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Mount Otake

Remember that weekend last week with the typhoon warning in effect? We kept waiting for it to come, and finally on Sunday decided to head up to the Okutama area for a bit of hiking. Lo and behold, the typhoon weather made itself felt just as we arrived, and so it was a very, very wet day indeed (below, me, dressed to deal with the elements).

Despite the wetness (which was on and off, but mostly on) we took the cable car up to Mount Mitake, and then hiked over to the top of Mount Otake, where we managed to cook lunch (see below). The big adventure comes next weekend though, as we will be heading to the Northern Alps (Mount Yari) for a 3-day trek. Cautiously looking forward to it — just worried about one of my knees, which occasionally gives me trouble, but I bought a brace for it. We’ll be staying in mountain huts, which should be interesting — first time for me.

A week of opposites then, from the tech-heavy Tokyo Game Show to the alpine heights of the north!

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Six Years of On Design

You’d figure I’d be better at pimping my stuff on the web, but it feels like it’s been ages since I last linked to my regular “On Design” column on The Japan Times. But yes, it continues to appear on the last Tuesday of every month, and this month marks the 6th anniversary! The first edition was published in September of 2005, and you can still read it online (and here’s a post about it).

While I’m at it, here’s a link to last month’s column, in which I covered among other things Mile‘s Milestone, pictured above. This month’s edition will appear in the September 27 issue of the paper.

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Tokyo Game Show, Week, Life

It’s Sunday night, and although the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) officially kicks off only on Thursday (for the first of two business days, followed by public days over the weekend), the fun stuff — and by this I mean the arrival of friends coming to town for the show, as part of the industry (press, development, and publishing) — has just started. I’m also very much looking forward to the annual 8-4 party on Tuesday night, a big bash organized by Tokyo-based localization company 8-4. It’s always a hell of a lot of fun — with good ol’ Milky (of EGM and now Q Entertainment fame) in charge of the tunes — and brings together most of the people that you’d want to see who are in town for TGS.

And even though I no longer do any regular gaming-related coverage — and it’s been a couple of years now since the release of Arcade Mania — I’m lucky enough that I still get to go on the business days (I need to thank my good friend CheapyD for that), and you can bet that the first thing I’ll do on Thursday when I enter the hall is make a bee line for the Sony booth to try out some of the insane number of PlayStation Vita titles on show.

Here’s a to wonderful week-long celebration of something that is so near and dear to me — GAMING!

Update: And here’s more on what Milky plans to play at the 8-4 party (hint: you’ll be very happy if you likeLumines).

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PauseTalk Vol. 53

After taking a break in August, we were back withPauseTalk Vol. 53 this past Monday, and what a terrific evening it was. We kicked things off with a talk on the topic of “creatives” (the term itself), which evolved into a general discussion of the titles we use or give ourselves, and then elsewhere (as it always does). It was also a bittersweet night as it marked the last PauseTalk for regular attendee Josh McKible, who has been coming for close to 5 years (he’s leaving Japan next month). As I posted the other day, Don Kratzer enlisted us in a round of tequila shots to mark the occasion.

Also, the lovely photo in this post — taken from outside the cafe — is by Gueorgui Tcherednitchenko.

Below is a partial (but almost complete) list of attendees — the ones who signed the attendance sheet — and please note that PauseTalk Vol. 54 will be held on the first Monday, as always, which falls on October 3. And to stay updated, you can now follow PauseTalk on Twitter.

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The PauseTalk That Was

I’ll have a proper post about tonight’s PauseTalk Vol. 53 a bit later — I must say, it was a great one — but in the meantime here’s a fun photo taken by Tom Coombs of the staff at Cafe Pause while a few of us were taking Tequila shots in honor of this being the last PauseTalk for regular attendee Josh McKible.

Update: And here’s what was happening on the other side.

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PauseTalk Tonight

Just a reminder that PauseTalk Vol. 53 happens tonight (September 5) at Cafe Pause, from 20:00. It’s been a couple of months since the last one, so quite looking forward to it. Come on down for a good chat on all things art/culture.

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Codex 38

After another delay because of the server migration, a new episode of the Codex (38) is finally up and ready for download. As I explain in the show notes, I’m also using a new setup, which explains the occasional glitches.

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Comibukuro

I’ve been continuing my Ikebukuro West Gate Park beer drinking outings throughout the summer, and now it has spread into fall — our first combini run even saw us grabbing our first fall beers, which I believe were out that day (September 1). Meeting up with two friends (Cormac and Josh) who are as much into comics as I am, that was the excuse to get together — hence me describing it as the inaugural “Comibukuro” gathering — and it was fun sharing opinions on recent books, and talking about the books that affected us throughout our lives. After a few beers outside — with a scenery of kids taking dives into the park’s fountain — we continued on to the nearby Dubliner’s pub for a few hearty stouts. When that place closed we moved on to the Hub (pictured above).

We were constantly worried about the threat of the oncoming typhoon, and although it was fine for most of the night, I finally got caught in a sudden downpour as I was biking back home, getting rather drenched. Oh well.

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Before the Haircut

There was a time when I would always post a photo here after I got a haircut. I’ve long stopped doing that — it did feel rather silly — and so here’s a pic of me just before the scissors hit the hair. I didn’t get anything drastic, just a “refresh” — I have a two-block-like cut, so the sides definitely needed to be shaved down again. And yes, I always bring my iPad with me, to read magazines and comics — I do chat a bit with the hair stylist, who I’ve been using exclusively (I always make an appointment with him) for years now. I don’t go to a pricey place or anything though, it’s just the Di Moda Japan chain, and the cut itself is usually around 3500 yen.

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TOO MUCH No. 2

Just over a week ago I attended the launch party for thesecond issue of TOO MUCH magazine, held at the United Bamboo store (in the building’s event space) in Daikanyama. TOO MUCH is of course the follow-up to OK FRED magazine, and is still helmed by the editorial duo of Yoshi Tsujimura and Audrey Fondecave (my fellow Radio OK Fred podcasters). The party doubled as an exhibition based on a feature written by another good friend, Ian Lynam, of which you can see more here. You can buy a 2-issue subscription to TOO MUCH (it’s published twice-annually) here.

After the reception, we walked down towards Nakameguro to get some drinks at Just Another Space, which is a rather funky spot — and hey, there’s ping-pong table there too.

Also, if you’re curious as to the effect I’m putting on these photos (which I also did for the haircut post), I’m using a series of actions in Photoshop that replicate the filters found in Instagram — in each case, I’ve applied “Hefe,” followed by “Brannan.” You can download them here(and thank you Nick Chester for the tip on this).