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Help Desk of the Gods

July 25, 2016

Today’s outing took us to the electronics mecca of Tokyo, Akihabara. Michael is saving up to buy his own computer (probably sometime next year) and I thought it might be fun to go and drool over some of the options. After some navigational issues on my part we finally arrived at Yodobashi Camera. It is part of the Akihabara train station, but I tried to minimize our train time and went a different way. Not being able to read quickly strikes again. We ended up on the wrong train and it took us twice as long to get there as it should have.

Yodobashi Camera is a seven story building that sells anything electronic that you can think of. They sell computers, cameras, video games, entertainment systems, appliances, and we even saw half a floor devoted to luggage and camping gear. The first floor is rows and rows of computers displayed so they can be played with. Sort of like an Apple Store, but with everything. There was a section with apple products probably bigger than most Apple Stores and no geniuses bothering us while we browsed. They probably had over one hundred laptop models and several gaming PC’s. We liked the monitor for the Acer Predator (seen above), but it was probably out of our price range. Today was purely window shopping, but it got Michael thinking about what he might be looking for. [Note: It wasn’t just Windows shopping though, we also looked at Mac and Linux.] We also looked around the other sections of the store for a bit. They have a huge gaming section and a very large section of computer books. All in Japanese. We spent over two hours just browsing electronics. I know it is all available online, but it’s sort of like books. You don’t get the same feeling for an object if you just look at a picture on a webpage.

After we finished shopping I tricked Michael into some culture. There is a shrine near Akihabara called Kanda Myojin. The shrine is over 800 years old, but they have embraced their proximity to the modern stores of Akihabara. Many technology companies will make offerings to bless start-up companies, new projects, or even to try to give a boost to failing projects. Many companies in Japan make offerings to the shrines to ensure success, but Kanda Myojin seems to have specialized in tech companies. They even sell individual charms (or omamori)  that you can buy to bring good luck to your personal computing devices. When I heard about these I had to have one so I made Michael walk over there with me before we headed back home.

Update:  We used up some more of our bacon tonight with our dinner. I’ve been saving the bacon grease each time we make a few slices and Michael has been trained by his Grandpa Ed that bacon grease is meant to be used when cooking pancakes. Tonight we had pancakes and bacon for dinner. There are only four slices left.

Life Is More Fun If You Play Games

July 24, 2016

(-Roald Dahl) is one of the better uses of technology int he world. I use it to find technology and industry meetings all the time, but most people probably use it for things like Game Day. In Tokyo there is a group called the Japan International Gamers Guild and volunteer organizers host game days all over the city. On almost any Saturday or Sunday there is a game day going on somewhere in the city. Michael and I have gone to the event closest to our apartment, in Shimo Kitazawa, three times in the past, but they don’t meet until next week so we decided to attend the next closest event, in Shinjuku. We’ve been playing games at home, but many games are more fun with others and you usually get to try new games as well. Also I needed to see if someone else could help me win against Michael at RFTG. His winning streak on this game is getting a little annoying.

The game day we usually attend is in a pub which has pluses and minuses, but today’s event was at a community center. I liked this venue a lot. It was very well-lit with lots of tables for playing games and it’s only 30 minutes from the house via train. The only negative was that the air conditioning was not very powerful and with 20+ people in the room it got pretty warm.

Michael and I showed up about 20 minutes after they started. I was aiming for ten minutes after they started, but we were slowed down a little by catching Pokemon on the way there. Several other people came in late apologizing for the same reason – Pokemon Go. Not surprising with a group full of game lovers.

We played a quick game of Roll for the Galaxy with one other person named Justin while we waited for more people to show up. There were about a ten people there when we got there, but most had already started playing a game. I felt a little sorry for the guy playing RFTG with Michael and I as we gave him all the rules in a verbal barrage. He held his own considering it was the first time he’d ever played, but Michael won. I think he cheats.

Just as we were wrapping up the game, our opponents friends showed up and we all played a very long, but mostly fun game of Adventuretime Munchkin. I’ve never watched the Adventuretime show so most of the jokes were lost on me, but I like Munchkin. Six people ended up playing the game; me, Michael, our new friend Justin, Justin’s friend Aaron, Aaron’s girlfriend (sorry she only told us her name once and I forget), and anther woman who came by herself who I don’t think ever gave us her name. She’d never played Munchkin before and by the end I think she probably wished she’d joined another game. It took us three hours to play one game of Munchkin and we didn’t even finish. We ran out the clock because we only had the room at the community center until 5:15. As the last person took their turn before we had to leave it brought him to nine points, which tied him with everyone else. We had a six way tie. It was pretty amazing.



Gotta Catch ’em All

July 23, 2016

I’m a few days behind on my blogging after writing up the Fuji climb, but we’re still having fun. The day after Fuji we took it easy. We both slept in late. Michael slept until 10:30am, which might be a record for him. We played one game of Roll for the Galaxy that day and watched a couple of episodes of the TV show Leverage. It rained from sunrise to sunset so it was a good day to sit around. We ate instant ramen for dinner. I did go out for a walk in an attempt to not be so stiff the next day and also to make sure I won my Fitbit challenge. Read more…

Two Men on the Mountain

July 23, 2016

(or At Least it Didn’t Rain)

This is the third time I have climbed Fujisan. Each time has been different, I’ve been different, I’ve gone with different people, and the weather has been different. I wrote an account of the last time I climbed to the top with my two daughters and our unexpected descent in the dark. Comparing the two trips now the only real differences were that this time I expected to climb in the dark, we got to see the sun rise above the clouds, and there were shops and people at the top. But each climb has its own story. Here is this one, it’s going to be a long post because I want to be able to read this ten years from now and remember everything. Read more…

Son rise to the sunrise

July 20, 2016

Bringing Home the Bacon

July 19, 2016

IMG_2749For some time now Michael and I have been working on a recipe for Sloppy Joes. We cooked this meal on a semi-regular basis when we lived in Minnesota and we have made it once or twice this past year, but we had to make some modifications. Some of the ingredients are not carried in any of the sixteen grocery stores that are within easy walking distance of our apartment. For example we had not seen hamburger buns for sale. Anywhere. It didn’t make much sense to me because there are also fourteen hamburger joints within walking distance so where are they getting all of their buns? After several missteps with butter rolls we sort of stopped making sloppy joes. Michael was missing this meal and let me know that one of the things he wanted to do this summer was track down some hamburger buns and make some sloppy joes. Read more…

The Wheel Turns

July 18, 2016


Our mission today was to go to Kamazawa Olympic park and use the running track there to run a kilometer as fast as we could. And there just happened to be a Freshness burger near the park entrance, which made for an easy decision for our post run lunch. Read more…


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