Thursday, November 14, 2019

Mini Cafe

Boss can coffee loves Tommy Lee Jones for his exhausted, rugged everyman look. This latest ad campaign makes a little less sense than normal, though.

"When you want to have a short break by yourself."

"Is this the world's smallest "cafe"?" I don't know if they're using "cafe" to mean "coffee" or "coffee shop." Pointing out that the product is tiny compared to the money you're spending may be a bad idea, given that the sales tax here went up from 8% to 10% in October, but people's incomes are still static. Doesn't help that this brand is 110 yen per can, when most of the other low-end cans are 100 yen.

("A cup of coffee for your relaxing moment.")

A few days after writing the above text, I was feeling bored, and I decided to buy a can in the hopes that it might have tiny stickers of coffee cups on it or something. But no, it was just a regular can of coffee, which tasted bland and unremarkable. Not worth the markup.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Untitled Story

Also at the Volunteer Center on Sunday was a "Teens Art Festival" thing in the big hall on the ground floor. But, the doors were locked shut when I arrived at 3:30 PM. "Untitled Story" seems to be a fairly common title these days.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Abandoned Pool

Old building in Tenmonkan. I think part of it was a vending machine parking tower, before it got torn out.

Care for a swim?

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Weekend of Nov. 10

Igisen Fes

I had to work at the English school Friday afternoon, and as I cut by Central Park, I spotted some tents going up. There weren't any banner gates at the entrances to the park, but there was the one schedule sign. There's no real explanation for what "Igisen" is, but I kind of remember the same event 1 or 2 years ago run by some university students as a recruiting or talent show or something. It was only on Saturday, from 9 AM to 3:20 PM, and I had to work from 1:30 to 7 PM. I was kind of thinking of getting out the door a little early on Saturday and trying to catch a bit of the event, but things went against me and I got out late, and wasn't able to get to the park at all.

Not a lot of tents, though. Just a few places that look like they'd sell food, and a small live stage.

Ash Fest

After I finished my Friday class, I went up to Amu Plaza as well, and had just enough time to swing by the open space and take a couple more photos. This is the Volcano Ash Fest, where people try to sell products made from Sakurajima ash, such as figurines you can hand paint, or jewelry and stuff. This one was also only on Saturday, so I missed this, too.

The schedule shows a talk show, some promotional stuff, a comedy duo, some dancing from a local studio, and some live jazz. Nothing I mind missing very much. One thing to mention is that Kagoshima has a "Geo Park" office down near City Hall, and their job is to emphasize the nature aspects of the region, such as the volcano itself, the bay, animal reserve areas, etc. Geo Park sponsored this event, and the 4 people in the middle left of the schedule are part of the Geo Park Talk Show.

Hello Geo World stage.

Craftsmen Fair

I had the day off Sunday, but I had some family stuff scheduled at 2 PM. We took a taxi down past the Volunteer Center, and I noticed the tents in the front lawn as we went by. I did get some free time at 3 PM, so when we returned to the apartment, I walked the 20 minutes to the center, where I discovered they were doing another crafts work fair. They had this last year, too, and I had a lot of fun at that one. This time, the event was scheduled to shut down at 4:30 PM, and some of the displays were already closing.

Most of the booths had the same things as the previous year. This one is new, though. It looks like glaze work or something. The people here are laying down coats of what looks like a thick gel, and then shaping it with special knives. After that, I guess you hang it as artwork on the wall.

Trying to show a close-up of the work on a Japanese crane picture.

Glazed tile work.

Some of the other tables, including gardening, copper sheet work, roofing tiles, wood joint crafting, and leather punch work.

There was a scaffolding display as well, but I missed exactly what it was they were using it for.

Inside the Center, in the auditorium rooms on the second floor, they had a lot of other stuff going on, too. Here, we've got a glazed floor tile display. Mesmerizing.

These tables had interactive cloth art making. The woman seems to be making what looks like a small picture frame.

The woodwork here looks exactly like the little wooden coaster I made, but on a bigger scale. Same pattern.

This could be part of a fence, or a room divider.

One of the other areas had wooden games and 3D puzzles. I got roped into trying to put together one of the puzzles. I've had that type before, but I couldn't remember how to get started. Eventually, one of the wood workers came by and showed me the solution. That was a little embarrassing, but it was still fun playing with the toys.

Overall, I enjoyed my 30 minutes at the crafts fair on Sunday, which made up for missing everything else on Saturday. Next year, I'll try to find out when the event is in advance, so I can play there longer.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Ii Tomo no Hi

The beauty salon near Tenmonkan that puts date-related signs outside their front door announced that 11/9 was "Good Friend Day." According to the explanation, this day is when you're supposed to give a good friend a present of music, according to some radio show.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Gundam Heads

Coke and Georgia Can Coffee are continuing their team-up with Gundam. Along with the giant robot art on the sides of the cans, the vending machines supposedly dispense random cans with plastic caps containing pins and robot heads. I should know better than to try to get these things, because I never do.

But, it's a new campaign and I was optimistic that the machine might have a can with a cap at the bottom of the rack to dispense quickly. In the past, if I bought one can occasionally when I needed the caffeine boost, I'd never get the toy. So, I've taken to allocating 1,000 yen ($9.50 USD) to trying my luck. If I get the toy on the first try, then I stop. Otherwise, I keep trying until I've spent 1,000 yen and then I vow to not spend any more money on this product ever again. This time, after spending my 1,000 yen, not only didn't I get a toy, but the cans only had 2 of the robot designs (100 yen per can).

Yeah, I'm done with this campaign. They may have gotten $9.50 out of me up front, but if I'd just bought one can at a time every few days, I'd probably have ended up spending a lot more than that over time. Sigh.

Friday, November 8, 2019


There's this one apartment building that had a corrugated sheet propped up along the side of the building next to the main street to protect the bicycles and scooters of the residents there from the rain. Recently, the owner apparently decided to rip out the sheet because the support frame was rusting through. I assume that they issued a notice to the residents to move their bikes out of the way to allow for construction.

Not everyone complied, and all the abandoned bikes were thrown in a pile in the parking lot next door. The sign in the lower corner is actually for a real estate agency, which is being thrown away at the same time.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Delicious Pentagon

I've been hearing ads on the radio for something called "Delicious Pentagon" (very pretentious-sounding voice-overs) for months. Recently, I saw one of their poster ads on the side of a building up by the Takamibaba platform for the streetcar. Very sciency, space-y, but no real explanation for the name. Japanese sake makers do often put tasting graphs on the back labels of their bottles to visually show if their product is sweet, spicy, or dry. Maybe DP has a similar graph with five dimensions that are equally spaced to form their idea of a "delicious" flavor profile. I don't know, I'm not going to buy a bottle to find out. Shochu isn't all that delicious.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Autumn World 2019

There was a similar poster for Summer World in the Something Building in Tenmonkan. I was wondering if the place was an art gallery, but didn't have much interest in going inside to find out. Then, when I noticed the Autumn World sign, the place had also put up a large HD monitor for advertising.

Along with the photos of the artwork on shelves, they had pictures of meeting and conference rooms. So, I guess they rent meeting space and the art exhibits are rented by third parties.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Found this advertisement in the window of a small restaurant in the "small restaurants alley" in Tenmonkan.

"I.. I recommend this corn as going together well with beer!"
Cooked corn, $5.50 USD.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Trombone Fall Chalk Art


Not sure what the thing in the upper right corner is. I'm guessing it's a fall-related insect of some kind.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Ohara Matsuri 2019

Ohara is one of the two really big festivals in Kagoshima (the other is Ogionsa in the summer). Ogionsa got cancelled this year due to rain, so a lot of people apparently were pinning their hopes on Ohara this time. It's a two-day event, with companies and hospitals fielding dance teams Saturday evening, and schools and cheerleader groups parading around Sunday afternoon. The more interesting stuff tends to happen Saturday, because shochu (alcohol) is involved. I had to work Saturday, as usual, but my lessons at the school are getting more scrambled for various reasons. I ended up getting out of the school at 6 PM, and the taiko warm-up troupes began playing at the major intersections at 6:30 PM or so. (See the video below).

The first group was ok, but I preferred the second one, which was located a couple blocks away.

Unfortunately, this group is right in front of the announcer's booth, and the two announcers (in green in the white stand to the back) would NOT stop talking over the music. Sigh. (Side note: The announcers added NOTHING useful to the event.)

The rest of the dancing finally started a little after 7 PM (after a LOT of unnecessary blathering by the event guests (either politicians or company owners; I don't try listening to them). Each dance group has their own outfits, some of which tends to the comic. They all do the same dances, though.

A few mascots. Not a lot, though.

I ended up meeting two dancers that I knew (one I knew was going to be there, and the other that recognized me as a surprise).

Some of the characters liked posing for the camera more than others did.

I've seen this guy at past festivals. He just seems to like wearing kimono outside.

Also scheduled for the same weekend, very blatantly, was Shochu Street. The basic idea is that the Association of Shochu Distillers hosts all of the distillers in Kagoshima prefecture to come in and sell their new batches for the year. Maybe 20 different companies, from Amami up to Ijuin. 5 tickets for 500 yen ($4.80 USD). The area was extremely crowded (much more-so than Streetcar Street with Ohara), made worse with the live stage in the middle of the main intersection in Tenmonkan. While I was waiting for the Ohara dancing to resume during a break, I ran over here to get my five glasses of shochu on the rocks. They are all from different regions, and all good. Unfortunately, the problem was with a small group of people that insisted on stopping in the middle of the walkways to watch the stage stuff. Personally, I was bored with the music and dancing here, and had no interest in taking photos of it. So, it was annoying being stuck behind the people that blocked the only paths out of the event area, and refused to move. Sigh.

Shochu Street ran Friday-Sunday. I was busy Friday night, and I got all the shochu I wanted on Saturday. I did return to the area to take photos of Ohara on Sunday, but skipped drinking shochu again, partly because I still angry with the behavior of a very small group of the audience members the night before.

On Sunday, one of the major side streets running off of Streetcar Street was also closed off, hosting a second stage and a whole bunch of food, and nursing care booths. I debated getting something to eat, but I didn't like the prices. The stage had Southern Cross, a children's group featuring Miffy, and some other stuff. Here, we have Miffy and her "angels."

Different dance groups along the Streetcar Street route.

This one put on what looked like a traditional harvest or fishing performance (not sure which).

There was about an hour-long break between the actual Ohara dances (which is when the taiko and traditional stuff ran), so most people just stood around and killed time. There was a third live stage, down at City Hall, which largely had school kids performing. Nothing worth recording.

Back at the Miffy stage, they had "Idol Carnival." I got back just as Southern Cross left the stage. I don't know who these two were, but they were just doing the regular karaoke to some CD.

Very popular with the fanboys (otaku).

Finally, the real dancing started again.

At least someone had fun.

I went up to Amu Plaza, where nothing was happening (just some car dealer showing off high-end cars). I got some coffee at Seattle's Best and read up on cryptography before returning home. I guess Ohara officially ended around 4-5 PM. I spent the rest of the evening processing photos and video, had dinner, and went back to the cryptography stuff. The only thing to look forward to now is just one or two bands playing at Amu Plaza for Christmas. Otherwise, nothing much I know of.

Direct youtube link