Desk Diary 2013/10

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Wed 2013/10/09 00:22 JST in Desk Diary
Was only recently reminded that the last time I wrote Desk Diary was back in February - I really thought I did one after ><
Since we last spoke, we've done a few overseas events, rolled out Moekanji and made quite a bit of progress on Mirai Suenaga Smart Doll.
Quite a few new gadgets and wot not in the office so this post is a wee bit longer than the usual.
First photo - my girls posed up for an interview.
Folks from Conde Nast interviewing me for an article in Japanese GQ Magazine - should be out this month I think.
Changed the layout of the Mirai shrine just a wee bit and replaced the posters with the ones from Anime Expo 2013.
I think the most recent sensei to illustrate our Mirai-chan is INO-sensei.
Many people have been wanting the figma of Mirai of late is seems ><
Many have also been asking for the Mirai Mousepad which was the first ever product that I made ^^;
No plans to do another one though ><
The Touch n Go cards that were sold at Culture Japan Con. Currently planning on a different set just for Comic Fiesta 2013.
A new girl - DDY Miiko. Thanks to Dollfieworld for sending her over ^o^
I may be making my own dolls but that doesn't mean I've forgotten about my DD girls - this is Yuki-chan who currently guards my iMac.
Picked up the Magnetic Charging Dock for the Xperia Z1 - the waterproof flap that needs to be removed on the Z1 for charging looked like it was about to fall off so the dock is a welcome addition.
The DK30 dock says that its for the Xperia Ultra Z but it comes with an adaptor for the Z1 too.
The folks from Dentsu at the office who look after the Hello Japan channel in Singapore - Culture Japan Season 2 is now airing.
Currently planning for Season 3 to broadcast across Asia and America from next April.
I've been working with Dentsu for quite a few years now. The Cannes Advertising Festival and Japan Mode are just two projects that you may be familiar with.
Since we moved from the first floor, my table had always been tucked into a corner like this. That corner always felt dark so tried something else...
...I moved it to the middle ^^;
Feels brighter now but I'll probably move it all the way over to the right so that its flush with the window and get more daylight into my workspace.
And this is what it looked like in the evening back then.
While my previous MacBook Air served me well for a few years, I upgraded for some extra battery and power juice. This is also my first USB3.0 machine so I get a wee bit of a bump in data transfer speed with my USB 3.0 drives.
The Migration Assistant comes in handy to transfer data to a new Mac - but only if used the unofficial way.
Whenever I use the Migration Assistant when setting up a new machine, the new Mac would say something like "30 seconds remaining" - and then remain like that for the next 2 hours ^^;
What I do is setup a random account and then run Migration Assistant from that account. This usually works fine without hanging. I then delete the random account and everything is nice and kushty.
While I was away from Japan for 6 weeks rolling out Culture Japan Con and attending Animangaki, I was using the MacBook Air solid for my daily tasks and while the screen did feel a bit small, the machine was quite adequate for what I do on a daily basis - so much so that I'm actually thinking of ditching the iMac and using the MacBook Air as my main machine but have an external monitor attached.
The iMac would be used as the main editing machine for when we start Culture Japan Season 3.
What do you use as your main machine? Laptop? Desktop?
One thing I do like about the laptop is that when the power gets cut, the laptop continues to work while the iMac just dies. The electricity breaker kicks in on occasions when the microwave is on at the same time we are boiling water and hoovering the floor ^^;
Saw an article entitled "Keeping Your Laptop Plugged in All the Time Will Kill Its Battery Faster" which suggests that you should keep plugging and unplugging the power so that the battery is never full - I would think that laptops would have a functionality so that it does not charge the battery when it reached 100% no?
The figure and doll corner.
Regular readers will know that I have a legitimate excuse for having a birthday suited doll on the table ^^;
I'm currently managing all areas of production of Smart Doll - everything from the design, frame, robotics, molds, wig, eyes, packaging, logistics and setting up fulfillment and customer support.
There has been quite a few updates to the project that I'll loop you in on soon. I'm sooooo excited ><
I've created 2 new bust sizes for Mirai - small and medium. The 3D design is done and is currently being cloned into wax which will be electroplated to make the molds. Should be ready this time next week and hopefully have the vinyl pulls ready for display for the first time at AFA Singapore.
The wigs in this photo are the mass production samples. The one on the left is Heat Resistant (耐熱ウィグ) and the one on the right is a Non-Heat Resistant wig (非耐熱ウィグ).
The difference is that the Heat Resistant wig can be curled with a hot iron as it can withstand higher temperatures before it starts to frizzle out. This means that its easy to style but the drawback is that due to the nature of the material, it gets tangled very easily.
The Non-Heat Resistant wig is as the name suggests - it can't withstand high temperatures and will melt under the hot temperature of an iron - the advantage is that the hair is thicker and gets tangled less easily.
I'm currently test running both before I make a decision as to which one to go with. I initially thought the Heat Resistant one felt better but am now beginning to appreciate how manageable the Non-Heat Resistant version is.
For more info about how dolls are made, check out
And here are the figure racks - removed the figma's and replaced them with scale figures.
Megahouse Mori Yuki by Megahouse - thanks to AmiAmi for sending her over ><
How many of you followed the new season of Yamato?
Ichika Takatsuki scale figure by Kotobukiya.
Mai Shiranui scale figure by Skytube.
Review of Cryska and Yui can be found in the Alphamax category.
Rin-chan looking after my plants. How many of you followed Wooser?
Robocop : "Dead or are coming with me."
How many of you watched the original series? Me looking forward to checking out the new revamped version next year.
During the Summer, a load of mosquitoes come out to play. This little piggy is an Earth Nomat which heats up a chemical that keeps those mosquitoes at bay.
Skytube Konoe who I currently display casted off ^^
Maneki Neko that we picked up from Kyoto.
My Creative Director Linus at the controls.
CNN filming in the office while I get on with work. I know I'm not sitting properly with the 'S' shaped spine but it gets tiring when I do ^^
Dug out the Magic Trackpad for the iMac which I use a lot when working on graphics.
Also you can see my new mouse - the Logitech M950 which is one of the few mice that works on glass.
Took a bit of getting used to after using the Mighty Mouse for so many years but muscle memory soon got used to the M950 which saves me from looking for a mousepad replacement (usually ends up being some magazine) when at hotels and also saves time maintaining a mousepad which gets quite grubby after a while and having to wash it and wot not. Also means my desk feels more cleaner without space taken up by a mousepad.
The scrolling wheel rocks left and right which I use as back n forth buttons in Chrome and Finder too. I turn on accessibility options on my Mac to allow screen zooming that I assigned to the zoom button which is also useful for inspecting pixels.
The M950 is charged by microusb and comes with 1 Eneloop battery that lasts a couple of weeks on one charge.
I'm always keeping track of time which means I need clocks everywhere I look ^^;
Picked up this digital clock from MUJI.
New Indonesian learning tool Alfa Link.
I get the feeling that many readers don't know how old I really am ^^;
I'm knocking on quite a bit and get a lot of dizzy spells so picked up the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor to see whether I can see any tell tale signs of something seriously wrong. Still not sure from the results so am going to have one of those top down checkups again soon.
And how about you - of what age are you?
Picked up the Sony ICD-UX523 voice recorder for work. Clear sharp sound and easy to use.
The SMACON controller for mobile devices - no mapping key needed for Blazing Star but the controls are quite stiff - suggestion would be to give it to a younger brother to mash about with until the controls are more fluid and then take it away from him ^^;
Photography is a major part of my work and my previous NEX 5N was knocking on a bit. Picked up the NEX 5R before I went to Malaysia in August only to find that they released a new model with built in NFC when I got back to Japan ;-;
Amairo Islenauts by Yuzusoft which was released this Summer. We worked on their website and iPhone app too.
Currently working with another eroge maker on another app which should be out this December.
I've worn hip pouches for many years now - not a fan of carrying around a bag when I've only got a few bits in pieces that I need around me.
Have been meaning to make my own line of hip pouches but the priority and resources mean that the project is always put on the backburner.
I'm guessing that the doll version will come first just like the shoes ^^;
Anyway, in the meantime I got this one from Etsy - the product name is called Ms Money Penny ^^;
Inside I can fit Mirai Nendoroid, a Moekana Deck Case which I use as a business card holder, my RX100M camera and a few other bits n pieces.
Went with WiMAX and picked up a pocket WiFi - I got a lot to share about mobile solutions in Japan so will write a separate post.
In short, the speed of this one is fine but quite bad when on the move in a car ToT
Some of the devices that we use in the office for QA and wot not. There has to be a better solution to charge all this crap.
For now all I can think of is this makeshift charging station - a container that I got from MUJI for a few hundred yen that keeps it all "kinda" tidy.
I dont have a solution for all of this yet though.
In the future we will probably look back in the past and laugh at how we used wires to charge our mobile devices.
These plastic boxes are from MUJI and have been quite useful at keeping things tidy - they are originally makeup boxes though.
Lens and camera equipment.
Nendoroid face parts and a Revoltech plier to aid in pulling out the neck joint.
Picked up a few iPad Mini's which we use for display at events to show videos and also as a cash register using Square.
Doing a test run of a display that I was going to have the next day at Wonder Festival - this is what it turned out like.
My pride and joy. My preciousssss. The frame version (Mirai Doll) to be released soon-ish and the robot version to be released in Q2 or Q3 of next year.
Speaking of which, Mirai gets a new Pedokuma bag to put *her* precious stuff inside.
Precious stuff like this.
The two things that I have not initiated production on yet are Mirai's hairclip and box - everything else is in progress.
Wifey's iBook G4 bites the dust - saying thanks to it for many years of service by pulling out its guts - need to make sure the HD is completely destroyed ^^;
Throwing out more junk for recycle - how many of you played DDR?
I'm sure I'm doing this wrong ^^;
The Calpis X Mr Donuts collaboration this Summer - was the sweetest thing I've ever ever tasted - and never ever want to taste again ^^;
Still have the iPhone handy for QA'ing our apps. Installed iOS7 on it and ended up with a slow UI ><
Loving Dragons Crown.
Not had that much time to play games so not sure when the next installment of Japan Gaming Life will be ><
3DS now looks better with Mirai on it ^^;
I never liked the air purifier that wifey chose - its so big! But now it looks ok with Mirai on it ^^; This illustration by Koizumi Amane-sensei.
A series that wifey is following through manga and drama - Pin To Kona.
Mirai Suenaga was on the cover (and featured inside of) MMD Master pack...
...while I explain in Newsweek why anime is not all hentai like many people think.
Do you have people around you who think the same about anime?
I spend a lot of time on Skype - sometimes my whole day would be taken up with Skype meetings ><
Spent a few months working on our 2nd Japanese learning product - Moekanji!
Not sure if you can notice but the color on the right is off. This is an example of a process that I'm given to check and have to often ask for something to be done over and over again until its perfect.
Whether its making cards, T-shirts or dolls, managing quality is a daily task which can be challenging especially when you have vendors who insist that the quality is there when it isn't.
The key is to never give in and make sure that your beliefs and values are adhered to when it comes to quality control. You will be hated for being overly fussy but you are not doing it to make friends - you are doing it because you want to make quality products that change the world and consumers of your products or services will appreciate it.
That round thingy is a magnifying glass with a light in it. Unless you take a very powerful magnifying glass, you won't see the printed dots on our Moekana or Moekanji cards - the printing quality is that good ^^; Made in Japan at the same factories used by many other Japanese trading card game manufacturers.
Shipping a load of Moekanji to Malaysia for CJC and Indonesia for AFAID - will also have a load to sell at Mirai Kopitiam in AFASG next month.
My business card management is terrible - they are all over the place ><
Meanwhile back downstairs where the office used to be - its still used as a stock room.
Sometimes the first floor corridor gets blocked by figures that fall from the ceiling ^^;
For this reason, I tend to offload figures to anybody who comes to our office. Today I'm with Skan and Kan from Studio Hive. Skan is the designer of the Solar Marine uniform, Retrokyu and the Retrograde Suit and was also the lead designer for the Square Enix title Front Mission.
The 3rd floor where my first office was is now a doll sanctuary filled with a load of parts, test shots and prototypes for Smart Doll.
The girls are in a body bag which means its that time of year...
You may already be familiar with these from the Japan Insect Repellent post - Earth Red is a product where once you add water, it releases an insect killing cloud which hunts down and maims those pesky little ones.
Taking photos like this is dangerous as by the time the smoke comes out you should already be outdoors ^^;
In the past I've inevidently inhaled some of the smoke which left me with a very sore throat for a few days ToT.
Once the gassing commences, one should leave the house asap with all the windows closed. Go back after a few hours and you will find insects laying on their back.
The TBS crew came over to film my shenanigans for a TV show called Kono Kao Ga Sugoi which is hosted by Sakurai Sho.
Tis the Halloween season! And as soon as the date becomes November 1st, all the Halloween stuff in the shops are immediately replaced by Christmas stuff ^^;
I kinda like Orange.
Got this to hang in the shower so that I can keep an eye on the time ^o^
For the past few months, a TV drama called Hanzawa Naoki was broadcast and became one of the most watched dramas in Japan reaching viewership of over 50% of the country!
Watching Japanese dramas was one of the methods I used to learn Japanese - while you can learn a lot from Anime, the words and grammar structures you hear in drama is closer to what you will be using in real life - use Google Sensei to see what's out there.
Cup Noodle tastes good once in a while.
Wifey gets a new gadget. Sewing machines are quite cheap over here - this one from Amazon for 13240 yen.
For the past few months, my office has shifted to many different locations - like on the Singapore Airlines heading to Anime Expo. The experience on the A380 business class was so good that the only bad thing was that I wished the flight was longer - its that good ^^
Been collecting a load of photos from various business classes that I probably should start a review or something.
Temporary office at a rental house in Los Angeles.
Makeshift office at a kopitiam in Kuala Lumpur.
For a few weeks I stayed at an apartment in Kuala Lumpur at Mon Kiara.
And where possible I would try to squeeze in work on the move too - this on a bus on its way to AFAID.
This snapped the other day - will have more warm bodies as Mirai Inc grows. I have a feeling that growth will be most noticeable next year when Smart Doll launches.
There is going to be quite a few changes this month in terms of layout change - will make sure to document and bring you the next Desk Diary sooner than later ^^;
In the meanwhile, you may want to have a gander at the previous Desk Diary's below and see how my work environment has changed over the years.