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Umi no hi (Ocean's day) - National holiday in Japan [Others]

Every 3rd monday in July is called "Umi no hi" (Ocean's day) and it is a national holiday here in Japan. It used to be July 20th but due to change in policy of national holiday by government, it became every 3rd monday in July. (To avoid lap over with weekends and reduce number of holidays - Japan is always said to be only a few holiday compared to other countries, government decided to avoid national holidays to overlap with weekend thus changed many holidays to monday so that everyone enjoys three day weekend.)

We really don't know why "Ocean's day" is a national holiday....it might be because Japan is a insular country. Even the Wikipedia in Japan doesn't clarify the origin of this holiday.

However, this "Umi no hi" (Ocean's day) is the start of summer break for students! They are looking forward to go for a swim in the sea. And it's good for business person like us because the commuter's train is uncrowded for a month till the summer break is over. I love this season because of this reason :)

Unfortunately, there is no national holiday in August. But most of Japanese companies take a week off in mid August due to "Obon vacation" - which is a festival of souls, show respect to our ancestors, and pray for them to come back to our house for this specific time of season (Obon).




Reasonable short golf course for practice [Golf]

I love playing golf but it is too EXPENSIVE to play in Japan. I used to play $15 for a round in California, but here in Japan you need more than $150 to enjoy golf in main course. (If you want to play in holidays you need $200 or more...)

 

So I won't be able to play so often here in Japan, I visit short course in Funabashi (about 1 hour from Tokyo by car) to practice and play.

"Little Green Valey Golf range & short course (LVG)" is really good place to practice. It's only about $50 to practice in golf range & also can play in short course for a day! (Only in weekdays. Costs 20% more in holidays)

What's good about this LVG is that the course is maintained by Funabashi CC staff (One of the famous golf course in Chiba pref) and though it is a short course, the green & fairway condition is fantastic!

http://www.lgv.co.jp/sub07.htm

You can see the price list below!

 

TS3H0024

There is also a golf school. It's about $200 for 8 lessons.

TS3H0025

 

Now, this is the map of LVG. The upper right golf range is the LVG range. Lower left side is the short course. And lower right side you can see the Funabashi Country Club right next to LVG.

地図画像

Papier-mache dog for baby (Japanese amulet) [Baby]

Old Japanese tend to give papier-mache dog when new baby is born. This is traditional Japanese amulet to protect baby from various devils, but recently young people are forgetting these customs.

 

Below is the picture of papier-mache dog which was a gift from our grandmother (84 years old). She is a old woman and respects these old customs very much.

 

TS3H0014

The dog is made of paper craft, it weights only about 200g !

It has to be a dog but some how, this THING looks like a cat to me... It carries drums (Taiko) on his/her back - a red drum - The dog use this drum to chase off bale and plague from the baby. Isn't it cute?

TS3H0015


(ご当地キティ)東京限定犬張子キティファスナーマスコット

(ご当地キティ)東京限定犬張子キティファスナーマスコット

  • 出版社/メーカー: StrapyaNext
  • メディア: おもちゃ&ホビー



(ご当地キティ)東京限定犬張子キティ根付(ピンク)

(ご当地キティ)東京限定犬張子キティ根付(ピンク)

  • 出版社/メーカー: StrapyaNext
  • メディア: おもちゃ&ホビー



江戸小物根付(犬張子)

江戸小物根付(犬張子)

  • 出版社/メーカー: (株)エイチ・エヌ・アンド・アソシエイツ
  • メディア:



はっぴぃえんど HelloKitty 十二支物語 開運招福 犬張子 根付ストラップ 20671

はっぴぃえんど HelloKitty 十二支物語 開運招福 犬張子 根付ストラップ 20671

  • 出版社/メーカー: はっぴぃえんど
  • メディア: エレクトロニクス



600FPS high speed DVCam CASIO EXILIM PRO EX-F1 [PC]

Great great digital camera is now on sale from CASIO. This small digital camera (or may say DVCAM) can record images in 600 FPS (frame per second).

I'm using this camera to record my golf swing; I guess it can be applied to various sports e.g. baseball, tennis and football.

600 FPS was only for professional camcorder only several years ago. It was a fortune to buy one of them, the golf school which had those super fast camcorder was always full. I also went to those golf lesson to get my swing shooted with 300FPS camera.

But now you can shoot slow motion picture of your swing by yourself! And it's just over $1K (USD)! This is a INVENTION. I couldn't imagine having these kind of high speed camera within my pocket money.
http://web-cache.stream.ne.jp/www11/casio/gallery/sports/golf01.html

Just to get more image of what this camera can do, please visit the CASIO web site and you'll see the sample movies taken by EX-F1.
http://web-cache.stream.ne.jp/www11/casio/gallery/sports/football01.html

Enjoy the special site of EX-F1 by CASIO [exclamation]

http://dc.casio.jp/sp/f1/
(Sorry the site is in Japanese)


CASIO デジタルカメラ EXILIM (エクシリム) PRO EX-F1 ブラック EX-F1BK

CASIO デジタルカメラ EXILIM (エクシリム) PRO EX-F1 ブラック EX-F1BK

  • 出版社/メーカー: カシオ
  • メディア: エレクトロニクス






Japanese inn with open-air spa [Sight seeing]

One of the most relaxing things to do when in Japan is to visit Japanese inn and take hot spa. But it might be sometimes a little embarrasing to take community bathhouse for foreigners, so I would recommend a inn with a private open air spa in each room.

"Yumeno Ya" in Izu-kogen area is one of my favorite inn to stay in summer season. It is located deep in the forest, you can't be disturbed by any other sound but birds and trees.

The sea food they serve is also fresh, sinch the inn is very close to fishery harbor. Sashimi, abalone and even wild vegitables in woods are served in very Japanese way.

I recommend to come here in summer season because the bath is in outside. It's ok to go in winter but may be cold taking a spa outside in winter. There are various sightseeing spots around here, you can enjoy a week staying here. But don't expect any shopping mall or amusement park! Just enjoy the wild woods and beautiful scenary in Japan!

 

Yumenoya

http://onyado-yumenoya.com/

It's about 2 hours by train from Tokyo or you can take a car (rent-a-car). It's also about 2 hours!




The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories

The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories

  • 作者: Yasunari Kawabata
  • 出版社/メーカー: Counterpoint
  • 発売日: 1998/08/29
  • メディア: ペーパーバック





See in large map

Portable DVD player with one-segmentation broadcasting tuner [PC]

I've been in hospital for 2 month...I had hard time burn away time in bed, I'm sure anyone who has experience staying in hospital understand my feeling.[たらーっ(汗)]

My room was quadruple-occupancy so there was no TV nor radio in my bed. I'm not sure whether hospital in US or other countries are similar to that of Japan but it is quite popular that there aren't no TV in multiple occupancy rooms.

I guess my wife felt sorry for me and bought me a small portable DVD player with one-segment TV tuner inside. PortableDVD.jpg

For those who don't know one-segment broadcasting (TV), this is a broadcasting method in Japan which enables us to watch TV on mobile phone or other mobile devices (e.g. car navigation system). Have you ever see anyone watching TV with there cell phone? You can see many of them in Tokyo, especially in starbucks or in train. This is super convenient and I can't do without it even for a day.

This portable DVD player can watch TV and of course watch DVD and listen CD. My wife rent "24" and "Lost" every week and brought to hospital. This saved my LIFE[exclamation×2]

This portable DVD player, Toshiba SD-P71DT is so small, the size is 190mm(Width)×39mm(Height)×148(Depth) and it weights only 750g. After I discharge from hospital, I bring them to oversea and domestic business trip. I don't watch TV but I use them to watch DVD in hotel! I can rent DVD in Tsutaya before I get on to business trip and enjoy foreign drama after work. You should take a look when you come to Japan! (especially the one-segmentation broadcasting. Can you imagine people watching TV on their super small cell phone!?)





Cowboy BEBOP - recommended Japanimation [pop-culture]

This is one of my favorite Japanimation back in 1998 but it's quality is still very high and I'm sure everyone will enjoy if you like animation from Japan.

Distinguishing thing about this "Cowboy BEBOP" is that it's music is composed by Yoko Kano; who also composed music for "Ghost in the Shell" series. I love her sence of composing soundtracks for Japanimation, for example, RISE and Inner Universe of Ghost in the Shell SAC is one of my heavy rotation in iTunes.

She also composed music for Gundam and Macros series, I guess you'll understand how famous she is in Japanimation field.

Cowboy BEBOP is her representative work, which made her so famous, the music is kind of JAZZ flavor and got the "13th Animation Album of the Year" here in Japan.

Finally DVD-BOX of Cowboy BEBOP is now on sale, I got one for my own! If you take pride in being a fan of Japanimation, you should try it.




COWBOY BEBOP DVD-BOX (初回限定版)

COWBOY BEBOP DVD-BOX (初回限定版)

  • 出版社/メーカー: バンダイビジュアル
  • メディア: DVD



攻殻機動隊 STAND ALONE COMPLEX O.S.T.+(プラス)

攻殻機動隊 STAND ALONE COMPLEX O.S.T.+(プラス)

  • アーティスト: TVサントラ,Origa,Gabriela Robin,Scott Matthew,Ilaria Graziano,Jillmax,HIDE,Chris Mosdell,Tim Jensen,TROY
  • 出版社/メーカー: ビクターエンタテインメント
  • 発売日: 2004/02/25
  • メディア: CD



Free Windows shared hosting service by First Server ! [Good Deals]

Japanese Web hosting company called "First Server" (Microsoft Gold Certified partner) started free windows hosting service for personal usage.

http://www.fsdotnet.jp/express/index.html

You cannot use them for commercial use but you would find out the service to be satisfactory such as;

 

  • 100 MB space for Web
  • 100 MB space for Database
  • Windows Server 2003 R2
  • SQL Server 2005
  • ASP.NET 2.0
  • ASP.NET AJAX
  • M3 Blog pre-installed (MT like application on .NET Framework)
  • (Original domain name optional)

But please be careful that you CANNOT use email on this server. Please refer to functional list

http://www.fsdotnet.jp/express/list.html (Sorry in Japanese)

 

Can you imagine Windows Server and SQL server for FREE. I don't know other Windows hosting environment which is free. Most of the cheap hosting servers are on Linux / FreeBSD, it is pretty rare on Windows since they charge SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement) fee for First Server. I don't think Microsoft Japan is making any discount for First Server so I'm not sure how they manage to profit from this service, but anyway it's totally free for us.

 

I know it's more popular to use PHP or Ruby for Web scripting, but if you are trying to learn ASP.NET it may be a good choice to try and test your Windows application.

I love coding on Windows / .NET Framework since it's much easier to write managed code secure using Visual Studio. Expression Web and Expression studio may also help creating rich web application on Windows Server.

Microsoft has been behind on Web server area, but as seen in recent Yahoo! deal, they are serious on catching up on Web strategy. I'm sure they will be doing anything they can to gain share on internet web server, it will be good chance to get used to ASP.NET.

 

By the way, http://www.iis.net/ is a fantastic site to start learning "Internet Information Services" (IIS) and ASP.NET programming. IIS6.0 and IIS7.0 currently supports PHP too and its performance is on par with Apache/PHP.





No.1 ramen (noodle) shop near Nakameguro - Shrimp wrapped in dough [gourmet]

About 15 minutes walk from Nakameguro station, there is a ramen (noodle) shop called "Yakumo". Their "Sio-Ebi-Wantan-Men" (Salty shrimp wrapped in dough) is my No.1 ramen in Tokyo area.

This shop used to be closer to Nakameguro station in the local shopping avenue (Meguro Ginza) but moved to current location about a year ago. It's a bit far from my house so I take a bicycle everytime.

My recommendation is of course, a "Sio-Ebi-Wantan" noodle but you can choose soy sauce flavor too and it is also good[るんるん]

There is a huge noodle shop database in Japan called "Ramen Database"
http://ramendb.supleks.jp/
It's only in Japanes but I don't know any noodle shop that isn't registered in this database. It's that exhaustive and so useful.

"Yakumo" database is listed here;
http://ramendb.supleks.jp/shop/10
as you can see, most of them score them above 90 points out of hundred.

You just can enjoy the photo of the noodle served here,
http://ramendb.supleks.jp/photo/shop/10
I guess you can imagine how good it is and useful even if you don't read Japanese [わーい(嬉しい顔)]

Noodle Yakumo


Yawaraka Sensha - Soft Tank (Can you imagine?) [Others]

I love this stupid character called "Yawaraka Sensha" in Japanese. It means a soft Tank (combat car) which is so weak and useless but heals a wounded world and people's heart. I love the concept of this cartoon, which teach us the lesson that "there is nothing useless in this world. YOU have some meaning that you were born in this world".

Sorry that there aren't english caption in the Youtube, but I guess you can feel the funny part of it!



You can find the other stories and blog parts (Official Site ) here
http://anime.livedoor.com/yawaraka/



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