Monthly Archives: September 2010


Kaze no namae

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I’ve already mentioned how much I enjoyed Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name of the Wind”, so even though this was an utterly unnecessary purchase, I simply couldn’t resist get the Japanese version of the book when I found it on Amazon Japan.

As is the case with many foreign books (ie Harry Potter), the book is split into 3 separate tomes, each with its own jacket artwork.  The books themselves are very nicely bound with quality paper, and there’s even a map!  This is mostly a collectible, but who knows… maybe one day I’ll pick up enough Japanese to be able to read it.  Yeah…

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Reviews Tech

The new Kindle! (Kindle 3)

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  It’s old news by now, but the Kindle 3 recently came out and… well, I bought it.  Yes, I already have the Kindle 2, but… but… Ok, I have no good excuse, I just wanted it. 😛

It arrived about a week ago – since then I’ve been putting it to good use and I have to say that it is definitely a step up compared to its predecessor.  I won’t wax rhapsodic on its virtues since it essentially takes everything good from the Kindle 2 – and does it better.  You can see what I had to say about my first Kindle here, here, and here.

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  It’s SMALL – while I thought that the Kindle 2 was sleek, the Kindle 3 definitely one-ups it.  They’ve trimmed the buttons and the edges down into a tidy and compact frame, while still maintaining the original screen size.  Actually it got here just in time for me to take it on my trip to Yakushima, where it fit very tidily into my camera bag (whereas the Kindle 2 was just a tad too big).

Yes, the screen is still black/white/grayscale, but it’s /sharp/ and I have no problems reading it in pretty much any kind of lighting.

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  They’ve also reorganized the keyboard and buttons into what I feel is more intuitive layout – both edges now feature the next & back button, instead of the right edge holding the “home” button.  The joystick is also replaced by a 4-way keypad that’s much easier to use.  Oh, and by the way – it can now hold up to 3,500 books!! 😀

Another thing they’ve tweaked that I really like is the software and text input.  I set a password on my Kindle and on the previous model, I would have to type a few letters, wait for the cursor to catch up, and type some more.   If I typed too fast, it wouldn’t register the key input and miss/skip a couple of letters, leading of course to an incorrect password.  On the Kindle 3, that is no longer an issue and I can type at normal speed.  It’s a small thing, but it adds to the overall user-friendliness of the device.

Finally, and though I don’t use it that much (I bought the Kindle for reading after all!), the browser functionality on the Kindle 3 is head and shoulders above the Kindle 2.  Where the Kindle 2 would display a stripped down version text version of a site, the Kindle 3 shows a web page pretty much exactly as it was meant to be shown.  It also displays Japanese fonts (!) and of course 3G browsing remains free.

Below are some pictures comparing the two devices.   Sufficed to say that I give it a big thumbs up!

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Just for fun challenge – clouds

It’s been decided – this week’s “theme” will be clouds.  There will be a post next week with whatever submissions I get from my brothers (and of course my own picture).  If anyone wishes to join the fun, please send any submissions to: !

Challenges Fun

Just for fun challenge – music images

Last week I uploaded a light-painted image I had taken of my djembe drum.  That led me to thinking – why not do a weekly “challenge” of images based on a theme?

I proposed this to my 2 brothers (let’s call them J3 and J4) and they submitted the following pictures.

Submitted by J3 – Musical Alchemy

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Submitted by J4 – Untitled

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I think both pics are pretty neat, particularly considering they didn’t have time to think about it.  For “Musical Alchemy”, do any anime fans recognize the reference? 😉

I will try my best to keep doing this weekly – I’ve asked mom to come up with the “theme” for this week.  Rules are simple: anything goes, as long as it is remotely related to the theme.  Photographs, drawings made in Photoshop (or heck, MSPaint) – anything that’s interesting.

If anyone who reads these challenges wants to submit something, please send any submissions to with the name of the challenge in the subject line.

Check back later for the next theme! 🙂


Officially hottest summer on record

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, this year is officially the hottest on record in Japan (since they started keeping records in 1898).

It’s certainly felt like it – I don’t think I’ve ever run the A/C so long or so frequently.  It also doesn’t look to be cooling down anytime too soon yet either – weather forecasts predict a heat index (ie “real feel”) hovering around 37 degrees this week…