Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You are now entering the Uncanny Valley...

...from the WRONG DIRECTION.

Seriously, I don't know what makes this guy (I'm pretty sure it's a guy) put on a full-body stocking, a (woman's) anime costume, and a mask, but more power to him.

It's the mask that's the creepy part, though. Here's an example:

It's not as apparent in a still picture, but imagine hanging around with this person, face to face with an immobile mask for a face, making the head look just a little too large for the body...

Apparently this is a semi-widespread offshoot of anime cosplay. Still creeps me out, though.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Now THAT's customer service

Something odd happened to me yesterday.

I had gone to the train station to buy my ticket to Okayama, where I'll be taking the Japanese language proficiency test next month (outlook NOT SO GOOD). The ticket itself was much cheaper than I expected, thank goodness.

Anyway, I had pulled out of the parking lot and was driving down Kitaro Road (no, not THAT Kitaro), when a van pulled up behind me and started honking.

So I looked around, panicking -- did I do something wrong? Are the cops on my tail? -- but I only saw this van, and a lot of pedestrians wondering what was going on.

I pulled over, and the van pulled in behind me. After a few seconds -- I didn't leave the car, of course -- he pulled around, and tried to say something as he passed my window. (I didn't catch what he said.) He then proceeded about fifty meters ahead of me and pulled over.

He got out of his van, opened the sliding door, and hauled out a box, which he waved at me.

Turns out, he's the local driver for one of the parcel delivery companies, and he had a box from Amazon for me. He had just left the distribution center, which was near the station, when he saw me drive by.

I don't get deliveries from Amazon THAT often, but he recognized me -- or at least my car -- and decided to save some time. Since I wasn't home, of course we would've had to play phone tag for a while. Ever try to play phone tag in a language you don't know?

(What was I ordering from Amazon? Um...random anime stuff. Move along, nothing to see here....)

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Son of Futility Watch

According to this article, the wholesale price of gasoline went up six yen a liter today. I drove by a gas station, and the retail price of gas is now 151 yen per liter, a 10 yen (!) jump from yesterday.

That pushes Japanese gas prices to just about $5.00 a gallon.