Japan 2019 – Day 4

(This post is part of a series, you can start here or the view the previous post. You can also checkout the Google Photos album, which has all the pictures I took, as well as those of Mikel and Jesse.)

I once again woke up early, at 5am. Ugh. I tried to go to back to sleep and intermittently did until 8am, but I think that just made me groggy for some of the day. When I got up, Jesse and Mikel were trying to figure out Tokyo Disney stuff.

I forget what prompted things, but we preferred to purchase tickets online before arriving, just to be sure the hour-long trip (only about three and a half dollars) to get there was not a waste. Imagine how much it would suck if we got there and the park was already at capacity. For a Tuesday I thought that unlikely, but some people in the US are on spring break right now so maybe it’s a thing here too.

Jesse made another call to his concierge service because the Tokyo Disney website said you had to made an appointment for English. The concierge said they would call back, and after some talking between the three us, we decided we did not want to wait, so we headed out at 9am knowing we were balancing the risk of each possibility of wasting time. We also found out that you had to print tickets for online anyway, which would have been a journey itself.

When we were basically at the train station, Jesse realized he had forgotten his train card. We immediately decided to head back, but Jesse volunteered to run back while we just waited. In retrospect, he probably could have gotten a replacement card at the station by providing his name and birthday and stuff but that thought didn’t occur to us until later. He made it back to us huffing and puffing.

While we were walking for our transfer (we had to walk to a different station), I ran into this view I enjoyed:

Jesse looking up in awe

We had a hard time with the transfer. Google Maps was confidently but incorrectly giving us our location and it was throwing us off. Fortunately Mikel noticed what looked like the entrance to an underground train, even though it had very little traffic compared to all the other ones we’d seen. It turned out he was right, and we were on our way.

When we got to the park we realized (though we suspected from the website) that they don’t have a “park hopper” pass to visit the main place and the sea one, which was a bummer. It would have cost about double (~$150 total) to purchase both tickets so we decided to just stick to the main park. Here’s Jesse making a funny face as we arrive:

Jesse making a funny face

Here was our view right after we got through the ticket gate:

One of my first impressions at the park was there was less English than I expected. It was totally fine and just about all (if not all-all) of the big signs of names of things were in English though.

Jesse used to work at Disneyland in California and apparently the park layouts are similar so we had our own expert leading us around. In the first line we stood in, Jesse told us a sweet story of when he worked at Disneyland where he made a little girl so happy.

I learned how Fastpass works today too. I thought you paid to skip the line, which I think is morally dubious, but I would have done it since we have limited time while on vacation (as nice this trip has been, it’ll be a while before I come back). But apparently you just go to the ride you want, get a Fastpass for free, and come back at an allotted time (about an hour window). You cannot get another Fastpass right away, and the Fastpass ticket you have says exactly when you can get the next one. I love it and feel zero guilt, which is also great. You can also see how long the wait is with Fastpass if you physically go to the ride:

There was a one or two person line to get the Fastpass (totally fine)

The first ride we went on was the Star Wars one. It was an indoor roller coaster with a digital screen at the front, which you watched with 3D glasses. I expected to enjoy it but it exceeded my expectations, the visuals were really cool and synchronized very well with the movement. Here’s a robot:

AND IT MOVES

After that we went to lunch. That was pretty uneventful, other than me almost saying “gracias” to the hostess, and this plaque that makes me resent what Disney apparently thinks real men are:

Apparently I’m not a real man because I don’t wear a top hat

Next up we got to go to Space Mountain, from our Fastpass. It was loads of fun, and my favorite part was all of Jesse’s screaming. I think Mikel enjoyed that too. Worth the wait (especially since it wasn’t in a line).

One of my favorite moments at the park was when Jesse saw some people struggling to take a picture and very awkwardly offered to take it for them. They seemed to speak no English so Mikel and I stood off to the side and cringed while they were trying to figure out what was going on. Ultimately Jesse did help them, they were thankful, and it was awesome. Kudos to Jesse for being a stand-up guy, setting a good example for the socially-anxious of us.

Here was a big castle:

We got to go through the bottom part. This view was more interesting.

The next ride we went on was the Buzz Lightyear one. It was a game as much of a ride, where you shot things with lasers, and I beat Mikel by nearly 10x. I don’t have an interesting picture of this one so you get this instead:

An uninteresting picture

My favorite ride (other than the roller coasters) was the Haunted Mansion. I tried to take pictures, but it was too dark, so you just get text unfortunately. To be honest I thought it was mostly meh but there were two effects that made it worth the line. The first was there was a room with a bunch of tables and the most realistic looking ghosts I have ever seen. I was seriously awe-struck. Jesse explained later that they have a transparent glass display and that’s how they do it. It seemed to work at multiple angles and I don’t know how they did it, but it was seriously impressive. The next part was less impressive but still really fun. At the very end they have your car move sideways while you face mirrors. Those mirrors had an effect that made it look like a ghost was sitting with you in your car, between the two people sitting there. I love that kinda creepy stuff. A+.

Here was a pretty thing in a gift shop:

It didn’t even have a price tag

We really wanted churros because even though they tend to be ridiculously overpriced at home, they are churros after all. We eventually found somewhere that sold them and we got four (two for Mikel). They were only about $3 each which we were thrilled about. Alas, they were lower quality than we expected. You get what you pay for I guess.

The last ride we went on was Big Thunder Mountain. It was fun but definitely felt short relative to the wait. At least the view for the wait was pretty:

I seriously dig water features

We left around 4:15pm, having decided we had seen as much as we wanted to see and did not care to stand in a long line (or wait forever – three hours – for a Fastpass). We considered waiting until later for the fireworks but it wasn’t worth it.

The first platform on the train ride back was intimidating, I was afraid we were going to get caught in rush-hour train traffic but it turned out to be fine and uneventful. We made it back to the place at 5:15pm.

In the elevator there was an Asian man. He asked us in English where we were from and after a moment I realized it was not an Asian accent. It turned out he was from New York, at an Airbnb across the hall from us (our only neighbor on the floor). That was nice.

For dinner, Jesse found a good looking sushi place. He sent me the link so I could try to figure out if they allowed smoking but I couldn’t find anything. So we started our fifteen minute walk, got there, and after two breathes of stale smoke I had to walk out.

So Jesse, being a good sport, found a second sushi place and we set out on another fifteen minute walk. It was on the seventh floor and we had a little bit of a hard time finding the elevator, but we ultimately did. Immediately upon getting into the elevator, it reeked of smoke, which wasn’t encouraging. We got to the seventh floor and were confused, we couldn’t find the place. There was a sign near one of the doors and Mikel used Google Translate on it – turns out the place closed, even though there had been a review from three weeks prior. Ugh.

So, we decided to go back to the ramen place we liked. We were tired and hungry and we decided we would rather have the same thing and not have to worry about stuff than do an indeterminate number of let’s-try-another-places. So another fifteen minutes later, we were there. There was a smoker out front when we got there, which was ok, but definitely spiked my stress briefly before I realize everything was fine. We ended up waiting in the cold for long enough to be decently uncomfortable, especially for how tired we were, but before long we made it in and everything was great. I was disappointed to have not had sushi every day, but what can you expect when do you do close to zero planning?

I went to sleep as soon as we got home, which is a big part of why this post is two days late 🙂

Fitbit step count for the day: 28,800

Next: Day 5

Japan 2019 – Day 3

(This post is part of a series, you can start here or the view the previous post. You can also checkout the Google Photos album, which has all the pictures I took.)

We had more early wakings today. I woke up at 5:30am, when the sun came up, and came into the living room at 6:45am to find Mikel awake. I forget if I mentioned this previously, but this Airbnb does not block light effectively; I forgot my eye mask 🙁
(Forgot = did not forget but was too optimistic to bring.)

We did not have solid plans for the day when we went to bed last night, but we had tentative plans to visit a garden or two and try a standing-only sushi place. Unfortunately, as soon as I looked out the window the weather was not looking good:

Damn

It only looked overcast, but a brief peak outside and I could totally hear the rain. (The sound insulation here is much better than I expected, you can’t even hear people taking a shower or anything.) We looked at the weather the night before and I thought we were going to be good, but evidently not.

I had been kinda planning on Akihabara (a recommendation from my cousin Finn) on Wednesday, since it’s supposed to rain then as well, but we talked about it and decided today was the day (we’ll figure out Wednesday later, might use Jesse’s credit card concierge service because apparently you can call them and say you’re bored and they’ll help you out).

We hung around the place until 9am to let the rush hour traffic die down. Then as we were about to leave, Jesse checked the directions and we realized we were a little confused. I thought there was one “Akihabara Mall” but I was very mistaken. After way more research than I expected being necessary, we found a mall/building heavy on electronics that seemed cool and decided to head that way.

It was a short jaunt out (it was close enough we could have walked, but opted not to in the rain). When we got there, the view was what I expected Japan to look like based on some media I’ve seen where the visuals are very noisy. Here area few photos showing what I mean:

Very huge
Note the digital signs, including the marquee

The first view going in was also visually astonishing:

We browsed a bit and then headed up the second floor (of nine total). We saw a game demo and tried it out:

Jesse trying to play while Mikel tried to record it

There was a really long intro scene, so we left it, and a moment after that we saw someone playing it. Bummer, oh well.

Next, we were looking at a huge section devoted to keyboards when Mikel recognized one of his old colleagues. By total chance, we ran into him while he was also visiting Japan! We made tentative plans to meet him for lunch, but went our separate ways while we continued exploring.

Then… I was surprised to see Polaroids (which were expensive!):

All these suckers are >$100!

Next up we saw some fancy headphones:

Mikel pretending to be a DJ
Jesse skeptical of my intent while taking his picture

We also saw a crazy thin TV:

It was big…
…and thinner than my phone!

I was absolutely amazed at first, but then Jesse pointed out that the “guts” of the TV are a separate part, connected with a ribbon, and so I was no longer utterly blown away even though it’s definitely still cool.

Jesse liked this transparent dishwasher:

I also took a 4s video as well

I thought this was mean:

Why’s it there, in the store, if not for sale? Just showing off?

A little bit after that we saw a weird thing. I won’t explain it here, but you should watch this video.

One of the things I did at this place was look for a new backpack, since there were tons. My old backpack had a broken zipper, but it had three features I did not want to go without – chest strap, water bottle holder on the side, and a secure pocket, ideally facing toward my back. I ended up finding one and bought it; I thought it was expensive but Jesse insists that it was a good deal. I had been wanting to bring something home, and was happy that I was able to satisfy my inner utilitarian.

We had gotten there around 10am and by this time it was 12:30pm so we decided to grab lunch. There was a beef place that looked good and Mikel’s old colleague caught up with us. Here’s my meal, beef tongue:

“There’s something ironic about tongue tasting good” – Mikel

It was really good, and my first time having beef tongue. I scarfed the meal down, which was great because my appetite recently has not been what it once was. Toward the end of the meal Jesse and I went to use the bathroom, which I think was my first public bathroom use in Japan. I regret not taking a picture or two (while no one else was there) but unfortunately it was right next to a smokers’ room and it absolutely reeked. I wish it smelled like poo instead.

After lunch, Mikel’s old colleague had to run to catch a flight home and the three of us wanted to check out a retro gaming store he had mentioned to us. On the way there we stopped in on an arcade, just to check it out, and I noticed a Digimon claw machine:

I’m not really into Digimon or anything but one of my housemates is, and I thought it might be nice if I could nab him something. I decided to give it one try, which went well at first, but then it fell out. In retrospect I wish I had recorded video of the whole thing so that you wouldn’t have to miss the drama.

I had not mentioned this before but the region we were in is known for “maid cafes” which I will not really talk about here but you can totally Google. I will include one picture though:

These make me slightly uncomfortable

We finished our detour and made our way to the retro gaming place, Super Potato:

It was on three floors!

We checked out three and four, and then Jesse and Mikel checked out the fifth without me because it was smoking (I tried to follow them but the smell hit me hard before I even reached the stairs). Here’s Mikel posing with a shirt:

I took three pictures, two of which turned out well – but fortunately I also got one with him blinking

After this, we ran out of plans and decided to just walk around. At one point I came up with a souvenir idea – if I could find a Japanese copy of an old Yugioh card I liked, Magical Hats, then that would be awesome. Literally within a minute we found a shop selling Yugioh cards, and within another minute I found the exact card I was looking for!

Shiny and cheap! I paid with coins I got from a change machine at the arcade.

It came out to 303 yen after tax, which was mildly annoying because I had to get 97 yen in change back. It worked out ok though because later I used some of that change to put the exact right amount into a vending machine, and I got 50 yen coins which can be used a coin presser (in case I see one of interest later on).

I thought this was funny:

LOL

The place was littered with Sega stores:

After that we decided to head home. We were tired and our feet hurt, so I wanted a little bit of down time before dinner (which I am using to write this blog post [we also watched John Oliver and Trevor Noah]). On the way back we stopped at a shop to get contact lens solution for Jesse and I noticed this:

I really shouldn’t be surprised by this because so many people wear them, but I was anyway.

I’m not going to make fun of the masks or anything silly like that but I will call out two people I saw smoking while having masks pulled down. Wat. One of them was on a motorcycle and the other was outside a shop. I could say more about this but I’m not going to.

After our downtime we took a bus to dinner. We would have liked to walk, forty minutes, but it was raining and cold. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the bus stop had an indicator for when the bus would arrive:

Lies by still cool

It was the first bus we’ve taken during this trip so far, and it was really easy because it takes the same (IC) card as the train. Mikel kept track of the stops, for which I am thankful (it let me play Pokemon Go on the bus, where I caught my tenth Volbeat!).

We went to a standing-only sushi place, Hinatomaru. Apparently that’s a thing in Japan. For most of the time, it was just us, the two chefs, and a couple, so it was very calm. The chefs were great, spoke English, and made recommendations. It was cheap enough that we had a decent amount of the top-line stuff, our favorite being seaperch, which none of us had had before but we’ll want again now!

Overall we spent nearly $100, which is our most expensive meal so far. It was a deal though, one piece that cost nearly $3 was more like $14 back home! Also I forgot to take pictures. Sorry?

I was hoping the rain would die down and that we could have a nice walk back with full stomachs but once again that was not gonna happen. Jesse let me borrow is hat for the way back, which is nice because I was pretty cold.

I was basically ready for bed when we got back but I really wanted to try out the bath here. That was more of an adventure than anything so far on the trip. It was not a simple faucet like I am used to, instead there were buttons (none in English) and presumably they could be used to get the bath going. I pushed buttons at random for a bit, and then Mikel came to my door and said that something outside the bathroom was talking and beeping. Wat. I get some things are just different, and not necessarily better or worse, but why tf does my bath make digital noise in the living room? Anyway I had a nice bath, read my book (loving it) and then came to finish this blog before bed. (Fortunately I had most of this post already written, so it was a matter of filling in dinner details.)

Tomorrow we plan on visiting Disney Tokyo 🙂

Fitbit step count for the day: 15,492

Next: Day 4

Japan 2019 – Day 2

(This post is part of a series, you can start here or the view the previous post.)

A few things before I talk about day 2, which I would have liked to note on day 1 but forgot: our bidet-having toilet also has a heated seat which is nice, our Airbnb key is weird:

It’s like a punch card

and apparently we’re staying in Fabric Town:

Yes, there are fabric shops all over the place

Ok so day 2… Like day 1, we woke up pretty early. I got up around 7am but I heard Mikel and Jesse bickering about the impact of TV display lag on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate around 6:30am so they were up at least that early.

We decided to skip breakfast. Mikel and I weren’t hungry, and Jesse said he wanted to be hungry for lunch. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, our plan was Skytree, the tallest tower in Japan (and the world, actually, it turns out). We also figured out that one of the Pokecenters nearby was right next to it, along with another aquarium, so our whole plan for the day was just those three things. I had figured we would take the train, but either Mikel or Jesse figured out that it was an hour walk from our Airbnb, and we all like walking, so we decided to go for it. We left around 8:30am, I think.

We wanted to make sure we had cash so we stopped by a 7-11. We went to the same one we had the day before, though afterward we realized we could have hit one on the way to where we were going, since they’re all over the place. Also notable is that I was able to get out 30,000 yen, higher than I expected to, so that was nice and maybe that’s all the cash I’ll need for the trip.

I also got a pork bun, which was pretty good. I wasn’t hungry, but I had regretted not trying it the day before. The reason I hadn’t was because the cashier did not seem to speak English, and I was anxious about that interaction. So this morning when I tried again, my exact fear happened – the cashier had no idea what I was talking about. Maybe I would have figured it out, but I panicked, and Jesse had the brilliant idea of pointing at what I wanted. That worked. Phew.

The first notable thing on our walk was a no littering sign:

Sorry I can’t think of a clever caption for this one

Why is that notable, you might ask? Because there are no public trashcans. I’m so used to them being around that I find the contrast very odd. On the flip side, with how (relatively) clean things are, this must mean that Japanese people are dedicated enough to carry around trash with them frequently so kudos for that at least.

The no walking smoking is also kinda interesting. I recall (but am not verifying here so don’t quote me) that this was because people were getting burned. As I mentioned, Japan is buddy-buddy with Big Tobacco so I doubt it’s a matter of health. They also have these on the sidewalks:

Isn’t that cute

The other notable thing we noticed from our walk is a time indicator on the walking cross/no cross signals. We’re used to in California having a second-based countdown while crossing, but they actually have a more generic countdown even leading up to being able to walk. Nothing super special but we thought that was neat.

Sorry for the crummy quality

I took pictures of the tower as we approached, and planned to post each of them here to show the approach, but they actually don’t look that interesting so here is my favorite of those pictures:

When we got to the tower, we went to get tickets, and found that the ticket counter did not open until 10am, and it was 9:35am when we got there. The aquarium was open though so we decided to change our planned order and do that before the tower.

I was afraid that a second aquarium would be boring, especially when we are planning on another one in Osaka in a few days, but I actually really liked this second one. Sometimes it wasn’t as photogenic mostly because it was darker, but many of the tanks were bigger, the variety of animal was more impressive, and (to use my friends’ phrasing) the “presentation” was better. Here is the first pretty picture I got:

Pretty fish

This is probably a good place to note that while I lost a lot of pictures to the stupid thing my phone is doing where it randomly turning what would otherwise be (probably) high quality pictures into low quality videos, I did partway through the aquarium figure out what was doing it and turned that crap off. Boo on Android for that being the default behavior, hard to find to turn off, and for just being stupid in the first place (The Pixel camera is known for being very good, turning pictures into low-quality videos is absurd to me!)

Here’s a picture that I think does a decent job of conveying the presentation:

The tanks are beautiful and the environment is simple, drawing your eyes to the actual display

Yet more pretty:

These really make me happy

There’s a pretty cool video (12s) of an eel on the Google Photos album I suggest checking out (sorry I don’t know how to link to the direct video). Here’s an apology shark:

Sayin’ hi

Here are some penguins:

Hypothesis: they’re waiting for food

After the aquarium I saw a vending machine that took our train cards instead of cash and decided to try something. I picked something that looked like Sprite or 7-up and did not bother trying to use Google Translate on it:

Too long of a blog post, not enough clever captions

The flavor was interesting, something like Starburst, and it was very sweet. I liked it but after about three sips I had had enough. Mikel and Jesse split the rest. Next, we went up the tower.

I took a ton of high-up pictures but I’m really not thrilled by them, you can check out the album if you’re curious. It was foggy, which did not ruin the experience, but to me definitely diminished it significantly. Here is a glass floor though:

That was the lower of the two decks. Oddly, the top deck was full of Barbie stuff:

Mikel snuck that pamphlet into Jesse’s hood

Honestly, although I’m glad we visited the tallest tower in the world while we were in walking distance, the fog and the crowd made it not a great experience for me. In retrospect taking full advantage of the aquarium also meant that the crowd in the tower would be worse, which is a bit of a bummer.

The next thing on our list was the Pokemon Center, which was for me and I appreciate Mikel and Jesse being patient (the proximity probably helped). We had a little bit of a hard time, didn’t realize for a bit that it was on the fourth floor, but we eventually got there:

Detective Pikachu freaks me out

I was a little bit disappointed in the Pokemon Center, to be honest. I wanted to want something, but I was trying to be real with myself and I really think I was more likely to regret having bought crap than I would regret not getting anything (this holds up, several hours later). Jesse actually got some Lego-like things, which are composed of ~100 pieces. That said, I thought these Ditto Eeveelutions were cute:

I love their stupid faces

After the Pokemon Center we were ready for lunch. Before I go on, I really liked this picture:

I was trying to get a picture of what I thought was a park, but overall I thought this came out well

Next up was finding a place to eat for lunch. We went to the third floor where the food court was supposed to be but we couldn’t find it. We had seen a sign that the sixth and seventh floor so we decided to head that way. Fortunately, Mikel noticed this sign:

Notice anything notable about this sign? I didn’t either, but Mikel noticed the third and seventh floors allow smoking (ugh), so those were out. Sixth floor it was.

We decided on a sushi place, but after Mikel saw it was boats he didn’t want a repeat of the previous day. I asked him if he would be cool with it if I checked the reviews, but I ended up not being able to find anything. So we picked a second place, stood in line for a bit, and left after they told us they were out of beef and pork and only had “one chicken” (we didn’t ask for clarification on that). So we found a place to sit and Jesse started searching for other sushi on his phone. He picked a place which was 1.2 miles away, but we were all fairly tired of walking right then so he found a closer place instead – Yoheezushi.

That place was great. It was a bit of a hole in the wall, very little English (enough to get water though which was great). They had three tiers of quality, Jesse and I took the top one at nearly $25 and Mikel took the second tier (he’s a cheap bastard). Here’s a picture of what I got:

The tuna was “fucking great” to quote Jesse. I concur.

One of the most fun moments of the trip so far came up at the end of our meal. The meal total was 6,800 yen, and Mikel was paying in cash. He put down three 1,000 yen bills and then a 10,000 yen bill, at which point the hostess made a kind of awkward “oh” sound, we all realized the accident, and we all burst out laughing. It was really great to share that moment with someone who we did not share a common language.

From there, we decided to walk back to the Airbnb because we were all tired. We definitely felt better having eaten and gotten off of our feet for a while but we were still feeling it. While we were walking, we saw a small temple and got a bit closer to check it out, saw a nice park, and started walking through there instead (so much for being tired, eh?). Here are a few pics I thought were really great:

After that, we started heading back again and noticed another temple which we had seen in the morning and decided to make a second pit stop. Here are a few pictures from that:

We ended up walking through that big crowd of people. Not my cup of tea but Mikel and Jesse have been accommodating for me so of course I returned the favor. Here’s a random funny:

We’re super curious how intentional this is

We kept walking, and eventually found a vending machine that had more of the soda we had earlier. Jesse decided to get a cherry flavored can instead of what we had before. Mikel and I both thought it tasted like medicine, and at the time of this writing Jesse has not yet finished it.

We made it back to the Airbnb at 3:20pm. At the time I’m writing this part of the blog post, it’s 6:20pm. We have been hanging out, talking a bit, but I have been pretty focused on this blog post. I know it’s a doozy because I took so long to write it!

During this time, Jesse worked on trying to book some fancy food. He was interested in Jiro, a famous three Michelin-star chef here in Tokyo. Unfortunately that guy is booked up at least a month in advance and we haven’t really been planners… Instead, he tried to book something with one of Jiro’s sons. He found out that apparently you can only make an appointment through concierge services (supposedly this is because they hate no-shows but I have absolutely no idea how those two things are related). We thought we were screwed, since we aren’t at a hotel, but Jesse realized he has that service through one of his credit cards and made that call, we’ll find out the result within a couple days (because it’s Sunday, when a lot of sushi places are closed apparently, and Mondays have a similar problem). Also notable is that in the followup email to the phone call, Jesse was addressed as “Ms. Jesse Lira” in spite of being a dude (this is a common problem for him).

We hung around the Airbnb for a bit longer and headed out to dinner around 7pm, planning to go to Ramen Yoroiya. Unfortunately, after leaving the Airbnb we realized that it was a 50 minute walk or a half hour on public transit, and either way we would arrive within an hour of closing, so we decided to punt going to that place (though we do intend to later). Instead, we walked 20 minutes to Banninriki. I forgot to take pictures, but it was amazingly delicious and I was delighted that they had a no-smoking sign prominently posted!

I was afraid this trip was going to be stressful, especially because planning had been stressful, and I was stressed out for not having planned things enough. Things have gone great though, I feel rejuvenated rather than drained, and I’m looking forward to the rest of this trip!

Fitbit step count for the day: 27,789

Next: Day 3

Japan 2019 – Day 1

If you haven’t read the first post, you might wanna do that before this one.

We were all up by 6am because we had gone to bed so early, and a couple of us had woken up considerably earlier. Fortunately the sun was up pretty early (sunrise being around 5:20am) so I was actually fine with that as being an aid to getting over the jetlag.

Around 8:30am we went to 7-11 for breakfast. I had been told that they are higher quality than in the states, but honestly I was not particularly impressed. They had a little bit of sushi but nothing that looked interesting to me. It didn’t help that basically nothing was in English. I grabbed a chocolate bar for later and decided to skip breakfast, which is normal for me.

I forget which day it happened, but we decided to visit the Maxell Aqua Park (an aquarium). It was a 30 minute train ride and the place opened at 10am. Figuring out the train was a little tricky for us though…

We left a little early, knowing that we would need to buy train cards (we could get plain tickets, but why). When we got to the machine that sells them, we struggled with it until we realized that it seemed to be cash-only. We had not yet acquired any cash, figuring it would not be too important day 1 in a big city like Tokyo, but boy were we wrong.

We Googled for what to do in this situation and began to head to a hotel very nearby. There was a machine that was labeled as converting foreign currency to Japan yen. Again, after a bit of struggling we realized that that machine is also cash-only, you cannot do a regular withdrawal with a debit card. Next we look for an ATM, and tried two which rejected our cards. Uh oh.

We were panicking a bit at this point, so Jesse called a friend of his (I should also note that we realized around this time that his phone was dying, which was a little inconvenient). That friend was super helpful and we were told that 7-11s (which are all over the place here) have ATMs which accept foreign cards. So we went to a 7-11 and tried to get some cash…

Jesse tried his Venmo debit card first, with no luck. Eventually I tried my debit card, which I had pre-authorized with my bank for Japan a week prior, and got an error that I was surpassing the withdrawal limit. We eventually got 20,000 yen, a little under $200, and after some more experimentation we figured the limit was $200. Not sure how much we would need, Mikel also took our 20,000 yen and we were on our way. (Jesse left his “real” debit card back home, so he had to freeload on us.)

An hour behind “schedule” we got back to the train station and were able to buy our train cards. We realized a little bit later that the train is so cheap compared to our expectations, I think Mikel said that each direction of our ride was less than $2 (not double checking this right now but I do not think you can go a single stop on Caltrain without paying upwards of $4, and longer rides are >$10).

The train itself was fine. When it arrived, it was distressingly full, but a ton of people got off. After a couple stops we got seats. All good.

The first interestingly thing at the aquarium was the jellyfish:

Horrifying, isn’t it?

There are more pictures (and videos!) on the Google Photos album here. I will try to be fairly selective about what I post on this, but I am not curating the album photos at all so you get both extremes (nice, right?).

We also saw the tail end of a dolphin show. I thought I got some Google action-shot pictures but just like yesterday I accidentally took some videos. I have no idea how, I will have to look more carefully later. I wasn’t the only one to make the mistake though, I asked my friends for a picture of me and the same thing happened with them. Super weird.

Anyway, here is the next picture after the jellies that I thought was decent:

I don’t know what these are, but aren’t they cute?

Then here’s a pretty cool picture of the tunnel part:

That’s a big ass ray

Here’s a weird lizard:

It moved like a weirdo; I love it

There is a pretty good video of this lizard in action on the album, I recommend you go take a look (only 6s). I thought all the green here was pretty:

Isn’t this pretty?

We also saw some big rodents:

I thought these were so weird

Here I am:

There are freaking sharks behind me

After the aquarium we used Tripadvisor to figure out where we would do lunch. We decided on sushi because duh. The first result was the #1 restaurant in the region, which was cool, but it was also closed, so BOO on Tripadvisor for not defaulting to “open now” (or at least making it an opt-in option!). The second result, Kura Sushi Shinagawa Ekimae, had a rating of 4.6/5 so we went for it.

We made a brief detour so that I could catch a Volbeat – a region-locked Pokemon in Pokemon Go, which I did not realize was here when we were making plans. Big thanks to Mikel and Jesse for being patient with me. On the plus side, there were beautiful cherry blossoms:

If you like cherry blossoms, there’s a 12s video where the wind was blowing the blossoms around us and it was freaking magical. There’s also a video of Jesse demoing what we could only imagine was a water fountain, but was not particularly usable as Jesse had realized prior to us recording the thing 🙁

So, off to sushi! The place was a boat/conveyor belt style. Like this:

We ate a total of 25 plates, 13 of which were mine. That said, it was not as good as I expected, and several of those plates were repeats of the couple things I liked (and then dessert, which was fine). My friends and I chatted about it and my best guess is that the rice was way too sweet, it overpowered the fish.

We decided to head back to the Airbnb after lunch. We were all starting to feel the jet lag and as I mentioned we did not have an itinerary or anything. Back at the place, we chatted about dinner and relaxed. I wrote the post previous to this one, and most of this post during that time.

After a few hours we went to dinner at Halal Sakura, a Muslim ramen place. Unfortunately, before the food arrived someone in the restaurant started smoking and I had to leave. My friends took my food to go. We ate back at the Airbnb and my food was good. I am definitely concerned at this point though that this is going to be a recurring problem for me, and would massively discourage me from future international travel. (I did a little bit of reading about smoking in Japan. It’s pretty horrible – the Japan government owns a substantial share of the tobacco industry here so the incentives are awful. A law was passed to limit smoking leading up to the 2020 Olympics, but the law is seen as toothless.)

The plan for tomorrow is to visit Tokyo Sky Tree, the tallest building in the city, and then while we are nearby visit the Sky Tree Pokemon Center as well. We will almost certainly get more sushi, hopefully higher quality!

Fitbit step count for the day: 15,446

Next: Day 2

Japan 2019 – the beginning

At the time of this writing I’m in Japan for a nearly-two week vacation. I belatedly decided that I should write a blog post for each day, and then that I should do a pre-day 1 post giving a little bit of background first. (We’ll see how well I keep up with it though.)

This is my third international trip and I would say the “most adult” one, in the sense that previously, there were other people organizing my trip heavily. It’s also the least English-saturated place I have ever been. I’m here with two of my best friends, who are also housemates – Mikel and Jesse (the trip being Jesse’s idea). We’ve compiled things we’re interested in but we don’t have a strict itinerary.

We flew from SFO to Haneda (one of the two major international airports in Tokyo), which is a 10 hour flight. That went pretty well. Here’s a picture of the first in-flight meal:

Beef over rice, salad with Italian dressing, etc.

We also got ice cream

SPOON INSIDE!

Here’s the flight tracker as we passed over the international date line

For some reason I thought this was notable

We landed around 6pm local time (2am home-time). When we booked the flight, we were due to arrive at 7pm, but day light savings time gave us an extra hour. Customs had a bit of a line but everything went fine.

From the airport, we had to head to our Airbnb. (It was Jesse’s idea. I was more inclined toward a hotel, at least for the first night, but he said that the Airbnb was a traditional kinda place and that sold me.) Jesse wanted to use Uber (no Lyft in Japan) but only Uber Black was available, and it was expensive, so we opted for a taxi. That was still around $90 (USD) for a 30 minute ride, which was a bit of a shock in spite of having been forewarned – we decided it was worth it to not have to worry about public transit as we arrived, and I do not regret it.

My initial impression of Tokyo from the taxi was not exactly what I expected. I had been told first and foremost that it is a very clean city, but I saw trash bags sitting in alleys (maybe waiting to be picked up?) and I still get the fart-smell that seems to take up chunks of space in large cities. There will be more time for a more thorough opinion later though.

When the taxi dropped us off, we were very confused. Our Airbnb is an apartment on the 9th floor of a large building. We were actually one building over, and should have caught onto this because I’m pretty sure that building only had eight floors. Anyway, after a little bit of stress we made it in fine. I thought I took some pictures, and planned to post them here, but they’re actually videos and I’m too lazy to screenshot them so here we are.

I did get some pictures from our place though, here’s the most interesting one:

I thought this showed our view pretty well

The toilet here has a bidet, which I refuse to use – my butt hole is fine as-is, thank you. That said, my friends wanted to use it and the Japanese instructions were… interesting. Below I include an unaltered photo followed by a screenshot of a Google Translate photograph overlay:

Unaltered
This is arguably more mysterious than the previous picture

Bidet aside, we were pretty exhausted. Around 9pm I went to take a shower (which was hard to figure out how to do honestly) and when I got out twenty-five minutes later my buddies had knocked out! I started reading my book (Heroes Die – a recommendation from my brother) and gave up trying to stay up around 9:40pm. We all slept ok but more about that in the next post!

Next: Day 1

My first few weeks with a 3D printer

About 3 weeks ago my Micro 3D Printer arrived from their Kickstarter campaign. Needless to say I was absolutely ecstatic. I came home from work, ripped it open, and pulled out an old laptop with Windows on it (their software is Windows-only for the moment). Once I got everything set up, the first thing that caught me off guard was that there were no models to print provided by the software. The Unofficial intro video was nice, but I was overly excited and didn’t notice the description provided a model; I expected a model in the “downloads” section of the site or even pre-loaded with the software. In fact I didn’t realize that model was there until just now as I went to write this blog post. Derp. (It’s nearly finished as I’m about to publish this post.)

IMG_20150410_223521

My initial attempts to print didn’t go great. I didn’t feed the filament in properly, so it began to print but stopped. I was using black plastic, so I thought it was just hard to see against the black print bed. Nope! I switched to blue and really made sure it got in there; you can feel it pulling when you insert it. It seems so obvious now. I’ve had the same kind of failure happen a couple of times but I just watch it toward the beginning and it usually goes well.

The first thing I printed was a “pencil holder” mostly because it was the first thing I found that was acceptable in my mind to print. It would have taken forever (8 hours) at its real size, and I just wanted to hold something in my hand, so I scaled it to 25% in each dimension. I didn’t realize it, but that means what I printed was ~1.6% the designed volume (0.25 cubed). At 1.5 hours estimated I was happy with how it turned out. The estimates are always low though, sometimes by 50%.

Lizard Print

People might wonder about an odor, and my experience is that it’s detectable but not bothersome when on my desk next to my laptop. It also prints a flat square thing as the basis and you have to peel it off, and you have to peel that basis off the print bed. That basis takes a bit of time to print, and does use at least a couple grams of filament but for most prints that isn’t a big deal. Another weird thing is that there is a “percent complete” provided on the computer, but it drags on slowly as that basis is printed and speeds up considerably once it’s done. You also can’t unplug the printer from the computer during printing.

After this proof-of-concept, my next goal was to make the process simpler. I was using the “external” way of feeding the filament into the printer, but I wanted to use the “internal” one instead, figuring it would unspool automatically while inside. After a lot of frustration, and being told by their customer service that they don’t recommend doing it, I have the same advice: don’t even bother. Their software isn’t very forgiving either, so when I couldn’t manage to do it I had to restart the software which required moving the print head around for no apparent reason. I’ll discuss what customer service recommended later.

Next up I printed a Baterang and a Superman thing. All these prints were at “low quality” so I tried a “high quality” baterang which was tremendously more time consuming (at least a factor of 2, perhaps more). The only noticeable difference between the two prints seemed to be a fluke. It definitely wasn’t 2x better, and “low quality” actually did look good. All three prints are also very solid and light, they’re sturdier than they look. Next I printed Tux the Linux penguin. I rigged something weird up with my bike’s U-lock (a recommendation of my roommate) so that it could go overnight, and that worked well as a temporary solution. Tux is what I use as a representative successful print when showing people. It was also my first print where the software automatically added support structures which are meant to gently broken off. I’m very, very happy about it.

BaterangIMG_20150411_092554IMG_20150412_095323

At this point I wanted to go from decoration to useful things. I tried printing a simple toilet-paper holder since I don’t like the one in my apartment currently. The model didn’t quite fit in the software, so I scaled it to 93% on the longest dimension thinking it’d be fine. Noooope. Shoulda measured it. My roommate had the good idea of using this mistake to hold the filament spool for overnight prints. I decided it was worth giving “high quality” another try.

I decided on Tux since it was relatively complex and because it had turned out so well it’d be a great reference. The software estimated 8 hours so it was a good candidate in terms of time estimates as well. It ended up being a relative failure and took over 12 hours. The print stopped working while printing the top of the head, so that was bad news, but the parts that actually did get printed didn’t look any better. Lesson learned: “low quality” is just fine.

IMG_20150426_215817

At this point, I contacted support about longer prints. I emailed on a Monday morning and heard back the following Thursday. Saturday morning I finally got to the email. They said not to use the internal thing, which was disappointing; why not mention this somewhere sooner, to prevent my time being wasted? Next they gave me a Dropbox link to a model for a two-part print of a spool holder that attaches on the outside of the printer (pics: without filament, with filament). By the time I went to use it, the Dropbox link was dead. I was really sad then, since the next business day was Monday and then based on experience it’d be another four days. Crap!

I decided next to try to get their software to work in Wine, so that I could get myself off Windows. That was a failure; I haven’t contacted customer support with the error I had, and at this point I have no intention of doing so, at least not while they’re still taking pre-orders. Since Wine was a no-go I then tried VirtualBox with Windows 7 as my guest OS. That was also a failure, but while going back to their site to get their software again I noticed the models were available for download on their site! Whoo! (This was dumb luck though, not customer support.)

Successful print next to terribly failed print.

Successful print next to terribly failed print.

So back to printing I went. They suggested the spool holder for my 8+ hour prints, so I was unpleasantly surprised when the model provided was estimated to take 8.5 hours. Wtf, right? After multiple painful print attempts I eventually get the spool holder working. I went back to trusty Tux for an overnight print (can’t remember if I tried “high quality” or not) and that didn’t turn out well (separate failed pic print). I contacted customer support again, with pictures of my setup and the failed print. After a full business week I haven’t heard back from them. I do realize they’re busy, but it’s not a great experience. Giving them the benefit of the doubt is tough too, if only because they sent me a link that was dead after two days.

As time has gone on, my enthusiasm and optimism have plummeted. Once I got things going, I was planning on extending an open offer for friends to do prints. Filament is cheap, so if I could just set it to go overnight that’d be fine. But right now I feel like I have to watch all my prints and invest a ton of time, so anything that anyone would want to print is going to be something I have really invest myself in.

My printer with the spool holder and a spool (current setup).

My printer with the spool holder and a spool (current setup).

A lot of the possibilities with a 3D printer involves me learning CAD as well, to make my own things (as great as Thingiverse is). With the failure rate I’ve seen, I’m not sure I can stand to spend several hours learning CAD, designing a thing, and having repeated failed prints. Surely someone can tolerate this, but I’m not up for it today.

My general conclusion is: their website is tacky, their customer service isn’t great, and the printer itself is hit-or-miss. I wouldn’t advocate against one if you’re still interested after reading all this, but I was hoping to like it enough to want to donate one to my high school. I’m definitely not doing that yet.

For anyone who really wants to pre-order one and get going here are my suggestions: Stick to PLA plastic (this is the recommendation on their site right now, though it wasn’t when I did my orders), Thingiverse is awesome, print the spool holder right away without bothering with the “internal,” ignore “high quality” prints, remove and re-insert filament after letting it sit cold for more than an hour, expect prints to take up to 2x the estimate, and keep on eye on all prints at least every 15 minutes.

If customer support magically fixes things, or they request taking the printer back for modifications, I’ll probably post back here. Same if any really useful prints come out of it, or if I get into CAD (I plan on trying Blender and Anim8or). I’m still optimistic about this printer and things I might do with it, although my enthusiasm has waned as failed prints have happened.

Handtrap Quick-exceed Gadgets

I’ve been wanting to for a while, and am finally going to write a blog post about my current Gadget build. I have the screenshot below, and underneath it the deck list.

Monsters (33)

Spells (7)

Traps (0)

Extra Deck (15)

I won’t include my side deck here, even though (or perhaps because) I think it is essential to this deck’s success. You can use your imagination about the side deck might include.

Tech Choices

Hand traps over Trap cards: Like any Gadget player, I originally played very heavy back row. There is clearly some synergy in that, where you place a little weeny monster on the field that your opponent knows they have to clear, or else they’ll have an Exceed to deal with. But over time I became frustrated with traps, because they’re slow, not searchable*, often awful, awful top decks, extremely vulnerable to destruction (end phase MST, ugh!) and Royal Decree, and sometimes you just plain have the wrong one for the situation. I found that having a solid extra deck that can solve problems, and the ability to use that extra deck at will, to be much preferable.
Having no traps makes you very vulnerable, of course. I mitigated this with a heavy hand trap lineup, with Veiler, Maxx, Gorz and Trag. My experience has been that this is not just an adequate to traps, but markedly superior!
A properly timed Veiler is a huge deal. I do not use it in an attempt to stop my opponent’s engine, which I, as a Gadget player, realize likely has some redundancy anyway. I save it for when my opponent needs to solve an important problem, be it Gear Gigant X with one more search remaining, a Machina Fortress that they thought they could Honor ARK, or even a defense mode Redox because if they can’t hit over it then I can probably make a rank 4 play the next turn.
Maxx “C” is used similarly. I don’t simply use it for a regular +1 unless I’m desperate (which admittedly, does happen on occasion). I use it, again, when I’ve created a problem that my opponent needs to solve. Maxx discourages them from solving it, gives me the ability to possibly stop them (Veiler), and gives me pluses when they really, really don’t want that. It’s a mindfuck and also just plain strategically troublesome when they prepare to make a play with a certain card advantage in mind, but everything they thought was true in life was wrong.
Plus Gorz is level 7, and Tragoedia with Gearframe, and the ability to search levels 7, 8 and 10, is a nightmare for synchro decks.

* Being able to search Bottomless Trap Hole with the Traptrix searcher isn’t good enough!

Gigantes: I love this card so much. I haven’t seen this in any other Gadget deck, ever. It’s big, inherent, good on its own, you can it it multiple times per turn, and besides allowing for rank 4 plays, it on occasion clears a ton of back row. I often side out one of them because it is not good first turn, although I once had someone Solemn Warning it (after I’d banished a Maxx “C”) and was able to then banish the other one in grave. So great. It’s also often a solution to Thunder King Rai Oh, whether they negate the summon, you can crash (and take back row with it!) or simply leave it there for fear of D Prison or Mirror Force, since they have to hit it and lose back row. I once summoned it against a Thunder King and three back row, and after asking if he had a response to summon, I crashed, taking with it BTH, Warning and MST. Sometimes people don’t read it, and sometimes they just figure you’re about to exceed so why not save you answers for that?

Redox: It’s stupid broken. Not sure it’s entirely ban worthy, but it really ties the deck together. It’s searchable with Lavalval Chain, it’s good in hand, in grave, and it bounces back between being offensive and defensive. At three it was really broken with Gigantes, but it’s still good now. Assuming you have a monster in grave, after summoning a Gadget, you can discard Redox and the just-searched Gadget for cost, target that just-searched card, and then it acts like a Double Summon (though Double Summon is a little better). Redox isn’t a -1 when you do this. The next turn, you can bring it out as a defense, and then use it as a Double Summon again after that. You can also use it to get back Crimson Blader, Machina Fortress, or whatever else.

Tin Goldfish: When Redox was at three, I just ran a single Goldfish, but now it’s important to have all three for the rank 4 support. It’s searchable with Gear Gigant X, you can set it against Thunder King in a pinch, and it often baits Veilers from players who are terrible, don’t know about Double Summon, or don’t know about Gigantes. It is vulnerable to Maxx “C” though.

Double Summon: This card is often criticized as a -1, as of course Veiler and Book of Moon are too, if you don’t think about their power. There are a whopping twelve monsters in this deck though for which a normal summon is a +1, mitigating the downside of Double Summon very clearly. As mentioned, it also synergizes well with Tin Goldfish being negated, and of course works better with Machina Gearfame than Tin Goldfish does. Again though, I often side out one or two because it’s relatively slow, only being usable once per turn.

The Machinas: It took me a long time to put Machinas and Gadgets together. I was extremely reluctant at first because Machina Fortress is initially a -1, most of the time, and I really hated that. Back when I was running traps, I put in a single Fortress to try to make extra Gadgets in hand not useless, then put a Gearframe in because it’s searchable with Gear Gigant X, then put a second Fortress in so that Gearframe would be dead so much less often. I still hated it though, since although it was nice for ditching a secondary Gadget, it was still a -1 (unless your opponent doesn’t have a good solution to it, which is often the case but I hate to rely on that), and sometimes it was your only option to lose the Gadget engine to summon it! That was always devastating. Then something happened…
Redox. Redox at three was a really, really consistent way to get Fortress into the grave with a -1, since I could ditch Redox and Fortress for cost, target a Gadget in grave, and then get a search. That Gadget search was extra, obviously, so not entirely useful, but there were huge upsides to this. The extra gadget add redundancy, making Fiendish Chain, Veiler, etc. unable to ruin the engine. That card in hand makes Trag fatter. You’d rather have it in hand than in the deck. And in a pinch, if you really need to, you can still give up the two Gadgets in hand for Fortress. With triple Redox and Gigantes, Lavalval Chain made getting Redox into hand trivial for this. When Redox became limited, I thought that the deck was dead. I kept playing it though, and realized that between getting Redox by it simply bouncing, or getting a second Gadget (quite likely) it wasn’t too bad. I even sometimes would search Fortress when I already had one in hand, so that their -1 could be combined.
I also play Force over three Cannon mostly because I love stealing an opposing Trag, Red Eyes, Ultimate Axon Kicker or any other level 10 on the rare occasion I can, but Force also doesn’t get hit by Deck Devastation Virus and having the diversity makes you less susceptible to Mind Crush. (Oh boy do I love it though when people Mind Crush on Machina Fortress!) I do very rarely summon Cannon with its own effect, but I’ve never wanted to when I only had Force. Never.


Ouroboros
– This guy is awesome. I don’t have any other good answer to something like Safe Zone with Key Beetle, but I’ve won games because this guy fixes that. Being able to banish an important card from your opponent’s grave is great too, as well as being able to take a card out of the opponent’s hand is helpful, against Exodia for example. With Book of Moon you can activate one of the effects a second time as well. (There was a time I banished something, then next turn activated another effect to take a card out of their hand that they Veiler’d, and I used Book of Moon to avoid Veiler, and then I flip summoned it and got a third card out of their hand.)

Daigusto Emeral – A great passive play to replenish resources and regain hand advantage, as well as put back hand traps. I love this card so much. It’s another card your opponent really can’t let you use a second time. I haven’t found that I can often enough make it twice to run two and use a loop.

Plays

First turn: a typical great first turn is to search Gearframe with Gear Gigant X. You can do so with Double Summon and Tin Goldfish, or even Redox if you’re going second and used a hand trap already. Sometimes you can even Goldfish into Gigant X, search Gearframe, then Double Summon, search again, and defend Gear Gigant X by using the Union effect. When I have Veiler or Maxx in hand, I do this because it creates a problem your opponent needs to solve, as well as thinning the deck of three cards on the first turn (it is only a net +1 though, first turn).
If you open with Gear Gigant X and Trag though, I would caution against this unless you know you won’t be seeing synchros (or Red Eyes). I say this because I can’t tell you how many times I made Gear Gigant X, searched Gearframe, and my fearful opponent hit it with Crimson Blader thinking they’d lock me out. When you take the damage, you can drop Trag, then on your turn search Machina Cannon with Gearframe and then use Trag’s effect to steal the Crimson Blader (sometimes then getting to hit your opponent’s monster with it too!). At this point Trag is still 3000 attack and defense, so I usually leave it in defense mode, but sometimes you can hit with it. You can also make a rank 4 with it since it can copy one of the things in grave you used to make Gear Gigant X, and Gearframe is on the field.

Evilswarm Exciton: This deck tends to maintain serious advantage, but even so you can often abuse this powerful card. Double Summon does not summon the monster when it resolves, it simply allows you to do so later. Because of this, you can -1 with it temporarily, clear the field, then perform that/those normal summon(s) and recoup that loss. Even better than this though is Redox’s effect so get a monster from your own grave. As discussed, although it’s supposed to be a -1 you can break even when summoning a Gadget. Before it resolves though, it is a -2, and since Exciton is a quick effect, you can chain it to Redox! This has the added benefit that anything Exciton destroyed that can, will miss timing. You can also special Redox from grave as a way to cause things to miss timing, or if you’re already at a disadvantage, chain it to Double Summon. Theoretically you can use Fortress or Cannon to -1 to use Exciton, though I’ve never done so, because you commit to the field and then lose it.
Exciton works especially well in this deck for two more reasons. (1) There are no traps, so field commitment is what you make of it (which is entirely minimal if you’re smart). And then there’s (2) that sometimes your opponent will set their entire hand to target Machina Fortress!

Queen Dragun Djinn: This card is here mostly because if you have Redox in hand and want to make a rank 7 play as well as have a 2200 beater, it’s not always easy or possible. Queen Dragun also negates the monster effect, so Redox will not bounce, which can be useful sometimes as a huge wall. The extra deck also doesn’t run a lot of beaters, and Gear Gigant X is typically used early game to get the engine going. If Maestroke is already on the field, she’s a very safe play as well.

Lavalval Chain: Sometimes you want to use your rank 4s to gain more advantage, but already have a six card hand. This hand enables that, since you can send to the grave Redox or Machina Fortress. Sending Fortress is still a -1, since you exceed to do it, but you don’t sacrifice the Gadget engine and if your opponent leaves it on the field you can send Redox. I tend to send Fortress before Redox because I don’t want to draw Fortress, but Redox is great to draw into. It depends on your hand too, of course. On rare occasions I’ve even top decked cards with it, though that’s not usually what you want. (Hint hint, I’m not showing my side deck, but this card works well with Skill Prisoner….)

Herp derp: This deck has more derp in it than might be expected. I recently had an Azure Eyes deck drop on me the following: Azure Eyes (the previous turn), Blue Eyes, Red Eyes and Ancient Fairy Dragon, along with a set S/T that I feared. Say what you will about that deck in general, that field is something to be reckoned with! He was trying to OTK, but I had Trag, so he couldn’t. When it came my turn, I cleared his whole field. I start my turn top decking Fortress, and already having a Cannon and a Gearframe in hand. I started by using Trag to steal Ancient Fairy Dragon, discarding Fortress for cost (this time discarding Fortress was even a +1!). 1/5 way there. I then discarded Cannon to summon that Fortress, went Big Eye and took Red Eyes. 2/5 there. Next summoned Gearframe, searched another Cannon, and then Trag copied level 4 so I could Honor ARK the Blue Eyes with Trag and Gearframe. So 3/5 the way there now, controlling Red Eyes, Big Eye and Honor ARK. I then ditched the second Cannon to get Fortress, and crashed Azure Eyes with Fortress, which was a +1 since I could pop the back row (MST here, oh well). I realize that this whole thing could potentially have been stopped, but there’s no way modern trap Gadgets could have done anything like this without Ultimate Offering (which, incidentally, would have gotten MST’d).
I’ve also stolen a Quasar before have my opponent made it under Maxx C. It’s times like this I side out two Double Summons, so that if I Maxx “C” then I can use as many of the cards in my hand as possible.
I’ve also calculated that if you Maxx “C” in response to Genex Birdman’s effect summon when Karakuri Geargia are going off, there is about a 95% chance of getting at least one of the three between Gorz or Trag to stop the OTK. You then can steal their monsters with Trag, and make a lot of different plays.

Problems

Drawing useless Gadgets is the obvious and well-known problem. Let’s start by putting this in perspective though: with a forty card deck, having no Duality’s or Upstart Goblins to throw things off and rounding by 1%, about 20% of the time you’ll open zero Gadgets, one Gadget about 40% of the time, two Gadgets 30% of the time, and for three or more you get the remaining 10% (specifically, about 9.5%, 1.5% and then .1% and 0.00% for 3, 4, 5 and 6). That means that you’ll open 3 or more gadgets both games one and two about 1% of the time, and for a three-game match, you’ll open three Gadgets about 2.8% of the time. Now this doesn’t include your 7th draw, because I didn’t want to account for all the different ways the deck could get thinned first. But I think this stats are pretty reassuring, especially considering that just as likely as you are to get at least one Gadget, back row before factoring in opposing player interruptions, you’re just as likely to be able to get a Gearframe search of Fortress to mitigate those extra Gadgets.

Another problem with this build is that on occasion you’ll open two or three of the big Machinas but no Fortress or Gearframe. At times like this, I try extremely hard to make Lavalval Chain and dump a Fortress. This is slow, and any good deck that draws OK will outpace that. It’s also a problem if they can solve Fortress once you drop it. I’ve thought about dropping the big Machina (Cannon, Force) count, but spamming Fortress in this build is essential since the extra deck is for engine and problem solving.

There are some obvious side deck vulnerabilities as well. Thunder King Rai Oh, though there’s Gigantes, Book of Moon, and Dark Hole, is really, really annoying. Luckily though it’s limited and it’s more devastating if they open it than if they get it later. Mistake, the continuous trap, hurts. There are plenty of cards to side if you’re concerned about face up continuous traps though, so I side appropriately. Skill Drain is a similar problem, although Gigantes often solves it quite well. Kaiser Colosseum stop the rank 4 plays pretty hard, although if you can successfully summon Machina Fortress you can often sit on it for quite a long time.

Leo, the level ten synchro, is a huge problem, as is Felgrand. I’ve thought about putting Limiter Removal back in the deck, but see both infrequently enough that I haven’t done it.

Match ups

Geargia Karakuri – Maxx “C” hurts them so bad, especially being able to drop Trag. I have had very little problem with this.

Plus One Fist – I haven’t seen much of it since Wolfbark went to one, but it was a problem match up. You can’t fearlessly summon a Gadget, Trag and Gorz aren’t very helpful, and while other decks have a problem with the Exceed spam every turn, they just popped it! So annoying. I’ve heard people talk about Call of the Haunted replacing Wolfbark. I won’t go into why, but that doesn’t scare me at all.

Bujins – Played well, I can get over them most of the time, though it’s somewhat difficult. This deck can play around though by things such as Blackship of Corn if they just have Hare, Diamond Dire Wolf if they just dumped Turtle, since they’ll have to burn Turtle and one of Crane or Honest to keep Yamato, plus sides like Mind Control and Creature Swap can hurt them. Fortress is also a huge problem for them, of course. This match up also got a lot easier when I realized a certain Ally of Justice monster is searchable with Gear Gigant X….

Hieratics – Pretty much the same as Karakuri Geargia. They take a few turns to set up, and I just find that I can stop their OTK by then most of the time.

Pure Gearia – Harder than the Karakuri version. This deck can grind through traps pretty well, but if they open Armor and two three good traps, it’s very very difficult to keep up with them.

Harpies – Very easy match up. All the hand traps really hurt them, I’m not afraid of Hunting Ground, Abyss Dweller occasionally hits their engine hard, and the problem really is that if you just stop one of their plays, or get a +1 with Maxx they’re in trouble.

Dragons – A tough match up because of Skill Drain. They just have so much draw power, and they can become aggressive very quickly. Getting Redox quickly, as a defense, is essential.

Blackwings – Gigantes really, really hurts them. Fortress is a pretty big problem as well. If you focus on controlling only a single monster at a time, you can make their Icarus’s virtual dead. Not too problematic.

Constellars – Lacking a monster engine, they just can’t keep up. Omega doesn’t help them much here obvious, and Pleides doesn’t handle Fortress well. Royal Decree also tends to present a tremendous problem for them.

Evilswarm – Similar to Constellars, with the obvious problem that Ophion can be problematic. Decree is again really helpful, and the rank 4 plays tend to be good enough. If you drop Fortress before they have Ophion, that’s a tremendous problem for them as well.

Mermails – Again, running no back row helps a lot since they don’t get pluses off of Marksman. This is another match up where Mind Control is wonderful, and Trag can steal level 4 or 7. Trag can get around Gaios as well if you have 5 or more cards in hand, since you can simply copy a level 4 in grave to hit Gaios. Abyss Dweller and Blackship of Corn also hit this deck pretty hard.

Infernity – I never see the synchro version anymore, so I can’t say about that. But the exceed version isn’t very scary, especially with Barrier to one. The hand traps tend to hurt a lot, and a defense mode Maestroke is a problem for them. And again, I have some nice sides.

Windups – Again, hand traps hurt them quite bad, but they can be rough if they get factory and a good trap or two.

Abandoned Techs

I’ve tried a lot of different things in this deck, and considered others. I’ll record here some of the things I decided against at various points.

Reptile Support – Kagetokage and King of Feral Imps are some cards people have seen in Gadgets before. I’ve found that Gigantes, Double Summon and Tin Goldfish are all preferable. Gigantes is good by itself and is inherent, Double Summon isn’t a special summon and thins the deck, and Tin Goldfish is a machine, so you can make Gear Gigant X and then search Gearframe.
The one big advantage of Kagetokage is that unlike Tin Goldfish, Veiler, Fiendish and Skill Drain don’t stop you from making a rank 4. I haven’t found this to be enough of an issue though.
People also mention Masked Chameleon. While it’s a good card, and synergizes with Machina Gearframe, it’s too balanced – you can’t derp with it. I also don’t want to be reliant on getting Gearframe into the grave to make it.

Chaos – you can use the reptile stuff, as well as Mandragora, to run cards like Chaos Sorcerer and Black Luster Soldier… if you have some way of consistently getting lights in the grave. Veiler isn’t good enough, and Utopia isn’t worth running for this. I tried to create a build, and it looks so bad I never even really tried it. Though it was fun when I Big Eye’d BLS in someone else’s Chaos Gadgets build.

Salvage – back when I ran back row and just Tin Goldfish, I tried out Salvage to get them back. It was pretty cool. I might try it if I used Gear Gigant X but not Machina engine, since you’d be focusing on Tin Goldfish and rank 4 plays. In this build it isn’t viable, and I don’t think it’s powerful enough to justify what is sometimes a very terrible card to have in hand.

Photon Thrasher – just a big level 4 I used before I realized Gigantes is better. Also a light, for Chaos, though I never tried it.

Dust Knight – It’s a level 4, 1400/1200 ATK/DEF who has a flip effect to send any EARTH monster from the deck to the grave. I thought it’d be good with Fortress and Redox, but it’s way too slow, I’d always rather summon other things, and just generally not good. I was really excited about it for a bit though.

Grandsoil the Elemental Lord – I got some serious derp out of this card. With triple Gigantes and triple Redox, it was somewhat consistent… though I took it out even before Redox went to one. The problem was that if you didn’t win that turn, when your opponent got rid of it, you were pretty SOL. Didn’t like it.

Naturia Cherries – I tried it with Grandsoil too, and it was cute when my opponent had to deal with more of those annoying suckers. Plus having more tuners was nice. But oh my god, I hated drawing two. Just no. Never again.

Unfettered Draw Power – I’m talking Cardcar D, Upstart Goblin, Reckless Greed, and even Trade In here (for Machina Cannon!). You can critique these separately, but there’s one basic problem… what are you drawing? The slow, consistent pluses of thinning the Gadgets is great because then you don’t draw so many Gadgets. If you use all these other draw cards, you’ll draw more useless Gadgets, and for what? Being able to make another rank 4? Not necessary. I don’t care that Cardcard D is searchable with Gear Gigant X, there’s a good reason that Geargia don’t run it!

Tour Guide – the extra deck is too tight, it’s way, way not worth sacrificing rank 4 consistency.

Limiter Removal – I loved this card when I ran it. I want to point out right away that if it enables you to hit over just one monster that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to, you mitigate what otherwise would be a -1. And Gearframe with any other machine in hand becomes an OTK, two gadgets hitting into an empty field with it is ~5000 damage, Gearframe can hit over Leo and Felgrand, Fortress can hit over… just about anything, and you can save a monster like Fortress or Gear Gigant X after using it by using Gearframe’s Union effect. But occasionally, I’d have to -1 off it by hitting over just one monster and then not exceeding. When I was making choices, it just had to go.

Gem Knight Pearl – I just rarely need it as a beater. When I was making choices, something had to come out, and it did.

Number 85: Crazy Box – This card is mostly here because it was nice against Skill Drain. I found though that most decks that run Skill Drain run a bunch of back row too, and Crazy Box can’t handle it. It had just been better to side hard against it, and use my primary engine and problem solvers.

Gagaga Cowboy – Situationally, we all know you can push for game with this card. And there are definitely times I wish I’d had it. But whenever I used it to hit over a monster, I was so unhappy about it, but it always died so easily! Just didn’t seem worth keeping in. In terms of beaters, I’d prefer Pearl over it, I think.

Fairy King Albverdich – You can make this card relatively consistently, but I just found that double Honor ARK seemed to be a better choice. It was better in Chaos Dragons days. Might make a comeback at some point.

Master of Blades – I thought, hey, it’s big, it’s EARTH, and Inzektors are rough, right? The first time I made it, it was against Inzektors, and they just equiped Gigamantis to Centipede, then Hornet, and… hit over. I thought it would be good against Fire Fist too, but I found they could too often use Tiger King to negate it and then pop it with Bear. Basically, it’s not much better than just having Redox and Fortress on the field.

Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger – I used to use Ancient Gear Gadjiltron Dragon back when Ultimate Offering was legal, and because of that I know the power of piercing. I’ve seriously considered running this third rank 7, also possibly because I may or may not run Mind Control which synergizes with this. I couldn’t justify taking out any rank 4s.

Geargiauger – I know this isn’t TCG yet, but I thought about it because of Gearframe. I might run it in a back row build, but in this build, it would just be terrible unless you had it first turn. It’s just too balanced of a card.

Number 104: Masquerade – I saw Dubkdad use this against Bujins in… thunder family maybe? I can’t remember, but it looked awesome, and I tried it for a while. While it’s great when you’re afraid of Honest, I just found that other answers were usually better, namely Blackship of Corn and Maestroke. They require less commitment as well.

Number 69: Heraldry Crest – If the negation was a condition instead of a trigger, I would love this card. It’s cool that it can be used to copy my own monsters, but it took too much commitment and typically if it was worth making I was winning anyway. It was better to put problem solvers in.

Rank-up Cards: None of the Exceeds I could run are good enough to justify both the extra deck space and main deck space. It’s really about putting all your eggs in one basket. I just wasn’t comfortable with it.

Chain Summoning – There was a gadget deck that used this and topped. It obviously works mostly with Kagetokage, which I already discussed I don’t prefer. But really the reason that guy topped was that Plus One Fist has a really tough time with two monsters. That was mostly it. This card is often dead, it involves a great deal of field commitment, and is just too vulnerable.

Scrap Recycler with Transmodify – Haven’t gotten a good build with this yet, but hope for it for one day!

Ancient Gear Gadjiltron Dragon [Honorable Mention] – This card isn’t really viable in this deck, but there was a time I used Magical Hats and Geartown to spam this sucker. With Ultimate Offering at three, I could tribute summon this guy pretty often too. My opponent would hit into a Gadget, I would summon another, and when there was a replay they’d just attack again, confused, then… BAM! Scary guy. I didn’t run the Machina engine back then, maybe there’s some way to build this with with Trade Ins and Machina Cannon. I’m thinking Plaguespreader Zombie to put extra Gadgets back maybe? And then I could synchro into Leo? Just rambling here now.

 

Conclusion

I totally didn’t proof-read this. Maybe I will later All other criticisms are welcome.

Pseudo, Latent and Potential Advantage in Yugioh

We all know that card advantage is very often more important than life points, especially early game. In fact, if that changes during a duel then that’s probably a good sign that you’re losing, since sacrificing card advantage for life points tends to be bad in the long run. Even when life points aren’t yet a concern though, raw advantage isn’t the end of the story. I’d like to bring in terminology to think explicitly about some special cases of advantage: pseudo advantage, where you technically have card advantage but it isn’t useful (e.g. Fiendish Chain after the target has left the field without being destroyed), latent advantage which I think is most clearly exemplified by baby dragon format, where someone could start their turn drawing Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles and controlling no other cards, and then +4 out of their grave, and (thanks to Jeffrey Seydel for this last one) potential advantage which is similar to latent advantage except it is advantage gained over many turns rather than being redeemable immediately.

Why does this matter though? Because of one card: Evilswarm Exciton Knight. Exciton is a generic, splashable extra deck card, and is relatively hard to stop once it hits the board (and the things that stop it all have some form of counter-counter). Bottomless Trap Hole, Compulsory Evacuation Device, and Torrential Tribute won’t protect your five backrow you set thinking they’d be safe, and Fiendish Chain could be countered with Mystical Space Typhoon. Even Effect Veiler doesn’t necessarily stop it, since a chained Book of Moon will prevent Veiler and maybe Skill Prisoner will see some play later when people realize how amazing it is.

The point is, having an inert Fiendish Chain or any other do-nothing cards can become a serious liability. Pseudo advantage makes your field extra vulnerable, especially if you use backrow heavily or use a deck that necessarily commits to the field such as OTK-oriented decks that are very make-it-or-break-it.

The flip-side of this is latent advantage and potential advantage. Dragon Rulers are a clear example of latent advantage, but cards which are pseudo advantage sometimes can become latent advantage. Fiendish Chain, for example, stops a monster effect which typically would have caused a change in advantage, either a search, special summon from grave or deck, or the removal of resources of the opponent, or even the destruction of a monster by battle (which is an often-overlooked but essential +1). Even though Fiendish Chain does not get rid of the monster it targets, it is often a net one-for-one when it negates the monster effect. If later the controller of Fiendish summons Scrap Dragon and destroys their Fiendish and an opponent’s card, this synergy has resulted in a net gain in advantage. This kind of latent advantage isn’t as safe as that of Dragon Rulers, since it is risky pseudo advantage at first, but is still a well-known and powerful combo.

Another form of pseudo advantage is having your cards but which are useless. Drawing a Blue-Eyes White Dragon in a deck that needs to discard it with Trade In, while not having that Trade In, is a form of card advantage but is unhelpful. In the same vein, if your opponent controls only Royal Decree and a beater, having five power traps set along with six more in hand is meaningless. You can be +9 to your opponent but if that advantage is pseudo advantage then it’s not going to help you.

Other examples of latent advantage include a single splashed Dragon Ruler in its appropriate deck (be it Blaster in Fire FistsTidal in Mermails or whatever else you can come up with). With 14 waters in grave, you have a potential +7 from Tidal, even though you can’t make use of it all in one turn. Tenki with Fire Fist Bear is another example, where controlling just a Tenki is very unhelpful but the two together become extremely powerful.

Bujins acquire latent advantage as well since a Turtle or Hare in grave do not count toward card advantage as traditionally thought of, or toward Exciton, but if your opponent needs to spend a card to get rid of something that can be protected then the Bujin player’s opponent must -1, but the Bujin player is still spending resources so if latent advantage is included then it is a 1-for-1 (of course, those Bujins in grave were probably a latent +1 thanks to Yamato). It is here that I think it most effective to point out — latent and potential advantage are often public knowledge. Being public knowledge means that oftentimes a skillful opponent can play around that advantage rather than attempting to exhaust it.

Latent advantage like this can be taken away as well using stun cards. Of course D.D. Crow can banish those Bujins and Dragon Rulers, but for the player using Crow doing so is -1 in terms of raw card advantage. Even Ally of Justice Cycle Reader is a raw -1 here, although if latent advantage is considered then it’s a powerful +1! (If you can get lucky and chain it to Bujincarnation it’s a raw 1-for-1, potentially a latent +2!) Another option is to use something like Soul Drain or Necrovalley, which renders however much latent advantage they have entirely inert and useless much like Royal Decree can do to traps. Similarly, Vanity’s Emptiness can render Dragon Rulers in the grave useless. All latent and potential advantage has at least one stun card.

I’d like to mention another differentiation between latent and potential advantage. In the case of a player who has a Dragon Ruler in grave, they clearly have a form of advantage which is readily available during their turn, but in no meaningful sense does it count during the opposing player’s turn. Sure, it could get banished and then could get a search, but that’s not responsive and it’s quite situational. Bujins on the other hand can use Turtle or Hare during either player’s turn, at nearly any point they’d want to. It’s worthwhile to note however that Hare is once-per turn, whereas Turtle is not, so having two Turtles should count as two cards toward latent advantage but having two Hares is a single card toward latent advantage and the other is potential advantage.

I’d also like to take potential advantage a step further, though I admit this is much fuzzier. A savvy player may want to consider it in terms of continuous monster engines, for deck building or thinking about a style of play against an opposing deck. Take for example Gadgets and Wind-ups. Gadgets and Wind-ups each have a way of plusing, for Gadgets its their own summon effects and for Wind-ups it’s Wind-up Factory, Wind-up Magician and Wind-up Rat. Gadgets can potentially gain a +8 (less if multiple are drawn, more if they’re somehow put back in the deck). Wind-ups… I don’t want to count, but there’s a lot (plus they can control multiple copies of Wind-up Factory!).

If you compare this to decks like Constellars or Evilswarm, they each have a harder time getting +1s. Evilswarm can manage it by taking a -1 to make Ophion (unless they sack that Rescue Rabbit), getting Infestation Infection, and then searching out those Kerykeions. The Evilswarm engine is much more fragile though, since they rely on their trap not being destroyed, they often run just one of that trap and so can’t simply search another, and they have to choose between searching it or Infestation Pandemic, which can be a really tough choice. Note however that Kerykeion is usually used immediately for an XYZ summon, and then isn’t available for pluses anymore. Once they’re all used, that engine is typically depleted. It usually ends after a +3, and those pluses are usually traded in immediately for a bigger monster (that admittedly that monster usually gets a +1, it doesn’t set up for later plays). Constellar have a play style that relies more on control with an XYZ which is inherently safe from spells and traps (Omega), and another monster that bounces potential problems (Pleiades), on top of having access to cards like Honest, on top of backrow; they rely on making a monster and sitting on it rather than maintaining shear advantage and then attempting to make responsive plays with their remaining resources.

I don’t wish to discuss in detail here the advantages and disadvantages of decks and archetypes which make use of robust engines or defending a single juggernaut, since it’s a matter of preference, play style, and honestly, meta. I mean here merely to talk about different forms of advantage, and to bring this up in terms of deck building. Most of this article pertains to in-duel considerations of advantage, but I simply wanted to point out that it can be considered for deck-building as well.

To come back to Gadgets and Wind-ups, they both have a relatively consistent form of potential advantage which far exceeds those of some other decks, but are of course interruptible. Their potential advantage can be taken away by an Effect Veiler or Mystical Space Typhoon, although I might make whole posts devoted to how I think each of those cards should be used. And of course, Mistake can be quite devastating as well, and decks like Constellars can use it synergistically, unlike Gadgets.

What about considering latent and potential advantage in terms of something like having Infernity Launcher with two Infernity Archfiends in grave? Considering that Launcher can get a +1, then each Archfiend can gain a another +1 (+3 so far) and then an Infernity Necromancer or two can be searched, each of which (if Stygian Street Patrol is in grave) could get another +1 (+5 so far), potentially getting another Archfiend which gets another +1 (+6!) it gets to be a big deal the number of potential pluses. Those are quite conditional though: Launcher could be destroyed by Mystical Space Typhoon; the Archfiends could be destroyed by Bottomless Trap Hole or Torrential Tribute; Maxx “C” could be chained to Launcher, inhibiting the longer-term pluses which rely on a lot of special summoning; Skill Drain can negate their effects; Royal Decree could render Infernity Barrier and Infernity Break searches useless. Each of these pluses has a condition, and the probability of an opponent having at least one of them increases the further into this change of plus-incurring events you go. Gadgets and Wind-ups as a counter case have much fewer cards that can interrupt them at one time, as well as having a greater probability of redundancy, since you will probably draw another Gadget, might draw another Wind-up Factory, definitely won’t draw another Launcher, and usually have less than a 1/20 chance of top decking another Infernity Archfiend if there’s still one in deck. Comparing this to Dragon Rulers, a Bottomless Trap Hole, Dimensional Prison, Spellbook of Fate or D.D. Crow or other banishing cards takes away that potential advantage, and Honor Ark is a very consistent though less powerful solution, to remove those potential pluses as well.

I’d like to conclude by summarizing that I simply think that this extra terminology can be more useful than the traditional view of raw advantage, which doesn’t get the whole picture. How exactly you might use it, and what specific values you’d apply in specific situations, can depend on exactly what cards occur during a duel. But taking an objective, holistic look at cards and their interaction is yet another way to prepare before and during duels to beat an opponent and control for luck, as well as avoid getting blown away by Exciton (which isn’t going away by the way!).

OkCupid 99%ers

I wrote a Python script to do some analysis of my 99% matches on OkCupid, the dating website. It’s might be against their Terms of Use, but I interpret

“…you agree that your use of the Website shall be for bona fide relationship-seeking purposes (for example, you may not use the Website solely to compile a report of compatible singles in your area, or to write a school research paper).”

(emphasis added) as meaning that what I’m doing is probably fine since I actually would like to find someone.

The script is in a repo that can be found here, and requires mechanize, lxml and sort of matplotlib. It also saves what it finds with pickle, to be nice to OkC’s servers, but making use of that data is kind of iffy right now.

Here’s the first image, a simple one.

Age

I’m 21 years old so it’s not surprising that most of my matches are grouped around my own age. All the bar graphs have this shape, a nice bell curve. There are a few outliers here you can see though. The total sample of 99% matches world-wide was like 208 people or something like that. I can’t remember (you can reverse-engineer it from the script) but I think that I searched by match percent, for people with images who had been online in the last month. I filtered by women, but not relationship status (more on that later).

Here’s a bar graph of my friend percents. I never understood what it meant or what it was for, and this wasn’t illuminating at all.

Friend Percents

And here’s the enemy percent, of which I pretty much feel the same way about.

Again, nice bell curves, with the only notable difference being that the enemy values were much lower and more concentrated. Next up is sexual orientation.

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if the search was supposed to turn up gay women. I assume not, as in a sample this big I’d expect a few to show up. Oh well. It’s interesting that the women who I have high match rates with identify so frequently as bisexual. There’s the issue that a bunch of them may be lying but I can’t easily find out more on that. I also wondered how this compares to the general population, but I couldn’t find bi/pan-sexuality rates with some quick and dirty Google searching and they didn’t have an easy number (even for self-identification) on the OkTrends blog.

It doesn’t turn up in this data, but my high match rate matches tend to be queer or queer friendly, so I guess in this data set it’s more likely than the general population that they’re pansexual and attracted primarily to feminine/masculine and just haven’t come across other people like that. Anyway, gender is tricky!

Two more images. A kinda boring one, then my favorite.

Here’s the reply rates in a nice pie chart, not too interesting to me. Most of my matches are apparently the most selective, followed by very unselective. This data might be more interesting to me if I knew what the general population looked like. Whatever. If someone else has anything interesting to say I’d like to hear it, but let’s get to my favorite pie chart!

(“seeing” means “seeing someone”. It was easier to code this way though.)

I love this one because the result is relatively unexpected (for me anyway). Only just over half of my matches on a dating site are single? Wtf? It makes more sense if you take a second to think about, and know what the profiles look like (which you don’t, but I do). A ton of my matches are polyamorous or in open relationships. What this means for me is tricky, but in terms of just looking at this data, that’s where that comes from, and it makes this pie chart make more sense.

Lastly, I looked at where people were in cities/states (including nations outside the US as states). I tried making a pie chart out of the states, but it was too crowded.

[…]

Canada (13, 6.25%)
Ontario (4)
British Columbia (3)
Alberta (2)
Manitoba (2)
Quebec (2)

Washington (15, 7.21%)
Seattle (10)
Lynnwood
Tacoma
Bellevue
Pullman
Mount Vernon

Massachusetts (16, 7.69%)
Boston (5)
Somerville (3)
Cambridge
Chestnut Hill
Jamaica Plain
Andover
Middleboro
Beverly
Waltham
Brighton

New York (20, 9.62%)
New York (6)
Brooklyn (4)
Ithaca (2)
Jackson Heights
Kingston
Troy
Brockport
Flushing
Bronx
Avon
Buffalo

California (23, 11.06%)
San Francisco (5)
Los Angeles (4)
Berkeley (4)
Vallejo
Los Gatos
Menlo Park
Mill Valley
Claremont
Anaheim Hills
Pasadena
Newbury Park
Oakland
Mendocino

What more can I do? The next thing I want to do is make a word cloud (or whatever they’re called). I’d have to scrape the 208 profiles to do this though, and even though I made like 100 requests to compile this data, I’m gonna save that for another day. I expect words like “feminist”, “liberal”, “queer” and the like to show up a lot, but I’m looking forward to finding out new stuff! Also, some nice pie charts on religion and “looking for” will be nice.

Something I tried to do was order the 99%ers (just for curiosity) but that part of the code doesn’t seem to work. I made some assumptions which might not be true, and used my friend’s code without understanding it, since I was busy writing the rest of this. Another possible issue was that the data changed as I was scraping it.

Feedback on this would be cool. Ideas to extend it, what I could have done differently, or even vaguely related stuff would be awesome to hear about.