Flying on Vacation

Posted in Life, RC Aircraft at 4:33 pm by Acorns

Over labor day weekend I had the awesome opportunity to visit with friends and family that I hadn’t seen in 7 years. Although it took up 80% of the space in my car I took along almost every plane and heli I owned. Unfortunately it was hot then rainy so I only got to fly a little; but a little is a lot better than none! Below are some videos that I compiled, mostly from my new X650 QuadCopter.

For reference, here is what the quad looks like:

All shots are more or less in chronological order, although I did move some segments around. Forgive my lack of musical editing skills, music is not my specialty. In this video, my favorite shot is the shadow of the heli as it is being caught. I didn’t even know the shadow was there, but it worked out perfectly by allowing us to see what was happening as the quad moved directly over a person to land.

View on Vimeo in HD:

Or watch it here in a lower quality:

Yes, I crashed the Quad at the beginning! That was before I left my home, I had it repaired in time for the trip (although just barely). If you watched closely, at the baseball field the guy hit a baseball and it was caught. But it’s really hard to see even in HD on Vimeo.

In this next video I chase around my RC car. Not a lot of great shots, but the concept has a lot of potential; I’m going to try it again soon with the intent to film the car.

View on Youtube (Vimeo only lets me upload one HD video a week):

And finally some shots of the farm, and one of the college’s I attended. The shots at the end are from a Marriott that we stayed in; the wind was blowing at 15-20mph, gusty and swirling around the building. So my stability was very poor.

View on Youtube:

Although we had to move rooms (hot water wouldn’t work 🙁 ) I still managed to get some night shots off of the Marriott balcony:

That blimp at the end showed up in the third video, although just as a dot in the sky.


Open 24/1

Posted in Japan, Life at 10:05 am by Acorns

It happens. After one has been up for a full 24 hours. One begins to consider the truly deep and profound questions of living in Japan. Why do they only sell taco flavored Doritos? Why do three hambuurgaas + fries and a drink cost less than the hambuurgaa meal? How does Sanko make umbrella sales when they are selling an umbrella (the same umbrella) as Meets (they are in the same building) for 4 times as much? Why is there a balloon in my sink?


When such times arrive you must sit back and remember that none of it will matter in the morning. Mornings are for grumpily studying Katakana. Hmm. Hiragana rocks.

I do believe I shall get some sleep.


Orientation Week

Posted in Japan, Life at 11:48 am by Acorns

The remaining part of the orientation week week was busy but not as completely filled as the first day. Having not been able to buy an umbrella on the first day (I went at 5:00 after all the meetings had ended and found the shop to be closed) I almost had to walk to the school in the rain again. Fortunately my Seminar House keeps a set of umbrellas (‘kasa’) on hand for such cases and I was able to borrow one; the first thing I did when I got to campus was to buy my own! Despite the umbrella I was still soaked; the rain always manages to fall at just the right angle to avoid the umbrella. Oh well.

Having done most of the required things on the first day the biggest event on the second was class registration. I took a long time deciding on which courses I wanted; in the end I decided partially based on schedule (I can’t take two classes at once, and didn’t want a class that lasted until 5:20). Since I don’t need any credits towards my major I focused on classes that looked personally interesting and would increase my understanding of the Japanese and their culture. The first and most obvious for me was “Popular Media and Culture in Japan” – a class about anime, manga and tv dramas! Unfortunately this class conflicted with two others that I wanted to take; oh well, I’d rather take it and find other classes. Next came “Inter cultural Communication: Social Experience”. I chose this because it sounded interesting, but also because I liked the professor’s introductory speech (given on the first day). Finally was “The Body and Communication in Japan” – this last class was the most interesting that fit my schedule but I still debate it; I love learning the meanings and different interpretations of body movements but have very little interesting in learning Japanese Sign Language (which the course focuses on more than I would like).

Registration itself involved lining up in the order of the numbers we had drawn the previous day. I was 98, a somewhat good number; all of the classes I wanted still had open spots when I arrived. They didn’t like the “proof of insurance” I had printed off before so I had to sign an agreement agreeing to give them a proper “proof of insurance” within the first week of classes. After signing this form it was simply a matter of handing them the sheet with the classes I wanted checked off; they entered them into the computer, handed me a student ID card and ushered me out. I wish class registration procedures at UNI were ever that simple for me!

The rest of the day was supposed to be spent in safety meetings, however we had a two hour break between registration and the first meeting. Never give students a 2 hour break; they tend to wander off. Alisha and I thought it would be a good idea to check out the ‘100 yen’ stores around the area and promptly left to find them. As you can probably guess, we didn’t make it to any of the safety meetings :/ I’m told we didn’t miss anything, though.

Alisha did make it back in time to take the banking session offered that day. I was planning on buying a bike and attending the bike registration session but as I hadn’t bought one by the time the meeting started I didn’t end up going. The rest of the day was spent grabbing dinner and then organizing my room. The first week I didn’t talk much with any of my housemates; I had tried to several times without much success. It wasn’t until later that I even learned all of their names.

I slept just as well as always; keeping the room at a nice 20c. Everything here is in Celsius; I usually love metric over English but in this case I think Fahrenheit is better. A system that went from 0 (either freezing or human-dies-if-they-stay-out-in-it/coldest it reasonably gets without going too far north/south) to 100 (around 120 Fahrenheit) would be perfect but Fahrenheit at least approximates that. Celsius is better mathematically but for room temperature it covers an arbitrary span without enough depth. Aka, I am constantly wishing I could increase/decrease the temp by .5c or perhaps less.

I was going to include the opening ceremony in this post, but I will do a short one on it instead later. It will have more pictures; there was a lot to take pictures of! Hopefully with the freetime I have tomorrow I can get at least one more post done.

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