The Entertainment Shack

Jun 1 '12

Tokyo, Japan 2012 - Part 4

Day 4

Day four was somewhat a relaxing day. We hit up Shibuya (渋谷区), the big shopping district in Tokyo.

I wanted to make sure I got to visit the huge hobby stores, so the first couple places we visited was The Loft (株式会社ロフト) [Map] and Tokyu Hands (東急ハンズ) [Map]. Tokyu Hands was my favorite. It's a hobbyist's dream. Over 8 floors of woodworking supplies, sewing and jewelry supplies, drawing supplies, model train supplies (pictured below), etc. They also had demonstrations going on and stuff too.

Day 4


listed in: japan |


May 31 '12

Tokyo, Japan 2012 - Part 3

Day 3

Monday ended up being a VERY busy day. It was supposed to be nice out, so we decided to head to the center of the city. But first, some food. We woke up a little late, so we decided to get something fast: McDonald's (マクドナルド) [Map]. Everyone was so happy to be working there, it was so... jarring. A man was walking up to people's cars to take their drive through orders so they didn't have to talk through the speaker. The cashier was "honored" we were eating at their McDonald's, and handed my receipt to me in two hands. When we were done, a woman took our garbage. This last gesture of hospitality might have been because we were foreigners. You sort everything a lot more thoroughly than in America. There are separate bins for: Paper ("burnables"), Plastic ("non-burnables"), PET bottles, aluminium, and glass. I figured out from a few occasions, if you stare blankly enough at the myriad of garbage containers long enough, somebody will come and help you. I had some sort of chicken sandwich. It was alright.

Day 3


listed in: japan |


May 21 '12

Tokyo, Japan 2012 - Part 2

Day 2 - Relaxation Jetlag Day

Slept in, woke up, and was hungry for some sushi. I also demanded it came from a conveyor belt. My friend knew just the place. We headed outside to the trains. It was a beautiful day, around 80 degrees. This was the first time I noticed there were a lot of little parks, and they were heavily used. Most people didn't have a yard, which is why I imagine many people used the parks. I was also surprised how plentiful parks were. For a country with not a lot of space, they definitely didn't neglect to leave behind some trees.

Day 3


listed in: japan |


May 20 '12

Tokyo, Japan 2012 - Part 1

Day 1 - Travel

Left Milwaukee for Chicago four hours before my flight. Traffic was great; I breezed down in an hour and a half. Unlike last time I flew out of O'Hare, since it was the middle of the afternoon, I was actually able to find the cheap long term 'F' parking lot, which is considerably cheaper than the others. O'Hare was equally a breeze. Took a bus to the tram, took the tram to my terminal. No checkin line. No security line. Whole process only took a half hour.

Had some time to relax in Chilli's. Not sure why, but everyone there had a really crappy attitude. Do people not normally tip in airport restaurants? Maybe they were on the tail end of their shift?

Got on the Airplane. It was maybe 1/3rd full. And I'm guessing this was why: See, I was going to Japan to visit my friend during Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク). Otherwise known as "large consecutive holiday", which is exactly what it is. A bunch of national holidays line up the same week, so many people are given the whole week off. It's a popular time for Japanese to go on vacation to place like Europe or the United States, so I imagine the airplanes going the opposite direction were packed, and it was the reason mine was empty.

The flight itself was fine, especially since I had two empty seats next to me. It was a typical international flight where they tried to adjust us to the new time zone. So, despite the fact that I (and I'm sure others) just ate lunch at noon, they decided to serve dinner around 1:30pm CST, and then almost immediately made it "night time" by closing all the shades. I watched "My Week With Marlyn", which was pretty good, read some magazines on my iPad, and headed to bed. Then I was abruptly awaken about half way into the flight, around midnight CST, and served breakfast. This was the start of me realizing I wasn't going to handle the jet lag very well. I ate my breakfast, watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (it was alright), was served lunch, and then we touched down in Japan around 3pm JST the next day.

Got off the airplane. Turned on my phone and was greeted by a text from Verizon Wireless welcoming me to Japan and letting me know they were going to proceed to charge me $20/MB for data. I immediately turn off data, and was happy to learn the Narita International Airport (成田国際空港) [Map] had free wireless.

Day 1


listed in: japan |


Oct 20 '11


Mar 15 '11


Jun 30 '10


Mar 18 '10


Jul 12 '09


Apr 8 '09


Apr 4 '09

Wisconsin Film Festival 2009: Friday

Saw two great films at the Wisconsin Film Festival last night:

Tokyo Sonata (トウキョウンナタ)

The movie starts out with a typical Japanese family of four... a business man, stay-at-home mom, elementary-aged child, and college aged son. Things start to unravel when Ryuhei (the father) loses his job and decides not to tell the rest of his family. As the movie unfolds, we find out that he isn't the only family member with a secret they're not sharing.

It started out a lighter comedy, and I thought it turned darker pretty quick. My more cultured friends called it an in-your-face social commentary on the modern Japanese family, although I didn't pick up on that. Minus some over-the-top emotions near the end, I really enjoyed the movie. The beginning is pretty hilarious, and while the second half looks bleak, the director was nice enough to give you a glimmer of hope at the end.

[Movie Website]

Food, Inc.

This was a pretty typical hippie anti-corporation documentary, like I've seen every year, but I really enjoyed it. First off, I want to say the title sequence (where they show the beginning credits) was extremely creative and very well done, featuring food labels with the production staff's names.

The movie's biggest points were this: The food industry is run by a very small handful of large corporations, and, Monsanto (I think mentioned negatively in every single anti-corporation documentary I've seen) runs the FDA, and this is all really really really really bad.

The only organization or company to be portrayed positively was Wal-Mart, interestingly enough, for their willingness to buy more and more free-range and organic food. (Although, not as much for ethical reasons as for the profit from consumers now demanding food produced more healthy)

It's definitely worth the watch, as long as you're willing to accept your food isn't made by 'Joe the Farmer' like the packaging leds you to believe.

[Movie Website]

listed in: food, japan, madison, movies, wisconsin film festival |


Feb 8 '09


Nov 21 '08


Apr 30 '08


Apr 18 '08


Feb 27 '08


Feb 15 '08


Dec 29 '07


Apr 2 '07


Feb 26 '07


Jan 24 '07