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Most recent entry: 2015-06-28 00:00:00 -- Generated on 2015-07-02 22:11:55 by Rig3 0.4-440




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2015/06/28 Speed Ventures at Laguna Seca, 105db
π 2015-06-28 00:00 in Cars
After 5 years of not having been able to go to Laguna Seca due to their sound restrictions on most day, I heard that Speed Ventures was putting out an unlimited (enough) 105db day (my car is around 96db from what I know).

I had hired a professional racer as a coach for the day since I hadn't been to Laguna in 5 years and I figured it would save me some time relearning the track and it would be good having someone tell me whether I was braking too hard and too late, or not (he said I wasn't).

I bought 2 sessions back to back, so I had 40mn, and sadly my gas tank isn't actually quite big enough to do 40mn, so I had to exit a few laps early to avoid running out of gas on the track. I got 3 of those sessions (about 90mn) and my brake pads ran out after 20mn in another session after that.
Considering they were over 80% when I started the day, that was vexing, but thankfully I met someone who told me about 3rd party CCM pads that can stand track heat better and won't wear out as quickly. I'll be trying that next.












Thanks to Joon, I got a few nice pictures in the corkscrew. Thankfully he was able to ride with me one session before my brakes ran out.




Here is my last and best session just before the brake pad gave a wear warning (I then stopped right away to hopefully avoid destroying the rotor). Many 1:41 laps, although my timer says choosing the right points, I apparently did a single 1:40:x, and putting all the best track sections together, I ought to be able to do 1:38:x:

Turns out the rear facing videos were actually useful to see after the fact both when I should have been quicker to point some people by (I did, but not fast enough for some), and also see where people behind me were gaining on me. Thanks to that, I saw plenty of turns where I wasn't familiar enough with the track and was slowing down too much instead of keeping speed through them. It's pretty obvious when people farther behind me end up on my bumper right before the corkscrew for instance. Anyway, here's the session I did with Joon:

2015/06/27 Quick Lunch Flight in Monterey with Daniel
π 2015-06-27 00:00 in Flying
To celebrate Daniel's recent private pilot license, he invited me to fly to Monterey for lunch with him, so that's what we did :)

I wasn't a current member of his club at the time, hence I was technically not allowed to fly the C172, so I didn't. Besides, he needed the practise :) He honestly did well enough, and the plane went to fly with another pilot after we got back, so I call that a success :)


our house
our house





weird look alike houses
weird look alike houses














new apple campus
new apple campus




Daniel's approach was not aligned with the runway, but his landing was, so good enough :)
Daniel's approach was not aligned with the runway, but his landing was, so good enough :)

2015/06/17 Visiting Japan #3 Trip Wrapup
π 2015-06-17 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips


Since this is my 3rd consecutive trip to Japan, I don't have great additional wisdom from that I posted in 2013 and 2014 as well as another shout out to this article Japan, and How I Failed to Figure it Out.

This year's trip was a bit different though since I was taking my dad around mostly to places I had already been, to show him Japan 30 years after he had last been there for work. We obviously went at slower pace since he's a bit older than me :) and we took the time to have 2 Nagomi dinners, i.e. dinners with Japanese families who wanted to invite foreigners for dinner to chat with them in English. My dad didn't really visualize what it would be before we got there, but loved it afterwards, and both families who nicely hosted us for dinner also seemed very happy.

In the last years, I listed what I liked and surprised or amused me. I'm left with only a few of items this year, unfortunately not all positive:

  • I hadn't paid attention to the fact that I hadn't seen a single beggar in the street anywhere ever. It's not like there are 0 homeless people, even if the Japanese government apparently does a good job providing small little jobs to more people to give them a sense of purpose and base income, and that's a great thing, but from what I read the few(er) people who need help are too proud to beg in the street and get help from charity organizations.
  • Needless to say that I was impressed.

  • As far as shoes are concerned, with mine being difficult to remove and put back, that part of Japan is painful for me. Worse, when a place like Himeji Castle makes you remove your shoes and carry them for 30mn or even 1h as you go through the entire castle with just socks, this is just painful to people like my dad or me with flat feet (my dad) or feet like mine that need an insert to provide arch support. Walking without shoes on wood for so long was just painful and unpleasant :(
  • I understand people want to keep their home clean, but when it's a castle/museum, that's a bit more annoying. Also, none of the loaner slippers I've seen anywhere fit my double wide feet. I guess I should bring my own next time.

  • Japanese people are very respectful of rules, which is a good thing most times. On the flipside however, I haven't found them to think outside the box or be flexible when the rules might not make as much sense. They'll just be very sorry but I'm not sure if they'll try to adjust the rule in the future. Examples I've seen:
  • - after paying JR lots of money for a train pass, having them prevent you from taking nearly empty nozomi trains due to an obsolete rule that doesn't make sense, was annoying to say the least (you have to wait 30mn or more, for the exact same train, call hikari, and that does more stops except between Nagoya and Kyoto where both trains take the exact same time, but you still have to wait up to 30mn for the next Hikari, just because).
    - I went to a neko cafe in Osaka that was closing in 12mn (their times posted online were incorrect). They nicely warned me of this and I said it was fine, I'd rather see their cats 12mn than not at all. Because they were the owners, they could have given me a discount from the full price of 1200 yen, but I could tell it never occurred to them. In other countries it's been offered to me without asking, or in a couple of places they even just let me in for free because they felt bad about charging me for so little time. To be fair, I didn't ask because it was a bit hard in Japanese and I didn't want to waste the 12mn left anyway.
    - In Kobe, the ropeway becomes cheaper at 17:00 because the garden at the top closes, but the garden entrance closes at 16:30. I arrived at 16:20 and was notified that the garden would be closed by the time I got up, but I still had to pay full price. Ugh? How long have they worked with this? Didn't any employee point out that maybe lowering the price at the time you can't make it to the garden entrance anymore, be a good idea?
    On that last point, nothing is perfect. If people think a bit too much outside the box like the French, they are more likely to rationalize rules and laws and not obey them all depending on the situation. You can make an argument that's it's not always a good thing. On the flipside, being very orderly and respectful of rules like the Japanese makes for a nice and clean society which is appealing in many ways, but from time to time I think showing a bit more initiative and being able to rationalize a rule that really doesn't make sense in a given situation, can be a good thing too.

    Anyway, enough rambling, I still very much enjoyed this third trip to Japan and am thankful to all the very nice and helpful Japanese people we met.

    And for the French speakers, here is some French Engrish :)



    See more images for Visiting Japan #3 Trip Wrapup
    2015/06/16 Japan 2015 Day 15: Osaka Universal Studios
    π 2015-06-16 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    On the last day, my dad left early for his plane, while my plane was at 16:40, so I had some time left on my hands, but by then I had seen pretty much everything worthwhile in Osaka, esepcially including our visit last year already. So, I settled for Universal Studios.
    At first, it feels a bit silly to go there for only half a day (I had to leave by 13:00 sharp), but I figured that by being efficient I could see most of the park by that time. To help towards that goal, I bought the skip 5 lines pass, and sure enough was able to do all the attractions that mattered by 12:45 (I'd have missed a couple but 2 were closed, so it worked out).

    Some attractions like backdraft and back to the future are exactly the same as universal studios in Hollywood, while others I hadn't seen before, including the brand new Harry Potter movie/ride combo that people lined up 2h30 to see. Thankfully with my pass, I only had to wait 10mn to get in.

    I arrived 30mn before the park opened and it was a good idea because plenty of people showed up too, and thankfully I was close to the front of the ticket buying line. Once in the decors were quite nice:


    self medication indeed!
    self medication indeed!












    Some rides were ride/movie combinations where the blend wasn't bad at all actually:




    Spiderman 4D:


    Back to the future:




    A few rides:

    150mn wait for the new Harry Potter ride
    150mn wait for the new Harry Potter ride

    Hollywood Dream, the ride was an ok roller coaster, but not worth the normal line
    Hollywood Dream, the ride was an ok roller coaster, but not worth the normal line

    The new harry potter area was very well done:









    By then, it was time to get back to the airport and fly home:

    this fast-ish train gets you to the airport in fewer than 30mn
    this fast-ish train gets you to the airport in fewer than 30mn

    umbrella-sword, cute. But why was it forbidden?
    umbrella-sword, cute. But why was it forbidden?

    2015/06/15 Japan 2015 Day 14: Himeji and Kobe
    π 2015-06-15 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    Osaka doesn't actually have too many things to see. After 2 days in Osaka between last year and this year, there wasn't that much left, but I knew that Himeji Castle, the oldest castle in Japan, after years of renovation, was finally open to the public again, so I figured it would be a nice side trip with a stop in Kobe on the way back.

    Unfortunately the walk up wasn't the best for my dad, so he went shopping in Himeji while I went visiting the castle and nearby gardens:







    Sachi supposed to gard against lightening. They've since then added lightening rods
    Sachi supposed to gard against lightening. They've since then added lightening rods










    By then it was a bit late already (15:45-ish), so we took a quick Shinkansen to Kobe, and I took a ropeway to a high garden with view of Kobe. They nicely close the entrance at 16:30 and I got there at 16:34. I may or may not have crossed a closed rope to get in and get down the garden back down to the mid station to take the ropeway back down :)














    Next, we went to the Kobe Port Tower for a quick look around:








    We then walked through Chinatown to the street that has Kobe Beef Restaurants:





    Triple Joie indeed!
    Triple Joie indeed!

    Steakland:




    After some very yummy Kobe beef, we took another train back to Osaka to pack our luggage for the next day.

    2015/06/14 Japan 2015 Day 13: Osaka
    π 2015-06-14 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    Hotel Cross Osaka by Nanba had a fantastic breakfast, lots of fine dishes even if some were more lunch-like:




    While schedule-wise, it made more sense to go to the aquarium at the end of the day (fewer people, later closing time), but it made more sense for us to start with the aquarium. There was indeed a longish line, but by skipping some scheduled shows, we got ahead of most of the heavy crowd for some more quiet viewing:











    cool to see through the mouth :)
    cool to see through the mouth :)






    I didn't ask how much this one costs :)
    I didn't ask how much this one costs :)

    Next, we went to the science museum. Virtually no English, but very nice exhibits:




    nice demo showing that a shadow does not have to be black
    nice demo showing that a shadow does not have to be black






    We went to the nearby art museum, and honestly the expo wasn't that great:


    My dad then went out shopping, and I went to check out Den Den Town, the supposed Osaka Akihabara. It had a few similarities, but it wasn't quite on par. I went to check out some game rooms though :)


    this machine has a rotating control to thrown coins in the right place
    this machine has a rotating control to thrown coins in the right place

    I was more troubled by those games being played by kids maybe not even old to be teenagers
    I was more troubled by those games being played by kids maybe not even old to be teenagers

    Osaka did have its own branch of super potato, selling old vintage computers
    Osaka did have its own branch of super potato, selling old vintage computers

    Super famicon, anyone?
    Super famicon, anyone?

    Oldr Sega Mega Drive?
    Oldr Sega Mega Drive?

    Obsenely overpriced vintage LCD games
    Obsenely overpriced vintage LCD games


    It's always fun to see Japanese people playing games. That lady dancing was pretty good:

    Next, I went back to Ame Mura and went to check out a couple of Neko cafes. The first one had very unusual cats :)







    poor cat, it had its tail shaved like a little lion :)
    poor cat, it had its tail shaved like a little lion :)

    The 2nd was more typical:




    And it was then time to go back to meet my dad for dinner in our hotel restaurant:



    See more images for Japan 2015 Day 13: Osaka
    2015/06/13 Japan 2015 Day 12: Nara to half day in Osaka
    π 2015-06-13 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    We were pretty much done with Nara and my dad was longing for seeing other things than temples after 3 days of Kyoto and Nara :) so we ate a great breakfast at our Ryokan and went directly to Osaka. My dad was a bit tired, so he went in our room, and I went roaming around for the half day or so.




    Osaka is literally filled with shopping arcades, too many to list :)



    I got the Osaka 2 day attraction pass (3000 yens) and went to see attractions on the list. The first 2 were museums next to Osaka Castle. The museum of peace shows the ravages that war did to Osaka, although it does a poor job saying much about why Japan was at war to start with, or how Japan repeatedly failed to surrender when it was clear it was losing, and it took 2 atomic bombs to finally get them to yield without fighting to the last person alive like at Iwo Jima:



    Next was the museum of Osaka History which reproduced a huge palace that used to be there before the whole city was destroyed to ruins from war bombing:




    what's left of that palace
    what's left of that palace

    what it used to be like
    what it used to be like



    a game where you have to hit a target with a fan
    a game where you have to hit a target with a fan





    From there, I went to a 3rd museum, the osaka museum of housing and living, which was actually quite nice:



    Done with museums (which all close at 17:00), I went to Ame Mura, to see some unusal Japanese people and stuff:




    And went on to go to tsutenkaku, an old short-ish tower which still offers an ok vantage point:



    abeno harukas, a 300m high skyscraper (the tallest in Japan), where I went next
    abeno harukas, a 300m high skyscraper (the tallest in Japan), where I went next

    So I then took a quick cab ride to abeno harukas since I was afraid of a long line to get to the top and I wanted to be there before sunset, but luckily, there was no line at all and I got to the top in little time:







    tsutentaku, where I was just 30mn earlier
    tsutentaku, where I was just 30mn earlier


    the sad zoo, I was warned to avoid at all costs
    the sad zoo, I was warned to avoid at all costs








    I then had just enough time to go back to our room to meet my time for dinner:



    one fish restaurant had an aquarium with fishies that came to eat your skin
    one fish restaurant had an aquarium with fishies that came to eat your skin



    we settled for a 5 course crab dinner :)
    we settled for a 5 course crab dinner :)




    crab sushi, crab sashimi, crab any way you can think of :)
    crab sushi, crab sashimi, crab any way you can think of :)

    And that was it for our first day in Osaka, just enough time to head back for some sleep.

    2015/06/12 Japan 2015 Day 11: Nara
    π 2015-06-12 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    While there was much more to see in Kyoto of course, my dad got enough of an overview, so we went to Nara and dropped our luggage at the Ryokan New Wakasa where I stayed two years ago with Jennifer. It was still an awesome Ryokan with super reasonable pricing for the location, room size, very good food for dinner and breakfast, as well as service.

    Deer cross the street without even waiting for the green light :)
    Deer cross the street without even waiting for the green light :)





    this deer crossed the water to go enjoy the fresh grass :)
    this deer crossed the water to go enjoy the fresh grass :)

    We started with Kofuku-ji, its museum and statue display:







    the main hall is still being rebuilt. Completion date: 2018
    the main hall is still being rebuilt. Completion date: 2018

    you could make a donation to the construction and write your name on a tile
    you could make a donation to the construction and write your name on a tile




    Next, we took a cab to Shin-Yakushi-ji:



    This put us in a good place to enter the park from the south side and head towards Kasuga-taisha:









    After a quick lunch, we walked up the street full of shops, Zoshicho towards Todaiji Nigatsudo:






    Eventually we got to Tamukeyama Hachiman-gu Shrine and Todaiji Nigatsudo:





    wheel in the stone
    wheel in the stone



    From there we were able to get back down to the Bell and Todai-ji, but my dad went to rest then, so I did a quick detour towards the 2 gardens that were nearby, where Okuno-San, a very nice volunteer guide, gave me a tour:









    I then did a quick stop at the temple nearby Kaidan-in, next Todai-ji which I hadn't seen so far:




    Which then put me at Todai-ji around 16:30 when most of the tourists had already left:





    what the old temple looked like before it burned down, with 2 huge pagodas on its side
    what the old temple looked like before it burned down, with 2 huge pagodas on its side


    awesome, no one was there :)
    awesome, no one was there :)


    I still had time to go see the Nara national museum which closed late that day:







    I then went back to our Ryokan to enjoy a great dinner with my dad in our room:





    This was a nice day in Nara :)

    I leave you with a crying deer, I think it was crying because all the tourists that feed it, were gone :)

    See more images for Japan 2015 Day 11: Nara
    2015/06/11 Japan 2015 Day 10: Eastern Kyoto, Higashiyama
    π 2015-06-11 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    For the 2nd day in Kyoto, we started in Higashiyama with Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavillion. It was nice to start there with plenty of time instead of trying to race up there before it closed like the last 2 times :)
    Silver pavillion is a bit of a misnomer because unlike the golden pavillion, there is no Silver on the temple there, and actually that temple isn't even that impressive. But, the grounds are nice, and the sand sculptures are unusal.






    The street back down from there had a bunch of stores, this one seemed fun, never mind the "spairal" :)


    We then walked the philosopher's path on foot (we had a bike the last 2 times), and went to see the temples on the way as well as a few stores:








    friends :)
    friends :)

    Next we went to Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji which is not well known but actually has super nice rooms:








    Next, we walked to Nanzen-ji:








    We then took a cab to Kiyomizu-dera, so that my dad could see the shopping street on the way up. We also got to see plenty of kimono-wearers:




    quick lunch
    quick lunch






    By then it was raining a fair amount, so we went to Nishiki Market:




    we did a quick stop by Nishi Honganji:




    and we finished with dinner in the Kyoto train station, and my dad had a quick try at patchinko on the way back.



    2015/06/10 Japan 2015 Day 9: West and Central Kyoto
    π 2015-06-10 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    We started out day in Kyoto with a breakfast of champions like Jennifer would say :)



    We then started the day by taking a cab to Kinkakuji, the golden pavillion. Bikes didn't really work for my dad, and public transport kind of sucks and required lots of walking, so we just took cabs to make things easier.






    Next we went to Ryoan-ji, which I had carefully avoided so far since in my opinion it's an overhyped temple with 15 stones in some sand :) but I figured for my 3rd visit, I could have a look. The Zen garden is not worth the visit, it's no more special than the plenty of others you see in many temples, some totally free and without crowds, but the grounds were still nice and worth a few pictures:





    Next, we went to the much better Ninna-ji, which is still in renovations likes last time I went, but still quite worth the visit:











    Since we were on foot, we did a longish walk to myoshin-ji, a huge collection of temples. The main temple in the middle has a very nice dragon on its ceiling, but it'll cost you 40mn to see 2mn worth (20mn to wait for the next tour, required to get in), and then 20mn to listen to a lot of Japanese you won't understand and wonder how much longer before you can leave. The dragon is nice, but not worth the travel, effort and wait in my opinion:






    While I was there, I went to the nearby Taizo-in (in the same complex):




    By then, my dad was tired of all the walking we had to do due to lack of bikes, and he went back to our hotel to rest. I used the opportunity to see some B temples I hadn't seen before. I started with Imamiya Shrine, and its very nice garden. Honestly, I think it was a first rate temple deserving of more visitors:






    From there, I went to Heian Shrine and its nice gardens. It was also super nice and deserving of more visitors:









    Next, I went back north to Shimogamo Shrine:





    And then back down to Kurodani Temple which wasn't supposed to close, so I did it last. From there, I walked back up to Shinyo-do temple by going through some small paths and cemetaries, and when I was done found myself in some small streets kind of screwed when I had to find a taxi back :)








    After walking quite a bit until I reached a main street where I was finally able to hail a cab, I went to Kyoto tower to get views from the top before and after sunset. To be fair the view is actually not so great, but I had never been up it, so now it's done :)






    many taxis waiting by Kyoto station. they should have been in the streets where I needed them :)
    many taxis waiting by Kyoto station. they should have been in the streets where I needed them :)

    I then went to meet my dad for dinner in Potoncho, a street full of restaurants:



    2015/06/09 Japan 2015 Day 8: Tokyo to Kyoto via Nagoya and Toyota Museum of Industry and Technology
    π 2015-06-09 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    Since my dad wasn't interested in going to the Tokyo Skytree, and we were done with most other things on our list for Tokyo, and it was raining anyway, we took a morning Shinkansen to Nagoya, put our luggage in a locker, and took a cab to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, a short cab ride from the train station.


    someone was fixing the model trains in our hotel
    someone was fixing the model trains in our hotel

    boarding our shinkansen
    boarding our shinkansen

    Nagoya
    Nagoya

    I had been there with Jennifer two years ago, but the visit was too short (3 museums in one day through Nagoya was a bit busy), so it was nice to be able to do a longer visit with my dad (about 5H).

    A 3D loom Toyoda invented, kind of cool
    A 3D loom Toyoda invented, kind of cool



    Original brick walls from the factory that used to be there:


    The main room is full of textile equipment that was used in the Toyoda plants, some invented by Toyoda himself. From taking compressed cotton to cotton you can turn into strings, and then all the machines that turn it into textile. Quite impressive:

    turning compressed cotton as shipped into loose cotton that can be processed
    turning compressed cotton as shipped into loose cotton that can be processed

    it's a big machine that does the transformation
    it's a big machine that does the transformation

    massaging cotton before it can be turned into strings
    massaging cotton before it can be turned into strings

    turning cotton into strings
    turning cotton into strings

    doing the same, but most expediently
    doing the same, but most expediently



    bad ass!
    bad ass!



    They had a steam machine they used for demos:


    Then, was time to move to the automotive side:


    how engine bits are forged.
    how engine bits are forged.

    before making cars, toyoda made a bike helping motor
    before making cars, toyoda made a bike helping motor




    nice demos of transmissions
    nice demos of transmissions


    everyone needs a fax machine in their car :)
    everyone needs a fax machine in their car :)

    assembling car panels
    assembling car panels


    On the way out, we saw a new robot that can play violin. Seeing trumpet playing was cool, but violin (even if played badly) is even more impressive:



    And around 16:30 the museum closed, and we went back to the Nagoya train station to catch another train to Kyoto. This time we actually took a slow Hikari, but because it had no intermediate stops, it was just as fast as a Nozomi:




    And we got to Kyoto in time to spend an early evening, some views, and dinner in the great train station:









    We had great shabu-shabu for dinner:



    2015/06/08 Japan 2015 Day 7: Ueno Park, Akihabara, and Ginza
    π 2015-06-08 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    So I kind of screwed up and scheduled Ueno Park for Monday which is of course when all museums are closed. Doh! That said, the plan was only to see a non essential natural history museum, and we used the extra time to finish our Tokyo sightseeing a day early, which freed up some time to stop in Nagoya the next day.

    We started with Toshogu Shrine, a very nice temple in Ueno Park, and had a quick walk around:












    Then went to Akihabara to spend some quality time there :)



    maid cafes are still going strong :)
    maid cafes are still going strong :)

    Google fanboy apparel
    Google fanboy apparel


    plenty of anime stuff
    plenty of anime stuff

    While it was a bit painful at times due to how silly it was, I took my dad to a maid cafe. The girls did their best to converse with us in English, although most of them had super limited English. They're supposed to try and act cute and interested in you, which probably appeals to some Japanese fetish, but for us it was more the amusement value of how silly it all was :)



    We then finished in Ginza, the most expensive real estate in Japan to admire some buildings, visit the Sony showroom, and edge towards our restaurant where we had a dinner reservation:




    I stopped by Subarashi Jiro to snap a quick picture, although they don't want people to nose around
    I stopped by Subarashi Jiro to snap a quick picture, although they don't want people to nose around


    the fuckers from Debeers had an interesting building to see
    the fuckers from Debeers had an interesting building to see

    Our dinner was in a small 20 seat restaurant was a bunch of Japanese dishes and was quite tasty:






    We then went back to our room, and I snapped a few night shots:




    2015/06/07 Japan 2015 Day 6: Toshimaen, Korakuen and Tokyo Dome City, and Nagomi Dinner
    π 2015-06-07 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    We started the day by enjoying the great view we had from our room just on top of Tokyo Station. We could see all trains go by and part of the imperial palace gardens:






    Normally, Toshimaen is not somewhere a tourist would go. One of the online reviews say "the land that time forgot", and that's accurate :) but my dad worked there 2 years in a row for a combined 5 months some 30 years ago, and we went back there so that he could see what it looked like after so many years.

    It's indeed a small park with so-so rides, but great for small kids, and it's reasonably cheap considering:

    the train my dad used to take to get to Ikebukuro and see Tokyo
    the train my dad used to take to get to Ikebukuro and see Tokyo



    this is the boat ride of death my dad had been so scared in :)
    this is the boat ride of death my dad had been so scared in :)

    nice little BBQ lunch
    nice little BBQ lunch

    petting zoo
    petting zoo



    One interesting thing was that the park had made an event to attract cos players, so we got see some:




    Next, we went to Korakuen:








    And the adjacent Tokyo Dome City:







    It was then time to go to our Nagomi dinner, where a very nice Japanese couple invited us for dinner and chatting. The wife had studied in France, so she was happy to speak French with my dad, and the husband was able to speak English with me:



    It was a great evening, thanks to our gracious hosts.

    2015/06/06 Japan 2015 Day 5: Odaiba's Joypolis, Trick Museum, Megaweb, and Nagomi Dinner
    π 2015-06-06 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    On saturday morning, after my conference was over, we moved from Chinzanso to a hotel by Tokyo Station/Ginza, and dropped our bags there before going out for the day. It had a nice lobby celebrating the trains you can see very well from that high:



    We then took the train to Odaiba, with a plan to go to Legoland as per my dad's request, but turns out that Legoland is explicitely reserved for kids, so we weren't allowed to see it. The new waterfront train to Odaiba is always a nice ride with great view:


    Odaiba is full of attractions, and we only had time for a few:



    We went to Tokyo Joypolis, a bit indoor amusement park with lots of rides, mostly movies and motion rides:


    I did the initial D drifting ride
    I did the initial D drifting ride


    The malls and shopping avenues nearby was nie to see:



    We then went to the trick art museum, which was definitely worth a visit:



    there is no bench
    there is no bench






    Next, we went to the Sony ExploraScience next door, worth a bit of time with fun science related displays:


    There happened to be an event to make the place a beach, but it was kind of cold and almost raining:



    From there, we had a quick look at Toyota Megaweb before we had to head out for our dinner that evening:





    nice plastic car
    nice plastic car

    putting glasses on a car so it can see better :)
    putting glasses on a car so it can see better :)

    new fuel cell hydrogen cars
    new fuel cell hydrogen cars

    It was then time to go to our Nagomi dinner, where a Japanese family invited us for dinner and chat:







    Big thanks to our hosts, it was a great dinner and evening.

    Before going home, we also stopped at Shibuya to go to Don Quixote and try to find the noodle pond machine my dad saw :)




    2015/06/04 Japan 2015 Day 3: Evening in Tokyo, Sunset from Mori Tower and Dinner at Google
    π 2015-06-04 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    Nice view from the room at the Chinzanso Hotel
    Nice view from the room at the Chinzanso Hotel

    I didn't have anything after the conference in wednesday, so we took a cab to Roppongi and got to the top of Mori Tower for some nice views. They also happened to have an expo on star wars:








    From there, we then went to see my friend Eric who had us at Google for dinner, and we then walked around the buildings a bit to see the decors before heading back.





    nice little keyboard :)
    nice little keyboard :)

    2015/06/02 Japan 2015 Day 1: Tokyo
    π 2015-06-02 00:00 in Japan2015, Trips

    Nice view from the room at the Chinzanso Hotel
    Nice view from the room at the Chinzanso Hotel

    While waiting for my dad to arrive, I went to Yoyogi Park and Meiji Jingu shrine, which was quite peaceful around 08:00 when I arrived:


    seeing sake offerings is typical
    seeing sake offerings is typical


    but seeing French wine from bourgogne region was unexpected
    but seeing French wine from bourgogne region was unexpected




    museum
    museum



    Next, I went to nearby Harajuku, and its Takeshita Dori shopping street with all the kids wearing weird clothes :)




    Fuck all you for 980, that's a good price :)
    Fuck all you for 980, that's a good price :)

    I then went back to the hotel to go meet my dad, and we went to Sunshine City. Unfortunately Sunshine 60, the top floor view deck, had just closed a month earlier, but we got a few views from the 59th floor restaurant:

    driving school on top of a building :)
    driving school on top of a building :)


    They also had a small aquarium on top of one of the buildings. Unfortunately it was too small for some of the animals they had in there :-


    mandarin fish
    mandarin fish




    the sunfish was in a tank way too small for its size
    the sunfish was in a tank way too small for its size



    I love small cuttlefish
    I love small cuttlefish

    mud skippers are also super cool
    mud skippers are also super cool


    that toad comes flat
    that toad comes flat

    Their reef tank was a bit small, like the rest, but had some nice fish:


    Poor zebra shark, it got handled like a puppy :)
    Poor zebra shark, it got handled like a puppy :)


    By then, my dad was quite tired due to jetlag, so he went back to our room to sleep, and I went to see a couple of Neko Cafes that were nearby, because it's fun :)




    this chat is so messed up :)
    this chat is so messed up :)


    it got its own pillow even :)
    it got its own pillow even :)

    I then went around Ikebukuro and checked out some game rooms:



    Some players are quite serious and skilled:

    By then it was time to get back to our room and pick up my dad to go out to Shinjuku for dinner and going to Robot Restaurant:








    And that was it for our first day. Not too bad considering we just got off the plane :)

    The next day, I went to Linuxcon JP 2015, where I spent 3 days and gave my talk on docker.

    See more images for Japan 2015 Day 1: Tokyo

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