Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another new car.

After a week of driving a cramped, smelly, rental car I finally got my car back. But they gave me a brand new one in its place! :D
Old 2007 model
Old above and new below.
New bleah 2010 model. :(
Exactly 3 years ago, I got my first new car in Japan. I took care of that thing like I actually owned it despite it being a lease. I even became very comfortable with that car and its design but I couldn’t keep it because the lease company only deals in new models. No big loss though as I pay 11,000 yen less a month now for it and it’s new!
DSCF0007  Basically I upgraded from the 2007 year model to the brand new 2010 model. Fundamentally the cars are from the same maker and model but the newer one has a rounder shape a slightly better interior layout.
I’m not a huge fan of the newer “rounder” more aerodynamic exterior design though. I preferred the more boxy like shape of the car I had before.
DSCF0003 The boxy look made it more menacing and masculine. At least I thought so. Now my car has sissy new-age curves… I even lost a little head room in the driver’s seat and the trunk got chopped in half. I also lost my spare tire bay that used to be under the rear passenger seats. Now it’s bolted below the car ( I think). I still haven’t crawled under to confirm this but what good would that car jack be without a spare eh?
DSCF0012 Despite my misgivings about the exterior design changes, it’s basically the same car. It drives about the same and handles just like a box on 4 wheels should. I’m pleased.
If you have time, go ahead and check out the video walk through of the car below.
If you lift up the foam tray you will find absolutely nothing beneath it.
I actually lost a little bit of foot and arm space in the new model.

It's a tiny engine but it has enough power to get the job done.
Here’s the video:
Also, here are a few things I missed in the video:
-My camera was being dumb and cut off the first few seconds of the video. I mentioned how the car is a “wa” number plate which is generally accepted in Japan as a rental car specification. In my case the car is being leased to me so it’s basically mine till I return it. It is also a tad strange because it has Yokohama plates on it instead of Yamanashi, where I live.
-Upon further inspection that white box was not just a pressure gage, it’s also a DC air pump that can be used with the flat repair kit.
-The old model had an onboard spare under the passenger seat space. The new model lost the spare tire space hence why I have the special flat repair kit. I’d still prefer a spare but whatever.
-The new model’s front lights are the biggest change as they are wrap around. I’m not really into that style but the car’s cheap so I guess that’s OK too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A video tour of our home.

It keeps giving me errors. I think it's gonna die soon. I’ve owned my JVC mini-DV camera since 2001 yet I haven’t used it more than a handful of times. I’m kind of bummed the video quality seems almost on par with my 10 megapixel Fuji Finepix camera. I always thought mini-DV was about 720p but I think I’m mistaken… At least it records in widescreen.
Anyway, I was on video Skype with some of you guys earlier this week and you asked me to make a video. So here’s a video blog entry of my apartment.
It’s not all that big but it’s comfy and in an excellent area considering the prefecture I live in. Maybe next time I’ll mount the camera to my dashboard and do a typical drive video.
If you have any follow up questions after seeing the video or want to see more stuff in detail just leave a message here or wherever you prefer contacting me.
Sorry, this video is now only available to family and friends. Email me for a direct link!
Some notes left out in the video:
Good ol' captain's chair. Access to phasers, photon torpedpes, and core ejection functions.

-I do wash my hands after using the restroom. I just don’t do it in the restroom tank sink because there is nowhere to place soap. Plus, it just splashes all over the seat of the toilet making it look like I am still struggling with toilet training. Yeah, great idea on paper, poor in practice.

I get a camping vibe off of this thing even though this is standard fare for most of Japan. -Our gas stove kind of looks like a science lab bunson burner hose setup doesn’t it?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let’s go on a safari…in Japan?!

The drive-through entrance. You could also take a bus  tour if you want to. But what's the point in that?! This was my last day for sightseeing with my mom so we drove over to Shizuoka prefecture to check out a cool place. A place called Fuji Safari Park.
Basically Fuji Safari Park is a drive through zoo. If you live in San Diego, think of the Wild Animal Park but instead of you sitting on a boring train driving around the animals, here we drive through them IN OUR OWN CAR!
Holy s----! Get in the car it's a Lion! Yup, it’s pretty bonkers but it seems to work. It’s not all fun and game there though, some visitors have fallen victim to their own lapse in judgment to hungry animals there. Basically follow the rules by keeping your windows and doors shut at all times and you’re cool.
Derp. So I drove my dinky clown car through the park. It kind of felt like Jurassic park at times because each area is gated off with electrified fences. Maybe they got the idea from that movie, or vice versa. Whatever.
So yeah, that’s the closest I’ve ever been to large wild animals. I want to do it again with Yuko as she couldn’t make it that day due to her work schedule. Next time I’ll try to take even cooler pictures.
For now you’ll just have to check out the ones below.
Seriously, it's just right outside my door.
So close it could swipe our tires out.

Day two of the hot summer honeymoon sightseeing tour: Matsumoto Castle.

DSCF0007 That rainstorm video was something else wasn’t it? My first ever YouTube submission. I doubt anybody outside of my readers will ever watch it but it is kind of cool that I put something up there.
So on to the second day after the wedding. It was another sweltering hot day but at least this time we didn’t get rained on. On this day I drove my mom and my wife out to Nagano Prefecture, Matsumoto City. It was my first time ever out there so it was really interesting to see new stuff.
DSCF0049 We went to Matsumoto city to see the original castle they have there. Unlike other more well visited castles in Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya; Matsumoto Castle is built to scale (for midgets). It’s cool to see what a real castle looked like inside. It’s pretty Spartan as castles in Japan were used primarily for defensive purposes.
DSCF0066 The whole area around Matsumoto Castle was nice and green and well kept. Pretty par for the course for a land mark in Japan. But one thing that really stood out to me was that it was easy to get to by car and even easier to park there. Maybe it was the day we visited, but that’s how I experienced it.
Here’s some more pictures of Matsumoto Castle. Mouse over the images for more details.
Lots and lots of narrow stairs.
A shot from the top of the castle.
A nice exterior shot from the courtyard.
 Another exterior shot.
Stay tuned for day three of summer traveling in Japan.

Don’t go sightseeing in the middle of summer in Japan!

Gates to a shrine near the lake at Hakone. Hey all my patient readers! Sorry to leave you hanging for so long! I just checked my last entry and it looks like I haven’t written anything for nearly 3 months. That must be the longest stretch I’ve had between entries. Well, I’ve got a few entries full of pictures to make up for that long absence.
As you may or may not already know, I’m now married! I’ve already shown most of you those pictures over facebook so that’s not what I’m going to write about right now. I want to share what I did while my mom visited over the week we got married.
The day after we got married we went to Hakone with Yuko’s parents to see the lake in Hakone near Mt. Fuji. The weather was overcast so we really couldn’t see Mt. Fuji that day but we managed to snap some nice pictures. Oh, and I know that the pictures don’t really show it but it was nasty hot and humid that day! So bad that there was a sudden downpour at the end on the way home.
Move your mouse over the pictures to read my comments.
Here's a pirate ship ferry you can ride around in Hakone.
 Some sort of ninja playground near one of the landings.
One of those silly swan boats you see in anime/manga.
If I had binoculars I could see perfectly into the baths on the top floor. XD
And last but not least, here’s a video of that rain storm I mentioned earlier.
Just a normal summer shower in Japan.
So that’s it for this entry. The next entry will pick up from the day after this one.