Monday, September 28, 2009

Random geeky toy photos 4/An attempt at mental re-alignment 3

Whenever we (Doug, Jamie, Me, James, went to Tenmonkan, one of us would invariably suggest, "Let's get purikura!" (Seriously, guys, how many of these did we do? Every time I open a box of stuff I sent home, three or four more fall out)

プリクラ is Japanese shorthand for the English phrase "Print Club", and it refers to photo stickers taken at booths in game centers all over Japan. After the requisite mugging for the camera, you scoot around to the other side of the booth and use the touch screen/light pen to decorate your picture. Quite popular amongst the young in Japan. Looked kind of odd with 30-year-old bald me doing it, but whatever.

The male lead of the manga "Love Hina", Urashima Keitaro, had a hobby of collecting purikura whenever he saw a booth. The sad thing was, he was the only one ever in his pictures. In real life, purikura is most popular among girls -- so much so that many game centers had rules preventing males who were alone hanging around the purikura machines (they'd stick their cameraphones under the curtains, trying for upskirt shots...)

It was always fun when I was at work and saw students exchanging these pictures. They were surprised when I started trading with them.

Clockwise from upper left: Me, Doug, Jamie and James; Students from Kamiichiki Junior High; Students from Higashiichiki Junior High; Japanese tutor and a fellow language-classmate from France, more students from Higashiichiki. (Note the fake cigs in the "No Smoking" pic.)

I used my Canon Wordtank as a repository for purikura and any other stickers that students would give me. Left: My Japanese language class from 2003.

I bought the Wordtank when I was in Akihabara during a trip to Tokyo to visit my buddy Jonny in the winter of 2002. At the time, my Japanese was not great, and after about ten minutes of me trying to tell the shopkeeper what I was looking for, I told him I'd be back later w. a friend who spoke Japanese. Imagine the annoyance on the face of the shopkeeper when I showed up with THIS guy:Now imagine the surprise on the shopkeeper's face when Jonny (who grew up in Kyoto and Kobe) started speaking perfect Japanese.

Good times.

(I paid ¥20,000 for that Wordtank, and the shopkeeper threw in an English manual for free. A week later, I saw the exact same model for sale in Kagoshima City for ¥15,000. Ah, well...)

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Friday, September 25, 2009

An attempt at mental re-alignment 2

Near the end of my time in Kagoshima, Itakura-sensei, one of the teachers at Higashiichiki Middle School, invited me to join her and her family on an outing. We drove off into the countryside around Lake Ikeda and the volcano Kaimondake, south of Kagoshima City.

That's Misato, Itakura-sensei's daughter, enjoying a fine meal...

This was at a restaurant called "Hanamizuki", which means flower-water-trees. Their specialty is nagashi sōmen, cold noodles taken from flowing water and dipped in a light sauce. Traditionally, they are served in a long channel made from bamboo, but in a restaurant like this with many many separate tables, that's impractical. In the center of the table there is a circular basin with water swirling around it. It takes some practice to snare a mouthful of noodles with chopsticks, but it was fun. Yummy.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Random geeky toy photos of the week 3

The Square Minimum Collection.

Fighter, Red Mage, and Black Mage. I don't know why these are greyscale-colored. They came as a bonus for those who bought the "Final Fantasy 1•2 Premium Package." I'm pretty sure that there were different colored versions in different boxes.

Not long became the Square Enix Minimum Collection. And they got even weirder looking.

Rikku, Yuna, and Paine, from Final Fantasy X-2.

Hmm. I feel a Twisted Toyfare Theatre-esqe idea coming if only I could convince myself to open the packages.

Yes, I'm THAT MUCH of a geek.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

I wanna find this tattoo artist and buy him a drink

Take a look at this picture and caption:
While spending some time in Japan, I was lucky enough to get the kanji for "Dragon soul" tattooed on my arm at a studio in Tokyo. The artist helped me translate the phrase into kanji.
(Tokyo, JP)
(Picture from the gallery of kanji tattoos at -- some pics may be NSFW)

Now take a closer look at this picture:
Does this say "dragon soul?" Nope. "Dragon soul" would be something like 「竜の魂」(and that's a wild guess; for all I know it could be wildly inaccurate).

One thing that I am sure of is that this tattoo says 外人. "Gaijin." It's the impolite word for "foreigner."


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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Random geeky toy photos of the week 2

Second in an ongoing series!
Japanese refrigerator magnets. Each one came free with the purchase of an issue of Kodansha's Monthly Afternoon manga magazine. 20 geek points if you can name the characters...
Lum, from Urusei Yatsura. Gotten w. a UFO catcher ("WE WORSHIP THE CLAW. oooOOOOOOOoooo") in Sakaiminato. I just like the gimmick they use to make it look like she's hovering over the desk.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Random geeky toy photos of the week

First in what may become a series. Click each photo for entirely too-detailed size...

Some of these will be (relatively) cool.
Nausicaa on Meheve

And some of them...won't be.
Rei and Asuka, the Pinkys version.
Note the angels-onna-stick each is holding...


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Things I do when I'm bored

(click for big robot go now!)

Yes, I own too many of these.

These three are the Yamato versions of the Valkyrie toy, as opposed to the Takatoku/Bandai version below. They are, from left to right, the 2008 1/60 scale version, the 2003 1/48 version, and the 2001 1/60 version. Yamato Toys made them better looking and more detailed with each iteration, but the Takatoku version still has them all beat for ease of transformation.

I'd say that these were more for display than for actual toy use...

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