Friday, September 4, 2015

Small Adventure 44

We've got 2 computers in the apartment, and occasionally I need to run an ethernet cable to the bedroom, so essentially I need 3 LAN ports. To make things easier, and because I don't want to deal with passwords for locking out the entire apartment building from my modem, I've been using a regular 4-port Logitek router switch. Very occasionally, over the last 4 years, we'd lose internet connection. The first time this happened, we called the landlord (because the building offers internet connection as part of rent) to get the number for the service provider and then called them to find out what was going on. The provider called back a little later to say that they couldn't identify the problem and we should just wait a while and try again. After about an hour of refreshing the computer browsers, the connection came back. Shortly after that, the landlord put up a sign next to the elevator saying that when new renters set up their internet accounts to NOT specify fixed IP addresses, because that can lock out the rest of the building. But, about once every 6 to 12 months, the problem repeats. Usually, we get the net connection again within half an hour.

Until last week. I had to go out shopping in the middle of the afternoon, and both computers were in sleep mode. When I returned to the apartment and woke the computers back up, there was no net connection. I waited a while, then just on the off chance, I disconnected the cable to the switch from the wall and pull out the power supply. I plugged everything back in, and the connection came back. The following day, turning the computers on didn't present a problem, but putting them into sleep mode and waking them back up caused the net connection to disappear.  Rebooting the switch fixed the problem again. So now, I'm getting suspicious. The next day, I wake up, turn on the computers, and there's no net connection. I pull the cables, power down the switch, reset everything, and still no connection, but there is a strange flashing pattern on the front panel LEDs. I press the switch reset button, and still nothing. I start assuming that the flashing pattern represents some kind of error code, and that the switch is probably fried.

I'd had classes in the afternoon, and the first one was to start 90 minutes from that point. So, I headed out of the apartment and walked up to the main train station, and then behind that to get to Bic Camera. They'd rearranged their entire electronics section to make more room for a smartphone sales area, so I spend a few minutes hunting for the modems. There's an amazing number of wireless modems, but again, the apartment is too small to justify getting one (none of the computers would be more than 20 feet from the main wall connection). There are still several models of ethernet router switch, too, but I don't need the 8-port ones with loop detection and automatic port power down if a cable isn't connected. I settle on a little Elecom 5-port (one in-port and 4 out-ports) for under 2,000 yen with tax ($18 USD). I get back home, swap out the switch, and confirm that I've got net connection again. Problem solved.

As a final note, Kagoshima has a small electronics recycling program, where yellow bins are placed at various locations around the city. If something fits into the slot, you can dispose of it this way for free. The old router and power supply fit with no trouble, so that's one more thing I don't have to worry about any more (the bins also have a separate slot for tossing old batteries).

So, one camera down and then replaced, the second one possibly ok. One router switch down and replaced. The print head on the Brother printer went wonky 2 months ago and the printer had to be sent out for repairs. And now, the battery icon on my discontinued model Fujitsu Lifebook laptop is saying that that's about ready to die. (Whispering: And the computer booted up this morning with no internet connection. I had to unplug the power to the new router and plug it in again.) Sigh...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Small Adventure 43

Tuesday night, I was tempted to jump on the street car and ride down to south Kagoshima after dinner. I wanted to visit the Book Off down there to see if they had any used copies of the Area 51 manga, and to check their used Nintendo DS game selection. At 9:30 PM, I decided to make a break for it and headed outside. I get up to Takamibaba street, which is the closest platform to me, and there are 8 office workers ahead of me waiting to go home. The car is fairly crowded, with no place to sit, so I just find a place to stand and listen to AC/DC on my mp3 player, while watching some of the OL's playing games on their smartphones for 30 minutes. I get to Book Off, and they don't have any volumes for Area 51. But, they do have a used copy of the Jump Superstars game for 500 yen, and Valkyrie Profile for 250 yen. I get those for my collection and return to the platform. Almost immediately, the street car shows up, and this time it's just me and one other passenger. It feels just like the Gegege Kitaro ghost train.

I sit down, plug Jump Superstars into my 3DS, and try to figure out the game play. The street car gets to Korimoto street, but instead of going straight like it always does, it turns left on Korimoto. This is ok by me because the tracks form a rectangle, with the corners at the main train station, Takamibaba, Korimoto, and one place on the main drag where the car turns right to go to the train station. This just means that I'm going to have to get off at the main train station, and walk an additional 3-4 blocks to get home. No big deal. Except...

Right after the train makes the right turn to change directions for the rectangle, it stops at the platform in front of McDonald's and the driver tells me that this is his last stop for the night and I have to get out. It's only 10:45 PM at this point, and I'd never imagined that the street car service would stop so early. I get out, and briefly consider going into McDonald's to get a shake or something for the walk, but there's a long line at the counter, one person working the register, and no one's moving. So I just keep going. Fortunately, I'm only a mile from the main train station, and I get home after 30 minutes. What's weird, though, is that there were 3 other street cars going the opposite direction towards south Kagoshima, and they were all filled with passengers. Maybe the driver just didn't like me...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Glasses Posters

"To bring out the best in your fashion.
We are offering a closet that can move freely is a director
Some feelings shine is sleeping the contents of this closet"
Regista x Paris Miki

"It's decide between them? And why not both?"

Doesn't Rayban have SOMEONE that can speak English that could have vetted this?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Royal Milk Tea and Nodame Cantabile

A few months ago, I mentioned the tie-in with Royal Milk Tea and Fairy Tail. Well, RMT had the same thing going on with the Nodame Cantabile manga, but I don't really care for that story and I didn't feel buying the tea for 130 yen just to take a picture of the label. However, I needed something to drink for lunch recently, and I do like Earl Gray tea. So I bought it this time. The Shiroyama grocery store still has cases of this stuff for sale, but I think it was cleared out to make room for the Clash of Titan bottles.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Kagoshima Marching Band

For the last week, there had been a small event advertised for the open area next to the Lotteria in Tenmonkan. I hadn't tried translating the kanji, but it seemed to be something safety related, and was only going to run from 2 PM to 2:30 on Saturday, the 29th. That's generally when I would be teaching English classes, but I didn't have my regular 2 PM class that day, so I got out of the school as quickly as I could and made my way straight for the Lotteria to see what was going on.

Turned out that the Kagoshima Fire Department was hosting some kind of fire safety awareness raising event, and along with the fliers, brochures and free balloons, they had their marching band playing several songs. They started with a classical medley, then did the theme song for Kiki's Delivery Service. I tried recording the following song, which was a variation on the opening theme for Meitanei Shonen Conan, but that's when the battery on the new camera ran out. In part, I had been testing how long the battery would last straight out of the box, but I should have known better and recharged it right away. Regardless, the new pocket camera is doing pretty well. I'm not all that happy with the pictures I get when the sun is behind the subject on a rainy day, but I'm still trying to get used to what this model of Canon Powershot can do, so maybe I'm not quite doing it right.

Direct youtube link

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Camera Test

I took the opportunity last week to buy a replacement pocket camera.

The old one just wouldn't fully turn on or off, so my initial thought was that I'd get a similar model, which would let me keep the battery as a back-up. But, none of the cameras I looked at used compatible batteries, and I figured I might as well get the best camera in the price range and have something that would last for a while and possibly give me better photos. Based on the reviews at, I settled on the Canon Powershot SX710HS, which has a x30 optical zoom, compared to the x18 I'd had with the other camera (and the x50 zoom of the big camera). As I was going to work that afternoon, I took a few sample shots of the moon. Not too bad for a pocket camera. It was fairly shaky and I would have been better off using a tripod. But still, pretty decent.

The sky had some interesting coloration on the clouds, too. Most of the cameras I'd had before haven't shot clouds well, so this is the best I've gotten so far.

The next day, the moon was a bit higher, a bit later in the afternoon sky, providing a little more contrast.

Going by a construction site where one of the buildings is being cleaned up. One of the drawbacks to this camera is that it doesn't have aperture control on the automatic setting, so the moon gets really washed out when on a low zoom factor.

Auto focusing doesn't help. Still, not sure if this is much better than the previous Powershot or not. I'll have to keep experimenting.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

July-Aug. articles in the media

Here's the batch of articles to show up in the media from July-Aug., regarding anime, manga and related stuff.

Japan Times

Famed director Miyazaki calls Abe's move to revise Constitution 'despicable'

Hayao Miyazaki cleans up Japan

'One Piece' sets Guinness record for manga

Project Anime asks the right questions

Tokyo bar transformed into Sailor Moon cafe until the end of September

Cannibalism and confusion in live-action 'Attack on Titan'

Daily Yomiuri

A final brush with calligraphy

Animax to air special program on 'Dokaben'

Chibi Maruko-chan: 25 years of happy TV hijinks

The Origin' Episode 2 to start two-week theatrical run on Oct. 31st

New 'Yokai Watch' anime starts with new characters

A cloned legend is Baki's latest challenge

Scaling walls: Anime and voice acting

Manga, anime invigorate transportation

Ugly guys don’t always finish last

'Charlotte' puts powerful spin on teenage life

Daijiro Morohoshi's manga enjoys a quiet boom

Bokudake ga Inai Machi (The Town Where Only I Am Missing)

Ichigo Senso (Strawberry War)

Kobo-chan statue unveiled in Tokyo

Unearthing parent-child ties in a monster world

Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon)

Otakon: Driven by passion for otaku culture

Yoshitaka Amano’s fantastic, elegant drawings


Exhibition honoring 'Gundam' designer Okawara to be held from August

Hayao Miyazaki at work on computer graphics short

Giant 'Gundam' robots planned for Inagi promotion center

Traditional puppetry in Nose conjures up cute characters to attract young audiences

'Attack on Titan' mini-series to stream on dTV from August

Cinema legend Miyazaki joins protests against move to widen SDF role

'Naruto' exhibition headed for Osaka this weekend

Translator of Chinese 'Barefoot Gen' manga looking for publisher

Seibu Railway begins campaign to reintroduce 'Galaxy Express 999' train

Anima(tor) Exhibition gains worldwide attention with Screenings, Streaming Music

Record crowd attends Anime Expo in Los Angeles

Nippon Animation celebrates 40 years with Sinbad film

English version of 'Attack on Titan' tops 2.5 million copies in print

First 'Chibi Maruko-chan' movie in 23 years to open Dec. 23

Kabuki adaptation of 'One Piece' manga will feature flashy action, play to families

'Art of Gundam' exhibition now running in Tokyo's Roppongi

Hosoda's 'The Boy and the Beast' eyes 7 billion yen at box office

Monstrous manga titan looks down on commuters and visitors at Oita Station

'Ita-beya' anime, manga rooms a hit with overseas tourists

Asahi Shimbun promotes 'Attack on Titan' movie with scary insert

All 'Doraemon' comics go digital to celebrate 45th anniversary

Kawasaki museum screening war films, propaganda anime movie

Shinji Higuchi: Live-action 'Attack on Titan' faithful to Manga

'Fruits Basket' sequel to hit HanaLala website from Sept. 4

Tokyo International Film Festival to offer special 'Gundam' screening

Gundam robots on menu for anime fans at Fukushima roadside station

36th Doraemon movie set for release in spring 2016

Cartoon train cars promote Kyoto anime fair

'Doraemon' heads to 'prime time' morning slot for kids on British

'Evangelion' train to run on Sanyo Shinkansen Line this fall

Lionsgate secures rights to make live-action 'Naruto' film

'Chibi Maruko-chan' train attracts anime fans in Shizuoka

'Mobile Suit Gundam' to be showcased at Tokyo International Film Festival

Anime film starring Yokohama's Hikawa-Maru liner to cast off on Aug. 22

Monstrous humanoid floats down to Oita, adds manga muscle to tourist drive

'Miss Hokusai' scoops up 3 awards at Montreal film festival

Phoenix Hall gets its own jewel-encrusted phoenix

Kodansha to expand U.S. English manga titles to 2,000 in 2 years

Doraemon train gets a new three-year lease of life

'Dragon Quest XI' goes offline for 3DS, PS4 by May 2017

Shaft to hold exhibition to celebrate 40 years ofimaginative storytelling

Japanese battleships morphed into cute schoolgirls to hit the big screen

New 'Dragon Ball Z' film among top 10 highest-grossing anime films in U.S.

Mario Bros. morph into deities to celebrate 400th anniversary of Rimpa painting school

Boy who lost his entire family to atomic bomb in Nagasaki featured in manga series