Saturday, September 26, 2020

ROKR Perpetual Clock Wooden Kit


For various reasons I don't feel like elaborating on, I ended up buying one of the cheapest ROKR wooden laser cut kits (2,000 yen ($19 USD) off of They did a good job of shipping it - standard transport only took 2-3 days to get to Kyushu. ROKR is horrible about giving names to the kits, though. There was nothing in the Japanese name that identified this one as a Perpetual Clock


There are several moving rings, but only two of them really matter. One sets the year (right now, it's locked at 2020), and the other sets the month. That's it. The settings give you half the date, and the numbers showing through the little window (see below) give you the days of the week, and the dates for the month. However, it doesn't handle leap years right. Since 2020 is a leap year, you have to set the month "one-off", so that September is actually the display for April. Otherwise, it works fine. It's about 6" x 6" x 2" thick. You have to set the disks manually (the year and the month), and it doesn't show individual dates (such as "Today is Monday, the 6th"). If you look at the right-hand side of the frame, you may see what looks like an up-down slider switch. It's a lock lever used to keep the year disk from accidentally rotating as you change the months or otherwise handle the kit.


It's a pretty easy kit to build. The box says there are 50+ pieces, possibly including the backup spare parts for the small stuff that's likely to break or get lost. It took me pretty close to 30 minutes to punch the pieces out and assemble them. I didn't bother with trimming "flash", sanding or waxing, and the finished kit still works fine. I was confused by why the date wasn't coming out right when I tried setting the disks, and ended up disassembling the main components and putting them back together again to make sure I hadn't gotten something wrong. Looking at the instructions on the back page, I discovered the caveats for dealing with leap years. That added another 15 minutes to the total assembly time.


Over all, it's not a bad kit. It's easy to work with, and if you want to make it a little more sturdy you can always add glue to the main frame sections. But, there's no "replay value." This is something that is going to sit on a shelf or desk, and act as a novelty paperweight. But, it was fun to build, anyway.

Thursday, September 24, 2020



Found this little guy next to the lobby entrance. 

Trombone Fall Chalk Art


 "It's still warm, but Fall is the time for eating..." 


 Have some marrons. 

[Note: Man I hate the new Blogger editor. The screen jumps around when I edit text, and I completely lose the cursor when I try to drag it to select blocks of text. If I type up my blog entries in Notepad and then copy-paste the file into the editor, Blogger either ignores the HTML code (image links) or strips out all of the carriage returns. I can't believe I'm saying this, but this is even worse than Wordpress. Sigh.]

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The quest

A little one-shot blog entry here. 

There's been a bit of activity on the anime-product tie-in front. First up is Kirby. No idea why, but Kirby, the video game and anime character, has been showing up as an advertisement on some of the vending machines, but it's nothing worth taking pictures of. Additionally, he's on the placemats of the MOS Burger shops, inhaling burgers and drinks (again, the artwork's boring). 

Changing topics, I was at an AU smartphone shop a few days ago, and the TV was on a 10-minute loop of smartphone ads. One such ad series had Bruce Willis pretending to be Doreamon, with his Docodemo Door (I think it's a play on the "Docomo" phone company name). Later, I found a vending machine with a Picture of Tommy Lee Jones, and a hint at what looked like a "Doraemon Walk" AR game, but I can't find any details for something like that online yet. 

Speaking of "Walks," one of my last blog posts had been on the Dragonquest Walk stickers on one single Pepsi machine. The idea was that there's a Dragonquest Walk game, where you wander the city with your smartphone, and the screen shows various monsters you can fight or do business with. DQ teamed up with Suntory so that at specific vending machines, you can spend money to heal your character. Well, this kind of thing has become much more visible, because I've found another 5 vending machines with those stickers on them around the city now (most of them close together in Tenmonkan). 

Changing topics again, last month, there were two (at the time) completely unrelated things. First was Family Mart's egg burger campaign. The konbini chain was advertising sandwiches with hamburger buns, but with a scrambled egg "patty." This looked pretty silly, and at about $2.50 for one, it was more than I wanted to spend. The second thing was a vending machine that had the artwork for Attack on Titan. It indicated a line of can coffee from Wonda with the Attack on Titan character art. I didn't have time to take a picture of the machine, and the next day I couldn't find it again. For the next 3-4 weeks, I've been checking every machine along my route, as well as the various konbini chain stores to see if any of them had the loose cans on the shelves (like they did for Lupin III and Kochira wa Kameari), but nothing. 

Last week, I had a short break between lessons at the English school, and I figured I might as well swing by the Family Mart around the corner and grab an egg burger just to take pictures of it out of habit. But, when I got to that Famima, I discovered that they'd changed campaigns and didn't have the egg burgers anymore. Going home, I swung by the 4 other Famimas along the way and it was all the same thing - they'd all switched campaigns. Sigh, oh well.


 Finally, two nights ago, I was out walking for exercise. When I got near one of the pachinko parlors on the other side of Tenmonkan, I noticed that they had the Attack on Titan art on the Pepsi machine (above) in the doorway. But, none of the cans in the display window had the character art on it. Reading the advertising more closely, it seems that Wonda has decided to get really chintzy. Only a few of the cans, for their Morning Shot, Golden Coffee and Bitter Shot brands, are the Attack on Titan cans. You just have to try your "luck" and see if you win one. The machine charges 130 yen per can, which is more than the coffee is worth (it's not good coffee). Anyway, I decided to get a Morning Shot right there, and it just turned out to be a plain can. 

My cellphone has a step counter, and I've never bothered seeing how many steps I walk a day. That night, I figured "why not," and went all the way down to City Hall (2014 steps in 20 minutes), then back home by a slightly different route (4034 steps in 40 minutes). While I was at it, I continued up to Amu Plaza (5300 steps in 50 minutes), then back by a slightly different route (6620 steps in 1 hour). As I was coming back, I approached another Family Mart, and it had the banner out front promoting the egg burger. I wasn't dressed for going into a brightly lit store and I didn't have a mask), so I returned home to go to sleep for the night. The next day, I got to the Attack on Titan vending machine on the way to work, and I got a can of the Gold coffee brand. This one DID have character art, but it was for Kochira wa Kame Ari. What the hell? Ok, yeah, fine. Enough's enough. I continue to work.


A few hours later, I'm done with my classes for the day and I head back home. I make a side stop to the Family Mart from the night before and go in to get the egg burger. And, they don't have it. When I get outside, I look at the overhead banner, and it's for the new campaign again. However, next to the chilled sandwich shelves, the store had their heated can coffee shelves, and right at eye level were two cans of Attack on Titan Wonda Morning Shots. The refrigerated drinks section had more of the cans. None of the artwork looked all that great, but the cans were marked at 108 yen each, so I got the one pictured here.


And here we are. Nothing much else to write about right now.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Thanks for all the fish.

Well, I've been at this blog for almost exactly 12 years now, and I think the time is coming to wrap things up. There are almost no events taking place in Kagoshima anymore, and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find anything worth writing about or taking photos of. As mentioned a couple weeks ago, the government is cracking down on unauthorized uses of manga and anime (which I doubt will change anything regarding fans uploading scans and videos of copyrighted material to youtube and other host sites). So, I'm not going to post reviews of what I'm reading anymore (which may be what the publishers want, anyway). The government is just starting to open up travel between prefectures, but with the big Obon holiday period coming up in August I'm expecting tourist travel, and people going back to their hometowns to be way, way down. Travel to and from other countries is still highly restricted. Which means that I'm not going to be going anywhere to take touristy videos. The next few months just look to be as grim as the last 4 have been.

I'm not taking down this blog. Not just yet, anyway.
Feel free to check back in occasionally to see if anything new has been posted. In the meantime, thanks for hanging around with me this long, and we'll see what the future brings.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Mar-July. articles in the media

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

Japan Times

Japanese monster goes viral on hopes for end to coronavirus pandemic

Anime cons 'will never be the same' after the coronavirus

Forget about anime production delays by streaming these classics

In Japan, ‘Sazae-san’ — world's longest-running TV cartoon — switches to reruns

Homemade anime: Studio Ghibli producer offers online lesson on how to draw Totoro

Fifty years of Doraemon, and still there are lessons to be learned

‘Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man’: 15 years as Studio Ghibli’s bridge to the world

‘Japan Sinks: 2020’: When disaster strikes, keep your family close

Tokyo home of ‘Astro Boy’ creator and other manga legends opens as museum

Universal Studios Japan to open 'Doraemon' ride on Aug. 4

Daily Yomiuri

EVA invades Shimano Town Hall!

Japanese child actor Kurumi Inagaki enters ‘Pretty Cure’ world through voice acting

Japanese anime ‘Genie Family’ emerges from bottle after 50-year wait

Japan’s beloved manga assassin becomes the latest coronavirus fatality

Japanese manga 'Demon Slayer' draws to close

Japan’s anime song singers aim to cheer up the public

Hayao Miyazaki’s manga to become audio drama

Manga archive to preserve original drawings to open in Japan

‘Tokiwaso’ mangaka apartment resurrected in Tokyo

Famed Japanese animator creates Yubari film festival promotional artwork


'Kingdom' anime season 3 to start airing on NHK from April

'Millionaire Detective' series starts in April; teaser unveiled

Second season of 'Fruits Basket' to start on April 6; clip released

Main visual from new 'Detective Conan' movie released

Anime characters guide visitors at tourist spots via NEC's AR service

'Evangelion' film series finale set for theatrical release June 27

'Josee, the Tiger and the Fish' to make its anime debut in summer

Yamaguchi’s ‘Blue Period’ wins Cartoon Grand Prize 2020

Tezuka’s hand-drawn Melmo finds a home in sushi parlor

7th New Chitose Airport film fest to run Nov. 20-23 in Hokkaido

Size matters: Gundam Cafe Akihabara to get four times larger

'Lucky Star'-themed marriage form offered in anime’s locale

Mamoru Oshii's latest series 'Vlad Love' drops visual teaser

'Doraemon' collector's edition made to last into the next century

‘Nyx’s Lantern’ wins top manga prize at Tezuka Osamu awards

Studio Ghibli, TV stations post free wallpapers for video chats

Manga on Soviet women in WWII shocks industry, wows readers

A happy ending? ‘Demon Slayer’ manga concludes as popularity soars

Coronavirus pushes release of ‘Detective Conan’ film to April 2021

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Dragon Quest Walk Sticker

Dragon Quest Walk is a "augmented reality role-playing video game", but I don't have a smartphone and was completely unaware of this game until just recently when I found the above sticker on a vending machine in Tenmonkan. According to the wiki article, the player wanders around the city to various real world locations, where they can encounter monsters to fight for items, leveling up, or advancing quests. The game creators struck a deal with Suntory to use some of their vending machines as in-game "healing stations."

So now you know.