CategoryGeneral

New Car! Nissan X-Trail 2010

I have finally gotten around to writing about our new car. We decided it would be better to get a new one, and not continue spending money on repairing the old Volkswagen Jetta. It took a while to convince my wife, but after a few months of subconscious nagging and a ‘well timed’ breakdown with the Jetta power windows, she finally gave in.

Luckily we purchased the car in time to qualify for the ‘Eco’ discount that the Japanese government was wasting money on to help out the environment. Unfortunately, the other discount you get when disposing of an older vehicle didn’t apply as we hadn’t had ownership of the vehicle for more than a year (would have been a further 150,000 yen discount)

After visiting a few car dealers we decided that we both really liked the Nissan X-Trail. It is a fairly simple vehicle, 4×4 and was barely within our price range. We bought the vehicle just around the time when a new model was about to be announced, meaning we managed to get a significant discount. Only 9 kilometers on the clock! (Factory testing etc)

After picking and choosing from all the options, it ended up costing around 2,700,000 yen. I am really looking forward to getting a decent set of stud-less tires and heading up the mountains this snowboarding season. Heated Seats!

New Second Hand Lens – SMC Pentax-M 1:1.7 50mm

I picked this up at the camera store. I finally have a fast lens to use in low light conditions. The only drawback is that the fstop only functions properly in full manual mode, and there is no autofocus.

HTC Desire with Android coming to Softbank Japan?

After reading through the press release PDF and watching the conference from Softbank, I have come to the conclusion that the only phone fitting the description is the HTC Desire. The only details that Softbank has released so far is that the phone will be running Android with a 1ghz Snapdragon processor, have wifi and a 3.7oled display. It will also have access to Google services and the Android marketplace. The following is from the Softbank PDF:

スタイリッシュなデザインに、3.7インチ有機EL液晶と1GHzの高速CPU「Snapdragon®」を採用したハイスペックなAndroidケータイ。GoogleTMの各種サービスやAndroidマーケットTMが利用可能。Wi-Fi対応

I hope that this will be released early March as I am really wanting to get one. I phoned Softbank asking about a release date and they told me that there are no details available for this device. They indicated that they usually have the phone in the database two months prior to release indicating the phone may be released around June.

Snowboarding in Japan – Resort Review – Hotaka Bokujyou

Location: Gunma

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 200km by car

Resort Details: http://www.snowjapan.com/e/resorts/resortdetail.php?resid=50

Resort ‘Category’: Snowboard Park

Resort Rating: 7/10

Resort Value: 10/10

Resort Homepage: http://www.hotakasan.co.jp/hotaka/index.html

Hotaka Bokujyou is a relatively small resort with many features great for snowboarding. The thing I liked most about it was the distinct absence of skiers. It’s also the best in terms of affordability. If you are staying at one of the pensions in the area (I recommend Pension Tsukasa – Booked through Tocoo) you can get a full day pass with a 800 yen food voucher for 2800 yen.

I would recommend this resort to beginners all the way through to advanced snowboarders who are looking for a good area to practice jumps, boxes and halfpipe. They have a lift that runs just the course of the jumps, making it easy to get in many runs without going down the whole mountain.

Unfortunately the snow condition wasn’t too good when I went (Twice in February) but is most likely due to the warmer winter here this year. I am looking forward to going again next year mid winter.

Note that they do not accept credit cards, so take enough cash for the day.

Live Camera

New Lens – Sigma APO DG 1:4-5.6 70-300mm

Not quite so new as I got it Christmas, but I have been playing around and taken a few shots around 300mm. I have found it hard to get decent shots of animals with a low ISO because of the maximum aperture size. It does however work fairly well for taking photos of the moon:

The Car [2]

Here she is:

My Car

And here is my sub-woofer.  Note – you wont be able to hear the low frequencies due to the camera microphone.

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