Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ghibli Layout Exhibition


Ponyo ponyo ponyo...♪

Today's destination is Ghibli Layout Exhibition!
You can see the map trip below (sorry, only partly..., I was impatient to wait for the GPS to connect).
Not that it's that much of a walk trip anyways.

I love anime. One of my dream is to become a mangaka, or at least doujinshika. I want to try becoming an animator, too. Tough job, but doesn't it sound cool? But to be one in Japan is... really tough. First is the very high average skills people here have, second is the visa thing. But nothing's impossible, I'm sure. One day I'll become one! ^o^/ This Japanese culture is just so world wide already, from time to time I see foreign otaku interviewed on Japanese TV. Though, it's a bit ugh to be stereotyped as gaijin who come to Japan because of anime/manga. ^_^; Though I do can't deny it fully.


First up. The train manner monkey series was at the Osaka-kou Station (大阪港).


And this very cute dog was sleeping... Luckily I went the wrong way, was going through the smaller street, not the main street, a shortcut, I guess.


The ticket is ¥700 for student. ¥600 if I remember to take the voucher...


Outside is a big Totoro board, where you can lay down, pretending you're on top of Totoro's belly. Too bad no one's there to take a pic for me... =/ It was already evening by the time I went out. I was in there for almost 3 hours ^_^;;


There are two long boards for people to put their own stickers. I'm not sure what these creatures supposed to represent. I do remember seeing them somewhere... orz


Mine's somewhere here.

Anyways. I'm not a big fan of Ghibli, actually, sorry. I'd rather see Production IG's or Studio 4C's. But Ghibli is big. And this thing is not something to be missed (ends 12 October in Osaka). The layout exhibition is awesome. From those yellowish ones that are older than me, to the most recent Ponyo's colored layout design.


It just makes me want to watch more Ghibli's anime, and make my own (ahahaha). Bought the book, 400 pages thick for ¥2900 (1 for a friend) and some postcards.

Layout is something drawn after E-konte (storyboard), to picture better how the scenes should look and animated, since it's hard to change once you go into the actual drawing process. Except for Ponyo's exhibition, all of them are only drawn by pencil and colored pencils. Some are just so rough. Some are very detailed. And they have these "technical words" written on them, like "follow" or "pan up". There are other words which are not pure english, but I can't remember them, ahaha. Oh wait, "kumi" which is when the "cell" touches the background. I'm not sure what's the scratch lines (have to see them close enough) doing on the paper, maybe it's explained on the audio tour (¥500), which I didn't get.


It looks like these (from the thick book). The display for Spirited Away one is the best. The castle-ish building is printed big on the wall. And the layout drawings fill up the wall from below till the ceiling. And they're so pretty and detailed... =A=


Afterwards, I went to get something to eat. Suntory Museum where the exhibition's held is just beside the aquarium. These lamps are just so sparkly cute. I don't like aquariums, though... Uncooked real fish scares me, though salmon sashimi is kinda yumm.


This is at a nearby mall. I think there's a similar place in Dotonburi? I've never been there.


Restaurants and shops. I ended up eating a Tendon. Haven't had tempura for a long time.


Next to the mall is this giant ferris wheel. One of the world's biggest. ¥700 for one adult (oh wait, I just see it's having a special price for ¥560). This place really reminds me of Odaiba, on a much smaller scale, though...

And that's the end of today. Two gallery trips in a week. =D
Next coming up is Inoue Takehiko's exhibition, I think... sometime next year?
Most of special events is ending this early October. Hm, well. Summer ended and new semester is beginning soon...

ghibli layout exhibition
Map created by EveryTrail

GPS Tracking

At the last trip to Osaka Castle, I switched between:

- Canon Camera
For nicer quality pictures.

- iPhone Camera
For its auto geotagging ability. It's pretty good just for daily recordings. And the focus on tap thing is awesome.

- Geotagging (by Everytrail -- the actual app called Everytrail wasn't useful for me)


It's convenient when you want to take pics only at certain spots, and not really having the need to fully track your walking path. The photos will be connected with lines automatically on the website. So I took pic twice, one for this path, one to keep. And that's why sometimes I just forgot to take proper pics for this XD

The path and pics are editable online though. But if only it shows up the time the photo was taken, it'd be perfect. They just released a new version of their website not long ago, I hope they'll keep on improving it.

The bad thing is that you can't save the photos to iPhone. =/ And can't set up the accuracy. So when you're at a bad area, it'll keep on trying to locate and won't track.

- GPS Tracker (Instamapper)


The nice thing about it is you can track as often or as rarely as you want, very accurate, or just about, useful when you're at a bad signal area. And it keeps all your GPS recording, you can then choose your point you want to use as your track online. I use the exported gpx file to geotag my Canon camera using GPS Photo Linker.
You can see the time when the points are recorded. Nice.
But I don't think the points are editable, it can be erased, though.

- セカイカメラ

For futuristic anime-ish experience XDD
I'm just worried with my battery, though. I need to get the backup battery pack.

Other useful software:

Run Keeper Free is nice if you're doing jogging. Which I intended to do, but only did once so far... orz


I used Trapster to record the trip in Kyoto, but it's a bit annoying, since it's main purpose is for people who drive and want to be careful with police traps(?). Not gonna use this again since Everytrail turned out nice.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Osaka Castle

hal festival, osaka castle, duck
Map created by EveryTrail.

The photos aren't that clear since I didn't take my time taking them. Just sort of went along.


Went to see HAL-Mode Festival today, and it's at Osaka Castle Hall. They displayed HAL final year students' projects, and most of them really are "game" centered like. They made it look like game centers. Awesome. Didn't get to play them since I was late though. The Mode Gakuen was also awesome. I really like the veggie costumes. They also invited Tsunku, and he sang some songs. It was like a concert.


Afterwards, since Osaka Castle is just nearby, I went to see it. It's been 9 years since I first saw it. I didn't get in it, just passing by. I remember the gates, but can't remember inside the castle itself. The train ride costs ¥200. This one goes to JR station.


You can climb these steep stairs to see the surroundings. It's really steep.


There's a lift to climb up. Hehe, looks so modern.


This is Osaka history museum. Reminds me of Tokyo University.


There are many families bringing their kids to spend the afternoon here. Some are tourists. Some people draw. Some people took pics. And there's one monk over there.


There's a temple nearby. Just outside one of Osaka Castle's gate.


Some food stands outside the temple. Ikayaki (grilled squid) and shaved ice with syrup.



Out of the castle area, there's NHK building. And a park, people jog and sat around. Nice weather too.


See the yellow blob in the middle? (Is walking through the small street) Getting closer...


Ack. It's behind this weird looking Osaka special tourist bus.


Urmm... from the butt! XD People are busy taking pics! And I hear some music...


There's a robotic dragon boat bursting fire and water alternately!


The dragon retires. Putting the big yellow thing to the attention again.



The giant yellow thing is a balloon rubber ducky XD It's his last day in Osaka. He's gonna continue his trip round the world tomorrow.


Comparing with people's size.


If you see from セカイカメラ (Sekai Camera), it's like this... very crowded. Lots of people use iPhone, eh? And that app is really popular. Or maybe everyone who has iPhone has セカイカメラ and post one thing here?


On the other hand, Autumn is coming!

Below is a more detailed GPS track. Ignore the max speed. Haha ^_^; Not sure how it gets that.

GPS tracking powered by InstaMapper.com

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kyoto Trip

GPS tracking powered by InstaMapper.com


My main aim for this Kyoto trip was to see Kyoto Louvre Museum. It was on Silver Week, not only international tourists, but Japanese had long holidays, so people are out for travel. There were long queue for bus. So I decided to take train since I thought it might be faster, but probably not so. And alas, when I finally reached there the museum, the queue was 120min.


Some people waiting at a konbini nearby.


Finished a manga while queuing and spent the rest reading novel, but my eyes were getting tired. When I finally got in, the amount of people inside were scary. Some people pushes (but of course not as bad as when we were in China, my grandma fell down a few times), and one obaa-chan were saying like "yosh, seen, next!". ^_^; So fast? I can't really see the paintings slowly though, tired of queueing and just... too crowded. But they're awesome. How can they paint such details... And the frames are awesome too, very grand, and look ancient. o_o;


Walked through a small path by the river. Awesome.


Anyway. After that I decided to go to Nijo-jo. I was quite sure it'd be close, but decided to go anyway since it's only a station away from my next destination. And yup, it was closed. There were other people taking pics as well, though.


Then on to a station walk. It's not that far, and it's nice to see the surroundings, too. So I like to walk one station distance over here (besides not having to pay one station train ticket, I got to see more places!). Surprisingly, these roads are so wide. Usually the road in Kyoto is so narrow, right? Some are like 1m(?) wide or something...


Next up is Manga Museum. They hold some events and exhibitions here. And that time they're lending iPhones for people to try their software (something like Sekai Kamera). But unfortunately it was too late already... =( And soon after that Sekai Kamera was released, so I'm happy. =)


You can read up any manga you like over there, well, their collection is not updated till recent ones, but at least a few years back. I didn't read much, just seeing around the museum. And sat down at the grass carpet, really nice. Will go spend one day there someday.


Kyoto at night is really quiet. On the wide street during my walk, people across the street must've been able to hear my camera sound. And barely people at the station at 8pm. It's still crowded around Kyoto station though. Maybe because where I walked was office area?


Escalator standing/through side. Which side do you stand in Kyoto? I think it's left. Is it only Osaka who stand on the right? And btw, I can't help laughing and felt happy when I stand on the right in Tokyo escalators by reflect. XD

Kyoto 20090922
Map created by EveryTrail: Share and Plan your Trips

Done by uploading instamapper data and then uploading geotagged pics manually. This takes lots of time and I had to repeat it many times since I messed it up.
Some of them are still a bit messed up. Will fix it.

The Trapster version is here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lucky, Presentations, and the Yakult Lady

Is very lucky today.
First thing was I didn't get lost this morning during rush time in that big station.
Then I got two drinks for one price from a drink machine (seems like I hit a jackpot).
After that I saw the last piece of a 50 pieces/day limited 4-leaves-clover bread, bought it.
Then I tried my luck with the capsule machine, and I got Okita!!

Japanese presentations.
They don't clap. I found it really weird. It's as if no one listens.
And they give out lots of papers, each presenter gives out one. And people barely read them.
The presentation was held at a building in the middle of the city, the scenery from up there is so awesome.
And I saw some amazing stuff too.
I think almost everyone there has their laptop on. Except me. And half of it are Macs. =D

Continuation of the Yakult ladies that I always see at a certain time in the afternoon riding bicycle, passing me.
Another Yakult lady knocked the place, offering Yakult drinks, I suppose. I find it... weird, but interesting. So I guess they go around places offering Yakult?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Softbank iPhone 3GS 16GB Black

Softbank iPhone 3GS 16GB Black, originally uploaded by osakacchi.

My current main screen.

Couldn't hold the temptation to get an iPhone. So I decided to break up with the Japanese phone and go with an iPhone. Some different abilities of the 2 phones:

cost: ¥0 (had to subscribe to a few services, like insurance, music, navigation service, only for 2 months, and free to cancel afterwards) + charger is a separate ¥980-ish
internet highest cap: ¥4410
monthly plan: ¥980 (includes around ¥1000 free local call)
speciality 1: Felica, take most trains in Tokyo with just your phone, in Osaka, it's limited to JRs
speciality 2: Oneseg, ability to watch digital TV from phone, signal could be bad, depending on location
pros: ability to merge with the Japanese system... =/ the way it takes QRcode is awesome, even when it's very very small.
cons: inability to sync with my Macbook, have to use Windows to manage the music on the phone, have to pay to get new ringtones
idols: Arashi <3, Nakama Yukie
requirements: gaijin card prove, passport, bank book

Softbank iPhone 3GS
cost: ¥480 x 24 = ¥11520 (until 30 Sep 2009, was ¥2400 x 24, full front price = ¥57600)
internet highest cap: ¥4410 (until 30 Sep 2009, was ¥5985)
monthly plan: ¥490 (for students)
speciality 1: Appstore
pros: ability to sync with Macbook, that is awesome, camera spot focus to where you touch
cons: no Felica, no Oneseg, camera focus is worse at some point
idols: SMAP, Ueto Aya
requirements: student card, health insurance card, bank card

New Contract / Cancellation related cost
MNP (Mobile Number Portability) = ¥2000-ish
KDDI DaredemoWari (Monthly discount for everyone -- those who cancels 2 year contracts) = ¥9000-ish
Softbank のりかえ promo (move from another provider) = using MNP, 5 months of free basic cost (¥490 for me), for students, additional 5 months free = -¥4900

My parents was letting me get iPhone nonetheless, so I started asking starting from a nearby shop. But they sold out. Next, Namba's Bic Camera, also sold out. After leaving Bic Camera, we had to go home to pick up mom's passport. And at the same time I took my student card and train tickets that I left behind (this is important!). Afterwards, I went to ask at another store in Ebisubashi, they have it!

I was expecting to pay full front, as I've read on internet. The lady started by asking me my passport and gaijin card. Then she asked my health insurance and student card, and my bank card for payment. And then she said, since I have the student card and health insurance card, it's possible for me to pay 24x!!! Instead of the ¥57600 full front! Even though my visa is currently expiring next March!

Such a nice lady. The shop seems to be gaijin friendly too. There was a gaijin talking to the shop's hmm... a gaijin manager? Not sure. After awhile, there were other gaijin coming too. Was there for 1.5 hours. They had to do those paperworks and transferring of my number. And also applying for credit card, which hopefully will arrive soon, I need it. Mom was complaining while I was all smiley. orz

So there I went with my new phone. Note that the MNP process was pretty fast. So my AU phone was rendered useless at that spot. Though I didn't try it after the process. It now sits on its box nicely. Anyone interested getting it? Hehe. But I guess it won't work outside Japan since it has that weird Japanese only network...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Softbank iPhone (in short)

Found the 16gb iPhone 3GS in stock at the 3rd Softbank store. Took it rightaway. Managed to get away with 24x plan. So now I'm done with Japanese phone. I've used mobile Suica in Tokyo, so I'm pretty satisfied. Bye bye 1seg, bye bye Felica phone. Will write in details at a later date. Is pretty busy till tomorrow afternoon.

edit: Mobile Suica is really nice actually, you can charge it easily from a nearby Newdays/Family Mart, which is always near JR stations. I tried charging it through the mobile banking but it never worked, strangely. I wish they have such system here too. But well, I have iPhone now.


Sorry for not updating for a long time. Been busy with this and that.
To summarize quickly.

I failed my 2nd attempt for University Entrance exam. Different exam, but, fail is fail. Was very depressed for more than a week. I'd go for my last attempt for university entrance exam next year.

Went to Tokyo to accompany mom and friend. Gundam really sooth me, even though it was in the middle of typhoon. The movement's crude, but still awesome. AWESOME. Wish they put it there forever.

I turned 24.

Attended HAL Taiken Nyuugaku. Was fun. I do think I should have a backup plan. One is not enough for Japan. It's really tough here. But I will survive somehow. If I give up here and go back home, I'd definitely regret it my whole life. So yeah, I should somehow find a way to cheer up. I wish I can give something back to the kind people around me. I feel so guilty for failing.

Gonna start applying for a scholarship. But yet again, I feel so bad for applying for it. But I couldn't say no if they offer me one. Why not take it?

Suddenly have the urge to get an iPhone. Did lots of research online and off. Was thinking of getting iPod Touch instead, but I reckon combining the phone into 1 is not bad, much lighter bag. Initially I decide to get it if I pass the exam. But I didn't. And yet my parents still let me get it. But I cant forgive myself for getting one after failing an exam. Maybe they let me because I'm so so so depressed with the exam result. I think the last time I felt like that was 10 years ago-ish.

It'd cost me 9900yen-ish for canceling my AU. And since my current visa has less than 1 year remaining, I'd have to pay full front, 57600yen for 16GB. Then if I do a 2 year contract, I'd be discounted for 1920yen monthly for 24 months (from the bill, excluding the basic white plan thingy). That's what I figured out so far. Some people say about having credit card/bill and gaijin card, they'll let them pay monthly. But I don't have utility bill under my name nor a Japanese credit card (another gruesome journey for that). Since the local Softbank sold out the iPhone, will try again tomorrow at another branch.

Apparently Softbank's having a promotion of discounting when we transfer from another provider with MNP (keeping your phone number). But MNP costs 2700yen. And the discount that I was interested was for 5 months of free white plan fee. That'd still save me like 2000yen ish. Worth it. My phone number's not that important, but why not, I guess.

So yeah, basically, I'm just so hyped for iPhone. That keep me alive for now.