One Potato Two


Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Today was the day to leave Kyoto.

Before hopping on the Shinkansen, I went to Tofukuji, which is the best place for autumn foliage.




I had a little time, and I wanted to make use of my Rail Pass, so I went to Nishi-Akashi to eat some Akashiyaki.

Hana Gonomi

After I ate I headed back to Tokyo.

I checked in and spent the rest of the day working.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

I woke up early, so I walked to Nishi Hongwanji because it was only two blocks away from our inn.

Nishi Hongwanji

Nishi Hongwanji

I took the Shinkansen to go south, to Okayama.

I missed my first train while I was shopping for ekiben.
Luckily with the Rail Pass I can reserve another seat for free, so it was no problem.

At least the lunch was worth it.



Momotaro statue.

I only had time to visit the Okayama Castle.


Okayama Castle

I didn't have time to go inside.
Maybe next time.

I barely had time to buy some kibi dango before getting back on the train.

Kibi Dango

I headed to Iga Ueno next.


Iga-Ueno Castle
Iga Ueno Castle.

The Ninja Museum of Iga-Style is in the same area, so I went there next.

Ninja Museum of Iga-Style

Ninja Museum of Iga-Style

I took a lot of pictures here for reference.
I translated a bunch of stuff about ninja (KAGETORA, NARUTO, etc) and I wish I had the information back then.
Oh well.

I went back to Kyoto in the evening.

After a hearty meal...

Tamago to Watashi (The Egg and I)

I walked to Kiyomizu Temple from the station.
It was a looooong walk. I don't really recommend it.

But it was worth it. It was so pretty!

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple
Entrance to the "Garden of the Moon."
Unfortunately pictures weren't allowed.
It was really beautiful.
Worth the extra 600 yen.

Kiyomizu Temple

My pedometer was still on California time, so it only counted half of my day.

This is what Kyoto will do to you!

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

I finished work around 4am.
I worked on "Oku-san's Daily Fantasies" for SuBLime, by the way, so please check it out when it's out.

I stayed awake to pack up for our trip to the Kansai region.

We checked out of the hotel, and went to Tokyo Station to ride the Shinkansen.
I really wish we have these bullet trains in California.

We got to Kyoto Station, and headed to our inn.

Sakura Inn

Sakura Inn

Sakura Inn
Our room had its own yard.

We put our stuff away and headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Fushimi Inari

Fushimi Inari

At night we went out to dinner with my uncle and his family who lives in Kyoto.

Sumibi Wakura

They gave us tips on where to go in Kyoto this time of the year.
Luckily, we came to Kyoto on the day the autumn colors started.
So that's what I'll be seeing tomorrow.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012


I had my old co-worker and kohai from high school, K, show us around Akihabara.
I haven't really visited Akihabara since they cleaned up, so I was pretty excited.

I also wanted to try out a maid cafe for the first time.

We met in front of Gamers, since it's the store of our former company.
And it's also easy to spot.

I got there a bit early, so I took a picture of a man sitting around.


Surreal and a bit creepy...

Anyway, K took us to a maid cafe of his choice.



My friend H got the omrice with the option of having our maid draw something with ketchup.


In the end, I think I had the most fun because our maid happened to be a Hunter (as in, she plays Monster Hunter).
I asked her where I can get Monster Hunter goods and she named two stores.
K was nice enough to show me where they were.

Monster Hunter
A sample of what Japan has to offer!

There were lines at the AKB48 Cafe (which I wasn't interested in visiting) and the Gundam Cafe, so we didn't go in.

AKB48 Cafe

Gundam Cafe

I think I'll come back to visit the Gundam Cafe...
Well, I have to come back to buy all the Monster Hunter goods...

We visited other cafes, and one of them was the Wonder Festival Cafe.
It's more of a food court than a cafe.

Wonder Festival Cafe

Wonder Festival Cafe

There was a work station area where you can build your plastic models.
200 yen per hour.

Wonder Festival Cafe

When we were leaving, there was actually a man building something.
I wanted to ask questions (because I always do), but didn't want to cut into his time.

I had to go back to the hotel to work, so I was only able to spend half a day with K, but hopefully I'll see him again at Winter Comiket.

Thanks, K!

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Since today was a Saturday and my friends (L and Y) who have normal jobs were free,
I asked them to take H and I out and about in Tokyo.

We met up in Asakusa.


This is what we see right when we exit the subway station.
It's such a touristy place! LOL.


We went to lunch at Rokumonsen, a place my friend A recommended.

Inside of store.

Beef tendon okonomiyaki (front), squid mentai monja (back).


I didn't take pictures of monja because they're not the prettiest thing in the world.

I did take pictures of the temple and stuff, but they're pretty boring.
You know what's exciting?

What I like about coming to Asakusa is the deep-fried manju.



This was kabocha deep-fried manju.

We traveled to the Hamarikyu Gardens via the Tokyo Cruise.

Tokyo Cruise

It was such a nice day.

Tokyo Cruise

Hamarikyu Gardens

The contrast of the Japanese garden and the city in the background is pretty spiffy.

Hamarikyu Gardens

Hamarikyu Gardens

We then went to Roppongi Hills.
It's mostly blah blah holiday boring stuff, but the one awesome thing about this place was...

Dragon Quest Exhibit


Dragon Quest Exhibit
Even the ticket dispenser is cute!

Dragon Quest Exhibit

Dragon Quest Exhibit

We then went to Shinjuku, where they were having a festival at one of the shrines.
It was for Tori no Ichi, where people would go and buy decorated kumade (rakes) to wish for good fortune and a thriving business.
The kumade is so that they can rake in good fortune. (Or money. Heh heh.)


I don't really believe in buying things for luck and stuff, so I didn't really show much concern...

I was mainly looking at the food.






We then went the Shinjuku Golden Gai area.


My friend H wanted to go into one of the bars, so we chose one with an anime theme.
Obviously the guy is an otaku...
I wanted to keep my occupation a secret, but I had to reveal it in the end.

Haha, not that I really mind...



I was so tired at the end of the day, but I had a LOT of fun.
Thanks, L & Y, for showing us around!!

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Work day.

I stayed at the hotel and worked.
I also did laundry!

For dinner my friend H and I went to go get oden.



Yeah, this blog entry describes how eventful and exciting my day was.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

I wasn't done with work, but I took a day off.

For lunch, I met up with my childhood friend Ayu and her daughter.

We spent a few hours catching up.

Here's the food I had.

Kyo no Chaya

Kyo no Chaya
Crab rice set.

At night, I went to D's performance in Saitama.
It was the first night of their tour.

D Winter Tour 2011

This was the first time in Saitama for me, I think...
I almost got lost in Omiya Station.

Thanks to Y-san, I got in with a backstage pass.

D Winter Tour 2011

When going to the dressing room, Y-san told me to go in and pretend to be a foreigner to freak the members out, so I yelled out, "Hello~!" and started to greet them in English.
But I stopped immediately, because I didn't want to stress them out (with having to speak English) before their show.

Hide-Zou did ask me how to say some stuff in English, so I did help him with that.
He didn't use it in the end...

D Winter Tour 2011

Ruiza before the show. I think he was ready first?
So he had a lot of time, and I was able to take a picture.

The live was loud, but fun!
The crowd would headbang with the band, and after the song was done, took out brushes to fix their hair. LOL!

They surprised Hide-Zou with a cake, and he was so surprised he was stammering.
We had the cake later, but we didn't have a knife or forks, so we ate it with chopsticks.

Thanks for a fun night, D!

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Day 1.

I had to work at the hotel today, so I let my friend H roam around Ikebukuro on his own.
But before that, we went to go get our JR Rail Passes.

For this trip I have to JR Rail Passes.
One is the normal one. I got the ordinary 7-day pass, as did my friend H.

JR Rail Pass

The other one is the JR East flexible 4-day pass, for when I go to Niigata to stay with my relatives.
I couldn't get that one yet, so I'll get it later.

We then went to lunch.

H thought of Japanese food as "ramen and sushi," so we went to get ramen.

Bankara Honten
Spicy Negi Bankara Ramen.
930 yen.

Then I went back to work.

Since I'm working on BL, I had to look up sex toy sites for inspirations for dildo names.
I chose something called "Pleasureskin," so please look for it.
The title isn't announced yet, so I can't say which one it is...
But it is a SuBLime title.

For dinner we went to eat horumon (intestines).

Jonetsu Horumon
Shishito (twisted pepper), sweet potato, okra, and chicken.

I totally forgot to take pictures of the horumon...
It's okay; I'll go eat more during my stay.

So my first day in Japan was mostly spent in the hotel.
How sad...

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Day 0.

I got up at 6am to shower and head to the airport.
I had a medium-sized suitcase and a pretty large duffle bag to check, and a backpack plus a briefcase as carry-ons.
The suitcase was all omiyage for my friends and clients. It was about 30lbs.

Japan Trip 2011

The check-in at the counter went smoothly.
This is why I travel on a weekday. I usually prefer Tuesdays, but for this trip I decided to leave on Monday to accommodate my friend H.

Since the check-in went so fast, I had a lot of time to kill.
Even the security gates weren’t open.
So I found a seat and checked email and stuff.
I also started to rip my next manga up, but I had to stop because someone sat near me and was looking at me.
She was probably wondering why I was ripping a book up, and not necessary looking at the content.
But it’s pretty graphic (but censored) BL, so I put it away.

Instead, I wrote a summary for the book (as required by my client).
Since it’s BL, I really can’t write more than a few sentences…

I was planning to work on my BL manga on the plane.
Unfortunately I had young people sitting across the aisle and diagonally behind me.
Even if I didn’t translate the book, I had wanted to at least get the formatting out of the way. Oh well.

So instead, I watched some movies.
First I saw “The Help.” I loved it! Stellar cast.
I might even pick up the book to read.
(Like I really have time to read anything other than work material.)

I was going to go to sleep after watching “The Help,” but I wasn’t that sleepy so I watched “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”
I liked that too, even if the apes were creepy.
I had recently watched the original “Planet of the Apes,” so I appreciated the references here and there.
I should have watched the movies again, this time in Japanese, simply to study, but this was when I got sleepy, so I went to sleep.

By the way, if people are curious, I usually fly Korean Air.
I love their flight times (early departure, early arrival) and especially love their plane food, bibimbap.

I usually don't care for personal tv monitors (like on Singapore Airlines), but I guess it's nice.
As long as you don't overuse it...because it's not good for your eyes.

Korean Air

They even had audiobooks, which are perfect to put you to sleep.

Korean Air

This "Lessons at the Halfway Point" was horrible, though.
I was scoffing the entire time.
So instead I listened to Shakespeare stuff.

After arriving at Narita, I had to ship some stuff to my relative's house in Niigata.
Then I waited for my friend H to arrive.

As I was waiting, I spotted Taka, the great interpreter at many conventions.
We talked for a bit as I waited for my friend.
We even called up Mamoru Yokota-san and left a message.

H finally came through customs and we headed to Ikebukuro.
I usually stay in Higashi Ikebukuro (where Sunshine City is), but because hotels are cheaper in Nishi Ikebukuro, we're staying there.
After H goes back to the states, I'm going to be staying in Higashi again.

For dinner I had onigiri, but H had the McDonald's KBQ burger.

McDonald's Japan

There was a review online praising this as the best burger from McDonald's.
But I'm not interested.

And that's it for the looooong Day 0!

Holiday Cards

I have special holiday cards made for my business this year.
Of course, designed by the bestest designer I know, my friend F.
It's soooooo cute. It's too bad I can't show it off online.

Anyway, I had to get holiday cards labeled, personalized, stamped, and ready to go before I leave for Japan.

It was a lot of work, since I met so many new people this year.
I spent $45 just to send the cards to my Japanese acquaintances... -_-
I could have sent them from Japan, but I thought it would be confusing since my U.S. address is printed on the card.

In order to save the hassle and postage, I'm having my sister hand-deliver the cards to my friends who are in the industry.
(Square Enix, Sony Pictures, and Treyarch.)

PMX 2011 Day 3

Day 3!

Today was the day D was going home.
I accompanied them to the airport.

There was a loooong line when we got there.
The reason was the 100+ guys from Honda who came for overseas training for a few days.
(I know this because I asked the guy who was standing in line in front of us. He looked so uncomfortable talking to me...haha!)

But it didn't take long, and D had about 30 minutes to shop.
Hiroki didn't want to shop, but wanted to eat.
So I accompanied him upstairs.

We decided on Pink's.

Pink's LAX

I wasn't hungry, but Hiroki insisted on buying me something (because he felt bad for causing me trouble), so we got a veggie dog and something with chili, sauerkraut, and tomatoes.

Hiroki liked them!

PMX 2011

*I'm not sure how he feels about his pictures being posted, so it's a smaller picture than usual*

D left happy and satisfied with their LA trip!

PMX 2011

After getting back, I accompanied Nonaka-san.

He had a panel first.

PMX 2011

It was so interesting!
He showed multiple drafts of his designing process, etc.
I wish he would go to more events to do panels.

PMX 2011

He did a demo sketch.
He draws really fast...

And he did two sketches.

PMX 2011

After the panel, Nonaka-san did his press.

PMX 2011

I actually left to go talk to the We [Heart] Japan people who were nearby.
I wanted WHJ to get in line for the Nonaka autograph session coming after this, so we can use it for one of our events.

I actually made voice actress Stephanie Sheh stand in line...
Of course, she was cool about it. :D

PMX 2011

Nonaka-san's autograph session was awesome.
It was an amazing experience to sit next to him and see all of his sketches.
He did a different sketch for every single person.
Different uses of shading, different props, different compositions...

I took a picture of every sketch!
Some examples:

PMX 2011

PMX 2011

PMX 2011

After the autograph session, we went to the closing ceremonies but the room was empty.
(Apparently we got there too late, since Nonaka-san was sketching for extra people.)

So we went up to the green room to wait for Imagawa-san, who was out and about.
We waited a looooong time...

While we were waiting, Nonaka-san's wife and co-worker tried Twinkies.
They said it was okay.
Wow, because the sight of Twinkies makes me gag.

Finally Imagawa-san came, and we sent the guests off to dinner.
Most of the staff stayed behind this night.
I think we were all tired.

And that's it for PMX 2011!

PMX 2011 Day 2

Today was the big day for my guest, Suzumi-san.

In the morning, I met with PMX staffer Vince to figure out how we can do a live feed on the screen while she drew.

PMX 2011

We came up with this.
The camera and tripod were brought from my house.

After setting up the room, I went to the Green Room to chill.
Hiroki and Yoshi, their stylist, came to eat breakfast.

Hiroki had his hair done, so I got to take a close look.

PMX 2011

I was asking Yoshi how to do it, but it looks like a hassle so I don't think I'll ever attempt this.

Anyway. Suzumi-san came, and we had lunch while we discussed how the panel was going to go.

I think the panel went well.
And she wasn't feeling well during the panel...

For the demonstration, she drew a gothic lolita girl based on someone from the audience.

PMX 2011

After the panel was the press.

I liked this because I didn't have to do anything :)

PMX 2011

Then it was the autograph session.

PMX 2011

She finished up the demo sketch.

After everything was done, Suzumi-san went to rest because she was getting sick.

So for the rest of the night, I helped out with the band.
I'm glad I was able to use the skills I acquired from serving food.

I was pretty tired so I didn't take pictures.

PMX 2011 Day 1

We started the day with the Opening Ceremonies.

As always, I was tasked with informing the procedure of it to the Japanese guests.
Because a lot of them didn't know what they were supposed to do, haha.

PMX 2011

From the left is Imagawa-san, Suzumi-san, Nonaka-san, Atelier Pierrot, translator Taka, and Mike Tatsugawa.

At the end, Mike had Atelier Pierrot fill in one of the eyes.

PMX 2011

After the Opening Ceremonies, I convinced Suzumi-san to stay for Imagawa-san and Nonaka-san's panel.
So she could see what a panel would look like, and also so she wouldn't be nervous about what she's expected to do tomorrow.

PMX 2011

Imagawa-san and Nonaka-san at their panel.
They look like they're having so much fun, right?
It's because they were talking about stuff they can't openly say in Japan about the relationship between toy companies and anime studios.
Everything was to stay in this room.

PMX 2011

Nonaka-san's baby.
He specifically asked to picture it with the water bottle to show how big it is.

After the panel, I split with Suzumi-san and stayed with Imagawa-san.
He was super excited that George Takei was coming,
and we were figuring out how he can go say hi.



PMX 2011

I was ready to interpret, but Mr. Takei spoke perfect Japanese.

I once again split up with a guest to chill in the green room.
I think Imagawa-san went to go eat?

While I was chilling, D came up before their concert.

PMX 2011

They look so different in makeup and costume.
By this time, I had only memorized Hiroki-san's name because he kept asking me questions.
(Now I know their names. From left, front: Hiroki-san, Shion. From left, back: Hide-Zou-san, Tsune-san, Asagi-san, Ruiza-san, Brandon, and Melissa.)

I went to the concert later.
It was pretty fun.
I kept gasping because Ruiza-san would allow so much touching.
I asked him the next morning if he's like that in Japan, and he said he allows more touching in Japan.

I went to sleep early because Saturday was my big day with Suzumi-san.
(Although I really didn't need much sleep because I wasn't interpreting anything.)

PMX 2011 Day 0

PMX 2011!

This year I joined the guest relations staff to help out my friend J.

Since it was Day 0, I didn't do much.

I greeted the guests at LAX.


The band members were asking me if they could walk to the nearest supermarket.
But I told them it's a good walk, and it's a bit dangerous,
so I recommended against it.
I think someone took them later at night...

CoD Modern Warfare 3 Launch Party

I heard on the radio about a launch party for CoD MW3,
so I decided to go.

I didn't want to go alone, but since my friends have real jobs
and cannot stay up so late on a Monday, I had to.

The party started at 10pm.

This was the line when I got there around 10:15pm.

Modern Warfare 3 Launch Party

I was in line for a few minutes, and got in.
They gave me a t-shirt and raffle ticket.

Inside, there were a bunch of stations to try out the game.

Modern Warfare 3 Launch Party

The game looks complicated, so I didn't even attempt it...

The first 100 people in line got a swag bag.
I didn't get one, but a kind gentleman allowed me to take a picture.

Modern Warfare 3 Launch Party

There was a green shirt, a Mountain Dew, and a baseball cap.
I didn't want anything in there, except for the bag...

They had pizza and soda for the attendees,
but they went so fast I couldn't take pictures.
Well, they were only pizza and soda.

At the end of the night (I only stayed for about 30 minutes)
I left with a t-shirt and poster.

Modern Warfare 3 Launch Party

I hope they have more of these launch parties!