Hillary Buttons!

Yesterday an envelope arrived from the Hillary Victory Fund. It was not ordered by me. And it was sent directly to my house here in Tokyo. In fact, it was slightly incorrectly addressed, but got to me anyway. I don’t know how they knew my address in Japan, or why they sent it to me.

Inside were 10 Hillary buttons! No letter. No solicitation for donations. Just 10 cool Hillary buttons.

I guess they know I’m a fan boy.

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Giving Pokemon Go a go in my Tokyo neighborhood

Pokemon Go was finally released in Japan. I am not a game person. I don’t do computer games. But I was curious because of all the talk, and the “augmented reality” part of it sounded interesting. And the idea of a game that forces you to actually go outside and move about rather than sit at home can’t be all bad, can it?

So after they switched on Pokemon Go here in Japan I decided to take it out for a spin in my neighborhood.

First, I don’t recommend doing this while riding a bike. Not because it’s dangerous. But because the Pokemon are everywhere – like every 30 meters in every direction – so your smart phone is going to constantly be beeping at you to let you know you are near Pokemon or Pokestops (where you can get free supplies) or Gyms, etc. It’s just too annoying. You’ll never get any bike riding done at all. So about 1/8th of the way through my bike ride I ended up turning it off. Pokemon Go is more for walking than for riding about.

The augmented characters are cute, and it’s sort of fun catching them. And the camera feature lets you take photos of them where you find them in your surrounding environment. That didn’t surprise me so much, but it’s well done. I wonder how they decide to place them? Do they just add them as people are walking about? I’m not sure.

What really surprised me though were the so-called Pokestops – landmarks where you can give the icon a spin and pick up free supplies, like Pokeballs, used to catch more Pokemon. The landmarks are real – small shrines in the neighborhood, paintings on the walls of schools – things like that. That surprised me. How on earth did they collect so much data about the nooks and crannies of every small neighborhood in Tokyo? Nobody knows about the little shrine by the bus stop near my house. It’s barely larger than a vending machine. How did they know it was there, and what its name is and have a picture of it to turn it into a Pokestop? I thought that was interesting.

Will I play it again? Probably not regularly, but maybe I’ll turn it on out of curiosity in some locations. I’ll never pay money and shop in their store though. I’m sure that whatever I find at Pokestops for free are enough.

 

A Weedle on the road headed towards the Nakagawa. How do I know? I caught it and it's in my Pokedex!

A Weedle on the road headed towards the Nakagawa. How do I know? I caught it and it’s in my Pokedex!

Info about the Weedle I caught.

Info about the Weedle I caught.

As you catch more Pokemon your level goes up.

As you catch more Pokemon your level goes up.

A Pinsir

A Pinsir

Some Pinsir vital stats.

Some Pinsir vital stats.

There a dozens of these stupid MagiKarp all along the riverside.

There a dozens of these stupid MagiKarp all along the riverside.

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A Doduo along the Nakagawa bike path. It was hard to catch.

A Doduo along the Nakagawa bike path. It was hard to catch. Also consider how well this is implemented. It’s actually standing there on the ground.

 

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A Psyduck on my route.

A Psyduck on my route.

A slowpoke was hanging out on the wall along where I was riding.

A slowpoke was hanging out on the wall along where I was riding.

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A Pokestop at the riverside observation deck.

A Pokestop at the riverside observation deck.

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Another Pokestop.

Another Pokestop.

Just to show you how they combine Pokestops with reality, this photo shows the artwork on the side of a school. The next photo shows the actual school. How did they gather all that info?

Just to show you how they combine Pokestops with reality, this photo shows the artwork on the side of a school. The next photo shows the actual school. How did they gather all that info?

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And finally another Pokestop at a tiny shrine by the bus stop near my house. The next photo shows the actual shrine.

And finally another Pokestop at a tiny shrine by the bus stop near my house. The next photo shows the actual shrine.

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Dave’s 97 Birthday!

Yesterday was Dave’s 97th birthday, so we all got together for lunch at Sizzler’s in Shinjuku. Everybody had a great time! There were some friends Dave hadn’t seen in 20 years.

See the video! Look at the photos! Many (many) more photos available upon request.

 

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Panasonic LED lantern

I’m not usually taken in by ads so quickly, but coincidentally I had been looking for a convenient night light for next to where I sleep. I had been just using my iPhone for this, but was looking for something a little more convenient. Then yesterday I saw an ad for this new LED lantern from Panasonic. I ordered it from Amazon last night and it arrived this morning.

It’s cordless, lightweight, really cool and can be used as both a tiny portable lamp or as a flashlight with dim and bright settings. The cost, including batteries, was only around $15. On dim, the bulb lifetime is 1,000 hours (on dim, the battery lifetime is 850 hours).

It seems very convenient. Video and pictures below.

 

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