Tuesday, December 30, 2008

There is a new Street Fighter movie?

So watch the trailer and check out the official site first:

OK... A couple of questions:

  • Why is the lady who is supposed to be Chun-Li not even Asian? Doesn't that violate some fundamental law of physics or something?
  • Why is the official site and the trailer in Japanese when the movie is clearly full of westerners and is completely in English?
  • If the lady is supposed to be merely "channeling" Chun-Li how are other Street Fighter characters like Balrog and Vega seemingly in the movie?

And last but not least... Did CAPCOM learn nothing of their last foray into trying to make a Street Fighter movie? Does anyone remember that catastrophe of a film?

I am so hoping this is some bad joke but with the SF4 logo... I don't know...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A good place for grabbing a burger in Tokyo

F1000052 Just like any other big city pretty much anywhere else in the world, Tokyo is home to global giants like McDonald's which offer burgers for the burger connoisseur who may be on a tight budget. To top that off Tokyo also offers its share of local fast food joints like Mos Burger which is home to burgers with a local twist like the rice bun burger. These are all nice places and all for a quick bite but if you are the type that has a bit finer taste when it comes to burgers I just found a new place in Shinjuku which may be what you are looking for ;)

The J.S. Burger in Shinjuku was the place I found online when I searched for burgers and I am glad I did. The place is right next to Shinjuku JR Station's New South exit so it is very easy to get to even though there is usually a line inside, even during non-popular hours for restaurants like 3 pm, since people seem to know about the quality of the burgers there. I had myself an avacado burger (your typical hamburger with avacado slices) and it was one of the best burgers I ever had in my life. At about 1000 yen a pop with fries on the side it is a pretty good deal and I feel I will be back for more soon.

You can check out their full menu (they have item names in English as well ;)) on their homepage - http://jsb-cafe.jp/index.html.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Some Christmas observations...

PB300025 I have not been able to write for a few days but believe me it was not for the lack of trying. As it happens Christmas season, as festive as it is in Tokyo, is not necessarily the best time of the year to relax in Japan - especially for those working for Japanese companies. See, Christmas is not an official holiday in Japan even though Japanese people do get a bit overboard with Christmas shopping and Christmas illuminations. I think the latter is mainly due to the fact that Japanese people seem to love lights in general. I mean, go to Shinjuku or Shibuya at night and you will see exactly what I mean. Of course you can alternatively watch any (Western made) movie that takes place in Japan - they usually make sure to show Shinjuku and/or Shibuya. Couple this with the traditional concept of Christmas lights and you get things like Caretta's Christmas decorations which are made up of literally thousands of LEDs. But I digress...

OK so a few observations on Christmas in Tokyo:

  1. Japanese people seem to love Christmas, even though an overwhelming majority (easily more than 90% I believe) are not Christians.
  2. Chicken seems to be the food of choice for Christmas in Japan and apparently KFC is really popular with huge lines forming on Christmas eve.
  3. Lights and Christmas trees abound - as I mentioned in the not-so-short intro.
  4. There are Christmas concerts some of which are your usual classical music fare (like Carol of the Bells) but some are Japanese singers singing songs with melodies that sound Christmas-y but with Japanese lyrics.
  5. Christmas is not a public holiday even though the 23rd of December was a holiday this year because it is the Emperor's birthday.
  6. Some foreign-owned companies or companies with lots of foreign employees seem to give the day off (like Berlitz for example).

I spent Christmas having dinner at home and watching two movies - "Bangkok Dangerous" on DVD (starts out pretty nicely but the ending is predictable and pretty anti-climactic if I may say so) and "Bridget Jones - Edge of Reason" on Wowow TV (I don't usually watch romantic comedies but there was nothing else to watch and I am glad I watched this. It is a very sweet and funny movie that does get a bit silly at times but it did actually make me regret not watching the first one.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mission: Christmas Tree in Tokyo

Wow, this was much more difficult than I initially thought it would be... So, I decided to get a real Christmas tree (for the first time in my life mind you) and decorate it. Buildings are really close together in Tokyo and there is not much space saved for gardens usually. I am lucky compared to a random Japanese though  since my apartment building is next to a school which has trees so I do see some green outside the window but I still thought adding a bit of green inside the apartment would not hurt.

christmas tree carry The first challenge for me was finding a real Christmas tree. See even online services like Rakuten/楽天, let alone actual stores that sell Christmas accessories, overwhelmingly sell fake Christmas trees and one with a decent size is actually pretty expensive (more than 10,000 yen typically). So, what did I do? Well, as it turns out big stores like J-Mart carries real trees and not only that, they are much cheaper! I got a 150 cm-ish tree for less than 5,000 yen! Of course there was a slight problem the tree being that big and me being without a car and all. See, the public transportation is great but I doubt the bus would have let me on with the tree and the two bags of soil and the huge pot :P Thanks to 石垣さん though I did not need to try to convince a bus driver or a taxi driver ;) He very graciously offered me his car for carrying the tree which I really appreciate.

christmas agaci

Well, two bags of soil, a bag of little rocks, a pot, and may be a little too much of Christmas decorations after this is what the little tree looks like. I am pretty happy with the end result and yes I do realize it is not a pine tree but I still like it just fine ;) I think it makes the apartment all festive and stuff and that's never a bad thing. Of course I will leave this tree around far longer than just Christmas - after all it is primarily a New Year's Tree for me ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fazil Say concert at Sumida Triphony Hall

PC060001 As I mentioned in my previous post, Fazil Say, the famous Turkish composer and pianist was in Tokyo, giving a concert. I really enjoyed the music and how he uses the piano in pretty creative ways (check out the video in the previous post about his "plucking" piano strings, making it sound almost like a guitar...).  He is clearly one of the most gifted people I have ever seen in my life, harnessing creativity with a natural talent for piano. I have listened to his music, both with him playing his own compositions and him playing classics, and have always enjoyed the experience but listening to it live and seeing him "perform" is a completely different beast.

PC060008 The Triphony Hall is about 5-10 minutes walk from the 錦糸町駅 (Kinshicho Station). It is not the biggest concert hall I have seen but it definitely has a nice aura about it. The hall has nice acoustics and if the pamphlets they gave on the way in are any measure it is very active with lots of Japanese and international talent performing for the audience. I have always been very much impressed with the big pipe organs in concert halls but alas, perhaps quite unsurprisingly, it was not used for this event either.

PC060007 For this concert I was lucky enough to get a front line seat (second time in my life for any live performance, after a Cirque du Soleil show in Seattle) so I caught a close ups of one of the notes on the stage. You can check out the hall and get more information through their official website.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fazil Say was in Tokyo

Fazil Say, who is a very famous pianist and composer from Turkey, was in Tokyo giving a series of concerts. I was lucky enough to attend one which I will write about tonight or tomorrow but I came across this video clip, introducing him to the Japanese audience on TV and it also has him re-interpreting one of my favorite piano pieces - 君を乗せて from "Castle in the Sky" in the end of the clip. It is worth watching even if you don't know a word of Japanese :)

This is another interpretation of the song from "Castle in the Sky" with scenes from the movie... If you have not watched it, I strongly recommend it. It is clearly one of Miyazaki's masterpieces.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another instance of "funny English"

F1000048 See, this happens a lot. There are no articles like "a" or "the" in Japanese so when someone whose native language is Japanese is learning English, this concept is potentially one of the harder concepts to grasp. Unfortunately this does not happen just with individuals. On the left is a picture I snapped a few minutes ago of my shaving cream which seems to have the same problem making it sound like you can shake a can (as opposed to "the can"), any can, well and that's all you need to do...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Lights in Caretta, Shiodome (汐留)

PB300005 Caretta at Shiodome is a upscale shopping mall with quite a few nice restaurants including a Spanish tapas place and a theatre where they currently put on a Japanese version of "Wicked". It seems like every Christmas they put literally thousands of lights, decorating the entrance. The lights are not static either, every half an hour or so there is a show with the lights dancing to the music and changing color based on the theme of the show.



PB300015 Inside of the building is also adorned by multiple Christmas trees, each with a theme. This one is from the top (46th floor I believe) which you can get to with a really fast elevator while you watch the lights below get smaller and smaller. There is a small observatory for checking out the buildings down below but it is really small. The best part of this floor is the restaurants here which have better views but of course are on the pricey side.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The new mural at Shibuya Station gets a lot of attention

If you happened to go through Shibuya Station (渋谷駅) these days, you have no doubt seen the new mural that has been put in place. Even if you have not recognized the fact that they painted the whole wall you might have noticed people stopping by to take pictures and the guards guarding the mural. Well, this new mural was apparently painted by a very famous Japanese painter and it depicts the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (I was able to guess the theme by myself though I had no idea it was painted by a famous painter or that it was an original prepared by hand and not a replica printed with a printer)...

UPDATE: The artist's name is Taro Okamoto. Thanks for the info, Kota! :)


Saturday, November 29, 2008

A stroll through beautiful Ebisu (恵比寿) (part 2)

As promised this will be about the Yebisu Garden Place but I think I will try a new style with this post - more pictures less words :) Oh and before we start, you might notice the discrepancy between Yebisu and Ebisu. Incidentally they stand for the same thing but the sound "ye"(ヱ) is not used commonly in contemporary Japanese so it is instead replaced by the sound "e" (エ). Ok enough with the trivia, onto the pictures....

PB230065 PB230066

This is the entrance to the Ebisu Garden Place. Getting there from the station is pretty simple since there is this "Sky Walk" thing, an automated walkway that actually is pretty long so those who don't like to walk much will definitely appreciate it.

PB230104 PB230078

These days there are two big attractions added to the Ebisu Garden Place in the spirit of Christmas. The first of two is the Christmas tree. While it is by no means a huge tree, it is adorned by decorations made by crystal maker Baccarat. There is a nice walkway flanked by rows of smaller trees and a little stream of water on the sides.



At the end of the walkway is an atrium which in the summer months holds a big screen where movies are projected for the visitors to watch for free. During Christmas time though, Baccarat provides the space with a huge (and pretty) crystal chandelier.

PB230099 PB230069

Of course first and foremost the place is for shoppers and that means not only can you find clothing stores but you can also find stores selling random stuff like Bonsai trees shown here. There are also lots of restaurants including an oyster bar.



Right by the back of the "place" is Westin Tokyo. While it is not situated in Shibuya or Shinjuku one can easily get to Shibuya in 5 minutes (since it is only one station away) while staying in the much more peaceful Ebisu. The hotel seemed very nicely decorated for Christmas and there was even a wedding taking place (you can see the bride in the picture :)).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A stroll through beautiful Ebisu (恵比寿) (part 1)


Ebisu is one of these "gems" that require searching for. You can spend years living in Tokyo and may not even be aware of its existence even though it is just one stop away from Shibuya (渋谷) on Yamanote Line (山手線) and is home to a lots of cool restaurants and stores for those interested in shopping. The Westin Tokyo Hotel is here too for travelers looking to stay a bit outside the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku and Shibuya but still be able to get there in 5 minutes by train.

PB220014 One of those cool restaurants is Partenope - an Italian restaurant serving pasta and pizza and certified by "Verace Pizza Napolitana" which gives certification to restaurants preparing Naples style pizza. There are only a few of these in Japan and the pizza actually tastes pretty good. The prices are reasonable too which I guess is part of the reason why there are lots of people getting in line to eat here. Making a reservation, especially for the weekends, is really important.

PB220020 This one was an interesting find... アメリカ橋 - or America Bridge. Apparently the bridge here has been called that since 1926 when it was sent to the US for one reason or another. I think it was built in 1904 though unfortunately my friends and I could not make sense of the text by the bridge (well, it was definitely well above my level of Japanese though my friends who are Japanese could not really make heads or tails of the story either...)

Ok well that's it for now. Next will be the Ebisu Garden Plaza which definitely deserves its own post - you know, with the giant crystal chandelier, the big Christmas tree and all...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Want a bottle of water? It will cost you just $120 in Tokyo...


So I was strolling through Ebisu (which I am going to write about soon - I just have so many things to mention and so many pictures to sift through that I cannot bring myself to start writing. Yes I am lazy...) and I came across a store in Ebisu Garden which just sells water - Luxury Water to be exact.



PB220054 Yes, apparently there is a brand of water called "Fillico Beverly Hills" which calls itself "Jewellery Water". Each bottle, which has 3/4 of a liter, sells for between 11,000 and 13,000 yen - about $120 to $140 with today's exchange rate.  So what's so special about them? Well, the selling point seems to be the bottle which has embedded Swarovski Crystals and can be customized with the name(s) of the owner (names if a couple bought it for example).  After drinking the water, the bottle can be used as a candle holder too with the crown on the top being replaced by a candle. Talking about the crown - there are two designs: A queen crown for women and a king crown for men.

Now here is an interesting bit of information about this company that you can find with a quick Google search... They have nothing to do with Beverly Hills or the US in general. They are a Japanese company and the water comes from Kobe. Now I am not saying it is definitely not worth the price - I have never tried it but I can at least say that it is probably a bit overpriced ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The lady with a "clock-embedded" bag

F1000038 I have seen lots of interesting products in Japan but I was still surprised when I saw this lady walking down the stairs in Kichijoji Station (吉祥寺駅).  As you can see she had a full size clock in her oversized bag - pretty nice one too with stones around the circumference. And the kicker? It was not just a design, it was actually functional. Now I don't know whether or not this is a popular item here but I can tell you that to me, it feels like a Japan-only design....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Canceled trains create a (bigger than usual) mess in Tokyo

PB150003 See, today was supposed to be a simple day. I was going to take the express Chuo Line train from Kichijouji to Ochanomizu - a maximum 20 minute trip, followed by hopping a station over in a local train to Akihabara for my bi-weekly stroll through the capital of electronics and software in Japan. How was I to know that something very very unexpected would happen and the whole day would turn into an experiment of how many bad coincidences can occur in a given day without my head exploding...

PB150005 The first surprise was seeing the two guards in front of the express line entrance in Kichijouji with a clear sign (if you speak Japanese) explaining something was up (in case anyone thought jumping over the metal cable that they pulled across was a good idea). The image is from Shinjuku by the way where a similar scene was taking place in front of the entrance for the express train for Chuo Line, but I get ahead of myself... Where was I ? Ah, yes, still at Kichijouji. Not being able to read the sign I had the bright idea of taking a local train back to Mitaka (which is in the opposite direction) and then finding an express train from there towards Ochanomizu but nope, there were guards and a sign there too. So I gave up and hopped on a local train which actually turned out to be going the opposite direction - not good. Finally, at Musashi-Sakai I managed to get onto the local Chuo line train going in the right direction (which was of course very packed thanks to being the only Chuo line in service). Result? A very uncomfortable journey of about 45 - 50 minutes.

PB150007 After re-charging at Akiba, thanks to the very yummy  food of Star Kebab, I was ready for the next stop - Shinjuku for picking up something quickly from a store there. I am not even going to mention the train trip which was similar to the first one. This time I had the extra bad fortune of running into a free open air concert of this music group called "Gazette" which I have never heard of before. Now if this meant getting to listen to some nice music for free it would have been just fine but no - it just meant having to force my way through a bigger-than-usual ocean of people who were more intent on just walking slowly and listening / taking pictures than getting from point A to point B.

When I finally made it back home I think I appreciated that, just being home, a little more than usual... It will take me a day just to get rid of the stress I think. I am glad it was a Saturday and not a Sunday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pocky Day!

Do you know what Pocky is? It is those little stick thingies - you know, like a sort of stick candy with chocolate around the tip. It is pretty popular in Japan and it turns out 11/11 (11 November) is called Pocky Day around here because  I guess 1 looks like a stick.... Funny :P

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mitaka City Hall - Vegetable Festival?

I took this picture yesterday night in front of Mitaka City Hall (三鷹市役所). I am not exactly sure what was going on exactly but it seemed like there were lots of signs about vegetables and potted plants for sale. In the middle there was a boat made out of vegetables - pretty interesting huh? :) Well, I took the picture with my cell which does have a 3.2 MP camera but its still a cell phone so cannot expect too much.

If anyone knows what exactly was going on please let me know...


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

University Festivals in Japan

PB020498 This last weekend I was invited to a university exhibition by a member of my research lab who is attending the university part time working on his MA in design. What I found at the university was more than just an exhibition but a full on festival with students cooking/selling food, a small flea market and even a costume ball.



PB020502 The university itself, Tama Art University, is a pretty small one, though I was told recently they built a bigger campus in another location. This original campus hosts 7-8 buildings with a pretty nice "garden" of sorts in the middle with trees. The buildings hosted the artwork while the garden was hosting the flea market in the center and the student's cooking and selling food around the sides.



PB020505 The displayed work of the students seemed pretty interesting and even though I must admit some of it escaped my understanding, I enjoyed some quite a bit. There were very smart pieces which after spending a few minutes you do take a step back and say "Aha!", "I get it!" (and actually mean it ;)).  This one is called "Intrinsic Beauty".



PB020504 Ok I must mention this one too - the food was pretty good. I had some yakitori/焼き鳥 which was both cheap and yummy. Yes I had to wait quite a bit - they are not professional cooks after all - but I enjoyed what I received in the end and each skewer cost around $1. Doesn't the picture look sooo appealing? :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Layover in Dubai

PA110307Well, it has been a week since coming back to Japan and finally things are starting to get in order and I am catching up on my sleep - thanks to being able to get over jet lag finally. See, it is never as bad as traveling to the US where the  time difference is 13-14 hours (with EST) but still, it takes a while to get one's body in synch with the local time zone...


PA110304 In the last few weeks I went back to Cyprus (as I have mentioned earlier) but also I had a chance to see a little bit of Dubai around the airport (for this I need to thanks Emirates Airlines for their 7 hour layover between the flight from Osaka and flight to Istanbul). The Dubai airport is pretty modern and big though the construction still goes on in parts of the airport as well as outside it. There are so many duty free shops selling things ranging from the typical (alcohol, fragrances, cigarettes,...) to very unlikely to be found at an airport (big ticket electronic items for example). I guess this layover thing is common (or may be there are lots of delays?) that you see people sleeping in big groups on the floor sometimes, flanking moving walks or escalators.

PA110293  Of course UAE did not make my life easy. If you are like me it turns out you need to pay a certain amount of money in order to get permission to enter the country. Since it would be "too convenient" to pay this in cash, it turns out one needs to get this special e-Dirham (UAE currency) card with this much money on it. The immigration lines are ridiculously long and slow which discouraged me a lot and served to kill all the anticipation - but I digress...

PA110292Once I got a chance to get out the airport which was ridiculously crowded in so many ways, the hot Dubai air welcomed me. It was early in the morning but still it was pretty warm. On the way to the hotel which Emirates put me up in I caught a glimpse of different things including the amount of construction going on in the area. The hotel did not have a single English channel on its TV or a hairdryer which was a first for me. Still, I think that even though certain things (the way people at the immigration treat visitors for one thing) discouraged me from ever coming back to Dubai, I believe I would enjoy another trip to Dubai for a longer period of time that would let me see more of the city.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back in Tokyo from Cyprus

PA120313I know I haven't posted for... well. too long. That's because I was on holiday in Cyprus for 2 weeks. I will start posting again right after I manage to catch up with my sleep and jet lag :P So for now I leave you with this picture from Cyprus - a view of the mountains from my grandmother's house.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Naked westerner swims in the Emperor's moat!

Now this is a weird piece of news... So weird in fact that I think it deserves a spot here. See, the Emperor's Palace in Tokyo (about 10 minutes walk from Tokyo Station by the way) is a pretty reclusive place. Visitors get to see the bridges over the moats connecting to the internal gardens and that's typically all you get to see (apart from the statues and a big park around there). It looks like a British tourist decided to jump and swim in the moat naked. If you watch the video you get to actually see something interesting about the Japanese culture too - in one scene the police are running away from the guy who just charges them without anything. They were very very careful not to hurt the guy later too even though he had a big metal stick - at least while the cameras were there but this compared to how the police behaves (even on camera) in the US is a big contrast. For one thing the guy would have been pepper sprayed pretty quickly if not worse.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cirque Du Soleil in Tokyo - ZED/ゼッド

PA050288 That's nice no? :) That should give you some idea about the new Cirque Du Soleil show in Tokyo called Zed. After their 15 years in Japan, the Cirque now has a permanent building right by Tokyo Disneyland/Disneysea and they kicked off the celebrations with a brand new show. The show itself is pretty good, the opening is amazing (so I won't spoil it for you with details) but if you happen to be in the area you should definitely check it out. Be warned though, it is quite a bit of walk from the train station (it uses the same train station as Disneyland). You need to walk through Ikspiari which is a huge mall type of thing. With so much association with Disney, you know that Disney will somehow show up in the show and it does in a nice little cameo type of thing which I won't spoil for you but don't expect Mickey to do walk tightrope or anything like that :P


The building itself is designed pretty well and stands out from the other buildings  around it. The ticket prices are usual for a Cirque show (about 90 bucks/10,000 Yen) and they even serve Champagne... Fancy...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Now that's what I call good meat!

P1040093 Steak House Satou is a, well, tiny, restaurant in Kichijoji. It is located on top of the butcher store with the same name which seems to have a constant stream of customers waiting to try their famous fried meats. This line can reach ridiculous lengths around lunchtime. The restaurant which is a bit more difficult to find than the butcher's is a bit more obscure but it offers top of the line quality Japanese beef with an English/Japanese menu to boot. They don't take reservations which may mean a bit of a wait standing on the steep stairs of the restaurant for a table to open but the service is very very quick and if you have the steak in their recommended way of preparing (medium-rare) the food is served literally within 5 minutes of taking your seat (they also ask for your order a little before they seat you so they get a headstart). The prices are very reasonable especially compared to other, fancier restaurants serving same quality beef. The portions come in three sizes 180 grams, 270 grams and 360 grams and I believe there are 6 qualities to choose from with prices going up quite a bit by the time you are talking about the finest of the fine. It is entirely possible to have a very filling meal of very good quality Japanese beef for around 50 bucks/5500 yen.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

CEATEC Japan 2008

DSCF4739 I was lucky enough to attend CEATEC, a very big international consumer electronics show, yesterday at the Makuhari Messe (This translates to about an hour and a half from my apartment in Mitaka by train - or about forty minutes from Tokyo Station. For reference, this is pass Disneyland so it is in Chiba not Tokyo). There were quite a few different interesting things to check out and needless to say the place was bustling with people. I saw on the official CEATEC web site that about 30,000 people visited on the first day.

DSCF4747 The first order of business for me was attending a talk by two VPs from Microsoft - Brad Brooks and Shoji Doyama entitled "Magical Windows". Mr. Brooks is a VP of Windows Consumer Marketing and this was pretty obvious in the way his presentation was designed. He was very energetic, pacing from one end of the stage to the other  while talking excitedly about how with Vista and then Windows 7, how the OS is designed to come together with components of Windows Live and Windows Mobile making the whole experience seamless as one moves from one to the other during their everyday life. They showed a new phone for the Windows Mobile platform, called HTC Touch, which supports multi-touch and is integrated tightly with Windows Live, letting users take pictures and upload them seamlessly to Live Photo Gallery/Skydrive (which apparently is going to be called Skydrive with the rollout of the new version of Live). They also did a demo of Microsoft Surface for the first time in Japan (though they said the plans for how Surface will be used in Japan is not completely clear yet).

F1000025 After the talk, we were off to checking out the booths and the first booth I stopped at was Microsoft which had one of the biggest and brightest booths. I was curious about the new Microsoft Arc mouse and I got a chance to try it out as well as checking out the HTC Touch which will be available in Japan under multiple carriers. The phone has a very nicF1000022e and crisp display and it is relatively light and thin but unfortunately I will not be getting it as it does not have integrated IC  so it cannot be used with Mobile Suica and all other IC based conveniences in Japan. I was pleasantly surprised with the mouse, it was light and responsive but if you are one of those people who like to grab the mouse from the sides this one may not work out for you. The MS booth also had a cool little toy that I guess goes with the local culture - a Visual Studio robot. I put the one of those little guys on top of the mouse and snapped this picture.

F1000027 Next stop - Sony and Nissan booths. Sony had its extremely thin, 27 inch OLED TVs on view, boasting 0.99 cm of thickness - about 0.39 inches. I am guessing these right now are a bit on the impractically expensive side since their 11 inch cousins sell for around $1000 now. They also had this very interesting booth with Sony cameras lined around a half circle. There were two Japanese models in swimsuits, against a beach type of background drop, and you could use one of the cameras there to take their pictures since they were basically there to pose for you - interesting way to get people to like a new camera I guess. F1000028 On Nissan's booth they had a very interesting demonstration - a new technology for predicting a car crash before it happens based on bees. They also had this prototype little robot for your dashboard that's supposed to represent the mood of the car and talk to you. Interesting? I would like to think so. Useful? Not at this point but who knows, may be in the future...

DSCF4755 After checking out lots of other random stuff, I saw this big group gathering around the Murata booth. Murata is actually a electronic component manufacturer but in order to showcase their new gyroscope and other circuit components they built two robots - one riding a bicycle and another one riding a unicycle and keeping in balance by themselves while moving back and forth. Of course this being Japan both robots have names and genders, the one on the bike is a boy, and the one on the unicycle is a girl.

Tokyo Game Show will take place at the same location and I really wanted to go but it looks like I actually will not be in Tokyo during that time. This smaller taste of a "show" made me dread that even more but oh well, there is always next year I guess.