Monday, June 24, 2019

Kirin Shin-Ichiban Sabori

On Saturday, the 15th, Amu Plaza hosted a one-day beer event by Kirin. Kirin has this brand they call "ichiban sabori". There doesn't seem to be a good translation, except maybe for "number 1 hoppy/refreshing". To promote "shin-" (new) Sabori, they had their "200,000 people in Kyushu" tour.

The idea was that from 11 AM to 9 PM, you could buy a plastic cup of beer (maybe about 12 ounces) for 300 yen ($2.75 USD) (beer is more heavily taxed in Japan than other forms of alcohol, and is fairly expensive by can in supermarkets, so 300 yen for a cup of draft beer is in keeping with other pricing) and a small bag of snack rice crackers and peanuts.

Then, if you uploaded photos, or comments to Line (kind of like the Japanese version of Twitter), the guy in the yellow shirt in the above photo would give you two half-cans of beer for free. I don't have a smartphone, so I wasn't eligible for this part of the campaign.

I had to work on Saturday, so I swung by Amu Plaza while I was doing my milk shopping for the week just to take a few photos for the blog, before going to the school. My last lesson ended around 7:45 PM, so I walked the mile to Amu Plaza, and arrived about 8:15. There were maybe 30 people at that point. I got a beer, and the snack rice crackers, and finished them off before going home for dinner.

It's ok beer, kind of silky and tastes a bit like grapefruit. Nothing all that special, but definitely better than most of the big U.S. brand stuff. While I was standing around, one guy and his friend posted to Line, and got two small half-cans each. The announcer claimed this was a 500 yen value, but that's awfully over-priced. I have no idea why Kirin didn't make this a 2-day thing. That would have made more sense...

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Stationery Show, June 15

I've been playing Bravely Second on my Nintendo 3DS for the last couple weeks, so I haven't been taking the time to type up the blog entries lately. However, I've gotten pretty much close to the end of the game (which won't actually happen for 3 weeks, it's a long story), and it's now time to return to the blog. Back on the weekend of the 15th, the open space in front of Lotteria and Yamakataya hosted what they called a stationery show.

While some of the tables were selling colored papers and various markers and highlighters, others sold electronic globes (touch a stylus to a flag on the globe and it will speak out the name of the country for you), high-end pens, backpacks and t-shirts. There were a few hands-on tables, where you could pay 500 yen to make a hand-pounded leather nametag strap, or other crafts.

The best part was the display for Mono erasers. The small ones to the right are the regular sized pocket erasers. The big blocks I think are more display units that might be best-suited for carving stuff into, ala modeling clay.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Y&M Staffless Kiosk

I found this thing in the Frespo Park shopping complex. It seems to be a housing consultation kiosk offered by Y&M (Yuu and Mi) construction company. The Japanese text at the top of the kiosk says "Staffless Box." You can now order a house (or apartment) without ever visiting an architect or an agent.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Standing Room

You know traffic on the streets is bad when people resort to taking the Kotsuki river to work.

The water is only 12 inches deep here. It's faster to get out and walk.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fresh Baked

Sign over the entrance to a bakery near my apartment. It reads "Yaketa yo" (Just baked).
I wonder if it's partly a visual pun, since "sunset" is occasionally called "yuu yake" ("burning evening sun").

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Smoke is Billowing

Sign over an outdoor ashtray.
"Smoke is billowing from a stand ashtray.
 If it were my home, I wouldn't be so calm."

Translation: "Put out your butts."

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Crushing Hazard

I wonder how many people look down when they get in and out of their cars?

I then wonder how many people put their foot under the lock bar before the lawyers said "We need a sticker on these things."

Monday, June 17, 2019

More anime-inspired posters for Music Nights

Wicky's House anisong night, now with more ketchup.

The Reggae bar next door, Namasute, has their Music Man artwork again.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Mario Odyssey Rabbit Figure

I have to go to Donkey once or twice a week for toilet paper and tissues. I've kind of given up on buying the chocolate eggs that have the Mario figures in them, largely because they're 180 yen ($1.65 USD) each, and I kept getting the same two minor characters over and over. One day, though, I was bored and hungry, so I bought an egg. I got the rabbit, Topper, this time.

That leaves 5 other figures I don't have yet. Maybe if I get bored again.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Madowanai Hoshi, vol. 4 review

(All rights belong to their owners. Image from Amazon used here for review purposes only.)

Madowanai Hoshi, vol. 4, Masayuki Ishikawa. Grade: A
Been a long time since volume 3 came out. In it, the Sun got showcased as a live-in video gamer that dominated the online gaming universe. When he finally got talked into returning back to his place in the center of the solar system, the Japanese inner dome newscasters go overtime in reporting on the "loser offspring" of the Sunsun family corporation group, and the rest of society moves on with their lives. Meanwhile, a pair of similar "burning" women (see cover above) make their approach towards Earth, and we're also blessed with the appearance of dwarf planet Sedna

S-zawa is a bit miffed at how quickly the "Insiders" (people who live and work in the inner dome, largely animators for entertaining each other) have written off Sun, but he's not that surprised. Back at the observation dome, Oikawa is finally starting her "due diligence." Her job has been to put on a hazmat suit and go out into the raging crap storm that is Earth's atmosphere now and rummage for salvageable items. But, she's begun wondering what the limits of her suit are. No matter how much time she gives herself, or how much air she brings with her in her little autocart, there seems to be a barrier around "Japan" (the name of the Japanese dome) that she can't get past. In general, her suit and the autocart will start beeping and flashing a "turn around" warning on her heads-up visor display, and that's what she does. One day, though, she puts on a new generation (and highly embarrassing) suit and takes 2 day's worth of air with her. When she gets to the barrier, the autocart screams at her to turn around, and she orders it to shut up. She takes one more step, then collapses to the ground, unconscious. She's rescued by Sedna, and returned to the dome unharmed. Oikawa wakes up, but complains about feeling really dopey. She suspects that she'd been drugged by something in the airline.

As Oikawa then searches the observation dome's records for what she can learn about Earth's, and "Japan's" past, and the universe in general, S-gawa is subjected to a series of "science experiments" to "teach" him about gravity, potential versus kinetic energy, and other simple elements of physics (he bruises more than he learns) under the tutelage of Moon, and with the help of Neptune and Saturn. Turns out that Sun had given S-zawa a switch board that allows him to summon all the planets, and right now, S-zawa's favorites (because they're cute) are Saturn and Neptune. Along the way, Moon tries to teach the two Earthlings about the speed and dual nature of light, and the paradoxical nature of things that travel near but not over) light speed.

Eventually, Oikawa decides to push her luck, and asks Sedna to show her what's beyond the boundary, and she leaves an email behind for S-gawa, asking him to follow after her (destroying the email after reading it so Moon doesn't learn about what she's doing). When Oikawa and Sedna reach the boundary, all they see is raging air-polluted clouds. Sedna warns her to stay back, and starts to advance. She gets hit in the head by something, and says that apparently there are machines out there that are shooting at her. They can't tell if the machines are intended to protect the humans in the dome from some unknown danger, or if they're intended to keep the "insiders" "inside." S-zawa gets the email and tries to sneak out of the dome, but he forgets to delete the email, and Moon (in bunnygirl form) soon joins him. S-zawa has never been outside for very long before, and he's awed by the idea that Oikawa has been working in this hell nearly daily up until now. He and Moon track down his partner and the dwarf planet, where they've just started to talk to the two new women, who remind Oikawa strongly of Sun. The taller woman claims to have been given a lot of names by humans in the past, and is obsessed with learning what her correspondent (S-zawa sent a letter to her as well) will call her. Actually, Moon had been filling him in on the way, and he says that they're the stars Sirius A and B.

There's a problem, though, and that's what sticks in Oikawa's craw. Sirius Alpha is 8.6 light years from Earth, so it should have taken 17 years for S-zawa's letter to reach her, and for her to come to Earth. But, S-zawa sent out his letters only recently, and Moon had said that faster than light travel is impossible. Someone must be lying to them somewhere. Sirius replies that the ancient humans knew stuff that the current generation is going to have to rediscover on their own. Oikawa then asks "what's beyond the barrier?" Sirius Alpha (Beta can't or won't speak) says that she's prevented from answering that.

The two humans return to the dome, and S-zawa uses Sun's call panel to summon all of the planets to Earth, but most of them are annoyed to find that all Oikawa wants is to ask them the same question. They all say either that they're prevented from saying, or it's a secret. When S-zawa pushes them on this, asking "who" is preventing them, they answer "you guys did." Sirius A adds that the humans need someone with a strong resolve, either from in the dome, or nearby. The volume ends with a short history of probes sent to Mercury, including the joint JAXA-ESA BepiColombo mission which, at the time of the release of this volume, should be completing its final swing-by of Earth for a December 2025 arrival at Mercury.

Summary: This is not an easy read. Lots of harder kanji, and overviews of astrophysics and quantum mechanics. Still, there are a lot of jokes, and now we have a true mystery on our hands. The artwork is great, and I love the personifications of Sirius Alpha and Beta, and the solar system planets. My new favorite is Sedna, although I also still like the goth portrayal of Pluto. Madowanai Hoshi shows that learning can be fun! Highly recommended.

Friday, June 14, 2019

All you can eat beats

Poster outside a bar advertising a performer line up.
"Asumu-chan seitansai" (ASM-chan's Birthday Party).

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Cootie Productions

I found this sticker on the carrier of a scooter. Someone actually produces cooties. I wonder if anyone in Japan really understands what "cooties" are...

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Light Controller

Japan is so technologically advanced, they have outdoor controllers for measuring light fixtures in pounds.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Conan White Soda

I was walking down the street outside of Tenmonkan one day, when I passed this vending machine.

It took a second for this image of Detective Conan soda to register. And a few more seconds to decide whether 130 yen ($1.15 USD) was worth the price for documenting this for the blog.

White soda is effectively a milk-derived carbonated, sweetened soda along the lines of Calpis. It's ok, but doesn't really taste like anything specific.

There are 6 can designs, and of course I ended up getting the most boring one. I'm not going to spend more money to try getting one of the other ones.

The little images of the other cans are almost impossible to make out on the can itself. Case closed.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Crepe Mobile

"Excuse me, sir..."

"... but there seems to be a crepe in my bug."

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Stairwell Bird

One morning, I was leaving the apartment and there was this strange bird call. The bird making it landed on the stairwell railing of the apartment building opposite me, and in the shade I couldn't tell what the colors were. To me, it just looked like a dark blob. But, I had the camera with the zoom lens, so I took a few shots to see if I could get more detail that way.

Then it hopped in the air and dropped down to where I could see it better in the direct sunlight. The way it flew, it looked like it was chasing insects. Then it flew away. Bye-bye, blackbird that is more blue and brown.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Crouton Monocle

A new bread shop opened in Tenmonkan. All they carry is large unsliced loaves of one kind of bread for about $8 each, but they seem to be really popular right now, with waiting lines during the week

I just really like the artwork.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Daylight Moon.

This is the best my little pocket camera can do with the moon in full daylight, at 3 PM, on a really nice day.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Cosmetics Boards

Advertising board outside a cosmetics shop in Tenmonkan. I'm not sure how well a design like this would go over in the U.S.

And now, you can get the carry bag.

"I feel pretty, oh so pretty, as pretty as $300 worth of pancake makeup can make me."

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Shogi Class

Every so often, the Amu Plaza department store will have chairs, tables and a whiteboard set up in the middle of one of the floors for teaching kids the finer points of the Japanese chess-like game shogi.

The teacher will set up board problems and then ask the kids how they should respond to each one.

The answer is always the same. "By destroying the other guy and dancing on the bones of their loved ones."
This is usually not the official translation given in the English textbooks.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Sumplus Sign

I was walking along the street from Tenmonkan when I spotted this manga-inspired sign outside the entrance to a company named Sumplus. It looks kind of slap-dash and cheesy. The kanji on the sign simply says that it's a publicly traded company that provides event coordination services. The photos on their Facebook page make it look like a training house of some kind.

"Sumplus [insert dynamic young people here.]"

Monday, June 3, 2019

Last of the Movie Fliers

Sound Euphonium

This movie is based on the Sound Euphonium novel series. It's about a music club in a school in Kyoto that is trying to return to its old glory as a national award-winning ensemble.

Shades of Nodame Cantabile.

Uta no Prince-sama

Uta no Prince-sama is based on a visual novel game franchise about a girl that enters a performing arts academy with the dream of composing a song for her favorite idol.

This looks like either a boy's love thing, or a reverse harem thing.

Weathering With You

Weathering With You (in Japanese - "Tenki no Ko" (Weather Child)). From Makoto Shinkai, director of "Your Name".

According to the wiki write-up, Hodaka Morishima leaves his home on an isolated island and movies to Tokyo, where he quickly becomes broke, and ends up working as a writer for a shady occult magazine. The rain starts coming down and just never stops. Eventually, Hodaka finds a girl and her younger brother who seem to have the ability to stop the rain.

I never saw "Your Name." No idea if I'll ever see this one.

And, this marks the last of the anime-related movie fliers I've found. More later when I feel like it.