Piroko and I went game shopping in Shinjuku. It was kind of strange to have the Piroko part of my life collide with the Shinjuku game shopping part of my life. I bought her a used copy of Dragon Quest VIII for only 3000 yens. This is outside the sushi restaurant featured in [an old post](http://context.metalbat.com/?878) and [a very old post](http://context.metalbat.com/index.pl?767). Apparently the giant fish heads are intended to express the freshness and quality of the sushi inside the shop.
Archive for July, 2006
I think there was something fascinating about this tree that made me photograph it. Whatever it was, I’ve forgotten it. Such is the peril of taking so long to update one’s photo-log. Today (many weeks in this photo’s future) I had the surreal pleasure of meeting [Ethan Schoonover](http://www.kinkless.com) and [Merlin Mann](http://43folders.com) for work. Between them and all of us Omni dudes, the amount of geek love in the room was dazzling. We talked for a long time about productivity type stuff, and it’s at a time that I’m bustling around a lot working our new project planning application. This has all gotten me thinking about the way I *Get Things Done*, and about how I can *close loops* and make sure my *methodology* doesn’t have any *leaks*. What should I use to trigger myself to update this photo-log promptly enough to avoid forgetting what the photos are about? When should I write something in my mini notebook and when should I write something in my *very* mini notebook? Can I trust a printout of my Kinkless GTD document as much as I currently trust my all-paper system? These are all questions that have deep meaning to me, and very little meaning to anyone else. But do you like how I segued into this from the tree?
When I see terrain and buildings at this scale, I always want to set up a Warhammer 40,000 battle. How cool would it be to send Tyranids through a Japanese Imperial palatial complex!
One of my favorite things about ancient Japanese gates is that they tend to have a little mini-door in them, presumably for when only one dude needs to get through and it’s not worth making a big production of opening the whole thing.
There are a couple of ways of interpreting this. Maybe the map’s creators didn’t want to presume too much about where the reader is, and found it safest to assert only their *own* position. Or perhaps it’s just a friendly inclusion: you are here, *and we’re right along with you*.
Part four in an ongoing series, “[Kabukichou from above](http://context.metalbat.com/?1107)”. I did some shopping and geeky wandering this time, but it may be the first time since 2000 that I’ve visited Japan without buying a PS2 game. I did get Atelier Marie Elie and Anis for Game Boy Advance, a couple of Ar tonelico books, all three Ar tonelico soundtracks, several other music CDs, and the first five Paradise Kiss comics. And, I accidentally stumbled upon a brand new comic from my favorite artist Toume Kei! Wooo!
So, I went to Japan again. When Golden Week rolls around and tickets drop below $350, there’s really no reason to stay away. But I need to stop shopping for tickets based on who offers the cheapest price. I was already insulted by United Airlines last time, and this time Northwest stepped up to the plate and proved that, given the chance, they can truly make flying as miserable an experience as possible for everyone involved. 1. Do you like advertisements? No problem! The screen 8 inches in front of your face simply won’t turn off for the first 40 minutes of the flight! You don’t even have to lift a finger in order to see a nude man diving off a rock in order to convince you to buy Bulgari cologne! After all, you *love* Bulgari cologne, and that’s why you’re flying coach today. 2. Do you like grating, feedbacky PA announcements? *Northwest has you covered*. Every few minutes, you can count on somebody getting on the PA to let you know some dang thing or another, usually about duty-free shopping. You know, just in case you had your head rotated 180 degrees and didn’t notice the screen. 3. Is English not your native language? Northwest flight attendants will not hesitate to scowl at you and say “what!?” every time you try to make yourself understood. If you ask for something, you can count on a brusque and exasperated response every time. After all, it’s not like the flight attendants are there to help you and make your trip more pleasant or some such nonsense. If you persist, they’ll fetch the only bilingual (and only polite) flight attendant on the plane, from up in First Class. 4. Do you like gossip? Here’s a tip: sit in the back of the plane! Try to get the very back row, near where the flight attendants sit. I sat there, and I got to hear all about how much of a pain the safety training to become a flight attendant is, how people from Washington D.C. are all rude, and which swear-word best describes a certain famous doctor one of the attendants once encountered on a flight. You can even ask them to be quiet, and they’ll keep on going, knowing that you’ll enjoy the flight more if you have access to such useful information. 5. How about Linux boot screens? Just leave your screen alone for the entire flight. Halfway through, it’ll suddenly encounter an error and reboot! There’s Tux smiling at you! How cute! I’m sure that while the PA and entertainment screens are so miserable, the integrity of the plane itself is *just fine!*
I have admired [Mitsumasa](http://mitumasa.com)’s models for years, and I spent months trying to get my hands on his I-No kit. I even flailed about on Google, looking for someone who might be going to Wonder Festival and who could try to beat the crowds and get one for me. I came across [Heisei Democracy](http://heiseidemocracy.net) and implored the proprietor there. He started to decline and apologize, until he recognized my e-mail address. It turned out that we’d actually been in the same anthropology class at Sophia in Tokyo in 2002! We exchanged info back then but didn’t keep in touch. We became friendly online, and he tried his best to pick me up a copy of I-No. She sold out, but he did pick me up a nice [Plug-suit Ayanami](http://www.t3.rim.or.jp/~happy/rei.htm) from Hapoi. Later, as the I-No search continued, Mitsumasa started accepting overseas orders for his Non-Non kit. I couldn’t resist supporting such a cool move for someone in a hobby usually so exclusive of outsiders. When this arrived, I imagined Mitsumasa himself, writing out my name and (work) address. So cool. :D I did eventually get my hands on I-No, through Yahoo Japan and [Akibado](http://akibado.com/). Now I’ve got two Mitsumasa kits to agonize over. @_@
From the day my brother-in-law Thom showed me his ancient D&D books, I’ve wanted to run a roleplaying campaign. That was about 15 years ago. I falteringly tried to start campaigns throughout grade school and high school. I joined a short-lived Robotech campaign in junior high, and played in a semi-successful freeform campaign while in Japan. Then, last year, three of us in the support room were tired of WoW and looking for something more fulfilling. We started in on Neverwinter Nights. It was a fun enough representation of D&D, but eventually we wanted to take it farther and play our own real D&D campaign. I bought the books while home for Thanksgiving, and went to work putting together a campaign setting. I didn’t even know that Omni had loads of miniatures and terrain just lying around from when such things were still considered appropriate uses of the company’s funds. I obsessed for a while about how the official D&D minis are packaged like Magic cards: you don’t know what you’re going to get until you open the pack. That meant I’d have to base encounters on what I ended up with, rather than basing purchases on the encounters I had planned. Now we play nearly every Sunday, and I think things are going quite well. We’re even using the benefits of modern technology, by keeping our character sheets in multi-layer OmniGraffle files and uploading them to an official campaign wiki.
Andrew convinced me to come snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge, and then at Mount Rainier. We tromped around on snow piled dozens of feet thick. We had a great time; Andrew liked it so much he bought three pairs of snowshoes, so as to more easily convince people to come along on further adventures.