Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What's a Wonderful Night

I dunno, but I guess I could guess...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Godzilla Loves Lotteria

"I'll like that to go."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Shoes in the doorway

You know you've been in Japan too long when you see a shop with a bunch of shoes lined up on the floor near the door and you think "wow, they have a lot of customers today!" and the shop itself is empty.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Torihana Annex

(Mediafire seems to be actng up again. Sorry about that.)

Torihana is a chicken restaurant. They bought up a neighboring shop that had gone out of business in order to expand their dining space, and called it "Torihana Annex."

I just like the use of the train station platform sign to indicate that the main restaurant is next door.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ansatsu Kyoshitsu, vol. 8 comments

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Ansatsu Kyoshitsu vol. 8, by Yusei Matsui, Grade B+

(Karasuma saves Ryouma and his friend, then takes a face-full of gas from Smog.)

The kids get to the top of the hill easily, and Ritsu disables the electronic door lock and surveillance cameras. Karasuma has to carry Irina and the Koro-sensei pouch up by himself, and Vichi complains all the way up. The class gets inside the building and makes their way to the front lobby, which is filled with security guards. Irina takes this opportunity to demonstrate her skills as an assassin by pretending to be a drunk guest, and playing the piano so well that the others get past the distracted guards. Elsewhere in the building, the villain boss leader has 3 minions. The first one, Smog, is sent down to intercept the intruders, while back at the other hotel, chemist Rin and maid cafe fan Takebayashi work to keep the temperatures down for the inflicted kids. Back inside, the kids are told to act like punks to blend in with the other clientele, but they don't do that good a job. They walk by a few real guests, then one of the kids yells for Ryouma to escape - the next guy is an attacker. Ryouma reacts too slowly, so Karasuma has to pull him out of harm's way, while getting a face-full of poison gas in the process. Turns out the girl recognized the guy as being the bartender that gave the class free fruit drinks earlier, and is the one that had poisoned them. Karasuma is still strong enough to knee Smog in the head, KO'ing him, but he needs to be carried for the rest of the trip. The group reaches the next mini-boss, a tall, light-haired guy named Grip, who kills people with his bare hands. Karuma goes toe to toe with Grip, and they both end up using Smog's gas canisters against each other, but Karuma is the only one who remembers to not breathe in the gas. Grip gets tied up, and Karuma tortures him by stuffing wasabi and hot sauce up his nose.

(Grip uses Smog's gas canister weapon against Karuma.)

The group gets to the sixth floor lounge, where the spoiled trust fund babies hang out. Nagisa is dressed up as a bad girl to act as a distraction, and the class makes their way past with only having to kick one thug in the head. They reach a set of stairs with two guards. One of the remaining kids acts as bait, and Ryouma and his minion use stun batons on them when the guards chase the boy around the corner. Ryouma indicates that he bought the batons with the money he got from Shiro. The group strips the guards of their guns, which are handed to the snipers, Chiba and Rinka. This brings them up against the remaining mini-boss, the gun lover (he spends his free time pouring salad dressings over his pistol and them licking them off), Gastro. Koro uses an American football style hiking code to have the kids run around an auditorium and hide behind the seats to confuse Gastro, until Chiba can get a clear shot at a bracket holding the spotlights up, causing them to fall down on top of Gastro, disabling him, and Rinka shoots his gun out of his hand. (Koro had coached the two marksmen just prior to the fight to get them over their slump from having screwed up their shots at Koro during the earlier assassination attempt.)

(The boss, plus Gastro, talking about Smog.)

Finally, the anti-heroes get to the top floor, where the final boss is waiting - the sadistic former teacher, Takaoka. His initial plan was for the sick kids to die, so that the healthy ones would fall into despair. Failing that, he's rigged the suitcase holding the virus antidote to explode if he pushes the remote button, and he has 10 extra remotes that he scatters on the floor in front of him as a further distraction. Takaoka has been having nightmares of Nagisa's smiling face from their last encounter, and he's been trying to rip his flesh away to get to the part of his head to make them stop. He demands a rematch, on the helicopter pad on the roof. Nagisa follows him up the ladder, and he then knocks the ladder over to prevent anyone else coming up to stop him. He says he'll relent if Nagisa gets on his hands and knees, puts his face to the ground and begs for forgiveness. The boy does this, and Takaoka laughs, throwing the suitcase and blowing it up anyway. Nagisa looks at Ryouma, who is showing signs of having the man-made virus, and is now consigned to die, and he picks up Takaoka's pigsticker, saying "I will kill you." This is what Takaoka has been waiting for.

(Nagisa to Takaoka: "I WILL kill you.")

Inside cover quote:
"Mister Tentacle, you can't return home empty-handed.
- Athlete Koro (at the Olympics)"

Back inside cover quote:
"I came. I saw. I wiggled.
- Koro-saru. (100 BCE - 44 BCE)
(note that 44 is written "四四", and can be read as "shishi", which can either be a snickering sound, or mean "die, die".)"

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ansatsu Kyoshitsu, vol. 7 comments

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Ansatsu Kyoshitsu vol. 7, by Yusei Matsui, Grade B+

The test goes by quickly, and each of the 3-E students do well in their chosen subjects. Rio Nakamura takes top standing in English (because Koro had her read "Catcher in the Rye," which was on the test). Yukiko Kanzaki takes second place to Asano in Japanese. Yuuma Isogai gets first place in Social Studies. Poisons master Manami Okuda takes first for chemistry. The best student in math, Karuma, dropped from 2nd to 10th place because he didn't study. Asano dropped a couple places in the other subjects as well, so Gakuhou eggs on Asano, and Koro eggs Kuruma, to get revenge next time. In the end, the class finally gets mentioned in the school year book, and the top 50 places are dominated by either class 3-A or 3-E students. Koro is happy, because he thinks that he can easily survive losing 3 tentacles, but he's overlooked something. Gakuhou added a new subject to the tests - Home Economics. Ryouma and all 3 of his minions aced Home Ec, tying for 1st place overall in the school. Koro has to give up 7 tentacles, which puts him in a panic. However, doing so well allows the class to take a summer vacation trip to an island resort down in Okinawa. (The 3-A top four students, not including Asano, brag about getting to go to Europe, which just threatens to further tear 3-A apart, since the other students have to settle for Okinawa, too.)

(Ritsu's stand-in, to have an actual physical presence in the room during the test.)

The next chapter is filler. Some of the students go out to the woods behind the school to hunt for beetles to sell for cash on the net. Along with Sugino, Kayano, Kuruma and Nagisa, we have Hinano Kurahashi and Taiga Okajima. Taiga has set out etchi magazines to trap Koro, while Hinano has talked Koro into helping her find a rare albino deep mountain stag beetle, worth $5,000-$10,000 USD. Kuro knew about Taiga's snare trap all along, and he's just been using it to pass the time until capturing the stag beetle. In their exuberance in finding the beetle, the students completely miss the presence of an even rarer Japanese otter.

(Koro Beetle and the etchi book trap.)

Lovro Brovski is back to train the class in new techniques. At the moment, Koro-sensei is killing time in a sensory deprivation capsule on mount Everest, and is being spied on by Lovro's men. (Actually, Koro is hiding in a cave under the capsule, practicing moving fast minus 7 tentacles.) Lovro teaches Nagisa a secret move, while the boy asks him about who the strongest person in the assassin's world is. Lovro answers that it's the almost mystical "God of Death" (Shinagami). During the training, both Lovro and Karasuma note that the best snipers are Ryuunosuke Chiba and Rinka Hayami. After this, everyone goes to an island resort in Okinawa, and spends the day surfing, hang gliding, and practicing assassinating Koro, while also setting up their next gambit against Koro. Some of the students receive free tropical drinks from the bartender as a "service." Irina is upset that no one is around to admire her in her new bikini, but she becomes professional when asked to talk about the importance of having backup plans during an assassination attempt. That night, the class takes Koro to a hut out on the water, and exposes him to a humiliating 1-hour documentary of all the perverted things he's been caught doing, including dressing up as a stag beetle and reading etchi magazines. The video ends, and Koro realizes that his tentacles are floating in seawater because the tide has come in. The seven students shoot off a tentacle each, as promised, then the walls of the hut collapse and a bunch of students show up on fly boards (water-powered hover boards), spraying more water everywhere. Many of the remaining students lay down a blanket of pellet fire to keep Koro from escaping, and finally the snipers, Chiba and Rinka surface from the ocean (they'd set up scented dummies to trick Koro into thinking they were on the mountain side elsewhere) and they fire the kill shots at Koro. Koro panics and there's an explosion.

(Koro was expecting water, but not fly boards.)

A few minutes later, an orange globe pops up from the water. Koro had invoked his ultimate defense - sacrificing his body to put an impenetrable sphere around his head. He can still talk, but he needs someone else (usually Nagisa) to carry him on a leash. In 24-hours he will recover, but in the meantime, he's protected. That doesn't stop Karuma from propping up his smartphone in front of Koro (who can't cover his face in embarrassment) and playing the 1-hour documentary again. The students return to the hotel, while Ritsu shows Chiba and Rinka high-speed video of their shots, indicating that the two of them had stiffened up in the clutch, and had been off by just enough as to ruin the plan. A few minutes later, half of the class comes down sick, becoming lethargic and spitting up blood. Karasuma gets a call from a mysterious villain claiming that the victims have been injected with a bio-virus, and the only antidote is at the top of a 10-story hotel building on top of a hill at the other end of the island. To get the antidote, Karasuma has to send only Nagisa and Kayano. Otherwise, the suitcase with the antidote is rigged with a remote controlled bomb and will be destroyed. The second hotel is owned by the yakuza and hosts gangsters from around the world, and spoiled trust-fund babies. Ritsu pulls up maps of the area, and Koro orders the student medics to treat the inflicted ones. The remaining kids will storm the hotel from the backdoor. Karasuma and Irina are convinced that the cliff leading up to the hotel is almost insurmountable, but Nagisa, Ryouma, Karuma and the others zip up with no problems. Karasuma settles down, and gives orders - everyone comes out alive, and they've got less than one hour to reach the tenth floor and save all the others.

(Half of the class suddenly comes down sick.)

Inside cover quote:
"When his face is completely red, he's angry.
He looks like this if you interrupt a lesson, or steal and eat one of his
hidden candies.
Moderately angry."

Back inside cover quote:
"Mister Tentacle, you can't return home empty-handed.
- Athlete Koro (at the Olympics)"

Note: During the hang gliding bit, Koro dresses up as Jiro Hirokoshi, a WWII aircraft designer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


The street running in front of the Reimeikan museum used to be part of the main thoroughfare in the 1800's in old Kagoshima. In 1857, when Japan was opening up to western trade, this street had gaslighting. The lights have been maintained and are still in use today, although I don't think I've ever seen them turned on in the evening. A few days ago, as I was walking to the Volunteer Center, I saw a work crew taking off one of the glass frames to replace the filaments on the lights.

(The lamps are in pairs, and the glass frame on the left side of the worker has just been removed.)

(Memorial marker talking about the gaslights.)

View of the gaslights down towards Reimeikan.

At least, I think they're gas filaments. They could just be LED bulbs...