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Archive for March, 2009

We’re just waiting for Kara’s 2nd full album to be released; and while I can understand releasing a mini-album is sort of a bridge to lead into a full album sometime later, you have to wonder how long is this bridge they’re making. In the span of 8 months, 3 mini-albums have been released, the aptly named “1st Mini Album”, the second mini-album “Pretty Girl” and “Pretty Girl (Special Edition)”, more of a remix album than anything; no new songs were on that special edition.

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As I had mentioned, well somewhere here, that the page originally set for both Photography and Anime Figurines has been split in 2. The Figurine Central got some breathing room, getting its own page as my collection slowing continues to grow. The addition of Tsuruya-san was the clincher as it was time to make the move. Not to mention adding more Haruhi-ism with a Nagato Yuki figure (or two) on the way sometime next week. Much like the lens list on the photography side, I hope to compile a wishlist of future figures that I hope to purchase in my remaining weeks in Japan, or order online once I head back to Canada.

The photography side of things is that I’m now hinting at the idea of taking the budget route for now and getting a close-up filter to attach to my 85mm and 50mm lenses (as briefly mentioned in the previous post). This past Wednesday, on a rare day off, had me essentially shooting all day. And while I do wished I had gotten that 50mm that day (acquired it a day after) I made do with the lone 85mm. All updates of that day and later days, which include a small pictoral of the Tsuruya-san figure can be found on my Flickr page (click the Flickr Photos widget to the right).

A small update hopefully sometime next week. Stay classy.

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After waiting for some money to turn up, I finally picked the albums up from the convenience store upon placing an order via Tower Records nearly a month ago. Probably more so for Kara’s first album as I had a DLed version with pretty bad quality. I did a re-import and all is well. I intend on doing a review on all 3; even though their first mini album has been out for more than 6 months. Keep you posted as I hope to get it out before the start of next week. Keep listening.

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With just about 10 days to payday, the Nikon 105mm f2.8D Macro lens has been sold. Deeply disappointed as I’ve heard nothing but good things about it; I was really excited I’d be able to pick it up on the 25th, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. With it being a used lens, time will tell when another will spring up. Aquick and somewhat affordable remedy is to attach a close-up lens to my current Nikon 85mm f1.8.

In addition, I tested out fisheye lenses for the first time. It’s a whole new level of weirdness — in a cool way. I’ve tested some shots in-store and I like what I see. It’s not a priority, however, but it’s added to the wishlist. I’ll sort it all out when I get back to Canada. Also, a couple of prime lenses have appeared on the used block, the Nikon 50mm 1.4D and 20mm 2.8D — both of which are on my wishlist. I intend to buy one lens next month, but which one is the question; now I’m in a pickle.

Before any of that happens, I need to survive the next 10 days, 6 of which are work days. Groceries have already been bought for the better part of the week so now I have 2000円 left to last me 2 days of travel; the other 4 I need to figure out somehow. And with a shortened paycheque upcoming, I need to be as frugal as humanly possible — a far contrast to the yammering just above. Completely unrelated, but my official final day at work is May 23rd (Sat.), still undecided on an actual flight date. An update will follow sometime next week. Stay classy.

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Anime update #2

It’s about time for another update to what anime series I’m currently watching. Apart from the 2 series, Shikabane Hime: Kuro & Akikan!, which are still airing (about midway through their respective series), I have finished all but one series from the first batch of mass-anime watching — the ’02 version of Kanon. I haven’t given it the time or attention I had with the other series. It’s still a good series; but like certain music, it’s one of those animes you’d have to be in the mood for.

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A seemingly ordinary day to work had turned quite frustrating and in some ways, a bit of a relief. Saturday was originally my day off, but I had to cover the regular Japanese teacher’s lesson. The always reliable & on-time Japanese rail system has shown it’s ugly side — delaying any train heading south and westbound for several hours. I figured I make a note of any occurance; I logged as it happened from the Notes app on my iPod touch — except the excerts from 11:00 -11:30; those were from memory.

11:00 – Hokuriku line local train bound for Fukui ready to board as usual. All is well — ready to catch some z’s.

11:06 – Train was supposed to leave at 11:04 (remember on-time departures); very unusual considering the gorgeous weather.

11:21 – Passengers start to exit the train; upon checking the destination board, it read “Not in Service” — crap. I guess I gotta get off as well.

12:04 – Word has it that it’s an apparent suicide effectively halting any train movement heading south/west. (Later confirmed — A woman committed suicide; hit by an express train bound for Maibara (米原) around Nonoichi Town (野々市町), a few stations south of Kanazawa Station). North and Eastbound trains not affected.

12:06 – As mentioned, any train going that direction was either cancelled or delayed severely. My next possible train is a 12:13 — 6 minutes to go, and no sign — usually be boarding by then. Things aren’t looking good.

12:13 – Hokuriku local train hasn’t arrived at designated platform and no clue if or when this train shows up. Now in normal circumstances, it would take about 50-55 minutes to get to my school at Daishoji Sta (大聖寺駅); my first lesson starts at 13:15. Do the math.

12:20 – Called head office about the situation. Turns out another co-worker is stranded the next station over. 1st class in danger of being cancelled (yay!?). Still no sign of the local train. An express train bound for Nagoya, originally supposed to have left at 11:46 is still on layover. When it leaves (which as I’m typing, had left at 12:22), then all other trains heading that direction will start rolling.

Now, still waiting, I realize that even one class gets cancelled, it does get rescheduled somewhere in that month. That means one extra day I have to be there. It costs 1620円 round-trip to that school! I can find solace in the fact I would get an extra day’s pay.

12:30 – By then, the Nagoya and Osaka express trains, which were supposed to depart an hour earlier have left Kanazawa Station. The 12:13 local is still M.I.A. Well, time to play Tap Tap Revenge2 or DanceDanceRevolution-S on my iPod to pass the time.

12:40 – Local train finally arrives, 27 minutes late (by extention over 90 minutes late factoring in previous train). Departs Kanazawa Station minutes later. This whole experience reminds me of Vancouver Transit — only slightly worse.

12:47 – Called head office again and confirmed; 1st class is cancelled – to be expected. I’m tired; I can finally take that nap.

13:52 – Train arrives at Daishoji Station — 2 hours later than originally planned. Wel, time to caffeine it up and let’s get these 2 classes over and done with!

17:36 – Kanazawa-bound train arrives on-time. Once again, all is well.

Massive delays like this aren’t a common occurance in this part of Japan, compared to Tokyo Metropolis, where sadly it’s a near daily occurance. I’ve encounted delays before on account of bad weather, but this was much worse. Well, time to enjoy what’s left of my weekend. Stay classy.

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The first steps have been taken; and although it’s not set in stone just yet, for all intensive purposes, this Japan adventure is drawing a close come late May. I’ve tenatively tendered my resignation from work, but before I even reach that mark, one crucial thing needs to be settled first — extending my working Visa another few months.

It’s sad to admit, but I had decided on leaving early way back in November; it was all in the matter of finding the right day to do so. Now the time has actually come and the feeling at this moment is bittersweet. While I’ve kept my promise that I’d leave early for a number of reasons which I won’t get into, I know the next 2 months will be packed full of upcoming memories and sights. I feel I’ve wasted the first few months being in the dumps and it’s taken me 5 months to fully adjust; and now with only the remaining 80 or so days left (well, minus a whole lot of work days), it’s all or nothing to live it up. Here are a few things to be expected:

April will bring the cherry blossoms and a new school year — familiar faces in different places. Unprepared mountain climbing, macro shooting and a smaller paycheque; oh, and more shooting.

May starts with a whole week (possibly) of no work, figurine purchases, shooting, farewells, a lot of packing, haulin’ a whole lot of luggage for several days and ends with a whole week of no work.

Of course it’s all tenative. There will definitely be more than that (I hope). These are a list of things that will happen. An update on final date will come in the following weeks. stay classy.

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