Trying to keep up the pace with the revived A Week in Tokyo series ><
February was another packed month made up of events and a business trip to Barcelona and London. Also made a lot of progress on Smart Doll and we should hopefully be able to start shipping this May.
All this means that I've not really had a chance to have a breather and have been running on fumes since last June ><
This photo taken from the hospital that I've been visiting for the past couple of months. Since January, I've been having a chronic cough and medicine doesn't seem to be helping. Doctors think its something to do with allergies and my asthma but don't seem to be able to do anything about it.
I cough a lot during eating, in the shower and when laughing ^^;
Anyway, since my cough, my breath has started to really smell! if you are talking t me, feel free to look away to catch some fresh air from time to time ^^;
I went to a doctor for a while and as I wasn't getting any better I then went to a hospital. On my first visit I was kept waiting for 6 hours - it always seems to be like that at Japanese hospital for some reason. They also make you pay an extra fee of 3500 yen if a doctor didn't refer you to that hospital.
I went to a university hospital which are common in Japan but was recently told by a few doctor friends that university hospitals are mainly made up of students who don't treat the patients well which seems to be consistent though my experiences.
What are hospitals like in your neck of the woods - do they treat you as if they want to help you get better or as if you are causing a nuisance?
Apparently, the doctor couldn't see anything wrong with my lungs and just said that my cough is caused by pollen and house dust and proceeded to prescribe a ton of medicine for me.
I have a feeling that after so many months, this chronic cough is something I'm going to have to learn to live with just like I've learned to live with Spinal Hernia.
How many of you are living with illnesses?
February is when I built the doll studio on the 1st floor where we will begin production of Smart Doll. This is what it looked like during the early stages while we were also preparing for the Wonder Festival.
Before I used to use a hairdryer to heat the shell parts but that wasn't productive at all as you can only heat up a single piece each time.
I made this heatbox which is made up from an electric ceramic heater which blows hot air downwards into the box from a hole that I cut in it.
As you can see however, its not so sturdy and begins to sag after a while.
I went to get an estimate to see how much it would cost to make out of wood and was told 25000 yen - I said "hmmmmmm" and looked for more cost effective methods for making a heatbox.
I found some sturdy cardboard boxes on Amazon which are used for filing accounting papers - they came with a metal frame which prevents the box from warping - perfect and they cost about 1500 yen for 3!
Am very proud of Mirai Suenaga Smart Doll and can't wait to release her to the world ><
Up until now, to be honest I didn't feel that I achieved much in life. While one of the best things about my job is that I get to make comrades around the world, I've always felt that I haven't done anything significant - up until now. Smart Doll changes everything.
Now when aliens come to Earth after the apocalypse, they can dig up a Smart Doll - they can dig up something physical that I created ^^;
Many folks around me seem to prefer that I stayed a blogger but I didn't want to die just writing articles all my life - I wanted to create something special and I believe that many humans are the same - they want to create.
From the time of the cavemen who had been creating paintings on the walls of their caves and even making dolls - I feel that I was destined to create something before I die which will could be anytime between now and 30 - 40 years time.
If I do live until I'm 70 or 80, it means that I've already lived for more than half of my life. While I couldn't really do anything about my first 10 years or so being brought up in a foster home, I feel that I've been able to take back my life after discovering Japanese Culture and this is the reason why.
Dropped my first generation PS Vita (review here) which broke at a timing that just happened to coincide with the release of the thinner PCH-2000 model came out. Sony Timer? ^^;
To be specific, the previous PS Vita would still turn on but it cant read the memory card anymore and as the first model didn't have any internal memory at all - I can't do anything with it except to use it as a door stop ^^;
The new PS Vita is very nice - thinner, lighter and can be charged with a micro USB. Some folks complained that the screen is not OLED anymore but still looks great to me.
Am currently replaying Gravity Daze as there is not a whole lot of decent games coming out for it after all these years ><
Cant wait for Gravity Daze 2 though. Wonder why they called it "Rush" outside of Japan?
Do you own a PS Vita and if so what games do you recommend for it?
As far as I know, there are only 3 manufacturers that produce soft vinyl 60cm tall dolls with inner frames - Volks, Obitsu and Culture Japan. Much of the production for these dolls is done in the East end of Tokyo in areas such as Katsushika, Kanamachi and Misato where this photo was taken.
There are many toy makers located in the area such as Takara Tomy and Bandai too.
I spend a lot of my time here working with various folks involved with production of Smart Doll and am also building my own soft vinyl molding factory here too. We will still have soft vinyl versions which will be sold along the injection molded versions.
Anyway, how many of you recognize this tall landmark?
After designing MiraiFrame, I've had to redesign the forearm so that it latches onto the frame where the elbow is. To do this, I take the same 3D printout that I used last time and stick the molding spout made out of wax on the wrist instead of the elbow. This is then cloned in silicon where it will then be electromolded.
More about the production process can be seen at smartdoll.jp
A lot of buildings in Tokyo have a slant on one side - I originally thought it was just a design thing but its actually a regulation called the Kitagawa Shasen (北側斜線(きたがわしゃせん)) - put in place to prevent buildings blocking out the sun for smaller dwellings which may involve taking a diagonal slice out of a building.
You can read more about housing regulations in the Tokyo Property Purchase post that I've been meaning to update for many years ><
If you read the latest Desk Diary, you will know that wifey and I moved out of our house so that we could accommodate production of Smart Doll.
Not enough hours in the day usually means that I take work home and this is where I work. I want to be able to start earning enough to afford a proper office so that we can move back home ><
The only nice thing about our current apartment is that its got a big flat wall - we use the projector that we bought for events and watch movies on it.
These days we prefer to wait for movies to come out on iTunes instead of going to the cinema to avoid either:-
Also means we can pause the movie for a pee without coming back to the movie thinking what on earth is going on ^^
Here we are watching a motivational movie - probably my most fave called Trading Places.
The PS4 goes on sale in Japan after the rest of the world has tested for bugs. I'm not allowed to get a PS4 until I start selling Smart Doll says our finance Director (wifey) - although there does not seem to be many decent games out yet? #1stWorldProblems
PS4 games confuse me because most of the ones I've seen in commercials in Japan say "available for PS3 and PS4" - meaning that the PS4 version just has bells and whistles attached?
The samples of Mirai's hairpin is done! A magnet fits into the bottom which is then used to attach to the side of her head - this leaves her hair unruffled.
I made the injection mold at the Japanese branch of Protomold and any of you can use the same service to make your own stuff too.
The circles you see at the bottom is where ejector pins push the clip out of the mold - if you see circles like this on products you own then thats what they usually are. They may not be as deep as these though.
Have been working on Moekana Second Edition for the past few months - it will go up for pre-order mid April.
For those who don't know - its a set of flashcards for learning Japanese that sold tens of thousands worldwide which has lead to the second edition that includes Katakana too ^o^
Until we get the new site up you can read about Moekana here.
Its the first time taking business class on British Airways - its always interesting to see how each airline designs their seat arrangement. This was the first time I sat in a place facing the tail - interesting experience! Herald Sun has a photo showing the layout.
One of the great things about this job is that I have no idea where I will be in the next two weeks. The Barcelona/London trip was unexpected and I'm actually in Dubai as I write this - another unexpected trip.
All this travel does however contribute to my goals of sharing Japanese culture with the help of Mirai Suenaga ^o^
This is Kuraikawai who I hooked up with on figure.fm - I saw her seamstress work and loved what I saw. I then proceeded to regularly commissioned work from her.
Since then, she became an official tailor for Smart Doll who looks after the design of the T-shirt that comes with the standard model.
You can order the same T-shirts (and moekana ones too) from her at Murasaki.me
By the way - if my smile here looks stiffer than usual its because my camera (Sony RX 100 II) was stolen 15 mins before this photo was taken ><
This photo was taken a few seconds before my wallet was stolen - but I managed to nab it back.
A lady saw us running for the train who purposely got on to the carriage slowly waiting for the doors to close - as the doors closed, she got on the train quickly and turned around to hold the doors open for us. Anybody would think of this as a kind gesture.
Now on the train, thinking that I now trust the lady after she helped us get on, she stood right beside me and started to pickpocket me from under a coat that she had slung over her arm.
I'm a sucker for trusting nice people and let my ninja defenses down until I moved and she dropped my wallet as she took it from my hip pouch.
To her surprise, my wallet was actually my Moekana Deck Case and probably thought WTF is this?!
I've heard so many stories about being pick pocketed and usually involves getting trust from the victim.
One of the stories I heard was about a lady with a load of luggage on the metro platform who had paint splashed on her from behind - a man approaches her to wipe it off which forges a trust with her.
Another man grabs her bag and runs off while the first man is still wiping the paint - the woman can't leave because shes got a load of other luggage so the man who originally splashed paint offers to look after her baggage - you can guess the rest.
She could not catch the first man after she ran after him and when she got back to the platform, her luggage is gone with the first man...
Have you been pickpocketed in your home country or while abroad? What did you lose?