Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All About the Yen-jamins

Those who haven't seen the latest part of Sailor Moon, click here.

UPDATE: I figured out how to make Windows Movie Maker work, and have made a new video from the footage I took of Cedric:

Pictured above: 1000 Japanese yen, purchased from a Money Mart on East Hastings street in Vancouver. It's approximately the same size and value as a Canadian ten dollar bill. I had planned on purchasing 50000 yen even, but the Money Mart only had 38000 yen on hand, so I settled for that. Having compared Money Mart's rates with the official Bank of Canada rates for July 7 2010, and done a few calculations, it turns out that I paid about twenty-five dollars in fees. So, crap.

Nonetheless, it feels good to have some hard Japanese currency in my pocket for when I arrive at Narita. It feels even better to have my Visa. I arrived in Vancouver on Monday morning and had my Passport, with visa, by Monday afternoon. The process was so simple and hassle free, it was almost insulting. I hadn't even shown the clerk at the consulate my driver's license when he grabbed my passport from a drawer near the front. When I asked whether it was sufficient to provide an itinerary for my flight (I was required to provide a "return airline ticket"), he seemed almost suprised that I would ask. Here I thought this was gonna be a genuine problem-- and that I might have to go all the way back to the airport to grab a physical ticket-- and the clerk is looking at me almost as if to say "Damn, I hadn't thought about that!" Oh well. I guess it's petty to complain about the Consulate being too nice and helpful. The visa itself is very cool looking: pasted directly on to my passport, it looks like the latest driver's licenses on steroids, filled to the brim with holographic do-diddies and whatnot. I'd show a picture were it not for the sensitive private info contained on the visa.

Anyway. . . since this is now to become a log of travels, I figure I would start uploading some videos and pictures I taken while in Vancouver. I've decided to link to YouTube, rather than embed the videos onto my blog, because I'm lazy.

First, a short video from my Aunt's balcony-- a mixed bag of a view if ever there was one. On the one hand- it's ocean front, with a great view to Stanley Park, the mountains, and part of downtown. On the other hand, docks and trains.

My Aunt's balcony.

Trains which, incedentally, run all night, as evidenced in this surprisingly much better looking video taken just after dusk.

My Aunt's Balcony. . . After Dark.

The day after I picked up my visa, I decided to spend the day relaxing. I went on walk around my Aunt's neighborhood, taking random pictures of streets, parks, and flowers as I went along.

After picking up my J-Cheddah, I headed downtown to have some fun. I visited the Pacific Centre mall, mainly so I could visit their food court and get some Taco Time-- there are three things that I always try to eat in Vancouver: Taco Time, Japadog, and Bubble Tea, and now I'm two for three. Anyway, on my way there, I walked on a suspended hallway over a street, and decided to take a couple of videos:

Street in Vancouver, Looking West

Street in Vancouver, Looking East

Then I got to the Food Fair itself. It was 12:30, and the place was packed.

Food Fair Madness

And to top it all off: After ordering a Super Beef Burrito, they gave me a Super Bean Burrito. I've killed men for lesser offences.

Anyway, after my so-called lunch, I made my way up to Granville street, which has been converted into a pedestrian promenade since the Winter Olympics-- actually, it was pretty much a pedestrian promenade for the whole year prior to the Olympics, given that the street itself was being torn apart in order to build the Canada line. I decided to take a stroll down the promenade, and in short order come upon a large crowd of soccer fans watching a FIFA World Cup semi-final game on a large TV. From the looks of it, CBC sponsored for this event. Our tax dollars at work, everyone.

FIFA. . . When You Kiss Me. . .

FIFA When You Hold Me Tight.

After that, I bombed around town taking random videos of things, shown below:

Outside Main Library

Inside Main Library

Art Museum. When will they take down that stupid Winter Olympics countdown monument?

Vancouver Skyscrapers. The blue one at the beginning is the tallest building in Vancouver.

Carrera + Neato Building.

Hopefully, I'll get a lot better at this over time.

'Till next time.

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