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).