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I’ve Been To Japan!

Fan with water sprayLast week I was in Japan with my family. First time we’ve been there! It was hot, but it was bearable. All the hotels we stayed at had air conditioning, and whenever the heat outside got too bad, we could cool down in some random store or mall, so it was not too bad. I like to think that my portable fan with water spray did help, I kept spraying water on my face and arms whenever we were out for more than an hour or so.

We had a Japan Rail Pass and traveled to Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and Nagoya. Spent only a few days in each city (half a day in Osaka), so we didn’t really get time to see much or even do as much shopping as I wanted to. We went to Edo-Tokyo Museum, Sensoji Temple, Tokyo DisneySea, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Hiroshima Peace Site, Hiroshima CastleNagoya City Science Museum and Port of Nagoya. Unfortunately the tickets for Ghibli Museum reserved for sale in Norway were already sold out, it was the place I wanted to go the most! Oh well, maybe next time…

Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea

I think I must say that of the places we went, DisneySea was the most fun, though Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall was the most thought-provoking. Especially hearing the stories from the kids who experienced the bombing was quite heartbreaking. (Found the video here, English subtitles.) The Science Museum was kinda fun, but many of the exhibits didn’t have explanations in English. And when we went to Port of Nagoya, there was a festival going on, so it was chock-full of people. We did get to see a parade and lots of people in kimono, which was interesting, but we decided to leave early so we wouldn’t get stuck in traffic back when everybody else was leaving.

School kids around Japan sends in origami cranes to Children's Peace Monument in memory of Sadako who died from leukemia because of the radiation from the bomb.

School kids around Japan sends in origami cranes to Children’s Peace Monument in memory of Sadako who died from leukemia because of the radiation from the bomb.

Before that we were at NCCC‘s yearly summer camp. It was great weather all through the camp! Had a great time talking with friends, and the sermons this year were interesting. Next year apparently the junior/youth/young adults camp will be held in a separate location from the main camp, wonder how that will work out…

Seaside at Sjöviks Folkhögskola

Seaside at Sjöviks Folkhögskola

Other than that, the last three months I went travelling a few other times. I went Easter Camp, to Stavanger to go up Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock), and to some friends’ wedding in Sweden. A few friends also visited me in Oslo.

I really enjoyed Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and hopefully without spoiling anything, I must say that the ending/resolution was truly Professor Layton-like. Bastion‘s story is incredibly melancholic. Evoland had a fun gimmick and it was kind of fun seeing parodies of various games, but the whole parody thing made the story rather bland. Among The Sleep was sufficiently creepy without being full of jump scares and gore, and the ending there did surprise me (it is sad, but explains the game so well!) The last chapter of The Wolf Amongst Us had some difficult choices for you to make. The story in To The Moon was definitely memorable, though the game itself doesn’t really have much “gameplay”, besides walking around to pick up items, plus a small puzzle between each level/chapter. Just played The Walking Dead  Season 2: Episode 4 a few days ago, it ended on a rather big cliffhanger! Looking forward to the next/last chapter.

Summer is still quite hot in Oslo, which is positive, but both my house and my office doesn’t really have good air conditioning so it gets quite hot inside. Hopefully it’ll get cooler soon.

A final note: They played “Let It Go” everywhere in Japan! (In all electronics/movie/game stores, at least.) Got the song stuck in my head for a while. It’s not a bad song, but dang, gimme a break.

 

Posted by on 2014-07-26 in Uncategorized

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TV Shows, Video Games And Baking Bread

I recently started watching the new Hunter X Hunter anime, it’s quite an enjoyable show. Even though I already know the story from the manga, it was still nice to see it again. I like hearing the characters thoughts and reasons for the things they’re doing, and how the characters change throughout the series. Not just the main characters, even the enemies are (sometimes) shown as more than just “people to defeat”, but as people with various goals and doubts.

Hunter X Hunter

On Netflix I’ve been watching Suits, Breaking Bad and House of Cards. My brother was saying how House of Cards is basically the same type of show as Breaking Bad, and I guess it is not a bad comparison. I found both of these shows enjoyable, but rather depressing to watch. But then again, some of my other favorite non-sitcom shows, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are really quite depressing too, and Dexter isn’t exactly a happy show either.

I guess watching sitcoms once in a while is at the very least good for giving a bit more positiveness than those other shows do. I do enjoy watching How I Met Your Mother and Modern Family once in a while, and Sket Dance on Crunchyroll is also more of a feel-good show, though it does have some sad episodes, in particular the ones about the main characters’ background stories.

 

I’ve been experimenting with baking bread using the “no-knead” method, where you basically just mix together the ingredients and then let it sit in the bowl for a long time (12-18 hours) before folding it together with some flour with a spatula, proofing for another hour or so and then baking it in the oven. Some of it turned out well, like the following photos. I think they’re from the first time I tried it, if I’m not mistaken!

Mixing the bread ingredients

Mixing the bread ingredients

Folding the dough together

Folding the dough together

After baking the bread

After baking the bread

Finished bread

Finished bread

Other times the bread didn’t really rise properly, and I’m not 100% sure why. It could be either because the temperature in my apartment is too low, or I mess up some of the ingredient proportions (in particular the amount of water compared to flour), or it could be because the dry yeast I have is actually expired. I still use it because in general dry food should be okay even after expiration. Though the other problem with the dry yeast is that the box states that each sachet is supposed to be used within three days after opening, but this recipe uses so little that it takes many weeks or even months before I can use up even one sachet. Still, the last bread turned out OK after I added a bit more yeast and also put it on a lukewarm stove so it would rise more properly… Will have to experiment a bit more!

 

I’ve played quite a few games since last blog update:

  • The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 – Still no closer to finding out who the killer is, though the end of the episode featured a rather shocking relevation! Looking forward to the next episode. Reminds me that I haven’t bought the latest issues of the comic.
  • The Room Two (Android version) – A puzzle game of the “escape the room” variety, with quite high production value for a mobile game! Just as good as, if not better than the first game in the series. Also available on iOS.
  • Lightning Returns – I enjoyed this game, possibly more than the previous two in the Final Fantasy XIII series! The combat/equipment/skill system felt more customizable and action-oriented than the first two games. It felt slightly ridiculous how many “garbs” (armor) are paid DLC though.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc – A visual novel type of game which really feels like a mix between 999/Virtue’s Last Reward and Phoenix Wright. You play as one of many students who are being held captive in a locked down school building. To be allowed to escape, a student has to kill another student without being found out by the rest of the students. So when a student is killed, the rest of them has to investigate the murder, and then have a “class trial” to try and find out who the real killer is. The thrilling part is that you don’t know who is the next to die or who the killer is, and also finding out the reason why the students are being held captive. Don’t want to spoil too much, though if you don’t like playing visual novels, they have also made an anime based on this game.
  • The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 2 – Still a great adventure game. I feel like I regret some of the choices I ended up making in this episode, but I’ll stick with them till the next episode.
  • Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea Episode 2 – In this one you play as Elizabeth, but without her rift-opening powers. So you’ll (she’ll) have to sneak around most of the time, and climb through air ducts. Kind of felt like the sneaking parts of the Batman: Arkham series.
  • Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright – Two of my favorite game series in the same game! It’s awesome! I’ve only gotten to the second chapter so far.

 

As for socialization I guess the last few months I haven’t really spent as much time as I could have on socializing, though I still go to church twice a week. I invited Vilhelm over to play Mario 3D World last Sunday, trying to get all the stars and other collectibles, that was quite fun! We also had a “boys’ night” with the boys from church. Made a big burger. (That we cut up and shared.)

Boys' night

Boys’ night

Unfortunately had to skip out on the swimming trip and the ski trip because my operation wound hasn’t fully healed yet. But it feels like it’s almost there! Hopefully this time it’ll stay fixed so I don’t need another operation and no longer need to clean the wound twice every day.

 

Posted by on 2014-03-29 in Rambling

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Back From Hong Kong And Taipei

Originally we hadn’t planned on going to Hong Kong this Christmas, but because my brother got married last year and wanted to have a family dinner with our relatives in Hong Kong, my family went after all. My brothers and Tina also went to Taipei for 5 days. We were kind of busy for the two weeks the trip lasted, so I didn’t even really have time to shop as much as I wanted to. On a related note, I have a growing suspicion that I may be addicted to shopping. Oh well, did get to buy some random cool stuff, other than that, mostly met up with relatives and friends and eating a lot. According to my Wii U Fit I gained about 3kg during the trip! The Wii U step counter estimated I’ve walked almost 100km in total, which is apparently not enough to use up all the food I’ve been eating.

Hong Kong was quite cold the first week, down to about 2°C in Sheung Shui where we lived! Taipei too was quite cold, but it got warmer the last few days we were there. Besides my brother’s wedding dinner, I didn’t really do much interesting in Hong Kong, so here are some random picks of my photos from Taipei:

My brother found this board game shop in Taipei, it was kind of cool and had quite a few board games! We could also try as many games as we wanted for 80TWD per person.

My brother found this board game shop in Taipei, it was kind of cool and had quite a few board games! We could also try as many games as we wanted for 80TWD per person. The shop is called Alchemy and you can find directions to it here.

Found this light gun horror game at an arcade in Taipei. It supported passive 3D glasses (the ones they use in cinemas)! The short demo video I watched really liked jump scares. Didn't try.

Found this light gun horror game at an arcade in Taipei. It supported passive 3D glasses (the ones they use in cinemas)! The short demo video I watched really liked jump scares. Didn’t try.

The hotel we stayed at in Taipei wasn't all that clean or high class, but it did have this awesome art piece! Apparently it's a print of the cover for Spider-Man: Timestorm 2009-2099.

The hotel we stayed at in Taipei wasn’t all that clean or high class, but it did have this awesome art piece! Apparently it’s a print of the cover for Spider-Man: Timestorm 2009-2099.

Bought this from Cold Stone Creamery just before I left Taipei, should've gone there more often! It's great! (Though not that cheap.)

Bought this from Cold Stone Creamery just before I left Taipei, should’ve gone there more often! It’s great! (Though not that cheap.)

"Pancakes" with red bean ice cream, bought at Jiufen

“Pancakes” with red bean ice cream, bought at Jiufen

New Year party near Taipei 101, though we didn't bother staying untill the countdown.

New Year party near Taipei 101, though we didn’t bother staying untill the countdown.

 

I was going to say that life back in Oslo has been rather uneventful, but I did go to a wedding, celebrate my father’s birthday, and have an operation, so I guess that wouldn’t really be accurate. The operation was extensive enough that I have to stay home from work for almost two weeks, and because of the pain and inconvenience of the operation wound I have just been staying home and will probably mostly stay there untill the two weeks have passed.

I have been operated.

I have been operated.

 

I started playing Puzzle & Dragons too, I agree that it is decent fun. Got kind of tired of Marvel Puzzle Quest that I had been playing before. I also tried Tower of Saviors which really seems like a ripoff of Puzzle & Dragons, but with better user interface and easier startup (you get more diamonds and it seems somewhat easier to get useful cards/monsters in that game for the starting dungeons). But I haven’t played it much since Puzzle & Dragons take enough time as it is.

Also I got a new phone at work! Nexus 5. It’s basically more powerful and has a full HD screen, not that I need that high resolution for anything in particular, but I guess web surfing does look better on that screen. At the very least it is certainly nice that I don’t have to wait several seconds before something happens whenever I tap something on the screen. Though factory resetting my old phone and not installing dozens of useless games and apps on it probably would have helped too.

Nexus 5

Nexus 5

 

Anyways, here are some photos of some of the stuff I bought in Hong Kong/Taipei:

In addition to this One Piece towel, I also bought a One Piece sweater and a One Piece hoodie. Because I do like One Piece, but also because they were the first "useful" anime merchandise I found, and I never got time to find more.

In addition to this One Piece towel, I also bought a One Piece sweater and a One Piece hoodie. Because I do like One Piece, but also because they were the first “useful” anime merchandise I found, and I never got time to find more.

I wanted to buy more MotionPlus controllers, and found those awesome Mario and Luigi Limited Edition ones in Taipei, so now I've got MotionPlus controllers in all kinds of colors!

I wanted to buy more MotionPlus controllers, and found those awesome Mario and Luigi Limited Edition ones in Taipei, so now I’ve got MotionPlus controllers in all kinds of colors! Above: Old “regular” controllers with stickers. The gold one is the Skyward Sword limited edition, and the black one is a “regular” MotionPlus controller from Wii U Party.

150 pieces, finished it in a couple of hours one evening! Thought I'd need longer. Maybe I should've bought a bigger one after all!

Totoro puzzle and photo frame. 150 pieces, finished it in a couple of hours one evening! Thought I’d need longer. Maybe I should’ve bought a bigger one after all!

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Posted by on 2014-01-20 in Traveling

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