Happy 2010

I feel like I haven’t posted in ages, and indeed it’s been a little while. I’m just about finished a new painting to post up here, but it’s got a lot of detail so it’ll take a tiny bit longer. But I figured I ought to at least post a little update about what I’ve been doing since my last post.

Well, my wife and I went down to Takefu to her parents’ house to spend New Year’s in the traditional Japanese way: eating and drinking and resting. It was great. We brought Pi-chan and my Wii and Settlers of Cataan, made mochi and osechi (Japanese New Years foods) and had a feast. I think I put on a kilo from all the feasting. And between Hitomi and I, we drank a whole case of beer and a bottle of sake (and paid for it dearly the next day).

We had free tickets to the movies that expired on the 31st, so we went on the 30th to see Avatar, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring the tickets, and had to go again the next day. We could have seen 2012, but we (rightfully, I think) saw Avatar again. If you know me, then you know I am extremely biased against anything with computer animation in it, but Avatar managed to impress me enough and avoid the pitfall clichés which make me hate CG so much — something Pixar didn’t manage to do with it’s most recent, “Up.” And I was equally impressed by the 3D in the movie. James Cameron did a very good job with it, not using the cheesey 3D trick of throwing things out at the audience all the time.

Playing Wii and relaxing for 5 days was extremely fun… but one of the best parts was shopping! I did a major upgrade to my PC, which has been overdue for one for a while now. New processor, motherboard, memory, power supply, and a new case too. And I did a fresh reinstall of Ubuntu, going for 64 bit this time to take advantage of all my RAM. Ahhh, it’s so nice. After that, I felt it was too wasteful to just throw out the old parts, so I gave them to Hitomi’s brother. And the next best part was going back to the PC store, helping him buy new parts, and then building him a PC! There’s no better way to spend time than building PC’s.

I didn’t make any specific New Year’s resolutions, other than to eat healthier, get a little more exercise, paint more, and spend less. But I think I came up with one the other day: I’m going to build a RepRap. I had recently been explaining Open Source to my wife and her brother, as well as having yet another conversation about 3D printing with my old college roommate — it’s a dream I’ve had for a while — when I came across this site. The thing keeping me out of 3D printing was the cost; even though it’s getting to be affordable now, it’s not quite affordable for use as a hobby, or for a starving artist. But a DIY open source model? That, I can do! I can probably get the parts to make it for 50,000 or 60,000 yen, and putting it together would be a really fun project too. So some time this year, probably much much later, I hope to get started on that. See, I really love models and dioramas, particularly of castles and historical scenes, but the ones you can buy here are very poor. This is really surprising for a country where plastic battleships and robot models are more dear to many people than their own families… For some reason, good castle models are sparse. The same goes for European castles, though on a lesser scale. You can find battleships, cars, airplanes, tanks with every single detail in there, down to the nuts and bolts. But if you want to build castles, you’ve got to either use LEGO, which are too expensive, or plaster molds like the ones from Hirst Arts, which I want so badly but don’t have an oven so I can’t make them. So I’d like to build a RepRap to design and build my own model castles and scenes. Dream come true!

But that’s another story. I wanted to post some photos from New Years, because we had a super nice blizzard that was exactly what I was hoping for over the holiday. Here we go:

Matt & Hitomi
Here we are, already drinking too much...
Snowy Temple
The nearby temple in the snow
Snowy Graveyard
A graveyard covered in snow
Bell
Ringing the temple bells 108 times after midnight
Snowy Temple #2
Another snow-covered temple
Snowy Takefu
The beautiful mountains of Takefu

It was great to go back to Takefu for the holiday, but now I’m back in Fukui, and I’m starting a very busy schedule this year, with many English lessons. I guess that’s a good thing because I’ll be making enough money to survive now… but it means, sadly, a little less time to paint. I’ll do my best to keep busy making art though. I’ll upload my first “Japanese gods” painting tomorrow, so check back soon!

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