Japan 2009 Highlights: Kinkaku-ji

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I spent a good few minutes trying to think of a pithy introduction for this post. I failed.

And that pretty much sums up the sort of reaction seeing this national treasure for the first time can evoke in a person.

Don’t talk. Just look.

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Japan 2009 Highlights: Kyoto Imperial Palace

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A note to the readership:  I’ve started publishing all of my new travel-related posts in a separate blog, Within Striking Distance. You’re more than welcome to drop by over there and see where I’ve been jetting off to lately. (^_^)

Diego spends a few moments within the stately confines of the Emperor’s former home.

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Playing catch-up

Three weeks away from home. Loads to catch up on.

I’ve been back for several days now, but with work keeping me fully occupied during the week I haven’t had the time to give this blog a thorough dusting. Off-blog, I’ve been slowly trimming down the anime backlog that accumulated while I was in Singapore; just a few more days and I should be fully up to date.

I left with two pieces of luggage and returned with three – the third crammed with nothing but books and magazines from one of the only two stores in Singapore that really matter to me. (Regrettably, I couldn’t find the time to pay a visit to the other one.) There should be enough fodder in that stash for a couple of merchandise reviews, which will be published on Wolf Hurricane in due course.

I should also remember to assemble more travelogues describing the places I visited in Japan a few months ago. The ones I’ve published so far account for only a fraction of the entire trip, and I really should get as much of it written down as I could while the memories are still fresh.

Finally, I should make some time to visit my usual haunts on the anime blogosphere. It will be nice to see what everyone’s been up to these last few weeks.

Farewell, Singapore

In keeping with the custom I established a few months ago – when I said my goodbyes to Japan – I’d like to say a quick farewell and thank you to the splendid island nation that was my home away from home for three weeks.

Three weeks filled with long hours at work, but my happy place on Orchard Road (read: Kinokuniya) was always there to give me a much-needed perk after each day at the financial salt mines.

Just like last time, I’m hammering out my bye-bye note at almost literally the last minute. This message comes to you from a free internet kiosk in Changi Airport, mere metres from my boarding gates.

That’s about it; I’ve got to dash off before the free connection ends. Cheerio!

Am I :-) or (^_^) ?

According to the BBC, researchers have found that how one interprets facial expressions may depend on one’s cultural upbringing.

East Asians participants tended to focus on the eyes of the other person, while Western subjects took in the whole face, including the eyes and the mouth.

Co-author, Dr Rachael Jack, from the University of Glasgow, said: “Interestingly, although the eye region is ambiguous, subjects tended to bias their judgements towards less socially-threatening emotions – surprise rather than fear, for example.

“This perhaps highlights cultural differences when it comes to the social acceptability of emotions.”

The study also raises a good point about the differences between Japanese and Western emoticons. Read the full article here to find out more.

Interestingly, an article published two years ago – citing a Japanese scientist this time – seems to lend credence to the researchers’ findings.

So, they’ve finally killed the beast

I’m just as relieved as everyone to learn that Endless Eight has endlessly eighted our ends for the last time, but stuck as I am in a country where leeching material off the net is frowned upon – to put it veeery politely – I’ll probably be the last Harutard on earth to see a subbed version of 7 August’s arc finale. (Which should happen when I return home next week.)

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Dreaming of durians

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Nothing much to report from Singapore at the moment. I’ve managed to pay a quick after-work visit to my beloved Kinokuniya, but no manga or anime-related purchases this time – just some Japanese textbooks (so I can continue studying in my moments of leisure). Hobby-related shopping will have to wait.

I’ll be here for a couple of weeks, attending to work-related matters from Mondays to Fridays but (hopefully) free as a bird on weekends. If you know of any anime screenings or other events of that kind, I’d appreciate the information.

Cheerio.