Nihongo Update

"Watch Bin" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/17 sec, ISO3200
“Watch Bin” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I was listening to some Japanese pop songs that I haven’t heard in a couple years, and I was surprised that I understood a lot more than I used to. Actually, I’d rate my comprehension of the lyrics as maybe 20% of the words, whereas before it might have been 5%. But since it’s mostly just bits and pieces, and not even whole sentences that I understand, I only get the gist of what the song is about. Still, it’s fun to hear the same songs and the mystery is revealed a bit more as I study.

I’ve been using the Anki flashcard system on my computer and phone to boost my vocabulary and it’s pretty good! However, I am going to switch from kana to romaji to get in more vocabulary quicker, then maybe I will switch it up and go back to kana for a bit. There’s a mental gap that I am encountering where I am trying to memorize both the meaning while seeing the kana/kanji and it’s kind of frustrating. So to build some momentum, I am switching to romaji (and I also study my kana cards separately as a refresher) and see if I can get more vocab under my belt.

In other Japanese-related news, I have caught up with Segodon so now I can just watch the TV Japan broadcasts when they are shown. And then I am also watching a Sailor Moon episode here and there. Fun to pick up the new words I have learned.

So, some improvement with my Nihongo, and also a bit of fun with the dorama!

Today’s photo is of my watches, sitting in a Kokuyo pen case. I tidied up my desk, but don’t have a good place to put my watches so I just threw them there. I like looking at them, so I don’t put them in the drawer but it seems like they need a better place to hang out than just the desktop. 😆 We’ll find a good home for them someday!

I hope you had a good Saturday!


Automatic Time Adjustment

"Timex and Seiko" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/40 sec, ISO6400
“Timex and Seiko” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

The other day we had to change our clocks to Daylight Savings Time here in Texas. These days, some of our clocks update automatically, while others require manual adjustment. But I think it’s kind of fun to change the clocks! Especially my watches. 😝

But one clock was always a hassle to update, and that’s my car’s clock. For one thing, I’d only notice it was wrong when I started driving, and I couldn’t adjust it because it was unsafe to do so. The clock was my car stereo which (even after 14 years) was a puzzle to figure out. Then when I arrived at my destination, I’d forget to change it, so the next time I’d get in my car and drive, the cycle would repeat itself.

My new Subaru Crosstrek has a clock on the dash, and it has simple + and – buttons, but you have to go thru the minutes, instead of just adjusting an hour at a time. So, I rolled my eyes again. However, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that the clock automatically adjusted to the correct time! I guess it picked up the time from my phone’s Bluetooth connection or Android Auto. How cool! I thought that the dash clock was just a totally separate unit, but I guess not. Yay!

That reminds me of my Sony A77 camera with its built-in GPS which would automatically adjust the time and date. Such a great feature.

Anyways, today’s photo is of two of my watches: the Seiko SKX007 and the Timex Weekender. After taking the photo, I decided to take a little video to illustrate the different hand movements of the two watches. The Seiko uses an automatic movement, which is smoother, while the TImes uses a quartz movement, which is more accurate, but not quite as elegant as it clicks away.

Ok, that’s enough time nerdery for today! (By the way, did you enjoy the “time nerd” joke in The Big Sick? Fun movie!

I hope you had a nice day!



"Watch and Beer" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/90 sec, ISO6400
“Watch and Beer” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。 How’s it going?

Tonight’s photo is of my Japanese watch (made in Malaysia) and Japanese beer (brewed in Canada). What I thought was funny was the tiny “–BEER–”text on the bottom of the can labeling. Why is it there? Is it a regulatory requirement? Who knows?


Switching Watches

"Leather Band" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Leather Band” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

So the other day I was looking at some reviews of the Seiko SNK809 and one of them featured a watch with a leather band and I thought it looked pretty good. I did a little online shopping for one but then thought that I might take the 20mm band that is on my Timex Weekender and put it on the Seiko. The problem is that the Seiko takes an 18mm band, but just to see what the watch face might look like with leather, I squeezed the 20mm band onto the smaller watch. And it turns out that it not only looks good (in my opinion), but the 20mm width matches the watch better than the skinnier 18mm. As an added bonus, the leather band is much more comfortable than the nylon Zulu strap.

So, I am going to wear the smaller SNK809 at home and then wear the SKX007 when I am at work. I guess sometimes I’ll wear the smaller watch outside too. 😝 I suppose it’s an effort to keep both watches wound, and I’ll try to keep the dates accurate too! I’m curious to see how it works out. But the “new” leather band on the Seiko SNK809 gives it a totally different look. It’s almost like having a brand new watch. 😀

I hope you had a nice day!


Wrist Check

"Seikos" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Seikos” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

The other day, Mariko found Koa’s Fitbit Charge in an old backpack. Koa said he didn’t really want it so he gave it to me, and I’ve been wearing it for a couple days. I wasn’t sure how it would feel wearing it on my right wrist since I usually keep a regular watch on my left. But I guess it feels good. The Fitbit Charge is pretty small and light, so I barely notice it.

The photo above is of my two regular watches. The one on the left is my go-to Seiko SKX007 watch and is always kept wound (automatically) since I wear it often. The Seiko SNK809 with the blue striped band is only worn occasionally, which is why the date is wrong. It’s also an automatic watch, which means that it powers up as you move around. However, if it’s not worn/moved for a day, it will run out of power. To start it back up, you just need to shake it a little bit and then you’ll have to set the time, which is quick. Setting the date is a little more involved because you have to set it to yesterday’s day/date, then advance the hands past midnight to flip the day/date and then keep going until you get to the correct time. (If you just set it to today’s date, you won’t be certain if the time is set to AM or PM) Because it takes a while, and because I also know that I won’t be wearing it again for a while, I don’t bother setting the date on that watch And that’s why it shows Tuesday, the 5th in the photo.

I hope you enjoyed that mini-introduction into the wonderful world of automatic watches. 😝


Evening Routine

"Three Amigos" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Three Amigos” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I’ve settled into a nice evening routine, which I am enjoying quite a bit. It’s funny, but the things I used to think of as “chores” are now part of a routine that I don’t give too much thought to, and they don’t really cause any stress.

Each night I will clean the cat litter box, which only takes a minute, but I would visualize how awful a job it is and fill my mind with negative thoughts like, “why am I the one who has to do this?”. 🐱 But these days, I just do it and my mind is thinking about things other than the cat poop. Does that make sense? It’s like I am on auto-pilot and since I don’t think about the chore that I am doing, it doesn’t affect my frame of mind negatively. My body might be scooping poop, but my mind is enjoying talking with my family, thinking about drawing, or listening to the baseball game that’s on the tv in the living room.

Another task that I do almost every night is washing the dishes. This is less of an “auto-pilot activity”, but I look at it as an opportunity to chat with the family in a relaxed environment (just after dinner, everyone is usually in a good mood). Or, if everyone has left the kitchen area, I can catch up on some podcasts. So, it’s a productive time of my day.

The same goes for brushing my teeth in the evening. I admit I used to often skip the nighttime brushing 😇. But for the past couple years this important task also has become an “auto-pilot activity” and I will listen to a podcast while I do it.

So those are my “tasks” that I do every evening. I also have a few other routines that are on the fun side, but I’ll save that for another blog post.

Tonight’s photo at the top of this post is of my three watches that I like to wear. My Seiko SKX007 (on the right) is what I wear every day, my Timex weekender is a watch I sometimes wear to bed. It’s so light and the band is so soft that I don’t even realize I am wearing it. But I find the audible ticking noise to be relaxing and helps me sleep. The watch in the center is my Seiko 5 SNK809, which I don’t wear as often, but once in a while, I will throw it on. What’s nice about the automatic watches like the Seikos I own is that they don’t use batteries. Just a few shakes to get them going and then they will power up by just regular body movement. I love that!

Lastly, the photo below is my latest practice sketch. I tried drawing it without referencing the proportions video that I needed to watch for the previous sketch. I guess it turned out OK, but I’m still not very happy with it. It’s a little “off”. Still, it’s good to practice.

"Practice Sketch" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Practice Sketch” Cedar Park, 2017

To see all the sketches I’ve been working on, you can check out the Flickr album “My Sketching Journey”, or my Instagram account barron.sketches which I created just for posting sketches, watercolors, and stationery items.

I hope you had a nice Tuesday!


Second Favorite Camera/Lens

"Tabled Watch" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 35mm, f/2.4, 1/60 sec, ISO400
“Tabled Watch” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today’s photos were taken with my second-favorite camera/lens combination that I own: Sony 35mm f/1.8 on my Sony a77. But really, it’s about the lens. That wide-open aperture produces some lovely bokeh, and even the chromatic aberration is kind of pleasing to look at.

"XA" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 35mm, f/1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO1000
“XA” Cedar Park, 2017

The 35mm lens is relatively inexpensive (~$200 brand new), light, and very sharp when stopped down a bit. I love it.

"Anko" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 35mm, f/1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO640
“Anko” Cedar Park, 2017

I say it’s my second-favorite camera/lens combination because my Fujifilm X100T is still my favorite. It’s the perfect size for me. While the Sony SLT/lens has killer performance, it’s too big to carry every day. Still, it is a lot of fun!

"Nikon & Empty" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 35mm, f/1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO800
“Nikon & Empty” Cedar Park, 2017

I hope you had a nice day!