Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Xmas

2009! Wasn't partying-like-no-tomorrow new millennium year 2000 (I know I know it's actually 2001) just a while ago? Why, why? Father time where have you gone?

Wishing all a Happy Holiday! Fuck it, I think we should keep saying Merry Christmas so it can be diluted even further. That's right,


If time and money permitted, I would have gotten my beloved S2000 a few upgrades.
1) a new ECU, bring on 8500 rpm
2) a muffler system, stuffy nose? What's that?
3) a few gauges, warm the hell up now
4) a front lip

Saturday, December 19, 2009

snow and quakes

Purple: snow
Blue: rain

Bucketful of snow being dumped on half of Japan as the real winter season kicks off. In this part of Japan where warmer Pacific Ocean currents are keeping the conditions undesirable for snow, we have yet to see any. Warm is however not how I'd describe it with overnight outside temp at -2C (28.4F).

top 10 snow accumulated regions (courtesy

1. 道央 朱鞠内 127cm 注意報 (Hokkaido)
2. 道央 幌加内 108cm 注意報
3. 道北 音威子府 102cm 注意報
4. 岐阜 長滝 98cm 警報 注意報
5. 福島 只見 98cm 警報 注意報
6. 新潟 入広瀬 95cm 警報 注意報
7. 山形 櫛引 93cm 警報 注意報
8. 岐阜 白川 91cm 警報 注意報
9. 秋田 矢島 82cm 注意報
10.岐阜 河合 82cm 警報 注意報 (Gifu)


In other news, we have had some 120 earthquakes west of Tokyo as large as 5.3M on the Richter Scale in just 2 days' time.
Between morning hours of the 17th and 8pm on the 18th (JST), 121 earthquakes powerful enough to be felt have shaken the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Nine of those earthquakes have been rated as a three or above on the JMA seismic intensity scale, which measures shaking on the earth’s surface. Any score of three or more is described as “rather strong” and felt by most people in the affected area.

The two most powerful quakes so far have each registered 5.3 in magnitude on the Richter scale, or a weak five on the JMA’s scale. They hit the Izu Peninsula at approximately 11:45pm on the 17th and 8:45am on the 18th. link
A yesterday news clip:

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

traffic jam epiphany

We can all use this guy's advice. Imagine a world rid of angry drivers, without stupid road "fights", unnecessary jams.

Luckily, traffic jams don't happen to me. I'm in a bit of a driving heaven this neck of the woods. We have only one lane each way majority of the time. If I'm in a hurry I step on the gas a little (or a lot), switch to opposite lane, pass slower cars, merge, repeat. There simply isn't enough traffic on my daily commute to be all stressed out. I leave my house noon-ish, get home later than most people. No rush hours for me, yay.

Suck on that!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

form over function

Some people here love it - superficiality. No way unique in this country but here is a particularly troubling example. A piece of me dies inside whenever it happens.

Euro imports are hot in Japon. A symbol of wealth. The grass is greener. You get the picture. Fees and taxes involved for importing vehicles (official or otherwise) are ludicrously high.

This is probably the worst case: The least expensive Caterham, Roadsport, costs Japanese buyers ¥4.2 mill (~29,000 British pounds) vs. 17,795 UK domestic price tag. Plenty of other examples but I guess the opposite is true too except in the US, where cars have to be priced low to begin to compete. The point is these imports always underlie a bit of a showoff, especially considering Japanese cars are way more reliable, often more efficient.

Aston Martin, being a UK manufacturer, has their cars steered from the right side by default, which is also true in Japan. But don't be surprised you'll find most of them here equipped with steering column on the left, an irrefutable fact these drivers prefer form over function. Left-hand-drives make more flamboyant imports, hence a better platform for showing off of wealth. Calling them retards would be an insult to the mentally insufficient community, err... fucktards!

You may think "What's the big deal?" Well for one, simple tasks like paying tolls (however a solution, ETC) suck. Drivers of LHD vehicles have to get out of their cars at many toll gates, parking lots, drive thrus to go around.
But to me the biggest qualms are
1) you can't pass slower traffic safely on the right due to reduced visibility
2) finding any decent selection of used performance RHD imports
3) shitty resale value of proper RHDs because of lesser desirability
4) suffering the worst inconvenience for the least bit of "benefit"

Common sense dictates personally I find LHDs much less annoying (in Japan) as long as the car's home country doesn't make RHD versions or they are hard to come by.

As a matter of principle, this makes my skin crawl.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cosmos makes me sad

Watching the late great astronomer Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage always makes me incredibly incredibly sad.

Is it because of the choice of music?
Is it because of Sagan's unique mannerism?
Is it because he is no longer with us?
Is it because of the vastness of the cosmos?
Is it because we drag our collective feet?


The entire series can be viewed on youtube here

Pale Blue Dot

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

F-R-I-E-N-D-S (U-na-gi)

Friends was a good laugh when it was on TV. Not known for intelligent humor, you really didn't have to commit or even pay attention to it to fully enjoy the show. It was still a lot of fun and sometimes numbingly entertaining.

Can it stand the test of time like Seinfeld, M*A*S*H, Blackadder, and Arrested Development? Rightfully? Probably not. But it had its moments especially for the 90s' generation.

"Unagi" is a state of total awareness. Only by achieving true "unagi" can you be prepared for any danger that may befall you.

Rachel and Phoebe take a self-defense class, and claim they can defeat anyone who attacks them. Ross doesn't believe them, and educates them of a martial arts technique called unagi. Chandler and Monica promise they'd make each other's Valentines Day gifts, but they both forget to make them. imdb

As far as I know, unagi IS a freshwater eel, a staple in Japanese diet.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

daydreaming part II

A little daydreaming never hurts anybody, so here goes. (again!)
Part I found here written in 2005.

Two situations (under Japan's car market prices)
First, a budget of around 10 million yen or, 100k USD, choose one car. criteria- not completely berserk, within reason, expensive sports car.
Second, a somewhat sustainable 6-car garage.

Situation 1

A slightly used Audi R8 V8 (shame for this kind of money you can only get a used one in Japan)

Why not V10? love the Lambo engine too but sometimes more is less, considerably more expensive
Why R8? Audi since taking over Lamborghini has become even more desirable. Can't beat German engineering + Italian "soul". R8 is arguably the best looking mid-engine halo status new production super car in these 5 years. relatively affordable.
How about other Audis? TT RS? not liking the initial TT philosophy. Why not have an all-out built from scratch super car.


A mint condition Honda NSX-R (or R GT if such a thing is even in the wild)

It costs that much? Yes, and more.
What about Nissan GTR? Performance-wise, yes it's got no competitors in this price range. Even if you pay 2x the price, there is hardly anything that can hold a light to it. However I'm not on a mission. I'm not aiming for the record track time. There is something within the NSX the Nissan can never touch.
Err... Toyota 2000GT? If I can find one, sure.


A 2-year-old Porsche 911 GT3 (or GT3RS, again shame about the price)

There are many 911s, right? But there is only one that doesn't compromise in any way. Not saying the GT2 or Turbo isn't exciting.
A track day car? Yes sir/ma'am
Lotus 2-Eleven, no? Love Lotus but 1 track day car = GT3, 2 would be GT3 + a Lotus

Situation 2

1 Honda S2000 (daily driver for me, checked, ¥4m)
2 Honda Fit (econobox for wife, checked, ¥1.5m)
3 Porsche Cayman ("affordable" exotic for me, ¥7m)
4 Suzuki Swift Sport (funnest small car in Japan, great price, for me, ¥1.5m)
5 any Land Rover (Luxury off-roader for wife, her cup of tea, ¥6m)
6 (for me and family, last vehicle reserved for whatever catches the eyes, changes every once a year or two, for example, Corvette Z06, Fiat Panda 100hp, Mazda Roadster, Daihatsu Copen, Mini, Caterham, Alfa Romeo Mito, Brera, VW Golf GTI, etc)

Garage total = about ¥22m (0r 15m used)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is Japan's car industry listening?

Yep, another car-related post.

For years now, Toyota has made nothing but cars that resemble household appliances. The last fun car was the MRS (MR2 Spyder for foreign markets) that ended production about 3 years ago. The one before that, the infamous Supra, was killed off half a decade before that. Go browse Toyota's website. They currently make more that 60 varieties of vehicles in this domestic market, among them none- not a shred of automotive passion. A plain Jane bore-you-to-death soulless line up. Their cars are made to sell and last. You got to give them that.

Honda, the ambassador of Japan's motoring and auto racing, couldn't continue its rear wheel drive cars. One after another bites the dust, NSX, S2000. And as if that's not bad enough, their successors were put down before they had any chance of a public prototype. Honda has been accused by car enthusiasts worldwide of pulling a "Toyota", the worst of auto industry trend-crime known to mankind.

While these two particular manufacturers do not represent the entire industry, they are however, trend-setting production leaders. Dare I say the culture starts here.

Yes yes Nissan is where we look up to now, albeit a little reluctantly. Give us what the older GT-Rs and Fairlady Zs once were, true to the enthusiasts. You now make engineering marvels, no more, no less.

Mazda Roadsters (MX-5 elsewhere) are fun although they need to go back to being light. RX-8 was a mistake. Mazda wanted it to be everything to everybody. Maybe we can sympathize with the decision due to the bitter end of RX-7.

And then we have Subaru, Mitsubishi doing basically the same thing for the last 20 years. Good stuff but never something that makes you want to go out and drive just for the heck of it in the middle of the night or before the first cup of morning java. (Their rally departments on the other hand are more than delightful of course.)

Needless to say that we no longer have strong economies worldwide nor can we anymore afford to ignore the environment. But having at least one exciting vehicle does more than magic for an auto brand's image, or any brand for that matter - "brand loyalty". As far as the somewhat evil business world goes, you need people to follow you because they aspire to your business philosophy, because they share your passion. We are not talking about cheaper by the dozen purchases here. When a business wants to cling on to a generation of customers, they need to focus on their young. And right there neither Toyota nor Honda are going towards that direction.

But hold on, something miraculous is happening right this moment. Have a glance at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show floor.

Toyota brings out
the big gun (Lexus LFA, ready for porduction, a through and through super car)

and a brand new hachiroku (FT-86 concept, near production, an affordable FR)

Two heartfelt rear wheel drive sports cars from Toyota, what has the world come to? Is this the year 1973?

On the other hand, Honda's CR-Z is ready for production for 2011. A sports hybrid with a proper 6-speed gearbox. A while ago Honda CEO proclaimed something along the line that they probably won't produce rear wheel drive cars anymore. I hope he's wrong or gets replaced. With that said they do have the best handling front wheel drives out there. Let's see the new CR-Z brings some excitement back to the mundane lineup. Last words, if the future of sporty motoring for Japan is going the way where LF-A, FT86, and CR-Z are headed, we'll do alright. There is something for everybody. It's gonna be okay.

CR-Z interior

Friday, October 02, 2009

"Talking to God..."

found this gem on
‘and how many other species are there already out there ahead of us?’

‘surprisingly few. Less than fourteen million’



‘And how many at or about our level?’

‘currently a little over 4 ½ billion’

‘so our significance in the universe at present is roughly equivalent to the significance of the average Joe here on planet Earth in his relation to the human race?’

‘a little less. Level One, the level your species has reached, begins with the invention of the flying machine. I define the next level in terms your Sci Fi Author Isaac Asimov has already grasped. It is reached when you achieve control of your own primary – the Sun. What Asimov calls a Type I technology. Humanity is only just into the flying machine phase, so as you can imagine, on that scale, the human race is somewhat near the bottom of the level one pack’

‘and all these species are your children?’

‘I like to think of them that way’

‘and the point?’

‘at its simplest, "Life Must Go On". My personal motivation is the desire for conversation. Once you’ve achieved my level, you cease to be billions of separate entities and become one ecstatic whole. A single entity that cannot die, however advanced, or perhaps, more accurately, because it is so advanced, will get lonely and even a trifle bored! I seem to be the first. I do not intend to be the last’

‘so you created a Universe which is potentially capable of producing another god like yourself?’

‘The full benefit will be temporary, but like most orgasms, worth it.’

‘this being the moment when our new god merges with you and we become one again?’

‘don’t play it down, that’s the ecstatic vision driving us all, me included – and when it happens the ecstasy lasts several times longer than this universe has already existed. Believe me, it really is worth the effort.’

‘Yes, I think I can see the attractions of a hundred billion year long orgasm’

‘and humans haven’t even begun to know how to really enjoy the orgasms they are already capable of. Wait till you master that simple art!’

‘So it's all about sex is it?’

‘Ecstasy is merely a reward for procreating, it is what makes you want to do it. This is necessary, initially, to promote biological evolution. However once you’ve completed that stage and no longer require procreation, you will learn that ecstasy can be infinitely more intense than anything offered by sex’

‘Sounds good to me!'

'How direct is your involvement in all this? Did you just light the fuse which set off the big bang and stand back and watch? Or did you have to plant the seeds on appropriately fertile planets?’

‘The seeds evolved in deep space, purely as a result of the operations of the laws of physics and chemistry which your scientists have begun to attain a reasonable grasp of. Yes I triggered the bang and essentially became dormant for nearly 5 billion years. That’s how long it took the first lifeforms to emerge. That places them some 8 billion years ahead of you. The first intelligent species are now 4.3 billion years ahead of you. Really quite advanced. I can have deeply meaningful conversations with them. And usually do. In fact I am as we speak’

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blueberry Nights

My Blueberry Nights is so thoroughly utterly bad it's good. A practical joke. Maybe entirely done on purpose. What are you trying to tell us Wong?

1) Norah Jones the actress
2) "Manchester" why bother
3) bad dialogue translation (I know)
4) Elizabeth in essence a supporting role
5) fun was had with the stars
6) culturally inaccurate US backdrops
7) itch scratching depth

Best seen slightly drunk/hung over on Sunday, by yourself, in a cheap empty theater without knowing what's being shown. Boy what a pleasant-awful surprise.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yes Japan can?

(2009 Japan's election results, taken from wikipedia)
DPJ - Democratic Party of Japan (民主党)
LDP - Liberal Democratic Party (自由民主党)

Below are four BBC news clips on their fairly thorough coverage of Japan's 2009 general election, its brand spanking new prime minister Hatoyama and his cabinet. If you're pressed for time, watch the first and fourth videos. This probably sounds cliched BUT 2009 election may well change modern Japan.

about the party
new ruling Democratic party founded only 11 years ago
ran on a platform of aggressive change (Obama and Kimutaku?)

bold promises
reduced relationship with US militarily
serve the people, not big businesses

Japan in deep water
Japan in its worst economic slump since war
a significantly shrinking middle class
national debt no less impressive than US

recap on what happened last month
TOKYO — Japan’s voters cast out the Liberal Democratic Party for only the second time in postwar history on Sunday, handing a landslide victory to a party that campaigned on a promise to reverse a generation-long economic decline and to redefine Tokyo’s relationship with Washington.

Many Japanese saw the vote as the final blow to the island nation’s postwar order, which has been slowly unraveling since the economy collapsed in the early 1990s.

In the powerful lower house, the opposition Democrats virtually swapped places with the governing Liberal Democratic Party, winning 308 of the 480 seats, a 175 percent increase that gives them control of the chamber, according to the national broadcaster NHK. The incumbents took just 119 seats, about a third of their previous total. The remaining seats were won by smaller parties. NYTimes

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A dying breed

Two worldwide trends of motoring are quickly endangering what's left of a genuine driver's experience.


The last decade in Japan especially you'd have a hard time finding a new manual shift performance car - that includes all BMWs, Mercs, Audis, Alfas, Lambos, Ferraris, you get the picture. Go browse a used car site. Porsches, the last breed still have stick shift as an option, are now overwhelmingly automatic. Dear god stop the double clutch madness a.k.a chasing the numbers!

goo net search results
The above link is of, maybe the largest used car site in Japan. I did a search for Porsche 911. It returned 723 finds, of which only about 70 cars made within 10 years have manual box.

A car that can flatter its driver gets to survive, simple as that. Let's be honest the vast majority of high-end car buyers have more money than driving skills, and are probably over the hill. What they would buy as opposed to what an engineer truly wants to build, besides solely on making a profit, is worlds apart. The current state of performance automotive speaks volume about the demography of the wealthy.


Every latest derivative of a performance car has to go faster, have more horsepower, and be ever more aggressive. The problem is all of those are achieved with the wrong means - adding more driver's aids and weight. My opinion: not every sports car purchase is for track use. For the 90% of people who never use the upper half of the power spectrum, what's the point? Who needs 500hp? When everyone is doing it and merely having a number pissing contest even once serious manufacturers have to follow suit. Thank god for smaller establishments.

To me the car people who get it right are those who ask "where can I reduce weight?" instead of "how should I add more power?" Less is more. Get your collectively electronic hands off the steering wheel. Save the driving assistant features for the casual majority.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

govt officials for sale

Health Care Reform's hurdles

Saturday, July 18, 2009

McCartney - Sullivan Theater

I was watching McCartney on Letterman last night and his performance was absolutely brilliant. He and his band gave a 22-minute mini concert on the marquee of Ed Sullivan Theater (45 years ago?) in front of slacking New Yorkers on a hump day afternoon.

CBS clip of said live concert that was not on the show itself

I am not a fan of the Beatles but I'm scared to death these older legends are biting the dust one after another. You don't have to be a fan to recognize something truly special. And you don't have to have always loved them to mourn them. A piece of what was taken for granted is lost forever. Let us savor every last bit of your brilliance sir Paul.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy Birthday, USA!

Well tomorrow anyway.

Watch all the way through and perhaps a second time. Thank you!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Japan's SELENE crashes onto Moon

SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer), better known in Japan by its nickname Kaguya (かぐや?), is the second Japanese lunar orbiter spacecraft.[1] Produced by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science and NASDA (both organizations that are now part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA), the spacecraft was launched September 14, 2007. After successfully orbiting the moon for 1 year and 8 months, the main orbiter's operation finished by the controlled collision to the lunar surface on 18:25 June 10, 2009 (UTC).[2]


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

test driven

A while ago before I bought my new car, I went on a test-driving spree. These were the ones I drove and my pros and cons about them.

Mazda RX8 (Type RS)
pros: RENESIS rotary engine smooth as silk; 9k redline; Type RS seats hug like gloves; seats 4
cons: gallops gasoline, shocking even with its reputation; handles a little like a larger car

Mazda Roadster RHT (MX-5 elsewhere)
pros: mean little engine grunts; hardtop; handles; fun everyday sports car
cons: not enough hp; front grille styling questionable; cheap-looking dash

Subaru Impreza WRX STi
pros: quickest of the bunch; turbo; hauls family; wonderful seat options
cons: handles like a big car; boring looks; low redline

Nissan Fairlady Z (370Z elsewhere)
pros: great handling; plenty of power; well designed
cons: door handle; love it or hate it front grille; wanting to be a Porsche

And of course I chose

Honda S2000 (Type S, Club Racer in the US)
pros: superb handling; VTEC engine; 8200rpm redline; stiff suspenions; least compromises in price range
cons: dated interior

Friday, June 26, 2009

Monday, June 08, 2009

take a bow, Federer

I am not a tennis fan. I have never owned a racket. I have only played tennis twice in my whole life.

But I am very attracted to Federer as an athlete. He plays so fluidly it's like he's not trying that hard. Yet he has accomplished, after today's win at French Open, the highest honor of a tennis player. He equals Sampras' most Grand Slam titles of all time. He should, quite worthily and certainly, surpass that in the near future. His swings are so complete and effortless. They almost seem godly.

On a rare occasion I watched 2008 Wimbledon final between Federer and Nadal live on NHK. It may have gone down as the greatest ever tennis match ever (deserving of 2 evers). It started at 11pm Japan time and went on forever until 5:00 in the morning. The result went to Nadal, but that match has never ended.

I respect Nadal as a hustle tennis wizard with sheer force. The problem is that it ends there too. Besides his prowess, Nadal can be so uncomfortable in his own skin, scratching his private, moaning like he is having sex, in the shower, with a hippo. As soon as a match is over though he goes back to being a pro. He is and will continue to be an undeniable force for years to come. The fact that he's only 23 is ridiculous!

It begs the question, "How can the best rivalry in tennis history, having accomplished so much against each other, be this different in grace in their playing style?"

John McEnroe interviews Federer after his 14th Grand Slam win

The only thing that would make this sweeter for Federer? Beating Nadal while getting there. At least that means he still got hurdles to clear. For now, G.O.A.T., take a bow.

If you, tennis fan or otherwise, are not watching these two play one and other, you're seriously missing out.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Being Erica

Being Erica is a surprisingly watchable, hell, great new series. (edit: Maybe I'll take that back. If you can look past frequent banal chick stuff, the story picks up again in the second half. Erica sure has a lot of regrets!)

Once in a while I go through 2 seasons' worth of new TV shows to see if there is anything good that has yet to be seen off the spotlight. Diamond in the rough so to speak. I have been watching 5 different new series. Some of them pretty watchable but many protagonists are cringable you hardly feel sympathetic towards them. There is a lot of good acting but good scripts are hard to come by.

And then there is Being Erica. Thanks CBC!

The US has not had a good new TV show for a while now. It pays dividend to look elsewhere. Broaden the horizon a little, Australia, Canada, UK... I love UK's dry humour - IT Crowd, How Not to Live Your Life. Good stuff!

State of our television:
lots of go-back-right-your-wrong materials
reality shows? when does this fad end?
good pilot but series goes sour halfway
sex sells violence sells fucking tasteless
actual good shows? get fucken' canceled
great premier season, the rest sucks, hard

Sunday, May 03, 2009

well said... (S2000)

You should steer clear now if you don't know much or have interests about cars.

This ninja knows what he's talking about. Well said!

I checked out the movie generator after finding this movie. It's a handy little tool.

Saturday, May 02, 2009


...the new TV sitcom is one part Friends and 2 parts Maison Ikkoku.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

oh Chicago!

Who would have thought...

The Bulls is playing great basketball. The best Bulls since Michael Jordan and company. This year's Bulls is last year's Hornets.

Now that's a great compliment.

Monday, April 27, 2009

up-to-date swine flu map

Alright, while we don't have to panic yet, this Google map is a good way to keep track of where the flu is confirmed and suspected worldwide.

View 2009 Swine Flu Outbreak Map in a larger map


View H1N1 Swine Flu in a larger map

Saturday, April 18, 2009

the beginning of end of religion being triggered by/on the Internet.

The wealth of information on the Net is creating a new generation of non-believers. Traditionally the lack of information and general knowledge has been an essential ingredient for getting people into believing.

It is still going to take a few decades for the real beginning, since those born with a religion have a hard time wrapping their heads around reasoning with metaphysics. Even really brilliant people can't outsmart prejudices. Their children will pick up the slacks.

my observation on different types of believers:
1) the gullible/sheeple
2) the preconditioned
3) the manipulative
4) the lazy
5) the bitter
6) the dimwitted
7) the weak kneed
8) the happy-go-lucky
9) the voice-in-head crazy
10) the genius

That is not to say religious people are insane. Half of them are charming and intelligent, which only adds to the problem. As long as there are humans, there will be religion, but this is the beginning of end.

Friday, April 17, 2009

pika pika

0) garden hose
1) bodywork shampoo
2) 1000yen sponge
3) clay (dirt remover)
3) microfiber cloth
4) microfiber cloth (more the merrier)
5) 100% cotton edgeless cloth
6) polisher/cleaner/easy-on wax
7) carnauba wax (paste)

(2 hours later!)

pika pika


Everything I need is right here in the last picture taken in our driveway/yard. You can see a basketball goal in the back. I get all my exercise there.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

living with, and waxing it

Now that I have driven the new car for a while, I can tell you a few things that the average car report won't and can't tell you. The followings are not necessarily good solutions but would do if you're serious enough to drive an S2000 for your daily commute.

S2000 is crammed. Not that it's actually physically crammed, unless you're well over 6 feet tall. The buttons and knobs are very extremely within reach it gives a sense of closeness. Another reason the interior feels snug is that there is little storage space. It doesn't have a glove box*. A glove box!

*It's got a better secured hideaway lock box between the space behind the seats.

Problem solved:
open the soft top. Bring a hat if you don't want to mess up your hair. The dash design shows how single-minded the engineers were. The entire purpose of the car is for driving. What's not to admire?

They all say the ride is backbreakingly firm. I test drove one and without fail the springs didn't give much wiggle room on bumpy road surface. But living with it is a different story. It does get a little annoying when there is a bump in the road. I don't think you'll ever get used to it. That the price you pay. In return you get uncompromising cornering performance.

Problem solved:
I suppose you can work out. I heard body builders don't ever get a sore back.

See the lights on the gasoline indicator disappear as you right foot gets heavier. It's a high performance car. The VTEC zone shows little mercy in galloping consumption of petrol. I'm beginning to think it's no better fuel efficient than an RX8.

Problem solved:
Pace yourself. One day there is your open air slow-going music-listening self. The next day you can step on it more to pass granny doing 10kmph below posted limit, or the punk ass whose turn without signaling.

This is the first time a car in my possession is in need of proper bodywork preservation. These are the seven steps of car wash and detailing.
1) shampoo
2) dry (surprisingly important)
3) remove fine scratches and contaminants
4) polish
5) apply wax
6) buff
7) others (wheels, interior, leather, etc.)
A car wash used to take 20 min hand-wash and 2 min drive-thru. Now it's 2 hours.

Problem solved:
It's actually becoming a lot of fun to wax a car if you're a little bit of a perfectionist. You'll become absolutely obsessed with a perfect mirror finish. There is a lot to be learned about car detailing. S2000 has few actual panels to work on. It's a joy to see the paint job achieve a showroom shine.

There are always guys who take a look and decide they'd pick up the pace because you drive a quick car. It's almost like a challenge. Well I guess that's not unexpected. The worst is they won't give way even though their cars are, indeed, slower. I didn't get a fast car to go slow. So move out of the way!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

baby in sports car

My baby riding in her first sports car. She doesn't seem too thrilled. To her it's just a big chair that makes her a little uncomfortable. She was smiling between shots. A little camera shy is she?

For those alarmed, I didn't actually take her out for a ride. We just took a few pictures. I reckon it will be hers if she wants it 17 years later. Ha.....

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's here!

It arrived yesterday. It took Honda TDL factory 2 months to get this off the assembly line and delivered to the local dealership, and finally to me.

The shifting is short and extremely smooth,
the throttle lightning responsive,
the handling superb.

Paint job reflects a clear sky.
Slightly damp air smells of fresh spring.
What more need I say?
(not a haiku attempt... ok, it is)

Roof off; rubber burned.

Monday, March 23, 2009

best tribute

to Michael Jordan I have seen on youtube

Monday, March 16, 2009

thoughts from a former homeless guy

came across this Craigslist ad on Reddit, interesting perspectives, good story...
I won't ramble too much. Most stories are the same. I just want to tell you what I notice now that I'm stable.

-- Here's me: At age 18 I was a drug mule and got busted on my first trip. My first time, but the amount (marijuana) was enormous and I got 4 years. First two years out, I had some bad luck with roommates; got robbed so much by my own roomies I had to move out but was then immediately hit by the back-rent no one paid. No one could be located except for -- guess who -- me.

-- I had the apartment's lawyers and the phone company chasing me for money. How'd you like to hire somone who has at least two garnishments you have to figure out for each paycheck? Also, would you like to lease an apartment to a guy who has an unpaid judgment from his last apartment? Don't forget the convicted felon part.

So, I was homeless for about 4 years until the manager of a car dealership took a chance on me and now I am the manager of our detailing department.

Okay, so what are the things that I really appreciate?

-- Light switches: In a shelter, lights come on, lights come off and you have no say. The ability to control your own lighting is a big deal.

-- Access to toilets: Ever hear someone mention how those 'disgusting' homeless guys pee outside? Where else should we? The search for a place to relieve yourself is a constant problem when you are on the streets.

-- Weather: I don't pay much attention to weather anymore. On the streets, weather is your life. A homeless guy rummaging for newspapers only wants one section, the weather report. If you can read, and you know the weather, you will have every dude you know asking what is coming.

-- Clean water: Are you impressed with the cleanliness of your average gas station restroom? How'd you like to drink from that sink?

-- Not losing things: Homeless shelters are life-savers in bad weather, but they are also a guarrantee that you will lose all your stuff. Either it's stolen while you sleep, or the shelter staff told you you have to leave it outside. Secret hiding places never are.

-- Night fear: You never stop being afraid of being outside at night. Think it's scary to have a breakdown at night? Someone gets mad, gets drunk or gets mean, you are going to be the first person they find.

-- Internet: I am now an internet addict. I got arrested in 1997 and I barely heard of the net back then. When I got my job in 2005, I got sent to a computer class right away. When I got my own place six months ago, I went all out and got my own computer plus an internet line. It is like magic. I cannot get enough of it.

-- Health Care Fear: Did you hear about that Bumfights video? It's BS! No homeless guys are going to fight. We never fight each other because everyone is afraid of getting hurt. You hear about guys who sprain their ankle and then die because they couldn't move for two weeks. Or, you hear about a guy who cuts his arm and his arm swells up the size of his leg. Little injuries kill. I was always terrified of getting hurt because of that.

-- The Looks: I admit, I got used to the looks from people in the real world. I kept a pretty clean appearance but people can always tell when you are in the 7-11 just to warm up or kill time. I never minded the looks. Didn't really care, not sure why.

-- Girls: I still have not solved the girlfriend riddle, but I love talking to ladies when they come pick up their car and see that we made it look like new. Seeing a woman's smile is nice. When a woman smiles AT you, its like nothing else in the world. (link)

This guy had the opportunity to stand back up on his feet because someone gave him a second chance. If only there are more people like that, those who deserve a second chance would be twice as industrious.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

most fascinating thing

Björk explaining how a CRT TV set works.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Haruki Murakami accepting award in Israel

60 year old Murakami speaks about the conflicts between Israel and Gaza.
Murakami compared human beings to fragile eggs in advocating the preciousness of life.

"Bombs, tanks and rockets and white phosphorus shells are the high wall. The eggs are unarmed civilians, who are crushed, burned and shot by them.

"We are all human beings, individuals regardless of nationality, race or religion. And we are all eggs -- we are all fragile eggs faced with (a) solid wall, called the system. Take a moment to think about this. Each of us possesses a tangible living soul. The system has no such thing. We must not allow the system to destroy us. We must not allow the system to (have) a life of its own. The system didn't make us -- we made the system," he said. Mainichi

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why S2000 dies and no one cares

Excuse me for dwelling on this a little longer. This is temporarily becoming a shrine for my beloved S2000.

From the get-go, the S2000 has been a car designed for enthusiasts by enthusiasts.
It has got a few "flaws" - not a torque monster, its straight line performance less than desirable, its ride back-breakingly hard, 2L 4-banger of an engine, not inexpensive, impractical... the list goes on. But all these flaws serve a common purpose - to be an uncompromising sports car that hugs curves and drives like a motorcycle. A motherfucking bike, on 4 wheels. Let's be honest here, curves is always better than straight line. It takes a special kind of motorhead to appreciate another.

What about other drivers who seek the thrill of sporty driving? Why is it then, S2000 remains a lackluster?
Well, it's not a drag racer nor does it go quick enough off the line to rival a muscle car between stoplights. It doesn't have the numbers on paper to knock your neighbors socks off. 240-50 horsepower, 220 lb-ft of toque, provided it is a good looking car, a few good years were had. But the problems I suspect lie with pricing and livability. It costs $35k or 4 million yen to own a new S2000. Seeking a performance bargain, buyers look no further than Mazda Roadster aka MX-5 Miata. S2000 isn't worth the extra 10k. For people willing to pay more, 300+ horses is the way to go. And then there is the problem of S2000 being a daily driver. 9000rpm redline (8000rpm AP2), top of torque and power curves at 7500rpm do not translate into lazy driving. These numbers show how it should be driven - hard. Who here revs to 9000rpm on their way to the grocery store, on their daily commute? S2000's sporty suspension setup allows each bumps on the road transfer directly to your backbone. It's no grand tourer. Besides, there is little storage.

What people would buy instead.
In addition to Mazda Roadster (better bargain), people generally go for Nissan Z (more horses and torque), Porsche Boxster (excellent details, finish, prestige), Type R (similar VTEC, but bargain), Audi TT (German), Lotus (faster off the line), Bimmer Z4 (same story as Nissan Z), LanEvo or WRX STi (excellent turbo), Mini (nippy), RX8 (4 seats), Golf GTI (excellent hatchback), CLK (Merc), but to me, they are either expensive, worse looking, or, much less purpose-built than Honda S2000.

So who in the world would want one?
I do. And you: You have to genuinely love to rev (you don't have to but why buy an oven when you only want to cook rice?) You need to look past all the inconveniences that it brings. You have to be able to fit in relatively crammed space. You need to appreciate the hard work and technology that went into the design. You must be hardcore enough not to spend time looking at the dash or listening to music (the dash and audio way outdated). You must love that engine and exhaust note (music to my ears). You need to show the respect it deserves, or it will bite. Then, and only then, will your S2k reward you. To purists, AP1 is the car of choice. I wish I wasn't just out of college when it came out. Even if I did own one when I was younger, I probably would have introduced its front end to the side of a mountain.

What might have been a winning formula for the S2000 in terms of sales?
There are several things Honda could have done to boost sales during its "midlife" crisis 4 or 5 years ago. (noted these things would make S2000 a little less appealing to me and some) Go luxury, raise the price tag and give it a thorough face lift. Call it S2000 GT deluxe. After all that's how the Porsche is selling their Boxsters. Although one has no choice buy love the Boxster. Go power, drop in a turbo, raise the displacement, or simply give it the Type R treatment. It would appeal to track day enthusiasts. Although it is already a track day vehicle sans boy racer flair, and there are plenty of aftermarket parts for that very purpose. Or HELLO? offer automatic transmission as a choice. Every manufacturer in the world is doing it. Why do you have to be so elegant/arrogant?

To most, it's too much work for one car.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

S2000 driven the way it's meant to be

at Nurburgring Nordschleife.

Listen to that music.

I have yet to find a better S2000 video.

Maximum respect for the driver.

Same car same driver haunting a couple of Porsche 911s at a track with only one short straight.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

good driver in a capable car

What a good driver in a capable car can do to regular deep pocket supercar owners?

Pass 'em!

If you're a casual viewer you should just move on.

Nothing to see here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Why Honda S2000 is an excellent sports car?

What is it in a nutshell?

In 1999 when S2000 debuted in Japan it was meant for one thing and one thing only - serious driving pleasure. It has all the elements to be a fun car: convertible, engine in the front, rear wheel drive, 250 horses, straight 4 DOHC VTEC, 9000rpm redline, world renowned handling, 0-60 in 6sec, etc, etc.

Where does it come from?

Filling in the void Honda had left for 30 years after S500, 600, 800, the S2000 is a sports car that induces uncontrollable ear to ear smiles. Yes there was the NSX at the time S2000 was introduced, but NSX was not designed for everyday driving fun. It was crafted to be an out and out super car that rivals Ferrari, which it in theory did.
S series time line




Why Honda VTEC engine?

Although silly fanboyism has led to its bad name, the VTEC engine is the most reliable high performance engine made by a Japanese motor company to date.

VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Electronic Lift Control) is a valvetrain system developed by Honda to improve the volumetric efficiency of a four-stroke internal combustion engine. This system uses two camshaft profiles and electronically selects between the profiles. It was invented by Honda R&D engineer Ikuo Kajitani.[1] It can be said that VTEC, the original Honda variable valve control system, originated from REV (Revolution-modulated valve control) introduced on the CBR400 in 1983 known as HYPER VTEC.[2] VTEC was the first system of its kind, though other variable valve timing and lift control systems have been produced by other manufacturers (MIVEC from Mitsubishi, VVTL-i from Toyota, VarioCam Plus from Porsche, VVL from Nissan, etc). more on wiki

Isn't AP1 (first gen, with F20C engine) a better car than the current one (AP2)?

Arguably yes, it is. AP2 (with F22C1) redlines at 8000rpm and it has a less powerful engine in number - 240 horsepower while it actually gained 200cc in displacement. What Honda did was it upped the torque in the AP2 making it more responsive off the line. As a casual driver, there probably is no difference. But one can argue that the original 9000rpm redline makes it a truer Honda S-series car (previous Honda Ss rev as high as 11k). However it's not all bad news for the 2nd gen owners because Honda made improvements on the stability department, adding driver's aid that can be turned off. The AP2 is a more sophisticated S. And the 6-second 0-60 time remains unchanged.

What differentiates the S2000 from your typical boy racer?

Well it doesn't do that very well in fact. But, there is the starting price (35k in the US, 3.8 million yen in Japan) that makes it a little unreachable for teens. A lack of turbo off the showroom floor, a l4 engine, missing backseats, a focus on handling rather than straight line performance also contribute to keep racer wannabes at bay.

What has S2000 got to show for it?

The S2000 has received much praise from critics and motoring journalists and has received favourable reviews from such publications as Car and Driver,[15] Car magazine,[16] the Los Angeles Times and Road & Track magazine. Among the features highlighted are the high output of the engine, the high redline, the balanced handling, and the smooth gearbox. User surveys have named the S2000 as a favorite for overall customer satisfaction.[17][18]

* The S2000 was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.
* The S2000 was the highest-ranked model in the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study "Premium Sports Car" class for 2004,[19] 2006,[20] and 2008[21] and has consistently held one of the top three positions.
* The F20C engine won the International Engine of the Year award in the "1.8 to 2 litre" size category for five years from 2000 through 2004.
* The F20C was featured on Ward's 10 Best Engines list for 2000 and 2001.
* The S2000 ranked number #1 in the BBC Top Gear Survey in 2004, 2005, and 2006.[22]
* Consumers' Most Wanted Convertible Under $35,000 for 2007,[23]
* 10 Sexiest Cars for 2006 Finalist, Road & Travel Magazine[24]
* Ten Most Gorgeous Japanese Cars Currently For Sale, Jalopnik[25]
* Best Affordable Sports Car for 2008, U.S. News & World Report[26]
more on wiki

Finally, here is what made S2000 extra special for me:

S2000 rolls off the assembly line in a one-of-a-kind factory, namely, the TD line. TD stands for Takumi (匠 in Japanese, meaning a skilled person in general) Dream. TD line is a Honda factory located in Suzuka (Takanezawa), Mie prefecture. It is where NSX, Honda's halo car, is assembled.

TD line highlights:
size of about 19 Tokyo Domes (baseball stadium)
only the most skilled, experienced mechanics and workers
only one NSX worked on in a day
only a maximum of 50 S2000s assembled in a day
(these are really small numbers for such large factory)
painstaking attention to details
thorough inspections on each and every vehicle ensuring perfection

Why do I sound like a salesperson for S2000?

I've always been fascinated with this excellent example of human ingenuity. It's one of my dream cars. Moreover, it has come to an end. S2000 is over, finished, kaput. This is the last production year. And last but not least, I just bought one! (laughs hysterically)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

inauguration live online

If you're away from the TV set, if you're not in the country, here is where to watch it live:




Watch it because
1 it's a historic event
2 Obama is the embodiment of hope
3 the US has been through its worst
4 one good thing can lead to another
5 we want to be united not divided
6 it's time for equality
7 the possibilities!!

Now that the US is cool again, our job is to help Prez Obama realize the Era of Responsibility.

warning: volume

The most admirable part of this speech? His tone.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy New Year

Now some fireworks...

Jon Stewart. Make sure you watch his last analogy in this segment.