I am sure that all Star Wars fans all over the world are celebrating in many different ways. So I decided that in honor of today, along with an all day Star Wars movie marathon I would make a deliciously naughty late brunch.

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Starting it all of with fresh strawberries…

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Whole grain silver dollar panckakes (in honor of the Death star, of course) and dont forget about the side of naturally smoked bacon too!

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And for desert, more Star Wars movie marathon please!!!

May the 4ce be with you all!

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Earlier today I spent a few hours swimming through the nostalgia of a game I played in my earlier years. Recently PSN gave out a free game called “Castle of Illusion” on PS3 to its Plus Members (if you dont have PS Plus it is a must, the cost is definitely returned in the numerous amazing free games you are given, some AAA titles even!) For those of you that remember this game, it originally came out for the Sega Genesis and was a source of hours upon hours of fun and at times frustration for me (if you have played, you know the level I speak of) and today I found myself smiling and shrieking in the same way I did when I played through the original version. I don’t know if it was the nostalgia of playing a game that brought me a great deal of happiness when I was younger or the fact that it is truly just good and simple fun I don’t know but sometimes I wonder if things aren’t just to overcomplicated when it comes to gaming. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of a robust story, eye popping graphics and am currently awaiting with baited breath for all things Destiny but sometimes I just want to have fun! I think that is always why I have continuously found myself sticking with Nintendo throughout the years, not that there are not amazing games that have come out for other consoles too (and I own them all, except XBOX One) but there is just something to be said about pure and honest fun that you have from an old game and with the technology now when they remake these great classic games and make them visually look amazing I find myself sitting down as I did today and loosing myself for hours and the whole time with a huge smile on my face!Thanks Sony!

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They gave me the original version too!

As we continue along on my journey through the “Land of the Rising Sun” today we finds ourselves revisiting Asakusa and one of the places that I found myself having the breath being taken right out of me. This is the core of the historic Shitamachi District and one of the places in Tokyo where you can truly capture moments of the old Edo that thrived so long ago. This area mainly centers around the beautiful Senso-ji Temple which was founded in the 7th Century, although many structures were rebuilt after the 1923 Earthquake and then again after ariel bombings in the end of WW2 it is still an impressive site to behold and one I will revisit again!

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Beautiful mural I found as we arrived at our destination station! (Ginza Line)

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Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) gaurded by two Dieties, Fujin God of wind (right), and Raijin God of Thunder (left)

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One of the most recognizable sights at Senso-ji

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Beautifully carved underside of lantern

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Nakamise-dori, Pretty little stalls filled with all kinds of goodies from food treats to various types of souvenirs

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To ensure you are worthy there is a second gate Hozo-mon you must pass before you can reach the main temple

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Back side of Hozo-mon gate these 4.5m tall sandles were made by about 800 villagers from the Yamagata Prefecture

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Five story pagoda, a 1973 reconstruction of a pagoda built by Tokugowa Iemitsu

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Hondo (Main Hall)

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Incense cauldron to bring good health

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One of my favorites pictures I took this day!

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I didnt want to offend anyone but I felt moved to participate…

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Gorgeously crafted cleansing fountain

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Wood Painting above fountain

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View from top steps of the main hall

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Sight of Tokyo Skytree peeking in from above

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Some of my favorite shots taken on the surrounding grounds of the Temple

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“Bell of time”

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Just a rustle is all I heard and for a brief moment in time I forgot to breathe!

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Deliscious bowl of ramen to refill our exhausted selves!

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Quick pit-stop on the way back to the hotel in Odaiba

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Must have all of it!

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Night view of Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower

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Just in time to catch our friend’s night time show, at the end of another amazing day in Tokyo. Even now almost a year later I am still awestruck and am truly counting the days until we return!

Phew… I did it! I actually spent some time on this April Fool’s 2014 catching all 150 Pokemon. Google was kind enough to provide us with a great way to kill time on a day off, now if I could just answer why I spent my day off enjoying an April Fool’s joke I just might be ok!

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So my love affair with the 3DS started just a few months after its initial release about 3 years ago when I purchased the Cosmo Black version of the original 3DS(I know its insane, I actually waited, I must have been delusional, just in time to be in the Ambassador program though) , and then such as things always happen they released a Limited Edition Legend of Zelda version on Black Friday and although my heart skipped a beat I stuck to my original purchase (I know this will sound crazy but Im not a huge fan of gold, no matter how subtle it was on the original 3DS). Then shortly thereafter I learned of the release of the XL version and even though I was ecstatic with this I bided my time and hoped that they would shortly release it in all black. Now for those of you that pay attention there are upwards of over 60 different designs for the 3DS and it took forever for the US to get the all black version but finally it was announced!!!! I was so excited, but I knew I had to make mine special in a simple yet sexy way so after much search I found an amazing store on Etsy that has a variety of great quality vinyl decals called BetterStickers, and let me tell you they are better! I have always customized my machines in some way shape of form so I have tried a variety of decals and so far these are the best! Hope you enjoy the pics…

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Of course a little Navi for good measure!

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After months of having my decals there, I have had no lifting of the sticker (now that’s quality!)

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In case you were wondering, the other two “stars” featured in these pics are my STL Ocarina that I acquired at Megacon 2012, and the Master Sword was a very lucky find in a little shop In Akihabara on my 2013 trip to Tokyo.
Stay tuned for future pics of new and previous acquisitions on “Geeky Goodness”!

Our next adventure in Tokyo took us to Akasaka and a visit to Hie-Jinja. The present site of this Shinto Shrine dates from 1659, although the shrine was destroyed in 1945 and later rebuilt in 1967. My main obsession with visiting this shrine was the amazing tunnel of Torri that I just had to be able to pass through. As you follow us on our journey we will also be stopping along the way in Ginza, the Nihombashi Bridge and then to refuel and replenish at a delicious little curry restaurant on the outskirts of Akihabara.

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This kind of became one of our morning rituals, we devoured those tasty little danishes almost every morning on a bench just outside of our hotel.

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One of my favorite sites that I got to see every day!

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Tameike-sanno Station

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Hie-jinja

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This monkey holding her young depicts the shrines protection against miscarriages

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These amazing lanterns were displayed all through the outer grounds of the shrine

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Tunnel of Torri

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Rock Garden that bordered one side of the shrine

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Absolutely love the clash of modern and old in this water/rock garden outside of a Hotel at the base of the Shrine.

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Miniature Bamboo Forest

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Just outside of the Nishi-Ginza

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Of course I had to hit every Sanrio shop that I could find!

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Out of the serene and into Ginza

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Always such amazing trees everywhere!

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Had to go inside…

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Top floor of Mitsukoshi

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Surprising find that shares the top floor with its very own solar panel array and garden too!

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Nihombashi Bridge (Japan Bridge) dates back to the Edo period during which all distances were measured from this point.

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Great little place to stop and rest our feet alongside the Nihombashi Bridge

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Much needed and quite tasty curry after an exhausting day!

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And although not a drinker, I gotta say this became another one of my favorites treats after a long day of adventuring!

Our adventure continues in Tokyo and with each passing day I realize what I think I have known all along…
Its going to be so difficult for me to leave the Land of the Rising Sun!
On this day our journey began on a visit to the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku where I lost myself to the splendors of what I believe most travelers love about Tokyo, the inspiring class of new and old melding seamlessly together. So let me take you with me on a journey of my favorites moments of the day…

Harajuku Station

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Entrance to Meiji Jingu (this was quite emotional for me to be standing underneath)

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Worshipping Ladies beautifully dressed

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Sake Barrels wrapped in straw

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Inner Entrance

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Ritual Cleansing (I cant begin to explain how crisp the water felt, truly leaving you feeling cleansed)

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Inner Sanctum

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Pathway just outside of shrine (for the briefest of moments, I felt I had been transported back in time)

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Takeshita Dori

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My favorite 100 yen Shop!

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Unexpected Surprise… Evangelion Store!

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Protest March outside of Harajuku Station

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Area Surrounding Harajuku Station

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So fun!!!

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Kiddyland (surprisingly I bought nothing, kinda regret that now)

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This was a very exhausting day for me, I still cant believe that I was there, and I feel like there was so much on my list that I missed. We even went back to Harajuku again before we left and its still on my list to go again when we return in 2015!

Tokyo Diaries, Episode 5

Posted: January 29, 2014 in Japan
Tags: , , ,

Our trip to Tokyo this past summer was full of beautiful and amazing sights and on our third full day we decided to venture to the neighborhood of Ueno. It is home to the famous Ueno Hill where the Tokugawa shogunate made their last stand against the emperor in 1868 and it is also the sight of the largest postwar blackmarket (Ameya Yokocho) where you can still find some of the best deals on numerous goods. With the gorgeous Ueno Koen (Ueno Park) and its numerous museums, art galleries, and temples I knew it would be a fantastic day!
So follow me on a journey through my third day in the awe-inspiring city that is Tokyo…

Ameya Yokocho
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Tomb of the Shogi-Tai Warriors
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Kiyomizu Kannon-Do
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Pathway of Tori leading to smaller temples and shrines
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Oasis surrounding by a Metropolis, Home to Benten-Do
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Monster Lantern from 1631 (said to be only one of three in Japan)
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Toshogu Shrine
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Flame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
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Stay tuned for Episode 6…

What will be the death of this industry that I have come to love throughout the years? The thing that gives me solace after a crappy day or what I look forward to doing on my days off, the thing that for so many of us allows us to do things that might never have been possible in the “real world”. Why would something that brings joy to so many of us out there ever be threatened, why would it ever be systematically dismantled?
I’ll tell you why…
Humans, humans can really suck!
What is the first thing that is talked about when thinking about a new concept for a game?
The story, the characters, the world, the amazing new advancements in development that could be achieved through the making of the game? Nope. Its money, how much profit can we make?
Don’t get me wrong money is needed, needed to be sustainable, needed to pay the great talent that is required to create the fantastic worlds I so enjoy. But does it really have to be the most important? Does it really have to cripple amazing ideas that would have made alot of money if they hadn’t been sidelined by greed?
Ask any gamer, what do you want from the games you play? I promise they will all say I want a good game!
You are probably wondering, whoa were is this all coming from?
Recently I read an article in a video game magazine that talked about the sad story about how a once powerful gaming company slowly and tragically died and the whole time I am reading this story I am literally screaming inside. What idiots! How could you let people that have no business running these companies literally run them into the ground? Last I knew for anyone else in the business you actually have to have experience that is relevant to what in the hell you are creating. You had to have intimate knowledge of all the facets of what makes your company continue to make money. The teams working the code have to have an intimate knowledge of how to code, the animators have to understand how textures and lighting will affect surroundings, the artists have to actually be artists and know how to draw an awe-inspiring character from their imagination, the game testers have to know how to play the game. So why is it ok that the heads of these companies, these CEO’s and presidents don’t know a damn thing about what is paying for, what is most assuredly a ridiculous salary that they do not deserve? Reading some numbers that a statistical analyst provided you with and deciding to create deadlines that are ridiculous to meet and therefore have to nerf what would have otherwise been a quite profitable game to then turnout a mediocre game is not going to inspire the masses.
If the first thought was to create a game that will inspire the masses, that will be the talk of the next E3, that will push the envelope of the current gen systems, then maybe we wouldn’t have so many crappy titles launch that don’t meet those aforementioned analysts targets. Last time I checked pizza and video games are different, sports equipment and video games are different, so why are theses the people that are making the decisions about video games?
Profits need to be made, the talent needs to be paid, money is required to make more games. These are all true, but what if we actually had people leading these companies with more of a vested interest than just money? What if these CEO’s and Presidents actually played video games, what if they had stayed up until 3am trying to beat the last boss of a game that was reaching the end of its development, what if they had felt tears sting there eyes when they witnessed one of the main characters having to shoot his wife, what if after a crappy meeting they unwound playing a quick round of a fighting game? I’ll tell you what would happen, the industry that we all love so much would be strong, sustainable, profitable, and looking forward to another 20 years.
And that my friends is a world I would love to live in!

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This past weekend was National Streetpass Weekend where all over the country 3DS owners had a chance to meet other Mii’s from all over by visiting any Nintendo Zone location. Lucky for me one of my Nintendo Zone locations is in my local mall where Nintendo had setup their Holiday 2013 showcase with a chance for kids (young and old) to check out all the latest Nintendo goodies. So of course I had to check it out! Lucky for me Nintendo decided to reward my fastiduous loyalty and treat me with a visit from Pikachu too, and for some added excitement I got an extra treat for attending, a pre-order bonus (not in the US, of course) that they gave with Pokemon X & Y which was an awesome Pokeball game holder (I had totally drooled over it when I saw it online)! What more could I ask for… well I cant tell you, cause if I do my wish wont come true…