Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: Kindle

This is a long overdue review. It is only at this time that I have come to realize that such work of genius deserves more than just oral praises but also, a testament in written form.
In 2012, I wrote about my thoughts about eBooks: here I have been very hesitant if not indignant at becoming a full convert to eBooks. However, as cliche as it may sound, things have changed. In November last year, having found the convenience of Amazon, I decided to purchase a Kindle Paperwhite. At that time, I still had a lot of books waiting to be read and was considering of postponing the use of Kindle until those books are read but my excitement got the better of me. The first book I read in Kindle was '12 Years a Slave' by Solomon Northup -- which at that time of last year was adapted into a movie.

Oh, what I like about Kindle.
1.) It's like carrying  a Library. I am not sure how many books it is capable of storing but the idea of books in one portable gadget is just brilliant.

2) In the event of dementia, long press on the character's name and viola! Kindle will reacquaint you with those characters. The last book that got me grabbing at the first sight of pen and note in order to write the characters' names was 'The Count of Monte Cristo' by Alexandre Dumas. With the many characters involved in that book, I was often left gaping and trying to dig through memory on who was this and that.

3.) Defines everything. THIS GOT ME SOLD! Worry no more on Medical terms (such as shown on photo), Legal, ancient, French and words beyond layman's terms. Kindle has defined convenience in many ways.

3.) Bookmark. I know this is not something new.
4) At the bottom of Kindle screen, it will show the hours you have read and hours remaining to finish. Not really necessary but if one intends to read a book in one day, it might serve well.

5.) Kills time while waiting for something or someone. Not that ordinary books aren't capable of this. 

6.) Lightweight. It fits well to an office or weekend bag. Its casing is sold separately, by the way.
7.) Unlike iPad or any phone, Kindle's screen brightness does not strain the eyes. The color of the books pages look real paper.
8.) eBooks are cheaper if bought from Amazon. Always sold at discounted prices and one more thing, you get to save trees.

Just months ago, Kindle released a new version. Well, I have never been the type to always get the latest.

I think my book storage issue has been solved. My books (hardcopies) have taken a lot of space at home. I can't for the love of books part with them nor throw them away. I have brought them from Japan to Korea and back to Japan in one jumbo box, lol! And with that effort, I do contemplate on maybe donating them to an organization to whom I felt the books will be of more use. I doubt they will accept my Twilight copies =P

Love Kindle. Love Technology. Love Life.

Currently reading: 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Yokohama: Day 2

Mandatory manhole shot. Manholes here in Japan have different designs depending on city. 

Day 2 started at Landmark Tower. Before going to Anpanman Children's Museum (which was the only itinerary for that day), we made a second side trip to Landmark for lunch and shopping.

The mall inside Landmark tower. The Gap was still on Sale, LOL! Judging from the design and materials of its interior, it looks dated but with a luxe appeal.

The restored stone dock, The Dockyard Garden is a sight to behold. Honestly, I thought it as a barrier to protect from waves or worse, even thought of it an old ship's mold.

This is open to the public but time was limited so we skipped the opportunity to touch the old stone walls.

Amber's stroller was a huge help, as always. It has served as bearer of our heavy bags. I can't imagine without it. Amber is nearing 3 and putting her still on a stroller for long travels is acceptable but how about near distance trips?! The stroller has served well in multi-purpose ways so i will probably miss it more than Amber will miss sitting on it.

As an Equipment Buyer, I just had to take a snapshot of this.

at Yokohama station, going to Shin Takashima.

Outside is the mall. We missed the production number.

For the museum, entrance fee is 1,500 JPY. Children over 1 are not free. Charge is same for adults.

Baikinman's narcissistic abode. Here he designs and fabricates his weapons to fight Anpanman which he always fails to triumph.

Toys and interactive games are many.

Anpanman's characters are mostly derived from food. Anpanman himself is a bread with bean paste inside (known as Anpan). Other characters, recurring mostly, are common delicacies and dishes of Japan.

Everything is in Japanese so we just allow Amber to enjoy the games and photos.

Paintings of Anpanman's friends. From left to right: Currypanman (protagonist but recurring), Baikinman (the main antagonist), Shukopanman (protagonist but recurring), and Donkinchan (Baikinman's cohort but not at all pure antogonist. She is sometimes neutral).

A mini-classroom. Adults might find it boring (I did) but it's a children's museum in the first place so adults are not the target market. Outside the museum is a mall with restaurants and boutiques selling authentic and rare Anpanman memorabilia and toys.

While outside, Shukopanman (white bread man) came out to greet the kids. Amber, upon my advice, went to hug him. 

One of his fans. Amber loves Anpanman so much that Mickey Mouse has taken the backseat. That's why, there's no way we will miss the opportunity of not going to Anpanman's museum.

Too tired to smile.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Yokohama: Day 1

Last weekend, we went to Yokohama for an overnight trip. A lot of things had happened: from accidentally stopping by at a food feast near Tokyo station to having lost our overnight bag in the train and found it at Isogo station. After all that, we started our sightseeing activity.


About the bag, I left it in the train and found out we lost it just before exiting Sakuragicho station. Having lost a luggage before (in Narita airport), we were confident that it will be back to us before the day ends. Immediately reported my lost bag to the station. Good thing that I remember the details: from which car we boarded to the things inside it (first car, middle seats), and brand name (Le Sportsac). It is actually a sports bag. The station staff told me that they will track it and call me. I told her we're just staying at a nearby hotel so I'll be here right after the call. Thirty minutes after, as she promised, they found my bag and informed me to claim it at Isogo station (five stations from Sakuragicho). But before that, they asked me again about its contents and the bag design. Let it be known that LeSport sac bags are known to have intricate details and so I only came up with its color, and a bird, the rest I could not remember. Luckily, I took a photo earlier of Amber with the bag beside her. I showed it to them that this was the bag I lost. They were convinced and I made my way to Isogo. Not much time has been wasted as I first thought would be the case. We were able to proceed with itinerary as imagined.

The panorama of Yokohama shot from the Osanbashi pier. The two red brick structures are the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. It used to be customs office back in early 1900's. It has survived the great Kanto earthquake in 1923, WWII and in 1992, the city acquired the buildings. Restoration was carried out in 1994 to 1999 and has become a complex with shopping mall.


While the tallest building on the left is the Landmark Tower. It has an observation deck, a mall on its first three floors. It used to hold the title as the tallest building in Japan until 2012 when Abenobashi Terminal Building in Osaka took the title.

It's a watering hole made out of an old structure.

This house covered with vines stands out!

At Osanbashi pier. It actually is an international passenger terminal contrary to my earlier belief of it as just a tourist spot.

Yes, it's made of wood. According to source (the net), wood was imported from Brazil. It's a special wood that is disease and insect resistant. Other than that, the design is just amazing. This place is one of the best places to view Yokohama scenery.

Yay! can't miss the opportunity to take a photo. I've been here many times, first was in 2004. I know, it's been ten years!

Ferries and cruise ships are common in this section. Yokohama port is an international port. Vessels (not in this area) of all types, conventional and container, dock here.

We were lucky that an event was ongoing. With all the crowd, we did not go in but instead stayed walking at the sidewalk, people-watching.

Closer look but too blurry.

T buying somethhing to munch.

The thing about Yokohama, specifically Minato Mirai 21 district, is that streets for people to walk are wide. You can gape at your surroundings with less risk of getting bumped at.

Cosmo World amusement park.

The famous Yokohama ferris wheel: Cosmo Clock 21.


The clock says 5:38 in the afternoon. Sun sets earlier this time of the year.

Amber was her usual self. Can't be put in one place but not cranky. I'll have it that way than any other.

Night view from our hotel room.

About our hotel, we stayed at Washington Sakuragicho Hotel Yokohama. The room is small and clean - good enough for an overnight stay. As usual for Japanese non-5 star hotels (I don't know how many stars it has earned), cable TV is not available and breakfast is not free. However, as I mentioned, we availed this just for a place to sleep.

As if the nice weather was not enough for the whole duration of our stay, we were fortunate to have stayed in this room. Our window is facing Yokohama port with all its glory.

I have to post this just because.

JR Sakuragicho station. Much has changed indeed from my last visit in 2007.

Morning coffee with Amber and her cookie. This was taken in front of Strabucks. Yes, count me as those who buy tumblers as souvenirs! Pathetic as it may sound, I felt obliged for no specific reason. *defensive*


(By the way, there's the Bag!)

Washington Sakuragicho Hotel as seen from JR Sakuragicho station. So near that it's very convenient for us. We were actually surprised how close it is to the station.


Travel to Yokohama is easy. For commuters like us, the best point of departure is Tokyo station. From Inagekaigan (our station) to Tokyo station takes about 45 mins. Even less if you take Rapid train (a.k.a. express train because it skips certain stations, thus travelling time is less). Upon arrival at Tokyo station, we stopped to have lunch and freshen up. From Tokyo to Sakuraguchi station barely took an hour. Total travel time is less than two hours.