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Friday, October 5, 2018

Japanese Architect Designs Taiwan Starbucks

Although this is in Taiwan, Japanese architect Kuma Kengo (隈 研吾, surname first) has built a new Starbucks utilizing shipping containers. Or maybe it was designed by his Kengo Kuma and Associates architectural firm…

Located at the Hualien Bay Mall, the new Starbucks store is built using 29 shipping containers providing a total floorspace of 230 square meters (3,444 square feet) over two floors.

If you are looking at the photo above, you can see that there are four levels, but only the lower two are functional, with the upper two merely architectural design features.

Each of the shipping containers has been reinforced, according to Starbucks, which I find interesting.

These are shipping containers. Aren’t these things built to hold immense amounts of weight for transport? Aren’t these thinks stackable (with full capacity weight) in a shipping yard? Why did they need to reinforce them for a Starbucks shop?

I suppose better safe than sorry. I won’t quibble here other than that.

The outside of the white-painted containers are further modified for glazing.

Kuma only designed the exterior of the facility.


While this is the first time that Kuma has used shipping containers as part of his architectural design, Starbucks now has 45 such coffee shops globally.

The architectural design “was inspired by the foliage of coffee trees combined with the traditional Chinese bucket arch," states a Starbucks press release. "The stacking of the shipping containers created a much taller space and provides natural sunlight through the various skylights found throughout the structure."

Born on August 8, 1954 in Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken, Kuma is a Japanese architect with his Kengo Kuma and Associates business he started in 1990 in Tokyo, with a branch in Paris.

He also teaches on the side in the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo.

While I don’t quite see it with this design, Kuma has stated a goal of recovering traditional Japanese-style architecture via a reinterpretation for the 21st century.

In 1997, he won the Architectural Institute of Japan Award and in 2009 was made an Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.

Via his 2008 writings in Anti-Object: The Dissolution and Disintegration of Architecture, he says that architecture should work within its surroundings rather than dominate them—something I agree with 100 per cent.

“You could say that my aim is ‘to recover the place’. The place is a result of nature and time; this is the most important aspect. I think my architecture is some kind of frame of nature. With it, we can experience nature more deeply and more intimately. Transparency is a characteristic of Japanese architecture; I try to use light and natural materials to get a new kind of transparency.” –Kengo Kuma via Bognar, B. (2009). Material Immaterial: The New Work of Kengo Kuma. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Some of the designs Kuma has built, include: 

  • M2 building (1989–1991);
  • Kiro-San observatory (1994);
  • Kitakami Canal Museum (1994);
  • Water/Glass, Atami (1995);
  • Bato Hiroshige Museum (2000) (Bato is a hamlet, essentially, near my hometown of Ohtawara-shi in Tochigi-ken. This design looks like an old temple, but is a museum dedicated to the work of one of my favorite ukiyo-e artists, Hiroshige (Ando). The design represents an attempt to materialize in architecture the unique spatial structure that Hiroshige created in his woodblock prints. If this had been there when I lived in the area, I would have been there at least once a month  - see image below:

Bato Hiroshige Museum
Other designs:  

  • Stone Museum (2000);
  • Great (Bamboo) Wall House, Beijing (2002);
  • Plastic House (2002);
  • LVMH Group Japan headquarters, Osaka (2003);
  • Lotus House (2003);
  • Suntory's Tokyo office building;
  • Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum (2005);
  • Kodan apartments (2005);
  • Water Block House (2007);
  • The Opposite House, Beijing (2008);
  • Nezu Museum, Minato, Tokyo (2009);
  • V&A Dundee, Scotland (2010–2018);
  • Stone Roof (2010);
  • Taikoo Li Sanlitun, Beijing (2010);
  • Akagi Jinja and Park Court Kagurazaka (2010);
  • Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum (2011);
  • Meme Meadows Experimental House, Hokkaido. Japan (2012);
  • Wisdom Tea House (2012);
  • Seibu 4000 series Fifty-two Seats of Happiness tourist train refurbishment (2016);
  • Japanese Garden Cultural Village, Portland, Oregon, USA (2017);
  • Eskisehir Modern Art Center (2018);
  • New National Stadium (Tokyo) (to be completed in 2019);
  • 1550 Alberni, apartment building in Vancouver, Canada (to be completed in 2020).

Below is a concept image of the 1550 Alberni architecture, and I only include it because it’s a soon-to-be Canadian apartment building.

1550 Aberni apartment in Vancouver, BC, Canada, designed by Kuma, to be completed in 2020.
Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Capital Gains: The Moving Japanese Capital

As I’m sure most of you know, or should know, Japan’s capital is Tokyo.

But it’s a relatively new capital.

Forget about the fact that Tokyo only became Tokyo in and around 1868. Before that the city was known as Edo (pronounced Eh-dough).

Tokyo, by the way, is pronounced with two syllables as Toe-quoh, and not as Toe-key-oh.

No… before 1869, the capital of Japan was Kyoto, thought it had a different name at one point in time, too.

There have actually been too many capital moves for me to list here, suffice to say that excluding the “mythical” emperors that Japan includes (the first Emperor Jimmu, for example, is either mythical, or is real but with a completely different and non-deity based origin).

Let’s just say that until the 40th Emperor of Japan, Temmu, who reigned from 673AD - 686AD, the location of the capital city changed every time a new emperor ascended the throne.

After Temmu, the capital of Japan did move with every new emperor’s accession, but at least now it only moved within the Kinki district.

So… for what possible reason did the country continually move its place of power?

It was for empirical safety… moving removed the government from any sphere of influence the previous government may have held. It allowed the new government to work with a clean slate.

Kindda cool, actually.

So… from 686AD until 794AD, the Japanese capital continued to move within the Kinki area.

But after that, it remained at Heiankyo, the city that was eventually renamed Kyoto.

Kyoto is, like Tokyo, pronounced as a two-syllable word, not three. So it is Quoh-toe, not Key-yo-toe.

I can’t find evidence for this, but I recall being told when I was in Japan that Kyoto meant Western gate, and Tokyo meant gate to the west.

Of course, with Tokyo the new power in 1868, maybe Tokyo was the Eastern Gate, and Kyoto was the gate to the east.&

You’ll note that To-Kyo is the opposite position of Kyo-To.

Maybe it means something, maybe it doesn’t. Anyhow...

Here’s a list of the Capital moves, per Wikipedia.

For the sake of continuity, the listing includes the mythical/legendary Emperors and their capitals:

Legendary period
  1. Kashihara, Yamato at the foot of Mt. Unebi during the reign of Emperor Jimmu;
  2. Kazuraki, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Suizei;
  3. Katashiha, Kawachi during the reign of Emperor Annei;
  4. Karu, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Itoku;
  5. Waki-no-kami, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Kōshō;
  6. Muro, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Kōan;
  7. Kuruda, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Kōrei;
  8. Karu, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Kōgen;
  9. Izakaha, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Kaika;
  10. Shika, Yamato (Palace of Mizugaki) during the reign of Emperor Sujin;
  11. Shika, Yamato (Palace of Tamagaki) during the reign of Emperor Suinin;
  12. Makimuko, Yamato (Palace of Hishiro) during the reign of Emperor Keikō;
  13. Shiga, Ōmi (Palace of Takaanaho) during the reign of Emperor Seimu;
  14. Ando, Nara (Palace of Toyoura) and Kashiki on the island of Kyushu during the reign of Emperor Chūai.
Of note, Wikipedia says the above list is "incomplete". IE, there were more emperors and moves not listed, because they are unsure just where the capital was located.

Kofun period
  • Karushima, Yamato (Palace of Akira), during the reign of Emperor Ōjin;
  • Naniwa, Settsu (Palace of Takatsu), during the reign of Emperor Nintoku;
  • Iware, Yamato (Palace of Wakasakura), during the reign of Emperor Richū;
  • Tajihi, Kawachi (Palace of Shibakaki), during the reign of Emperor Hanzei;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Palace of Tohotsu), during the reign of Emperor Ingyō;
  • Isonokami, Yamato (Palace of Anaho),during the reign of Emperor Ankō;
  • Sakurai, Nara (Hatsuse no Asakura Palace), 457–479 during the reign of Emperor Yūryyku;
  • Sakurai, Nara (Iware no Mikakuri Palace), 480–484 during the reign of Emperor Seinei;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Chikatsu-Asuka-Yatsuri Palace), 485–487 during the reign of Emperor Kenzō;
  • Tenri, Nara (Isonokami Hirotaka Palace), 488–498 during the reign of Emperor Ninken;
  • Sakurai, Nara (Nimiki Palace), 499–506 during the reign of Emperor Buretsu;
  • Hirakata, Osaka (Kusuba Palace), 507–511;
  • Kyōtanabe, Kyoto (Tsutsuki Palace), 511–518 during the reign of Emperor Keitai;
  • Nagaoka-kyō (Otokuni Palace), 518–526 during the reign of Keitai;
  • Sakurai, Nara (Iware no Tamaho Palace), 526–532 during the reign of Keitai;
  • Kashihara, Nara (Magari no Kanahashi Palace), 532–535 during the reign of Emperor Ankan;
  • Sakurai, Nara (Hinokuma no Iorino Palace), 535–539 during the reign of Emperor Senka.
Asuka period
  • Asuka, Yamato (Shikishima no Kanasashi Palace), 540–571 during the reign of Emperor Kinmei;
  • Kōryō, Nara (Kudara no Ohi Palace), 572–575;
  • Sakurai, Nara (Osata no Sakitama Palace or Osada no Miya), 572–585 during the reign of Emperor Bidatsu;
  • Shiki District, Nara (Iwareikebe no Namitsuki Palace), 585–587 during the reign of Emperor Yōmei;
  • Shiki District, Nara (Kurahashi no Shibagaki Palace), 587–592 during the reign of Emperor Sushun;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Toyura Palace or Toyura-no-miya), 593–603 during the reign of Empress Suiko;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Oharida Palace or Oharida-no-miya), 603–629 during the reign of Suiko;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Okamoto Palace or Oakmoto-no-miya), 630–636 during the reign of Emperor Jomei;
  • Kashihara, Nara (Tanaka Palace or Tanaka-no-miya), 636–639;
  • Kōryō, Nara (Umayasaka Palace or Umayasaka-no-miya, 640;
  • Kōryō, Nara (Kudara Palace or Kudara-no-miya), 640–642;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Oharida Palace), 642–643;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Itabuki Palace or Itabuki no miya), 643–645 during the reign of Empress Kōgyoku;
  • Osaka (Naniwa-Nagara no Toyosaki Palace), 645–654 during the reign of Emperor Kōtoku;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Itabuki Palace), 655–655 during the reign of Kōtoku;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Kawahara Palace or Kawahara-no-miya), 655–655;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Okamoto Palace or Nochi no Asuka-Okamoto-no-miya), 656–660 during the reign of Emperor Saimei;
  • Asakura, Fukuoka (Asakura no Tachibana no Hironiwa Palace or Asakure no Tachibana no Hironiwa-no-miya), 660–661;
  • Osaka, (Naniwa-Nagara no Toyosaki'' Palace (ja)), 661–667;
  • Ōtsu, Shiga (Ōmi Ōtsu Palace or Ōmi Ōtsu-no-miya), 667–672 during the reign of Emperor Tenji and the reign of Emperor Kōbun;
  • Asuka, Yamato (Kiyomihara Palace or Kiomihara-no-miya), 672–694 during the reign of Emperor Tenmu and in the reign of Empress Jitō;
  • Fujiwara-kyō (Fujiwara Palace), 694–710 during the reign of Emperor Monmu.
Nara period
  • Heijō-kyō (Heijō Palace), 710–740 during the reigns of Empress Genmei Empress Genshō, and Emperor Shōmu;
  • Kuni-kyō (Kuni Palace), 740–744 during the reign of Shomu;
  • Naniwa-kyō (Naniwa Palace (ja)), 744;
  • Naniwa-kyō, Shigaraki Palace, 744–745;
  • Heijō-kyō (Heijō Palace), 745–784;
  • Nagaoka-kyō (Nagaoka Palace), 784–794 during the reign of Emperor Kanmu.
You will notice, that the Japan of old seemed to have been far more enlightened than the Japan of now.

As late as 740AD, it had an Empress on the throne as its leader... a woman... not a man.
Heian period
  • Heian-kyō (Heian Palace), 794–1180 during the reign of Kammu and others;
  • Fukuhara Palace, 1180 during the reign of Emperor Antoku.
Medieval Japan and Early Modern period
  • Heian-kyō/now Kyōto (Heian Palace), 1180–1868.
In between the Heian period, along with the Emperor, there was the warlord Shogun ruler.

The Shogun was the actual de facto leader of the country, with the Emperor only provided with puppet-like control.

The Shogun and Emperor did not live in the same area.

Shogun Residence
  • Kamakura (1192-1333);
  • Kyoto (Muromachi district, 1336-1573);
  • Edo (1603-1868).
Modern Japan
  • Tōkyō (Kōkyo), 1868–present.
Okay... that's far too much information. Just remember... Tokyo is pronounced via two syllables.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph
PS:Photo by Yu Kato on Unsplash

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Move Over, Mario

Has Japan got its groove back?

For a while it seems as though Japan—famous since the 1960s for its work in developing robotics for a plethora of global industries—had lost its competitive edge over the past decade or so, with other countries reaching and then surpassing Japanese daring-do in the field of robots and robotics.

But… never did Japan stop trying.
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (of Japan), aka the AIST, has developed a prototype robot (it has a humanoid shape, so it’s a robot, as opposed to robotics) that has been designed to work on construction sites

Check out the video below:

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Dubbed the HRP-5P (産総研公式), the humanoid robot, it is seen in the video performing some pretty standard drywall construction. And doing it it slower than a human, but it is a step forward in human-robotic relations.

According to the AIST, the robot is not meant to replace human labor, rather it was designed to be used when human labor is unavailable or sparse. For example, perhaps some humanity work is being required in some disaster-stricken country, and rather than NOT construct new homes because there’s no labor, a crew of humanoid robots could be sent and utilized.

Although, let’s not be blind to the tech… this is one of those technologies that could eventually have humanity turn into giant floating brains, as the need for a human body is displaced in a dystopian future because robots have become our slave workers.

Did you watch the video? Check out how, when the humanoid robot has bent down to apply the floor-level screw to the plaster board, that it grasps the wall structure crossbeam with its left for better balance.

Smart and sexy. Okay, maybe not. But definitely functional.

Now the AIST just needs to increase the humanoid robot’s speed. Unless it’s unionized… in which case its speed is just fine. I wouldn't want to tick off any union.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Enkai - Japanese Banquet

Since 2006, when I first began this blog, I have often and casually mentioned the Japanese term “enkai” referring to it as a “party”. 

It certainly is, but unlike the standard work party the rest of the world is familiar with, the Japanese enkai has, as you might suspect, has its own unique flavor. 

The enkai is indeed an office party, and can involve the entire company, or perhaps just a department, but here’s the most important part… it’s not held on the company premises. 

Yup… an office enkai is held in a private room or a part of a restaurant and tavern, and features a legitimate banquet dinner feast. 

There are many types of enkai. For example, when I arrived in Japan on the JET Programme, my Ohtawara Board of Education (OBOE) held a welcome enkai for myself. And when I left, there was a good bye feast… perhaps with more joy shown there. (That's me at my good-bye enkai in the photo at the very top.) 
 
Kidding. I left on very good terms… in fact… I didn’t want to go… and while the OBOE wanted to keep me on, the City wanted to replace me with a representative from their new sister city of St. Andrew’s, Scotland.  

It wasn’t anything personal, either, it was just good politics. I respect that, despite my disappointment.

Other forms of enkai are the bonenkai (year-end party) and the shinnenkai (New year party). 

Okay… but other than booking space a t a restaurant, and mandatory attendance (It’s not really mandatory, but when it comes to an office enkai, planned so far in advance… other than a death in the family, there’s no getting out of it. 

There is one person, called the kanji, who is responsible for the arranging of the enkai, including room/restaurant reservations, setting the attendance list, settling the bill, and depending on the person, being the MOC (master of ceremonies). 

The enkai begins with an official welcome and greeting from the kanji, immediately followed by a beer toast (kanpai!). 

Large bottles of beer have already been placed on each table, and everyone pours a small amount of beer into someone else’s glass - you never pour your own beer in Japan, enkai or otherwise. 
 
 
That's my secret fiance Noboko pouring me a beer at my good-bye enkai. Beats me why I am so happy... probably because I know that I'll see her again in a few hours time...
After the toast, it’s onto more talking and eating. Oh… and drinking. 

A Japanese enkai is a real booze fest. 

I’ve been asked this before:  what if I don’t drink alcohol (because of religious, health reasons, or maybe you just don’t care for drinking and it’s raucous aftereffects)? 

If it’s not an affront to your well being, I’d suggest informing the kanji ahead of time, but still having a sip anyway when presented. Or, after the first sip, request orange juice, or some other beverage. This should be mentioned to the kanji ahead of time… because you don’t want to look rude, especially when the choice to drink is your own.

So… after the toast, some drinking and eating, some enkai will have a talent show. Buddha help me, but in my case every time I attended, there was a karaoke machine. I don’t read Japanese, so I was relegated to only the songs available that had English subtitles. 

Those songs are invariably: My Way (Frank Sinatra); Country Roads; and Love Me Tender. I ain’t joking when I tell you that my karaoke machine mixed up the L with an R on Love, making it “Rove Me Tender”… which sounds a whole lot like “Rub me Tender” when sung by a drunk Japanese office worker. 

I opted for My Way, the first year… but rather than do the Sinatra version, I did the Johnny Rotten version. This was one of Johnny’s solo pieces after breaking away from the punk rock group, The Sex Pistols. 

Johnny had a warble in his voice, and because of my ability to mimic things, I was able to do a passable copy of Johnny Rotten doing My Way. The problem was, is that no one at the OBOE had ever heard the Johnny Rotten version… as such, despite my angry warble being spot on (I even changed my voice to sound like his), I’m afraid that I merely came across as sounding like someone who can not sing. 

Which I suppose is true. 

I don’t think the OBOE ever invited me to sing again at one of their enkai… though I did do Country Roads with my fellow AETs (assistant English teachers) at a Tochigi-ken JET weekend. I probably should have done Johnny Rotten version for the JETs, and stuck with taking it home via the Country Roads for the OBOE. Oh well. Live and learn. Next life. 
 
Kevin Blacburn, myself, Jeff Seaman, Matthew Hall, and Tim Mould doing karaoke at a Tochigi-ken JET Programme function. Go ahead and click on the photo and see what song we're singing. I dare ya. At least I was wearing underwear.
Anyhow… while everyone at the enkai is in rapt engagement listening to a co-worker croon some Japanese enka (folk song)… once that is done, it’s time for the free-for-all, which really means it’s time to move around and talk with others.       

This, my friends, is where everyone goes around to their boss et al, and pours a small amount of beer into their glass. 

Some people are so pissed drunk by this time, however, that they open their mouth and spew angry diatribes at their superiors. Good news, however, is that a Japanese enkai is like Las Vegas. Whatever happens at Las enkai, stays at Las enkai. 

It really is no big deal. The hierarchy of boss and peon is now reduced to drinking person and drinking person with a less expensive suit. 

Usually, these enkai will last either two or three hours… and dammit all, it ends right on the prescribed dot. 

But, as is usually the case, when one enkai ends, a group of committed party-goers will head of to a noodle shop or another bar, and continue the fun times, with a second, or Buddha help you, a third enkai. 

Been there, done that. 

I’ve been called a  "hebi-durinkah”, which is Japlish for “heavy drinker”. Yeah, I could drink more than most people… or at worst, would drink as much as the worst drinker (best drinker) at an enkai, and not look the worse for wear… IE, I don’t appear to be pissed three sheets to the wind. 
Myself and a local Ohtawara-shi sake maker. He offered me my very first glass of sake to welcome me to Ohtawara at the o-bon festival in August of 1990. It's here that I earned my pseudonym of "hebi-durinkah", after nearly emptying his cache of rice wine meant to be sold to the rest of the city during this festival. That is a Donald Duck mask I have on my head, as well as a festival jacket given to me by one of the festival workers. Donald Duck is my favorite comic book character (no, not Batman). To paraphrase: "I'm Donald Duck." Someone will get that joke. And yes... this was my second glass of sake. It was 37C at 10PM, and I was thirsty. It went down like water.
 
It was at a JET enkai, that I engaged in the infamous sake drinking contest with myself, a fellow AET, and a Japanese educational head. 

My fellow AET literally passed out after his 10th shot of sake - to be fair he had been drink aforehand, because this was at the end of the enkai evening. 

Myself and the Japanese head, we literally went head-to-head - each of us swallowing 47 shots of sake… and we both realized that no one was going to win, and he had a meeting to attend  - so we called it a draw. 
 
Mr. Arakawa and myself one evening after our infamous drinking battle, toasting each other with a very small shot of sake.
Who has a meeting after an enkai? No one… He probably wanted to go and be sick, the poor retching soul. Me? I went dancing. Got kicked out of the club. Went and passed out in a forest diorama under a deer. Apparently I had to break into the diorama in order to pass out, but I did so without damaging anything. I awoke after a few hours, and went to my room. I think I made out with a female AET from my prefecture. Canadian redhead. yeah. I did. Woke up in my own room, refreshed and happy - but with a dry mouth.       

I was not susceptible to hangovers. Never had one. Not in my DNA. 

Personally, the enkai is a fun time for bonding, and this is where you discover just who the hell can really speak English, and you get to wonder why they are so afraid to speak it with you when they aren’t drunk. 
 
Yes, enkai are a lot of fun... or so I've been told. My memory is a little fuzzy.
 
Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

Monday, October 1, 2018

Japan Lands Two Robots On Asteroid



Call it what you will, but Japan is the first nation to have landed not just one, but two rovers on an asteroid.

The images above show the asteroid Ryugu, with JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) notations showing where the rovers landed.

It hardly seems fair, considering Japan is the only country to have actually done any asteroid chasing... but who cares? The feat by JAXA IS impressive.

Consider, if you will, that within the past month, the U.S. has announced that via NASA, it will once again journey to the Moon with manned missions... and note that no nation other than the U.S. has landed human beings on the Moon... and even then, none since 1972 and Apollo 17.

Of course, to this day, some people believe the moon landings to be a staged landing that actually took place in a lot somewhere in the U.S.

JAXA had launched its unmanned Hayabasa2 asteroid explorer to fly to the Ryugu asteroid, a one kilometer-wide chunk of rock.

On September 21, 2018 at 4:06PM GMT., it deployed two robotic probes--Rover 1A and 1B, and both landed successfully on Ryugu and began to transmit back images of the asteroid surface.

These probes are actually part of the MINERVA-II1 (MIcro Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid). The MINERVA-II1 is the world’s first rover (mobile exploration robot) to land on the surface of an asteroid.

It is also the first time for autonomous movement and picture capture to occur on an asteroid surface.

The MINERVA-II1 is, according to JAXA, "the world’s first man-made object to explore movement on an asteroid surface."

Rover 1A has four specially-designed color cameras--three are on Rover 1B--with the cameras taking stereo photos of Ryugu's surface.

Rover1A image of Ryugu Asteroid after landing on September 23, 2018.
Rover1B image of Ryugu Asteroid after landing on September 23, 2018.

The rovers are also equipped with temperature gauges and optical sensors as well as an accelerometer and a set of gyroscopes.

Click on the link below to see a 15-second color video taken by Rover 1B of the surface. 

http://www.hayabusa2.jaxa.jp/en/topics/20180927e_MNRV/img/rover1b_sol07_movie.mov

Banzai,
Andrew Joseph

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Non Sequitur

Above is a cartoon that captures the flavor of the two blogs I write the most for: Pioneers of Aviation and this one, Japan--It's a Wonderful Rife.

It's a Non Sequitur toon written and drawn by Wiley Miller, appearing in newspapers on September 13, 2018 - coincidentally, gal-pal Alice's birthday, and offered up to me by my good friend Vinnie.

Today is September 30... and man I'm glad this effing month is over with. Not only chock full of baseball and hockey, and work, work, work, it was full of memorable birthdays and death days, and sooooo many added expenses for new hockey goalie equipment, broken car and furnace, to a science project, work travel... that I may all ready have reached a breaking point and simply not noticed it happened.

Until I do, I soldier on, looking for my own jailbreak.

I love Non Sequitur. Hope you enjoyed the trip.

You can find more HERE.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph
PS: A non sequitur is a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Something Good For PlayStation Fans


If you are one of those gamers who enjoys… let’s say, Fortnite… and you play it on the Sony PS4 (PlayStation 4), like my son does, he gets to play alongside several of his buddies.

But not all of his buddies.

While the game is available across other formats such as Microsoft Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch, if other friends were on those consoles, it meant my son and his PS4 game could not play against or with each other.

Until now.

Sony has announced that it will now allow cross-format multiplayer gaming on PlayStation 4, meaning Sony customers (subscribers) can now play online multiplayer with friends on other formats such as the Nintendo or Microsoft gaming systems.

Yay, he says sarcastically. Now my son can waste more time sitting on his a$$ playing with lots of friends rather than actually getting up and out of the house to play or ride a bike.

I blame Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft for its part in creating kids who can act on social media and other systems without actually being sociable.

Yes, I realize the ultimately it is up to the parent to control their kid’s playtime… but even if I shut my kid off 100 per cent from playing a game (it’s close to 100 per cent anyways), NONE of his bloody friends want to go out and play.

I already coach his hockey and baseball teams... should I hang out and play with him because all of his friends are inside playing video games?

I have nothing against video games.  I played them myself... spent a lot of time at the arcade stuffing quarters on a string into the games like Scramble, Gorf, 1942, Centipede, Galaxian, Donkey Kong (and Donkey Kong Jr.), etc. I had a home arcade system before most kids that doubled as a home computer. I have Sega systems, Nintendo systems, and now Sony systems out the ying-yang. I play video games when I have free moment (none the past few months), but I was enjoying Assassin's Creed Black Flag... I get the allure of video games...

But at least I went outside and played with my friends. That simple thing... playing in-person with friends is important. It helps develop social relationships. Holy crap... maybe everyone will text or IM someone for a data... but what will they do ON the date? No one will know how to talk to each other.

Okay... I digress. I am only here today to inform you that Sony is now allowing cross-console on-line gaming.

Banzai,

Andrew Joseph
The above line on the image is from the 1970s cult comedy movie Animal House.