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Japan Report #21 [23 Apr 2010|04:06pm]
[ mood | chipper ]

This will be a pretty short update compared to the previous and following Reports. In Summer 2009, we were coming up on our development deadlines and had a massive crunch time from the end of July until the beginning of October. For that period, we were working 7-days a week, 14 hours a day. In addition to that, we lost both vacation periods - Summer vacation in August and Silver Week in September. It was really brutal and unbearable; I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to make it.

Comiket 76Collapse )

Something FishyCollapse )

A Whopper of an OSCollapse )

Etc.Collapse )

And that does it for the Summer (and the first half of Autumn, I guess). The next report will be my big trip in the beginning of November. However, it will contain a lot of photos (like the previous report). As such, will take a bit longer to get up than this one did. As I mentioned earlier, though, I will try to get it up faster than the previous one took. Wish me luck!

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Mini Update [23 Apr 2010|02:51am]
[ mood | thoughtful ]

As you can see, I finally got the photos from last May completed as April comes to an end. Yes, I suck. As such, I figure I should update people who are following on current events.

First, I'm going to try and get the next post dealing with the misc. things I did last summer up in the next few days. It should be relatively short and require very little exposition, so I think I can probably do the whole summer in a couple hours.

The things from last November will take a bit of time since it is probably as long as Golden Week was, but I promise to have it done before next November!

After that will be a couple of fast posts showing what happened after I got back from the vacation, including the launch of my game and a visit from my friend Christian.

And finally, most current and most important, I got my Canadian Visa! Finally! This means the company is now in a rush to get me back to Canada so I can get to work there. My official schedule is mostly set in stone, but I'll give dates when I have them solid.

As such, my adventures in Japan come to a close, though the telling the tales will still take a lot of time to come. It has been an incredible experience living here and I hope everyone has been enjoying following along... albeit really delayed.

And on that note, it is almost 3am and I need to go to bed.

Good night, all!

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Japan Report #20d - Golden Week Part 4 [23 Apr 2010|02:26am]
[ mood | MORE PROGRESS ]

Continued from the previous post.

Oh, MiyajimaCollapse )

Back in the EastCollapse )

And that ends the Golden Week posts. Finally... only a year late.

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Japan Report #20c - Golden Week Part 3 [28 Feb 2010|07:50pm]
[ mood | MORE PROGRESS ]

Continuing from the previous posts, Vital, Alek, and I left Kita-kyushu and trained on up to Hiroshima.

Somebody set us up the HiroshimaCollapse )

And with that we finished with the Peace Memorial Park. We took a streetcar back to the hotel and got ready for dinner.

Nightlife, Hiroshima-styleCollapse )

To be Continued

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Japan Report #20b - Golden Week Part 2 [22 Feb 2010|02:58am]
[ mood | making progress ]

Apparently, LiveJournal has a 4000 word limit per post and I went over by about 2000, so I have split the first post into two. This continues where the previous post left off. Sorry about the confusion.

Mojiko Retro... Wait, retro?Collapse )

Okay, that's the first half of the trip... this took WAY longer than I was expecting it to. Hopefully the second part won't take as long.

To be continued in Hiroshima...

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Japan Report #20a - Golden Week Part 1 [22 Feb 2010|02:57am]
[ mood | making progress ]

I'm still a bit behind schedule, but welcome to the first part of my Golden Week 2009 Photo Bonanza. This Golden Week was an exceptionally AWESOME week since I got two special guests all the way from Israel (Yes, David and Kat were special guests, too): my cousin Vital and his best friend Alek (whom I have know since he was "thiiiiis small". The three of us go way back to our computer gaming days in the hot summers in Israel. Good times, good times.

As a quick prelude note. A small number of photos were taken by Alek and then stolen by me to repost here. Most of those photos are photos that have me in them. I will mark the photos with a star so credit can be given when credit is due. It's more of an issue of different cameras than different photographers. His camera was hardcore. For people with Facebook, the rest of his hundreds of photos can be seen there (Look for the 8 albums marked יפן חלק - Alek took a lot of great photos, especially at night).

Jews in TokyokohamaCollapse )

Kokura, Gateway to KyushuCollapse )

To Be Continued...

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Japan Report #19 - OMG Update! [31 Jan 2010|08:29pm]
[ mood | alive ]

Yup, I suck. It's almost February 2010 and I'm finally uploading my photos from March/April 2009. What can I say? How did it get to be like this? Well, when I first took all these pictures, I ended up preparing for Golden Week right afterwards (those pictures will be the next one or two posts). Then I suddenly ended up with a couple hundred photos, so I was less in a rush to jump into it and get posting (It's bad of me, I know, but that's just how I felt at the time). Then Summer came around and I was working 14 hours a day 7 days a week. There was no way in hell that when I got home I wanted to do ANYTHING that felt like work. I was burning out fast and felt like I was going to die at anytime. It was really bad. So the updates got pushed forward. Autumn came around and all I wanted to do was recuperate from Summer and prepare to go back Canada-side. Then came winter and a whole lot of uncertainties about when I'd be going back to Canada, or even IF I would be. In November, things seemed like a "be ready to go" and the company gave us 2 weeks vacation while things hopefully finalized. I took another trip and ended up with a few hundred more photos (whoops). Then I got back, only to find out that we were still waiting, and later that my application to return to Canada was denied. It was between these two stages (waiting and denied) that I posted my previous post, but when the rejection came in, I pretty much lost all interest in everything at that point, and only recently have I finally been getting energetic again about anything in my life. So now that I'm getting back into the motions, I decided that I (and you all) have waited long enough; it is time to start posting again. So to all of you that check my LJ somewhat regularly, or to those of you that have been hoping to see something pop up in your Friends Page, I'm really REALLY sorry that I've been so sucky this past year. m(_ _)m

Now this post in particular is going to be pretty short since the next ones are going to be much bigger. After that will likely be another short one before a couple more big ones. I can't guarantee that I'll spit all of these posts out in quick succession, but I will try to get them all done by the end of February.

And for all the people wondering, as of right now (Jan 31), I am still uncertain about my return to North America. It is frustrating as all hell, but the company seems optimistic. Then again, they were optimistic before I was rejected, too. But I will definitely post if and when I know more.

Yokohama RandomnessCollapse )
Trip to AsakusaCollapse )
Caine 2009Collapse )
Spring is in the AirCollapse )
Partying With the IshigakisCollapse )

So that was my early spring fun. The next couple of posts will be about Golden Week with my cousin Vital and his friend Alek who came to visit from Israel. The photos and stories will likely be far more interesting and entertaining. So until then, have fun!

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Yay me! [04 Dec 2009|12:14am]
[ mood | tired ]

So, I realize that I haven't posted in forever, because I suck...

I do have a number of posts I'm planning on getting to work on, I just need to actually do them. There are hundreds of photos that need resizing, uploading, end commenting @_@.


I post today to mention that as of today, December the 3rd, I am officially a credited Game Designer of the game Sengoku Musou 3 (Samurai Warriors 3). Today was the release in Japan for the Wii (the western dates are not known yet). So my name is now listed as a designer for a game that people have copies of. So go me!

For more info on the game (or pretty pictures for those of you who can't read Japanese), check out http://www.gamecity.ne.jp/sengoku3/ or try doing searches on YouTube for Gameplay, Trailers, and more!

And for those wondering, I worked on the stage design aspects of the game. I'd like to say it was an easy road getting this far, but anyone who talked to me during August or September will know that it wasn't. For those 2 months I was working pretty much 14hrs a day for 7 days a week. I'd get home, go to sleep, wake up, and go back to work. It was brutal. But now that it's over, I can look back and say, "I don't want to work in Japan anymore...". How's that for gaining experience?

More info and stuff will eventually follow. Things to look forward to:
Random Stuff from Early Spring, including a couple of photos from Canada (I really wish I took more pictures)
Golden Week in Northern Kyushu and Hiroshima with my cousin Vital and his friend Alek
A few pictures from Comiket, the big Comic Market (again, I should have taken more photos...)
Random Stuff from Late Summer
Ryon Vs. The Windows 7 Whopper (if my middle name is David, I guess the Whopper's was Goliath?)
Autumn in Shosenkyou, Himeji, Beppu, Kagoshima, and Yakushima (yes, I finally got a vacation after all that work).
Not to mention lots of wikipedia links and snarky commentaries, all by yours truly.

So keep on, keepin' on, and remember.... at least you aren't a Horse-Deer.

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Japan Report #18b - No Really... Finally! [18 Feb 2009|02:33am]
[ mood | amused ]

Continued from previous post...

Next we move onto the (much shorter Miyako Island section of the trip.

The island of Miyako, which I'm sure means Perpetual RainCollapse )

After Miyako Island, I flew to Ishigaki Island, the main island of the Yaeyama Island chain.

Yaeyama FunCollapse )

Overall, it was a great trip. I had an excellent time, and seriously recommend for others to go check it out. If you can only make one Island, I'd say go to the main island. It was very foreigner-friendly, and there was a lot of great shopping and food.

That's it for now. Happy to finally be done with this update :)

Oh, on one last brief note, in December I took the Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 3 and finally got my results today. With 90% correct, I passed. Yay!

Okay, ta-ta for now!

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Japan Report #18a - Finally [18 Feb 2009|02:31am]
[ mood | bouncy ]

Yet another late update, which I'm sorry for, but it's a couple hundred photos plus video. It is quite the intimidating task.

So, moving on then. This year, after cooling off during summer in Hokkaido (See Report #16), I decided to try warming up this winter in the tropical paradise of Okinawa. Tropical paradise my ass... once the rain came in, it was a very chilly trip. I'm just happy I brought a hoodie with me, elsewise it could have gotten quite uncomfortable a few days. Also fortunately, the big sightseeing days had pretty much good weather, so it wasn't too bad overall. But enough preface, on to the pictures!

A few notes:
-As this picture doesn't really fit the first cut, I'm gonna leave it outside, and cut after. If this inconveniences all you friends-listers.... too bad :p
-This entry is pretty long and chock full of information and links.

Arriving in Okinawa at Naha Airport from Haneda Airport, my first Okinawan greeting was in the form of two large shisa lions guarding the baggage claim belt.

Shisa are a very popular part of Okinawan culture, so as you will see, I got photos of a number of them. Even more interestingly, as the Shisa are guardians in Okinawa folklore, many more traditional homes have shisa statues at the gates of their property.

Old Okinawan Capital, Shuri CastleCollapse )

There's more to Okinawa, I swear!Collapse )

And with that, at more than halfway done, I end my Okinawa Island photos.
To be continued.

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Japan Report #17 - Catching up [07 Jan 2009|09:43pm]
[ mood | chipper ]

Overall, it's been pretty slow since the Summer - just the normal grind, without much time for doing anything spectacular and exceptionally photo-worthy. At least until my New Years trip to Okinawa which was excellent. While I'm prepping my photos and videos from my trip, I figured I should catch up with some things that I haven't put up yet.

First are some photos that were taken by David when he and Kat came up to visit (see the previous post if you don't know of what I'm talking about).

Dave and Kat Bonanza pt2 - Staring RyonCollapse )

And LaterCollapse )

So that's that folks. I'll try to get the stuff from Okinawa up as soon as I can. We're looking at almost 300 photos, and a buch of vidos. So It may take a bit. But it will be worth it, I assure you.

So on that note, it's 1:20am. Also known as bed-time.

G'nite folks!

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Japan Report #16 [29 Aug 2008|10:50pm]
[ mood | done with that ]

Dave and Kat BonanzaCollapse )

When Dave and Kat came back from Kansai to Kanto (not the pokemon region), I took them to Hard Rock Roppongi for Awesome Nachos (see the earlier post) and then we hung out before Dave would move on to Yamanashi and Kat would return home. That night I learned something very special about the train system in Japan - Last Train does not mean Last Train to the Last Station. Apparently the last X-many trains start going increasingly less far. (Yes, I just said "increasingly less" and I stand by it too!) Let me explain:
On the Toyoko Line (the line that I live along), major stations are:

Now coming home from Shibuya, what will happen is there will be a local last train to Motomachi-Chukagai. Then an express to Musashi-Kosugi. Then a local last train to Yokohama. Then another express to Musashi-Kosugi. Then a Local Train to Kikuna. Then an express to Jiyugaoka. Then a Local Last to Kikuna... and so forth down the line, making it shorter and shorter as it goes until it finally stops with a local last to Jiyugaoka. There's no night bus, and taxi's start at $7. So missing last train sucks (many people who miss last train spend the night doing karaoke until first train, or stay at an internet cafe where they sometimes have beds and showers...) ANYWAYS... I was heading home from the hotel Dave and Kat were staying at and found out that the next train leaving Shibuya was the Last Train for Kikuna. Fortunately Kikuna is the adjacent station to my station of Myorenji, but I had a 30 minute walk, mostly uphill... The weather was nice, however. But I was tired and had work the next day. Meh... Live and Learn... Die and Learn more...

The Land of LiarsCollapse )

So the reason I needed to get out of Yamanashi on time was because I had a flight the next day to Hokkaido. Hokkaido is known for two major seasons - Ski season and Flower Season. I was there for flower season.

BeertopiaCollapse )

I Don't UnderstandCollapse )

Back To Kyoto... With NinjasCollapse )

So that's it for my summer holidays. Hope you all enjoyed!

I'm gonna be in Toronto from Sept 13 3:45p until Sept 21 1:20p. If you're in Toronto, I expect to see you at some point in that time frame. If you play 'ling in Toronto, you better be at the game - there will be treats!

Now as the selection of food here in Japan has been... lowered... here are the foods I want to make sure I eat or places I want to eat at when I am in Toronto. This isn't a list of priority - I'm hoping to get all of these.

Sneaky Dee's Breakfast
Mexican (which may end up a Sneaky Dee's Lunch/Dinner)
Tim Horton's Breakfast Sandwich (I hope those are still around)
Everything Bagel w/ Lox & Creamcheese
Pizza Pizza (A Domino's Pizza in Japan is $25-$40... T_T)
All You Can Eat Meat (Korean BBQ)
All You Can Eat Dim Sum
Something made by me and Richard (and Janine)
China Town Chinese Food
Dangerous Dans
Grace O Malley's $3/lb wings
Bubble Tea
Greek (Probably at Mezes)

Demetre's (lower priority since we have Coldstone here, but still...)
Pho (lower priority since there is much noodle soup in Japan, even if it is different)

Japanese food is SUPER LOW PRIORITY 'cause you know... I see it here all the time...

Anyone up for some bowling? I know people will want to do Karaoke and/or DDR, but anyone up for bowling?

Btw, brief question, do people appreciate the wiki links I put into my posts? Are people actually checking out the additional info? Or should I stop bothering? You the viewers can decide!

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Japan Report #15 [12 Jul 2008|12:14am]
[ mood | caught up ]

Okay, with this report I'm caught up. Here are the photos I took in Yonezawa back in April/May. You've seen the videos, now you get to see the stills. Yay!

Fun-ezawa in YonezawaCollapse )

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Japan Report #14 [11 Jul 2008|11:15pm]
Okay, this is another small report, but the next one will be large, I promise.

This is a more random report. And it's really short, so no lj-cut. I probably didn't really need a cut for the previous report either... but *shrug*.

First off, there was a UofT Alumni Event in Japan this year. Very exciting. It was at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.

Guests of Honor include:

Chancellor David Peterson

And This Lady who's name I forget, but she's important 'cause she's in government here and is a UofT alumnus.

Yay, This Lady! (Note, if you know who this lady is, lemme know and I'll fix it...)

After that comes Food...

For those of you who enjoy getting $1 ramen bags or cup-o-noodles at the supermarket, check out the utopia that is Japanese store shelves:

Amd for those who like nachos... and dessert...

Hard Rock Cafe's Japanese Dessert Nachos! Graham Cracker Nachos with Red Bean, Whipped Cream, and Green Tea Icecream on top. SOOOOOO YUMMY!

And now for something completely different.... Roppongi, the dirtiest place in Japan.
"How dirty?" you may ask? I'll tell you... and this story is not PG ^_^
So I'm walking down the main street Roppongi-dori when this big Nigerian guy (I have this on good authority) stops me and says, and I quote: "You wanna titty bar? Topless women?" I kid you not.
Then, I keep walking and these four Japanese girls block my path and start to surround me as one quietly asks: "You want massage? 3000 yen." And they got persistent too! "Just come inside and look." "Come on inside, all four of us, 3000 yen." "You really need massage. You're so tense." And the kicker. "She'll suck your cock."
Yeah.... no. Something was definitely not right about that deal...

But I got a couple of signs that amused me in Roppongi that I wanted to share.

BUNNY COUNTER!!! Either they have a person who counts rabbits (not a bad job all things considered) or they have a bunny girl reception desk. I'm assuming the latter.

Since Roppongi is popular with the tourists, there is a Duty Free shop called Don Quixote. The entrance has a few fish tanks with this sign:

The JSDF appreciates the thought.

And speaking of signs... that brings me to


Nothing like a Japanese band touring Asia.... through Paris.... Paris, Asia, right?

This advertisement gets arrested if displayed in a movie theater.

Kirin Nuda for grown-ups that can be enjoyed anytime anywhere. I like being enjoyed anytime anywhere.

SONIQ is the new sports drink for intelligent athletes, for those who "THINK" and "RUN". (So it's a drink for no one? ^_^)

And last, not least, and most random! This statue!

Apparently it's of German origin and stands in the Motosumiyoshi area of Yokohama. It's.... well it's sorta self explanatory... and the other half was explained in Japanese, so I don't really get it either. But I'm sure it's special! I mean, look at it! It screams, "I'm special!" Sorta like this LJ entry... *nervous laughter*

So that's report #14.... a.k.a. the really random one... I promise the next one will be more interesting and less random!
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Japan Report #13 [11 Jul 2008|10:51pm]
[ mood | accomplished ]

It's Spring!Collapse )

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Japanese (Sorta) Report #12 [09 Jul 2008|08:56pm]
[ mood | late ]

Well better late than never. I've been busy!

Back in the end of March (yes I'm really late...) I went state-side to visit my family. And I took many pictures. But since these pictures are more for me than for you, since their of my family and stuff, I'm going to post an abridged version of highlights. I think it should be fun. I'll have more photos soon when I take my USB drive to work and pick them up.

So first, to make this a sorta Japanese Report...
Narita AirportCollapse )

Okay with those photos out of the way, we can get to the main course... South Carolina.

Hilton Head IslandCollapse )

Myrtle BeachCollapse )

And a final note: I got my wish and will be able to go to Toronto in September. As such, I have booked a flight (already). I will be arriving in T-dot on the 13th and leaving on the 21st. I expect everyone in Toronto that I know to be around that weekend since my birthday is the 14th. If you're not there, I will be cross. Very cross. X <- that would be me.

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Japan Report #11 [06 May 2008|12:52pm]
[ mood | awake ]

Final video for now, and then I'll get back to photos. On the way back to Tokyo from Yonezawa, I decided to video tape the scenery from the first leg of the journey. I think it's a really pretty area. So if you like nature, enjoy!

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Japan Report #10 [05 May 2008|01:52pm]
[ mood | awake ]

Okay, this is out of order too, but it's easier to upload videos than individual photos, so I'm adding this now....

WARNING: Educational info follows...

Between April 29 and May 3, the town of Yonezawa holds the Uesugi Festival commemorates the most famous clan leader, Uesugi Kenshin (who amusingly enough never lived in Yonezawa). Kenshin was a great leader and strategist during the Sengoku (Warring States) period of 16th century Japan. He was also considered by many (himself included) to be an avatar of the Buddhist deity Bishamonten. early in the period, he and his great rival Takeda Shingen fought a series of 5 battles in the area known as Kawanakajima. All five battles ended in a draw. It is said that when Shingen later died of illness, Kenshin wept for loss of such a great rival. As such, the week-long festival ends with a reenactment of the 4th and most famous of these battles. I went to Yonezawa to check out this reenactment, and in truth, this is why I bought my video camera. So I hope you all enjoy the show. But before I get to that, allow me to finish the history lesson (or you can skip down to the video). After Kenshin's death, his right-hand-man Naoe Kanetsugu lent himself as an adviser and administrator for Kenshin's son, Kagekatsu. The two of them embodied themselves with a sense of justice and when Tokugawa Ieyasu made his claims for Shogun (following the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi), they attempted to attack his rear (creating a pincer situation that would have led to the downfall of the Tokugawa at the battle of Sekigahara. Unfortunately for the Uesugi, this move was preempted by the neighboring (territory -wise, not house-next-door-wise) Date Masamune, a man loyal to the Tokugawa. When the Tokugawa won the wars in 1600 and 1615, making their supremacy official, they rearranged some of the provincial territories to keep their enemies spread out and watched by his allies. For this reason, the Uesugi clan was moved to the Yonezawa region. The region itself was not very good - constant flooding by the river caused severe agricultural problems. To keep the Uesugi weak, the Tokugawa ordered the Uesugi to improve the area from their own pockets. What the Tokugawa didn't count on was the brilliance of Naoe who was able to fix the flooding and increase education in the area very efficiently. Though the area had its ups and down, generally it prospered under Uesugi rule for over 12 generations. For this reason, the Uesugi clan is revered in this region (even though Uesugi Kenshin was more known for being from Echigo), and thus the festival is held. Both Uesugi Kenshin and Naoe Kanetsugu souveniers are abound in the area. Also there is a shrine to Kenshin as well as a Mausoleum that holds the bodies of the first 12 clan lords. Neat, huh?

So without further ado, the hour and a half (give or take) presentation of the Kawanakajima Reenactment. This goes across 14 videos (it's set as a playlist so it will go from video to video automatically). I apologize for not having a tripod, but it can't be helped. So yeah, enjoy:

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Japan Report #9 [04 May 2008|06:18pm]
[ mood | accomplished ]

Okay, this wasn't my intended Report #9, but I have been asked to hurry up with this one, so it's coming in out of order.

Last weekend I decided to go check out Ikebukero while testing out my new video camera (okay, David suggested that I go check it out, and I complied). Anyways, I decided to finally end my karaoke-fast and get back in the game (since it was 380yen per hour. So I went, and sang, and was merry.... and taped.

WARNING: If you are scared of Karaoke or "bad singing", do not watch this. Otherwise, enjoy...

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A look forward [18 Apr 2008|01:50pm]
So I have been looking at the 2008 work calendar (because I just got a new one after losing my last one -_-) and have been trying to plan out the next X amount of time and provide some food for thought for those of you who wish to make plans with me (in NA or JP).

So currently non-weekends that are days off (starting from today):
5/5 & 5/6
8/11-15 (Summer Break)
9/15 & 9/23
11/3 & 11/24
12/23 & 12/29-1/2 (Winter Break)

Now I already have semi-set plans with David for Summer Break, and I'm hoping to do Okinawa for winter break (who's interested in coming out? I'm giving a lot of time for planning and there shouldn't be school at this point either!)

Beyond that, I'm thinking of maybe MAYBE (depends on schedule) trying to take work off 9/16-9/22 (5 work days) to do a Toronto trip 9/13-9/21 (giving me a bit of time to get back and recuperate jet lag before work on the 24th). I also am planning to try to make Caine in March (though that will likely be show up, role play, leave) and I may have to head out in Feb for a certain special event in US land.

Furthermore I have heard that I may be able to get a second home leave after next November, so I will need to start making plans with family (Mom, I know you read this!).

And so people know, we're currently looking at a 11/2k9 release from Japan (release of me, not release of game - still don't know 100% that schedule, but it should be around that season if we're being able to go home then - I seriously can't wait for SOME form of press release to go out so I can talk a bit about what I'm working on *sigh*).

But people in TO, how does Sept sound at this juncture? And any words from anyone on Okinawa? It will be hella fun!

Now just to remind, nothing is set in stone aside from the days up top. We'll have to see project schedule stuff as we move forward. But lets keep hoping for the best, ne?
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