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Technology is driven by aspiration

 The weather feels like its dived head first into Autumn after such a scorching summer doesn’t it.

 This time around I’d like to touch on a corner I turned towards the Honda Technical Research Institute while engaging in some scorching solo touring.

 On the last day of Summer vacation I mounted my iron horse dressed for rain gear amidst a slight shower. I pulled on the reins planning to see both mountain and sea on an eastward journey. About the time I crossed the Gunma border the sun reared its head, and by the time I could see the ocean mid-summer had returned. Being the last day of vacation not many bikers were on the roads, and perhaps due to sharks not many tourists were in the waters. I decided to leave the ocean for later.

 This trips primary destination was the Mobility Park with its Twin Ring track, operated by a subsidiary company of Honda. Still in the middle of summer vacation there were hordes of families throughout the area creating a Twin Ring very different from what I remembered roughly a decade ago. But, stepping into the Honda Collection Hall I found a stoic sanctuary.

 POWERED by HONDA~1000 horse power turbo memoirs~Open-engine ExhibitionThe purpose for coming to the Twin Ring this time around was the

 POWERED by HONDA~1000 horse power turbo memoirs~Open-engine Exhibition

 as named, an exhibition of Honda’s most powerful turbo engine F1 machines.

 At the exhibition there were two cars, a McLaren Honda MP4/4 and a Lotus Honda 100T. Both cars are 27 years old, but in their time created attention for Japanese Technology. The exhibit brought back memories of when Ayrton Senna and Soichiro Honda were called number 1 on television.

 The history of attempting so many tests to reach their glory moved me. I plan to imbue the various forms of stimulus I encountered into my future work.

From Pumping both wheels


A famous creampuff shop

 Isn't food just wonderful.

 An update from me who finds happiness in delicious food.

 This time I would like to introduce you to the creampuff at a BonPAPA, a creampuff specialty shop.

 The volume of the custard filling in this creampuff is phenomenal. With a thick crust they are able to fill a large serving of custard into each puff. Which ends up being an extra-large creampuff that’s very nice.

 The flavors are also exceptional with the crust having a strong wheat aroma while the cream inside brings out the best of the yolks being used. A surefire hit for cream lovers.

 If you’re ever nearby it’s definitely worth the price to try one.

 By all means, taste test one for yourself.

From Creampuff-fingers


Team Lab Islands

Team Lab Islands at Takasaki Suzuran

 An event know as Team Lab Islands will be taking place in the Takasaki Suzuran from July 31 through August 17th.

 Painted pictures are projected to float on large screens letting both children and the parents they bring with them tap and play with the images in a fun and colorful setting. Amidst these sweltering hot days why not stop by and have a nice air conditioned break.

 Takasaki Festival floatsWhen my family and I went for our visit the Takasaki Festival was in full swing. The glory of the festival floats numbering the highest in the nation blended together into a masterpiece.

From Jyoushin Electric Railside Resident


The last of the biggest

 Pluto as seen from NASA's New HorizonsDid you know that on some planets it rains diamonds? Did you know Saturn has a permanent hexagon shaped storm on its north pole? The mysteries of space are truly endless as we try harder and harder to understand the reality around us.

 To be honest, we known very little about our own planet. It is estimated that only around 4% of the Earth’s oceans have been explored, and the oceans make up around 70% of the surface. And we can only explore the surface which is far less than 0.01% of the entire Earth.

 Yet we look to the skies! Our nearest neighbor, the planet Mars, is a mere 225 million kilometers away. We have robots on the surface looking at the soil, the rocks, and the air, and have performed various flybys taking many detailed pictures of Mars, yet that’s about it. We know a lot more than we did twenty years ago, but we still known very little about Mars and what happened to it.

 Stepping further out we have several much more hostile neighbors in our solar system. You may have seen paintings of the planets in school books, but many of those are not real pictures. Most planets were not properly photographed until the early 2000s.

 The furthest planet, now called a dwarf planet, Pluto, was photographed in detail for the first time just two weeks ago by a probe known as New Horizons. This probe flew by Pluto at 54,700km/h (34,000mph), or 15.2km per second! Even at that speed it took 9 years to get there!

 It will take years to receive and understand all the data and pictures that New Horizons acquired. We already know it took pictures of ice on Pluto, and other moons and planets nearby us are already known to have water and ice. Extraterrestrial life could be announced any day and yet we still pretend like we are alone in a black and cold universe.

 Never forget the best is yet to come!

From Postman


Dragon Quest X

 I was thinking it prime for some time off of Monster Hunter 4G when it was suggested by a friend that I try Dragon Quest X.

 Dragon Quest has already passed from 1 through 9, and starting with X moved into the online world with some big changes in gameplay as well as a monthly server access fee of 1,500yen that had kept my hands off of it for years.

 The game is already well established having originally been released in August of 2012, followed by the 3DS release in September of 2014. “Starting this late, surely I would be left behind” said my feelings, but with my friend’s strong assurance of “No problem!” I gave in and bought the game two months ago.

 Playing for the first time I quickly came to understand that even now there is a ridiculous amount of players.

 Having been online for so long and gone through many different updates it is entirely impossible to try and experience all that the game offers. Also, moving between areas and different elements takes a very long time. The world is so large that moving around often is exhausting but still I continue to play.

 Like Monster Hunter once you start there is no real end so I have set a personal rule of stopping at 11PM on weekdays.

 Yes... I am totally sucked in.

 I’ve also come to more of a “it’s not that bad I guess...” stance in regards to the server access fee. With over 200 hours of play in just two months the perpetual nature of online is frightening, but I’ll just play until I get bored of it.

Dragon Quest X smart phone application My character in Dragon Quest X What I'm currently working on in Dragon Quest X
 The smart phone application. You can’t actually play the game through it, but can perform certain tasks and errands while away from your computer. This is a nice addition very different from previous versions.  This is what my character looks like. I’m wearing my team’s costume. I chose thief randomly at the beginning and my occupation continues to be thief. By the way my name is not Tanaka (The character’s name says Tanakaa-n) but the hero of Dragon Quest has always been named Tanaka. When I tried putting a name in at the beginning it warned me several dozens of people had the same name, so I tried adding the a-n to it.  Currently I’m working on leveling up. If you don’t get your average level up to around 40 the basic abilities don’t go up so I’ve been working frantically. From here on, I’m trying to decide which occupation I will focus on.

From Naotyn


The world of 500km/h

 500km/h MaglevThe maglev central bullet train, scheduled for opening in 2027.

 Travelling from the Otsuki Junction towards the Lake Kawaguchi Interchange you will find the maglev test line viaduct. Directly next to this is the Yamanashi Prefectural Maglev Exhibition Center. Every time I pass by here I thought about how I wanted to pay a visit.

 The other day that chance finally came.

 Even before going I had assumed that I wouldn`t get the chance to see the maglev itself running, but there were actually running live tests. Apparently these tests take place even on Saturdays. It looks as if the train goes endlessly back and forth on the 42.8km track. Watching from the monitors in the observation facility, at around 150km/h the train goes from running on its wheel to floating above the tracks and then rapidly jumps up to 500km/h. Passing the observation center takes place in but a moment, perhaps two seconds from tip to tail.

 I thought that the maglev system involved magnets in the floor, but they are actually in the walls and the sides of the train itself. This is known as a sidewall levitation system. The walls use superconductive magnets that thus far are only being used in Japan. Other maglevs around the world use regular conductive magnets. Here we see Japan`s technological strength shine. The superconductive magnets in the walls must be kept at a temperature of -269C, which I assumed brought in a hefty price tag to maintain. However the walls make the whole system strong against side-winds, and as the train floats about 10cm, its very strong against earthquakes.

 Also, different from other trains, there is no overhead wire feeding power to the train. Apparently during operations energy is sent wirelessly to the train.

 The soul of modern technology, the maglev. I hope I get to ride one soon.

From 3+


Pasta Recommendation?

 Cup Noodle Pasta StyleJust recently, on June 29th, Nissei began selling a new instant pasta “Cup Noodle Pasta Style”, a first in their Cup Noodle series.

 Prior to initiating sales they used an abnormal advertising campaign “Pasta unapproved by Italians” explaining how 84% of Italian people that tried it said it was “not pasta,” even building a special website for the new products.

 It is certainly similar to a Cup Noodle, and has holes for draining the hot water out like with the Yakisoba cups which is handy. The two flavors are Vongole and Bolognese and they certainly look like pastas. The noodles are fat and round, and though they don’t have much flavor their soft texture is reminiscent of regular Cup Noodles. I recommend the clam essence, olive oil, and aromatic garlic infused Vongole.

 Sometimes a different pasta? is worth trying here is the pasta city of Takasaki.

From Aqua


Japan's Summer

 FireworksStepping out of the near-summer heat of June we’ve breeched into the sticky monsoon season of July. According to the meteorological society the Okinawa area already finished their monsoon season on June 11th, though central Japan is scheduled to last until around July 21st.

 Then, once we clear the monsoon season the blazing sun of summer is next. And what are the keywords of summer? Beach, river, pool, ice cream, beer, etc. we imagine things to cool us down right. For someone like me who loves events, the fireworks festivals are what I most look forward too.

 Thinking about that got me wondering why are firework festivals usually in the summer? So I did a little research. The roots began with the discovery of saltpeter in China which led to smoke signals that quickly developed from communication into weaponry in the form of gunpowder. In the 14th century gunpowder travelled the Silk Road to Europe where it was first used ornamentally as fireworks.

 Here in Japan it was 1543 when the Portuguese first brought guns to Tanegashima. The use of gunpowder quickly spread when Date Masamune and Ieyasu Tokugawa began to recognize foreign powers. It is here that Japan first saw fireworks that quickly spread across the nation.

 So, why fireworks in the summer? Just a in Europe where fireworks were used in Christian celebrations, they were used in Japan during the Bon Festival for the repose of souls.

 The Bon Festival starts with the lighting of receiving fires on August 13th then on August 16th fireworks were used to represent the sending off fires, sending souls back to the heavens.

 Thinking of the original use of fireworks while watching them can change your attitude towards them.

 Here are the firework festivals in Takasaki, Gunma, where we at Akiba Die Casting are located:

July 26th The Misato Summer Festival 2,000 shots
August 1st The 41st Takasaki Festival Fireworks Competition 15,000 shots
August 7th The Haruna Festival Fireworks Competition 3,000 shots
August 9th Gunma [Haniwa Valley] Summer Festival 1,500 shots
August 15th The Haruna Festival Commerce and Industry Fireworks Competition 4,000 shots
August 16th Shimachi Festival 1,000 shots
August 20th The 89th Iwahana-city Child Development Bodhisattva Restoration Festival’s smoke offering 3,500 shots
August 22nd Kurabuchi Summer Festival 300 shots


  As far as firework competitions go Takasaki Festival’s 15,000 shots may not be a lot, but in the short span of 50 minutes the show goes on at a lively pace, sure to enthrall onlookers.

  Be sure to watch for the echoing fireworks of this summer’s night sky.

From Pumping both wheels

2014 posts:



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