Japan Days 5 – 8

After Tokyo, our next destination was Kyoto. We were excited to spend a few hours riding the Shinkansen (Bullet Train). There aren’t any trains this fast in Australia, and since riding on one, I think they would be an AWESOME way to travel around Australia (if only each city also had great public transport…..).

IMG_3678So with all our bags, we set off to Tokyo Station and bought up big on our Bento boxes. The train was like a really spacious airliner, lots of leg room and none of that confined, super air-conditioned recycled pressurised air feeling that drains you when you fly. And things to see out the windows. In all we were quite disappointed to be arriving after only about 2.5 hours in Kyoto.

Again we dragged our bags across the city to our hotel. After check in we took a train over to the Gion district, an old area famous for Geisha and Maiko. I did see a Maiko, but I can’t imagine a full Geisha wandering through the area all dressed up. Eventually we ended up at the Yasaka Shrine to discover the entrance area was full of food stalls. We wandered about munching on the delicious food we found. This turned out to be a common set up near shrines and our taste buds loved it…

IMG_3479The next day we discovered more Cherry blossoms and wandered about the grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. I managed to set off an alarm wandering too close to a wall. We also visited Nijo-jo Castle, which impressed me with its moat. I can’t imagine invading one was easy with these in the way. IMG_3276They also have a Nightengale Floor, which is designed so that no one can sneak up on the Lords. I had read about it and it works well, and is a surprisingly pleasantly creaky floor!

IMG_3316Another organised tour the following day took us to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This was another amazing historical place and I drank the waters that are supposed to support good fortune and good luck in your studies.

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IMG_3607Next stop was the Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine, with a famous set of orange gates leading up a set of stairs. Again amazing to see things that were so old. IMG_3639After that was the Bamboo Forrest and Arashiyama. Another set lunch here filled our bellies. The last stop on this tour was the Rokuon-Ji Temple, also known as the Golden Temple. Though typical of Japanese historical sites it has burned down at least one, it was a peaceful and impressive site.

IMG_3693The next day we headed back to Arashiyama and Mrs Mab was taken on a small rickshaw ride, having a great chat with the runner. Afterwards it was back to Gion to watch a cultural show, which was interesting, but disappointing in its lack of Geisha/Maiko.

IMG_3729And that was Kyoto. Next up – Osaka.

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Japan Days 0-4

A long planned holiday has finished up about a week ago. We headed to Japan for almost three weeks. Japan is a place that many people have always wanted to go, and I am no different. Mrs Mab initially wasn’t too interested, but was encouraged by her workmates that it was a great place to visit.

IMG_2928.jpgWe planned 4 days in Tokyo, 4 in Kyoto, 4 in Osaka and 3 more in Tokyo for our return. Big items on the family’s list was Disney and Universal (of course), Mt Fuji, Cherry Blossoms and seeing some cultural stuff. Our timing was dictated by Mrs Mab’s leave from work so we left in the last three weeks of Term 1 here, covering Easter as well. It also was the Japanese school Spring Vacation.

And it was Cherry Blossom time in Tokyo. We struck it very lucky as it was cold for the time before we arrived. About 5 days or so before we arrived it suddenly warmed, starting the blossoms, which meant that as we arrived they were starting to peak. That was a total lucky chance.

IMG_0015We did most of our own planning, simply drawing up a list of things we wanted to see and decided to wing it. Apart from booking a day tour that included Mt Fuji (and included lunch and a visit to an onsen, the Japanese bath house).

We arrived in Tokyo on a pleasant Tuesday morning and eventually we’ve arrived at Shinjuku station. This is where it all became abundantly clear that we were in a different country and that Tokyo was MUCH bigger than Sydney. It took us 15 minutes at least to find an exit to the station that was vaguely in the direction of our hotel. This would prove the only really confusing part of our stay, getting into and out of stations, often with luggage, and in the direction of where we wanted to go (rather than on completely the other side of the station and having to go back through or around it). The trains themselves, thanks to Google’s knowledge of public transport, were easy. Just the stations….

After dropping our bags we headed to the nearby Shinjuku Gyoen gardens to see the cherry blossoms. Many locals were out having picnics and quite a few in kimonos and the male equivalent. Very cool to see. The other sights that surprised us were the convenience stores and the vending machines. Everywhere you turned there was one or both, or many!

IMG_3059After the park, we visited the Meiji Shrine before heading to Shibuya Crossing, the one seen on many pictures and many movies. It wasn’t as busy as expected, though it was early afternoon on a Tuesday. Next up was Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo’s other really tall thing (not the more well known red and white Tokyo Tower).

IMG_3067Mt Fuji was our main destination on the next day. Our first organised tour for the trip, it took us by bus up Fuji, then to a nearby town with a set lunch. After the lunch was the onsen and then the Factory Outlets store. Fuji reminded me a lot of Ruapehu, which I used to live next to. Fuji is a bit larger. The girls saw snow for the very first time, though it was that crappy melted and turned to ice been cleared off the road kind, but still snow.

IMG_0051I did try the onsen, though I was the only one in my family and only about half the bus load were “brave” enough to strip down and enjoy the hot water. Was kind of cool relaxing in the hot water gazing over Fuji.

The next day was Disney Sea. It was SUPER busy, with spring vacation on. We managed 2 rides in about 7 hours at the park, partly because I misunderstood that FastPass was free there. The most unexpected thing was that everyone remained seated on the ground to watch the parade. Made it really easy for all to see. It also turned really cold in the evening. It was an expensive day, though mostly due to the price of food in the park.

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The evening parade was pretty cool, with the best scene being where the Magic Mirror (which was a light ring, perhaps 10m tall) was doing something and showed the dragon from Sleeping Beauty. AND THEN THE DRAGON CAME OUT OF THE MIRROR. It was pretty cool transition to the mechanical dragon, before Mickey defeated it and sent it back into the mirror.

And that was Tokyo, the next day was the Shinkansen (bullet train) and Kyoto.

WoW – Lets go Legion

It’s almost as bad as my first BC attempt (*BC attempt is discussed here). Ok, not as bad, but I’m dieing all over the place

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See, here, again. Pretty much every time there is a mini boss, I get pounded at least once. During the quest chain for DoomHammer I died to one there about 7 times. It’s quite frustrating. BC was worse, I would die every second boar there.

So yes, I picked DoomHammer. It is Enhance spec after all, and that is what Mab has stayed consistently as, so it makes sense.

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After that I believe I was in my craft hall (the Earthern Ring cavern). From there I have picked HighMountain. They are Tauren after all.

(and that’s where you find me dieing, again)

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Car Drivers are …

I couldn’t think of the right adjective, maybe you can by the end of the story.

Yesterday I filtered to the front of a LONG line of traffic to find a guy trying to push his car across an intersection (this street was really busy, but everyone was turning left or right, straight ahead was quiet and a good place to option for the broken car). He was at the head of the queue, holding all these people up.

I thought I could help out, so pulled in behind him and hopped off the bike. A pedestrian crossing in front jumped in behind as well. As we did another filtering bike turned up and hopped off to help. with the 4 of us, this was an easy job. Actually on flat, pushing a car is pretty easy, its trying to steer/brake as well as pushing that becomes awkward.

So the lights turned green and we pushed off. About halfway we started to yell at the driver, who was pushing from the drivers door, to hop in the car so he could steer and brake. Caused a scary moment as he almost tripped getting in, but he was in and the car pushed across.

We headed back to our bikes just as the light went red, so it was perfectly timed. This meant we had the whole red cycle to get back on. In my case this meant taking off my gloves to fish in my pockets as I couldn’t remember which had my keys.

Not a single car driver moved, the whole time, to help this guy. I don’t know how long he had been there, but the queue behind him was pretty long. As riders, and the pedestrian who was crossing the street, this stuck car would never have held us up. Wasn’t in our way at all. But we all decided to help out. The car drivers, half of whom (there were two lanes turning right, the car was in one of these) were stuck behind him and basically couldn’t move until the broken car was moved….

They just sat there.

Car drivers are….

To the Putty

IMG_2838.jpgI decided I needed a ride to celebrate my upcoming Birthday. So I took the day off work and headed up the Putty. I left pretty early, so by 7:30 I was just above Windsor. I stopped at Colo Heights for breakfast before pushing on.

I think it was about 9:30 when I got to the top of the Putty. I did a run up 10-mile before having a rest at the fireplace (Why is there even a fireplace there? There’s no space, there’s no camping area, no river/creek to swim in, there’s hardly any parking even? Who built it? Why?)

After the rest, I headed up to Broke for fuel. I was half thinking of coming back and doing some laps of 10-mile, or I even considered heading across to Wollombi and maybe Wiseman’s or Old Pac.

I headed back down the Putty, and ended up doing 1 more lap of 10-mile before deciding to start heading home. Stopped for a flash burger at Grey Gums (and flash burger prices too!), it was nice, but I see where they have put together the money to seal their driveway!

And home.

I was really happy with my riding, especially in the more technical sections. I feel as if I went faster (no one caught me, but the lack of traffic may have been a factor there) and I felt a LOT more confident as I did. I’m still not going to win any races, but I felt that I didn’t freak out at all (except a couple of moments where I lost concentration and completely forgot where the road was headed, tired). It was a good ride.

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WoW – Ding.

I have no idea what happened to this post. I don’t know why it was blank.

WoWScrnShot_030118_053722Mabaho is 100.

I’ve purchased the Legion and Battle for Azeroth double pack. This gets me a 100 boost and a 110 boost, but no collectors pets or mounts. To be honest, that doesn’t bother me. And as I don’t play Starcraft, Diablo, Overwatch and have only dabbled in Hearthstone, the other add-ons are not of interest either.

Besides I’m still waiting for my 2 seat mount from RaF.

I haven’t used the boosts, but at this point, I’m waiting to see how far Mini Mab and I get.

 

 

WoW – RaF

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I decided to RaF to my daughter’s trial account partly as it seemed the easiest way to get us a 2-seat mount. This all went through without any trouble, although it did set her up with a second WoW Trial account (that’s annoying, but no loss as she didn’t have a toon over 10 in the other one).  We both started a Panda (as she wanted to do that, and I’d never done it either).  I started a Monk as it was new and she has started a Priest.

The levelling was fast working together and with RaF active providing even more bonuses. We were almost 17 by the time we made the choice for Horde and headed over to Org instead of about 13.  Just before she hit 20 I subscribed her so we could keep playing. This will also activate my bonuses once the 30 days free time is expired.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 10.49.55 pm.pngWe also ran RFC and SFK with LFG. Both times the three others were clearly overgeared (with heirlooms etc) as they proceeded to tank multiple groups at a time. All a bit confusing for my daughter though. As a priest (but mostly damage at this stage) she kept running into melee range or getting lost. I think that meant her damage output was quite low (plus neither of us are in heirloom), which I think is why she was kicked in the SFK run, before I could let them know that it was a young player on her 2 ever dungeon. Bit rude I thought, it’s not like the group was struggling. I left the group as well. I had been coaching her, but still it’s confusing your first few runs, especially if someone is basically running you through it (the tanks and heals were just blitzing these runs) without stopping to talk or any need to strategise.

Anyway, she’s enjoying it and I’m enjoying being resubbed as well. May is about 99.5 now from 96 a week ago. But OMG the requirements to activate flying in WoD are ridiculous. Still it will shortly be time to buy this new Legion expac I’ve heard about and level to 110…. 😉

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WoW – Stayin Alive!

NOT!

OMG, I died about 6 or 8 times tonight. Any group larger than 3 and I’m throwing my life (and repair gold) away. These quests are killing me, literally. For example,  I have to kill a large worm in a cavern (up on Frost??? Ridge) and it has about 4 adds around it. Nope.

Then there’s this guy that I didn’t even attempt. He’s only 1 level above me, but there are 6 adds in the vicinity and a wandering three that may get involve. And he probably hits like a brick on his own…

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So I’m getting a bit sick of dying. It’s almost like the bad old days when I first launched into Burning Crusade.

Now I know my gear isn’t great. I reckon I need to relearn more about my rotation. Those will help. Also, don’t run back into the fight when you’re suffering res sickness, there’s an old tip I had forgotten.

On the plus side I’ve actually used my Hex spell a few times. It helps. A little.

WoW – Back into it

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 10.47.54 am.pngSo I have resubed, again. I think this is about the third break I have taken from the game, and by far the longest. In October 2016, Mabaho was 96 and not yet finished through Warlords of Draenor. Now it’s February 2018 and we saw the announcement (earlier) of the expac following Legion, which I have not played at all.

Motivated by the eldest Mini Mab, Miss 10, I have been playing with her, supporting her interest in the game. This resub is also enabled by the new iMac being able to support the  game for more than 2 minutes.

WoWScrnShot_021618_203204.jpegThere have been a lot of changes to Mabaho, in rotation and effectiveness. I suddenly feel vulnerable questing, which I haven’t for some time. I can take 1 mob, but 2 troubles me if I don’t get a handle on them. Healing seems almost ineffective as a Enhance Shaman, even self healing. Mana is less important than the new …. err can’t even remember what it’s called.

Spells have changed, that took some sorting.

I’ve also installed a bank in my Garrison which has been nice. I waited a little bit to sort through the bags and bank, finding a Reagents Bank tab that I don’t remember. I also need to investigate some things I’ve never really been sure of, now that we have the collections menu.

Do I need to hold on to stuff just to be able to transmog it? Pets, Mounts and Toys I know I can click on and learn and they disappear usually. But what if they don’t, should I hold them?

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 10.49.31 am.pngThis idea of scaling has me sort of happy. I can run Pumatay with Miss 10’s toons and get xp. But does that mean that Mabaho can quest anywhere in Draenor and the enemy will be a challenge?

So my broad plan is this.

  • Grind Mabaho up to 100. He’s up to 97.5 now
  • Let Miss 10 explore toons as she feels up to and let her pick one. At the moment she is leaning towards a druid. Mess about with some other new toons supporting her (though Pumatay can do this as well). I currently have a lvl 12 Druid partying up with her lvl 12 Hunter.
  • Once decided, purchase Legion for both of us, and use the 100 boost to bring up her toon and a complementary toon from my stable, such as bringing a Healer if she picks a DPS/Tank, picking a Tank/DPS if she picks a Healer, or I guess, two DPS is a viable option, certainly for questing.
  • If Mabaho is to be run through it, then I would likely bring up Magdasal. Maybe switch between the two, running Das when she’s trying to run dungeons and run Mab when questing.
  • Run through Legion together. Up to 110.
  • Purchase the next expac and raise up another toon for each of us. I would probably look at Pumatay (finally) at this point. Now We should have 2 toons each at 110 (Mabaho/Magdasal and Pumatay), and I will have another 90 (Mabango) and another at 100 (Magdasal) or poor Pumatay still at 57….

Seems like a pretty good plan don’t you think? Is it best use of our character level boosts?

Would Miss 10 be better off levelling all the way from 0-110? I don’t really think so, it would be so unmotivating I think.