Thursday, January 31, 2019

Peacock Restaurant Signs

Spanish restaurant near the main train station.

Which sells omelet rice and pizzas.

Pizza versus paella. Are you ready to rumble?

Prosciutto and Rocket pizza, with real rocket! And, nuts and honey pizza!
Diavola, made in hell.

Not sure what the message is here...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Cook Lemon Chalk Art

New restaurant new Terukuni shrine.

"I am a gizumo of the owner of the cat. Thank you, this restaurant."

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Trees and Berries

The weather was good when I was at the Volunteer Center, and a couple of the trees in front of the building already had berries and nuts. I decided to see how well the little pocket camera will do.

Ginko tree.

Not too bad.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Shinsei Maru

A little while ago, one of the people I know in Tokyo sent me an email alerting me to an SDF ship of some kind being scheduled to dock in Kagoshima, down at the waterfront park in front of Dolphin Port. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get down there soon enough, and I missed it. But, just on the off-chance, I did walk to the Port after one of my evening classes a couple days later, and I found a completely different ship. I had no idea what it was, so I took some photos and went back home to look it up on the net.

Turns out that it's the Shinsei Maru, which the JAMSTEC site identifies as a "東北海洋生態系調査研究船" - Northeast Japan Ocean Ecosystem Investigative Research ship." Kind of pretty.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

JR Shrine

The JR offices in the main train station have a little construction paper shrine set up near their entrance. I guess it's partly to promote their "shin"-shinkansen (new bullet train), and also to get people to travel for cherry blossom viewing season (which appears to be starting earlier and earlier every year).

Along with the paper torii (the red gate to the left), there's a stamp and stamp pad, and fake paper plaques you can write messages on and tie onto the "fence" to the right.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Construction Site View

There's construction going on at the Ichibangai shopping complex near the main train station. One part of the wall surrounding the site had a grill-like gate I could see through, and I wondered if this would make an artsy shot.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Raw Rolling Papers

There's a tobacco shop near the main train station that always has banners set out in front advertising Zigzag papers. But recently, they've switched to Raw.

It's like the 60's never ended.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Komeda Dessert Set

One night, I was bored, and all of the other restaurants I'd wanted to eat at had either closed early or weren't open that day. So I eventually made my way to Komeda's Coffee in Tenmonkan. They're very overpriced, but it's a comfortable place to just sit and hang out. I decided to get their dessert set, with the one cup of drip coffee, and small chocolate cake for 790 yen $7.50 USD).

The cake is actually nothing special, but it looks pretty.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Green tea foamhead mascot at the Kagoshima goods shop in Tenmonkan for a tea promotion.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Kamuya Ride, vol. 1 comments

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

Kamuya Ride, vol. 1, Masato Hisa. Grade: A-
Well, just before Jabberwocky 1914 ended, Hisa's newest series, Kamuya Ride, started. Volume 1 came out in October, and again, I never saw it on the new releases shelves. Oddly, it wasn't in with any of the big name publishers. I found it in the "Miscellaneous" section. Looks like it originally ran in Comic Ran Twins, and is published by Ride Co. (maybe Hisa formed his own company).

Kamuya is an oddball story from the start. In effect, thousands of years ago, Japan's founding gods fell from space onto Earth. These are the creatures that form the country's legends, and they are being hunted down and sent back to their original dimension by a mysterious figure who goes by the name Monko, somewhere around 85 AD. Generally, Monko offers little terracota figures he makes (haniwa) to passersby. If the haniwa likes its new owner, everything is fine. Otherwise, they blow up and kill whoever touches them. But, when Monko locates one of the gods, he uses a large haniwa (which he pushes into the ground) to turn into "Gate Sealer Kamuya Ride". Ride will use a facemask beam to burn a keyhole shape into the enemy, and a large key built into the leg of his power armor to lock the god out from this universe, and turn it into another haniwa. (The keyhole may be a reference to Daisen Kofun, a burial mound in Osaka prefecture dating to the 5th century).

One day, Monko encounters two travellers on the road. One is a boy named Ousu (who later becomes Yamato Tekeru) and an unnamed man that turns out to be the villain that keeps opening up the gates letting the gods into this world. Both are given haniwa (although the man refuses one, and Monko slips it into his bag in secret), and they go their separate ways. Ousu is actually leading an army against the castle fortress in Kumamoto, Kyushu, and the monsters there kill off everyone but the boy. The monsters are tsuchigumo (earth-spiders in human form) that were created by the god recently unleashed by the Gate Opener. One of them touches Monko's protective amulet and is destroyed. Monko picks this opportunity to show up, turn into Ride, and defeat the god. Ousu decides to tag along with him on his journeys, and is given a magical bow and arrow set as a reward. Along the way, Ousu starts acquiring the Yamato Tekeru label, which gives him a swelled head. Later, Gate Opener discovers the haniwa in his bags, and it blows up in his face, making him angry.

Eventually, Monko takes Ousu to a big crater lake in the middle of the Japanese jungle to show him a special kind of rock, called Glitter, that can be used to make weapons that work against the tsuchigumo. They get attacked by another god, and Ride seals it off. When the god turns into a haniwa, all of the water in the surrounding lake drains out, revealing a nearly 1 km-long hole in the shape of a human silhouette. This seems to be a clue as to what had hit Earth from space so long ago. Monko and Ousu continue their travels, and run into another god. This one is ocean-based, making it harder for Monko to turn into Ride (because he needs land to activate the Ride haniwa). Ousu tries to become Ride himself to save the day, and gets very frustrated at failing to do so. After the god is defeated, Ousu demands answers, and Monko states that he doesn't have any memories more than one year old, and has no idea how he became Ride (in a dream, he remembers being fed some kind of liquid by some village elders, while he was bound up). Regardless, the Ride power won't work for anyone other than him.

The two continue north, and Ousu discovers that his traitor father is in Izumo, and now he can no longer bring himself to bear the title of Yamato Tekeru until he defeats the old man. The two of them get to Izumo, and are attacked by tsuchigumo, but are saved by someone calling himself Izumo Tekeru (in honor of the hero in the Yamato Tekeru rumors). Izumo Tekeru survived the tsuchigumo attack on Izumo, and when he regained consciousness, he found himself near a wooden sword laced with Glitter (he didn't know about Glitter at the time), and he is currently fighting the tsuchigumo to live up to the Yamato Tekeru legend. This makes Ousu kind of uncomfortable. The next day, the three of them enter the village, and Izumo Tekeru goes to the jail rooms where the remaining village survivors are being held prisoners, to release them. Monko gets to the shrine (a small building on very tall stilts with a long wooden staircase leading up to it - there's a modern museum dedicated to it), and a human head comes bouncing down the stairs. Looks to be that of Ousu's dad. Monko turns into Ride, and the shrine itself becomes the monster god and attacks him. Off in the distance, Gate Opener watches from the hills, asking how "Gate Closer" is going to get out of this jam.

Summary: Ignoring the silly Power Rangers-style armor suit, and futuristic glowy compound bow, this is actually a pretty promising start. There's a lot of (twisted) history here, and great renditions of real haniwa that have been recovered from archeological digs. Plus, there are characters pulled from Japanese mythology. The character designs are solid, and the fight sequences flow fast and smoothly. Even with all the exposition, this is a fast read. Best of all, the book comes with 2 prism trading cards (featuring Monko and Ride), and a glossy postcard-like insert that may be a preview of book 2. I'm looking forward to the next volume. Fun.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Jabberwocky 1914, vol. 4

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

Jabberwocky 1914, vol. 4, Masato Hisa. Grade: A-
Sometimes it's hard to keep track of when certain manga that I like are about to come out. Often, it's a matter of my remembering the title and wondering, "isn't it about time for the next book to hit the shelves?" Then I go to, or to the info kiosk in a bookstore, and check for release dates. That's what happened with Jabberwocky 1914. Turned out that volume 4 came out in November, and I'd never seen it on the store "new releases" shelves (that happens with titles that someone decides might be a bit "too adult" for the general public to know about). Junkudo was sold out, but the neighboring Maruzen store still had one copy left.

J1914 was a sequel to Hisa's original Jabberwocky series, in which dinosaurs had never died out. Instead, they hid in the shadows, and attempted to manipulate humans into killing each other off. J1914 picks up with Lily Apricot, a mercenary dinosaur hunter, and her adopted son (the dinosaur teenager, Samoed) and daughter (Shelty) in the middle of the battlefields of Europe trying to prevent the dinosaurs from wiping out humans in WW I. Lily is kind of an alcoholic who loves fire bombs; Samoed is a master gunfighter, and Shelty is an off-the-wall (literally) driver. In volume three, the group followed the orders of British intelligence mastermind Bruceloyd to face off against the killer dinosaur, Jango. Jango escaped, but the rest of the crew he was with were defeated.

Volume 4 starts out with a guy with a heavily scarred face, Eight, being airdropped onto a zeppelin to assassinate the top 10 dinosaur generals. However, Jango was also in the airship, and he waits until the generals issue the orders to trick America into entering the War before killing them so that the orders can't be cancelled. When Eight gets into the dining room with all the corpses, he decides to fight Jango just for the challenge of it. Turns out that Jango can use the newly-discovered Schrodinger "infinite probabilities" principle to see what all the possible outcomes of a battle are, and then collapse the unwanted ones to tell him what action to take to get the result he wants. In effect, he's able to control the future on a small, limited scale. He defeats Eight and escapes. Eight meets up with Bruceloyd, and the two of them track down Lily to set up a mission to kill Jango.

The problem is that Lily hates Eight, and he is Shelty's true father. Worse, Samoed also demonstrated the Schrodinger talent in volume 3, and Bruceloyd wants to use the boy in the upcoming fight. And, if the boy's skill looks to be a threat to humans, Eight is to kill him as well. Jango is currently hiding in the dinosaur egg nursery in Antarctica (which is where Lily and her dinosaur lover, Sabata, stole Samoed's egg from 17 years earlier. Jango killed Sabata during the egg heist.) So, that's where everyone goes. Ultimately, we learn that Jango's plan is to jack into Samoed's power (which ends up looking like a really creepy sex scene) to travel backward through all of the past collapsed infinite world probability fields to the one moment millions of years ago when one of the dinosaur ancestors failed to kill a newly-evolved mammal destined to be a direct ancestor of the hated humans. If Jango can use Samoed to kill that beast, humans will never have existed. As part of that plan, Jango captures Samoed and forces the boy into a mindless Schrodinger state that panics Bruceloyd into ordering Eight into killing Shelty as a way of sending the boy over the edge and render him useless to Jango. Eight shoots, there's blood everywhere, and Shelty collapses. Samoed is indeed pushed over the edge at the loss of his sister - "there's no more futures with her in them" - and Jango uses this state to reach back through probabilities to that wretched little mammal.

--- Spoilers ---

Lily's lover, Sabata, also had the Schrodinger talent, and when he was distracting Jango from Lily during the egg heist, he had foreseen what was going to be happening 17 years later. Sabata reached/reaches through the time channel and blocked/blocks Jango from getting Samoed to pull the figurative trigger on the mammal. In fact, this delay allows enough time to go by to allow Bruceloyd to fall over dead. Actually, Eight had shot his boss while throwing Shelty to the ground. A beaker Bruceloyd had in his jacket shatters, pouring a fast acting ice melting chemical onto the floor, directly above Sabata's frozen corpse about a foot or two down (Bruceloyd had used this chemical to get into the egg chamber where Jango was waiting for them). Samoed uses Schrodinger to pick a recent past decision point to shoot himself in the stomach, closing off the present reality where he is chained up, and his bonds disappear. Before Jango can react, Lily throws Sabata's gun into the air, and Eight throws Samoed and Shelty up to intercept it. The story ends with Shelty and Samoed, human and dinosaur, sister and brother, about to kill Jango and enter a future where the two species can coexist. (Note that as a bit of foreshadowing, Eight had been in the background of one scene a couple volumes back where a bunch of soldiers had vowed to protect the two kids, and he tells the dying Bruceloyd that he'd always intended to keep that promise.)

Summary: Well, that was fun and altogether too short. I still haven't been able to track down copies of the original series, but I want to now more than before. In the afterward, Masato writes that the final scene had been in his head when Jabberwocky ended, and now the future he'd wanted for the two species can come to pass. The action sequences are fast-paced, and there are a lot of tricky twists and turns this time that don't become obvious until the very last page. The character designs may be a bit too stylistic, but I do like them, more-or-less. The scene with Jango and Samoed made me uncomfortable, but otherwise I liked all four books. Recommended if you like shooting and driving action, along with a bit of alter-universe science.

Next up, book one of Hisa's newest title, Kamuya-Ride.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Where are they now, edition 236

No matter how many times I see it, it never gets any easier when huge stars hit rock bottom.

But still, Anpanman always was able to remain cheerful in the face of adversity.

Saturday, January 19, 2019


When I was at one stage event, they had LED spotlights set up, and I decided to see how well they would photograph from a distance.

They're kind of "seasonal."

Friday, January 18, 2019

Atsuo and Atsuko

In Japan, the best some advertising agencies can come up with for promoting hot canned drinks in the winter is "They're hot."
In the above ad, the text reads "Anato to hotto. Atsuo desu."
"Anata" = "you." "to" = "and." "Hotto" can be "hot," but it can also be read as "feeling relieved." "Atsuo" can be treated as a man's name, but it's made up of the kanji for "warm" and "man." "Desu" = "is."
The intended translation is "you and hot (can drinks) = hot guy."

For women, the kanji is "warm" + "ko" (child).

While the kanji 温 is used in 温泉 for "onsen" (hot spring), my software dictionary (NJ Star) says it's "nukui" (idiot, dummy, slow person). Japanese people I've talked to claim that they don't know the nukui reading, and 温 is supposed to be "on", for "warm" or "hot."

Still... "You and hot are pretty dumb."

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Family Mart FGO Campaign

Fate Grand Order and Famima - Stuff you don't need at prices you can't afford, but who cares with artwork like this?

Steam those buns.

Time to get cupped.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Time Bokan Beer Poster

There's a beer-eatery near Tenmonkan that has been using anime characters from the 1970's "Time Bokan" children's TV series for advertising their happy hour. Recently, I found a different place up at the train station using different characters from the same show to tell patrons that they need to start reserving their end of year company parties in advance. I'm assuming the two places belong to the same chain.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019, Part 2

Blood Drive

There was a fair amount going on, on Sunday. Along with one of the mochi pounding spots in front of the Lotteria near the Yamakataya department store was also a Red Cross blood drive. Given that there's a strong cultural taboo in Japan regarding the spilling of blood, obtaining sufficient blood supplies for the victims of natural disasters here is an uphill battle.

There do seem to be a few donors this time, at least.


Meanwhile, Amu Plaza had some kind of political speaker truck event going on in the space in front of the department store. Not a big crowd, but they were slightly vocal in their support of whatever was being said.

This appears to be Kiyohiko Toyama, a member of the House of Councillors in the National Diet, from the Komeito party, born and raised in Chiba (north of Tokyo). I didn't bother trying to listen to what he was saying, but the speakers were turned up really loud. I could hear him from 2 blocks away. Komeito was founded by members of the Nichiren Buddhist-influenced Soka Gakkai religious movement, and they're aligned with the ruling LDP party.

"This is the part where you're supposed to applaud me."

Thinking: "Which podunk backwater are we in, again?"

Marugoto Fair

Amu Plaza also had another of their "Comprehensive Products" fairs for Kagoshima, Hioki and southern Satsuma. Ceramics, green tea, mikan (small oranges), etc.

The Hioki foamhead mascot, and fan.

The stage event schedule was pretty disappointing this time. It ran from Saturday to Monday, but the majority of the events were just interviews with the shopkeepers, a "rock-paper-scissors" contest against the foamhead for regional prizes, a little performance dancing, and one accoustic guitar set by one of the female folk singers that I'm not a big fan of.

Here, the MC (Hikari) is interviewing a shopkeeper who is trying to promote a new brand of black vinegar in mini-bottles, or something.

"Please, tell me more..."

Some of the Hioki reps, plus the foamhead, preparing to start the rock-paper-scissors contest for the products on the table at the back of the stage. This was the one event that attracted the largest audience of the day.

"Next up, a bottle of orange juice. Try your best, everyone!"

Things get real (metaphysical) when the foamhead competes to give away a plushie version of himself.

Not really a fascinating day, but yeah, there was a lot going on.