Back from LA


I just got back from a week in Los Angeles. It was great! I hadn't been back in 2 1/2 years so I got to catch up with some family and friends.

I rented a car and as soon as I was in it and driving around it felt like I hadn't left. Of course here and there there were small changes but mostly it was the same as I left it. I forgot how much I miss driving. It's just so freeing plus I got to listen to the radio lots, something I pretty much never do in Tokyo. NPR, which I could listen to on the net, plus lots of music. The car had Sirus satellite radio which was pretty cool except that it cut out quite often. The bad thing is I could feel myself getting fatter for not walking much like here in Japan.

I did lots of shopping for clothes and I was excited to find that I was able to get into a size 33 jeans. I haven't put on a size 33 since high school. I also found out I'm a medium in shirts both button down and t−shirts. I don't think I've ever bought medium that I can remember. I'm not sure if that's because I just assumed I was large or what. For a long time I only got Extra Larges, I guess to cover my flab. I guess the Japanese sizes are even smaller than I thought. Searching for button down shirts here in Japan almost none of the size L shirts fit and even a few LL size shirts didn't was well. In LA mediums button downs and t−shirts fit just fine. Of course I'm still not thin, I still have a belly but I guess all that dancing in the last 4 months shrunk my waist a little.

There were some funny things I noticed. I'm not normally a boob man but I guess a couple of years of seeing mostly petite women made me notice the difference. It wasn't like I was looking for the difference it just stuck out so to speak.

My friends went to a super trendy sushi restaurant called Blowfish in Hollywood. It's a very stylised restaurant with anime showing on several projection and LCD or plasma TVs and various other anime decorations like cels etc and techno soundtrack but the effect is all very trendy, not kiddie. Unfortunately I didn't get to try the sushi as I showed up at the end but my friends said it was good.

I also got to go to E3 and check out the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. I'm sure both of them will do great but personally I was underwhelmed. PSP looked very sexy but I guess I'm just not into handheld games currently and playing PS2 like games on a portable is cool but if they are basically similar to games I could play on PS2 when I'd prefer to play them there.

The Nintendo DS was about the ugliest system ever. Supposely they may change the design before releasing it. As I speculated the 2 screens were a gimmic and have no point. Not one game I saw needed 2 screens and in fact as I have argued before, anything you can do on 2 screens you can do on one in various ways. It was kind of neat because it has a stylus but then PDAs have had styluses (touch screens) since they first game out like 10 years ago so it's not like it's something new. On top of that, at least with the current design it's unusable. If you hold the unit with one had with your thumb on the buttons or the D−PAD and try to use the stylus at the same time you'll notice it will basically fall out of your hand. On top of which, if you are left or right handed you're going to want to hold it with a different hand. Most games will probably be designed for right handed people meaning left handed people will have a hard time playing.

One solution to the pressing buttons while using the stylus problem might be to make it more PDA shaped so you could hold it in your palm like a PDA and press buttons on the sides instead of the top. That would make it possible to use the buttons and the stylus at the same time. The only reason it worked at the show was because they were bolted down to posts so you didn't have to both hold them up and press buttons while playing.

Otherwise nothing really stuck out at the show. Lots of more of the same. There is one game that looks new that I saw, Full Spectrum Warrior. In it you command 2 squads of 5 soldiers each. You don't directly control them, you give them commands and watch them carry them out. It was original design for army training and it's certainly something new.

Other than that, let's see. The Orange County coastline is still gorgous. Orange County is still the cleanest place on earth. The Irvine Spectrum continues to get bigger. They added a ferriswheel but it was too small to be interesting, maybe 80 feet tall. They should have gone for a Japanese one, 350 feet tall!