Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hokkaido Fair, Nov. 17

Yamakataya had a "Hokkaido fair," which is basically when they dedicate the entire top floor of their main department store building to tables of people selling fish, wine and other Hokkaido produce. This resulted in kind of an overflow event in the open space in front of Lotteria, where people were also selling honey, fish, and stuffed polar bear dolls.

They had VR goggles for viewing a 360-degree "VR tour" of Hokkaido featuring characters from the Golden Kamui TV anime series. I had to work from 4-9 PM on Saturday, and was on my way to the school when I got here at 3:45. That didn't leave me any time to try on the goggles, and I didn't come back here on Sunday. I assume this isn't going to be a one-shot thing, so the next time I see a VR tour, I'll check it out. (On the other hand, I don't have any interest in Golden Kamui, so there was no compelling reason to view the tour at that time.)

There was a big announcement event, where the sponsors debuted Kyun-kun, a deer-themed foamhead mascot. They had close to ten officials there for the announcement, so I guess someone, for some reason, thought this was a big deal. Say "hi," Kyun.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

High Score Girl and Taito

I'd only just noticed this poster before the final day for a collaboration between High Score Girl (a manga and TV series about a boy growing up in the 90's with the video games coming out at that time) and Taito. At the bottom is a quiz asking which Taito game appears in the opening sequence of the anime - Space Invaders, Densha de GO!, or Daraiasu(?)?

You're supposed to give the answer to one of the arcade shop staff for a present. I don't have a TV, so I didn't know the answer at the time, but I assume the present was a sticker or something equally cheap.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Amu Plaza Crafts Fair

Art in a van. Art in a hurry. Art delivered to your door. "Hi, I'm Art. You called?"
On Sunday, Amu Plaza had an arts and crafts show specifically as a way to selling paintings and jewelry in mass to customers.

There was a little table near the event space entrance selling prints and originals for each of the artists. I've seen this kind of event before, and there's never anything that I like. Which seems to be the definition of "modern" art now, in Japan.

"To the future."
Most of the artists here seem to follow the approach of "it's art if that's what I say it is," which translates to "here have a banana peel. You can say it's the remains of my lunch, but I say it's 'insert social commentary here'."

Now available as prints, photo copies and postcards.

Over at the "body jewelry" booth, which is just another name for face and body painting, we've got a young girl getting face paint.

And her slightly older brother. I'm not sure, but maybe their parents have the same caps, as a matched family set.

The Amu Plaza Arts Fest capped off an otherwise event-filled weekend. Lots of stuff going on right now, as we head into the 3 weeks of live music (I'm hoping) that marks Amu Plaza's Christmas Shopping month (Dec. 6-25).

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Monozukuri Fest, Nov. 11

Ok, this is the event I saw going up on Friday, that was abandoned on Saturday because it was just a one-day thing for Sunday. After catching bits of the Tax Fest, Gonza City and the Art Exhibit by the Disabled, I got down here at about 2:30 PM. Initially I was just expecting an arts and crafts show.

The outdoor space had a couple food tables, this presentation stage (used for different slide shows and a demo for making a small bookcase), and over 10 activities booths (see below).

My understanding is that some of these booths were run by construction companies or related technical schools. A lot of the visitors were active making tiles, learning how to pound nails into wood, trying their hands at copper and tin plate embossing, and stencil spray painting. Here, we've got tiled table tops.

Some of these items were available for sale.

Make your own appliques.

Stencil art.

Japanese-style wood joint work. The main feature is that it doesn't use nails, screws or glue.

When I arrived, two craftsmen were in the process of demoing the creation of two different types of joints. I was so busy going back and forth, watching as they worked, that I didn't want to bother with recording them. Maybe next time.

As this one guy was trying to pound the one piece into place in the second piece of wood, the piece he was sitting on kept sliding under him. Eventually, one of the older men told him to pop up a peg in the bench behind him.

I'd thought the pegs were just there for ornamentation, but they're actually stops specifically for the task of keeping planks from sliding around when you're working on them.

Very practical.

The piece at the left has that little dovetail that fits into the larger rectangular part of the hole in the other piece. The hole is also dovetailed, so when the first piece is slotted into place, it slides so the dovetail locks. The cuts are so precise that the joint is completely solid, and there's no wiggle at all.

Inside the center, there were more activities, like drone flights.

Dancing with, or playing rock-papper-scissors with Pepper the robot. It has face recognition, and its eyes will follow you as you walk around the room.

And remote-programming modular robot systems. Bic Camera sells these kits for $150 to $450 (I think). The more expensive ones have stereo vision cameras. I've thought about buying one for myself, but I still need to do more with the robot kit I already have.

They're so cute when they're small.

Make your own tiles and plastic art sheets.

I'm not sure, but my impression is that these screens and sliding doors were made by tech school students. Very nice work.

(Shamisen and stand.)

At another table, you could make your own mail holder box.

Robot-man costume. Does not look comfortable.

I really, really like the detail work on this screen.

Then, in one of the auditorium rooms, there were yet more schools. A couple focused more on mechanical systems, like ventwork and tractor transmissions, and metalworking. The metalworking table had Rubik's cubes made out of solid aluminum, aluminum pianos, and a fully-working aluminum UFO Catcher (crane arm) machine. I really wish these kinds of schools were available when I was young.

The woodworking school in the back was selling all the items the students made, and had a table out for playing with some of their wood toys and puzzles. I would have considered buying one of the puzzles, if I had more room in the apartment.

In the far back, the Gegege Kitaro cast helped show off bird cages and small stools. Overall, this was the best event of the weekend.

Actually, when I took the escalator in the building up to the second floor to see the exhibition hall, one of the volunteer women immediately accosted me and gave me an anket sheet (survey form) and went into great detail about how I needed to get signatures from the three booths that impressed me the most, one from each region (outside, the exhibition hall and the auditorium) in order to get a present. So, I got the signatures and came back to the registration table, where another woman helped me fill out the other parts (age, how I learned about the event, what I liked best, etc.) Then I got to pick my color of canvas book bag, and a packet containing tissue, pencils, notepaper and an eraser with the characters from Dispicable Me Three on them. That was ok. I may use the bag for grocery shopping, and I can always use more pencils and erasers. After I was done here, I returned to the Tax Fest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Disabled Arts Fair, Nov. 11

There really was a lot going on Sunday. After cutting through the Tax Fair in the middle of Tenmonkan on my way to the Volunteer Center, I happened by the open space in front of Lotteria. There, I discovered an event dedicated to people with disabilities (a different event from the one the weekend before). This one included artwork by people with various disabilities, and activities for families. One area had wheelchair soccer, and kind of a wheelchair obstacle course. There weren't a lot of people there at 2 PM, but the ones that were there really seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Rumors were that children that entered the cardboard maze never wanted to come back out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Gonza City, Nov 11, 2018

I mentioned Gonza in a previous post. Back in the 1700's, his father wanted to take him by ship to Europe, but the ship crashed along the Russian coast, and one tribe discovered the survivors and killed everyone but Gonza. While he was alive, he compiled the first Japanese-Russian dictionary, but because he'd been so young when he left Japan, his Japanese vocabulary was limited. He died at age 21. He's considered something of a local legend, and some of the merchants in Tenmonkan have named their street after him. On Sunday, the Gonza Street merchants held a little festival to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Gonza's birth.

The entertainment consisted of music, some food and crafts tables, and the opportunity to dress up in costume for 500 yen ($5 USD). The only musicians I saw were these two guys, singing "100 Miles" and other American folk pop.

Not a lot of people at 2 PM, but they did enjoy the nice weather while they were there.

I continued on to the Volunteer Center, where I watched a lot of people making stuff, until about 4:30 PM. I returned to Gonza Street, and the same two men were still playing. Some people really like their music.