Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Jump Stickers



I needed something to read again during one of my breaks, so I bought issue 19 of Shonen Jump back at the beginning of April. It had a small sheet of stickers for some of their manga titles. Nothing I'm following myself, though. But, still, if this is the kind of thing you like, then you'd like this kind of thing.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Heat Illness

[Getting really tired of Mediafire screwing up my photos.]



This is new. Poccari Sweat is using a Hatsune Miku-like character on signs in vending machines to promote awareness of Nechusho.

"Let's not Nechusho together!"

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Panda Foods




Seen at the Chinese deli section of the supermarket in the basement of Maruya Gardens department store. I wonder if anyone has told him that the sales tax is 10% if you're planning on eating inside the store.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Kitkat Origami




At some point, for some reason, Kitkat decided to release their mini bars (13) in a paper bag, with instructions to cut the bag into a square to fold into an origami crane. No idea why. Anyway, the Donkey souvenir and discount shop had been trying to unload these for 95 yen (90 cents USD). I'm on a diet, but calories don't count if they're that cheap. (Note, a week or two later, the price went back up to 150 yen per bag. At the beginning of May, they'd returned to the normal 350 yen.) Yup. those were cheap calories.



The paper is a little too stiff to fold easily. Not the greatest material to use for origami cranes.



The Kitkat layout and colors don't really add to the appearance of the crane. Stiil don't understand what the point of the campaign was.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Prepare to Use

[Sigh. Mediafire strikes again. The photo is of a black metal shoe rack in front of the doors of a fashion clothing shop in Tenmonkan. The top back metal plate of the rack has some nonsense English printed on it in white paint.]



Shoe rack in front of one shop in Tenmonkan after hours to show that the doors are locked.

"Well-organized and store completely. Lined-up steadily to be used again."

Shoes. What can't they do.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Mask Smiles




Fuzzy sign on the glass doors for Shiroyama supermarket.
"We may be wearing masks, but we're still smiling underneath."

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Reimeikan Gate, Apr. 16




The new gate in front of the Reimeikan history museum has now opened to visitors. Looks nice.



Cannot tell what the little hut to the right of the entrance is, though. I still think it's for a small Shinto shrine, but there's no way to look inside right now.



The two big legs of the gate have stairways up to the floor above, but both are closed to visitors at the moment. Notice that to the right, just inside the doorway, is the small steps that would normally be used to let people climb up into the space here. Not shown were the 5-6 pairs of shoes on a mat on the ground in front of the entrance. I assume there were people on the floor above, but I couldn't hear anyone talking or moving around up there. Looking closer at the main stairs, I get the impression that all the pieces of wood force-fit together, and that the workers didn't use nails or glue for anything.



Other side of the gate interior.



Back side of the new gate. Nothing else much to see right now. I'm looking forward to going upstairs, as long as they don't charge admission for it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dolphin Port, R.I.P.

[Looks like mediafire is screwing up again.]



I'd been hearing for weeks that Dolphin Port was going to close at the end of March, but I didn't really know what that would entail. There had been various thoughts proposed by city officials, including replacing the shopping and restaurant center with a big sports complex or an event space with expanded streetcar service to the waterfront park. At the moment, it's just silence. Most of the shops had been run by the Yamakataya department store parent in some shape or form, and I guess they're the ones that signed a 10-year contract with the city for the land, although it actually turned into 15 years in the long-run.



I went back one week later after my classes ended on a Saturday (Apr. 11), and all the shops were shuttered, the parking lot empty except for the cars for the work crew, and the bottoms of the crossover stairs blocked off. The electrical boxes for the walkway lights had been ripped out, and the trash was being taken out for disposal.



It's really sad, actually. I liked being able to come down here occasionally and hang out in the Tully's coffee shop on the second floor. But, this always was a tourist trap, and the primary tourists recently were Chinese visitors from the cruise ships (who almost always made beelines for Tenmonkan and Amu Plaza). I guess, if there ever was going to be a good time to tear things down, it would be right in the middle of the Covid-19 emergency shutdown of the entire country.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Ahour




Advertising sign for a bar near Tenmonkan, promoting their Happy Hour (I like the "etc." following draft beer, sours and highballs). What I think most Japanese may miss is that in Japanese "aho" is kind of an insult. From what I understand (this may have changed in the years since I was first told this) "baka" is an extreme insult for "stupid" or "idiot" in Osaka, while "aho" is softer and more friendly, but it's the reverse in Tokyo. I'm wondering if Kagoshima treats a "happy aho" differently from the rest of the country.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Beauty Mask




Beauty salons are starting to embrace the idea of permanent Covid-19 Fashion. Although, when I was a kid, beauty masks had a different meaning.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Ex-Konbini




There used to be a Family Mart konbini across the street from Maruya Gardens. Not anymore.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Reimeikan Wall Stuff




The space between the main walk and the old main Tsurumaru Castle wall used to have a little walking path through a long stretch of bushes. For some reason, the city decided to tear the bushes out, pave everything, and put in three examples of old-style wall construction.



Since there are very few people that walk by this area, and no one else looks at these things, they should have kept the bushes.



A close-up of what I think is a shrine housing.



Plus the new doors. The space for going up to the Reimeikan museum behind the doors looks largely unchanged.



The sign directing visitors around to the side entrance is falling apart. And, the date for when the gate will open has been stuck over with a new date of Apr. 11. We'll see if that changes, too (it did).

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Sideshow Marge




The fashion shop in Tenmonkan that had a picture of Bart crashing into the window changed it right after I ran the photo on my blog. Now, we have an odd version of Marge.

The flier is an ad for Demon Sword stickers and stuff, some of which is already sold out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Waterpipe Caps




Pareidolia is the brain's tendency to see shapes or faces where they aren't.
What comes to mind here?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Anzen Dekiru




Found this rather curiously-worded set of signs outside a restaurant in the collection of shops near Amu Plaza.
"Can be safe shop." (Can translate to: "You can feel safe here.")
"Kagoshima black pork. Please try it."

Monday, May 11, 2020

Doraemon Chocolate Egg Toy




It's been quite a while since I last saw the chocolate egg toys at Donkey, and I've been thinking about them recently.



This afternoon (I'm writing this on March 30th) I noticed a full display stand of boxes of Doraemon eggs advertising the latest movie, The New Dinosaur. They're close to 200 yen ($1.80 USD) with tax, which is more than I normally want to pay for these things (even though I like the little amount of chocolate you get with them, and I wanted the toy for the blog), but I was hoping that I'd get lucky with a toy that I liked on the first try. And I did. It's about 1.25" tall, but nicely detailed (better than the Dydo DBZ Goku).



That tail disturbs me, though.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Vent Vert Chicken Day




"Chicken" is "niwatori" in Japanese.
"28" can be read as "ni" plus "wa." With some handwaving, we get the 28th as "kowatori" day.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Reimeikan Gate Mar. 26




Getting closer to the official opening of the gate, on a rainy, gloomy day.







I'm pretty sure now that this little hut is going to be a shrine housing of some kind.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Satsuma Gunyon




I was on the street car the other day, and I noticed that the ad sheets inside were for a weird thing called "Satsuma Gunyon" (Satsuma is the old name for Kagoshima). It's tied into something I've been seeing all over the place lately, which is "Magma City," with the volcano represented by red and blue ribbons.



This sign says that this is a "Satsu Magu" (Satsuma Magma) train. It goes on to state that the city had a contest to create a mascot and character names, which were created by school children.

"Aigato na." (Kagoshima dialect for "Thanks.")

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Vent Vert Art Sign - Mar. 25th




"Be good to yourself day." (Actually, it can read as "Self-Love Day", so, take that as you will.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Crayon Shin-chan Movie Board - Rakugaki Kingdom




New Crayon Shin-chan movie coming out - Rakugaki (Graffiti) Kingdom.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Japan on Convid-19, an update


Well, it seems that Abe has extended the national emergency in Japan until the end of May. Public schools have been closed since the beginning of March, and the original emergency order was set to take effect just before the start of Golden Week on April 27. Places where people gather, like restaurants and event halls are supposed to be closed, or vastly scaled down, but since this is still the middle of Golden Week, a lot of places are closed for the vacation holidays anyway. But, it's having a huge impact on businesses and special activities that normally happen around this time. The Kagoshima Marathon had been canceled, as I think was the Kirishima Ryouma Honeymoon Walk at the end of March. The Ramen Oh ramen shop competition at the beginning of the shutdown closed right at the last moment before the start time. Nothing was said leading up to Dai Hanya at the end of April, but it apparently never happened, either. The Napoli Street event celebrating the sister city ties with Naples was scheduled for May, and I'm not hearing anything about that, so I guess that's out. I haven't seen any advertising for the Kagoshima Music Fest for May, and I'm betting that's canceled already.

Amu Plaza is a ghost town. The only thing open is the food court in the basement, which consists of the Shiroyama supermarket, and McDonald's and Baskin-Robbins 31, but for take-out only. Maruya Gardens department store is the same way. Junkudo Bookstore on the 6th floor of Maruya is closed, but the sister shop, Maruzen Books a couple blocks away is still open but with shortened hours. The Aeon department store across the streetcar street from Amu Plaza is also fully open but with shortened hours, too. The main departments close at maybe 5 PM, while the basement supermarket and first floor cleaning and toiletry supplies are open until 9 PM or something. There were reports all day yesterday that the Yamakataya department store and Maruya Gardens would indeed be open today, but with shortened hours.

There's a Mister Doughnut on the first floor corner of Aeon. I went in a couple of days ago to meet someone who'd been planning on grabbing lunch before going to the 100 yen shop on the Aeon fifth floor. I walked into Mister Doughnut and it was deserted, too. Just one sad, lonely register clerk behind the counter and no one else. A sign nearby said "Take-out only." It was a little after noon, and no walk-in customers.

Most of the clothing shops in Tenmonkan are closed for Golden Week, anyway. Many of the smaller restaurants have closed, and any that are still open have switched to take-out only. A few have set up tables on the sidewalks in front for pick-up bento meals. After 9 PM, the streets are mostly deserted. Even the numbers of taxis patrolling around have dropped by over half. I go out for a little exercise when I take the trash out at night, sometimes as late as 1 AM. Two nights ago, at 2 AM I heard small children laughing and playing in the alleys behind some of the apartment buildings. Last night, there were 5 sports cars with teenagers in a Family Mart parking lot at 1:30 AM, no masks, joking and challenging each other to street races (which they never actually got around to doing).

The city has pretty much recovered from the toilet paper and mask shortages, though. Aeon and Donkey are fully stocked with toilet, tissue and kitchen paper, and any store that's still open, including souvenir shops, have tables piled with white paper disposable masks.

Japan has generally been pretty anti-virus and bacteria. Years ago, people were putting UV lamps in their homes to kill bacteria on paper money. So, over 80% of Kagoshima wears masks when they go outside. The numbers go up when there are announcements of infections showing up closer to the city. I'm also seeing more pre-printed signs saying "Corona ni makeruna" ("We will not be defeated by Corona"). Generally, these are at food shops that are still open. I don't know if this is to say "We'll stay strong" or "We won't close in the face of the shutdown."

One thing that is strange is that last Fall there'd been a lot of preparation against the flu, with people going out to get shots. Every year in the past, there were reports of lots of people coming down with colds, the flu and allergy attacks, and there's been almost none of that this time. Kagoshima only has a couple Covid-19 cases, and the hospitals and clinics are partly closed for Golden Week. True, the radio news reporters talk about nothing but Covid, but I still expected the flu to be a problem this year, too, and it's not.

There have been reports coming out of the U.S. of people banding together and helping each other with making and supplying masks, distributing food not being used by restaurants, etc. (of course, there's the government confiscating masks and ventilators being shipped to State hospitals and military veterans, and the supremacists and anti-vaxxers using armed force against State Governors to lift the shutdowns before it's safe). While, in Japan, the stories are mainly only about hospital workers and their children being bullied by anyone that helps them. Almost nothing about communities pulling together to help each other. Another complaint is of parents taking their kids to the parks to play together. The parents have masks on, but the kids don't. Be interesting to see the parents' reactions when they start coming down sick ("But I was wearing a mask outside all the time!")

One of the workers I know at a nearby Konbini was telling me that they're seeing fewer sales because more customers are buying stuff off of Amazon. So, he's in the process of buying a small van and applying to Amazon to work as a contract deliveryman.

There are two family restaurants just outside of Tenmonkan - Royal Host and Gusto. Royal Host has cut its hours and has gone fully take-out only. Gusto still has normal hours and is also offering take-out, but they're getting a LOT of sit-in customers. They've instituted a mandatory "clean your hands with alcohol" policy when you enter, and if you get the drink or soup bar, they give you thin, cheap plastic gloves to put on before pushing the buttons on the drink machines.

Oh yeah, and there's Abenomask. Several weeks ago, Abe announced that the government was sending two reusable masks per household to address the mask shortage problem. Aside from this being inadequate for households with more than 2 people, and the entire program costing millions of dollars, the program was shutdown almost immediately after starting because of reports that the masks were moldy, badly made or falling apart. No idea when it will be restarted. There's also the stimulus package that reportedly gives a small amount of money back to 2019 taxpayers. It's unclear whether that includes foreigners and non-residents working part-time and not on company-sponsored working visas. On top of this, Abe just tried re-introducing legislation for rewriting the constitution to allow the SDF to use weapons in combat (he may also have tried slipping in a mandatory draft requirement for men over 18), but that was roundly shot down as being "poor timing."

That's about it for now.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Dydo Dragonball figures, desk set




Man, I'm getting a lot of photos of Dydo stuff lately. This one is for a set of Dragonball desktop tools figures that are packaged with can coffee in Konbini (rather than from vending machines). I stumbled across this line by accident when I stopped in a 7-11 in Tenmonkan. They only had 4 of the 7 figures, and I wasn't really attracted to any specific one (Boo, Goku, I think Freeza, and something that looked like Brolli or something. The Brolli-like one was larger and better detailed than the others, but not a character I specifically like.) After getting this one, I went back and hit 4 other 7-11s, and none of them had these figures. Not sure if I came in at the tail end of the campaign, or the very beginning. The packaging doesn't show the entire set, so I have no idea if there's anything else I'd want to get. The cans are 130 yen ($1.10) USD, but there's more coffee in these bigger ones, if you like the coffee (I don't, it's slightly sweet and kind of watery).



The artwork on the face is weird. It looks like he has no nose or lips. He stands about 1.5", which is on the small size, but he's still bigger than several of the other figures in the collection.



I don't know if those are rocks or teeth.



Goku is intended to hold a card. Points cards are a little too thick to sit firmly in the base, but I don't see a point to having a business card holder on your desk that can only hold one card.


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Corona ni




There's this big blackboard outside of Momo, a butcher shop near me, that usually has the day's specials written on it and stuff. Recently, they'd changed the sign.

Korona ni makeruna!! Momo
("We will not lose to corona!! Momo")

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Dydo Conan Cider Cans set 2




There is a Dydo vending machine on the route I take towards the Volunteer Center sometimes, and something like a year ago I found that it had one set of Conan Cased Closed can art with Dydo's White Soda. This time it's cider (which is ignorable) and the art promotes the latest movie.



The artwork is better, and I got the main image on the first try.



Still, it's 130 yen ($1.10 USD) each, and I don't like the cider or the anime enough to justify trying to get any of the other cans.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Rat Style




Motorcycle goods shop on streetcar street, about half a mile south of the main train station.



"I got rat class and I got rat style."