I like travelling alone. That way, I’ve only got one idiot to worry about.

Takaki at Tanegashima Airport

Thus runs the tagline of my new travel blog, Within Striking Distance, also hosted by the friendly servers of wordpress.com.

Given that the present site is – at least nominally – an anime-themed blog, I’ve decided to give my increasingly numerous travelogues a home of their own. All previous travel posts will remain here, and I may even add a few more if it’s to do with trips taken before 01 April 2013. However, anything related to travel done after that date (including my upcoming return visit to Japan, due to commence this evening) will eventually find a place in the new blog.

Just to be clear, the present site will remain active – or at any rate, as active as work, time and energy will permit – except that it will become a bit more focused on its original reason for being. For example, this April’s trip to Japan will be described in detail on the other blog, but if I feel like writing about any anime artbooks or Blu-rays I might acquire during my visit, those posts will end up right here.

Cheerio, and safe journeys everyone.

Putting “Kotoba!” through its paces


The best part about owning an iPod Touch (or an iPhone, for those lucky enough to live in places where it isn’t sold at an extortionate premium) is being able to download all those clever applications that keep marching onto the virtual shelves of the iTunes App Store. From war games to financial tools to the complete works of Shakespeare, there’s bound to be an app for almost any requirement somewhere in the App Store’s massive 20,000++ item catalogue. What’s more, some of the best apps are available at no cost to the user.

Today, we’re throwing the spotlight on a free dictionary app that students of the Japanese language will find useful: Pierre-Philippe di Costanzo’s Kotoba!.

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What’s in a name?

Senseless post-afternoon-nap rant up ahead. You don’t need to read this.

(Seriously, you don’t need to read this.)

A couple of weeks ago, the Mainichi Shinbun published a list of the most popular names given to Japanese children born in 2008. Hiroto came in first on the list of boys’ names, followed by Ren and by three variants of the name Yuuto (written using different kanji but with identical readings). For girls, Japanese parents favoured Aoi, Yui, Hina, Rin, and Yua.

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Blogging from my new toy

Okay, here’s the deal: I just unloaded a ton of cash on a 16GB iPod Touch. Cash that could’ve bought me a ton of anime DVDs, dozens of volumes of manga, maybe three or four figurines … well, you get the idea. I’m now trying to squeeze my money’s worth out of this overpriced little toy by playing around with all its fancy features – one of which is Apple’s Safari Internet browser. As a test (and also for a bit of fun), I logged the device into our home WiFi network and tapped out this brief blog post.

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Silent witness

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I’ve just seen Oukashou, the first part of Shinkai Makoto’s new film Byousoku 5cm – and I am thoroughly impressed. Looks like my first real post on Diego no Hibi will be a summary-and-impressions piece on this extraordinary work of art. Now if I could only find the time to write it.

As for the title of today’s entry: I’m referring to the cherry tree. (Watch the film and you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

¡Hasta luego!

The Hitachiin Brothers – A Life in Pictures (test post)

Applying the skills I acquired from a thirty-second photoshopping lesson (courtesy of imouto-chan), I set to work reducing some screencaps from Ouran for this next test post. I’m also trying out basic paragraph alignment (restricted to centred images and labels for now). Continue reading

Fujioka Haruhi – A Life in Pictures (test post)

Hello, stranger. I’m surprised to see you here; it’s a site under construction, after all, and it won’t be finished for a little while. But please, feel free to look around. Don’t mind me – I’m just trying to get my head around this whole photo-linking business. For my practice material I’m using screencaps from one of my favourite anime series, Ouran High School Host Club.

The pictures mean little by themselves, although just to be on the safe side I’d advise you not to proceed unless you’ve seen the series. (I’m fairly certain they’ll spoil the first episode for you, at least.)

My lack of experience clearly shows in my inability to resize the pictures. But I’ll get to that eventually.

Cheers! Continue reading