Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sony Aquarium 2008 沖縄美ら海水族館


3D can be seen in Ginza, too. Sony continues their aquarium event with HD video this summer in Sony building, and the highlight is 3D on 8th floor. The sensation is totally different from regular 2D presentation on other floors, and the kids try to reach their hands to the fish in the water.
If I dare to point out a problem, the viewing angle with even 200-inch screen is not sufficient, and the framing functions to distract the dimensional sensation. This indicates the potential difficulty of stereoscopic entertainment when brought to regular home-size displays.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Sky Crawlers - 押井守ファンにプレゼント

汐留の日本テレビでは今、「Go!Go! Shiodomeジャンボリー」というイベントを開催中で、そこで楽しめるのはポニョばかりではなく、週末封切りの「スカイ・クロラ」のナビゲーション予告編をデジタルシネマで上映しています。しかも2分ほどの3Dバージョンまで観られる趣向。これは通常の2D映像を実験的に3D化してみたもので、飛行体の移動や背景の奥行き感はそれなりに出ていますが、細部の立体感まではまだ達成できていないというレベルですね。仮設の会場は天井からの照明が回ったり、万全でないのが残念ですけど。

Nippon TV runs an event called “Go! Go! Shiodeme Jamboree” where in addition to their main feature of Ponyo, you can watch a long trailer version of “The Sky Crawlers” of Mamoru Oshii. Furthermore, a 2-minute experimental 3D version rendering is shown, too. The transposing fighter planes and the background depth seem to be achieved to a certain level but the fine dimensional detail of objects has not reached quite yet. The temporary premise is not ideal suffering from ceiling lights unfortunately, but this is a gift to the fans of Oshii.

AES Conference in Osaka - 大阪出張





After the breakfast at Nadaman in Rihga Royal Nakanoshima, I am writing this. Outside the hotel is a burning summer day already in the morning. I came to Osaka to join the local conference of Audio Engineering Society for Friday and Saturday at the newly opened ABC Hall. The hall is rather compact and its interior was mostly black for versatile functionality.

There was a brilliant workshop yesterday discussing how to build the sound for games with reality, and the creator team of Capcon and Professor Hanyu of Nippon University brought each work to demo and explain the process they took. If creators can share such logical observations from deep knowledge, the sound of games will definitely rise to another height.

Another interesting session was a gathering of some senior people: Mr. Saeki of MBS who realized the first stereo radio broadcast using 2 AM waves in late 50's, Mr. Imashiro of NHK who executed the first live surround program in 1988 with high-school baseball national championship tournament, Mr. Kozai of ABC who was involved in the project of building the Symphony Hall in 1982, and Mr. Tanako who took the leadership to organize all the stations in Osaka to locally establish the cable standard with multiple conductors, known as JEEP cable. Why are Osaka people always so progressive?

In this conference, many college students participated reporting their study results on the display board or in the workshop actively.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Benches, Again - 副都心線のベンチ


At Nishi-Waseda station, the benches were fitted to the wall. I also found that the design was coordinated with the station name board.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ponyo – 崖の上のポニョ


I took my grand daughter to Hayao Miyazaki’s movie “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea”. She watches Miyazaki’s anime with concentration at home, but I was slightly nervous because it was her first debut to the cinema before 3 years old.
Miyazaki was reluctant to rely on the efficient computer graphics and all the 170 thousand frames were hand-drawn going back to the origin of animation in this title. I on the other hand had to give up the nostalgia for film because the digital cinema exceeds film in color quality and stability already. I checked with T-Joy Oizumi theater in advance and chose the digital screen.
The debate already started about the new movie, but as long as this is a fairy tale in the small world as ours, I would simply accept it. “Totoro” is the same kind. The Goddess in the sea and the magic are the elements of the same vision of Miyazaki’s world. By the way, Ponyo's real name is Brünhilde under the sea.
My grand daughter only complained for a sooner start during the series of trailers, and watched the show to the end without raising questions.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Benches in the metro - 雑司ヶ谷のベンチ


Fukutoshin line of Tokyo metro places acrylic and transparent benches on the platform. I think they are quite modern and good. And more interestingly, it seems that they have a different design of patterns at each station. I vaguely remember the one at Meiji-jingu-mae, but the one at Zoushigaya was colorful reminding me of a Marimekko.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obon - お盆


Around July 15 is Obon in Japan particularly in countryside, and the family would visit their ancestor’s grave to welcome their spirits. One month later in mid August, people in major cities normally take holidays to travel back to their country villages to join another Obon, a traditional version. This is because Japan shifted its calendar system from lunar-based to solar-based 135 years ago.
I went to our graveyard today to clean up ours. The usually quiet street was full of cars and people. They typically carry a backet of flowers and a broom. I am not religious but my father died this year and I felt I could not miss his first Obon, now that my parents sleep in the grave together. We then visited my wife’s family grave, too. At the florist’s on our way, we came across with some interesting flowers. The florist said to us, “don’t you think this lotus flower indeed brings luck?”

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Best Bento - 祭寿司


If we discuss bento, I cannot skip the best I can think of. In Okayama prefecture, they have so-called “Matsuri (festival) zushi”. Though I did not grow with it in the neighboring prefecture, my wife’s family was from this area, and I know the standard of the taste is common to say the least. It is difficult to find this sushi in Tokyo but we know a sushi-bar near Shinjuku Gyoen Park offers “bara-zushi” to go featuring red snapper, shrimp, conger, Spanish mackerel, Japanese shad and others for the price of merely 1,000 yen. The quality is outstanding and authentic.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Eel in bento - ウナギの櫃まぶし

弁当箱は世界に誇りたい文化だと思う。今日は遠出するので弁当を買った。池袋東武は副都心線開通という戦場で生き残りをかけて店内模様替えに加えテナントの充実を図ったようで、デパ地下にもキァンティとか紀伊国屋などの新顔が入っている。このeashion PREMIERというのもそのひとつ、ちょっとお洒落な盛り合わせで女性客を狙っている感じだ。僕が注目したのは「国産鰻」と明記されたラベル。これも魚秀の原産国詐称事件の影響みたいで、買い物のたびにいちいち素性を意識しなきやならない時代というのは何とも寂しい気持ちにもなる。

The culture of bento-box is something we can be proud of. I bought a bento for my long travel today. Newly started Fukutoshin (subcenter) metro-line triggered a survival war among department stores, and Tobu in Ikebukuro refreshed their interior with some new tenants for enhancement such as Chianti, Kinokuniya, or this eashion PREMIER in the food floors.
Look at this picture of bento fashionable enough to attract female consumers. What I noted was the label which spelled “Japanese eel”. It seems sensitively affected by the recent scandal of camouflaging imports from China as “home-grown eels”. Reminding myself the nation of origin each time I buy something is a kind of sad habit.