Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kira, Aichi

A visit to Kira seaside town (Aichi) about a month ago, made me closer to nature. Watching sunset and sunrise, that was really something. This particular picture by the way, after taking it.. it reminded me of some entertainment company's logo. After returning home, I searched it on the internet, turns out it was actually 'Castle Rock' (maybe similar). More pics from Kira town here

Thursday, December 25, 2008

This picture does not mean I was in NY, I was actually in Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. With the beautiful Rainbow bridge and Odaiba-kaihin park in the background, it's a splendid location to spend an evening. There are also water buses (or water taxis) connecting many spots within this island, to enable tourist to enjoy the scenery from the sea. Unfortunately, I was unable to commute on those water buses

Monday, December 22, 2008


Bōnenkai (or 'forget the year party') is a common practice in Japan to forget the troubles of the past and hope for a better future. This year our 'bōnenkai' was held in the crowded Sanjo street (Kyoto). As with the bōnenkai that we had, I'd like to wish the readers of my blog to have a better future ahead, Merry X-mas and 'Happy New Year'

Friday, December 19, 2008

Kusatsu, Shiga

A visit to Panasonic factory in Kusatsu city (Shiga) enabled us to understand and witness the Japanese working culture; besides observing the latest breakthrough in home appliances research. I had the opportunity to ask the question whether with the recent recession this company is laying off any workers.. luckily to my relief the answer was no. Overall, it was an interesting trip

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Both Kousuke Murata and Osamu Fukunaga competed in the Rally Hokkaido (JRC) held in the middle of this year. I came across their vehicles (Daihatsu Boon), about a month ago. Unfortunately, Murata finished 12th and Fukunaga retired. Hopefully, better luck for them next time!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Autumn in Kyoto is definitely breathtaking. With the colors of 'Momiji' (or Japanese Maple) being the center of attention, it's certainly worthwhile to take a couple of pictures. Apart from that, it's also very relaxing and could also be very romantic, hehe

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kyoto Foreign Students Music Festival (2008) was an event showcasing the culture and art related to music from countries outside of Japan. Even the emcees for this event were foreigners. Many students from various parts of the world took part; e.g. Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico etc. Indonesian students had the most number of performances. I came to know that the musical instrument used in this performance is actually 'angklung'. The sound of this instrument together with what I recall as the 'Chan mali Chan' song was pretty good

Friday, November 28, 2008

Nagoya castle, Aichi

A visit to this historic site was surely a memorable one. I came to know that the construction of this castle was completed in 1612. However, during the Second World War, most of the important buildings in this area were burned down and were reconstructed in 1959. Today, this monument is considered incomplete without a modern structure attached next to it (maybe many more monuments out there). The best known item associated with this castle are the golden dolphins (or kinshachi), which are placed in the castle roof

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Some of my friends favorite 'udon' (noodles') restaurant. For me it was my first visit. One could get a hot bowl of 'udon' for as low as ¥280 (usually ¥600 'udon' is considered satisfactory with the addition of fried shrimp and other tempura). Pic 3, I assume indicate the freshly made 'udon' here. Finally the end product is a hot, simple and tasty 'udon' meal that can be very refreshing during the cold season

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kyoto Imperial Palace. I've posted before about this place here. This time around was my second visit with a group of friends to view the autumn colors. The color change is not fully complete yet, but we still enjoyed the beauty of nature in this area. More older pics can be viewed here

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dinner with Zuru-chan the other day, we choose a restaurant that is completely new to us and it served vegetarian food. This place turns out to be pretty cool. One of the things that caught my attention was the tag line for this restaurant which read 'Better is a dish of vegetables where love is, Than a fattened ox and hatred with it'. The main dish was so-so but the dessert was awesome. For more info visit here

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ryōan-ji, Kyoto

For an unknown reason, I did not find the stone garden interesting at all (maybe it's just me). A bunch of people staring at a bunch of rocks for hours.. I did not understand the meaning of it. Instead, I found the lake of Ryōan-ji more fascinating and worth the visit. According to Wikipedia (2008), when looking at the garden from any angle (other than from above), only fourteen of the boulders are visible at one time; it is traditionally said that only through attaining enlightenment would one be able to view the fifteenth boulder. I hope many people have attained their enlightenment after visiting this place, unlike me (sorry-sorry for not posting last week)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I got very lazy recently, with the weather becoming colder and colder.. anyway, looking/searching for a used car (in Japan) from the internet can be a hassle if someone couldn't read/speak Japanese. Luckily, only very recently I came to know about Goo-net website (thank u Zuru-chan) that provides information in English. The company claim that they have the largest database of used cars distributed in Japan. In my opinion, the website is well organized and even browsing through it (without any intention) can be fun

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Arashiyama, Kyoto

It must be the darling of Kyoto. During autumn, the plants on the slopes of the mountain change color to red and yellow (some remain green), making this place stunning than ever. It's also the time tourists flock this area like nothing I could imagine. I may not have the opportunity to visit this place during autumn, once is good enough just to tell others 'Yeah.. I've been there'

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flea market ('not to be confused with free market cause the pronunciation seems to be similar in Japanese slang') are currently common in this area. For a guy like me who happen to be from a country with tropical climate, whatever I need for the cold winter season in Kyoto, I rather get it here cause it's cheap and I can't use this stuff in my country. Another thing is that, before coming to this country I had the idea that Japanese people only like to use new stuff ('new clothes.. they change their cars etc.), however, this type of flea market seems to be getting a very good response from the local crowd. Maybe, Old is Gold!

Monday, October 13, 2008


This is the first time I'm seeing a 'Velotaxi' in Kyoto area. It's a perfect modern 'rebranding' of the classic rickshaw. If I'm not mistaken, they've installed a GPS receiver inside it. The design looks pretty cool and the fair seems reasonable. The operators are also able to generate side income through the advertisements they put on this vehicle. For more info on 'Velotaxi' visit here

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The prestigious Nobel Prize winners for this year was announced recently and the names that caught our attention are mostly Japanese (not necessarily citizens). For me, it is not a surprise and it explains why many foreign researches are in this country.. the research in this country is very powerful compared to our home country. Congratulations to Japan and Japanese people! not to forget, thank you for sharing the knowledge with us

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Kyoto University of Art and Design

I heard from a foreigner that Kyoto University of Art and Design is the best kept secret of Kyoto. Therefore, last weekend I set up a course to boldly go to this institution. For some reason, this place had a lot of stairs. In my opinion, the true beauty of this institution was in their ability to blend the beauty of nature and modern design. One of my sweet memories was a visit to Ultra Factory, which is a design workshop utilizing metal, wood and resin. More pics can be viewed here

Saturday, October 4, 2008


The procedure of switching my foreign licence into a Japanese driving license was surely a difficult one for me. With me being 'Lost in translation' and with the strict regulations being imposed.. I definitely went through some mixed emotions. My only wish is that what now looks like some mixed emotions, will become an important lesson for me in the future

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pelamis wave energy converter maybe the perfect alternative for countries to generate electricity from renewable energy sources. Even though developed by a Scottish company, recently a lot attention was directed towards the Portuguese worlds first wave farm that utilizes this device. According to France 24 (2008), this device alone meets the energy demand of 500 Portuguese homes a year. Wow! I hope the developing nations will wake up..

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The other day I came across this racket. Before this, I had no idea that 'Mizuno' manufacture badminton rackets. All I knew of is only one established brand from Japan that manufacture badminton rackets. However, I realized that the established brand is charging me more than what 'Mizuno' is offering. The quality of the current racket also seems to be better. Sometimes, established brands spend a lot of money sponsoring athletes that they have to put a heavy price on their products. Always better to lookout for the alternatives!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Amusements in Mathematics. It's a compelling book even though it was published in 1917. In 2005, it was released to the public domain under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License. I could imagine that one could spend quality time solving the probs in this book while waiting for the train/bus rather than reading a novel. Recently I converted it to 'pdf' format and uploaded it here

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Mechanical Universe. I can still remember during my school days, I will be rushing home after school every Friday just to watch this show. Even though I understood only a bit back then and maybe dozed off in the middle of this show, I was captivated with the knowledge this show got to offer and the presentation style undertaken throughout this series. Today, thanks to the power of the internet, I can still view it on Google video. It's good to start from here

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WinDjView. Quite often, I receive scanned documents in 'DjVu' format. For this purpose, I've been using this super-lightweight application to view and print my documents. Get it here

Monday, September 22, 2008

Women only compartments inside the train are currently common in Kansai area. At first, I thought this is a form of sexism to men. However I read somewhere (I cannot recall where) that this is to avoid any form of harassment to women during the crowded work-rush period. Yeah! there are plenty of jokers out there.. sorry-sorry for not posting last week

Friday, September 12, 2008

Managed to catch this movie ('The Dark Knight') only last week. Everyone who had seen this movie are praising 'Heath Ledger' for the role he played. At one moment during the film I thought "could anyone slash this guys head", that's how good he was. Sources from the IMDB website (2008) stated that 'he lived alone in a hotel room for a month, formulating the character's psychology, posture and voice'.. Wow! Even though he passed away after making this movie, I think he definitely deserves an award

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

From time to time I tend to watch some interesting documentaries. The latest one that I saw was 'Dust to Glory', which is about the Baja 1000 off road race. Even though the documentary has been around since 2005 and the race itself has been going strong for years now, I've totally have not heard about it before ('my sincere apologies'). The race takes place in Mexico's Baja California Peninsula and the documentary is about the 2003 event. Overall this documentary is about the dream of people in certain sport and the distance they're willing to go ('distance here means both the actual distance of the race and also the challenges they're willing to endure') to achieve their dream

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lake Biwa, Shiga. I dropped by this place the other day with some friends. This is my first visit even though it's just around the corner. This place turns out to be a very relaxing spot, maybe perfect for yoga, fishing, BBQ (discussions did take place) etc. According to Wikipedia (2008), it's the largest freshwater lake in Japan and provides drinking water for about 15 million people in the region. Probably I been drinking water that comes from this lake for so long and only knew about it 5 min ago!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Japan is the birthplace of cellphone novel (or 'Keitai Shosetsu'). Even though it's been around since 2003, I was only aware of it very recently (sorry! sorry!). Here in Japan, these novels are usually very short and is uploaded by the author (amateur or pro doesn't make a difference here) to a website to be shared. The idea have since expanded to other countries around the globe. One such website that is still going strong is maho (Japanese). Others are textnovel and quillpill (English). Due to the popularity of 'Keitai Shosetsu', some stories have been turned into actual novels ($$) and even into motion picture (e.g. 'Koizora' and 'Deep Love'). According to the NY Times, 5 out of 10 best-selling novels in Japan last year were originally cellphone novels (Onishi, 2008). Hopefully the future is bright for the authors..

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mt Fuji

Two weeks after hiking up this mountain there is a sense of relief within me because I managed to complete it and the fact that I don't have to do it again ever ('If I have a choice'). Hiking down this mountain was even more horrible for me, with possibilities that I could bust my knee. Overall, it was a once in a life time experience that I would remember for a long time.. both the good and not so good memories. More pics can be viewed here

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's wrong with this guy? Driving his truck with his feet on the steering wheel! Even though there was a heavy traffic, it should not be an excuse..

Monday, August 18, 2008

Today marked my 100th post. I thought maybe I’ll write something about my Yahoo! mail. I’ve been using it for 10 years now with very little issues. Compared to the amount of genuine mails I receive, spam mails can be considered negligible. Hopefully everything goes well for this service in the future despite the takeover and merger talks that we often hear!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Everyone is in the Olympic mood. Even new blogs are being created dedicated to the Olympics. I'm lucky, cause it's holiday season here in Japan, I can stay at home and watch TV. Too bad for supporters who went to Beijing but couldn't get tickets. Empty seats are said being reserved for the 'big guns'. As for the Olympians, I can't imagine records are being broken everyday.. after all, records are meant to be ??

Monday, August 11, 2008

about a week ago, a friend of mine was wearing this t-shirt (yeah! he had to look lil' macho) which reminded me of Knut, the cute little polar bear. Knut is a big guy now, his pics can be viewed here, the one that he's reading his own book is too cute.. last July, there was a legal battle between two zoos in Germany over the profits raised from the worldwide attention received by the innocent Knut!, hopefully it all ends well

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Can any of us still recall what in the world is this? Yeah! it's a floppy disc drive (USB external). Is it still useful these days? Yeah! if you're working in an environment with old machines that is connected to old computers, and you need to transfer the data to your own computer. It's quite handy actually..

Monday, August 4, 2008

Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri is a Japanese traditional festival that is still celebrated in Kyoto. The festival spans about a month long with ‘Yamaboko Junko’ (or The Float Parade) being the peak of the festival. It was first held in 869, when a plague swept the country and the people prayed for its abatement by celebrating the Gion gods and paraded portable shrines through the streets (Industry and Tourism Bureau, City of Kyoto, 2008). This particular float in the pic, the ‘Naginata Boko’ leads the parade each year and is the only float that features a child (Industry and Tourism Bureau, City of Kyoto, 2008)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ever wondered how a student lodging looked like back in the old days? In this pic, the lodging of a university student around the year 1930 has been recreated. I could imagine that students back then have worked really hard.. even getting admitted into a university was very tough back then

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cicada (or ‘semi’) is man’s best friend during summer season in Kyoto City. The sound of a group of cicadas is like ‘an orchestra out of tune’ and it’s all over the city. During this season, many kids go out to catch it, I don’t know what they do with it! By the way, this one in the pic is probably sleeping.. no harm was done to it

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Japanese people surely have geared up for the hot-hot season in Kyoto by purchasing 'sudare' (or bamboo/rattan blind). The price seems to be pretty reasonable which explains why I saw every single Japanese carrying one the other day. I guess it blocks the sunlight and turns the hot air coming through it into moderately cold air. For me, the hot-hot season is much more better than winter!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Time flies! Seems like it was only a week ago I had to endure the winter season but already five months have passed. On the bright side, luckily I'm fully aware now that five months have passed, so that I can start thinking about the upcoming months. I'm guessing now that I'll be watching TV more (Olympics in three weeks time). At the same time, I better start planning some other things also..

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lessons learned from Rafael Nadal: 1) Never-ever give up (only on his third Wimbledon final he managed to capture the title). 2) Continue fighting and have confidence with ourselves (he said that during the interview even though he lost the 3rd and 4th set). For average people like us, this lessons are sometimes difficult to replicate but it's not impossible!

Monday, July 7, 2008

'Tanabata' is a Japanese star festival. Although it has a long history, at present people generally celebrate this festival by writing wishes (anything from health, wealth, studies, career, love etc.) on a piece of paper and hanging them as shown in the pic. Large-scale tanabata festival maybe still celebrated in some parts of Japan. I asked my Japanese male friend, "did u write your wish?", he told me that it's not cool for guys to do it..

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Daimonji Mountain, Kyoto

A climb up this mountain was surely a tiring one especially for amateurs like us. A rainy day made it even worst. However after reaching the desired check point, the feeling was unimaginable. I was surprised to know that the 'giant green square' (see pic, indicated with red arrows) is actually Kyoto Imperial Palace. The fact that Kyoto is surrounded by mountains, which made it very cold during winter and very hot during summer couldn't be more obvious. For those who are wondering what are these kids doing.. they are actually spelling out the word 'KYOTO', Cayalah!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Chinatown ('Nankin-Machi'), Kobe

Before coming to this place, I had the impression that the situation in this Chinatown will be similar to the one we have in my country. Back at home, we could purchase food, clothes, imitation goods (hehe), souvenirs etc. However, I was rather disappointed to see only food, drinks and more food being sold here.. every country is unique after all!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ueno Park, Tokyo

It's a popular tourist destination, not only for foreigners but also japanese. It's home to Ueno zoo, three museums and many other things that I'm not sure about. During spring, many people visit this area for 'hanami'. I observed there were also many school kids having a trip here. It's one of those places we could just hang around, enjoy the scenery or do nothing. One more thing that caught my attention.. this place is clean Man! Definitely, a perfect escape spot from the busy Tokyo Metropolitan

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sherlock Holmes in Kobe? According to Wikipedia (2008), Sherlock Holmes is a famous fictional detective (London based) of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. However, what was his connection with Kobe City, I'm totally unaware of it and I rather leave it as a mystery.. anyway for those of us who wish to relive the adventures of yesteryear, visit here

Friday, June 13, 2008

Euro 2008. After a week in misery watching broken streams, I just knew from a friend that Japanese TV is actually showing Euro 2008 ('It's been a while since the last time I tuned in') Anyway, I'll be counting on the 'Dutch Masters'.. it's been nearly 20 yrs since the last time they won it

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Akihabara, Tokyo

It's a popular Electric/Electronic Town in Japan. My recent visit to this area was a memorable one with me purchasing a memory device and a card reader at a reasonable price. However, for equipment such as camera etc, i think online purchase is much more cheaper.. That being said, the recent 'psychotic' stabbing of passersby around this area is very much regretted. I can't imagine someone going shopping on the weekend but failed to return home because was stabbed to death #$@

Sunday, June 8, 2008

After spring, currently in Kyoto is actually the rainy season. Known as 'tsuyu' (or '梅雨'), although partially interrupts our daily schedule, it's a known fact that rain is actually important for our survival
Rafael Nadal. Today he proved once again that he's the 'King of clay' by winning the French open for 4th time. Federer tried very hard for the past couple of years, but Rafa is the best on this surface, 'enhorabuena' (I hope I got that right)