Golden Week Adventures!

Last year, Golden Week was a continuation of my year long journeys around Japan. This year, I’ve hardly been out of Nagoya for work and vacationing. Originally, I had planned to visit Shikoku and Kyushu this year, but everyone had other plans. The trip still may come to fruition, but it is uncertain when. April 29th was the official start day of Golden Week for many people, or April 28th for those that don’t work or have school on weekends. After a great sushi night, and a walk from Kanayama to Kamimaezu and Nagoya, I celebrated my first day of Golden Week working on my Yotsuba model, SimCity and Saizeriya for dinner. Slowly and carefully, I will be finished sometime later this year.

Tomorrow, a day of karaoke is planned with some friends! Also, following up on Maaya Sakamoto’s concert, it was fun, but not as entertaining as her Route38 concert! The first half were all songs from her new album (as we expected) and other lesser known songs. The second half had a medley of her best songs, and finished with a Macross Frontier song, and one of my favorite songs, Poketto wo kara ni shite!

Sakamoto Maaya Concert this Friday!

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I have my tickets to Maaya Sakamoto’s concert in Nagoya! This time I’m not alone! I will be going with 2 friends and I’m really looking forward to it! Apparently, this concert is to celebrate the release of her 8th album. Her 8th album will contain 8 new songs, mostly written and produced by Maaya Sakamoto, with a remix of Everywhere and a new arrangement of Chikai. They named this tour “Roots of SSW” meaning Roots of singer, song writer.

Three Years in Nagoya

Today is my 3 year anniversary in Nagoya. Here are the very first pictures of my first two days in Nagoya, 3 years ago.

3 Years in 3 more days.

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Japan. The country that I live in now, was not always my home. There were a lot of rough patches, and I had not expected to live here for over a year. However, after 1 year I decided it wasn’t enough, especially after all the effort I put into adjusting to life here and succeeding at my place of work. I had made a lot of friends in my first year! However, after my trip back to Canada my life was put through another challenge.

3/11/11. 11 months after arriving and 2 days after returning from Canada for my 2 week vacation a big 9.0 M Earthquake struck at 2:46 near the East coast of Miyagi, causing a triple disaster. The Earthquake and Tsunami devestated the North-East coast, but left the rest of Japan intact, but the 3rd disaster affected everyone and reminded Japan they were in this together. Views from abroad were not so tame. Everyone saw the end of Japan as a safe haven, and a lot of stress came upon the people of Japan and the foreigners living hear including myself. A lot of people ended up leaving, including some friends of mine. Some are living in Korea now in the face of challenges that rivaled ours. The life here could have come to an end, but the waiting game and further toning down of the disaster news helped keep me in Japan.

After a rather bad illness, due to all my stress from overworking (6 days a week), a bad diet (lunch boxes everyday) and the news, life go back on track, like it tends to. The next year passed relatively quick, life had gotten comfortable again, I managed to strengthen my bond with the friends I made, however it became difficult to make new friends because I never put the effort into studying Japanese. However, I realized that I hardly used a lot of Japanese outside of my daily life, and that a lot of language is preset at locations such as restaurants, stores and convenience stores. It became easier to live in Japan after I learned to listen for these phrases. For example, “Would you like a bag?” or “Do you want chopsticks or a fork” because easy to listen for, when initially I was in fear every time I went shopping. As my life began to stabilize, the economy in Japan however, wasn’t doing so well. The new government at the end of 2012 decided it was time to weaken the Yen. It isn’t so bad at the moment but people fear the Yen may collapse in the future.

At this moment I make 20% less (against the dollar) than I did less than a year ago because of the weak yen. However, this may be the reason I stay in Japan longer. My money isn’t actually weaker in Japan, just weaker against the dollar. Recently, work has been quiet as well so I haven’t been making as much either. Today, my ETC card arrived. Step 2 of getting a car in Japan is complete! (Step one was my driver’s license) With my new free time, maybe I’ll try to use my money more efficiently or get into some new business with exporting figurines. Who knows! It has only been 3 years after all.

By gtr06 Posted in Japan

Celebrating Spring in Osaka

On a random day in March, we decided to visit Osaka! First, we stopped at Nihonbashi for some delicious food at e-maid, then to Volks for a nice robot museum display and then to Koreatown also known as the scenic inspiration to Blade Runner for dinner! It was a quick, compact, and a fun day!

By gtr06 Posted in Japan

My Soundwave collection. Complete. Masterpiece.

Masterpiece 13, 15 and 16. A collection that took over 3 months to create, came with 5 cassettes and the one and only Soundwave. Priced at around $200, because of the Amazon sale, I also received 2 bonus clear Energon Cubes because of the Amazon bonus.  For those who were unfortunate to miss such a release, or reside state side, fear not! Soundwave will be coming to the West, along with all 5 cassettes, in one package. He will also come with more cartoon accurate visors and colors. Being an early adopter always has its price, but this time it was completely worth it.  Soundwave, which I’ve yet to convert into a Cassette player, comes with incredible detail, rivaling that of MP Starscream and a load of accessories!

The accessories, including Megatron’s gun and the hidden details were the most interesting parts. Soundwave is full of storage for Rumble and Frenzy, as well as for his own weapons and equipment.  For example hands can be hidden to attach accessories, snap on battery packs from MP15 and 16, do just that on Soundwave. Buzzsaw and Laserbeak can attach to Soundwave through a snap on point on his arm and so on.  My favorite function is the cassette ejector, it feels durable and it can fit 3 cassettes and eject them without difficulty thanks to a loading mechanism and button inside and behind him.

However, it’s not all sunshine and happiness. His on movable fingers fall of easily, which reminds me of the dangerous days of Optimus and his hide and seek fists. His cassette area is made of clear plastic, but I can clearly see smudges and small scratches, not just there but all around his body. Somehow I don’t think its battle damage.  Overall, he doesn’t feel as solid as Starscream, but he does come close. His metal legs are pretty awesome and are quite durable at holding him up. His joints are circular, and remind me of GoodSmile Company’s toys, but a little more durable!  All in all, this figure is incredibly photogenic, and as someone who loves to take pictures of miniatures and a big Transformers fan, I’m clearly in Cybertron heaven.