The Kanto region of Japan was struck by a snowstorm on Saturday, Feburary 08, 2014. It is reported to be the worst in about a decade. Atsugi-shi in Kanagawa is also struck by the snow storm.
I actually slept until six in the evening on Saturday because it was too cold to get up in my apartment. When I went outside the entire ground and even the stairs that lead to my apartment were covered in thick snow of about 30-40 cm thick. Outside I could see local inhabitants shoveling the snow not only in their doorsteps but also on the middle of the road. It was interesting to watch how people of different household collaborate together to clean the public places surrounding their houses.
Most of the shops were closed on Saturday evening, including the ramen shop right in front of the alley that leads to my apartment. The shops that were open include HottoMotto (a bento shop), convenient stores such as FamilyMart, 7 Eleven, and Lawson, and Yamada Todo (a restaurant).
KAIT was closed as well, and the automatic sensor doors became manual doors where students have to open them with their hands. This actually proves to be beneficial to me because currently I cannot swipe myself into this building yet and now I could pry the doors open with my hands.
The snow storm stopped sometime around midnight and by Sunday a portion of the snow on the ground has been cleared away by the inhabitants. The public transportation had some trouble driving though, and some buses became stuck inside the snow.
On Feburary 6th, 2014, I attended the graduation celebration party at KAIT and partied with members from Shirai-lab and Otsuka-lab. We ate dinner which consisted of hot pots and barbecue on the sixth floor of the information tech building (also known as K1).
We had a Super Smash Brother’s Tournament where 28 players participated in it. One of the contestants who won the first match but was too drunk to play the semi-final round, so my friend Hisataka (his first name) who had lost in the previous semi-final round gets to play again. In the end Akira (his first name) from Shirai lab emerged as the winner and got 2,800 yen as a reward (everyone donated 100 yen). Afterwards we cleaned the tables and departed at around 10:30.
It is interesting to see the kinds of interaction that took place in the party. Because the two labs, although having a close relationship, does not interact that frequently, people did not know each other’s relative year in school since collage students do not have name tags or name cards indicating their position. A friend of mine named Aoki (his last name, from Otsuka-lab) asked another friend of mine Kunitomi (his last name, from Shirai-lab): Senpai, what year are you? Genki answered he is third year, surprising Aoki that they are actually the same year and that he should not be calling Genki senpai.
I and Yannick, Hisataka Suzuki, and Shirai sensei worked on submission for Laval Virtual April conference last weekend (Feb 1-Feb 3). We worked on the introduction video for Scritter most of the times, doing the planning during the week and shooting the film on Sunday.
I was mostly in charge of making story boards while Hisataka Suzuki studies video editing techniques with Adobe Premier. Yannick continues to work on the final paper as well as the Unity Game demonstration. I ended up changing the story board three major times, from trying to make a very factual introduction video to a story video and finally to a mixture of both.
It was an interesting experience to be making story board for a semi-complete project to say the least, as I had to consult the programmers and technicians for details about the game as well as did researches and blog readings before I can begin making the story board.
We were able to borrow Otsuka-sensei’s room for the shoot, which contains tatami and sofa which makes it looks like a living room. Me, Yannick, and Hisataka (his first name) redecorated the room to make it look more comfy and family like. Otsuka-sensei actually liked what we did with the room and told us to not put the furniture back to its original place. We were also able to borrow Shirai-sensei’s family members on Sunday and with our actors and actress we shoot clips of a family enjoying Scritter in a “living room”. It is interesting to watch how a family enjoys themselves during the video taking and the kinds of fun they can have.
Our small team spent the entire Monday editing the footage and three of us ended up not sleeping until around seven or eight on Tuesday morning. During this time I also did the voice over for the video as well as some of the video editing after Hisataka left to catch the last train. While some of the audios needs to be retake for future submission because of how I take them in the hallways (and the echoes destroy the quality of the audio), I still had quite some fun doing the voice over and did learned a lot. We were relieved that we were able to get the introduction video submitted however. As of now we are still editing the video to make it even better for future submissions.