Typhoon Songda arrives in Japan

After devastating the Philippines, where it has left victims on its way, Songda typhoon arrives in Japan. Even though it has lost a lot of power, the typhoon is affecting mostly to Okinawa, where many electricity pylons and lamp posts have fallen due to the strong winds, and hundreds of houses have been temporarily left without electricity supply. Okinawa and the south of Japan in general were the only areas that were not affected by the earthquake on March 11th.

In Tokyo the typhoon is barely affecting us, we only have rain and some strong gusts of wind.

Typhoon in Japan

Photos by my friend Chris Willson, who lives in Okinawa:

Typhoon Songda hits Okinawa

Typhoon in Japan


A GEEK IN JAPAN book giveaway!

My book A GEEK IN JAPAN will officially go on sale from the 9th of June. The book is a great deal and you can get it for around US$13 dollars on Amazon.com or B&N.com.

The good news is that we are giving away 10 copies of my books for FREE to people sharing a link to:

http://www.kirainet.com/english/a-geek-in-japan-the-book or

on their Facebook walls, Twitter or Blogs. The top 10 people who get the most “likes” on their Facebook walls containing a message with a link to my book, or more “retweets” of their tweets, or more “comments” on their blog posts will be chosen as the winners of this giveaway.

Suggestions on how to get more likes are to post a message on your wall with a Japanese photo, a quote or whatever, and recommend my book at the end with a link to: http://www.kirainet.com/english/a-geek-in-japan-the-book or

Anyone living in the USA, Canada, Singapore can participate.

The first prize will be a pack containing my book A GEEK IN JAPAN and these three other amazing books by Tuttle Publishing:

BEGINNING JAPANESE by Michael Kluemper et al
THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SUSHI by Hideo Dekura et al
TOKYO ON FOOT by Florent Chavouet

The next 9 people with the most likes/retweets/comments will get a copy of my book A GEEK IN JAPAN for free! You have until 15th of June to participate.

Please comment on this message if you want to participate and I will follow how many likes you get on your wall post about my book.

Good luck!

(You are free to attached your Amazon Affiliate ID to the link 😉 )


Be bamboo my friend

Bruce Lee said: “Be water my friend”, last weekend Garr Reynolds in his talk at TEDxTokyo said: “Be bamboo my friend”. In that sentence, Garr sums up several lessons Japanese people has taught him using bamboo as a metaphor: what looks weak is strong, you do not have to be big to be strong, bend yourself but don’t break yourself, you have to be deeply rooted yet flexible, slow down your busy mind, you have to be always ready, find wisdom in emptiness, commit yourself to growth and renewal (even a 20 meter bamboo cane can grow one meter more), express your usefulness through simplicity, unleash your power to spring back, if you fall 7 times stand up 8 times. Making it short: be flexible, tough, adaptable and able to recover with even more strength, like bamboo.

Every morning, on my way to work I pass by a place with bamboo canes, from now on every time I pass by there I will remember Garr’s words:

Be like bamboo my friend

Here you have the complete fabulous talk by Garr:

“Be bamboo my friend”


A week in Tokyo in photos

Here you have another series of photos that I took last week around Tokyo. It was a work routine week where the weather started to get very warm.

To Shinjuku using Keio line
On my way to Shinjuku on the Keio line.

Tokyo spring colors
On my way to work I came across a child that was going to school.

Roppongi Hills
Walking around Roppongi Hills.

BMW in Tokyo
A BMW car that caught my attention.

Volcom van!

London bus in Shibuya
A London bus in the streets of Shibuya

Japan Digital Laboratory
Japan Digital Laboratory?

Old woman in Tokyo
This old woman always keeps an eye on me from her small garden every morning when I go out to the street.

Kit kat 紅いも! Thx @inata_hazuki
Kit Kat special edition from Okinawa, purple sweet potato flavor.

Ikura-don: salmon eggs over rice.

Cheese and tomato ramen
Cheese and tomato ramen. Weird but it was very tasty!

Small girls coming back from judo practice
On my way to the gym I came across these small girls that were coming back from judo practice.

Morning gym, ジムなう
At the gym

First volume of Jin
Buying the first volume of the manga Jin.

Don't worry be happy!
Don’t worry be happy!

Araki polaroid
One of the polaroids of Araki that we saw in an exhibition. Its price was 30,000 yen.

One of those never-ending meetings at work.

Rachael: Do you like our owl? Deckard: It's artificial? Rachael: Of course it is.
Don’t ask me why but we found this owl in a fish shop in Shimokitazawa.

Buying books in Jimbocho.

Blue Man show
Zordor and Cads on the way to attend the Blue Man show, where Saralu had invited us.

Blue Man show
The first billboards on the way to the Blue Man show.

After the Blue Man show
Great pic after the show with one of the Blue Men.

A Blue Man
A Blue Man.

Hootsuite and Remember the Milk
Eating with people from Hootsuite and Remember the Milk.

Eating with people from Hootsuite and Remember the Milk.

Eating with people from Hootsuite and Remember the Milk.

Having dinner with coworkers
Having dinner with coworkers.

Saralu lent me her Hasselblad again.

Te dedico la foto negra @zordor !
Using the Hasselblad.

In a second hand cameras shop in Ebisu.

Ricoh GR shots by my friend Kikuchi-san
Barbecuing in Shin-Kiba.

Ricoh GR shots by my friend Kikuchi-san
Barbecuing in Shin-Kiba.

Working on a sign for his shop.

 mysterious lightning
In a building with mysterious lightning.

Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat!

New glasses
On my way to buy some new glasses

Waiting for the train
Waiting for the train.

On my way home
On my way home






Power Squash, the Dragon Ball Kai drink

The other day my friend Zordor recommended me to try the new drink “Power Squash”, whose can designs are based on Dragon Ball Kai. He told me that the taste is similar to “Lifeguard”, another one of those unique weird Japanese drinks. Yesterday I finally gave it a chance and bought one can, I got the Krilin one:

Power Squash

Power Squash


A Geek in Japan – The book, on sale from June 9th!

I’m very happy to announce that my book, A Geek in Japan, will be finally available in English from June 9th. A Geek in Japan (Un Geek en Japón in Spanish), whose Spanish version has been on sale since 2008, is a best-seller in Spain and is in its fifth printing. It has been translated into 8 languages and has sold more than 40.000 copies worldwide. “A Geek in Japan”, the English version, is brought to you by Tuttle Publishing; it is an updated and revised version of the original Spanish book.

“Everyone who is interested in Japan will find this book fascinating”
Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation

“A combination of a likeable personality and a highly inquisitive mind have helped Hector penetrate the often difficult-to-understand layers of seemingly contradictory elements that make up modern Japanese culture. As a geek with an eye for aesthetics and photography, Hector is able to explain his findings in a clear and funny way. Hector’s book is one of the funniest and yet very accurate descriptions of modern Japanese culture that I’ve ever seen.
Highly recommend!”
Joi Ito, director of MIT Media Lab

The book will be availble in bookstores in English speaking country and also in Japan. If you can’t wait the book is already available for pre-orders on Amazon.com.

Thanks to all the readers of this blog and special thanks to all the people commenting, your comments have helped me a lot to learn about Japan and its culture.

More information about the contents of the book here.


Kyushu Shinkansen

On March 12th, the day after the terrible earthquake hit Japan, the Shinkansen line in Kyushu whose construction was started in 2008 started to operate. It was one of the Shinkansen lines yet to be inaugurated to “complete” the Japanese bullet train network, which has been under development since 1964 when the first high speed commercial rail line in the world connected Tokyo and Osaka. The technology behind high speed trains is a symbol of progress and national pride for the Japanese people.

The inauguration of this new Shinkansen line couldn’t be celebrated at the time, to keep respect to the victims in Tohoku. Almost a month and a half later, JR (Japan Railways) decided that it was time to celebrate and show the world that the Japanese people when united can achieve almost anything.

“They took special efforts to film it, and 10,000+ people showed up at various places along the route, hoping to be in the commercial. They filmed 3 hours of tape, and edited it down to 3 minutes, which the director said was extremely difficult, because everything was so good that they didn’t want to leave anything out. It aired maybe a dozen times, and then the disaster struck, and the commercial was pulled, as it was thought that it was bad to show people happy and having a good time in such a difficult time. Recently though, people have begun to wish for the commercial to be shown again, as it’s a good example of how Japan can do anything when people work together, and people can and will strive again.”

Source: Japanprobe

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