The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – 時をかける少女

I recently finished reading the short novel The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (時をかける少女) by Yasutaka Tsutsui. It was published for the first time in 1967, but it’s now popular again thanks to a movie released in 2006 by the animation studio Madhouse based on the same story. Even though the story plot of the movie and the novel are quite different, the characters and the message of both are the same:

“Time waits for no one” – Written by someone in the lab of Kazuko’s high school

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Kazuko, the main character of the novel and the movie, is a high school student with a monotonous lifestyle in a Tokyo neighbourhood that has two good friends who with she plays baseball after class. Suddenly she acquires the power to travel through time. At the beginning she uses her power for innocent purposes like going back in time two or three days to enjoy her favourite meal again, but gradually she starts abusing her powers (she tries to change her destiny and her friend’s) and paradoxes start to happen which put her and her friend’s existence in danger.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time book front cover
Front cover of the novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui.

Finally Kazuko realizes that even if she is able to travel in time she is not able to change some events once they have happened, she learns that what happens happens and that what she decides can have important consequences in her life but also in the life of others, that there are certain things that are out of our control and that time waits for no one.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time DVD cover
Cover of the Japanese DVD.

Madhouse is possibly one of the best animation studios in Japan. The art of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time animation movie is impressive and very faithful to the real world, it makes you feel like you are wandering around Tokyo streets. As Studio Ghibli artists are inspired by places that are located near their offices; in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time many locations near the Madhouse offices in Ogikubo (Tokyo) can be appreciated. For example:

The
Photo of a laundry at the south exit of Ogikubo station, I used to live around there at the end of 2004!

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The critical moment of the movie occurs in this crossroads, in which Kazuko goes back in time several times to try to decide which way to go: the left way or the right way. A decision that the first time seemed trivial, but later she realized was a turning point in her life.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The crossroads in the movie is inspired by this crossroads near Waseda University in Tokyo. If you want to take the same photo this is the place in Google Maps.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Other location in the movie that Kazuko travels back to is this slope:

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Location in Google Maps

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

An English version of the novel was released two years ago: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and the animation movie was distributed in United States by Bandai Entertainment. More photos of the locations in the movie

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Osamu Tezuka Sketches Exhibition

The other day I had the chance to visit an exhibition about the father of manga, Osamu Tezuka, in the Setagaya Literary Museum. The exhibition is organized in a chronological way and starts telling us things about the student life of Tezuka.

During the last years of the war, Tezuka Osamu studied medicine in Osaka University. In his class notes Osamu’s drawing skills can already be seen:

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu
One of his hobbies was to draw animals in notebooks and write things about them.

Apart from studying medicine, in 1945 a young Tezuka went for the first time to a movie theatre and saw the animation movie Momotaro. He was so impressed with the possibility of creating stories using drawings that he decided to dedicate the rest of his life to draw and write manga.

Just two years after the war, Tezuka started his first work and sold 400,000 copies all of a sudden! It was just the beginning, he drew until he died in 1989, leaving a legacy of more than 700 manga volumes (around 150,000 pages). According to my own calculations he drew an average of 10 pages per day since 1945 until his death.

To achieve that feat he didn’t need iPads nor computers, these were some of the tools that Osamu Tezuka used the most:

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu beret
Tezuka liked to use berets. This was one of his favourite berets.

Tezuka Osamu
One of the oldest sketches on the exhibition.

In these sketches it can be seen how Tezuka evolved his “film style”. The reader can quickly flip the pages and see the story flow in front of his eyes:

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu

The rest of the exhibition is divided in sections showing the creating process of some of his most important works like Hi no tori or Adolf. The friendship relationship between Tezuka Osamu and Shinichi Hoshi, a science fiction short story author that had a big influence on Tezuka, is explained. In fact, one the characters of The Amazing 3 is based on Shinichi Hoshi.

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu

Tezuka Osamu
The Atom hearth!

Tezuka Osamu

If you like manga and you are coming to Tokyo soon you can come and see the exhibition until June 27th in the Setagaya Literary Museum (closed on Mondays). You can get there walking five minutes from Rokakoen station (Keio line from Shinjuku)

Continue reading: Tezuka Osamu in Takanadobaba.

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Pocari Sweat

The first time I tried Pocari Sweat I thought it would be some kind of copy of Aquarius by The Coca-Cola Company. Pocari Sweat has a somewhat milder taste than Aquarius and if you fill two glasses with both, Pocari Sweat is more transparent; but in general they are very similar.

Pocari Sweat

Pocari Sweat

But it turns out it was the oppositte, The Coca-Cola Company copied Pocari Sweat. In this screenshot of the movie Back to the Future you can see a Pocari Sweat (down to the right) during year 2015, suggesting that the drink would become very popular in United States in the future:

Pocari Sweat
Pocari Sweat!

Zemeckis was partly wrong, Pocari Sweat was never released to markets outside Asia. What happened in 1983 is that The Coca-Cola Company released a similar drink to Pocari in Japan, called Aquarius. During the 80s they were both drinks exclusive to the Japanese market. The next country that was able to enjoy Aquarius was Spain in 1991 to make the most of the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992. Nowadays Aquarius is known in many countries around the world and Pocari Sweat is sold in over 10 Asian countries.

This is one of the most well-known Pocari Sweat commercials (I think it was shown during 2005-2006), in which Ayase Haruka chases a Pocari Sweat train:

Since then, actress Ayase Haruka is one of the models used by this brand.

Ayase Haruka. Pocari Sweat

Ayase Haruka. Pocari Sweat

Ayase Haruka. Pocari Sweat

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The Eclipse from Tokyo

It’s been seven years since the last time I had the opportunity to see an annular eclipse. That time it was in Calpe (my hometown); this time, in Tokyo, I didn’t have my friend Albert here with his telescope and his astronomy knowledge, so I was not so well prepared; but with some Mizar glasses I had the chance to see it when the clouds let me around 7:35am.

One of the most popular photos of the eclipse is this photo by @ryuki_guilty15. He took it just before the eclipse became annular and a plane was passing by.

eclipse from tokyo

eclipse from tokyo

eclipse from tokyo

eclipse from tokyo

eclipse from tokyo

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Hikarie

Yesterday I visited Hikarie, the new building, department store, self-contained microcity in Shibuya. I don’t really like how this big crystal cube, 183 meters tall, looks like on the east side of the station. It is not a structure that you see from the street and say “Wow!”.

But, from the inside the experience is different. Entering the building from the Fukutoushin line station designed by Takao Ando made me “Wow!”. I also liked the feeling of being in a wide space in the 11th floor and enjoyed the beautiful sunset views.

Hikarie

Hikarie

Hikarie

Hikarie

Hikarie

Hikarie

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Working with a Sony Head-mounted Display

A Mixi engineer recently bought a HMZ-T1 (Sony), possibly the best Head-mounted Display in the market. But instead of using it to play video games or watch movies he is trying to use it to work. One of the advantages is that you can work in any position!

Head mount display by Sony
Morimoto working. One of the things he does it to edit code with Emacs.

Head mount display
Morimoto uses glasses, so in order to be able to use them with the HMZ-T1 he had to do this little hack.

The problem is how heavy the gadget is, it seems that after working for a while horizontally your forehead will look like this:

Head mount display

This time the solution was more complicated than solving the glasses problem. He decided to work again in a vertical position and set up a device that supported the head-mounted display so that the head didn’t have to hold all the weight:

Head mount display by Sony

Head mount display

I feel like I want to try this Sony gadget to see how it is, it reminds me of the Nikon up300 and I guess it is much better. The Nikon head mount display had only one display and when I tried it I remember that it made me sick.

I can see the future

More photos and information in the blog of Mixi.jp engineers.

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Aikido – The Samurai Spirit

I didn’t have much idea about aikido but after watching this 45 minutes documentary I have become quite interested in it. It is fascinating how master Shioda knocks down Robert Kennedy’s bodyguard in a second when he visited Japan in 1966, it seems like he uses a magical technique. In the documentary some of the basic techniques and foundations of aikido are explained: not attacking, concentrating strength in a point and using the energy of the enemy in our favour.

Video via Jim Grisanzio

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100.000 LEDs and Tokyo Sky Tree Light Up

Tokyo Sky Tree will open up to visitors on May 22nd, to go up to the observation platform will cost 3,000 yen. Tokyo Sky Tree is 634 meters tall and is the second tallest structure in the world after Burj Khalifa in Dubai. To celebrate the hotaru (firefly) festival during last weekend 100,000 balls with LED lights were released to Sumida river and the Tokyo Sky Tree lighted up using LED technology provided by Panasonic.

Tokyo Sky Tree lit up

Tokyo Sky Tree lit up

Hotaru

Hotaru

Photos by Spoon Tamago and video by Steven Nagata

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Ooyama

Ooyama 大山 is a 1,250 meter tall mountain ideal to spend a day trip out of Tokyo. It reminded me a lot of of Mount Takao, as there is also a couple of temples half way during the climb, a Shinto temple and a Buddhist temple, and from the top you can see all the Kanto plain. If you are lucky you can also see Mount Fuji. We were not :(

To get there you have to go to Isehara station (Odakyu line) and from there take a 20 minutes bus until the head of the trail. It will take around three hours taking it easy to climb to the top.

Ooyama

Ooyama
Xavi! We miss you!

Ooyama
Beware of bears!

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

Ooyama

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Berserk, Golden Age Arc

Berserk is a manga by Kentaro Miura that has been being published since 1989. The art is impressive and the story gets you completely hooked, specially during the first 5-10 volumes. In addition to the art, the fantasy-horror feel and the atmosphere of a particular medieval Europe, the best is the collision of the personalities of the main two characters Guts and Griffith. I like a lot how Kentaro Miura plays with the feelings of the reader as the story is unveiled and you start feeling attached to one character or the other but at the same time you like both of them. I liked it until volumes 12 or 13, after that the story started to lose interest for me.

If you haven’t read it, you should give it a try!, it’s available in English.

Berserk

Berserk

Berserk

Berserk

Berserk

Berserk

During this year a trilogy of Berserk movies called Golden Age Arc are being released on Japanese movie theaters. We were able to enjoy the first movie last February and the second movie will be released next month. In the movie theater I went to see the movie the cafeteria was decorated with Berserk stuff!

Berserk

Berserk

Berserk

Berserk

Berserk

Official website of the Berserk movies

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