A Geek in Japan | 2011 June
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Canon S90 or iPhone 4

Since I bought my iPhone 4 with its great camera, my Canon S90 has fallen into oblivion. Although you can’t compare them, the results in favorable lighting conditions are quite similar and many times it’s just not worth it to carry the S90. In poor lighting conditions the Canon S90 still kicks iPhone’s ass thanks to its F2.0 lens and its low noise when using high ISOs.

Almost all the following photos are taken using my iPhone 4. But among them there are 5 photos that were taken with my Canon S90, can you guess which 5 are they?

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Through the umbrella

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桜と大学生、Sakura & Schoolgirls

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iPad 2

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With her at Shinjuku Station

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Ghibli Museum

I had vague memories of my visit to the Ghibli Museum 7 years ago; I went for work and I think I didn’t really enjoy my time there. Last week I had the opportunity to visit it again, without rushing, enjoying every corner like if we were children. I loved it, it made me forget that I was in Tokyo, it felt like some kind of travel to the universe of Ghibli animation movies.

Here you have information about the museum, how to get there, and how to buy tickets.

Ghibli Museum
Ghibli Museum from the entrance

Ghibli Museum

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I couldn’t avoid taking pictures of the colorful stained glass windows of the museum

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Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum
Ghibli Museum from one of the gardens

Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum
There are decoration details even in the ceilings

Ghibli Museum movie sketches
Movie sketches

Ghibli Museum
A replica of the office of Hayao Miyazaki. He likes to be surrounded by miniatures and toys to find inspiration while working.

Totoro station
Totoro bus station

Ghibli Museum
A giant Totoro!

Ghibli Museum
The bus windows on the way back were also decorated with Ghibli art

Ghibli Museum
A bought a Ghibli Museum special edition moleskine

トトロ!Totoro aka @zordor en el tren!
And also this Totoro!

Ghibli Museum
And to finish a picture to remember the visit! :)

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New AKB48 Virtual Idol

AKB48 is one of the most popular music bands in Japan. It is formed by 48 girls that are divided in 3 subgroups of 16 members each. The latest news is that the group has a new idol, but it turns out that she is NOT real; she is a virtual idol whose face has been created by parts of the faces of the most popular singers in the group.

AKB48

AKB48

In this picture you can see the parts of the faces that Aimi Eguchi has inherited from her real band partners.

The name of the new virtual idol of AKB48 is Aimi Eguchi and her debut was in a TV commercial for Glico (a Japanese confectionery company).

In this video you can see some of the details of how Aimi Eguchi was created:

Source: Mainichi Shinbun

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Fujitsu K, the new world's fastest supercomputer

A new supercomputer developed by Fujitsu which is already running at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe is the new fastest supercomputer in the world. In 2004 Japan lost the lead on the TOP500 list of fastest supercomputers in the world, but last Monday Japan officially regained the lead. Fujitsu K is three times faster than the second supercomputer on the list (China).

It is the first computer in history to surpass 8 petaflops and all the system has 548,352 cores. The power bill and the general maintenance of the supercomputer will be close to 8 million EUR / 11,5 million USD per year.

Fujitsu K, the new world's fastest supercomputer

Source: Nikkei

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Robotic Flying Ball

This robotic flying ball is still a prototype but research is speeding up so it can become a commercial product as soon as possible. One of its first uses can be to use a camera to record from the air or to record areas difficult to access.

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Pachinko

Pachinko are the quintessential Japanese slot machines. They are machines with small marble-like balls that you have to throw and depending on where they land, you receive money or not. On most playing modes, the only thing you can control is the speed at which you throw the balls, so it’s quite a “stupid” game.

Japan is full of pachinko arcades where Japanese people have tons of fun gambling. Those arcades are usually crowded, the noise of the falling balls is deafening, and they blast the music up to encourage people to keep playing. If you ever want to experience pachinko, the way to do it is buying balls at the entrance and then proceeding to sit down at the machine you like best. If you’re lucky, you might leave richer than you came in. Legend has it that professionals devote themselves to study the probability of winning with each machine at a certain arcade; but then it is said that the parameters of every machine are changed from time to time so people can’t cheat…

Pachinko
Pachinko machines

Pachinko
Building full of pachinko machines

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First reviews of "A Geek in Japan"

I’m very happy to find the first reviews of my book, “A Geek in Japan”. Thank you! These are some excerpts from your reviews:

I lived in Japan for 4 years and every-time I used to step out of my house, I used to see something and wonder what that is, wonder why they do that, wonder what I should do now. A Geek in Japan is like a compilation of answers to all questions that ever crossed my mind presented in a fun, colorful and extremely addictive way. Every other page there was an A-HA moment for me.

You don’t need to be a geek at all, actually the title has little or almost nothing to do with the contents which are much much more culturish than geekish.

A geek in Japan is the best book any Japan lover could ask for. Plain and simple.

“A Geek in Japan” is one of the most versitile publications I’ve had in my hands for a long time. Readers will enjoy a gorgeous cover and page design along with truly wonderful pictures, most of them by the author, whilst reading insightful and accurate information about Japan.

Great pics and descriptions. Don’t miss it, this book will captivate you from start to finish!

It reads as a true personal experience of the country, not another tourist guide or brochure, it includes gorgeous photographs (taken by the author) and even though the word “geek” is on the title, Mr. Garcia strikes a difficult balance in the subjects he portraits, ranging from ancient traditions to the latest trends without forgetting the craziest Akihabara antics.

The narrative is fresh, fun and easy to read, while at the same time providing very complete and accurate description of a myriad of topics from the ancient traditions to the modern popular culture, and plenty of tips for travelers.

A geek in Japan is not a travel guide, but rather a way to immerse you in the Japanese culture, and therefore an essential read for anyone that really wants to enjoy a trip to Japan or learn about this wonderful country.

An unabashed Japanophile, I’ve collected a fair number of books on the country over the years, searching for that one book that would offer both decent photography and meaty content. While that’s a lot to ask, I think “A Geek in Japan” comes the closest to fitting the bill.

I’d recommend this book to anyone traveling to Japan for the first time.

Read the complete reviews here and here.

I’m also very happy to stay in the Top 20 best selling books about Japan at Amazon during the last two months! Thank you again. There was a week we were the second in the ranking!

A geek in Japan - The book

And the first in the “Most Wished” ranking :)

A geek in Japan - The book

Thank you, I’m so happy you like it and enjoy it as much as I did while writing it!

Fuck yeah!
My stupid happy face when I found my book for the first time here at Shinjuku’s Kinokuniya

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Unzen

I loved this photo of Mainichi that shows the commemoration for the victims of the volcano Unzen eruption in 1991.

Unzen volcano
In the foreground children are praying in front of candles while on the background you can see the silhouette of mount Unzen.

Photo by Mainichi

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Jimbocho, the neighbourhood of the old books

I had been several times around Jimbocho, near Tokyo Station, but up until recently I hadn’t had the time to enjoy the famous streets where you can find plenty of second hand books. Last month, I could finally go there and snoop around the bookstores. I wasn’t expecting to find so many stores! There are dozens of stores full of books from decades and even centuries ago, manuscripts, scrolls, old magazines, ukiyo-e art, drafts of novels by famous authors (I saw drafts of Haruki Murakami novels!), developed photographs of famous photographers, etc. I ended up buying a couple of old maps from Tokyo (handwritten maps from 90 years ago), a Daido Moriyama photograph book and another one by Nobuyoshi Araki.

These are some of the photos that I took during my visit, using my new iPhone 4.

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

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Jimbocho

Jimbocho

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Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

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Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

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Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

Jimbocho

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