

This picture made it into my favorites folder, and I still like it quite a bit.

No idea what these flowers are called, but they're pretty pretty.

Aaaand here is the kind of picture I did not want to take, super super average picture of a sakura tree.

A road made of flowers. Definitely not fit for walking on though.

I really could not take enough pictures of the flowers... I doubt that I have seen such a beautiful array of flowers before in my life

Once again, no idea what these are called, but they sure are pretty.

And to finish off the day, took some closeup shots of my backpack.

And if we go back in time to slightly before the earthquake, we have this:

At some point in the middle of everything that happened, I cooked myself what I thought was an outrageously delicious meal.

Back in the time machine, set the destination for last week, and we can visit the time when I went to Kichijouji for a weekend of hang-out walk-around drop-dead fun.

These handlebars are WAY TOO HIGH. Or just right, for an orangutan

Saw some mobile stores (?) that had some vehicles that looked like volkswagens, but were most likely not real volkswagens.

Got a pretty artsy picture in, at a restaurant we visited while we were in Kichijouji

Saw a Porsche, took a picture on instinct...

Went to starbucks, saw some glasses, took some pictures of those glasses.

I can’t say I’m the Starbucks “type”, but I guess I was hanging out with some.

And because I love repetition....

And that’s the end of my super random April/May adventures. Still have a ton of pictures to go through, as usual, for some of the more useful adventures (travel features), but who knows when those will be up.

For now, I’ve got to focus on work, school, and fun, and my hands are full with the last one alone.

Maybe I should start using some sort of closeout line like: “BBMIJ Out”. Nah.

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Explanation of the nuclear situation in Japan.

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Is that not the cutest nuclear disaster explanation thing you’ve ever seen in your life?

BTW, for people who want to know what’s really going on, and don’t want any spin or sensationalism (well, not much of it, anyway), check out these sources. Should put some people at ease.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-world-tv

(A link to Japan’s primary news source, translated)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698

(I have found the twitter feed on the left hand side of the BBC page to be really helpful and quick, and not too spun/exaggerated. The news coverage/video on the other hand, I dunno)

I’m still safe, and making more posts than ever.

A little late, but TGS 2010 Part 2

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You knew it was coming! Heres the picture frenzy from TGS 2010. As I’m sure I said before, there was just everything everywhere. Screens, people, booths, games, lights, more people. It was an awesome adventure, I got to see a bunch of games which haven’t been released, saw some SWEET HD promos and trailers (especially the one for Deus Ex — I don’t know the story of the game too well, but it’s awesome), and they even had a little eating section, where I had some soba noodles.

All in all, an awesome adventure, now time for the pictures:

TGS 2010 Banner, again

There were a lot of people there. A LOT of people.

Some of the booths that were scattered around TGS, a lot of them had their own ambience like these two. Pretty cool stuff

The Assassin's creed booth at TGS

This guy was what I would call a *paid cosplayer*. He was part of the booth for the game pictured at TGS

A van designed after/for a Gal Game at TGS... Definitely not your parent's van.

One of my favorite series, the Tales Of xxxx series, had a booth up at TGS, celebrating their 15th anniversary. With an appropriately themed booth, they had some of their new games on display

This is a picture from an exclusive Sony presentation at TGS, in which they had some idols and other tv personalities play using the PS Move. It looked like a lot of fun, and though I wasn't playing, it was still fun to watch.

A picture from the end of the presentation, don't ask me why some people are wearing those green hats. I think those were the people who did best throughout the day in their little competition... But I'm not quite sure

I found out why I kept seeing this character everwhere, turns out this is the standard vocaloid wear. These cosplayers got it spot on, I'd say... Or at least pretty close

One of the booths inside TGS was a shrine (of course?). I wonder how long it took them to set up everything for all these booths and mini-buildings they had inside. It's really amazing to see in person.

Some of the many booth girls that were all over the landscape. I really wonder sometimes how much fun it was for them... I can't imagine it's fun to stand and smile and walk around and dance (yeah, some of them danced from time to time at different booths)...

Looks like Michael Jackson's legacy isn't over for a long shot yet. This booth at TGS was playing some thriller, and my head was bopping, I can't lie.

A Chocobo, hanging up at TGS 2010. Kinda makes me hungry.

I'm not sure what they have to do with the video games that Gamania was pedaling, but they sure did a lot of strutting their stuff on stage, and as you can see by the crowd, it was effective.

I'm not sure if she was making sure the game was set up correctly, or checking in on her own character. Could go either way at TGS.

In this area, they were essentially having a conference for the a virtual dating sim... Looks like they were comparing the real life actors to the ingame characters... pretty creepy stuff.

Some Final Fantasy cosplay that was going on at TGS. I think most of the cosplayers, especially these, did a great job.

Things to note in this picture: the large crowd of booth girls, the booth girls playing XBOX kinect on a raised dangerous looking platform.

Perhaps one of the most awesome things I've ever seen in my lifetime, this flying thing was a extremely simple concept: attach what looked like PC fans with oversized blades to a really light body, and make it fly, then control it with your android phone. These things were awesome

The booth for a game called Core Blaze. As usual, all the concept art was really awesome, but I'm not sure this game will be playable in the US at all... Seems like Gamania is a Japan-only MMO maker, for now.

A cloud cosplayer who got it disturbingly right (well, it's disturbing how right she got it -- yes, that's a she).

Yeah, so I've seen this poster numerous times, but it's still awesome, is it not? All I can think of when I see this picture is BAMF.

Heres where I first met BS man. I still don't know what game this or what in the world the goal is, of someone playing it.

A closeup of those booth girls that were playing Kinect. They're still at it.

Well, the coverage is a little late, but there was a lot of excitement to go around.

Second Day in Japan? Tokyo Game Show.

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And I was worried about having content for the blog. Yesterday, officially my second day in japan, me and some new friends went to Tokyo Game Show 2010. I didn’t even know it was happening, but luckily for me, some others did, so I followed along. It was a little far away and difficult to get to, but it gave me a lot of insight into how the trains in Tokyo work. They’re very organized, and run on tight schedules, I can see why they are considered some of the best in the world.

I realized on the way there, however, that my camera was dead. At first I thought I forgot the memory card (which I didn’t), but then I realized that the battery was dying/dead. I couldn’t charge the camera (my charging stuff was mixed in with my bigger baggage, which I didn’t have access to at the moment), so it was a big fail on my part. I essentially carried a fancy black rock with detachable lens throughout the day. Luckily others also brought cameras, so I’m borrowing/using some of the images I took with their cameras, or they took.

There are a lot of pictures, and as for this post, I’m only going to upload some (because I only have some of them at the moment), but unless I forget, there will be a part 2 to this post, which will contain the rest of the pictures.

Some scenery on the way there, I think I took this picture from the train... Still working on my photography, though this is just a regular neighborhood.

At a random train stop (well, random to me), someone pointed out that Disney Land was over there. DISNEY LAND. LESS THAN 10 STOPS AWAY FROM WHERE I LIVE. Well, I thought it was amazing anyway.

A wall at TGS, with some interesting graphics on it.

The banner over the entrance to TGS2010

There was a Megaman Universe booth... I didn't really go inside, so I'm not sure what exactly this game is going to be like, but it was cool looking!

From one of my favorite series of all time, heres a lifesize figure that was propped up at the show.

A little note about the following pictures. There were A LOT of cosplayers at TGS 2010. Some of them stood out, and some didn’t, these are just some of the pictures I managed to scrounge up of some of the cosplays I recognized and loved. Yeah, theres a lot I’m not covering, but I wasn’t able to take pictures of all of them (since my camera wasn’t functional), so I just have some. The ones I put here are top notch though, pretty awesome stuff.

A fantastic cosplay of Yuffie. Japanese cosplayers are definitely a cut above.

Another awesome cosplayer, dressed this time as solid snake. I finished MGS4 the day I flew out of the US (packing was a little less important than seeing the ending), and this guy did an awesome job on Old Snake.

Look for the continuation of this post, hopefully sometime in the near future, I should have some more pictures and possibly description of TGS…

As for a cursory description of TGS: there were screens, games, costumed people, people, small people, big people, foreigners, xbox stuff, ps3 stuff, bigger screens, more people, smaller screens, cellphone stuff, technology, booths, EVERYWHERE. It was crazy. So much stimulation. Being my first game show, I was really surprised at how well set up everything was.

Black people in Japan +1

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I’ve finally arrived. In Japan. I don’t know if culture shock is contagious, but it must be, because I’ve culture shocked every Japanese person I’ve come across. It’s a weird feeling to know for a fact that you are drawing the gazes of everyone around you. I even heard some people coming off the plane saying “Dekai!” which means “huge” or “big” essentially (I’m translating loosely, I’m sure someone on the world wide interwebs will comment and tell me if I’m wrong). He even made a guess to my name, he thought my name was “Frank”, I guess a typical American/Big Person/Black person name? I resisted the urge to turn around and correct him. I figured I should get used to it. Plus, it’s kind of nice to be able to pick up on conversations about you when people don’t know you understand what they’re talking about.

My first day in the country was quite an eventful one. After getting off the plane, I got my heavy bags mailed to my dorm for around $35, which I thought was amazing, considering it was quite far. I met up with some people from the college I’ll be going to (Sophia Univeristy), and had some of my first conversations with actual Japanese people. I don’t know why people make a big deal about communicating with people in other languages, it was actually kind of fun figuring out how to say what I want to say, and then saying it, and making sure I was understood correctly. Unfortunately, despite promising myself I was going to study numerous times this summer, the only studying I did amounted to reading the notebook from the FIRST Japanese class I took… Needless to say, I should study some more later…

After that, we took multiple train transfers, and a bus, and got to my train, finally. It turns out the Japanese concept of space must be different than the US… Because evidently, two locations that are 50 minutes away from each other by train are still considered to be in the same city (Tokyo). That can’t be normal. I also learned the hard way that everything looks close on a map, yet reality is much more tiring.

Later that night, I went on my first Japanese adventure, finding the convenience store. I had a map, some money, and long strides on my side. Despite all that, I got lost pretty quick. Turns out I was reading the map wrong (not to get into too much specifics, but I’m not a bad navigator, I just misunderstood that the exit point to my dorm wasn’t as it was marked on the map…). However, I found the convenience store eventually, and got some snacks, drinks, and made some copies (yeah, convenience stores in japan have copy machines… go figure.). Then on my way back, I promptly got lost.

I’m really not a bad navigator. What I did was try to engineer a new route back home from where I was… I guess it was a little too early for me to be making shortcuts. Either way, I found my way back, and plopped down on my bed to sleep.

Very interesting use of greenery there, Japan. Nicely done.

The all-powerful & famous Japanese vending machine. These are the first I saw when I got into Japan

A baseball field I saw on the way from the airport, looks like America is alive and well.

Unfortunately, I have no idea if this building has anything to do with the Honda Motor Company. Maybe in that building they sell happy Hondas? I may never know.

We're not in Kansas anymore

Some fields I saw on my way from Narita Airport

Another picture I just felt I had to take... Like a tourist rite of passage or something.

While some might think this looks like a picture out of a first class/business seating section of a jet, it's in fact the view from a train. Very nice, to say the least.

OK, Finally get outside the trainstation, and of course I see some nicely fitted wheels to start. No chrome 22s or spinners. Just some tasteful wheels. I love japan.

Half of my room. Yes, it is as small it looks. Scratch that, it might be even smaller than it looks. I can extend my arms, and touch the wall and my closet at the same time. Then again, I am 6 foot 5.

A different view of the other half of my room

The rewards of my first adventure in Japan! I played it safe at the convenience store, and picked some snacks that I could easily distinguish (the Japanese have a love affair with bread, as do I)

Half eaten sandwich. It was actually really good, despite how it may look.

Well, that’s it for the first day in Japan. This post is a little retroactive (I guess that’s what I’ll call it, this post was made 1 day or more after the fact), I can say that the next post should be pretty entertaining… I took a trip with some new friends to the Tokyo Game Show. Being my first time to a game show, I was taken aback by the sheer number of things they had to do and see there, as well as the sea of heads (some pictures I took will illustrate this more). Look forward to it!