Monday, 31 August 2009

Summer Internship

| 3 persons flung their shoes
In my first year in university, I spent my summer holidays working like a horse; the second year, travelling around Japan; and the third year - which is this one - going for a summer internship.

Outside Japan, internship may be synonymous to "disposable cheap labour" but here, things are as different as heaven is from hell.

The company I went to is Amada, which makes sheet metal machines. Not only does Amada hold the biggest share in Japan, it's also the number two biggest maker in the world. Its biggest vision now is to dethrone the German company, Trumpf, its archrival. The competition is fierce, as can be seen in MF-Tokyo - Trumpf's blue-and-white machines and Amada's black-and-red machines dominate half of the exhibition area. (I'm looking forward to receiving my invitation to the event which is to be held from 14 to 17 October this year.)

Monday, 24 August 2009

Even a Supermodel Needs a Rest

| 0 persons flung their shoes
Even a Supermodel Needs a Rest
Not a very sharp one but I couldn't step down more than this because of the lightings. Man, cam-whoring in the middle of the night is tiring! Especially when you've been sleeping before eleven for the last five days! Taking your self portrait means you're doing both the photographer's and the model's job. It's twice as demanding as typical photography.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

| 0 persons flung their shoes
Rainbow Bridge :: Horizontal 1 (16:9)
Somewhere over the rainbow, off the coast of Tokyo Bay, is a manmade island called Odaiba. It's linked by a suspension bridge, Rainbow Bridge, that is synonymous to the island itself.

It's probably some kind of romanticism, but almost everyone who has been to Odaiba deems it a romantic landmark. I asked a few Japanese girl friends which spot around Tokyo they think is the best dating spot and their answer, as expected, was Odaiba. It has got the beach, the breeze, the malls, the restaurants the ferris wheel, and the ultimate symbol of romanticism, Rainbow Bridge...

I'm going to prove otherwise. Because without lightup, Rainbow Bridge is no different from any other dull bridge. This is a bunch of dull Rainbow Bridge shots to make you pull out your hair and go nuts for the rest of your life.

You have been warned.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Bracing for Quakes

| 1 persons flung their shoes
Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Big One is probably not far away.

I'm betting 50 Yen there's going to be another earthquake this morning. Don't get me wrong. I'm not looking forward to it. In fact, I'm slightly troubled.

Sunday. I almost dozed off in front of the terminal. Then it began with some small tremors, which nevertheless shook the wooden shack rather badly. It could be the passing herd of elephants, I thought; they do that all the time. But then, the tremors grew stronger. The walls squeaked in protest, the bookshelf swayed angrily, the kitchen rack threatened to smash the dishes on the floor, every piece of furniture came to live. It was hard to tell which one it was: a poltergeist or an earthquake. For a moment, I thought about diving under the desk for cover. But, the tremors stopped. Everything settled down again as if the spell that brought them to live suddenly wore off.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Getting to the Bottom of the Barrel

| 2 persons flung their shoes
Take a look at the signboards of three of the biggest convenience store (kombini) chains in Japan - 7 Eleven, Lawson, AM/PM. What do you see in common?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe convenience stores - as the name suggests - are there for the sake of convenience and also for times of emergencies, especially. Like, say, when you run out of midnight snack, or when your girlfriend runs out of tampons. When you frantically run around in the neighbourhood searching for the nearest convenience store to buy cup noodles or a pack of tampons, all you need to do is to look out for the beacon of hope that shines in front of every kombini. So if I were to open a kombini, I'd put up a big signboard which says, "Food/Tampons".

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Hippies to the Elections

| 0 persons flung their shoes
From cosplay to hentai sub-culture, Japan has it all. But a cult running for the elections? I've to admit I didn't see that coming.

I first heard of it yesterday when I was on my way back from my grocery shopping. They had a van running around in the neighbourhood. The loudspeaker played the same message ad nauseum, breaking the ennui of a lazy summer afternoon. But when your brain has gotten used to the yaki-imo vans and the recycling trucks, it doesn't take any effort to ignore loudspeaker vans of other sorts.

The candidate running for the general elections waved at the passerby's, "Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!"

Not that I'll get to vote this August 30. But so as not to appear rude, I smiled and nodded at her. That's when I caught a glimpse at the name - Happiness Realization Party.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Odaiba's New Toy

| 4 persons flung their shoes
The weather couldn't get any better. The sky was clear; not a cloud was in sight. I thought it was a perfect day for a photo outing but alas I was wrong.

I got off at Tokyo Teleport station. My destination, Shiokaze Park, was 20 minutes' walk away. It was the longest 20 minutes I've ever walked. The temperature was unbearable - 32゜C. And to make things worse, the humidity. Now I finally recalled why I hated summer.

I went through all the torture just to take a look at what everyone has been talking about lately. A new landmark has risen over Tokyo's skyline - Gundam! Standing at 18m, he's a 1:1 replica of the inaugural RX-78-2 Gundam from the popular anime series.

Odaiba's New Toy
Obviously, I have to salute Mr Gundam. Staying outside in this summer heat is no joke. But he's doing all this for his fans, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Gundam series. He's also Tokyo's green ambassador, pushing for a cleaner environment in the bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.