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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kenji no Nippon Yasumi - Pt 2

Rose and I arrived at JR Kyoto station at around 11pm. I was a bit surprised because I expected to see more people out, but instead there was hardly anyone. Then again the cold weather might have been a factor. I had heard reports that the week before, the weather really warmed up and as a result some Sakura trees had started to bloom. The main reason why I traveled to Japan was because I wanted to see the Sakura trees first hand and to experience whether or not the petals really does fall like snow flake as how the anime depicts it.

I quickly asked the JR staff on how to get to Kuramaguchi station and subsequently the Aoi So Inn, our place of accommodation, which is a traditional Japanese style Ryokan inn. Once again the JR staff are extremely helpful, and directed us to the subway. Again, I did a lot of research as to how we could find this inn, and I have to thank Google maps and street view. We were able to find the inn fairly quickly.

After checking in, I was more tired then hungry, but Rose and I knew we needed to eat We set out at around 23:45 looking for some where to eat. We thought we found a Ramen place, but as we stepped in, we were told that they were about to close. The only thing that was left for us was to visit the convenience store: Lawsons and grab some food there. As soon as we walked in we were greeted with “Irasshaimase” from all the staff behind the counter. I didn’t know what to reply, so all I said was “konbanwa” and gave them a little bow. Formalities out of the way, we grabbed what we wanted to eat…instant noodles FTW. We also grabbed other things to eat too, I reminded Rose that she should get something small to munch on since she suffers from mild motion sickness. By the way, the food was really cheap...honestly.

The next day, was also cold and windy. I was actually not prepared for this. Having heard reports that Japan was warming up, I packed light spring clothing, so as we walked the Kyoto streets I had several layers of clothing on just to keep warm. Rose and I got the subway to JR Kyoto station and the aim of the day was to find our bearing and explore some of the famous places around the city.

It is advisable to actually visit the foreign tourist information center in the major city areas, the foreign information center has English speaking staff and they will be able to answer any queries that you may have.The Foreign visitors center in Kyoto is located on the upper floors of JR Kyoto Station. After departing the visitor’s center I managed to stumble upon an anime character that we have all come to know and love; Astroboy.

We both headed towards the bus ticket office which is situated right outside JR Kyoto station. If you are planning to travel around Kyoto by bus, you can purchase an all day pass which allows for unlimited travel on certain routes. We decide to check out Nanzenji Temple and walk upon the Path of Philosophy towards Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion). If you are no stranger to traffic congestion, and don’t mind being in one, then traveling by bus around Kyoto is your thing. Passengers enter the bus from the rear, quite different to the Sydney buses, and at each stop the fare is shown on a display which you pay as you get off.

We were told by a fellow passenger to get off for Nanzenji, the Japanese people are extremely friendly and polite, and will try to help you if you get lost. Most will know a little English to help you along, but if they don’t they will still try to help you. Worst comes to worse, they will accompany you to a point and show you from there. That’s what happened when I arrived at Tokyo; but more on that later.

After grabbing something to eat Rose and I started to walk around seeing the area around the old railroad, and according to the map Okazaki Canal and around Lake Biwa. Unfortunately the Sakura hasn’t started to bloom as the weather was still rather cold. However, there were a few trees that had started to bloom when the weather was a little warmer.

Nanzenji Temple:
You might not believe me when i say this, but Nanzenji was the first Buddhist temple that I visited. When we entered the temple ground we were greeted with the giant entrance to the actual temple itself called the Sanmon gate. Visitors were able to go in the gate for a small fee, from memory it was around 400¥. I didn’t enter the gate, instead I entered the main part of the temple itself. Again, the admission was around 500¥. The main draw card of Nanzenji temple is its rock garden...I sat and just enjoyed the quiteness as well as allowing the sun to warm me up. The garden itself consists of large stones, trees and small shrubs placed in a specific location in order to tell or recreate a scene. The atmosphere of the garden itself was really relaxing, and I could have sat there all day...chances were I would have started snoring, and be kicked out for disturbing the peace. 

Path of Philosophy
This is one of the walks that I really enjoyed. Also known as Philosophers walk or The Walk of Philosophy, when you walk it you will agree that the name is appropriate. Even though the Sakura wasn't in full bloom, the entire walk itself was crowded. The walk starts a short distance away from Nanzenji and ends at Ginkakuji. The walk is roughly 2km, with food stalls and souvenir shops along the way and a canal running the entire course which also adds to the atmosphere. Rose and i started this walk around 13:30, however if you don’t like crowds, I recommend walking it early in the morning, I’m sure when the Sakura is in full bloom and you have the path to yourself, it would be a wonderful experience. 


Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion)
The Philosophers walk took me a good hour and a half to two hours to complete. I wanted to take in the sights and sound of the area. I decided that i would have to return to Kyoto to see things when the Sakura is in full bloom, but that's for another part. Rose and I turned right onto a busy lane way with food stalls and other shops on either side to make our way to Ginkakuji. Ginkakuji is listed as a world heritage site, so we wanted to see what it was all about. Again we had to pay an admission fee of around 600¥. The line to get in was rather long, and the latest that you could visit is around 17:00 local time. Around 20mins of waiting later we were in, and we were greeted to by another rock garden. The walk around the temple wasn't as long as I expected it would be. Still I enjoyed it. After passing the rock garden, visitors would follow a path up a small hill where you can view the entire temple grounds plus have the Kyoto city as a backdrop. Unfortunately, that afternoon, the sky was slightly overcast so i couldn't get a nice sunset shot. Further more, the main draw card, Ginkakuji was under renovations so we couldn't see the pavilion itself. Ah well, next time when I return.


Nijo-jo (Nijo Castle)
When Rose and I finished touring Ginkakuji, we found a poster showing Nijo-jo under lights. Like I mentioned before I couldnt read proper Japanese, so who else better to ask then the police (police in Japanese is Koban). Forunatetly they understood what I was trying to say "Nijo-jo hikari" (Nijo castle lights). We also asked for directions on how to get there. After following the given direction, we got to the bus stop. I can't remember whose bright idea it was, chances were it was me, but the trip back to Kyoto and then getting the bus to Nijo-jo took over an hour...traffic congestion.

I cant remember how much the admission fee was but it was between 500¥ - 800¥. The main gate to the castle was really nice, well it would have been nice as this was my first castle that I had ever seen. You are propably thinking that I don't go out much...and you're right. I dont get released very often (joking). Nijo-jo looked really nice, Rose and I got seperated, but I wanted to take my time to savor the feeling, and imagined what it was like back during the time of feudal Japan. The tour route went from the outer wall to the inner wall, where a moat surrounded the inner keep. Unfortunately we werent allowed to enter, but walking around grounds at night was fantastic. It got even better when I rounded the path, and even though very few sakura trees were blooming the lights upon the branches made you feel like you are in a fantasy land, and at any moment you would see an elf walk beside you.

Well this wraps up the second part, please stay around, as I will be adding more soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gundam 00 Movie Update 3

All the designs have officially been released. to be honest the only decent design in the batch is Gundam Quanta the rest don't really do it for me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Macross Frontier- 1/72 Scale VF-27 Lucifer

EDIT: Now with boxart

This post is for Kenny and Kenji! Since they both love Berera's Valkyrie from Macross Frontier I thought I might post this up for them! Its been long awaited and I have to say Ban Dai are really saving the best for last since all the Valks from Frontier have already been released.

Like the other models in this product line the VF-27 can transform into Fighter, Gerwalk and Battroid mode. This model is due for a November release and will be at Hobby Dream. My two cents of this product line is that  I am freaked out by it. I got Alto's Supermessiah.

 At the time I was pumped and motivated to add something non Gundam related to my collection. I looked at the manual and quietly put it back and sealed the box. It was WAY too complex. To be honest it looked harder than a Perfect Grade. This model is not for the light hearted....




Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Astro Boy Movie

Contains spoilers

I went to see Astro Boy today. Being a fan of Astro since my childhood I had high expectations for this film. surprisingly enough, although being Americanised it was a pretty good movie! I actually found the gags to be funny and Astro's fight scenes to be pretty cool especially the Robot Games scene. I guess this is to replicate the arc of Astro's original heritage when he was sold to the circus.

But I think I would have enjoyed the movie alot more if I didn't have an annoying kid behind me yelling throughout the movie and bawling when Astro was brought back to Dr Tenma to be deactivated,


The movie was tops and yep I am even more tempted to buy that figure that I posted earlier now! Although having a very Americanised theme it is actually good not like some bad examples that have came out as of late ....cough...cough.... Dragonball Evolution. However the scene where Astro brings a crippled Metro City to safety onto the surface world so reminded me of Superman Returns to me it didn't seem too original!

Overall I did enjoy the film and shall wrap up this review by giving it a three and a half star rating out of five.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Matthew Reilly's The Five Greatest Warriors has been released!

Here at ODU we recognise Australian talent. Dwelling away from anime, manga, American comics and what not I'd like to offer this post as a tribute to one of my favourite authors Matthew Reilly.

I started reading Matthew Reilly books since I was in year 11 (aged 16). His unique style of writing draws the reader into his action scenes. The action starts quick and fast but will never cover the epic plot behind the story. To date I have read all but one of his books and have collected the series that I like best. the Shane Schofield saga and the Jack West Jr books.

With the release of The Five Greatest Warriors I was quick to grab it from Kinokuniya! The way how Matthew Reilly left Jack West's fate in The Six Sacred Stones to be continued in this book was just inhumane I had to wait in excess of a year to find out what happens! Like the books before this one it is really hard to put down I already read 130 pages! Which leads me to rethink how am I going to manage my tasks at work and my assessments for uni while squeezing in guitar practice when this book is in front of me!

Well done Matthew Reilly you have done it again!

Jack West Jr books: Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors
Shane Schofield books: Ice Station, Area 7, Scarecrow and Hell Island

Aion Update

A bit of time has passed since my last post for Aion. Well now I'm a level 28 Sorceror. Even though my progress has been rather slow, I am enjoying my time exploring the world as well a taking part in legion activities.

At level 25, a player will under go an Abyss entry quest. It is a series of quests designed to help the player gain knowledge about the Abyss and what to expect while venturing in the area. The Abyss is a PvPvE zone, although you can solo the area, it is recommended that you don't, as you will most likely encounter players from the other faction, or high level mobs while questing.

Well, I was invited to join a fortress defense - this is similar to the battleground raids in WoW. This being my first time taking part in the Abyss PvP I just followed the more experienced players. We managed to gain control of one fort, and held our ground from the advancing horde of Asmodians. And I do mean horde, there were so many that all I could see was a sea of red names. And when the battle started, my new Dell XPS system crashed!!!! 

We managed to hold the fort, and during the down time, I decided to go exploring within. During the Abyss Introduction chain quests, it was mentioned that in order to win over the fort, you needed to defeat the fort commander/boss. Well I managed to find the Elyos commander/boss. You need to be part of a really well organised group to be able to take him down. This also applies to the those going up against the Asmodian's equivalent.

Well that is it for me now, back to meat grinder. More Aion updates to come.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Macross Frontier Movie - The False Songstress.

Like a fair few theatrical versions the Macross Frontier movie is based on the series but adds a few nice changes and general storyline editting. As a fan of Macross I thought I may as well offer a trailer for your eye candy purposes.

As seen above Alto's Valkyrie has been fitted with a new crash equipment known formally as the Atmospheric Flight Pack. It looks awesome but I wonder what they can do make this movie even better. Lets just hope they don't ruin this awesome franchise!

A model display of Alto's valkyrie equipped with the AFP

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hot Toys Astro Boy Movie Figure

Hot Toys is quickly becoming one of my favourite figure manufacturers. After being pleasantly surprised by the quality and attention to detail in the previous post I decided to look online to find more about this company that I had not heard of before. Hot Toys is a company based in Hong Kong specialising in  highly accurate movie figures. At the moment I have my eye on some Astro Boy merchandise.

Come on! Who watches anime and doesn't like Astro Boy?! As subjectical as I might sound if you don't like Astro Boy you may as well not call yourself an otaku. Astro Boy or originally known as Testuwan Atom is the very first anime to be aired with a sequential plot in Japan. Without the success of Astro Boy all the other animes which we follow religiously may not have existed.

Well onto my "wishlist" haha by now its way too big for me to label each and every item which I want! The figure I want is the scene in the movie where Astro is brought to life. This figure is coming out in December and I'm glad its not the final edition. Although its good enough already I sure hope that they add in Astro Boy's power source hatch to make it a perfect rendition.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hiroki's Adventures

Today I was wondering around the city before my friend Livia's birthday party at K Squared.  I did the usual run around the Gallerie Victoria and added the Market City because it was close to Capitol Square.

My first siting was this awesome diorama at JB Hifi in the Gallerie Victoria promoting the release of Tekken 6 for the PS3. A matchoff between Jin Kazama and his father Kazuya Mishima. I was never good at Tekken but I do love a game from time to time. In fighting game terms Tekken has a pretty cool story the twisted relationship between Heihachi, Kazuya and Jin is beyond words for me. Creative, iconic and best of all believable.

As mentioned before the second siting was at Market City. The store Games Infinity so surprises me its overpriced to the extreme. I saw Macross Ultimate Frontier there for $120! The owners never sell the awesome statues/figures/models that they display to the public as well! It baffles me how can they can survive in a prime location for so long without going bankrupt. Anyhow what I saw was the new PSP Go! it was the first one I've seen and the slim profile is very attractive being a PSP purist I am heavily considering getting one now its so HOT!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hot Toys Dark Knight and Tumbler Batmobile

I wonder if any one has a spare $674 US for me hehe. Being a great fan of Batman my mate Kenny (Kenny and Kenji are two different people) showed me something which I can only call spectacular. As dodgy as the name Hot Toys might sound it actually produces some kick ass products. Presenting the 1/6 Scale Dark Knight and Tumbler (Both products are sold seperately).

 I always had a thing against action figures with articulation but the way how this one was designed really impresses me. What I hate most about articulated joints is that they dont seem to be able to be treated as a proper collector's piece. Hot Toys did a great job in covering the joints under the Bat Suit to give the figure a seamless finish. Comparing the details on these hi res pics with my limited edition piece the sculptings are excellent.

My Dark Knight figure please try not to be so distracted by Miranda Kerr's great pins hehehe

The Batmobile is the most accurate version I have ever seen I have looked around everywhere but none have ever matched my expectations this is the only one! I guess the pictures speak for themself. Enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gundam 00 Movie update 2!

Earlier this week we introduced Gundam Qanta. Now its time for Tieria's unit ladies and gentleman put your hands together for Gundam Raphael! It seems to be a slim profile unit but they promised heavy beam cannons as seen on Seravee and Virtue. But would it be too slim for an internal mobile suit?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PG 00 Raiser Thoughts

Through out my stint in Gundam building I have mainly dealt with MG scales and SD models but have also built a fair share of 1:60 Large Scale, PG and 1/144 models. Previously I thought that Perfect Grades were an overglorfied, oversized and overpriced product line. I held this biased opinion after being disappointed by the PG Evangelion Unit One.

I can't find a completed picture anywhere but this was a progress pic I took for another forum I regularly visit.

 As of late I started to frequent more blogs to keep ODU at the forefront of release information and everywhere I went an ananimous agreement was made that the upcoming Perfect Grade 00 Raiser shown at various conventions is simply amazing! If this is the new benchmark for PG models I'd like to see what Ban Dai has to offer in the future. Firstly lets start with the box art. Magnificent! Its huge the only box that can compare with this one in size is the 1/144 Dendrobium.

PG 00 Raiser Box

1/144 Dendrobium Box (1/100 Gundam placed for comparison purposes)

The first thing that made my jaw drop when I did my scouting was that the model comprises of 56 runners! I would not want to think how many PC joints will be in the model or how many individual parts would make up this 30cm tall sculpture.


00 Raiser Runners

From my observation as a seasoned gunpla builder the mouldings on the 00 Raiser are very detailed more so than alot of the previous PG incarnations I've seen previously.



A selling point of Gundam MG models is the internal frame which adds support and posability. Perfect Grades also have internal skeletal frames and 00's is magnificent its capable of achieving a full crouching position which is quite a feat considering the mass and size of the model.

00 Raiser's internal frame

In terms of gimmicks the 00 Raiser is also feature packed its got revolving GN Drives and LED lighting effects. Fortunately for us all this edition comes with all the accesories. I have seen too many releases where the only difference is an extra weapon. The PG release will come with the GN Sword II, Beam Sabers, the Exia style GN Sword III and a clear beam blade cover to reproduce the trademark Raiser Sword attack. This elementary release model would also include a special display stand which has been shown above.

This model gets my seal of approval. It will definitely be at Hobby Dream so don't miss your chance to take advantage of the premium batch price and special stand, later production units will not have a stand and will be more expensive. The Perfect Grade 00 Raiser is slated for a November release in Japan and should arrive in Australia by December PREORDER NOW!


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