Let me show you two cute things I brought home from Japan.
The above picture is of my cute phone accessory! It’s a squirrel! So kawaii! :) Japan is the home of the cute – I could hardly stand it and I wanted to buy everything I saw. This is one of the tinier pieces I bought, and it’s now hanging from my office mobile. I think I don’t have to mention that my personal phone carries the bigger and cuter pieces. Hahah. :)
Japanese sweets! I found this in Gion. Back in 2005, my mom received a box of sweets exactly like these and I’ve always wanted to find them again. Not because of how they tasted but because they were just too cute. LOL. I wanted to give them as gifts, because the bearer will always have a dilemma of wanting to taste them but at the same time not wanting to eat them because they’re too cute. I wanted to share the dilemma hahaha. Actually they taste like cardboard. So the second option would be better, but curiosity always wins. :)
I had more stuff – but they’re mostly digested by now. :D
There aren’t any Sakura blooms yet in February, but thank goodness for plum blossoms, the earliest trees that signal spring.
While we were in Osaka, my sister and I, with our friend Erlyn, visited the Osaka castle (or Osaka-jo, they call it). My most favorite part was walking through the Bairin plum garden and being surrounded by all the beautiful blooming plum trees. :)
If you’re looking to buy silver coins, I’ve got a whole lot of them!
Just recently, I came back from my 7-day leisure trip to Japan. Shopping around, one tends to accumulate coins. I had intended to use them all up, but in the end I still had about 1 thousand yen’s worth of silver and bronze coins!
They look like the ones below.
The silver ones are the 100 and 50 yen coins, the bronze are 10 and 5 yen coins, and the smallest in the 1 yen coin, though I’m not sure if it’s silver, since it’s very lightweight. There’s another one, the gold coin, which is worth 500 yen, not pictured here.
I also have a 10,000 yen bill and three 1,000 yen bills left. So if anyone is going to Japan anytime soon, I’m selling my yen! :)
I have to get myself some acne products by tomorrow, because come Thursday I am flying off to Japan! :)
It’s the middle of winter in Japan right now, and last I checked the temperature in Japan is around 3°C to 17°C. Yikes!!! I am definitely bringing boots, a coat, some sweaters, a pair of warm socks, a pair of gloves and a very very heavy scarf. I’m ready, Tokyo! :)
The one thing I haven’t taken care of is money, though. Sigh. I need to convert my pesos to yen, and I haven’t even begun to inquire among the local money changers. I’m thinking I will have to convert to dollar and reconvert in Japan. Bad idea. :(
But I am excited to see Japan. Last time I went, I was only able to visit Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. This time I am actually visiting Tokyo. Yay! :)
So if you don’t see me posting anything next week, don’t be too impatient okay? I’ll be back after one week. :)
You know what I am really looking forward to??? Mochi!!! :)
Check out the floor-to-ceiling flat screens at NAIST, Japan. Nope, it’s not a projector. It’s pure LCD, baby!
It doesn’t look that big here. I think that because the screen is so big, it kinda makes the wall look not that high. But take a look at the people standing in front of the screen. You can clearly see that they are a LOT shorter than the ceiling AND the screen.
The only screens I’ve ever seen this big are those in the theater. And that’s got a real purpose. When we asked the people at NAIST what these things were for (they were installing and testing it on our last day in the university), they shrugged and said, “Well, whatever the visitors want to use them for probably. Maybe play Nintendo Wii.”
Whaaaa-??? True enough, they were playing Nintendo on the big screen in the ruse of “testing the system”. Then afterwards they played a movie.
Okay, so I’m browsing BoingBoing (one of my favoritest websites in the whole wide web evarrrr!), and they have a post on a Japanese sunblock commercial featuring a fembot. (Their beef is that it’s creepy, but I don’t think she is, then again I’m biased.)
The screencap looks familiar so I clickthrough to watch the video. Here it is, have a watch.
The first few seconds confirm my gut feeling. I’ve seen that robot! I’ve seen her and I’ve touched her!! Have I told you guys the reason I went to Japan earlier this year? It was for a tour of the Computer Science laboratories in NAIST, a university in Japan.
We were introduced to a robot in one of the laboratories. The lab geeks named her, but I forgot now what she was called. Those boys were really attached to her. You could tell by the way they affectionately looked at her and how tenderly they fixed her hair before us, haha. I’m serious!!! (My friends and I later wondered what her true relationship with her boys were hahahaha.)
The lab didn’t create the robot. They bought her for experimental purposes. It was the Robotics lab, by the way. So they did have a legit reason. Hahaha. The robot is made by Sanrio, the same company that makes Hello Kitty and Kerokeroppi (my favorite brands from childhood hahaha).
She’s quite pretty, that robot. Her skin is made of silicon, and the boys let us touch her, and her skin really did feel eerily real. Her hair is made from real human hair. But her makeup is painted on hehe.
We had a few burning questions for the lab geeks. First off, was she anatomically accurate??? Yes, they answered. Hehehehehe. We didn’t ask any follow up questions from that, but were they burning in ours heads? Oh yes. Hahaha.
We jokingly asked if she could be pieced apart like a mannequin, since she’s just a pretty computer. Maybe change her arms, or change her head. We really were just joking. Guess what we were told??? She can change her boobies!!! Hahahaha! I think the lab had a few sizes stored somewhere. Hahahaha! Now you see why we were wondering what she truly meant to the lab hahahaha! A lab that made up of all men, for your information, hahaha.
The lab could control her actions, like eye blinks, or head turning, or voicing out something… I’m saying that BoingBoing video is NOT creepy. The fembot in the video is actually likeable. They should have seen the fembot at the lab, hehe. Now SHE was creepy.
The fembot had a range of emotions. She could look happy, look sad, look angry, and of course shift from one to another in a blink of an eye. Scary hehehe. And it seemed that from the angle we were looking at her, she was staring back at us!!! Doubly scary hahaha.
The lab showed us how they could control the fembot. Of course, at times they would stop showing her off to talk to us, and at times like that sometimes her head would just suddenly fall, or her face lose all expression… hahaha.
It was really one of the most interesting tours we had at NAIST. :-)
I’m not good at night shots but I think I did this one justice… What do you think?
One of the most famous temples in Kyoto. Argh, I wish I could tell you the name, but Japanese names are just too hard to remember! But if you’ve been to Kyoto, you’ve probably been here, because it’s at the end of the famous street where all foreigners go shopping for Kyoto sweets and souvenirs, hehehe.
A majestic view from the temple too, as it sits on the top of a mountain. But ah, that is for another post. :-)
This is a dragon dance from a shrine on a Kyoto weekend. This was my first time to witness the Japanese version of the dance.
There is a large Chinese community in the Philippines, so Chinese dragon dances are commonplace, especially around February during the Chinese New Year. The Chinese dragon dance is usually very cheerful, loud and energetic. The crowds cheer, the band plays drums and gongs and other loud instruments, the red dragon dances lively and interacts with the crowd… It’s very festive.
The Japanese dragon dance I witnessed, in contrast, was somber. The crowd was silent, in awe, mesmerized. The air hung heavy with smoke and the intoxicating smell of incense. The gongs sounded scarcely, yet in tune with the dragon’s gait. The green dragon moved slowly, fluidly, large and elegant and intimidating. It seemed alive. When it paused and looked at you, you’d feel a shiver down your spine.
I wasn’t able to see the dragon up close. There were far too many people, and I was on the other side of the mountain. But I hope someday I will be able to witness the beautiful Japanese dragon dance again.