Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mitsuoka Orochi

After first appearing as a concept car in 2001, the serpent has returned and hitted the streets.

The mid-engined scorcher has came on sales in Japan already and the company only made just 400 of them, making it as rare as formidable machines like the Ferrari Enzo. There’s little doubt that the Orochi will turn a few heads when it hits the streets, with styling features such as a rippled bonnet, sweeping roofline, pumped-up wheelarches and a very unusual grille. It’s a lot bigger than its sleek demeanor suggests and will certainly make the next Honda NSX - expected next year - look slim by comparison, being more than 200mm wider than this rival.

Unlike previous Mitsuoka creations, the Orochi is a bespoke design and has its own platform. In the past, Mitsuoka cars tended to be replicas of old sports cars with Hondas and Nissans as their basis. Inside, the Orochi is expected to get leather seats, sat-nav and air-con (duh!). As for power, that comes in the form of a 3.3-litre V6 which develops 223bhp and 242lb ft of torque, so it’s hardly going to rock the supercar world. A convertible version has also been shown, although it isn’t clear if that car, called the Nude, will make it into production. The Orochi is tagged at approx. 8,000,000 Yen.

@ the NY Auto Show

-The S2000 CR - World Debut at the New York International Auto Show

Not to forget the face-lifted and engine-lifted Honda Fit 2009.
This fellow will either receive a 1.3l engine or a 1.5l i-VETEC one


Back in Hong Kong...

Back in Hong Kong on thursday night finally!
Heres a couple of scene directly outside my hotel - Guangdong Hong Kong Hotel. This is along Prat Ave, and surroundings would be Granville, Kimberly, Cameron, and the main Nathan Road.

I am merely 10 seconds outside my hotel lobby and here are what greeted me: Billard salons, Hot Spring Suana (with ladies outside the door pulling you in), pubs, night clubs, massage palors. Phew~!

Did take much pictures, did want ppl to know I am not local.

Friday evening, Agnes and Ann took me out to take a bus ride! Their buses are nice, better than SBS standard. Just 1 straight road down Nathan Road. If you can conquer Nathan Road, you would have seen lotsa things already. Lotsa neon lights, lotsa advertisements. So fun! xD

Dinner time! Agnes' treat. Ann is the one with long hair and glasses.
Pumpkin rice, coconut juice and prawns.

And a nice scene of Hong Kong! So happy!

China Hong Kong Trip

Got lazy. My blog is supposedly pictorial base and less of words. No time to write. Lazy Lazy Lazy. So i might as well just post pictures:

Here's how the streets outside Long Quan Hotel looks like: Hazy hazy, atmosphere has a yellowish hue... heavy pollution here.

Night time, this area is full of vice activities. Those illegal taxi (motorcycles) are ferrying "girls" around, to and fro hotels / motels. How I know? Takes an idiot to not know.

See this huge carpark entrance? To the right, its the High-Class Night Club. All 4 levels of it. Then above it, mens water SPA, and going higher are the hotel rooms. What makes this street safe is that, every 50 metres apart, you will see a security guard. Not those fat fat lard you see in Singapore, but fit young men. You dun see FLs walking around, it seems that the vice activites here are controlled by someone behind the scene. I only see the FLs being ferried around by the usual motorcyclist group (easy to remember their faces), but I have not seen where they came out from.

Here is a normal street scene: left hand drive, so approaching vehicles came from the left.

Below is at Kam Hing Textile factory: You have seen tags on clothes with "90% Cotton and 10% Spandex" and such right? Well, here is how they are made.

This whole machine here looks like a UFO. The rolls of threads around it are all feeding threads into this machine; part of it are "Spandex" - very fine elastic thread that almost resembles that of spider webs. These are what gave fabrics their elasticity. The centre portion are all the needles, thousands of it. Here is where you bother about "thread-counts" the higher the thread counts, the finer the fabric feels.

Inside the cage at the bottom is the final product, the fabric. It keeps turning and turning as the thread above forms into this fabric. Do you know? - Fabrics are made in cyclindrical shapes, they are not made a straight flat piece. You have to slice the fabric roll in centre to open them up to become flat.

Below is Fleece in the making: The pink fabric goes through 4 segments of brushing machines (international standard is 5 segments) to get their fabric brushed out, to become Fleece fabric. This machine is lotsa fun.
Below: see those rolls of white toilet paper look alikes? Those are white color threads. They are all stacked atop one another, very very tightly. Each of this huge cartridge weights a few hundred kilograms.

The cartridges are hauled up and inserted in these huge barrels below, where the dye colors are injected from the inside. Because they are stacked so tightly, the dyes have to force themselves out from within the threads, so what we get are very evenly dyed threads.

Heres the final product. Nice right?

This is a view I took from level 6 of the complex. Kam Hing Textile is HUGE. They have 3 buildings, each 7 - 8 stories high, al handling different processing in the manufacturing of fabrics. This area is very hot and stuffy. My GM said I was lucky already, because during Summer, this area can reach 40+ degree celsius! Kam Hing even has its own power-station. In events of electricity shutdown, which is common in Guangzhou due to its ever increasing energy demand, Kam Hing has a barge full of coal, where they will power up the steam power station and provide energy for themselve. Talk about self-sufficient!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Japanese Perversion at its Peak

Kokuhen sent me this link, laughing away: 3D Hentai Bolster
Took me a while to sink in. (=__=) SICK.


Its Kokuhen again. . . sending me all those websites where the latest Japanese Toys are available for preview and pre-order.

Looked around and chanced upon this! Creator's Lab #12 - Non Non.
Its the "Eyes" that captured me, and its released already! Am I gonna spend on this?!

Ah, the Eyes, its calling out to me!

Then Kokuhen URL me this: Shining Tears - Kureha!
The 1/7 ratio is available! My jaws dropped when I saw this. Die Die must get. This is one major collector's item.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Air Gear - Shimuka

Was at Kokuhen's place today, after what I called a "fated meet-up", that of all places and at all times, he happened to call me on my phone, just as I was about to head east-bound via ECP to look for him, and realised that we are just a 5 mins drive away... in town.

Kokuhen's hobby is photoshooting... of figurines, then playing with its digital-imaging.
So at his place, he set up his miniature "studio" and let me choose a "model" from amongst his collection of 1/8 and 1/10 ratio figurines, ranging from Transformers to Anime characters. Expensive stuffs... and try out photo-shooting using my own camera.

I picked Shimuka, from Air Gear. adjusted my digital camera to 6 megapixel quality, and zapped the below.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hong Kong and China Travel Log

[Day 1] 11th September 2007

Touchdown Hong Kong at 1:30pm, weather is as hot as Singapore.
Bought Airport shuttle coach tickets (HKD 130) to my Hotel – Guangdong Hong Kong Hotel (香港粤海酒店). Coach interior is very posh: 5-star rating-feel with carpeted floor and dimmed lightings; each row consist of only 3 thick-cushioned leather seat illuminated with white LED bulbs. Its even better than my airplane seat!

Reach Guangdong Hong Kong Hotel at 2:45pm, it is located at along Prat Avenue, Tsimshatsui area. The street is bustling with life – 2-way road with very narrow pedestrian walkway, but lined with lots of shops and huge signboards handing overhead – atypical of any Hong Kong street you see in those Hong Kong drama series. I got happy just seeing how many things and shops I will get to see when I return back that night!

Checked into Room 705. Dump my luggage and immediately head out for lunch! I am FAMISHED!!! Haven eaten lunch!!! Hopped over to the 茶餐室 directly opposite my hotel entrance. 1 stone-throw away; I mean it, it’s just like (1-metre pedestrian walkway + a 2 way road + another 1-metre pedestrian walkway) 10 - 12 meters across the road. Had a bowl of Beef Hor Fun and a cup of Ice Lemon Tea (HKD 22). Nice. Authentic Hong Kong meal.

Next, set off with my laptop for the Hong Kong Office located at China Hong Kong City (中港城). Had a couple of self-introductions with my Hong Kong colleagues, all of which I have exchanged emails and worked with for the past years, but only meeting for the first time. Apart from the general manager and another marketing manager, the entire office floor is filled with female colleagues, all 14 of them. <(^_^ )

Settling down, tried in vain to reach my boss, and my bloody M1 phone seems not able to make outgoing calls no matter what, and the last I info I heard from my boss is that even my boss’ phone can’t receive incoming calls. Oh well. . .

So, after a couple of failed contacts, my logistic manager made a decision: “Kenneth, you have to make it to Panyu by tonight, by hook or by crook”.

EH~??? What about my accommodation? It’s not booked for me for this extra night, and I only have like RMB 500 with me, with the initial plan to only stay over there for 1 night. Now I am heading there 1 night earlier – alone, not much money, and outgoing calls unavailable.

With no time to waste, I taxi back to hotel (HKD 20 +/-), split my luggage, packed 2 nights worth of clothing, and then reached back to Office again by 5:45pm.

Tenet was nice enough to escort me to the Ferry ticketing office to buy ticket (HKD160), assured me that a driver is dispatched out at Panyu for me, and my hotel room is booked. She then guides me to the Ferry customs. The entire China Hong Kong city is so huge, I would have really needed her to guide me to the place before I got lost; its like Vivo City + Harbour Front + Suntec City + Marina Mandarin Hotel, all in one. Okay, maybe I was exaggerating, but it’s a huge place alright.

And so, I was bound for the last ferry of the day to Panyu: 6:10pm to Lian Hua Shan port (莲花山港) and a 2 hour ferry to a place I have never been before, never HEARD before (What 莲花山??? Sounds like 花果山 or some Ulu-Sang-Kat mountainous region… Geez). And to be picked up by someone I have never seen before too. Great, how exciting.

Being first time at the Ferry terminal, I thank myself for being a Chinese, as most directions are written in Chinese. Proceeded to Berth 4 – no ship. … … … okay, now what? It left? I stood at the Berth entrance for a good whole 5 mins, not a single soul, nor a single ship. Okay, time to head back upstairs… hopped back into the lift and realized the way back is disabled; can only come down, not go back up. Great. Ah! Managed to get hold of an authorized personnel who showed me how to get back upstairs. It was only then they announced the ferry is delayed by 20 mins. (=_=) idle around.

6:30pm and the ferry arrives. Penguin Fast craft type, feels like heading back to Pulau Tekong like that. Hahaha. What is impressive is that the ferry moved off by 6:40. 10 mins from arrival and it’s off again. No waiting, so wasting of time. I like~~~

Next is a boring 2 hour ride. Yawn… tired and felt like sleeping, but unlike of me especially when I am alone and outside. I dun wanna wake up to discover that I am been robbed. Stay awake stay awake. . .

8:30pm and I disembarked. Lian Hua Shan Port, Panyu, Guangzhou, China. Simple terminal. Spotted a skinny and decent looking fellow holding a card with my company name and my name. There he is… my driver. I hopped into a huge Toyota MPV – never seen this model before, but its comfortable nonetheless.

Panyu’s road is horrific! No street lights, and only a white line in the middle marking the to-and-fro directions. No individual lane markings, so cars dun really drive in an orderly fashion. There appears to be NO GOVERNMENT on the road! I sat in the front seat, chatting up the driver, but I focus most of my attention on the road. I can honestly tell you, I will pay to let SOMEONE ELSE drive the car, even if it’s a Porsche. Half the time, my driver is honking at other road users, and switching between high and low beams. The road is wide and dark, and people are crossing the roads at either side randomly. With no street lights and the glaring high-beamed headlights from opposite-directional cars, it is almost difficult to see them properly.

Motorcyclist and cyclists hogged the right lanes (its Left-hand drive road), but some venture to the centre for several reasons; to cut across the road at major junctions, to overtake even slower motorists, or simply steered off-lane since there is no individual lane markings. These motorist and cyclist are equally difficult to spot as the pedestrians. Their rides have none or very weak lights, and they dun wear helmets at all. Even pedestrians can be found standing in the middle of the road, waiting for their chance to cross the road.

Zebra crossing is NOT COUNTED in this area. Pedestrians cross at their own guts; drivers have to judge pedestrians’ body language to determine if they intend to dash out or not to, and get ready their foot-brakes, or honk to indicate “I dun intend to stop for you”. Amazing. This car ride is even more exciting than a roller coastal ride.

I reach Long Quan Hotel (龙泉酒店) shortly after a 15 mins drive. Dark road, a couple of chit chats and I arrived at the busiest street at Panyu – BIG-NORTH road (大北路). Nice~

Thanked and waved goodbye to my driver and I entered the reception area and walked to the concierge. Checked my reservations and was relieved to hear that a room has been booked for me. Then comes the scary part: “压金是人民币一千元” (deposit is RMB 1000). No way! I only brought like RMB 500! But… never fear, “Because for everything else, there is MASTERCARD. Ka-ching! And I happily checked into room 714. xD

Standard practice prior to opening the door to your new hotel room – Knock first. Open the door and say firmly: “This is where I will be staying for the next few nights”. Then tip the bell-boy. Haha. Keep the door open and switch on ALL the lights, all the way to the toilet – the most “yin” place in a room. Stand to the side of the aisle, pause, and slowly close the door. And the room is yours.

Simple room, Queen Size bed (all to myself, wahahaha). First thing to do is to check through all drawers, bed-side table, underneath the bed, toilet and fridge inventory. What should be there, should be there, and what shouldn’t be, shouldn’t be. Then open the curtains and check what is outside – Carpark view for me (=_=)q.

9:15pm Spent alike 15 minutes figuring out the bloody TCP/IP address thingy so I can connect to the internet and establish connection. Next hour was spent go through my emails. So many!!!

10:15pm and I am out on the streets of 大北路. I need FOOD. Hungry! 7-Eleven is right beside the hotel entrance – Good. Gonna buy mineral water on my way back. Then there’s the golden arches, recognized everywhere. Nope, not gonna eat Mac, check out the streets first! I want authentic Guangzhou roadside food!

There are many people on the streets, just that some areas are not so brightly lighted. Half the shops are closed. The pharmacy is still opened, and there are a couple of shops selling ladies shoes (going for like RMB 10 a pair; that’s like SGD 2! Cheap and nice~~~). Then there is another shop selling clothes. Its like 换季大热卖 Season-change Sale and things are going for RMB 50 (around SGD 10). Suddenly, I feel rich. But I am still hungry! No food yet. Past a road-side store selling skewer-meat dipped in some weird sauce. (=___=) doesn’t look appetizing at all. Across the road, there’s Mac again, even bigger this time.

Across the road, its Neon lights and gigantic posters everywhere. Lotsa advertisements. McDonalds is very prominent, and there’s a couple of “足桑” Foot Massage Parlors. Large Operations type. Woah… But I dun dare to cross the road. The road is scary.

I walked all the way to the adjacent avenue, and stopped short of crossing. No food in sight. All closed. So U-turned for the McDonalds nearest my hotel.

There is this thing one should know about Panyu’s street. There are many motorcyclists loitering around the roadside. I mean many. And they are together. Never establish eye contact or they will approach you… to offer their service! Yep, they are illegal taxi offering short-distance pickup. All you have to do is just hop on and off they go, no helmets needed and you can seat sideways if you want to.

Reached back McDonalds, only to realized it’s an outlet selling only drinks and ice cream. Great. I am hungry, to the point of pain. Walked out of McDonalds and saw on my left “河昌西餐厅” (western food)! I strolled in without a moment’s thought, but was puzzle as to why there is a security guard outside.

Inside was what looked like a hotel lobby lounge, filled with Chinese guys young and old, smoking away and with one of their legs perched on the chair. Everyone of them. Argh, eye-sore. Is this the standard here? Sat down at a thick cushion and glanced through the menu, all Tim-Sum. I beckoned the lady-captain over and asked for a plate of beef-fried noodles. Tea was served – not a cup, but a huge pot of hot tea.

As I sipped my tea waiting impatiently for my noodles, some movements upstairs caught my attention. Above the high ceiling of the hotel lobby, I can see through the glass of the 2nd storey. One whole line of young girls in black gowns, high slits, and high heels parade past my eyes, entering a room. Oh… it’s a “高级夜总会” upstairs. Interesting. Seems like I chose quite a seat with good views of a Night Club – without me having to go into one myself. Haha.

My noodle came shortly I gobbled it up in a couple of minutes. Anyone could have easily seen through that I am very hungry. But the noodle is like soaked in a thick layer of oil at the bottom. Yuck. Done eating and continue sipping tea. Cannot waste the pot of tea. Asked for Tissue from the captain and was given the hotel’s packet of tissue. Very nice design and packaging. The entire hotel service is printed on the tissue package. 2nd to 5th floor are all Night Club operation. 6th to 9th floor is the Men’s high class water SPA. Beyond that is all the hotel rooms. Ooo… wrong place to be in for a dinner.

Total bill: RMB 8 for noodles and RMB 2 for the pot of tea. That’s like SGD 2 only! So affordable!

Hop over to 7-Eleven and bought me 2 bottles of mineral water before heading back to my hotel. My manager and group has arrived and checked-in as well. Met them up, discussed tomorrow’s itinerary and I retired back to my room.

After a long day, I finally get my shower and a good night rest. 1:30am. Night is still young, and the streets are still alive…

Monday, September 10, 2007

If there is only room for one...

Okay, friends around me know I watch Animes. . . yet I never bought any anime merchandise before (or was there?). Now that I got a little spare $$$ to go around. . . I have reach the decision that I shall buy ONE anime figurine to display. I never have enough money to buy such stuffs cuz its just so expensive then. . .

So, if there is only room for one. . . which shall it be? Taking into consideration the following:
1) I will cap the price at below $150;
2) No nudity or scantily-clad;
3) Must be girl figurine (I like the curves (~,^) )
4) Must be wielding a weapon (blades preferred, no guns please)
5) Overall "feel" must emit the "cool" factor, nothing sleazy please. . .

So, after exchanging a few pointers with Kokuhen-san and gotten some leads from him, I managed to shortlist the following - for further consideration:

1) Oneechanbara Vortex @ 6,279 Yen
Cool factor, but too scantily-clad = fail.

2) Kannu Uncho from Ikkitousen @ 8,925 Yen
Supposedly black hair and not wearing this Qi-Pao. But the Green-Dragon Sabre is way cool.
I would not have hesitate to choose this if not for the facial-appearance to look a bit off the actual cool look. I like the long hair, but I hate the butt portion - too exposed.

3) Jinkai Makyo@ 4,980 Yen
Nice costume, but not wielding weapon = fail

4) Kokona from Shunya Yamashita @ 6,090 Yen
Nice hair, nice facial appearance, cool weapon.
Large boobs and too short a skirt = fail

5) Shina Kanon from Shining Wind @ 5,775 Yen Ah~ a decent costume, skirt too short though. . . can consider further. . .
6) Mizuka from Sengoku Kyanon Ace Episode 3 @ 6,800 Yen
Very nice costume! Looks like a priestress from the beads she's holding. But too cute to be cool = fail.

7) Nedroid Sakura from Fate / Hollow Ataraxia @ 3,000 Yen Too cute = fail.

8) Shana from Shakugan no Shana @ 6,200 Yen
Katana wielder = pass; Red hair = cool; Pose = cool; Face too cute, skirt too short. . .

9) Shimuka from Air Gear @ 7,140 Yen
Roller blades! Nice pose and healthy image. I like! Only missing the weapon, quite a pity.

10) Mishiro Akatsuki from Shuraki Trinity @ 4,800 Yen
Cool factor = Great; Twin blades = 2x Cool, but funny hair and skirt too short.

11) Signum from Nanoha Striker @ 8,190 Yen Dull pose, costume nice, but too pink. Hair pink also. . . overall: too pink = fail.

In the end, only the few are further short-listed:
2) Kannu Uncho from Ikkitousen @ 8,925 Yen;
5) Shina Kanon from Shining Wind @ 5,775 Yen;
8) Shana from Shakugan no Shana @ 6,200 Yen;
9) Shimuka from Air Gear @ 7,140 Yen
10) Mishiro Akatsuki from Shuraki Trinity @ 4,800 Yen

Which should I choose??!!