Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Loomis, Gian, Danielle and I took a break and went to the zoo yesterday, and although I got eaten alive by misqutoes and it was really hot, I still love zoos.

Monday, June 11, 2007


So, I started off my day, printing out some things at the lab, which was great because I had to do the long walk from Tamachi to go to lab for basically twenty minutes. But, before that, I decided I was going to Akihabara today to try and find my voice recorders. I did a little googling and I found a page with both japanese and english for the little buggers. I took the Yamanote to Akihabara and took the exit to electric town. Now, I'm not really one for electronics. I don't know why, but they don't really interest me. Plus the language barrier was a bit of an issue when I was trying to look for voice recorders (録音のモジュール). I basically went around for an hour gathering my courage to talk to people and trying to locate a store that might have them. (I had enough sense to realize when I was in a store with just wires, or pliars, or tvs etc.) Finally I found a little model building section and I asked the guy. He had a recorder and it was the same price as the recordable greeting cards in Tokyu Hands! I bought one, even though I know I'll have no idea how to use it. I felt pressured. Then, I walked around a little more, avoiding the anime stores because I didn't want to get distracted, and headed to Tokyu Hands to make a huge purchase of more supplies. I better use them all. I still have to return that unused sculpey and get some money back. This is an expensive project. I'm a little jealous of the people who are just doing stuff on computers, but then I'd have to know those it's all fair I suppose.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I guess I should post about my week (June 4 - June 8)

This program is so much work and very little Japan. But, I'm spending two weeks here after the program, so I guess it's no worries.

Okay, that's the end of complaining. Not all of my time here has been so busy, even though my Saturdays are spent in two three hour lectures and my Wednesdays and Sundays are studio until around five. On Monday, a rare free day, Gian,
Loomis and I went to Asakusa to see a temple and do some touristy shopping. We stopped at the Bandai building for a little bit to look at the their little museum of anime stuff and a statue of Doraemon.

On Tuesday we had a BBQ at the dorm, which was nice bc there was a lot of free food. It wasn't so nice bc I skipped out to do some work and then didn't go karaoking with practically everyone bc I felt like I hadn't done enough work. I still haven't gone karaoking. Something that probably should happen.

Thursday we went on a fun field trip to an interactive science kinda museum. It's hard to explain, but made me feel like a five year old. Which was good because I had to miss a trip to the beach some of my other friends had planned bc they are in photo and drawing and didn't have class on Friday or that particular mandatory field trip. I rounded off my Thursday with more work. And Friday was class and more work.

My board game is finally coming along. And by that I mean I'm ripping off chutes and ladders and making it asian themed with salarymen. So far, no one seems to have an issue with it, and after a series of failed attempts and designing and trying to make the actual board, I think I'm on track. But, we also have to have a sound component to our project. Something I haven't started yet. I'm trying to use a small cheap voice recorder and incorporate it into my board. So far, I haven't had luck finding any. I'm going to go to Akihabara soon to try and find them.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pecha Kucha

I guess it was alright. It got a little long towards the end, though some of the ideas were pretty cool. There was a group that designed different things for lightbulbs, like a little chandalier attachment. They also had plans to build a desk/fish tank, which looked like a cool idea from the illustration, though I doubt it could work in reality. Don't fish tanks need to be cleaned or have air circulation or something? I don't know. But, another good part of the show was the part with the patterns made by keeping the shutter of the camera open when taking a picture. They made an awesome show out of it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I put off work totally on Monday, which was a bit of a mistake I'll admit. (Well, you can basically read the title of my blog to get the basic idea of why I put it off.) But I had just gotten back to Ontakesan, and I started reading Harry Potter, and I apparently couldn't stop. So, on Tuesday I woke up early and got to work.

I'm working on a board game about Salarymen and my block is the area around Tamachi station. It's been pretty difficult thinking up rules that incorporate my block and salarymen and are interesting enough and aren't too complicated. I started by looking up some games that I had played as a kid - Sorry, Enchanted Forest, Payday, Chutes and Ladders.

And, my first idea was pretty linear, in that it followed the day of a salaryman (home, work, lunch, work, going out, home) This seemed to simple and didn't have enough incentive to play the game, so today I tried to iron those things out. I thought a little bit about the rules and added a lot of elements of Sorry into it. I also designed my gameboard roughly. I need to take some better photos because some of mine are fuzzy. Plus, I only formated the image to 200 dpi, when apparently printing should be 300. Woops. It's the kind of mistake I'm not surprised I made because I've never printed something out for professional use before. But, it's pretty easily remedied if I just rework the image a bit....hopefully.

Making the board didn't go to well, either. I made the mistake of folding the board when I placed the image on it, so when I opened it back up again, the board wouldn't fold flat. So, I cut it in the middle. Hopefully it will be good enough for crit. And that's what trying these things out is for, isn't it?

Monday, May 28, 2007


So, this weekend we went to Kyoto and the first day was nice and we walked around some temples up in the mountains where our inn was located. Our inn had a hotspring, which wasn't nearly as nice as the one I got to go to last summer, but it was nice anyway, although slightly too hot for me. Friday was very rainy, so it wasn't too fun. Saturday, I went to Nara and fed deer ricecrackers. I was kind of attacked and it was a little scary. They were everywhere, like squirrels.

My favorite part of the trip was the fact that I stayed an extra day in Kyoto (in a youth hostel, which I don't think I'll be doing again, and I didn't have a guide book with me, so I kind of hapharzdly went around on buses following the bus map for important things to see. Plus, figuring out buses was a bit of a chore. Subways I get easy, but buses took one try where I wanted to go back to Kyoto Station, but I ended up going to the Golden Pavilion instead. Anyway, I still really enjoyed going around the city by myself and figuring things out. The Golden Pavilion was a bit of a let down, but Nijo Castle was pretty interesting. At least, the sound everyone made as all the tourists walked around on nightingale floorboards iss something that I probably won't be hearing again anytime soon. If finally ended up on the outskirts of town, just because there was a picture of a mountain with monkeys on it. I placed all my hope in that picture that there would be monkeys, and I was right. (I probably could have asked someone and saved myself the trouble.) But, I got to see monkeys, one of my goals being in Japan.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tokyo Collage

The Donald Richie readings just enforced what I'd already been learning from our walk around Azabujuban with Ron and the architecture history lecture. Basically Tokyo is an ecclectic collection of buildings because that is what fits it best economically. The Japanese don't feel much connection to their buildings because they will be torn down or become billboards for advertising. Wabi sabi (the Japanese term for subtle beauty in art) doesn't apply to Tokyo streets or Japanese homes. According to Richie, they prefer to cram as much as possible into the small space. Places can become multifunctional, or, more importantly, many spaces are used for the different purposes people want to acheive. The ecclectic essence of Tokyo has anything and everything available, and the city visually exaggerates that characterisitc.