The slow move to Electric Cars in large Canadian cities

Vancouver recently had the chance to experience what it was like to live in a smoke filled city, as the fires in B.C.’s interiors continue to burn and force evacuations. There were air quality and health warnings, the skies were always hazy, the sunsets were red, and it was somewhat reminiscent of large cities in Asia.  Even before the fires, the increase in pollution from the addition of thousands of cars each year in Vancouver, and building developments had increased the amount of hazier days, especially during the Summer time. However, the real reason why Canada will be following Europe to silently remove petrol cars off the streets and replace them with electric cars will come from many fronts.

The rise in property prices, especially in and near downtown will lead to the elimination of many gas stations. What once was electric car anxiety will soon become gasoline anxiety as people struggle to find gas stations and find easier access to electric charging stations which have in only a few years taken over many dense areas of the city. Driving from Vancouver to Seattle or even Kelowna is possible with small amounts of planning. Although there are many free charging stations, some of the non-free ones will still make people uncomfortable because they require membership fees or more.

The incentives to buy an electric car from a dealership is appealing. With $5000 instant incentives,  dealership incentives from $250 to $1000 and up to $6000 for scrapping a clunker to free HOV lane access (with application). These and of course the free charging stations will save family hundreds a month if not thousands. Electric cars will soon enter the lower mid-range price bracket and compete well against economical size cars and hybrids. Younger generations will appreciate how much more similar these cars are to their smart phones than traditional cars. Most electric cars are the first to adopt driverless functions in a bid to increase safety and convenience. In turn, with help from youth, the older generation will also begin to adopt these vehicles that may seem alien to them. Many of the cars now support phone applications to turn them on and pre-heat or pre-cool the interiors, saving you battery for your trip instead.

The fact that our power comes from clean energy and the rise of cheap clean energy, thanks to solar panels, will allow even more savings if not the feeling of actively protecting the environment by reducing your own carbon footprint.  The rise of gasoline prices beyond what it was a decade ago or even 2 to 3 decades ago, will help convince many to turn towards a sustainable model of living. Especially, when it has become much more effortless.  Those that have had the opportunity to travel understand how smokey, hazy and dusty large cities can get. Many Canadians cities have the benefit of foresight and advance environmental research.

The final change will depend on the government here to reduce electricity prices, reduce insurance prices, increase gas taxes, and increase their desire to support mass transit in population heavy areas. Other bills, may also help industries turn to electric trucks or ships with incentives. Reducing car emissions is small compared to how much is emitted by large vehicles.

In the end, it can be easier to make the switch to an electric mindset in North America, compared to Europe and Asia. Europe although more densely populated making it easier to charge, has to deal with cars that also run on diesel. In Asia, electricity is provided overwhelmingly by coal and unclean energy. Electric cars would only be stressing the grid, and Toyota has addressed this by focusing on hybrid cars and fuel-cell cars instead.

Notable electric cars fill our streets today all around the world from Tesla’s, Nissan Leaf’s, Mitsubishi i-Miev, and dozens of others.

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By gtr06 Posted in Cars

First-Person Shooters in the past 10 years

2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the hit first-person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which released on consoles and PC.  As someone who grew up playing FPS both on a PC, notably Doom, and Wolfenstein, I also played my fair share on consoles, notably Duke Nukem 3D, Medal of Honor and even Resident Evil: Gun Survivor.  Being somewhat of a completionist, I finished most of them, except the original Wolfenstein. However, most of those games felt more like light gun games or just 3D mazes with guns until Golden Eye changed everything. Not having an N64, I spent many weekends at my friend’s place playing 2-4 player Golden Eye matches, and at that time it was the apex of FPS on consoles for me. It wasn’t until I got my second PC during high school I started to play multiplayer and competitive FPS’ like Unreal Tournament, Quake 3 Arena and eventually Counter Strike on PC, which began to outshine many consoles first-person shooters.  I had missed out on the Quake 1, Quake 2 and Doom 2 craze that was popular amongst our senior students at that time and was happy to finally get into it before graduating.  Since broadband wasn’t as widespread and PCs weren’t up to spec amongst all our friends, the popularity of

I had missed out on the Quake 1, Quake 2 and Doom 2 craze that was popular amongst our senior students at that time and was happy to finally get into it before graduating.  Since broadband wasn’t as widespread and PCs weren’t up to spec amongst all our friends, the popularity of lan or net cafes really took off around that time and it wasn’t uncommon to spend our entire weekends playing in former arcades now net cafes. During college, mindless shooting brought back memories of FPS games that had stories, and having a new interest in History, which soon became my major, I started engaging in playing Call of Duty and Call of Duty 2, which had unbelievably difficult challenges and well-crafted stories. However, even with the change in graphics, which was slow and gradual enough that nothing blew me away, I preferred other types of genres more, as online competition in these games were too easy most of the time, even in Socom, which I picked up for my PS2 console. It wasn’t until the large scale Battlefield games that I started to build PCs just for the newest rendition.

During college, mindless shooting brought back memories of FPS games that had stories, and having a new interest in History, which soon became my major, I started engaging in playing Call of Duty and Call of Duty 2, which had unbelievably difficult challenges and well-crafted stories. However, even with the change in graphics, which was slow and gradual enough that nothing blew me away, I preferred other types of genres more, as online competition in these games were too easy most of the time, even in Socom, which I picked up for my PS2 console. It wasn’t until the large scale Battlefield games that I started to build PCs just for the newest rendition.

Battlefield 1942 caught me by surprise that when Battlefield 2 was announced I just had to run it seamlessly. From then on I was hooked on the series. I bought a new laptop a year after moving to Japan just to play Bad Company 2. However, after BF3, I began to move away from the series, only getting back into Battlefield for BF1, which was a gift from a friend. On the console front, Call Of Duty was making strides. The story blew me away, the graphics were the best I’ve seen for a first person shooter. Battlefield had made me miss storytelling once again, and without a PS3, I had no way to run this graphically intensive game. The story of terrorist, leading to something bigger carried on in Modern Warfare 2. Then the big dispute between Infinity

The story of terrorist, leading to something bigger carried on in Modern Warfare 2. Then the big dispute between Infinity ward and Activision started to wain my interest. I couldn’t even finish Modern Warfare 3, but that didn’t matter.  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ignited my new interest into more modern gameplay and newer game play abilities only found in Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons. These days Call of Duty and Battlefield have lost my interest, but 3 first-person shooters have brought immense amounts of fun into my weekends.

For the story, Wolfenstein: New Order and Titanfall 2 have changed how I prefer to get my stories. Quick and exciting, and putting me in the driver’s seat. Especially, Titanfall 2 because it introduces new control schematics for the player, both in the Titan and as the character. Wolfenstein, although not as fun gun play wise, had a story that made you cringe much like a sci-fi horror movie does.

Killing Floor 2, continuing off Killing Floor 1 and most zombie games, doesn’t have a real story, but the gunplay and the multiplayer seals the deal. With large varieties of classes and weapons, maps and enemies, you almost never run out of fun. Not to mention all the user made maps and Summer/Christmas events to hold you over. The leveling system brings RPG like elements to the game allowing you to play a role, and at a higher level, your 5 teammates expect you to play that role.

I write this after finishing Titanfall 2 and Wolfenstein. In this day and age where games are difficult to finish because of time constraints, I have managed to finish both and continue to play Killing Floor 2 habitually.  The next game on my list is the Doom remake. As it is on sale this week, I will make it my duty to pick it up.

Of course, there were games like Half-Life 2, Borderlands 2, Payday, Left4Dead 2, Portal 2, and a bunch of others that I played between these, but the ones I mentioned stood out to me the most in my life.

By gtr06 Posted in Games

Golden Week to Tokushima

Golden week is a time where the people of Japan can take a piece of their lives beyond the daily routine of a repetitive and scripted life. The seeds of creativity were planted on the New Year’s holidays and at last, they are free to bloom on Golden Week. And bloom they did, on our 7-hour drive from Nagoya to Tokushima, you could see cars slow down to embrace the view of the beautiful ocean on top of the world’s tallest suspension bridge. They politely shifted to the left and drove well below the speed limit on the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge as if we were at the Fuji Safari Park enjoying the view of animals. I’ve never seen such a take on driving before! Traffic was backed up but people were enjoying themselves in a polite and very Japanese manner of queuing.

The trip that was supposed to take 4 hours ended up taking 7 instead, but we weren’t even upset. The sunniest and hottest day of the year provided us with much to see around Kansai’s mountainous and sea backdrops and Shikoku’s vast and natural backdrop was the icing on the cake. We didn’t see many whirlpools because of our late arrival, but we got to enjoy a view of the bridge from below, and riverside downtown before the event started.

We got to enjoy food from the famous local “limes” to Tokushima Ramen. Of course, I also ate at the typical chain restaurants ranging from McDonald’s to Sushiro as well. Driving along the rivers was a lot of fun and climbing to the top of Bizan Park by Ropeway was also a blast. Visiting the old castle site allowed us to see many cranes and koi fish.  There were plenty of “Itasha” cars around and on display on the red carpets inside the shopping arcades as well.

 

Cosplay of Machiasobi

Tokushima embraced Machiasobi, one of the biggest seiyuu and talk show events, this Golden Week. The event also featured small outdoor concerts, all for no cost. The community and volunteers were all supportful, considering the fact that the town doesn’t usually deal with such a large influx of people and traffic. The eateries were booming, the night was lit up with the colorful glow of concert lights, cosplayers were cosplaying and everyone enjoyed over 12 hours of events from Thursday to Sunday night.  One of the final events was a wonderful cosplay red carpet march, typically found at anime events in Japan. The creator of the Occulus Rift was also present, with his significant other, sporting a sunburn and a stomach full of an event packed weekend.

Netflix animes in Japan with English Subtitles

Netflix Japan is bundled with a larger variety of classic and new anime, but lack the subtitles commonly found on Netflix’s library abroad. I will attempt to document over time which ones have subtitles. Anime status subject to changes. Thank you for the help!

Green: Subtitles or dubs Available

Blue: Japanese/etc. Subtitles

Red: No Subtitles

Netflix Japan’s Anime List as of (7/27)

The Garden of Words

Wakfu (English, Portuguese, Chinese also available)

5cm per second

Children who chase lost voices (English, Portuguese, Chinese also available)

Voices of a Distant Star (Hoshi no koe)

Tokyo Ghoul (English Audio also available)

Sword Art Online (Seasons I and II, not extra edition)

Mushishi

Little Witch Academia (English, Brazilian Audio, and multi-language subs/dubs)

Blame (English, Brazilian Audio, and multi-language subs/dubs)

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood (English dub only)

Durarara! (Season I and II)

Gunslinger Girls

Magi: Adventures of Sinbad

Kill la Kill

Ghost in the Shell Innocence

The Irregular at Magic High School

Ghost in the Shell Original Movie

Ghost in the Shell Arise 

Gate

Chibi Maruko-chan

Ranma

Dragonball

Nadia

Card Captor Sakura

Cowboy Bebop

Full Metal Panic

Last Exile

Darker than Black: Meteor

Gakkou Gurashi (School-Live)

Gurren Lagaan

Charlotte

Kantai Collection (Kancolle)

The Devil is a Part-timer 

Working!

Non-non Biyori

Magical Girl Raising Project

Inuyasha

Fairytail

Mob Psycho

JoJo’s Bizzare Adventures

Keiji!!!!!!!!

Sailormoon Crystal

No Game No Life

Hyouka (Frozen Dessert)

Log Horizon

A Certain Magical Index

Accel World

Zipang

Devil May Cry

Stein’s Gate

Prison School

Devil May Cry

Terraformars

Knights of Sidonia

Darker than Black

Lovely Complex

Marmalade Boy

Konosuba

Haruhi

Spice and Wolf

Hell Girl

Tsubasa Chronicles

Angel Beats

Toradora

Ping Pong

The Disastrous Life of Saiki

Saint Seiya

Hell Teacher Nube

Ghost in the Shell: 2nd Gig 

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Erased

Planetarian

Saekano

7 Deadly sins

Psycho-Pass (Season 1+2)

Nodame Cantabile

Attack on Titan

Anohana

Gabriel Dropout

Ajin: Demi Human

Is the order a Rabbit?

Terror in Resonance

Kuroko no Basket

Katanagatari

Kingdom

Tales of the Abyss

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

Noragami aragoto

By gtr06 Posted in Anime

Last Legs are nuclear

The final part of my journey over the holidays was to a place of splendor…for military enthusiasts. We would make our way outside of Tokyo, beyond the skyscrapers and the bustle and hustle of the big city to a port town known as Yokosuka.  Not a very far drive, and historically famous for being the biggest, closest naval base to Tokyo, Yokosuka is now a city of scenic ocean views, shopping centers and big, big boats.

After World War 2, all the warships in Japan were confiscated, and mostly scrapped, and well replaced with American destroyers, carriers, submarines and cruisers. The new constitution made Japan a protectorate of America militarily, and even to this very day houses the worlds most advanced ships on Earth. If you come on the right days. You’ll see every ship America and Japan has to offer, even ones fueled by nuclear reactors. That day you ask is the New Years holiday, and that was this weekend.

The boat tour was around 1000 yen and departs every hour or so, the park is rather large and has a shopping center, military gift shop and the Mikasa park.

There was one Japanese boat still around. A prewar ship from the beginning of the 20th Century. She is the Mikasa, but unfortunately, we did not have time to tour her.

By gtr06 Posted in Japan

Kyoto in the rain

 

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Kyoto station’s Christmas tree!

On the morning of the 23rd, a national holiday in Japan, we took a train out to Kyoto. The train ride went smoothly, and with the exception to the heavy rain, we had a pleasant stay. We started out with something to eat before heading over to see the castle.  The meal was some quality beef from Miyagi-ken! The restaurant is actually a chain one, and can be found near most Japanese stations. There is actually one near where I live. The name is however, on the tip of my tongue.

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Beef dishes can be expensive in Japan

Nijo Castle in Kyoto actually doesn’t look like a castle. Traditionally, this is how most castles in Japan looked like due to the influence of Buddhism. Nobunaga and other warring state generals changed how Japanese castles look. This castle definitely felt more like a temple or a shrine than a warring castle. However, the interiors were very similar!

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What a shape?!

It was a very rainy day, but the castle grounds were still as beautiful as ever. The rain was making it difficult to shoot on this day, so I didn’t take many shots. Unfortunately, photos are prohibited inside Nijo Castle. The walk from the JR station can be a bit far, but there was a subway nearby.

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Small store, big on culture.

Afterwards, we stopped by the Kyoani shop, located just below the actual studio! The rain was really heavy about now, and I was slightly disappointed about its size. However, there were rare things to be found here. Particularly posters and board games from older series! However, 50% of the store was made up of Free merchandise. I haven’t seen the show yet.

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I love chain Pizza restaurants! Especially, all you can eat ones. The wacky Japanese flavors and side menus!

We headed to the covered shopping area afterwards. Turns out there was a convenient station right by the Kyoani store. I didn’t have to get wet anymore and all we could eat Pizza was available before Blitz had to head home and get ready for work the next day.

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Kyoto Tower at night

On our walk back to the hotel and Kyoto station we got to have one look at the illuminated tower. I don’t usually stay the night in Kyoto and this was probably my second time ever seeing it. Quite a wet and eventful day with a lot of eats and sights. The prices were reasonable for what we did and see. The castle didn’t cost much and we got to enjoy a sweet sake drink with small amounts of alcohol. The next day we would begin our roadtrip to Western Japan! Note: All pictures were taken with an iPad on this day.

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Breakfast for the next day!

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Our rental car. A Honda Fit!

Ankou News’ Girls und Panzer top 20 characters

Ankou News posted a poll about the most recent top 20 characters from Girl und Panzer! They polled by teams, then took the top number of votes total and put them into a top 20.

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The poll appears to be pre-movie and post OVA, so without delay let’s look at their GuP annual poll!

 

#20 Katyusha (Pravda) T-34/85

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With 96 votes

 

#19 Hana Isuzu (Anglerfish Team) PanzerkfwIV

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With 98 votes

 

#18 Orange Pekoe (St.Gloriana Girl’s High School) Churchill mk.VII

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With 105 votes

 

#17/16 Yuzu Koyama  (Turtle team) 38t & Nekota (Anteater team) Type 3 (tied)

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With 126 votes each respectively

 

#15 Noriko Isobe (Duck team) Type 89

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With 135 votes

 

#14 Azusa Sawa (Rabbit team) M3Lee

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With 137 votes

 

#13 Karina Sakaguchi (Rabbit team) M3Lee

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With 141 votes

 

#12 Taeko Kondou (Duck team) Type 89

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With 150 votes

 

-!!From here seriousness intensifies for top spots!!-

 

#11 Saori Takebe (Anglerfish team) PanzerkfwIV

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With 153 votes

Unexpected 10th place?! Upsetting Saori!

#10 Midoriko Sono (Mallard Team) Char B1 bis

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Medals for bravery under fire!

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With 155 votes

 

#9 Nonna (Pravda) IS2

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Respected for her maternal nature!

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With 157 votes

 

Settling for 8th…

 

#8 Miho Nishizumi (Anglerfish team) PanzerkfwIV

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Daybreak…

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Loved for her variety of expressions throughout the series.

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With 160 votes

 

#7  Duce! Anchovy (Anzio) P40

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Duce! Duce! Duce! With no shame!

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With 168 votes

 

#6 Erwin (Hippo team) StuG III

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Glorious in all art forms.

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With 181 votes

#5 Kay (Saunders) M4

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Small size popped corn…and she needs no permission to touch…

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With 188 votes

 

#4 Maho Nishizumi (Kuromorimine) Tiger I

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I don’t have a sister complex.

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With 201 votes

 

-Top 3 Characters-

By only one vote…

#3 Anzu Kadotani (Turtle team) 38t 

She is a villain of sorts!  Our first antagonist of the series!

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The one and only Student Council President! No one loves Ooarai more!

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With 202 votes!

 

#2 Yukari Akiyama (Anglerfish team) PanzerkfwIV

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The DVD commentator and known as the daughter of Girls und Panzer!

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The loader who sells the most merchandise holds second!

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With 212 votes!!

The girl with the highest number of votes.

The commander of one of the best teams.

The classiest.

and with 297 votes!

#1

Darjeeling

(St.Gloriana’s Girl’s Highschool)

Churchill mk.VII

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The truest connoisseur of tea. Darjeeling is the winner of the Ankou News Annual Poll Awards by an overwhelming number votes.

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CPs6tWXIt pays to be classy.

-Bonus-

Highest ranking non-main character is the chef working at Cookfan.

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For more about the polls, head to the source! (Ankou News)

 

Highest ranking tanks

 

#5 PanzerkfwIV Ausf. D (Anglerfish team)

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#4 Tiger I (Kuromorimine)

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#3 PanzerkfwIV Ausf.H (Anglerfish team)

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#2  Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer (Turtle team)

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#1 Type 89B I-GO (Duck team)

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Note: Japan loves their Japanese tanks.

By gtr06 Posted in Anime

John Carpenter liked Kojima enough not to sue him over Metal Gear

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Its no surprise that Kojima, the father of the Metal Gear series, is a fan of old literature and movies. Most of his games and works have been inspired by Hollywood. Sometimes his work references Hollywood a little TOO much. In this recent John Carpenter interview, just in time for Halloween, we learn why Kojima was not any legal trouble over his overbearing references to Mr. Carpenter’s often action packed movies.

John Carpenter’s Interview

Batman Arkham Knight re-release packed with all previous games

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Order the game on Steam before November 16th and receive all previous titles for free. This pre-order deal is probably great if you haven’t played the previous Batman titles, like me. However, Arkham Knight has been plagued with issues especially on the PC. This re-release is suppose to fix it. But as with all pre-orders or re-release pre-orders, there is a risk of a defective game.  So if you’re not afraid of a few risks or think all the Batman games by Warner Bro. is worth it, then give it a shot.

Link to Steam page