Saturday, 27 July 2013

Ningen Gakki

Way back in 2011 I was in a music store and I attempted to try out this cute little toy. It's a Ningen Gakki which translates as "human instrument".

There are three modes. The first plays up to ten popular Japanese songs. Mode two is sound effects - animal noises, telephone rings etc., and the last one is a drum set.

To use it you hold one of the metal contacts on the little guy's hands or feet, and touch another person somewhere on the skin, even their face. One is a lonely number, and so using this by yourself is pretty useless.

Fast forward to today I was perusing one of my favourite Hardoff stores and I saw it in one of the junk boxes in its original box with the instruction booklet. Actually truth be told, I actually saw it the last time I was here, and wisely thought it was something I didn't really need. This time I was not so wise and decided to grab it.

It's made by Takara Tomy and even won some kind of toy of the year award here. I can imagine this would be fun to use after a few drinks, and a good excuse to poke people. I got it for a giveaway price. It's still available from Amazon Japan here.

Here's a good demo of it here. It's in Japanese but the way it works is pretty clear.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Welcome To Japan

"I wonder what goes through a person's head before they snap. What are they thinking? Are they angry? Indifferent? Disillusioned? Does their blood pressure rise? Do their fingers shake? Do they question their place, their thoughts, their own mental makeup?

Does the universe seem infinitely small or inconsequentially large? Do they lay awake at night recounting the day? Or go through the day physically exhausted? Do they long for a vacation that seems to never come? Do they yearn for a peace that does not exist? Do the walls that protect them seem easily broken under the strength of anger?

What happens to a person mentally when they decide that enough is enough? The question of why we are where we are is of little use when it is used as a complaint, but can mean the world when used constructively.

The only thing more annoying than having to hear people kiss is having to hear them have sex. Just go to bed already, ffs. If what is put forth by nature would have its way at my annoyance, then perhaps it is I who must retire. Retire to my slumber or perhaps to my home. Chiba sucks. I want to go home.

It's all the same, no matter how far a person travels to be the person they dream to be, it's never enough just to be a well meaning voyager. One must also have heart to see past their own limitations. What a load of crock. It's no use to complain, but it is of great value to recognize that it is not what just I want in the world, but what everyone else wants as well.

We are all the same, we are all star stuff. We are on our own voyage through time, space, life, death, love, hate, work, and play. I don't claim to be the work of a creator, for in a universe set forth into motion by its own being then there is little for a creator to do. I am what I am, which is to say that you are you, and that I am you, and you are me, and we are we. Or us. I don't understand English, I just teach it. What a crazy thing to be alive."

I didn't write this, but I could totally relate to it. There are days when I scratch my head and think why did I come here, and why am I still here. There are things that I really HATE about Japan. It's like that significant other. The things that were once cute, become frustrating and annoying.

On the other hand I've had awesome moments and a few valued people around me that seem to make the fleeting insane times pass.

I would like to credit the writer but I think considering the content it's best that the person stays anonymous. I wanted to put it here in case it was eventually deleted. Some things should not be forgotten.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

G Cans

G-cans (Otherwise known as the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel) is situated in Saitama.

It's on the Tobu Noda line and he closest station is Minamisakurai. From there it's a 30 minute walk to the complex amid acres of rice fields.

It's my day off today so I stupidly decided it'd be a good time to walk in 35 degree heat but having said that, underground it was a naturally pleasant 15 degrees.

Nothing prepares you for the first sight once you enter the "temple". Photos don't do justice how immense this place is. It's pretty huge. 25.4m high and 177 metres long. The feeling of this place gives you the impression of being on the set of Alien or Indiana Jones.

Unfortunately you only get ten minutes to take photos, and the area to look around is quite restricted. The majority of the time is spent watching a video (complete with cheesy music) explaining how the place works. The tour is all in Japanese, so they say you need someone who can translate for "security" reasons.

This place was used in this Land Rover commercial:

And also this music video by the band um.. Screw.

Oh and don't forget even Pharrell has been down here too. If that isn't enough of a recommend I don't know what is!

The tour is free so money back guarantee! It has to be booked in advance, which you can do from this page (Japanese). For some English information look here.