Tag Archives: games

Not a Player

Fate led me to pachinko last weekend. Nothing else was going to, that’s for sure.

Parlor Games

I was asked to appear Sunday on FM Pipi’s (76.3 mHz) weekly live broadcast from Zent pachinko center, to talk a bit about the business I work for. It’s a segment of the Sunday show that introduces local businesses to listeners.

Driving into the sprawling new complex at the corner of routes 19 and 248, I was struck, though I was already well aware of it, by what I have to say is the questionable use of human potential and money represented by the vast tonnage of cars parked and stacked outside.

On entering the building, the indescribable (like all sounds ever made blasted at once, or maybe something Mephistopheles would have on his mp3 player?) arcade cacophony followed me into the multi-purpose studio, though apparently not across the airwaves.

Regarding another reason I’ve avoided the parlors since trying one at someone’s insistence decades ago, I actually noticed a “smoking area,” which makes me think, goodness forbid, smoking may actually be banned?

After the show, the boss and I (it was a joint appearance) had lunch at the Nagoya-based Sugakiya ramen outlet in the building (smoking allowed there), which also has its own Circle K convenience store and (how convenient) ATMs. Sugakiya also has branches at Valor supermarkets. This bowl was ¥580 and not as burdensomely filling as a lot of ramen. I thought the photo deserved its own memery (my word, “memery,” as far as I know, though I wouldn’t be surpised if someone else long ere planted a flag there).

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Something From Nothing

And another excuse to slap block letters on an otherwise inferior foodie photo and call it macaroni: These “tofu donuts” sold at Sun Mall supermarket in Toki were pretty darn good. The words basically refer to leaving only the center of an image in focus to draw attention there.

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Qui**es, Pri*es, Ja** Sax and Kappas

From a TV quiz show Tuesday to a Tajimi quiz rally today.

There was decent weather today for a “quiz rally” on Nagase Dori street.  As I understand it, folks could find the answer to a question by visiting various stores along the shopping arcade street, and have a chance to win a prize.  Below, someone draws from a box.

There were also live performances, including jazz saxophonist Natsuki Kayukawa and young singer-songwriter Azusa Satoh (below).

Going back to the Jeopardy! story from the other day, I learned the programmers were on the ball on those points I mentioned, though they did say they didn’t account for breaks in the taping of the show, which caused Watson the computer to stop looking for a Daily Double that was still on the board.

One last quiz:  What’s the Scrabble letter value of today’s blog entry title?  My keyboard didn’t run of z’s – I had to rewrite the title after this post became a supermagnet for spam.

Tough Luck

Just an observation on the Jeopardy! match involving two veteran human champions of the popular TV game show, whose answers must be in the form of a question, and IBM’s computer contestant, “Watson.”

I found it amusing that in the first round, Watson committed two inexcusable, from a programming point of view, errors.  On a Daily Double, in which you can wager any amount up to what you’ve earned so far, he tried to wager more than he had.  And, after someone had guessed an incorrect answer, he proceeded to give the same answer.  This may have been because of buzzer timing issues, or because his programmers omitted to tell him not to guess a previously given wrong answer, but in either case it’s within the realm of the programmers’ responsibility (unless the slip-ups were an intentional ruse to put the humans off guard).  Getting the tough stuff down pat while goofing up or forgetting the basics may seem forgivable, but in my own doings, when I’ve done that kind of thing, folks have sometimes had no mercy, dismissing me summarily without even looking at the “tough stuff.”  Sorry to get that off my chest and onto yours.  ”What is, ‘sour grapes?’” Just leave it at the door.

Watson’s next gigs may be much more useful to humanity, according to this Wall Street Journal article.

A Merry Time

A Christmas party last night was a fun time for all.  I may have actually had my first Christmas Eve chicken after all these years.  Memory fails.  No, KFC was sold out way in advance.  We got it at MosBurger in addition to one or two other places.  Takeout pizza from Marino (very reasonable!  I hadn’t known you could take out) and a mishmash of takeout finger food from here and there rounded out a unique offering.  I forgot! Who could forget Christmas cake?

I had my palm read by an iPhone app.  I was a little timid about it, but I’ll stick with the results.  I don’t have a chance to play games in Japan much, which I always used to do in the States, so it was nice to play a little Uno (had to relearn the rules, although I didn’t recall the any “skip,” “draw two,” “reverse,” etc., can go on any other ‘English’ card thing; as if ‘anything in English’ is a fifth color) and some Jenga and win a prize.  Thanks to the person just ahead of me for losing at that.  It was getting to the point where it was going to take a tablecloth-out-from-under-the-wine-glasses job.  Thanks to all who organized, set up, came and cleaned up.

Whatever’s underneath your tree, I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

A Supplem’ntary Angle on the Cream in My Coffee (Apostrophe Due to Spam)

My high school geometry and computer science teacher used to say, “Simple things amuse simple people,” as he’d toss the chalk at the chalkboard tray and sit back to nurse a mug of coffee at his desk, incredulous at some inanity brought up by a student. Here’s my homework on that theme:

These Sujahta coffee creamers give me pause to recall simple amusements like the pickup game I once saw grown Japanese businessmen playing in the company cafeteria. It involved flipping creamers like tiddlywinks for some sort of jumping/scoring/shooting on goal. A refreshing sight because such types generally aren’t known for improvisation or dare I say innovation. Small as it was, I get a kick out of that kind of thing.

And they give me cause to play a bit of lacto-lottery: sticking my hand in the bag (first of the season) to pick out two creamers and see what dates and flowers I got (January 4, daffodil and March 30, something called calceoralia(?)). I like to incorporate a little randomness into things.

Today the Sujahta swirled into Caffeineless Nescafe Gold Blend instant coffee. Not cheap, but I’ve written before about caffeine. Apparently the dopamine it makes your brain release can create an addictive association with the coffee. I have plenty of caffeine as it is, so it’s probably worth cutting down where I can.

These tiny tapered tumblers also let me share my appreciation for the light avocado and green color scheme and slightly retro design of the Sujahta trucks you see on the road. They’re a longtime Nagoya-based company, so I give them my business to keep the money in the area and the groovy green trucks rolling on the road.

Speaking of Nagoya support, let’s give it up for the Dragons to continue their winning ways from last night in the Japan Series. (Did it end up 12-1?? Even games in the most important series of the year get cut off midstream for other programs! Anybody for a Heidi commercialthon?! This is why Americans refer to Heidi at times like this.)

100% Chance of Showers

And finally, these little numbers never fail to impress me with their uncanny ability to, no matter how you open them, spill out onto your thumb or forefinger to one degree or another. The US Postal Service, milk mustaches and Old Faithful have nothing on this infallible digital dairy discharge.

No Use Crying

I think Sujahta could make a full-fledged advertising campaign out of this. “What does your squirt look like?” A droopy Dali stopwatch? The Rolling Stones tongue logo? The Andaman Archipelago? I’m going to take pictures and see if they’ll have me on The Tonight Show, or at least see if something like stickyleaks.org dripdropmilkgop.com is available as a domain name. (view, uh, thumbnail) What are the engineers and MBA types I went to college with doing with their time? I mean, forty years ago we put a person on the moon, but we can’t make a creamer that doesn’t do a Jackson Pollack on your hand, or, say, come up with a way to wrap a head of lettuce that doesn’t involve yards of galvanized scotch tape twisting into even stronger strands that might be more suitable for suspension bridges or the defending the national treasury? Withhold 300 more tiny cutey-tootey emoji from my phone mail that I can’t even tell the meaning of – just give me a “New! Easy-Open Package!” that actually is.

Okay, I guess I’ve milked these jobbers for all they’re worth for one day. Now do I get extra credit for this, Mr. W?