Monday, June 26, 2006

Japan Reunion 2006 (Pt.2)

Asaksa is one of the many, many districts in Tokyo. I went there with my folks and Seiya and the fam during the first couple of days...this is just a pic of Seiya's daughters Aika (left) and Yume (right) in one of the plentiful, random gardens throught the city.

The family Minato at the steps of the Asaksa Temple.

Yume went to her very first day of kindergarten while i was staying at Seiya's house! I was so proud of her. She was so excited, and she didn't cry at all. It probably helps that she'll be in the same school as Aika. It was actually raining that day, and I went with Seiya and Mami to drop her off. There were a bunch of other crying kids being consoled by their moms and dads. Yume hung tough and ran around laughing.

Ok, so a couple of days after the big "welcoming" shindigs and all, my folks and I were slated to roll out to Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. For anybody who doesn't know, if you are planning to travel to Japan and would like to travel cheaply and efficiently from city to city once you get there, rail passes are available. The standard one-week pass is about $260 (depending on exchange rates), and allows you to travel on any JR trains, buses, ferries, for a week. That includes the Shinkansen (bullet train). but only the "fast" one and the "very fast" one. not the "insanely fast" one. In any case, you need not complain, because "very fast" for the Japanese is equivalent to "good god!" fast for us Americans. And...the bullet train is absolutely amazingly clean and comfortable. They have whole little crews that come out of elevators on the platform and clean the train right before it departs for its destination. This picture has nothing to do with the bullet train, but just so you know.

This pic is of Osaka Castle. It was built in 1615. That's before there was an "america". This ties into an overwhelming feeling that will no doubt bother you the entire time you're in Japan (or almost any other country, for that matter): America has no history compared to this country. None. Anyway, this castle is a small climb up a rocky slope, and touts an amazing view of the city as a whole.

This horrible picture is from Dotombori street. Basically, it's a really bright, tourist-y shopping street. Which is not to say you shouldn't check it out and maybe get some stuff and a bite to know, all in all, although osaka is pretty amazing in itself, there was more exciting stuff in Hiroshima and Kyoto. Which will be covered in part 3!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Name Our New Bags!

If you actually keep track of our website, you probably know that we've been working on a couple of new models for a minute now. One is a downsized version of our backpack and midpack. We wanted a two-strap model that was big enough just for some essentials and hit at a price point of about $160 (our Backpack is humongous and is $250, while the Midpack still seemed a little big for some, and is marked at $200). We all brainstormed, and when the dust settled, Gerik had a design that won out. This is it:

It's basically the mutant offspring of a Midpack and a DJ Mini. Gerik made a few prototypes before we settle on the final version. The other model we're introducing is a bit of a specialized Small Civilian...we gave it an outside pocket and bellows-style side pockets (perfect for water bottles). We also switched the strap to a mini-style strap, which is softer and easier to adjust for the layperson. The final design was done by Chika in Seattle. Pictures to come soon...

Anyway, so we tentatively named them the "Minipack" and the "Carryall". VERY tentatively. Then I put the onus on the crews here and in Seattle to try to think of better names....that was a few months ago. So here's the deal: We need some help, guys! This is officially a bag-naming contest. Please email with any name suggestions. If your name is chosen, guess what? We'll send you a free version of the model that you named!