Greetings, people? Maybe?

Look to the right and down a bit. You'll see a series of years with numbers next to them. Then, you'll notice that there was a steady increase in posts over a few years and then a fairly steep decrease.

What happened?

I went to Taiwan.
I had a part-time job for three years.
I then took on full-time for two years.

Can you guess which are which?

College was extraordinarily easy. Not in the sense that my courses were Connect Four against a toddler, but I found much time to do other things. Non-college things. Amongst those were working other jobs, being politically active [to a greater extent than today], and writing. Blogs weren't no thang, so I threw them out to the few peasants that felt a desire to hear my rants and raves (mostly rants).

Upon graduation, I found myself once again in Taiwan. There, I found myself working, for three years, between nine and sixteen hours a week. I had so much time; you really have no idea. Actually, you can get an idea: go read my blog.

I had things I did I wanted to chronicle: being assaulted by spiders, writing awe-inspiring beetle tales, and finding arch-enemies on the road. Sometimes I traveled, and then I'd write about those travels.

Now, I have things I want to write about, but there are others things I want to do, too: travel, play video games, write other things, and partake in various, non-blog-related hobbies. Priorities take form and one of them has not been my blog.

This seems to happen every now and then, but I've really let this thing go.

With that beings said, I cannot guarantee regular updates (I tried last March and almost got every day). I won't abandon the thing, but it might be best to just check back every now and then, because it definitely will not be as it was before.

Cheers, yo.


Osaka [4] - Claw Machines

This could probably be considered a supplement to Osaka [3] because it is along the same lines. I really cannot believe I forgot to include it!

The claw machines in Japan are intense. I've become used to the Taiwanese claw machines that rip you off whilst trying to get at a cheap trinket (they are all rigged to go to a certain dollar amount). In the U.S., I was a claw machine master; when I stepped up to a machine, I'd win within one or two turns, no joke.

In Japan, I'm not sure how I feel about the machines' playabilities, but they contain truly fantastic items. I played a few times, but returned to Taiwan sans claw machine prize.

Sausages and pizza
Yes, they are refrigerated. The sausages and pizza come out frozen, so I guess that's your meal for the evening..if you win. Unless you're really good at these games or know the tricks, it's probably cheaper to buy something from a store and make it at home.

Forrest Gump would love this.
 Boxes of chocolates! This machine is not skimping. If you win, you either get chocolate cake, chocolate cookies, or wafers of assorted flavors.

The aisle just goes on, and on, and on.

Anime and Cleanliness
Yeah, I'm not too sure as to the reasoning for this combination, but you can choose to play for Dragon Ball Z merchandise or a water jet cleaner. The draw wasn't there for me to try either, but I did lose at a Neon Genesis Evangelion figurine machine.


I got a parcel!

Why do I always say my mom is adorable? Well, it's because she sends packages to me like this:

Osaka [3] - Wackiness

Japan is a hugely historic, proud nation with culture pouring from every island. That isn't to say, however, it is the most normal of places; it is, in fact, rather strange (of course these terms are subjective).

During my time in Osaka, I noticed things that I had 1) never thought possible, 2) heard of but couldn't really believe existed, 3) been hoping to see, and 4) never heard of but were quite cool.

Now this is an eye chart. Look at this thing!
If you are well-versed, or even just moderately-versed, in Japanese, then you'd be able to take this eye test. It consists mainly of the Japanese script Hiragana, with some circles and paired fish thrown in. I like it!

Animes do not exaggerate this.
Vending machines are everywhere: down alleys, inside stores, outside stores, in the metro, outside of it, in lines to whatever you are waiting for, in every store imaginable, in post offices, outside post offices, in and outside schools' grounds, etc., etc., etc. They are just for drinks, either; toys, electronics, office supplies, books, cigarettes...the list goes on. I didn't see many for food, but I wasn't really looking for eatables. There are more unsavory vending machines, too, catering to the odder, stranger aspects of Japanese Otaku culture, but they are far and few between.

This little guy was adorable and blended right in.
Yaling and I were walking up the stairs of the metro when we noticed this tiny lizard. This is in the middle of the city, but I wasn't terribly surprised; I see lizards all the time, all over, in Taiwan.

Honey condoms.
This is a pack of condoms. Honey condoms. Everything in Japan has a cute version, and this is the Rilakkuma version of contraceptives for men.

They're real!
Did your pocket monster get injured in battle? No problem, because Japan has Pokémon Centers! Yaling wouldn't let me go in because we were in a hurry to catch the JR to the airport...I'm totally going, in Tokyo.

The very definition of sophistication.
I wish I would've shaken this guy's hand. He was rolling down the street in the tricycle playing lounge jazz and swing music. Check out that hair and outfit! Seriously, he's probably the most suave guy I've ever laid eye upon.


Osaka [2] - Railway

I cannot tell you the number of animes I've watched. OK, I can if I look at my spreadsheet, but I don't want to. The answer, though, would probably be over fifty (most are about 12 to 24 episodes). Nearly every series that doesn't take place in some Edo-esque period has a metro system of some sort. Eventually, this system goes above ground.

In Osaka, the subway seemed quite familiar, as I've seen its likes before.

This was the first thing Yaling and I dealt with: the JR Line going to downtown Osaka. A very nice South Korean gentleman, who spoke Japanese and English, helped us determine the train we needed to take.
It's Greek to me...
OK, it looks daunting at first, but the romanji (Romanized Japanese) really helped a lot. Also, that layout is quite pleasing.

One evening, while Yaling was shopping, I took the Senri Line to Kunijima Station. Why there? I had nothing I wanted to see, in particular, but wanted to just take the train out of the underground and into a residential area. At that moment, I was using a ride-all-day card, so it didn't work on the metro gate. As such, I stayed inside the station.

Really aesthetically pleasing recycling bins.
Looking back at where I came from.
I love the view of the track from the footbridge.

This may be my favorite picture from Osaka. You may ask why, given that I have so many very beautiful pictures of forested areas, ancient pagodas, marine life, and various amusement venues. Well, it's just that familiarity I spoke of earlier; I felt like I had been here before, like I knew this area. It's just a feeling that is difficult to explain, but I'm very much glad I took the journey out to this spot, where I was forced to stay within the gates and make do with what I had.


Osaka [1] - Graffiti

More than once I've sat myself down with the intent of writing an entry on Yaling's and my trip to Japan. However, I never find the motivation to do so; there is just so much else to do than write here.

Enough time has passed that I recall not the chronological order of the trip, and asking Yaling to dig up a record of things seems annoying. I could look at my photographs for EXIF data, but that seems like effort.

Instead, I shall talk about some of the interesting things in multiple posts.

Firstly, I should note that Japanese graffiti is quite creative and has a different feel than other places. Examples:

OIL FOR 東北 - H.23.2.26

H.23.2.26, as I've learned, is the current era in Japan, the Heisei Period. The current year is 25, meaning that it has been 25 years since Emperor Hirohito (now Emperor Shōwa) passed and his son, Akihito, succeeded to the throne. My research can only take me so far, so I don't know what the S.K, K.S are below the date  

The piece itself seems to have been left by Kiyonography (Kyono Dmitry), a professional photographer.

As for the 東北 after OIL FOR, it seems to be a reference to Northeast China and their current lust for oil.

Rites in Osaka 

Remembering old traditions and rites in Osaka, this is a bit of the past represented on the shutters of a current business.

Despair or Loneliness

There's no other message here other than an emotion like despair, loneliness, or confusion. I'd assume this to be a social piece, but that's where my commentary would end.


It has been requested that I make a post about Japan.

I haven't even made one about my trip to Matsu (a few days before Japan), or my 2012 trip to Hong Kong.

Fine, I'll expend some energy tomorrow and try to whip something up.