Kindle Paperwhite: Powerful for Japanese Study

 Education, Foreign Languages, Japan, Japanese Language, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on Kindle Paperwhite: Powerful for Japanese Study
Jun 052014
 

I finally bit the bullet and bought a second Kindle Paperwhite, this time for my Japanese language library. And I don’t regret it one bit. It has become an incredibly powerful tool for improving my Japanese, because I read more books, faster, with the Paperwhite than I have with any other reading platform.

And I’ve tried a bunch of different ways to read Japanese books.

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Miku In The House // New Computer // Glass Coming to the RTP

 Japan, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Miku In The House // New Computer // Glass Coming to the RTP
Oct 022013
 

Tenso delivers my software in one piece. The new Miku v3 software installs/runs just fine. The new computer is up and running. I upgraded to Cubase 7.0 full version, and Google Glass is coming to Durham on Saturday. I’ll check it out.

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Getting Stuff Done Music

 Japan, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Getting Stuff Done Music
Sep 272013
 

The hunt for good ambient sounds/music never seems to end. I heard from Tenso that my Vocaloid software showed up safely. I may use them more often for shipping stuff from Japan. Also, my desktop is dying, so it’s time to build a new one: one with the best airflow ever. (And an SSD!)

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Miku 3.0 Bundle

 Japan, Japanese Language, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Miku 3.0 Bundle
Sep 192013
 

Crypton announced a great deal for people who own previous version of one of their Vocaloid sound banks, but getting it at that attractive price took a few extra steps. Still, it’s a great deal, and using a forwarding service, it’s pretty easy to get. (If you know Japanese!)

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Bargaiiiiins…

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Bargaiiiiins…
Feb 142012
 

I joined the Costco Zombie Army a few days ago. I realized that I could save a lot of money just by buying gasoline there. But I have to be careful when I go shopping there– it’s easy to wind up with more crap than I know what to do with. Heading off to Asheville

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Sayonara, Japan. Back in the US again.

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Sayonara, Japan. Back in the US again.
Dec 222011
 

I did a little shopping today before getting on the Narita Express and heading to the airport. I managed to get a business class upgrade for relatively cheap (yay), and made it safely back home to RDU. Tomorrow I have to drive 250 miles to Asheville. Whee.

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Harajuku, Akihabara, and a View I Won’t Forget

 Food, Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Harajuku, Akihabara, and a View I Won’t Forget
Dec 212011
 

Regardless of my sore throat, I pushed on today. I shipped out some boxes, went to Harajuku and had fish pizza at Shakey’s, bought more souvenirs for people, then went to Akihabara and looked at video games, manga, and electronics. After that, I stopped by Marunouchi and Maruzen, and then had dinner at Sou Hon Kei in Shinjuku again. The view was incredible. Tomorrow I go home. (Sad Face.)

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Toughing it out

 Food, Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Toughing it out
Dec 202011
 

I started the day late because I wasn’t feeling well. I went to Shinjuku to do some more shopping for people back home, then went to the post office to get boxes to send stuff home in. Dinner was in Roppongi again, followed by more Christmas/souvenir shopping.

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Great Luck, Good Food, Plastic Food

 Food, Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Great Luck, Good Food, Plastic Food
Dec 192011
 
Great Luck, Good Food, Plastic Food

I went to Senso-ji, then Kappabashi (where they make the plastic food), had an interesting encounter with a toilet, then went to Jinbocho and finally had dinner in Shinjuku. It was a mix of plastic food and great food!

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Towering Over Tokyo

 Japan, Photography, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Towering Over Tokyo
Dec 172011
 
Towering Over Tokyo

First full day back in Tokyo. I looked around at electronics stores, went to the tourist info center near Tokyo Station, then went to the Tokyo Tower, missed out on some fireworks, got overcharged for “meh” yakitori, and wandered around Shinjuku a bit.

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Sayonara, Yamasa, Sayonara, Okazaki. Tadaima, Tokyo.

 Japan, Japanese Language, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Sayonara, Yamasa, Sayonara, Okazaki. Tadaima, Tokyo.
Dec 162011
 
Sayonara, Yamasa, Sayonara, Okazaki. Tadaima, Tokyo.

A whirlwind of a day as I thanked everyone at Yamasa during the closing ceremony, had lunch with all of my classmates and said goodbye, then rushed to finish packing and got out of town. I made it to Tokyo and passed out in my favorite hotel in Shinjuku.

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Last Trip to Anjo

 Japan, Japanese Language, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Last Trip to Anjo
Dec 142011
 
Last Trip to Anjo

Today was the last big testing day. I forgot to attach a file I was sending to one of my teachers, so I had to race home at lunch to send it. There was an earthquake in class, too. After class, I went to the calligraphy store in Anjo, where everyone was really nice again. I bought more packing materials at the Daiso, and frantically packed until 2 a.m. Oof.

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Jackson Pollock and The Tallest Toilet in Nagoya

 Food, Japan, Photography, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Jackson Pollock and The Tallest Toilet in Nagoya
Dec 112011
 
Jackson Pollock and The Tallest Toilet in Nagoya

Today I went to see the Jackson Pollock exhibit at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, then went to the Midland Square Building to see some great views of Nagoya. More book shopping after that, then expensive crepes for dinner, and a train ride back to Okazaki. I managed to take some really good photos with my cheap little IXY, too!

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Calligraphy Lesson

 Japan, Japanese Language  Comments Off on Calligraphy Lesson
Dec 052011
 

Today was my first calligraphy lesson in Japan. I’ve been doing it for about five years in the US, but I’ve never had a chance to study it here. It was a lot of fun. Thanks to the teacher’s info, I’ll probably go to Toyohashi this weekend for supplies.

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First Night in Kyoto

 Food, Japan, Japanese Language, Photography, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on First Night in Kyoto
Nov 252011
 
First Night in Kyoto

I made it to Kyoto; discovered a few things about buying shinkansen tickets, ate some delicious food in Kyoto, and some not-so-delicious food.

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Okazaki-jo and Anjo

 Japan, Japanese Language, Photography, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Okazaki-jo and Anjo
Nov 202011
 
Okazaki-jo and Anjo

The Tokugawa theme continues from yesterday, when I did some local Tokugawa-related sightseeing today. I visited Okazaki Castle and the Ieyasu and Mikawa Bushido Museum, then went to Anjo to pick up some calligraphy supplies. This time, I took pictures!

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Not to Brag, But I Think I Did Well on My Tests…

 Japan, Japanese Language  Comments Off on Not to Brag, But I Think I Did Well on My Tests…
Nov 172011
 

The writing and conversation exams went pretty well. Even now, though, I still have a lot to learn about Yamasa. Today in JBPP, we covered job interviews and all of the things that need to be done the proper way.

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Makes Me Want to Eat My Phone!

 Japan, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on Makes Me Want to Eat My Phone!
Nov 132011
 

I went back to Nagoya for more wandering around. I found an international market that sells oatmeal, and some fake plastic candy to stick on my phone. I also found the dictionary I’ve been looking for!

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Shopping in Nagoya. In the Rain. Again.

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Shopping in Nagoya. In the Rain. Again.
Nov 052011
 

Went to Nagoya, got my money back at Bic Camera, found a nice international grocery story near JR Nagoya, got lost, bought more books, had to buy a bag to carry it all, then ate some organic food, bought a blanket, and even found a Krispy Kreme.

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ごろごろ and 電子辞書 (Gorogoro and Denshi Jisho)

 Japan, Japanese Language, Photography, Photos, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on ごろごろ and 電子辞書 (Gorogoro and Denshi Jisho)
Oct 292011
 
ごろごろ and 電子辞書 (Gorogoro and Denshi Jisho)

It’s Saturday, and for once it’s not raining. It’s not really sunny, but it’s not raining. I’ll take what I can get. My electronic dictionary is dying, so I’m off to Nagoya to buy a new one, among other things.

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And So It Begins…

 Foreign Languages, Japan, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on And So It Begins…
Oct 122011
 

Finally! My real first day of class! I still feel like hell, but my fever is gone, so I didn’t really have an excuse to stay home and lounge around. Besides, we’re on the fast track here at Yamasa. Every day I miss is like missing 3-4 days of Japanese at a univeristy. Keeping up

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…As A Dog.

 Japan  Comments Off on …As A Dog.
Oct 072011
 

Ugh. I think I caught a cold on one of my trips to Nagoya, because I’m so sick I can barely move, and I feel really gross. They brew up some downright nasty colds here. Sadly, I’m going to have to skip my first day of class, and be that mystery guy who doesn’t show

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We’re Not Through Orientating Yet!

 Japan, Japanese Language  Comments Off on We’re Not Through Orientating Yet!
Oct 062011
 

More orientation today, and the 入学式 (nyuugakushiki, or school entrance ceremony.) We got a lot of info about various things, what to do, what not to do, and we introduced ourselves in Japanese. What I said before about this being the UN of Japanese Language Education? I’m serious. We have a bunch of different countries

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Orientation and Okonomiyaki in Okazaki

 Food, Japan, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on Orientation and Okonomiyaki in Okazaki
Oct 052011
 

Orientation at Yamasa started today. We learned lots of things that don’t apply to me, because I’m on a short-term visa, and will be gone in 3 months. It’s kind of a bummer, but there you go. But there was a lot of really useful information, too, like what to do with my trash. I’ve

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Sunday Is For Laundry, and Another Trip to Nagoya.

 Japan, Japanese Language, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Sunday Is For Laundry, and Another Trip to Nagoya.
Oct 022011
 
Sunday Is For Laundry, and Another Trip to Nagoya.

It’s Sunday, a day for laundry, and for going to Nagoya again. So, laundry. I have this really long metal pole that hangs horizontally in the middle of my apartment, over the TV. It’s suspended from the ceiling by two other big metal poles. Apparently this is my clothes dryer. I come from a country

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It’s Saturday, So It Must Be Nagoya.

 Food, Japan, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on It’s Saturday, So It Must Be Nagoya.
Oct 012011
 

It’s Saturday. No classes, and it’s beautiful outside. So I went to Nagoya to do some shopping for some much-needed necessities. No photos on this trip, because I didn’t take my SLR with me. It was too heavy to carry around while I went shopping. I needed to buy sheets, a wireless router, and after

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Getting Used to Apartment Life

 Food, Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Getting Used to Apartment Life
Sep 302011
 

More classes today. I have a lot of gaps to fill in in my Japanese. Today I have my private lessons, then I’ll probably go to Nagoya to do some shopping. I need to get a wireless router and some kitchen supplies, as well as some sheets ASAP. Those are all top priorities. I’m getting

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Back in Okazaki!

 Japan, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on Back in Okazaki!
Sep 292011
 

Today I made it back to Okazaki and Yamasa again. I got up early, and grabbed a shinkansen, the Nozomi from Tokyo to Nagoya. I could have grabbed it in Shinagawa, which would have made more sense, but I know the way to Tokyo Station better, and I didn’t want to get lost and miss

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Eye Yai Yai

 Food, Foreign Languages, Japan, Japanese Language, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Eye Yai Yai
Sep 282011
 
Eye Yai Yai

I had the hotel’s breakfast again, then went straight to the front desk to take care of two things: my eyes, which now hurt like hell and finding someone who can do something about the stink in the bathroom. Seriously, what is that? It’s not me. It was like that when I got there. A

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Tonkatsu, Point Cards, and Burning Eyes

 Food, Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Tonkatsu, Point Cards, and Burning Eyes
Sep 272011
 

This was my first full day in Tokyo. I started with the hotel buffet for breakfast. 1,200 yen for all you can eat, either Western or Japanese style. Some of the Western stuff is a little odd, but it’s good enough for me. Plenty of yogurt, and a decent strawberry sauce. Other stuff was available,

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Off to Japan! (Wait, Didn’t I Use This One Before?)

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Off to Japan! (Wait, Didn’t I Use This One Before?)
Sep 262011
 

It’s 3:30 a.m. Saturday, September 24th Sunday, September 25th. The driver is going to be here in an hour and fifteen minutes, and I’m trying to close my humongous Samsonite 29″ suitcase. My plan was to have a giant suitcase big enough to stuff Jimmy Hoffa into, but slim enough to fit nicely behind the

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Through the Trip Prep Looking Glass

 Japan, Photography, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on Through the Trip Prep Looking Glass
Sep 202011
 
Through the Trip Prep Looking Glass

Note: This is about stuff I did before the trip, but I’m actually writing it about 10 days into the trip, but I’m going to put this chronologically before it anyway, so that it makes sense. Because It’s There. Before this 3-month trip to Japan, I decided to do what I did before I came

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Going Back to Okazaki.

 Japan, Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on Going Back to Okazaki.
Aug 162011
 

I mentioned earlier that I was dissatisfied with the way my Japanese was progressing when I took the JLPT N2 last month. After talking to Michele, I realized that I have completely neglected my spoken/written Japanese in order to prepare for the N2, which tests neither skill. I considered my options seriously, and realized that

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Android Apps For Japanese Learners

 Japan, Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on Android Apps For Japanese Learners
Apr 012011
 

If you’re going to go Android for Japanese first you need a keyboard. I like Simeji. It’s ugly, but very useful… and really, the only good choice out there, to be honest: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.adamrocker.android.input.simeji Also, if you like to add Japanese-style emoticons, then Kaomoji List is a great add-on to Simeji. It’s activated through the “mushroom

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Rich 1, JR Pass 0

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Rich 1, JR Pass 0
Jul 272008
 

I found the whole breakdown of the various trains I took on my 52,000-yen Japan Rail Pass last Fall, prices and all. They’re in no particular order, but that’s because I’m too lazy to sort them out properly. Sendai -> Tokyo 10,390 (Shinkansen) Nagano -> Sendai 15,220 (Shinkansen) Nagoya -> Nagano 6,390 (Limited Express) Osaka

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Surface Mail Arrived.

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Surface Mail Arrived.
Dec 272007
 

Just a note for those wondering if surface mail (a.k.a 船便 ふなびん or funabin) really takes 8-10 weeks… it does. My packages finally arrived this past week. The last one I sent from Kyoto at the end of October just showed up today. Surface mail takes a while, but it’s cheap.

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Nov 302007
 

I carried a lot of useless stuff with me to Japan. It’s the sort of stuff you see in a catalog, and think, “Wow, that looks really useful!” when in reality you may use it once the whole trip, if you’re lucky, and end up having to lug it all over the place. “But it’s

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Last Day In Japan. ;_;

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Last Day In Japan. ;_;
Nov 142007
 
Last Day In Japan. ;_;

I managed to get packed last night, but I was up late doing it. No surprise there. First thing this morning I backed up all of my photos to DVD. I just had this horrible image of a security guy ruining my laptop, all 3,000 photos, with no backup… *shudder* Then it was off to

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Hot Doughnuts Now! Shinjuku, Takashimaya Times Square, Krispy Kreme!

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Hot Doughnuts Now! Shinjuku, Takashimaya Times Square, Krispy Kreme!
Nov 132007
 
Hot Doughnuts Now! Shinjuku, Takashimaya Times Square, Krispy Kreme!

Busy day today, with ups, downs, and a Krispy Kreme sighting. I started off at 9:30 by running to Ikebukuro to buy a suitcase. Ugh. But I did find one. It’s not the best one I could find, but it was the right mix of cheap and not too shabby. Then breakfast, which was more

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Nov 122007
 
Senso-ji and Akiba Fun, Part Two, Akihabara, Ikebukuro, etc.

Akihabara So on to Akihabara, or Akiba as everyone calls it here. First, I stopped at Asakusabashi station again, as I transferred from the subway to the JR line. I had a wait, so I took some more photos of Asakusabashi station: Asakusabashi platform: Roof detail: Signal lights: My train came in, and I made

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Nov 122007
 
Senso-ji and Akiba Fun, Part One, Senso-ji and Asakusa

Reversal! I was at about 70% today, but I was good enough to go. I decided to keep my plans simple. First off would be Senso-ji in Asakusa. On the way there, I had to change trains at Asakusabashi station. So I took a photo. I got to Asakusa, and headed to Senso-ji. It’s a

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Odaiba

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Odaiba
Nov 112007
 
Odaiba

I woke up feeling really crummy today. But I decided to head to Odaiba anyway. (Bad idea.) I should have had a clue when I was feeling wonky riding the subway… but I didn’t. I pressed on. The longer I rode the Oedo Line, the worse I felt.  I had to ride for 15-20 minutes

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Mind the Gap, Please

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Mind the Gap, Please
Nov 102007
 
Mind the Gap, Please

Long day. I got up early, researched some ideas, and settled on hitting Nakano Broadway, because it’s full of all kinds of shops, some of which I may be interested in. Since Time Out recommended a trip, I figured I’d give it a shot. I hopped on the Chuo Rapid to Nakano, got there, and

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So I Was Shopping in Ginza Today…

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on So I Was Shopping in Ginza Today…
Nov 092007
 
So I Was Shopping in Ginza Today...

I’m going to use my new favorite phrase now. So I was shopping in Ginza today… … yeah, that’s my new favorite phrase. Some massive stores in Ginza (with matching prices, I’m sure!) Seibu department store: Anyway, I was shopping in Ginza today, looking for two stationery stores mentioned in Time Out Tokyo. But first,

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Tokyoverload.

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Tokyoverload.
Nov 082007
 
Tokyoverload.

Leaving Sendai Finally made it to Tokyo. A brief synopsis of the day: First, a jar of KitKats. Yep, a glass jar full of KitKats. Never seen one of those! I got up early to make my 10 a.m. checkout, went to the station, and made some calls overseas to the family. (Hi family!) I

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Buses in Japan. How to Cope.

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Buses in Japan. How to Cope.
Nov 082007
 

I’ve mentioned buses in Japan before, but I thought I would mention them again to give them a little special attention. In order to get to some out-of-the-way places, you will need to ride buses.  They can be the most intimidating of the various forms of mass transit, because they can be a bit confusing,

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Matsushima, Seagulls, The Magnificent View, and Taiyaki. Part Two

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Matsushima, Seagulls, The Magnificent View, and Taiyaki. Part Two
Nov 072007
 
Matsushima, Seagulls, The Magnificent View, and Taiyaki. Part Two

Oku-Matsushima, A Hidden Gem… If you could hide something that big. At the station, I got on the train to Nobiru. When I got there, I talked to the lady in the shop at the station, and rented the bicycle (there’s only one, and it was available!) for 300 yen for 4 hours. I was

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Matsushima, Seagulls, The Magnificent View, and Taiyaki. Part One.

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Matsushima, Seagulls, The Magnificent View, and Taiyaki. Part One.
Nov 072007
 
Matsushima, Seagulls, The Magnificent View, and Taiyaki. Part One.

Today I went to Matsushima. Matsushima is one of the traditional Three Famous Sights You Have to See in Japan. Miyajima is one of the others, and the third is the Heavenly Bridge, which I had to skip due to time constraints. Matsushima is Japanese for Pine Island or Islands, since nouns in Japanese can

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The Voices!

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on The Voices!
Nov 072007
 

If you’re in Japan long enough, you’ll notice that everything here talks to you. Everything. And I think it’s all voiced by the same lady. She has a very kind and gentle voice that kindly and gently informs you that the escalator is not a toy, that the bus is arriving, that a train is

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Travel Day. Nagano to Sendai.

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Travel Day. Nagano to Sendai.
Nov 062007
 

Today was a travel day from Nagano to Sendai for the most part, just like the headline says. I sent a third package home, and my luggage is still heavy. I still don’t get it. Maybe the junk in my bags is breeding? The shinkansen is no longer exciting for me. Instead it makes me

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Nagano: Zenkoji and Togakushi: Part Two: Togakushi and Notes

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Nagano: Zenkoji and Togakushi: Part Two: Togakushi and Notes
Nov 052007
 
Nagano: Zenkoji and Togakushi: Part Two: Togakushi and Notes

Togakushi. Tooi. After some false starts, I finally got communications with the travel and tourism office people to work. I decided to head to Togakushi. It’s a close-ish town with mountains, trees, not many people, and a famous cedar-lined path that leads to a famous local shrine. I know I’m burned out on shrines, but

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Nov 052007
 
Nagano: Zenkoji and Togakushi: Part One, Zenkoji and Nagano

Another day in Nagano. Lots of walking. LOTS of it. I got up late. I slept in until 9:30 a.m. because I was tired. I’m sure Nagano has a lot of great Olympic-related sights, but I decided to skip those. It just didn’t do anything for me, and if I can’t ride the bobsled, what’s

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Slow Train to Nagano

 Japan, Travel  Comments Off on Slow Train to Nagano
Nov 042007
 

Today was another travel day. A very long one, at that. Sayonara, Osaka. It was fun. I have to come back sometime. I really loved it there. Now off to Nagano, which takes a while to get to from Osaka. Back in Nagoya The Business Hotel Nissei was good to me. I got to sleep

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More Osaka: Giant Crab vs. Giant Octopus vs. Guy in a Clown Suit

 Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on More Osaka: Giant Crab vs. Giant Octopus vs. Guy in a Clown Suit
Nov 032007
 
More Osaka: Giant Crab vs. Giant Octopus vs. Guy in a Clown Suit

It’s Saturday in Osaka, and time to go see more stuff. This will be my last full day in Kansai, so I want to make the most of it. I got up at 8 a.m., slowly got my act together, and made sure to get to the Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) by 10:00 a.m., when it

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Oh, Osaka! Castles and Towers and Okonomiyaki!

 Food, Japan, Photos, Travel  Comments Off on Oh, Osaka! Castles and Towers and Okonomiyaki!
Nov 022007
 
Oh, Osaka! Castles and Towers and Okonomiyaki!

Today I left fun fun Fukuoka for Osaka. The shinkansen ride took about 2:45, and I got there right at 1:45 p.m. The way the shinkansen works is that it runs on special tracks designed for high-speed rail. This means that not every station is equipped to handle these trains. So Instead of going to

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