Friday, November 12, 2010

2010 title (F1)

Who deserves it more this year? Alonso, Webber, or Vettel? Short answer: They all do.

Personally I'd say Webber most deserves the championship because he's worked so hard for so many years, stayed with a start-up through the worst, and finally sees a fruitful season. If he doesn't get this one he may very well never have another shot.

BUT, in this business there is no such thing as who deserves it more, only who's more dominant, more consistent, and more....... lucky. Yes it's better to be lucky than good sometimes, umm... all the times. Any of those on top now will need all three qualities to claim the most sought after prize in all of motor racing.

Good luck to them all!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

First snow 初雪

First snowfall this winter (is it winter yet?) in northern Japan comes earlier than usual. First time in 6 years Oct sees any snow. It looks to be a tough one this year.

purple: snow
blue: rain
(latest weather map 10/26/2010 4pm Japan time)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Oct means the smell of kinmokusei

kinmokusei (キンモクセイ/金木犀) (Eng: Osmanthus fragrans a.k.a. Sweet Olive, Tea Olive and Fragrant Olive)

There is one of those trees in our backyard. At the end of summer it releases a subtle first scent one can detect with a keen sense of smell. Increasingly the subtleness is replaced by a sure but elegant aroma. It fills the chilled air with signs of fall, a constant and steady flow of nature's perfume.

someone's youtube video

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

F1's last 4 races

Or 3 remaining if not counting Korea.

The closest driver's championship race since, err, since forever. How can Button, the underdog champion, make a run for it? Personally I think he should go for all or nothing. With what's he's been doing the last 4 races, his current strategies aren't going to put him on top, so why bother?

Current ranking after Singapore before Japan, drivers - points
Mark Webber 202
Fernadno Alonso 191
Lewis Hamilton 182
Sebastian Vettel 181
Jenson Button 177

25 points up for grasp with each remaining race (25 * 4 = 100), it's really everyone's guess. One crash, strategic misstep, that's all it takes, but it won't happen to all 4 of them above Button. So all or nothing.

Aggression, more, thanks

If the Brits don't make it this year, PLEASE let Webber take the crown. PLEASE! Vettel will have his (many) championships when he's finally ready. While Alonso does deserve credit where it's due, he's stopped being amazing.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

racing games

There are at least 4 racing games that look incredible on PlayStation 3 coming out near end of this year. It's a car enthusiast's heaven but with so little time, how am I going to play all these games?

The no-brainer: Gran Turismo 5
(place holder for vid)
merits: best simulation series for a decade

The look-at-me: NFS Hot Pursuit
(place holder for vid)
Merits: all the new super/hyper cars. Veyron, 918 Spyder, Zonda F

The free-world roamer: Test Drive Unlimited
(place holder for vid)
Merits: roam the island of Hawaii and drive the best cars in the world

The F1 lover: F1 2010
(place holder for vid)
Merits: the latest F1 season with all drivers and all tracks

Thursday, September 30, 2010

feel good youtube

I hope, in the future my children will restore my S2000, before I die. Brought a tear to my eye. Could this be a viral ad? Who cares, it's so well done.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

new earthquake warning system

There seems to be a new earthquake warning system in place lately in Japan. It must have come into effect in these few days.

Here is how it works:
1) sizable earthquake happens somewhere in this area (Kanto regions)
2) a loud warning beeps and vibrants for a few seconds on your cellphone (despite silence setting)
3) impact expected 5 - 10 seconds from time of warning
4) brace

We had our first warning this afternoon at around 5pm. We were in class so I got the students ready to dodge under the table if/when it'd happen. But it didn't, turned out a fairly regional quake didn't make itself felt over here. Still, a bit of a scare. We thought it was "the Big One".

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Norwegian Wood, the movie

only trailer I can find now:

Tran presents 'Norwegian Wood' at Venice film festival
VENICE, Italy — The pacing, the blowing wind, the music and other atmospherics all helped create the tension in "Norwegian Wood," says Tran Anh Hung, presenting the haunting movie at the Venice film festival.
Based on a best-selling novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, the story of love, sexuality and loss -- mainly through suicide -- is set in Japan in the volatile 1960s.
"The film is rich in physical variation," the Vietnamese-born Tran told AFP, discussing scenes in which the lead character Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) paces around an apartment with the troubled Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), and later tries to keep up with her in a green field.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Senna, the movie

It looks like Senna, the Movie is being released in Japan first. Japanese title:
アイルトン・セナ 音速の彼方へ

Go to the official movie website to see a clearer trailer:

There is a trailer posted to youtube here

It's being released on Oct 8th in very limited theaters in Japan. I'll probably go see it in Odaiba Cinema Mediage in Tokyo.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

driving Honda CRZ

Car: Honda CR-Z Alpha auto-manual (pedal shift)
Price (in Japan): 2.5 million yen (roughly USD 29k)

from my experience, here are two ways to look at it:

1) from a sports car point of view
It really is disappointing. It feels bulky, despite its best effort to keep the weight down. The steering input and feedback is a major let down. I don't know in that aspect it's better than Honda Fit - a family compact.

2) from a hybrid car point of view
This is way more fun than your run-of-mill Prius or Honda's own Insight. The preset modes are actually useful too. Sport/Normal/Econ. I was on Sport mode 99% of my test drive. The Econ mode is really snail-like, but it gets the job done - saving gas.

The good:
dash, dials, general interior feel very modern, easy to see, although there are way too many buttons to fiddle with
the pedal shift feels pretty textile, can't say I like it but general public probably do

The bad:
no punch behind the push, if the battery is fully charged, in Sport mode, and pedal to the metal, it gets up to speed, but no torque, at all

The ugly:
the sheer size it feels... it feels empty, especially with the so-called auto-manual pedal shift. VERY LITTLE FEEDBACK.

Until I can drive it a little harder for real, for now it lacks what makes a car sporty - information from the road conveyed back to the driver. It fails as a sporty car. It fails as an all-out hybrid in mileage. It's pitched toward the casual driver, somewhat environmentally minded, interested in sporty looking car, with no children (teeny tiny backseats).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

extremely well done short animation
The film was drawn in an unusual animation technique called photographica that consists of two celluloid layers for each character with special color schemes and with one of the layers out of focus to imitate the three-dimensional space rendering. The animation then actively moves the virtual camera to change perspective dynamically for each scene and give a sense of realism, without the use of any CGI methods (which weren't available at the time).
The characters in this animated film were designed with faces very similar to those of several famous movie actors and celebrities of the time, including Ringo Starr, Jean Gabin, Paul Newman, Yul Brynner and Mel Ferrer (The scientist) among others.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

crises of global capitalism

This animated video illustrates David Harvey's speech that looks at how the current economic problems came to be.

WARNING: volume

The speech:

the new widow-maker?

...introducing Ferrari 458 Italia
The Ferrari 458 Italia, the Italian car manufacturer's latest model, might just be cursed. Ten of the exceedingly expensive vehicles have crashed in the past month, according to reports on Tuesday.

Six Ferrari 458 Italias have been involved in accidents, three caught on fire, and one was destroyed in a fire while it was being stored innocently in a warehouse.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Aug 23 2010

high 33C (while thermometer shows 35.8C)
overnight low 25C
humidity 88%
south wind 5m/s

Happy Birthday to my girl!
The heat of this summer is something. We had a relatively cool summer last year. The year before that was pretty brutal; we saw 40C weather in several prefectures. The nights are cooler this late into Aug but no breeze. The humidity is thick in the air through out the night you can cut it with a knife. We want to turn on the A/C but catching a cold is no fun.

Man VS Wild
I've been watching Man VS Wild. I'm usually pretty OK with the "delicacy" but this morning with some wine and overly sweet chocolate cake being digested down my stomach it almost turned. I had to stop the video to take a long breather.

I'm very surprised this group of people keep calling Bear Grylls fake. First of all, it's a TV show. One that shows survival situations, worst case scenarios, and ways to get out of them. How else can a TV show do it without setting things up? Bottom line, to me, it's entertaining, keeps my pulse racing, is far removed from what I can ever hope I can do, other words - a fantasy. On top of that, there are some real gems on survival techniques, however unlikely.

Friday, August 06, 2010

August updates

Summer summer hot hot hot. high 33C, overnight low 23C, humidity 88%

moving forward... ever so slowly, need a new manager right now

middle of summer, lots of festivals, another one this Sat
kid doing great, another one on his/her way
real physical signs of getting old(er)

serious need of a pro wax job
car detailing is hard
as paint ages

Saturday, July 10, 2010

population growth

Well one aspect of it, visualized.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

what to listen to?

These have strangely been the days I listen to music often. Let's put it this way, "no music no life" has always been the furthest from my truth. I'd rather listen to a good engine scream to be honest. But with the drive I have now (good open top motoring, not so busy country roads) and the extra speakers right around my neck I finally got myself wanting to look for that missing piece of puzzle.

Here is what I've come up with in my journey to a second music discovery.


Everything that has indie in its names, indie rock, indie alternative, alternative rock, indie pop. I can't listen to anything else. For 3 years, I have tried everything on the horizon, well besides death metals. I find indie music a breath of fresh air, the only thing that goes into my ears through to my entire being without the cynicism.

But soon after my decision to stick with indie music I was hit with a dilemma. As I find out more about a particular band, I start to lose interest in them. I don't want to know who they are. I don't want them to become widely popular (main stream-ish), case in point, The Black Keys.

So the most sane thing to do is I get what I can from Internet indie outlets that bring in the unknowns and the lesser knowns. Still the damage is there. When I'm 50 years old, I'll look back to this decade seeing a blank sheet of music history when I chased the invisible. (I don't pay attention to who they are. The chances of them being played on the radio, now or ever, is a whopping zero.)

I'd rather have that than current pop, hip hop, pop rock, please god no. And I'll have the occasional opera tracks. Thanks.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

manly romance

The most romantic thing I can think of, in toying with human emotions, the respect, glory, stupid manliness, death, cold machines, etc, etc, etc...

Forget this being a commercial. Forget this being a video. Forget this being two champions reminiscing about the past. Forget this is about Prost as much as Senna.

In the olden days these would have been battle machines, where generals had fought and lost their lives for all the glory to the people they served. In a sense completely meaningless. This is the same battle, without massive loss of lives except a handful.

The most romantic thing I can imagine, by a mile. Genuinely stupid.

Monday, June 28, 2010


The devastation of England losing to Germany is so thorough it hurts this total bystander.

If the match was fair:
2 - 2 at halftime
3 - 2 in the end

The Germans were a better team. They played together better. They had much much better defense.
The English on the other hand, Rooney being as useful as a potato, defense had too many holes. Could a strong national football/soccer league lead to horrible team chemistry? More or less like the NBA and the US basketball team?

Too many egos. Too much at stake.

The UK can't win against Germany today. F1 Englishmen Hamilton and Button finished behind Deutschland's Vettel earlier at Valencia on race day Sunday, European GP. Not a bad day though if you're on the other side.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

US not deserving sweet 16?

As a country, it possibly is questionable.
(worst soccer non-fans in the world)

The USA world cup team? They deserve to advance the Fuck out of it! Guys played their hearts out despite two game altering miscalls. They would have won the second group match and scored earlier in the last game.

The French on the other hand, textbook sore losers. Calling it disgraceful doesn't begin to describe its monumental failure in humanity.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

cake and eat

Can we have our cake and eat it?

Can we satisfy our need for speed while maintaining a balance with our environment? To determine that we must revisit the origin of our intelligence tens of thousands of years ago (or maybe 4 millions) when the first human ancestors stood upright and freed their hands for tools. And speech, don't forget how important that was for brain development. With speech we were finally able to shed the skin that kept us primitive. We saw the intangibles, the past, the future, innovation, and hence culture.

That was the dawn of our civilization. Once that ship has sailed, there is no stopping it, until, until everything is gone, the sky, the ground, the air, the home, the livable habitats that have given us the necessary protection from the elements and dangers.

The Earth, our planet, is not going away. At least not anytime soon. When our star in the center of our solar system dies, it'll swell and swallow our planet. And until then, even though literally thousands of scenarios can end our existence, none seems as likely as ourselves. We are the scenario now. We can end this in a flash.

This is the crossroad. I know perhaps every generation has thought about this very idea, but we're closer than ever. BECAUSE, there are a record number of us. BECAUSE of our insatiable need for advancement.

Ironic, isn't it? That was what brought us here. That exact collective personality trait enabled us to strive as a species. That's why this is the crossroad.

We can't measure how beings and existence outside of our knowledge and power can and may end us. We can, however, wise up and deal with our desire to have more and better every time the clock ticks.

In 100 years, we'll either prove ourselves to be the parasites who do NOT deserve to occupy this beautiful pale blue dot; or we'll come through as a species and have found a way to curb our enthusiasm. We can have our cake and eat it?

Monday, June 21, 2010

summer solstice 2010

The longest day of the year (for northern hemisphere) and supposedly the first day of summer.

In this part of Japan
Today's sunrise: 4:24am
Today's sunset: 6:57pm
Day light lasts 14h 33m

Friday, June 04, 2010

f-king useless leaders

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Naoto Kan was elected prime minister at both houses of the Diet on Friday to replace outgoing Yukio Hatoyama.

Another one bites the dust. Another year. Another prime minister. Someone tell these heads of state that one political misstep, one broken promise doesn't merit their resignation.

Whatever happened to responsibilities? Whatever happened to integrity?

Four prime ministers in the last four years. FUCKING USELESS.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

real Carter please stand up

Someone who looks like you is playing in the playoff as a Magic.

One of the most disappointing sport stars of all time. The most celebrated dunker -> the most underwhelming millionaire athlete. Can anyone suck more?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

to mod or not to mod

....that is the question.

Honda S2000 ended its 10-year production run last year (2009 or Heisei 21). For an S model (S500, S600, S800 etc) it was considered successful. It's never meant to be a mass market highly profitable dime-a-dozen car. In fact we can't really be sure it was profitable for Honda until you factor in such intangibles like brand image. Now it begs the question- should I mod my last-production-year top-of-the-line S2000, or leave it as stock as possible, hence preserving the will of its designers (most importantly Uehara-san's).

If I decide to mod it (fully tuned in above pic)
good: more capable, personalized, more trackable
bad: expensive, not as clean, regrets 10 years down the road

If I decide against it (bone stock pic above)
good: very clean look, linear power delivery
bad: not tapping into its truest potential

Well I guess another choice would be going to Spoon (the best modder out there who knows Honda's balance) for some light tuning. Maybe that's what I'm going to do.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May updates

Has the world always been so fucked up (short answer: yes), or have we just grown up? (another yes?) So what has the reality come to in this one month's time?


Elena Kegan as a US supreme court justice (if confirmed)
sees US seeking intellects to staff important public offices. It's time to move on. The world has changed. It is the 21st century. Now let's just wait for baby boomers (60 y/o) to die out so we can have a more progressive society.

Miss USA a Lebanon-born Muslim beauty
Whether she can keep her crown may be a different story. But if the world wants to survive the second half of this century we're going to have to find a solution to religious/cultural clash between the West and the Middle East. I think she qualifies in all aspects but beauty-eye-beholder. Now Israel why are you so Nazi-like?


BP oil spill
Is oil gushing out thousands of gallons per minute a spill? By definition it still is. Fishing gone, marine ecosystem lost, pollution up 1000%, and no end in sight. We're fucked as ever.

Thailand anti-government demo
A full blown state-of-emergency war on the ground is going on between the battle-ready army and Red-shirt demonstrators. They're fucked. We can only hope there is a silver lining behind the massive clouds.


World population projection in 40 years
tops 9 billion. If the projection is correct (likely), by 2050 we'll have to double current food production, which already uses 99.9% of cultivatable land on earth, to accommodate the extra 2B people. Pretty much every single problem in the world can be solved by having a smaller population. Please, have fewer kids! China's one-child policy won't look so bad in 20 years (not that it's humane; educating women would probably do). We're mega-fucked.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

JDM cars in the pipeline

or rumored to be...

There are plenty of speculations, spy reports, insiders' leaks on these "secret" developments. So I'm not going to speculate any more here. Assuming all of them will make production in 5 years (2011 - 2016), this list would be my favorite.

1) Honda new NSX (or whatever it'll be called) based on HSV-010 GT

why? If the name Honda NSX isn't enough persuasion, then there is the most menacing stance I've ever seen with a Japanese car. An instant classic. VTEC V8, FMR lay-out, light, pure as pure comes.

2) Mazda RX7 (2012?)

why? Despite this ugly picture of a mock-up, the sight of a brand new RX-7 would be very incredibly attractive, not to mention long overdue. As wonderfully flawed and unique as the RX-8 is, it's time to move on.

3) Mazda Roadster (MX-2? 2012?)

why? Going back to MX-5's root. What made it such a good car isn't the power, but the weight, or the lack of it. 990kg (~2181lb), handles.

4) Honda CR-Z Type-R (non hybrid)

why? The half hearted hybrid is for the general public. Now give the enthusiasts a reason to buy Honda again, come on.

5) Subaru WRX STI coupe (or sedan)

why? Subaru is known for their special versions. This one would make a few more people happy. Niche market!! A few more dedicated performance parts as well please!

6) Subaru AE86 STI (in my dream?)

why? Why the hell not? FR, Toyota AE86 bloodline, Subaru's boxer engine, perhaps turbo charged, STI treatment.

7) Mazda Furai (first Mazda production supercar?)

why? Mazda won 1991 Le Mans with a 787B. Show us the sky is the limit, pretty please?

to be continued................

Friday, April 23, 2010

playoffs underway, but F1... where my heart is at this season.

NBA basketball is booooooooooooring! Where are the stars? Maybe they'll pick up the pace deeper into the post season.

I'll have a bucketful of Formula One instead please. I don't really have a clear favorite but I guess I'm naturally rooting for last year's driver's champion Button. Wait, before you bash me, hear me out.

1) Button drove for Honda in 2003, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08

2) That means there is a connection between him and my S2000, and NSX, which he owns (owned). Kind of like Senna and the NSX.

(not his actual car in this pic)

3) Jessica Michibata being the coolest, needless to say gorgeous, sportsman's girlfriend, good choice so far (yatta indeed, Jessica)

4) But most importantly, his driving style. (smooth as silk)

5) And what a down-to-earth all-around laid-back dude.

Yes, yes, yes, you're right. Hamilton is a better, funner to watch driver. And yes you're right again Button doesn't have as much consistency as, say Schumacher, or Alonso, nor did he win the championship with Honda. But to me he's (tire-management) smart. Going fast gets you somewhere, but being smart and pretty quick makes the race that much more interesting. Go Button.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


How much I would love to up and move to Otaru, Hokkaido (北海道小樽市). Why? For one it possesses all the main ingredients to be a great place to live.

A brief view of Otaru (in English)

overview in Japanese

It's the right size
243.13 km^2 (93.9 sq mi)
pop = 137,693 (2008 est.)

It's in the right place
20 odd kilometers from Sapporo
coastal Hokkaido facing Japan Sea
port city, relatively culturally diverse

It has the most balanced geological features
Several mountains, plenty of hills
coastal, sandy beaches

It has the right kind of climate
snow in winter, great for skiing
hot in summer, short and not humid

Okinawan music surprisingly matches the atmosphere 3000km away

On a very different topic, Otaru residents are seeing snow tonight, smack in the middle of April. Neighboring Sapporo is experiencing hurricane-like wind speeds. This is recording breaking unseasonal weather at its best/worst.

latest weather report, winter tires a must!

Monday, March 29, 2010

is it spring yet?


On my vacation, kid at school, wife at work, the sun behind wintery spring clouds. I stare at my S2000 sitting in the driveway, wishing winter would go away. Right now? 5 degrees Celsius, roughly 40F. Overnight low is -1C. A winter day in the beginning of spring, er no, a number of winter days. It's been cold.

With the road wet, I can still go and have a drive, but not as hard as I'd like.
With the rain coming down, I can't have the top down, which sucks.

It's hard to look at the paint job being so dull.
I eagerly wait until this last spurt of winter leaves my patch of roads.


The sun actually made an appearance after 2 days' absence. Warmed up the little rocket and went for an after-rain 12 noon drive. I've been living here in this part of Japan for more than 5 years so I know these country roads like the back of my hand. They are mostly empty except a couple of main arteries that run into the "busy" parts of town. The roads were just dry. Steam rising from the asphalt.

It leaves me only one question really. Should humans be given this much power on command by a flick of the wrist? And it's merely an S2000.

spit on it while it's under your choke hold

Bill Maher's latest editorial on Real Time asks the Democrats to forget about bipartisanship now that they have won a hard fought battle of health care reform. I really want to believe the fairy tale of governments of a large country like the US care about the people.

It's a lot like teaching math. You can't teach everything from the get-go. You'll have to ignore the little things that still don't make sense to little school kids. Yes pi = 3.14, and that's all you need to know, for now.

Bipartisanship, partisanship, non-partisanship or the like = 3.14. That's what we have to know if we need to get anything done in the real world. We'd want to tackle the problems of politicians are in a happy marriage with multinational corporations where the only concerns are their very own well being.


Why are we still at war?
Because with a "few" sacrificed young men and women, even we're at the wrong war, we send a strong message to the Middle East - Don't fuck with us! Other benefits include, but not limited to, global arm race, military industrial complex, country building (ironic), etc.

Let's pretend the world isn't run by a few rich private empires that operate and act on their own profits. If the lowly people want to get a little bit of a percentage of what we really want done, we'll have to stick to the value of our pi, for now.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Porsche steals show in Geneva

2. Porsche's game changer at Geneva Motor Show 2010
3. Monstrous hybrid the sweet future?
4. What happened to Porsche's lazy designers? (/sarcasm)
5. Can Porsche keep ludicrous promises?
6. VW not hindering Porsche's growth

Any number of these would be a completely valid title. Car enthusiasts around the world got hit by a fresh-faced all new hybrid concept by the secretive Stuttgart auto manufacturer. No one saw it coming, not the spy photographers, not industry insiders, not even rumors.

Not very often you'd go to an auto show where nobody even gives a second glance to stunning Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, Pangani, not even Bugatti. People were there to see Porsche 918 Spyder Concept that they didn't know existed until last week. It is the center piece of the whole event.

Has Porsche gone bat shit insane claiming these numbers?

V8 engine = 500hp
motor = 218hp
0-100km/h (0-62mph) = 3.2s
Top speed = 198mph
fuel economy = 78 miles per gallon
carbon dioxide emission = 70 grams per km

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Will 8.8 quake bring devastation?

A huge quake halfway across the globe in Chile on Saturday (2/27/2010) may or may not result in disaster in these coasts of East Japan. The real problem is - we can only wait to find out. Technology available for tsunami prediction is still pretty primitive. The slightest rise of sea level can create havoc on coastal areas tens of thousands of miles away. We'll find out at around 1:30 Sunday afternoon Japan time.




People in Hawaii were urgently told to protect lives and property from a tsunami crossing the Pacific as fast as a jetliner after a devastating earthquake in Chile.

Tsunami waves were likely to hit Asian, Australian and New Zealand shores within 24 hours of the earthquake, which struck early Saturday on Chile's coast.
A tsunami after the magnitude-9.5 quake that struck Chile in 1960, the largest earthquake ever recorded, killed about 140 people in Japan, 61 in Hawaii and 32 in the Philippines. That tsunami was about 3.3 to 13 feet (one to four meters) in height, Japan's Meteorological Agency said. link

Thursday, February 25, 2010

CR-Z is finally here

Honda's new nippy (hopefully) hybrid sports/y car is here. This is said to be the first of its kind - hybrid + light + sporty + manual transmission + small footprint (size & carbon)

Today Honda Japan officially updated their website with new info on CR-Z. To me the most important thing is its weight.

some important specs:
weight: 1130kg (manual transmission)
price (Type alpha): 2.5 million yen (~27k USD)
engine: 1.5l i-VTEC IMA (intergrated motor assist)
114ps at 6000 rpm (~112hp)

motor: 14ps at 1500 rpm
gas mileage: 22.5km/L

Dilemma dilemma dilemma - potential buyers of the new CR-Z would want something light and very chuck-able if Honda CR-X (~850kg) was any indication. Now this reincarnation of former feather-weight CR-X is a hybrid and of course that means added kilograms of a motor, its battery, various parts and modern safety concerns. I wish they would build a lighter version (-100kg) with slightly more power (~150bhp). People like me won't mind missing a number of features.

Cut-away graphic. There is hardly any room in the back. A 2+2.

Good thing rumor has it a CR-Z type R is in the pipeline. Do it, Honda! Do it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

driving Japan's country roads

I've driven across most of Japan. Most, as in spanning the country length-wise, from as far south as Kyushu and as far north as Hokkaido. I have even been to the northernmost point of Japan where Russia is a stone's throw away (well slightly farther away than that).

In the earlier years I wanted to save money so I never used the expressways. They're expensive. 2500 - 3000 yen (~35 USD) is the typical fare for a 3-hour drive. But as long as time not a real concern, I recommend national roads (国道) in the country side that promise better sights.

The daily commute being too short for my S2000, last Sunday we took it out for a stretch of its legs on a beautiful road - the Kujukuri tolled road (九十九里有料道路) on the east coast of Chiba prefecture. With the sun peeking from behind a few late winter clouds, we had the top down and let the crisp air greet our faces before the pollen-filled hay fever season begins in the last week of Feb.

not my pic

If you look carefully you can see the coastline to the right and the blue body of water to the left is I believe a river.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Secret Life of Chaos

A BBC4 documentary The Secret Life of Chaos was on TV not too long ago. Now someone has uploaded it on youtube.

Key words:
Alan Turing
chaos theory
butterfly effect

Friday, February 19, 2010

no denying Joseph Andrew Stack makes you question

...all the things that are wrong with the society we're living in.

I'll reserve my judgment until more info surfaces.

Read the suicide letter.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

US political reality

quoted from movie Good Will Hunting
Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll take a shot. Say I'm working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never met, never had no problem with, get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Oh, send in the Marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number got called, 'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southie takin' shrapnel in the ass. And he comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And, of course, the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And they're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, of course, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin' play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's got to walk to the fuckin' job interviews, which sucks 'cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he's starvin', 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure fuck it, while I'm at it why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.
was reminded of this by a post on, absolutely spot on.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

GEOS on its way out?

Rumor has it GEOS is in trouble. It turns out at least their schools in Australia have recently closed their doors.

GEOS is one of the original big 3 English school companies in Japan. They were NOVA, GEOS, and AEON, with ECC and Berlitz following closely in number of schools and students. The McDonald's of eikaiwa, NOVA, is largely gone despite certain regional schools still in operation under different management.

Is GEOS suffering from the recent economic downturn? Some online discussion can be found on fuckedgaijin here, more legitimate news here about their Australia school closing.

We don't know how far down this is going to go. It could be a bad Wednesday, or a game ender. We'll see. When English language learning giant NOVA went down, it was all triggered by a bad refund policy, followed by government intervention, finally a major drop in student enrollment = debt. One bad move is all it takes.

a little update
From GEOS Japan's website a pdf letter was posted to address their Japanese students who are stuck in Australia about obtaining a refund and transferring to other available facilities:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

signs USA is rotting

As if you really need any more.
Supreme Court rolls back campaign cash limits
WASHINGTON - In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down laws that banned corporations from using their own money to support or oppose candidates for public office.

By 5-4 vote, the court overturned federal laws, in effect for decades, that prevented corporations from using their profits to buy political campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

It leaves in place a ban prohibiting corporations and unions from directly contributing funds to candidates for any use. link
In layman's terms, big oil like Exxon Mobil, private military companies like Blackwater Worldwide, pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, special interest tools like lobbyists can literally choose the next president of the US, not that they weren't trying before.

While this looks like a small step towards what I just claimed above, the lack of comprehension among ordinary citizens, silence on media, apathy between law-makers disturb me to no end.

Like farm pigs, wolfing down their artificial feed, oblivious to the slaughter ahead.

This is the direct opposite of democracy. The USA is the corporation that is too big to fail now, until it systematically collapses.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

beauty, thy name is HSV-010

The most beautiful non-production car for a long while. It looks better than Lexus LF-A, Mercedes Benz SLS gullwing, dare I say Ferrari 458 Italia. But does it perform better than aforementioned? We'll never know. For shame!

suggestion: turn up the volume

Honda, give us a production model!

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Cayman

Back to one of my current favorites Porsche Cayman. 2010 model hasn't changed much. From 2009 on it's gained an option of an LSD, to me the absolute, single most important thing for a serious ride like this.

What's new 2010 Cayman (Cayman S)

I got my gloves on one, so here goes my firsthand review.
-PDK (Porsche double clutch) a breeze
-PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) real world useful
-allows you to go like stink (Mr Hyde mode- sport, sport plus)
-civilized, settles into city traffic (Dr Jekyll)
-really sorts it all out for you, got the tail slightly out? no worries
-great brakes, stop on a dime

-PDK (someone says it's the auto-manual that you can respect, but not love. I agree)
-price tag (in Japanese yen 9,500,000, ouch! same spec US? $70,000. That's $25k more expensive)

COMPARED to my S2000, it is/does
-better looking
-more prestige
-double the price
-faster, quicker (Cayman 0-100km, 5.8sec, Cayman S ->5.2, S2000 ->6.0)
-less raw (in the world of sports cars, raw is good*)
-beefier torque (S2000 famous for lacking low-end torque)
-feel properly expensive

*On the topic of raw being good, true as long as you're an enthusiast. Otherwise buttons like "normal" "sport", "sport plus" may suit you better. To me the sport mode is a bit of a gimmick, a nuisance, since I will only be on sport mode 24/7. If you however found yourself in a super car, e.g. Ferrari F430, it would actually be more useful. be continued.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

late night fiasco

As much as I respect Leno as a genuine car nuts, I'm with Conan on this one. The Tonight Show has become something older folks watch as they fall asleep. What's wrong with said older folks? They don't get Conan. Leno to me is a comedy club master. Mostly cheap laughs, not very brainy but his jokes work because pensioners want exactly that. Conan on the other hand is trying to do something with the show thus taking a little more risk. Bottom line half a year is not enough for Conan to stretch his leg, metaphorically or literally.

I still think however Letterman in his earlier years was the funniest.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

onsen and Twin Ring Motegi

Over the New Year's holiday, we spent some quiet recharge time in an onsen and at Twin Ring Motegi. Here are the pics.

Within Motegi premises, there are a number of facilities:
4 race tracks
a hotel
a Honda museum
a small amusement park (some cart racing for kids)

In the Honda Collection Hall
an S500 next to Japan's first Formula 1 car

S500, grandfather of S2000

An alpaca in Tochigi

Friday, January 08, 2010

2009 was...

It's never too late to conclude how 2009 went for me and my family.

I can see clearly where I was, where I am, and where I'm going to be. 2009 was a stepping stone that confirmed I am on the right track.

It was a year we saw excitement, mistakes, and eventually disappointment - there wasn't much change after all, Obama.

Personally and business-wise though, we did decent, more than decent. We achieved what we set out to do. We provided an excellent environment for Sara. We weren't too lenient nor were we too harsh. We were attentive and caring.

2010, a mere number, I wish for health. That is all.