Saturday, November 30, 2013


I decided it was time to go out and get food that isn't a leftover.
Not thanksgiving food.
Not the best burger ever.  Oh well.

I do need to go get some groceries tomorrow.  I need more cheese for sandwiches, and maybe get different bread for leftover turkey sandwiches.  I'm thinking some sort of bun would work better than regular bread or bagels.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday: Wait, did I just spend like all day watching old movies on TCM?

So here are dessert things.
Chocolate mousse with lilikoi sauce at the bottom.

Lychee danish.

  • Squirrel.
  • I kind of wonder if old advertising agencies had contests to see how racist they could make things.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday: Thanksgiving

I only ended up eating like half of this.
Crap, I still have dessert to eat.

Anyway, thanksgiving food.  Rating things from best to worst

  1. Mashed potatoes.  Steaming is always better, as it's faster and doesn't soak them so much.
  2. Taro rolls.  I toasted them in the oven a bit too much, and discovered that slightly burned taro rolls taste delicious.
  3. Turkey.  It's not very brown, but the strategy I used of just dumping the turkey parts in the cast iron casserole, slapping the lid on it, and roasting it that way seemed to work rather well.  I salted, peppered, and en-sage-enated the turkey as well, to get a bit more flavor in it.  Some of the edge bits are a bit dry, so that's a vote for brining.  Still, impossibly easy to deal with, and lazy is always good.
  4. Gravy.  A bit salty, and given the option, don't buy whole wheat flour when you're expecting white.  How was this the only small package of flour?  The other options were five pound and eight pound bags.
  5. GBC.  It's GBC.
  6. Stuffing.  This ended up bad.  The flavor is just not good.  I think that I need to just toss all my spices and buy new ones.

  • Bunnies.  Watch the bunny paws.
  • I discovered this last night.  That is exactly the model that I have, that I used for the turkey.  I guess I should contact them, and see what the plan is.  If they're going to replace mine with a new one of equivalent size, then that's fine.  Otherwise, I may just keep and use this one.  I've had it for like six years now, and have never had any problems like that.
  • I'm 99% certain Mr. Mime just stole that plate of spaghetti from Wooper.
  • Squirrels.
  • Thanksgiving.
  • I noticed the same thing while watching the parade.  Way to hide the fact that you're bringing back Sharkleberry Fin, Kool-aid.  It's not Purplesaurus Rex, but still.
Oh, yeah.  I watched the parade.  Here's a cut so you don't have to load like 20MB of images if you don't really want to.  But really, what else are you doing right now?  Go on.  Click it.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday: I just got black friday spam

From a dealer of astronomical filters.  It's 20% off, too, so that's like $50 off.  Still, things like this are the reason that I do not plan to leave my apartment until Saturday at the very earliest, and that will probably be due to a turkey overload.

Because Ice King.

  • It only took them forever.
  • Boris Johnson is a jackass.  It's a fucking Gaussian, you moron.  Of course the integral less than -1 sigma is larger than that above +2 sigma.  That's how it works.  I thought about doing more math here, but you know what?  Maybe it's time to just start being an ass about things like this.  Hey, Boris! At what point do we decide that someone should just be dragged into the street and shot?  That's clearly what you're implying here, right?  Rich people are smart, and therefore deserve to have more than poor people (who are clearly dumb).  So where's the cut?  How dumb does someone have to be before they deserve nothing?  Fucking Tory scum.
  • Cowboy Boston Terrier.
  • Jewish Boston Terrier.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday: Sleeping away being sick

Seems to be the most effective way to do things.  I slept for about 12 hours, and upon waking, felt significantly better than yesterday.

Let's see if I'm missing anything for thanksgiving.

Turkey.  I think I'm going to do a salt rub tomorrow night, and then quickly roast the parts I have on Thursday.  I'm still thinking about doing a compound butter thing under the skin.  I also keep having the idea that I shouldn't roast so much as sear them in a pan first, and then bake until they're finished.  I'm undecided.

GBC.  Simple enough, and I think I have some cheddar that will go nicely with it.  I'm going to do this as a mix-ahead, cook in ramekins.

Stuffing.  Maybe I should get some sausage to put in this.  I'm thinking mix-ahead/rammekin for this as well.

Mashed potatoes.  Perhaps I've been skimping on the butter I put in my potatoes.  This pretty much has to be a day-of thing.  Garlic?  Blue cheese?  I know it needs a bit more to keep it exciting.

Gravy.  Because that's really the reason to roast meat, to make gravy.  This requires the flour that I got today.  This is another reason I'm thinking about searing/baking the turkey.  I can do that in the enamel cast iron, and make the gravy in that.  It should be easier than doing it in my roasting pan (as that always has hot/cold spots since it's so thin).

Rolls.  Cheating, but I'm cheating with taro rolls, which are tasty.

Dessert.  Hopefully Fendu will have things tomorrow, as I don't feel like making dessert myself.

It will be a party of food.

  • I really wish shit like this actually made it to market, and wasn't just some design student's final project that never sees the light of day.
  • Yes, global warming is bad, and yes, oil companies are basically the worst thing ever.  However, this article is a bit misleading.  Chevron and Exxon are pulling oil out of the ground, but the numbers listed here are based on the CO2 produced when that oil is burned.  Yes, we should be moving to more sustainable power sources, but I don't think you can blame the oil companies in this way.
  • One reason I'm trying a different turkey approach this year.  I've had turkeys in the past that seemed to have too much moisture in them after roasting, so I want to try something new.  Also: brining is kind of a giant pain in the ass.
  • I kind of got the same impression from the penny arcade job posting thing.  "You get to do way more work than is probably sane, largely because we only want to pay for one person to do this job.  Also: we're not money oriented, so you don't get to be money oriented either the pay is probably no better than median for this type of job.  We also mention that this is a 'competitive position,' so we're justified in this shitty arrangement.  This is us using the existence of a large applicant pool to force down wages and force up work hours. Yes, this is basically the very definition of being The Man."
  • Imoto Ayako is now in a meme.
  • Pizza.

Monday: Are you fucking kidding me?

Dear My Immune System,

Ok.  Yes.  I admit that I'm technically stabbing you to death twice a week.  To be fair though, you've kind of been a jerk for like, more than a decade now.  Really, I'm just trying to stop your bullying.

But this latest thing you're pulling?  This is just bullshit now.  I'm not really angry that you got us sick while I was travelling.  That kind of just happens when you travel to foreign countries.  You helped nicely when the time came to get rid of that illness last weekend, and I thought we were all agreed that things were fine.

That was before you decided to just hide the illness a bit, and then spring it out as what I'm guessing is bronchitis.  You're supposed to be on my side, not smuggling disease in my lungs.  I need those to breathe, dumbass.

Get your shit together and start doing what you're supposed to.

Or I'll send Batman after you.

  • I was going to talk about trains, and why they're better than buses, but I don't feel up to it anymore.  Just know: trains are better than buses.
  • That would suck.
  • Just like this crap.  I think at this point I have signed up for like three webpages: google, twitter,  and amazon.  If you're not one of those (supplying me with internet stuffs, different internet stuffs, and real world stuffs, respectively), why should I bother logging in?  You're just telling me the news, I don't want to be your friend.  If I want to tell other people, I'll do it here, with my own words, so I can say things like:
  • Look at this news story that was like everywhere today.  It's all about how people who thought they were Republicans have decided maybe they should put "not dying from health issues" above "not letting gay people get married" on their list of priorities and rethink that.  I want to call them fucking morons for not realizing this earlier, but I probably should wait to see how Kentucky votes in the next election.
  • News flash! Namco has officially lost their fucking mind!  Update: I kind of want to play this game, just because Lolo is from one of the Greatest Games No One Else Has Ever Played But Me.
  • Holy shit.  $63?  Up to $140?  I have this.  It's still in the box.  It's kind of just collecting dust after I forgot to take it into the office to put on my desk.  I guess maybe I shouldn't just leave things that are worth that much just sitting in a pile on top of my computer.
  • I don't think I can do this with my simple camera.  Still, I love optics.
  • Adventure Time.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday: Crap, I was going to clean my apartment today.

Instead, I kind of did nothing but watch Bob's Burgers episodes on the DVR.

Wait, no, I resoldered my TV remote so it worked better.  I guess the last batteries leaked a bit and corroded one of the battery contacts.  This made it flaky when you'd push a button.  I originally thought that it was just crap under the rubber pad preventing the buttons from making good contact, but when I opened it up, it was pretty clear that the contact wasn't connected well.  I'm not super happy with the quality of the solder (I couldn't find mine, so had to repurpose the glob that was left on the board).

"Can't you just go buy another remote?"  Yes, but this one knows how to talk to the TV, DVR, PS2(DVD), and surround sound box.  I'd have to find all those remotes again (they've migrated to behind the couch, I think), put new batteries in them, and then teach the new remote all the buttons again.  Opening up the one I have and resoldering a new connector made from some wire seemed like less of a hassle.

In which I make very particular complaints about people who are doing something they think is fun



You've clearly tried something, but I'm sorry to say that I think you've failed horribly.

First, let's consider who you're appealing to.  Me.  Guys 25-35 that have played Silent Hill games, and are most likely single.  I'm unhappy, so maybe you something didn't go right.

Second, the music.  This doesn't even seem like a knock-off of Yamaoka's music.  Most of his rock is slower, with a strong beat that supports the minor key much better than this avant guitar screech.

Third, they're the nurses, right?  Where are the knives?  The nurses stab.  They stab and stab and stab and stab.  Except for those that have pipes to smash.  Smash and smash and smash and smash.  Dancing around in messy nurse costumes isn't really Silent Hill.

Plus, (four), you do that undressing thing where you take off the blouses.  Imagine that with knives and blouses made with snaps.  A quick pseudo-stab to your chest, and the blouse falls off.  Christ, do you even understand choreography?

Five, this entire video seems like you're doing less of a tribute to Silent Hill, and more of a tribute to Lady Gaga's Bad Romance video.  Instead of a random twitchy thing, try a "step...step...step...step, step step...step...step...step."  Doing things on threes is unusual, and alternating slow and fast keeps things unbalanced.

Six, the ending.  Really?  No.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday: Various food stuff

Sushi Saturday again.

It's hard to see, but the sushi people had a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
The answer to yesterday's question is yes.  You can buy parts of a turkey instead of a whole one.  I opted out of the "necks" and "backs" selection, and got a leg (which looks like I has a thigh attached) and a breast. My plan is to roast them for thanksgiving, and hopefully have a manageable quantity of turkey to deal with.

On a completely unrelated topic, I deleted 30% of the stuff on my DVR today.  I decided that if I hadn't watched an episode of a show in a year, or, if I had watched episodes, but hated every minute of it, I probably didn't need to keep recording it.  I also pruned the nearly complete Buffy TVS series using the classification of "episodes I like/don't remember" and "that episode was dumb/had Drusilla or Faith in it".

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday: Oh crap, Thanksgiving is next week

I have done zero planning for that.  I'm reasonably sure I don't want to do a whole bird this year.  I think if I did hard enough, I can find some leftovers in the freezer from like two years ago.

Side note: I should clean out the freezer more often.

I guess I'll see what they have at WF tomorrow.  Can you buy like a quarter turkey?  If not, it might just be easier to do a quick steak or pot roast or something.  I know it's not traditional, but it's going to be like 80 degrees here anyway.

Never trust witches.  Never.

  • That would suck.  It'd be nice if we had a government that forced actual competition to exist.
  • Sneaky bear.
  • "Hey! What are you looking at?"
  • Don't people do basic searches?  When I have a problem, I usually do a quick google search to make sure there isn't already a nice algorithm out there.
  • This might be useful in the future.  Mostly while travelling and wondering which security is going to be best.
  • Ok, this list is bullshit.  Here are two examples:
    • NRT. I posted about how there were really no good food options, and then this page is all "oh, there's lots of food everywhere!"  Not once you're through security.  Even with that security gate time thing, I'm not going to be all "let's go back out of the secure area to find food!"  Why do they even have food out there?  Who goes to an airport to eat in the unsecured area?
    • DEN.  "Otherwise, get a cab to Boulder." Fucking Boulder?  Really?  Nice how you don't put a price on that, since it's like $100.  You can just rent a damn car for like $50 or so (I found things claiming $7/day, but I would be really suspicious of that price).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday: What the actual fuck?

This is absolute bullshit right here.
The left is the C debugger with an example of the problem I discovered today. The right is octave, which isn't absolute truth, but is what I usually use to check that I haven't had a stroke and forgotten math.  The fact that the debugger needs a very specific arrangement of values to not get -Inf is somewhat disturbing.

  • Holy crap, I went right past this place when I was lost in Akihabara.
      • See?
        • It was closed. :(
  • I also forgot to go to the Pokemon center.
  • Cute buns.
  • So the benefit here is that we now get a somewhat functional portion of the government, which can then fill positions to help other portions of the government become functional as well.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday: Tuning

I know the minimizer in the code is broken.  It's not terrible, but it can sometimes spend forever coming up with a not terribly good solution.  Since I know the starting point isn't bad for most parameters, I've not been that concerned with fixing it.

Until today.

I'm not convinced this was a mistake, but it's probably opening up a lot of hassle.  I'm now positive that there's a calculation error somewhere, which totally sucks.

Wait...[10 minutes pass].  Fuck.  Duh.

(A^T A + lambda DIAG(A^T A)) L = A^T B

I'm an idiot.  If you replace DIAG(A^T A) with the identity matrix, you don't get a gradient descent solution, so of course there's a calculation error.  You damp the stupid thing a bunch, then say, "but don't you dare fucking move."  Obviously it's not going to move in that case.

Fuck.  Ok, so that's done, and seems to work far better.  I'll need to do more testing, and I need to remove a lot of the debugging code, but I think this new solver is probably the way to go.  Now the next thing on the list is to make the models more "object oriented," since that will make adding new ones much easier.

Oh yeah, and the "everyone wants to use this on horribly reduced data, so make the program omniscient to understand what results they actually want."  Maybe I should make this as passive aggressive as possible, with just a little note in the log file:

Beep boop! I see you've run with this command line:
However, your data doesn't really match this, so you probably didn't read the manual.  I suggest using:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday: I finally figured out a solution to that problem

What problem?  Given a list of values you want to take a histogram of, what is the best binsize to use?  For data that's basically flat, you can just set the end points at the minimum and maximum values, and choose how many points you want per bin.  Assuming that the noise per bin is basically Poissonian, you can define the S/N you want for the bins, and then note that you then want on average k points per bin:
S/N = sqrt(k)

That's the easy case.  How do you do the same thing if the data is drawn from a Gaussian?  It's basically the same kind of an issue, except you need to choose where you want to optimize the S/N.  For the case from work, we largely ignore everything outside of 2\sigma, so I've used that as the critical point.  Now, for N total data points, how large of a box do you need centered on the critical point to achieve that S/N value?  Conveniently, this is just an exercise in error functions:
k/N = normcdf(critical + binsize/2.0) - normcdf(critical - binsize/2.0)
k/N = 0.5 * (erf(sqrt(2.0) * (critical + binsize/2.0)) - erf(sqrt(2.0) * (critical - binsize/2.0)))
So, you choose the S/N value for the critical point, determine the k/N value, and then find the binsize that achieves that (such as via the following figure).
This is for critical = 2\sigma.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday: Back to work


At least on the good side, I took "problem I didn't know about, but I guess I caused it, and sorry Maui," and fixed it, and discovered that "continuing stats bug" is basically caused by bad histogramming causing bullshit solutions.  I don't think that'll be super hard to fix, but it's still kind of annoying.

Then I came home, fell asleep on the couch, only to be woken up by a really annoying sound.
Turns out that it's the fire alarm for the building next door.

  • I was going to post the picture, but then I discovered an actual news story about it, so here's that instead.
  • Image 2.  That was basically all my pockets last week and the week before.
  • I saw this, and then had to go hunt down a source myself, because fuck you tumblr.  Learn to put sources on your shit.  Also: squirrel.
I also discovered this image today.  "Huh, Tokyo," I said to myself before going to verify that it really was.  Kind of in the center, you can see a dark spot. That's where the Meiji shrine is.  The group of skyscrapers to the left is Shinjuku.  To the upper right is Chiyoda, where the other skyscrapers are.  You can barely see the Imperial Palace grounds there as well.  The stupid Skytree is there in the distance beyond Chiyoda, but you'll have to look at the full view.  Basically, everywhere I went in Japan is contained in the middle third or so of this image.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday: I am so tired

I suspect it's partially due to the fact that I've spent most of the past three days in bed, and as I discovered last night, it seems like my awake times were corresponding to Tokyo time.  Yay jetlag.
This totally explains why I've been waking up at like noon, and then not feeling sleepy until nearly 2am.
 I felt much better today, with basically no coughing or sneezing.  I figured this was a good reason to go out and get dinner.
Yes. Ramen again.  It's SUPER EFFECTIVE against being sick.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday: I should probably try to do something tomorrow

I am largely feeling better, although the cough still is bothering me.  Given that I don't want to drive after taking that cough syrup, hopefully it'll be sufficiently better tomorrow that I can get out and do things.  I haven't decided what those things would be, especially since I have a reasonable amount of groceries right now.

Scorpion dog.

  • Being sick gave me time to read this book completely in about two days.  Now I'm on to some other books I ordered and that appeared while I was out of town.
  • Interesting.
  • Squirrel (reference).
  • Pokemon.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday: I guess that was effective

Here's how today went.

  • 00:00-02:00: Attempt sleep.
  • 02:00: Take more magic cough syrup.
  • 02:01-09:00: Sleep.
  • 09:00: Jerk-ass alarm goes off until I mash phone screen to turn it off.
  • 09:00-12:30: Sleep.
  • 12:30-14:00: Wake up enough to do some emails to work about how I'm not going to be in.
  • 14:00-18:00: Sleep.
  • 18:00-19:00: Get up, get clean, do some organization of stuff from the trip so I can have all my receipts for work on Monday, and so I can get the magnets to go on my fridge.
  • 19:00-21:00: Read internet crap.
  • 21:00: Remember that food is good, and maybe I should eat something today.
  • 21:30-23:00: More internet crap.
  • 23:15: Start blog post.
I feel significantly better now, suggesting that the cure to things like this is to just sleep for 16 hours.  Unfortunately, this means I did basically nothing else today.  Therefore, today's images are completely unrelated to anything, other than humor.

  • Brock's family.
  • Batman.
  • Huh.  That's kind of surprising.
  • Anime I saw in Tokyo:
    • I had no clue what the title of this show was, but looking at the schedule, it seems to be Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta.  The important thing is that the episode I saw had one of the girls magically create a tank (or, probably more correct, a rail mounted artillery unit) and shoot a shell through Tokyo Tower.  Another reason I should have gone there instead of the Skytree.
    • Meganebu.  From what I could gather, they all wear glasses (megane), they have a club that is based on that fact, they have a rival set of "cool kids" that also wear glasses but hate them, and the entire show has that "this is absolute nonsense" vibe to it.
  • How in the hell did I not hear about this before I left?  It looks like it'd take about an hour and a half to take the train there (giving some idea of the shear size of Tokyo), but that's totally worth it.  Definitely on the list for next time.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday: I cannot determine my feelings about this cough syrup

On the one hand, it basically eliminated the cough that's been bothering me the past few days.  On the other hand, it does this through the action of powerful narcotics, so I've kind of spent the evening in a fog on the couch.  This is significantly better than last night when I had a cough attack that went on for like five minutes.  In any case, going to the doctor was probably the correct solution, as I now know a number of things I didn't before.

  1. I have a mild fever, which probably helps explain why I haven't been able to find a comfortable temperature in the past three days.
  2. It's not the flu.
    1. Flu lab tests take roughly zero time, as I got the email about the results while waiting to fill my prescription.
  3. Powerful narcotics make it hard to remember what point three was, or even if there was a point three to make.
Then I went to run some errands, because that's a great plan.  First was Office , because I needed small file boxes to hold my Taiwan/Japan trip stuff.  I've been trying to do this for a while now, as it makes it easy to find things from a given trip.  Plus, I can dump all the foreign currency into the box as well, so I know where to look the next time I visit that country.  I didn't get the right size, however, so I have extra thick boxes.  Look here.  I usually use the 11.5"x8.75"x2.125", but this time got 13"x9"x4".  

Next was groceries, as I needed to get juice.  That's when I saw this:
Today has been weird, but at least now I have 12 mexican cokes, 6 mexican sprites, and 6 mexican fantas.  Somehow.

Then back to the doctor for the appointment I had scheduled before getting sick.  That went pretty much as expected, with me waiting again for a prescription to be filled, and then leaving with $13000 worth of drugs.
No, seriously.
Here are some links.  Looking at the tab icons, it's probably mostly animals or pokemon.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday: Technically, today is Wednesday number two

 I woke up, finished packing, got on a plane, flew back in time, went home, took a nap, woke up and it was still Wednesday.

Unfortunately, flying with a congested head is a terrible thing, and I've felt horrible all 43 hours that have been in this day.  Tomorrow I'm going to the doctor to see if there's anything to be done, and hopefully make me not feel quite so bad.

In any case, thousands of hours ago, I had breakfast.
Japanese style.
Ok, so salmon, rice, miso soup, various things on the top right, poached egg on the top left, tea on bottom right.  Then I got to the cup on the bottom left.  I thought it was some sort of cake thing.  There was even a packet of honey inside.  Then I opened it, and realized it was natto.  Oops. Ick.

This was on the sidewalk.  You can't smoke outside, but you can totally smoke in restaurants.  WTF, Japan?

Trip to the airport.
Highways in Tokyo kind of thread in between buildings as needed.  It's kind of a nice solution to eminent domain issues, but I'm sure people would complain about noise.

You're a jerk, Skytree.

I thought these buildings looked like the Android droid.

Not Toonami.  Tonami.  Totally different.

I don't know how zoning works in Japan.  Tokyo seems to have four stages on the way to Narita.  The big city, with all the buildings; industrial, where all the shipping and factories are; "trash", which is a bad name, but there was a clear band of recycling/recovery/dumps; actual farms, like this one.
 Narita terminal 1 south is kind of a food wasteland.
So I decided I wanted fries.

But what's this?

A croquette?

Seriously, who the fuck even knows.

I asked what this was, guessing from the picture that it was a crab croquette.  I was assured that it was not, with the phrases "white sauce" and "macaroni" thrown out.  I stepped back from the counter to reconsider, only to be challenged with "It's a great Japanese flavor!"  Fine, counter girl at Narita terminal 1 south McDonalds, I'll play your game.

First, "whate sauce" is not simply a bechemel.  It clearly has cheese in it, or some bizarre chemical thickener that mimics a cheese sauce.  There was also a garlic hint to it.  Embedded in the sauce were tiny shrimp.  So she was right that it's not crab.  There was a gob of mayo and cabbage on the bottom, but I scraped most of that off.  Finally, some odd katsu sauce on top.

This sandwich fundamentally defies classification and grading, so I will simply go with "this exists" and "I ate the whole thing."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday: Tokyo Day 4

I woke up today, and I'm definitely sick.  It's mostly a cold, but also partially kind of bronchitis.  Again.  Woo, lungs!  At least it's not super bad like it has been before, it's mostly just annoying.  I probably should have bought one of those mask things, but those always fog up my glasses.  I went with "maybe making people sick" above "stumbling blindly through Tokyo."  This is selfish, but I do not want to fall onto a subway track.  That's not fun.
Odd thing: Monday Night Football on the east coast is Tuesday Morning Football in Tokyo.

I cannot find Boss in Hawaii.  I have no idea why.  It is the superior chilled canned coffee, and is the proper start to any morning.  I'll really need to look again when I get back home.  Maybe Don Quijote has it.
I went with a different breakfast option today, partially because I got bored of the breakfast set at Cafe Baron, and partially because I slept in and missed it.  French toast.  A bit eggy, but it came with real syrup and a cup of very good coffee.  I don't know why, but Japan has had universally tasty coffee.  No burnt starbucks shit.
 Off to see the palace.
Wait...I have no memory of this place.
 Tokyo station, like many other train stations here, is huge.  Super giant huge.  Shinjuku is sufficiently large that I can get from my hotel to the train station completely underground in a variety of pseudo-malls.  The other side of this is that if you go out the wrong exit, you're completely lost.
I eventually found it.

And it's open today.


According to the signs, pretty much all the stone work has been redone in the past decade.  All the stones are from the same place, but the lighter ones are the new replacements.  They simply haven't had 500+ years of weathering to match the original ones.

Despite being in the middle of the city, you really can't hear any traffic or noise. 

The gardens are therefore quite peaceful.


I was aware of them, and left them alone.  I suspect they were sleeping since it was a bit chilly today.

If I understand correctly, this entire area was once covered in buildings and corridors and whatnot.

I now understand why the Castlevania games had crows as enemies.  These things are huge.  I'm talking something like 18" from beak to tail.  They also tend to congregate in vast murders that make you think they're just moments away from attacking.

You have to go up high to see most of the city.

On the way out.

Japanese ducks have different colored beaks.
 Back to the station, two stops later:

My thought: "huh, don't we have Gyu-Kaku in Hawaii?  I suspect they're not above a maid cafe there, though."

More different Akihabara!
To be honest, I didn't do much in Akihabara.  I went into a number of shops, noticed that I could buy a tiny Pikachu for ¥300, a big fancy one for ¥1600, a tiny giant fighting robot for ¥2000, or tiny naked dolls for ¥2100-¥12000.  Yes, a hundred dollar, ~24" fully posable naked doll.  Bathing, or standing, or pretty much whatever pose you want for a hundred freaking dollars.
While walking back to the station, I noticed this giant crowd outside of the AKB48 themed cafe.  If you don't know who they are, let's just quote the first wikipedia paragraph: "As of November 2013, the group has 89 members. The girls range in age from early teens to mid-20s. Produced by Yasushi Akimoto, it is one of the highest-earning musical acts in the world, with 2012 record sales of over US$226 million in Japan."  Yep.
 So I went inside.  No, not there.  Next door, see it there?
Gundam Cafe.
 Clearly not as popular as it once was, it seemed to be filled with kids smoking and drinking after school.  And that lady in the corner who was totally sleeping.

Yes, it's a $7 cupcake, but to be fair, it wasn't very good either.  Still, I'm happy to support Gundam, and it reminds me that I should rewatch Gundam Wing.

 I didn't completely skip out of Akihabara.  Capsule toys are a big thing.  It's like gambling, where you win something useless everytime.  Since I didn't feel like trying to explain to customs why I have tiny naked ladies in plastic balls, I went with the "cute animal" one.
"Clearly Concerned Rabbit" isn't a bad option, but compared to "Giant Cheeks Squirrel" and "Fuck You, I'm Sleeping Squirrel," not the best in the set.

Sumo was on TV when I got back.

Red loses.
 For dinner, I went with the "holy fuck, my feet and legs hurt so far up my body that sneezing makes my back hurt" option of the hotel restaurant on the top floor.
Partially to satisfy the loss of the Skytree yesterday.

Terrine.  This would have paired wonderfully with an arugula salad instead of this mixed greens.  I picked out the few sprigs it contained, and that fatty terrine with the spicy greens?  Great combo.

Purple potato soup.  A bit monotone, and not just in color.  Maybe a bit of onion to make it like a vichyssoise?  It definitely could have used a bit more salt.

Chef's fish dish.  No clue as to the type.  She said it twice, and I couldn't bring myself to have her say it a third time.  Mild flavor, matched well by the beurre blanc and veggies.

Salad.  Fairly generic, but it did lead me to this thought: I think if you took an onion (like the red ones here), and grated it, you could use the juice and some vinegar (and a dash of oil) to make a very nice vinaigrette. 

Sirloin.  The pitcher contains soy sauce (? he said.  It wasn't very soy-y if it was) and the dot on the bottom right is some sort of spice paste.  I want to say it was a concentrated chimichurri, but I'm not totally sure.  

Hot tea.

Raspberry sorbet; coffee creme brule(?).  Pleasant finish.

Anyway, this has taken way longer than I thought, and I need to get up and go to the airport tomorrow.  I'm going with the lazy option and booked the bus back to leave the hotel at noon.  Two hours of travel on the bus, and I'm assuming at least an hour of check in and security leaves me with way more airport time than I need, but I'm too paranoid to go with the "leave luggage with the concierge, and then go do something real all day and hope I get back and to the airport in time."  I think leaving a few things undone provides good incentive to make sure to schedule a return trip.  I remembered today that red pandas are super cute, and Japan has some in the Ueno zoo.  Since I was in the Ueno station like three times this trip, I probably should have added that to the list.  Tokyo Tower never got done either, but their webpage noted that the upper observation deck was closed for elevator repairs anyway.  I now know of at least two art museums that would be nice to see next time, as well.