February 18, 2009

The Future, Now

Honda's ASIMO ready to put on a show.

Hey everyone! Been a while. I`m going to be talking a bit about Japanese technology.
A lot of people seem to hold the stereotype that the Japanese have a lot of advanced technology and the truth is, they do.

In the labs of researchers all of Japan, they're making robots that not only clean your house but serve you food and do the dishes afterward. They're also putting these robots in super-sleek and neat looking cars to calm you down while you drive if you become tense and angry.

Of course, some movies bring up the idea of pool-cleaning robots that might try to take over the world, but thankfully these products aren't being produced for the market. You could imagine I`d want to be bringing back a lot of awesome high-tech toys back home although I'm not sure how my parents would feel about that...

One of the most well-known robots ever to come out of Japan is Honda's ASIMO. With prototypes dating back to 1986, ASIMO debuted in 2000 with the most recent version unveiled in 2005. This amazing robot is now capable of social and physical interaction, greeting and following people, sensing movement, be directed by voice commands or the natural movements of human beings, and even recognizing faces! It is basically making the first real steps towards an anthropomorphic robot!

Unfortunately, the technology seen in everyday life is not the same as that in the high-tech research world, other than a few gadgets here and there (including the Japanese toilets). As I see it, the professional world of technology is the one that is more advanced and should be the one associated with the 'Advanced technology' stereotype people have of Japan.

Anyway, I think robotics are possibly the coolest thing to go into as far as science goes. Imagine meeting someone and telling them that, `Yes, I am the key to showing the world what we once thought was science fiction.`. In Japan, they do a whole lot of advances in robotics that seem to stump the imagination of even Leonardo da Vinci's Mechanical Knight.

That`s it for now.

And remember:

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
(ed- That is the first of three robot rules applied to any robotic creature in writer and inventor Isaac Asimov's stories. It is perhaps most well known as one of the rules governing the robots in the movie "I, Robot", a 2004 film based off a collection of short stories of the same name written by Asimov in the 1940s.)


February 18, 2009

Fun In Tokyo

Weekends in Japan are something to look forward to... well, it is for me anyway because it’s a chance for me to go into Tokyo. Central Tokyo is great both during the day and at night because it is where everybody goes to have fun.

During the day there are many shops to go to and you can find pretty much anything you want. There are many private shops which well interesting toys or rare collectibles, and there are also many nice brand-name shops for people who are looking for nice clothes or accessories.

Tokyo is also a place where many interesting people come to, like the cos-players. These are people who dress like manga or anime characters and hang out in very trendy areas like Harajuku. For them, dressed-up is their “normal” clothing style.

Tokyo at night is even better because it has all the things you can do during the day, plus it has all of the flashing lights. When you have nothing to do, watching the lights is a good way to make time go by while you can relax and just think of something nice. The one different thing about the night maybe is that most of the people normally at work or in school during the day are also out, so you can meet more Japanese and foreign people who are also looking to make new friends.


February 9, 2009

Straight Out of Tokyo

Alright, Japanese music... Where to begin?

When I first came here I didn't really like it. I didn't understand the lyrics and most songs sounded like the music from the eighties and nineties. Then I found out that a lot of songs are actually remakes, so that makes kind of sense in a way.

Also, unlike most Japanese people, I'm not really into boy bands. All those boy bands... I'm not saying it's crazy, but yeah, sometimes it's just crazy. So now, five months later, I still don't understand the lyrics, but I learned to appreciate it a little more. Some songs are not as bad as I thought they were, to be honest.

I really like Japanese stuff and I love hip-hop music, so I thought, "Why not find some good Japanese hip-hop?" This was actually harder than I thought it would be. I already knew a few rappers but I can't really say I liked them. I would just laugh at the “cool” Engurish (Japanese English) they would put in somewhere random in their lyrics. After a long search I finally found a few good "classics". The beats are just awesome (I love beats) and there is just a good vibe.

Although not all Japanese rap is super good, I really like Japanese rappers. They are not as shy as some Japanese people and they are not as "crazy" as the dressed-up lolita from Harajuku, for example (no offense). They are just cool and I found out they are fun to hang out with because I actually met a few during the last couple of months and always enjoy listening to their freestyle raps. They’re just having fun.

My all time favorite Japanese rap song is "Koko Tokyo" (This is Tokyo) by Aquarius featuring S-word, Big-O and Dabo. You can look it up on Youtube if you want. It's about how confusing and stressful Tokyo can be, without really being negative about it. I think it's a really good song because it's very recognizable for many people here.

But enough about J-pop and J-Hip-Hop, let's talk about my favorite super-addictive drink. Van Houten Chocolate Strawberry Milk is just pure awesomeness in a half liter pack. Unlike melon pan, I just don't get sick of it buying it everyday. I actually don't like chocolate milk that much, nor am I a big fan of strawberry milk, but a mix of these two makes me feel happy inside.

When you drink it, it’s cold. Then you taste this sweet, somewhat strong and yet soft chocolate taste and after you swallow it, you have a delicious and fresh aftertaste in your mouth. I just love it and it's already on my list of things I will miss when I go back to my own country.

Aight! Thanks for reading and keep safe!
Until next time!


February 9, 2009

All Aboard!

Sometimes trains are so full, the station staff have to push people into them...

Hi everyone. Today I want to talk about how to survive the rush hour trains.

In Japan, almost everyone takes the train so during rush hour, everyone needs to take the train at the same time and that can be a real problem because there is not enough space for everyone. So the inside of the train is very crowded with people. Here are some things that can help you have a smoother ride:

First of all, the best position in the train when it is crowded is in a seat but finding one is hard.

The second is where two cars of the train are connected. Sometimes I see tall people and they look a little bit more comfortable.

You might also want to wear a hygiene mask because sometimes you are very close to a person who is sick, so you might be able to catch a cold anytime.

If you have any bags, the rule is you can't carry with your bag on your shoulders. You have to always keep your bag in front of you. It’s the rule.

Also, you can't talk on the phone because it disturbs the others

Follow these pieces of advice and you will feel more comfortable with the train when you come visit.

February 9, 2009

Onwards And Upwards

Dylan with his homeroom, 1A, and the card that they made for him. His homeroom teacher, Hamano Sensei, is on the very left.

Dylan shares a laugh with the captain of first year's soccer team.

As the school year winds to a close, we say farewell to Dylan who, after a year at Seiritsu, ends his time early here to return to New Zealand. But before he departed, he left this message...

My 11 months in Japan has been a great experience in many ways that I did not expect when I arrived. Before I arrived in Japan, I thought I already was strong mentally and physically, but the Japanese proved to me that I was no more than another person that plays soccer in Japan. They showed me that to be good at what you are doing you have to work hard in all aspects of life. Things like cleaning, dishes, school, soccer, practice, running, running, running, getting training ready and many more needed to be done properly or I did not get to play. And that is what I wanted most- to play.

The first 6 months here were the hardest as I had never worked so hard for this long of a period in my whole life. There were times when I wanted to just say I was finished and just fly back to New Zealand but resisting these temptations are the things that make you stronger in the long term. If you don’t accept them, you just accept that you have them and use it to your advantage.

I have only been away for a year but it feels like I have been living in Japan for 5 years or more. This year has strengthened me in every way possible. I now know what it really is like to work hard and to try to understand a different culture, but I still cannot imagine what it would be like to actually be a Japanese person.

I also now feel like I can tackle life at full speed as I know what it is like to be at the bottom of your game and to have no confidence at times. I have experienced it and the ways to get myself back on top, so if it happens again, which in no doubt it will, I am prepared. It was also a good age for preparing as 16 is a lot closer to adult life that I thought. My time in Japan will never be forgotten for reasons that I can not explain in words.

A special thanks to the Fukuda family for believing in me, Richard for helping me out with everything that needed to be done to help me stay in the country and Lawrence for teaching me more in one year than I have ever learned in my whole life at school. Also a big thank you to the soccer staff at Seiritsu for helping to make me strong. I am very grateful to Hiroshi Miyazawa and Wynton Rufer for getting me into this school and Seiritsu Gakuen for giving me this opportunity and I hope the school continues to succeed.

By Dylan Windust

Dylan has been a joy to have at the school and in the International Department. We wish him and his family all the best in the years to come.



about Seiritsu

Seiritsu Gakuen is a private co-educational high school created in 1925 and it is located in Tokyo, Japan.

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