Saturday, February 23, 2019

Kung Fu movies

If you were born in the early 80s, then there is a reasonable chance that you were a Kung Fu films lover like me. I remember myself going every week to the video rental shop to check if a new Kung Fu film had arrived.
The first Kung Fu film I watched was "Incredible Kung Fu Mission" (Shi xiong shi di zhai chu ma) created in 1979. I watched it by chance when I was about 6 years old and it was in Betamax format. Probably the only film I've watched in such format. This is the quintessential Kung Fu movie, I really like it.

One of the things I like the most about Kung Fu movies are those crazy jumps. They actually have a name in chinese 轻功 (qīnggōng) which is a useful keyword to look for images on Google.

Electric street light switch

When I walk on the street, I often try to spot devices that make our lives easier without us knowing. If I stop for a second and look around, I usually found myself surrounded by a lot of stuff that I don't always understand or pay attention to.

For example, I found this weird looking device inside a cabinet on the street. I took a picture of it to look it up on the internet later. It turns out that this is an electric street lamp switch (called EE switch by Panasonic). In other words, a device that automatically regulates the current that goes through a street light based on the ambient light.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Fixing my Sunto wrist watch

I rarely wear a watch nowadays. Most of the time I prefer to use the phone instead to tell the time. However, sometimes I like to dress up and wristwatches are nice accessories that make you look better.

Unfortunately, my otherwise excellent Suunto watch wasn't looking that good with all those scratches. I needed to get rid of them. Fortunately, during the last few years, I assembled quite a few plastic scale model kits and learned a few tricks along.

To remove the scratches from the Suunto surface, I first applied a fine-grained (number 1000) piece of Tamiya sandpaper. Remember that the higher the grit number, the finer and more polished appearance you get.

Once I removed the main scratches from the surface, I applied Tamiya polishing compound with a cloth multiple times. I didn't know about compound until I built this Greyhound scale model.

The end result was quite satisfying. The crystal was now transparent and smooth, just as I wanted. I also replaced the battery and the O-ring with Suunto battery replacement kit.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Mt. Kōbō

A couple of weeks ago, I went hiking Mount Kōbō (弘法山 Kōbō-yama). Mount Kōbō is an easy day trip from Tokyo or Kanagawa with good access through the Odakyu Odawara line. This time I got off at Hadano station, climbed Mount Kōbō and then went walking towards Tsurumakionsen station where I had a relaxing thermal bath (onsen).

I suggest doing this hike in Winter when the air is clean and you have greater chances to see Mt. Fuji and the surrounding areas.

Near the mountain, there is a nice farm with sheeps grazing and waiting for you to give them some food. Their hairy body is really warm.

DNA fingerprinting at Bioclub

Last month, I co-organized a DNA fingerprinting workshop at Bioclub, Shibuya. The workshop consisted of a pre-orientation session on Tuesday and 2 days of wet lab experiments during the weekend.

We had a total of 5 attendants, and it was quite challenging to coordinate all of them to complete the workshop in time. Fortunately, the students were all extremely nice and never had a problem with them.

I spent quite a lot of time creating the slides of the pre-orientation session. You can see them above if you want to know the details of the workshop. On Saturday, we extracted DNA from pig and cow liver and amplified a region of the mitochondrial DNA called Cytochrome B by using PCR. Then we mixed the PCR product with a solution of taq1 restriction enzyme and let it digest overnight. On Sunday, we conducted a gel electrophoresis to identify the length of DNA fragments that remained after the digestion. The pattern observed allowed us to distinguish pig tissues from cow tissues.

Tennis in Japan

Recently I got a tennis racquet from Yahoo auctions and I have already played a few times. I am a complete beginner but also a fast learner. At the moment, I am able to serve quite fast but with low accuracy. I also need to control the strength I use to hit the ball.

If you are alone but you want to play tennis, or if you have a group but you don't know how to reserve a tennis court, I suggest you use the Tennisoff website. For example, you can apply to entries containing the sentence 参加者募集中, which means "recruiting participants". Also, if you live close to Tokyo there are tennis meetups where you can participate.