Sunday, October 30, 2016

Unique Pets in Public

In my free time I like to hang out around Sankaku Koen. It's a meeting place for a lot of Japanese people who don't fit the typical straight edge image of this country. Even there, this guy stood out. He came with a bright red leather bag and produced from it two snakes and a lizard. They were just hanging out taking in the sun until a policeman showed up and started talking to them. I'm not sure what they said, but shortly after then man packed up his reptiles and left. I can't imagine there's a specific law against displaying reptiles in public, but the police appear to be sensitive to anything that could disturb the peace. I'm glad I was able to find this place where people escape the crushing normalcy of daily life even if it's just for a while.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ice in a cup, or something more?

I've started to see shelves of ice cups like this at many convenience stores. I wasn't sure what they were for a while, but upon closer inspection I figured out that they are for iced coffee. You take the sealed cup of ice and pay for it at the register, the cashier then takes it and fills it up with room-temperature coffee and in a few minutes you've got a cup of iced coffee. In the US I remember being able to mix the iced coffee myself with ice from the soda fountain, but I suppose here they want to control your ice/coffee ratio.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Denny's in Japan

While I was in Tokyo I happened upon a Denny's. I didn't think Denny's of all restaurants would have stores in Japan. It's clearly owned by the same company, but they couldn't be more different. The menu consisted entirely of Japanese style dishes. Only the sign outside had a sort of '50s American vibe. I ordered a spicy Ramen and it came with a side of white rice and kara age. It was very good though it certainly didn't remind me of home. Of course the best part came at the end. Being in Japan, you don't have to leave a tip!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Old Nintendo Building

I was riding the train in Kyoto recently and in the distance I saw a large white building that reminded me of pictures I had seen of Nintendo headquarters. To confirm I pulled out my phone and searched "Nintendo" in my maps application. Sure enough there was a dot on that building for Nintendo headquarters, but what really got my attention was the second dot that appeared which read "Old Nintendo Building". This dot was near the train station I was going to and since I had some free time I decided to check it out. Tucked away in a very quiet neighborhood was this rather unique building.

This building was Nintendo headquarters from 1933 until they moved to the large white building I saw from the train. It's amazing how much history is but a short train ride away in Kyoto. You could argue that all of the temples and shrines have more historical significance than Nintendo, but it's cool to be able to see origin of the company behind many of my favorite games growing up.

For more info:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Working on games again. (for real this time)

Hello everyone. I haven't been updating the blog lately as I adjust to my new life working in Japan. I got a job programming at a small video game company and my first day was today. It looks like it's going to be a lot of work, but it looks like really interesting work and I'm really excited. My team consists of two designers from England and another programmer from the US. I'm not sure yet what all I can say at this point about the project we're working on, but I think it's a cool one. Regular updates should resume as I get me new living/working/commuting arrangements sorted out. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Uncommon rudeness

I'm currently living in a rather quiet part of Kyoto. I live next to a little shopping arcade mostly frequented by older people. So I was surprised to see this lime green Lamborghini revving it's engine loudly at an intersection. The driver was a young Japanese man. After the car in front of him moved out of the way he floored it down this narrow 1 lane road. People had to rush to get out of the way and I could still hear him accelerating far off in the distance. This is not something you see very often anywhere in Japan.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

old man clothing

The neighborhood I'm currently living in has a relatively old population. Most of the shops cater to older people including the clothing stores. I find it interesting that the sort of clothing worn by older menhere is very similar to the sort of clothing old men in America wear. I could easily imagine my grandfather wearing most of the clothing pictured above. Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts on why this might be.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pepsi Strong

I've been seeing Pepsi strong for sale in many convenience stores. Apparently, before it came out there were a series of epic commercials featuring Jude Law relating the drink to a strong demon. [ link] Today I decided to try it. I did a little research, supposedly the main difference between this and regular Pepsi is that Pepsi strong has 5X the gas volume (GV). To contain the gas they had to design a new, reinforced bottle. After all this hype I was expecting this Pepsi to be pretty impressive. I was expecting the bottle to depressurize violently when I opened it. It did not. The taste was also pretty much identical to regular Pepsi, it might have been a little be more fizzy, but not by much.

I should probably make a playlist of all the products I've been disappointed by in Japan. :) There's tons of great food to be found here, but I often gravitate towards things with flashy advertising. I will probably never learn my lesson, they're just so good at making products seem interesting here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Non-controversial sign

The sign reads "lower back stress began when we started walking on two feet" It's an advertisement for an orthopedic surgeon. It would appear that belief in evolution is not controversial in Japan.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Construction for the Curious

Since I arrived here, the pillars at Shinsaibashi station in Osaka have been under construction. They do a good job keeping the work out of people's way. I was wondering what they could be doing to be under construction for this long. I didn't have to wonder for long. On the side of the scaffolding they provide a description of the work being performed, it's purpose, and how long the work will take.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Questionable Health Claims

A lot of advertising is aimed at Japan's aging population and a lot of it addresses health concerns. Some of these ads make claims I have a hard time believing. This sign reads: "21st century futon, manages your health while you sleep." Could it be that simple?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mixing east and west for decades

Far before World War II Japan had already begun integrating western-style architectural designs into its buildings. This old factory is an interesting example. The wooden building on the left is somewhat western-inspired, but has a traditional Japanese tiled roof. The dark wood siding with a white border on top is a common architectural motif I've only seen in Japan.

The brick building on the right looks like it could have come directly from my hometown in America, but if you look closely you can the roof, especially the top, is very traditional Japanese.