12/14/2013

End of Japan 2013

浅草① | Asakusa One
Taken in Asakusa at Sensoji
And with that, I'm back in the U.S. It was a good, if not exhausting trip. Sorry that the posts dropped off about halfway through. It if makes you feel better, most of my best traveling occurred during the first month.

3ヶ月の日本旅行が終了して、現在アメリカに帰国している。楽しかったけど、殆ど毎日バタバタして予想以上に疲労しているから、しばらく休養中。

久しぶりに日本で旅行できて本当によかった。あちこちへ行き回っている間に、やはり日本には言葉にできない魅力がある、と改めて思い知らされた。(今回は写真を何千枚ぐらい撮ったかな。)

5年間半も日本語の会話をする場面の滅多にないアメリカ生活をしてきたわけで、会話力は(留学時代の自分と比較すれば)さすがに衰えていると自覚をしている(ありがたい異説もあるけど)から、これから効率よくかつ真剣に勉強を続行していきたいと思うばかりだ。

そうすれば、きっともっと巧くなる。継続は力なり。

11/29/2013

SMB3で山手線


スーパーマリオブラザーズ3のグラフィックによって作られた山手線の路線図。
気に入ったので、気楽に載せさせてもらった。
(2年ぐらい前に載せようとしたことがあるが、
忘れたか今日まで下書きのままだった。)

This is a representation of Tokyo's Yamanote train line
rendered using Super Mario Bros. 3 sprites.
(I was going to post this a couple of years ago but never did.
I'm definitely far more familiar with its content now.)

Catching up in Tokyo

Sumida River | 隅田川
Tokyo's Sumida River | 東京の隅田川
Wow, I really fell off the wagon there. There was a fair amount of moving around and not having the time or energy to post. And then once you fall behind, it's tough to get back in the habit.

I actually spent some time in Okazaki and Nagoya during this time. I was able to meet some folks but there are still many that I was unable to get to (sorry!), so I'm looking forward to getting back again before too long. I'm back in Tokyo for the time being, though.

Random things:
  • I got randomly checked by the police the other day in front of the train station near my hotel here in Tokyo. As I was walking toward the turnstile, one officer stepped near me and subtly flashed his badge, asking if he could see some sort of identification papers. A second officer appeared on my other side, assuring me that it wouldn't take long. They were completely professional and kind about it. They examined my passport and complemented my Japanese too (they seemed genuinely impressed). I know that this sort of thing really angers some folks, but it was a perfectly fine experience, other than worrying that I might miss my train. (Train stations have been flashing messages about being on high alert recently, so I imagine it might have been due to that.)
  • Sumo is the perfect sport to have on in the background when you're working on something. It's mostly downtime with spurts of action. And it's, somehow, strangely soothing. Which likely sounds weird. (I saw a great match between Kisenosato and Hakuho the other day. It looks like Kisenosato is on fire.)
  • This week is "Sazae-san Week" on TV to celebrate 45 years of the series, including a live-action special this weekend. I clearly need to clear out my Sunday evening. I watched the Tuesday special, which was a look back on history of the series. (Sazae and Masuo briefly lived on their own! Namihei has a twin brother!)
Anywho, I'll try to be more regular with my posting.

11/01/2013

御茶ノ水にて

ただ今、御茶ノ水駅前のロテリアの2階から、外の人通りを窓越しに眺めている。子供たちから高齢者まで、いろいろな人がいろいろな場所に向かって歩いている。みんな、それぞれのゴールに向かってそれぞれの人生を送っているんだ。

それを見て、世の中や人間模様って複雑なもんだな、とふと思った。

10/30/2013

Delicious Bowl of Food at Funabashi

Eaten inside Funabashi Station. 船橋駅構内のお店で食べたものだ。


The view from the platform. ホームから見た船橋駅前。

10/29/2013

Various Places and Things

Let's take a walk!

Unicycle accidents on the rise? んわけねぇだろ(笑)


Back to Akihabara:



YOU!
I stopped by a kaiten sushi place. The experience here is very different from the sushiya experience back in Houston. This was the first time I'd ordered via screen before. Fortunately, it was nearly empty, so it was a bit easier to ask the questions I needed to learn the basics of Real Kaiten Sushi Ordering.




I walked down the street and found a used book/game store and LOOK AT ALL THE MANGA.


I'm a good boy, though, and only bought one book. I need to try a manga cafe soon, I think.

10/28/2013

ばらばら漢字クイズ

今晩、ホテルの部屋で『プレッシャーSTUDY 2013』という番組を見ていたんだけど、番組でばらばら漢字クイズというのがあって、それの一問に芸能人たちより正解できてかなり嬉しかった。

10/27/2013

Sumidagawa

When I'm on the train, often pass this river. I saw that it has a nice walking path around it, so I rode to Asakusabashi and walked to it. I'm glad I did because it was a pretty nice view out there.

The river is the Sumidagawa. I stood out there enjoying the sights, sun, and air for about half an hour, probably (even though I hadn't eaten yet).











Definitely a part of Tokyo I like.

10/25/2013

One photo of Akihabara

Just Akihabara at night.
夜の秋葉原です。


10/24/2013

Sushi and Chiba

Today, I met up with a blog friend at Tokyo Station for lunch. We weren't sure what or where to eat (I'm so useless at those times) so we explored the large building across the street (I forget its name) until we came across a nice-looking sushi restaurant.




In the evening, I ended up visiting BlueSkyInTX in Chiba. We attended a nice three-person party at a very Japanese establishment. What follows are some delicious photos of the meal shared there. Be warned.








Then BlueSky and I went out for okonomiyaki at an equally Japanese, but more laid-back, restaurant!





I ate a lot of good food this day. I like the feel of Japanese restaurants, though I think I still have a lot to learn about them and Japanese food.

10/23/2013

To the Tokyo Sky Tree!

I ended up taking a long walk today. My first (unintentional) stop was by a roadside shrine.







Upon leaving and walking a bit, I saw the Sky Tree looming to the east. I hadn't realized it was quite so close and ended up walking toward it. No better time than the present, right?





Seen between a couple of buildings on the way.

A go place!

Eventually, I arrived!



There were a few performances going at the base of the Sky Tree,
which is located about five stories above street level.

The view from that deck.

A Sazae-san themed shop. Cool and all, but they had the
theme song playing, which made me feel that I couldn't work there.
I like the theme song a lot, but hearing it (perhaps) nonstop
for hours at a time would certainly be maddening.
On one of the floors, the Chiba Institute of Technology had a robotics exhibition set up. Some of the technology there was quite striking and I wished some of my friends from the U.S. could have been there. I ended up chatting on and off with a staff member who explained various things to me.


Version 1

Version 3, final

This is a huge interactive screen that displays the schematics
of various robots. It's controlled via an iPad. Very neat.
 Some more shots of the area around the Sky Tree:




I ended up not going to the top of the Sky Tree itself because there was a very long line and because I felt it'd be better if I went with someone. (There sure were a lot of couples out there...) That will be next time's tanoshimi.


I used the nearby Tokyo Skytree Station to head back to my neck of the woods. I was actually pretty jazzed to ride a non-JR train line and from a brand-spanking-new station at that. Obviously, the experience was largely the same, but it was nice trying a different flavor--the Tobu Line flavor. And it got to me right near my hotel too, so needn't have worried about the potential long hike back. Score.