02 December, 2005

Kyodai Student Festival 2005!

It was a fine day and I grab my camera and, accompanied by two friends, browsed the sights of this year's student festival. Every year student organizations set up small stalls to sell various delicacies they prepare (takoyaki, yakisoba, crepes, gyoza, etc.) or to offer participation in games for a fee to the visitors. By doing so, the student organizations, advertise themselves and also raise some money, but mostly everything is done for fun. Some things can be considered "fun" for the Japanese students but for foreigners, at least in my case, seem weird. In the photos that follow I try to capture what was going on with an eye on the "weird"!



Here is the view of the festival in the main campus. You can see the stalls on the right and some people enjoying the delicacies.



Pikachu was there also, trying to attract customers!



The entrance to the south campus. No bicycles, motorcycles, cars and ...UFO are allowed in!



Here is an interesting one. Mr. Goose here challenges the visitors to a game of JanKenPon (rock-paper-scissors). For a fee of 100yen you can try to beat Mr. Goose 5 times in a row. The price: 10,000! Not an easy task! If you think about it the probability of winning is very slim! More about it here!



Another photo of Mr. Goose and his friend the Cow-man. Notice the nipples of the cow and the strategically-placed-dangling head of the goose!



I kept the best for last. As I mentioned earlier, the competition is fierce among the student organizations to get exposure and customers. Every year they try to do so with something different and they draw their "inspiration" from what is "hot" in Japan at the moment. This one took me a while to figure out. What do Gyoza and guys dressed as french maids have in common! Indeed a puzzle addressed to the geniuses of Kyodai! Me, far from been one, took me some time to figure it out. Finally I did. The sign behind the happy "French Maid" reads: "Hard Gyoza, HG, 3 for 100yen". The keyword is "Hard Gyoza" or "HG" for short. "HG" is also the nickname of a "hot" Japanese comedian that goes by the name "Hard Gay". If you can read Spanish check my friend Pilar's excellent post about Mr. HG. (alternatively you can pass the post through Google translation). So here we have it: "Hard Gyoza" = "HG" = "Hard Gay" = "Guy dressed as French Maid to look Gay in order to sell Hard Gyoza". End of puzzle. Enough, have to rest my poor little brain from overheating now! See you!

Now Listening 1

Pirates of the Carribean is a so-so movie IMHO, but the sountrack is excellent! Excellent music by Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer. I like the closing theme. Use the applet to listen to it!





26 November, 2005

Exam Answer!

Got this from somewhere. It gave me a good laugh, hope it would do the same for you!


Dumbest kid in the world?!

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer,
"This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you."
The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks,
"Which do you want, son?"
The boy takes the quarters and leaves.
"What did I tell you?" said the barber.
"Been doing that for months. That kid never learns!"
Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store.
"Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?"
The boy licked his cone and replied,
"Because the day I take the dollar, the game's over!"

17 November, 2005

Recycle anybody?

My lab is moving to the new campus in Katsura Campus next August. Along with us several labs in our building will do the same. Like true engineers and planners we are, proactive action is a must! For that reason we are getting rid of all the "clutter" in our lab, early. You will be amazed to see what is being trashed! I took some photos for you to see by yourselves. I'm wondering if all of the "clutter" will be trashed or recycled somehow... I have yet to find out. It will be a shame if no recycling takes place because some stuff can be reused. Anyway I will let the photos talk by themselves!



Office chairs, monitors and some pairs of ... skis!!!



A fan, gas heaters, a nearly brand new helmet, office cabinets...



A safe can be "clutter" too! I have yet to open it and make sure they didn't forget some valuables in!



Chairs, cables, computer parts, stereos, you name it...



This is for Joseph! Go get it man before it's gone! Just remember me when you become famous... "My first electric guitar was found in Kyodai's trash!"



Computers laying open without their "guts", keyboards, fans and misc. apparatus!

31 October, 2005

Spiritual Parents!

In my culture teachers are called "spiritual parents". Like a parent, a teacher picks-up the "new-born" soul and with patience and love nurtures it.
Some time ago when I arrived in Japan, my first interactions were with my Japanese language teachers. Like me, a group of foreigners had the same experiences. Each of us coming from a very different culture, was a "new-born" soul in Japan. Like good "spiritual parents", our teachers put up with our peculiarities and taught us how to "walk" in this new world (even though we are still very clumsy and often trip and fall)! Last week I met with one of my favorite Japanese language instructors at the bank. She was very happy to see me trying alone to communicate with a bank worker, in Japanese. Still, I was hopeless but managed to communicate (I think - if there is a problem in my account I will know I didn't)...
At a point the bank worker went to process a form and I got the chance to talk a little with my teacher. She has that amazing talent to communicate with you in Japanese without using English with the exception of an occasional katakana word when necessary. I was happy to learn that she just published a new book called "Useful Book of Verbs".

The book is targeted towards the learners of Japanese that have trouble memorizing verb conjugations and transitive and intransitive verbs (well pretty much all of us!) It lists 1,500 verbs, each labeled with its kanji, verb group, -te form, transitive/intransitive marker and an English definition. The book is small and compact (A5 size), and can be carried around easily. I already own a copy and I believe it will prove very useful in my future learning to "walk" (without falling)!

20 October, 2005

Kicking!

Of all my kids, my eldest son is the most challenging. Those who have met him can verify that. He can be a real pain. Some days he is so persistenly annoying that the only way to deal with him is ...not to deal with him!
Sometimes he is an angel! In those rare occations he can really amaze you with his behavior and his kindness. Last night was one of those days. He helped around the house and took care of his little brother and sister. Just before he went to bed he asked mommy:

- Mommy, was I kicking in your belly a lot?
- In fact, yes you did.
- Do you know why I was doing that?
- No, why?
- Because I wanted to meet mommy quickly!

Then he went to bed.
Raising children is maybe one of the most difficult jobs around, but moments like that worth all the trouble you go through for sure!

15 October, 2005

All look the same!

OK, here is one test for all. Can you spot the difference between Chinese, Japanese and Koreans? You think you do?

I thought I could too but I end up getting a low 7/18 score...
Go HERE and test your self, then post your results in the comments...
The test's main page is at http://www.alllooksame.com/

Update: I changed the link to point directly to the test. You don't have to go through the registration now.
Instructions: You will see 18 photos of Asian people. Choose what do you think they come from (China, Japan or Korea). At the end of the test you will see your score along with the correct answers.

02 October, 2005

Now listening 0

This is an experimental post. Under this title I will post what I'm listening. For the test I chose Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra". Use the applet to listen to the song!





26 September, 2005

Random

Until the next update...
No words just pictures. Enjoy!












Source: www.meganame.ru

Busy!

Sorry, I've been busy... I will update the blog next week.

12 September, 2005

Katrina and the waves...

Another natural disaster with loss of lives, property and dreams. My heart to those perished. People are angry about Bush's administration and I think they have the right to do so (for more see a good article by Giancarlo). I will just post some photo I "borrowed" from boreme.com. I think they do say a lot.





The wrath of nature...


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And the "managers" at work!





07 September, 2005

Japanese High-Tech Bicycle!

Found this somewhere. For sure the owner invested a lot of time (and resources) to build this magnificent creation. Enjoy, the photos can tell more than my writings...
















01 September, 2005

The 80's - Part III

OK, this is the last on - I promise!
I wrote about the arcades, the computers and something about music but the whole 80's think wouldn't be complete without the style of the decade! The hair, the way of dressing was most probably the messiest and silliest style since ...well the 60's. Here is a good example: C.C. Catch, German pop singer, well famous in Europe (maybe not in USA).



How about those heavy metal groups, like the "Scorpions"!!!



The guys were having posters of this lady hidden and if the they could post it somewhere their least fortunate friends could see: Samantha Fox.



By far the 80's was a cool time to be a teenager!!!

26 August, 2005

80's - The arcade machines!

Staying on the same subject, the 80's. I don' know about you but I love the arcade machines of the 80's (Pac-Man, space invaders, bomb jack, etc.). When I discover that I could play again the same games (exactly as they used to be) on my computer, some years ago, I was extremely happy.


First, because it brought me memories of my childhood. Second, because I think the simplicity and addictiveness of those games superpasses today's games. To be able to play the arcade games again was due to a program called MAME, an "emulator" of the hardware of the arcade machines. More from the official site of MAME:

MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. When used in conjunction with an arcade game's data files (ROMs), MAME will more or less faithfully reproduce that game on a PC. MAME can currently emulate over 3000 unique (and over 5400 in total) classic arcade video games from the three decades of video games - '70s, '80s and '90s, and even some from the current millennium.

The ROM images that MAME utilizes are "dumped" from arcade games' original circuit-board ROM chips. MAME becomes the "hardware" for the games, taking the place of their original CPUs and support chips. Therefore, these games are NOT simulations, but the actual, original games that appeared in arcades.

MAME's purpose is to preserve these decades of video-game history. As gaming technology continues to rush forward, MAME prevents these important "vintage" games from being lost and forgotten. This is achieved by documenting the hardware and how it functions, thanks to the talent of programmers from the MAME team and from other contributors. Being able to play the games is just a nice side-effect, which doesn't happen all the time. MAME strives for emulating the games faithfully.

If you want to give MAME a try follow those links:

MAME Official Site
MAME32 : Windows GUI version of MAME - I recommend this.
MAME FAQ
MacMAME : The MAME port for Macintosh
missROMS : Utility to help search for ROMS

ENJOY!

24 August, 2005

8-bit Music!

If you are as old as me then chances are you used an 8-bit computer (Spectrum, Atari, Commodore). There are a bunch of groups specializing in music made with 8-bit computers. The results are amazing. Well, you have to listen for yourselves.


The featured group is called AY Riders and the album is .. "ZX Spectrum is Alive".
The AY Riders is a group of chiptune maniacs that formed up in 2002. This special release from them is a follow-up to their third album "8 Bits Is Enuff" and features energetic and unique tunes from Yerzmyey, X-Agon, Factor6, and Gasman. Its clear from the moment that you hear the first arpeggiated notes and crunchy beats that these guys truly love the Speccy and its soundchip, masterfully controlling it to rock the scene.

Download the music here (don't worry is free) and enjoy!
ZX Spectrum is Alive!

22 August, 2005

Remove Stress!

Go ahead, it helps!


19 August, 2005

FARK Theme: Weddings Gone Wrong!

This is very funny! Check the entry by Travis8 (below)!



Link HERE

04 August, 2005

Why DO Men Have Nipples?

That is a question that bothered me for some time now. In fact the other day I had a discussion about that! Here is a good explanation:

...While only females have mammary glands, we all start out in a similar way in the embryo, the authors explain. The embryo follows a female template until about six weeks, when the male sex chromosome kicks in. Men, however, have already developed nipples.


For more about it check here!

29 July, 2005

Pisco and Wine!

Peru is an innovative country! July 28th was Peru's National Day. To celebrate that, Peruvians filled the Main Fountain (on the Main Square in Lima = Capital) with 2,000 liters of Pisco for everyone to enjoy it (for more about it check this).

In my hometown, every september, there is a "wine festival". The event is held at the grounds of the municipal gardens. You pay a nominal fee at the entrance and you are given a plastic bottle resembling the shape of a gourd (that's what they used to remove the wine from the urns in the old time). Armed with the plastic bottle you can go at special stalls and "fill-up" with any kind of wine for free! There are stalls selling traditional food (to accompany the wine) as well as various events (tradional dance, excibitions of how they used to make wine in the old time, etc.) Every year many people visit the Wine Festival, among them many tourists. Tourists seem to enjoy the free wine more than the locals and they are most susceptile to the Vachian effects of it! At the center of the municipal gardens there is a fountain, which is a kind of "landmark" (if you get disconnected from your group and go there chances are you will find them). The fountain also serves as a landing place, better a diving place of the above mentioned tourists that had a lot of drinking. The result is hillarious to sometimes scary!!! Now, Giancarlo gave me a good idea! I will propose to the municipality of my home town to follow the example Peru, fill-up the fountain with wine. Since the tourists "drink" its water every year, I guess wine will be a better choice! GEIA MAS!!!

25 July, 2005

Exam season OVER!

The exam season is over for me! Yet I will be busy (it never ends) but I would like to take a short break to recover the grey cells lost in the process! Maybe I will post some lost-and-recently-found photos, or maybe I will just pick one of the mountains around Kyoto and dissappear for a week!

09 July, 2005

Quote of the day

"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

02 July, 2005

View of the Mediterranean

My friend Ailing requested to see how the Mediterranean looks. Sorry, but I don't have any better photos to post. The only two photos I have were taken a few years ago, during summer, at the Akamas peninsula, east side of Cyprus. The Akamas peninsula is a kind of a national park, i.e. is protected from any kind of development whatsoever. That means no asphalt, concrete, kiosks, tourists, etc. The beaches are also protected by a very rough terrain. If you spare some time and a good car (Giancarlo can drive his Pajero to get there), and get to the beach the reward you get is crystal clear water and breathtaking views. I will look for more photos but chances are that I won't find anything. If I do, they will be posted, I promise.



Click on any image to see the album.

27 June, 2005

Movie No. 3

Giancarlo is working very hard lately. A new movie, shorlty after his big hit is released. This movie is actually a prequel and describes very well how the whole problem with the crows started (apart from been at the wrong spot, the wrong time). I suggest to go watch the movie or the wrath of Kyodai crows will be upon you!!!

Click on the image for the full size.

24 June, 2005

Have a break!

Got an email from a friend from back home. Very funny so I'm translating to english and hope the essense stays intact! Here it goes:

BIG QUESTIONS

1. What did BinLaden say when he saw the Pisa Tower?

"Amateurs!"

2. What do mobile phones and Olympiakos (Greek Soccer Team) have in common?

"Both don't work abroad!"

3. What do a married man and a single man have in common?

"They think the other actually has sex!"

4. Why we call the heart surgery "by-pass"?

"Because if it fails ..."BYE"- Pas (=you are gone in Greek)!"

5. Why -"choose a stingy person"- has big nostrils?

"Because air is free!"

And the last one:

6. Why married guys are more fat than single guys?

-The sigle guys check what's in the fridge and go to bed.
-The married men check what's in the bed and go to the fridge!

23 June, 2005

New movie is out!!!

Don't miss the new movie by my good friend Giancarlo! After his adventure with the crows he decided to make a movie out of it and become rich quickly! For more info check his blog at Unrelated Thoughts!
Here is a poster from his movie. Click on the image for the full size.



21 June, 2005

Giancarlo Flores the ...Italian

Yes the mistake was done twice. On top of that nuisance made in Peru there is an Italian version!!! Check it here to see for yourself. Now which is more talented I don't know, decide by yourselves!!!




19 June, 2005

Frappe... in Kyoto!

For those who have been in Greece or Cyprus during summer most probably know what Frappe is. You can check the recipe here if you want. It is basically a type of iced coffee, preferably mixed with milk. Greek people love coffee and frappe is very popular during those hot summer days (and nights). Been away from home, I miss lots of things and frappe is just one of them. So one hot day I decided to make frappe here. Frappe needs to be shaken (read the recipe above) and back home we usually use a small portable mixer to do the job. It's quick, it makes good froth and your arm doesn't hurt afterwards (not to mentioned been teased when doing the up-down shaking... ). I was lucky enough to find a battery operated hand mixer here in Kyoto for 300 yen, weak but does the job (see photo below).
People around me were curious about the coffee I was making so I explained what it was and everybody, after trying it, got hooked! So much that a friend that she never drinks coffee now demands to have a frappe when I have one!!!


17 June, 2005

Photos from my hometown!

Found this site with amazing photos from my hometown. Click on the photo to take a look.
The site's url is:

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Middle_East/Cyprus/West/Limassol/



Photo by Vsevolod Khasanov.


15 June, 2005

Tango Fishing Trip

I have added all the photos from the Tango Fishing trip (84 in total). Check all of them by clicking at the photo below.



Here is a photo of some of the trip participants waiting for the perfect shot!




13 June, 2005

Rock Music!

I guess I can call that "ROCK" music!!! One of the volunteers that guided us at the Tango Fishing trip played music from the area using rocks that found around Amanohashidate. The rocks have holes and produce a very high pitch but nice melody... Click on the photo to see the rest of the photos and enjoy!




07 June, 2005

Dog...Condoms?

Dog condoms? Yes only in the BUSH-land. Read the promotion:
The problem of dog overpopulation is a real one. However, the noble goal of preventing unwanted dog pregnancy does not justify the means being used. Millions of brutal forced castrations and female genital mutilations take place every year in America. We need to put a stop to these atrocities and give every living creature the respect it deserves.
Visit www.dogcondoms.com to see by your self!!!

02 June, 2005

You are angry with your wife, what do you do?

Burn all the money you were saving for years!!! Yes, it happened! Here is the article...

Jerusalem - An Israeli man angry with his wife over money matters set fire to three million shekels (about 678,580.96 USD) on the lawn of his affluent suburban home on Wednesday, a news website reported.

After reaching the end of his tether in the marital spat, he had opened the family safe, taken out several piles of banknotes, stuffed them in sacks and dragged them outside, said the online edition of Yediot Aharonot.

"In 36 years, I have seen nothing like it," one fireman was quoted as saying after four fire engines hurtled through Rehovot, near Tel Aviv, following reports of someone trying to set fire to his house.

The firemen were confronted by the banknotes smouldering on the lawn.

A police investigation is under way.

Source: www.iol.co.za

By the way, here is a good site to get the latests currency rates.
http://www.xe.com/ucc/

01 June, 2005

Where on earth is Kyoto?

If you answer Japan you are right. But then if you answer Tanzania (Africa) then you are right again!!! Yes there is a Kyoto in Tanzania too!!! Proof, see the map by checking this link.

New book by Bush!

Found this to be one of the best modifications! Enjoy!



31 May, 2005

Test Your Browser's Security

Found this site that checks the vulnerabilities of your browser. It's free and it can be accessed at http://bcheck.scanit.be/bcheck/.

Test Your Browser's Security Now!

Can someone hack into your computer via your browser? How vulnerable you are? Can websites install spyware through your browser? Scanit's Browser Security Test automatically checks your browser for various security problems. When the test is finished you get a complete report explaining the discovered vulnerabilities, their impact and how to eliminate them.

30 May, 2005

Some years ago...

Here are two photos of me taken some years ago, in case you are wondering how I used to look like!!





25 May, 2005

Banana Guard!

Are you fed up with bringing bananas to work or school only to find them bruised and squashed? Then Check the solution at Banana Guard!

Everything has a starting point!

Here it is - the first post on the FURUI MAN all new Blog!