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Profile for D. Yamasaki > Reviews


D. Yamasaki's Profile

Customer Reviews: 18
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D. Yamasaki RSS Feed (Torrance, CA USA)

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Thule Crossover 40 Liter Duffel Pack
Thule Crossover 40 Liter Duffel Pack
Offered by Luggage Base
Price: $134.95
26 used & new from $105.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for International Travel, September 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I used this as my carry-on bag and sole piece of luggage during my trip to France last June for the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race.

I have walked through Paris train stations and Charles de Gaulle Airport with it, ran with it on my back through Heathrow Int’l and sweated under this thing while in line at U.K. and French customs.

Every time I placed it in on my back I always thought that it felt big and clunky, but that feeling went away quickly as I walked with it. Being lost and trying to navigate foreign countries has a way of distracting you from a big lump on your shoulders.

I had read many of the reviews here on Amazon before buying it, and I will say that I never noticed the handles or straps digging into my back. However, every time I had this on, I was wearing a light jacket and a hoodie.

I do agree with the reviewer who said it is difficult to run with this thing because there is no sternum or hip belt. I confirmed this under duress while trying to make my flight in London and having this thing flopping side to side as I attempted to make forward progress. I missed the plane.

Because this bag opens like a duffel, it makes it easier to go through security and to be inspected if you get flagged and pulled aside like me…57% of the time.

The structure of the Thule is excellent and the shell is very durable. Besides my clothes and other travel necessities, I had electronics and a small folding chair stuffed in the bag. I really began to appreciate the semi-hard shell construction of the bag as it definitely helped keep things in place.

When I travel domestically in the U.S., I use the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 60L which is slightly larger. I chose this for European travel because I wanted avoid any size restriction issues. While I was checking in with British Airways at CDG, I slipped my fully loaded bag into the carry-on check stand next to the counter. It fit perfectly!

The next time I travel abroad, this will definitely be accompanying me.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2015 11:37 AM PST

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worked Very Well, June 26, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this for my recent 11 day trip to Alaska and it worked exactly as I had hoped. Each day I was able to transfer the photos from my Canon SD850IS SD Card to my iPad 3 easily and without problems. I never used the direct camera hook up.

OXO SteeL Can Opener
OXO SteeL Can Opener
Price: $18.99
21 used & new from $17.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, March 19, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: OXO SteeL Can Opener (Kitchen)
I'll back up what The Thinking Mom said. This is better and faster than an electric can opener. I've never used a unit like this that was so effective, fast and easy. The ergonomics are very good, and it's effortless. After using it, I can't think of any reason to buy an electric unit.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2010 5:17 PM PDT

Wagan EL2022 Ionic Air Purifier
Wagan EL2022 Ionic Air Purifier
Price: $12.80
5 used & new from $12.80

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Works!, March 19, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought a used 2006 Honda last summer that had a slightly musty odor, so I got this to see if something could be done about it. Interesting. While this unit is on it does a pretty remarkable job of eliminating odors. Amazingly, the stale smell of the car was completely gone within two months.

I've also noticed that whenever I go to a fast food drive thru, I can't smell the contents of the bag at all while driving and the unit is powered on. Once the car is turned off. Bingo!! I can smell french fries again!

I was searching for something to freshen up the interior of my new [3 year old] car without introducing a phony Glade type smell, and this did the trick.

Seiko Men's SNA411 Flight Alarm Chronograph Watch
Seiko Men's SNA411 Flight Alarm Chronograph Watch
Offered by Teelys
Price: $199.23
21 used & new from $185.77

184 of 189 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Mechanical Jewel, September 29, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this watch for myself for Christmas 3 years ago and still love it.

At the time I really wanted a Breitling Navitimer Fighter but they were selling for around $3,000, and I knew I wouldn't feel comfortable walking around with thousands of bucks on my wrist.

I happened on this watch on Amazon and was immediately taken with it. Let me say, that the photo does not do this watch justice. When I received the Seiko I was surprised that it had much more sparkle than this photo imparts. And what really impressed me was that the face has great depth to it. The photo on Amazon shows a flat black surface with a mishmash of white lettering all over it, but in reality it looks much more like a mini metal Roman Colliseum with raised sides and a recessed center plain under thick glass. The face is about 3/8" thick. Very substantial and classy looking. Also, there is more contrast between the shiny center of the wrist band next to the flat silver sides than this photo indicates.

I wore it to work one day, and a female coworker remarked,"your watch is gorgeous!" and that she was looking for one like it for her husband. And when I told her the price she couldn't believe it.

The Breitling Navitimer is a beautiful watch, but since owning this Seiko Chronograph I rarely ever think about owning a Breitling. And since Navitimers now sell for over $6000 I feel even better about the $475 Seiko I got for $200.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 16, 2015 6:09 AM PDT

No Title Available

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfort and a Nice Beach Style, August 17, 2007
I have been a fan of Sanuk Donovan flip-flops for the past year, and eagerly awaited the arrival of my new Frayed Nots. Having worn these for over a week now, I think these may now be my favorite flip-flops. They are roomy, smooth and airy, and look great too.

One thing though. Based on my experience with the Donovans and Frayed Nots I found that Sanuk seems to have inconsistent sizing.

I normally wear a size 10 shoe, and my feet are wide in the middle so I like to buy 10EE shoes when possible. My first pair of Donovans were size 11 because that's all that was available at the time for the discount price being offered. I found these to be very comfortable, just extraordinarily long though. They seemed more like a size 11.5 or 12 in length, but the width was just perfect for me. Recently, I bought a pair of Donovans in size 10 and while the length was just right, I found the straps far too tight, even after wedging things in there to stretch them out for a week.

The Frayed Nots are a completely story. Based on my experience with the Donovans I ordered the Frayed Nots in size 11 expecting a similar fit. Unlike the Donovans, the Frayed Nots are comparatively short and wide. In length, a size 11 seemed more like a 10 or maybe even 9.5. The straps however are much looser fitting than the Donovans which works out great for me.

So the irony is, that with these two different fitting flip-flops my slightly wide size 10 feet like size 11 Sanuk flip-flops.

I expect the Frayed Nots to wear as well as my year-old Donovans. The Donovans have what seems to be a slightly rubberized suede footbed which aids grip and comfort, but this also degrades after a few months and becomes a little sticky. The Frayed Nots don't seem to have this rubbery feature and while they don't grip your feet as well, they feel airier and drier than the Donovans.

So far, my experience with Sanuk flip-flops has been a very happy one, and I expect that to continue with the Frayed Nots.

Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Certified Computer Speaker System (Black)
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Certified Computer Speaker System (Black)
25 used & new from $99.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Impressed Audiophile, July 7, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm an audiophile that has spent many years experimenting with different high end equipment and tweaks. I really enjoy 2 channel listening especially if there is some tube gear in the chain. However, I've found these Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers to be very satisfying. I now use a set at my workplace and in my home office.

These little guys are very dynamic and present an evenly balanced tonal soundfield. If you place them on either side of your desk and point them slightly in towards you, the imaging will improve and you'll get a decent center focus. If anything they are on the slightly dark sounding side, with a decently full midrange so singers or anything center stage like solo musicians don't sound far away but closer to your sitting position. MIdrange and treble are very pleasing to me, but the bass does suffer from "one note" boom. The left speaker has both the satellite and subwoofer gain control knobs, so tuning and adjustments are close at hand and easy.

If you want your bass to sound like those super thumper cars you can hear a block away then place the sub close to a wall and crank up the gain. However, if you wan more tuneful bass and would like to hear the "tone" in lows [you'd be surprised how detailed bass can be] then I'd recommend getting this sub unit as far away from a wall as possible and lowering the gain. There are times at home I turn the subwoofer completely off and still feel satisfied with the low end.

The first set I bought were defective, but Amazon sent me a replacement even before I returned the dead unit. Amazon also sent me the return shipping label. The price on these fluctuates greatly as do many things on Amazon. The first time, I watched them vary between $95 and $145 in my shopping cart before buying them at under $100. The second set I bought, I waited until they hit $87 before pulling the trigger.

I've owned Logitech, Sony, and even the highly regarded Swans, but like these above all. Mass consumer units usually have highly compromised cabinets so they sound hollow. They also tend to accentuate treble and bass to impress new buyers. The Swan sat/sub I owned showed their audiophile pedigree with a full and natural sounding midrange, but the top end was too rolled off and dynamics were quite weak. The Klipsch have the most balanced and tuneful sound of any computer speakers I've owned.

I run both sets off Macintosh G5s through iTunes so I get even more adjustability. The iTunes equalizer comes in handy and it's interesting that I favor the canned "acoustic" EQ setting for all types of music.

This is an amazing little package at a great price. As long as your expectations are reasonable I think you'll be satisfied.

The Twilight Samurai
The Twilight Samurai
DVD ~ Hiroyuki Sanada
6 used & new from $41.39

75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart, Soul and Duty., April 4, 2006
This review is from: The Twilight Samurai (DVD)
Growing up with a first generation Japanese father and a second generation Japanese-American mother, and being very American the Japanese culture is very close and dear to me. Ever since I can remember, films like Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo, Kwaidan, Ugetsu Monogatari, Sword of Doom and Seppuku [Harakiri] have shaped my view of Japanese cinema. I've also watched more Japanese TV historical drama series than I can remember in the last 35 plus years.

A few weeks ago, I happened upon Tasogare Seibei [Twilight Samurai] very much on accident and can't stop thinking about it. It's affected me that much. And more than anything it has opened my eyes to my ignorance regarding modern Japanese cinema. Sure I've enjoyed movies like Shall We Dance and Ringu, but only because they both had releases in the US. Tasogare Seibei has made me realize that modern samurai era films can be very very good, and don't necessarily need names like Kurosawa, Inagaki, Kobayashi or Okamoto attached to them to be good.

This film reminds me very much of Seppuku in that the central character is a devoted and loving father that makes great sacrifices for his family. Unlike the emotional and explosive battle climax that takes place in Seppuku the duel here is taken on reluctantly by Seibei with a heavy heart, yet equally heroically. This reluctance to violence by Seibei is similar to that of William Munny in Unforgiven. But while both are family men and farmers, they have very different character at their core.

Violence and the understanding of it is not what makes this such a great movie. Devotion to his two daughters and aging mother, undying love for a childhood sweetheart, the daily struggle of supporting loved ones on a measly clerk's salary while balancing massive debt is something most 21st century Americans can relate to. What makes it so easy to like, admire and sympathize with Iguchi Seibei is his humble and self-sacrificing approach to life. Compounded by "giri" [duty and obligation] to his clan this creates almost unbearable responsibility and leads to a heart-wrenching decision.

Tasogare Seibei is based on several short stories by Fujisawa Shuhei, and until recently I had no idea my father was such a fan of his. Fujisawa's stories focus on the trials of everyday low-ranking samurai living in the strict feudal world of the samurai. It's no surprise the film's director Yamada Yoji known for his long running Tora-san series is also a fan of Fujisawa's.

Growing up I often wondered if non-Japanese could appreciate or see Japanese cinema the way I do. When I read reviews on for Japanese movies, I have no doubt they can, and I'm frequently humbled that their insights are often more Japanese than mine. But that may also prove that cinema has no cultural or language barrier, so that a person in Moscow can see Gone With The Wind as the classic struggle of Russian women, or Twin Peaks can become a cultural phenomena in Japan. And part of what might make foreign films so special is that they present familiar situations in an inherently culturally unique way.

Twilight Samurai does that, and will hopefully help people realize that no matter the place or the time, we are all the same.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 16, 2010 10:33 AM PDT

Japanese Children's Favorite Stories Book One
Japanese Children's Favorite Stories Book One
by Florence Sakade
Edition: Hardcover
47 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fond Memory of My Childhood, March 27, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is very special to me as it was a dear part of my childhood growing up in a Japanese American household in the early 1960s. When I was about three years old, one of my "uncles" gave this book to me with a pink hardcover and it has stayed dear to my heart since. I was quite delighted to see it still in print and being offered here on Amazon. What's even more amazing, is that from what I can tell by the image previews for this newest edition, the illustrations are the very same ones as my forty-some-odd year old book. This collection of stories would be similar to a Japanese Grimm's Fairy Tales and were also part of my father's childhood in 1920s Japan. Overall, they are quite simple and to the point and have a cuteness typical of Japanese stories. In recent years, my ex-girlfriend had enjoyed listening to me tell her these stories at bedtime even from my 40 year memory. I'm sure I've mangled some of them and combined them into a hybrid monkey, ogre, old man, cookie tale. I've been meaning to find my original copy, but now I know I can relive my childhood with a fresh new copy.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 22, 2007 8:48 AM PDT

Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
DVD ~ Tomisaburô Wakayama
15 used & new from $10.91

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kogi Kaishakunin, December 19, 2005
This series of films have been among my absolute favorite since I first saw them more than 30 years ago.

I can remember my first experience with Kozure Ohkami as a young Japanese American youth in early 1970s Los Angeles. One day my friend's dad piled a bunch of us young "JAs" into a Mercury Montego and took us to see the fourth movie in the series, Baby Cart In Peril at the long gone Toho LaBrea Theater. One thing nice about growing up in LA in the '60s and '70s is that we got to see a lot of movies unavailable to many people outside of Japanese American communities during the pre-VCR days. While I grew up watching The Man From UNCLE and Gilligan's Island like all my friends, I also had the bonus of being able to enjoy the exploits of Ogami Itto, Zatoichi and a host of Mifune and Nakadai movies.

During my high school years, my friends and I eagerly awaited each pending showing at the Toho. Parts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 were in heavy rotation during the mid to late '70s, but a part 3 was never shown. It wasn't until the mid '90s when AnimEigo released the series on VHS and laserdisc that I was sure that part 3 was in fact Lightning Swords of Death which was released as a dubbed movie for the mass American public in 1975 during the height of the martial arts craze.

When Toho closed down in the late '70s and became a Korean church Itto, Daigoro and the cart-o-fun moved to the Kokusai in West LA. And when Kokusai closed its doors in the late 1980s, the movies were being shown at Little Tokyo Cinema in downtown LA. By then the prints being shown were completely trashed and it was obvious that for years it was the same prints being circulated for 20 years. One second, amidst a smoking overcast field Itto would be facing Yagyu Gunbei, then the next he would be sitting with Daigoro in front of a cooking pot. Three great fight scenes and about 30 minutes of film had been permanently lost.

During the late 1980s I met a fellow at the Japan Expo who had secured the rights to release the Zatoichi series in the US. I asked him if the Sword of Vengeance series would ever become available. Every year I went back to the Expo and asked him the same question, and every year he told me the same thing. He said he was working on it, but since Katsu Shintaro's [Zatoichi himself] company had gone bust, ownership of the 6 Baby Cart films had been dispersed and it would be difficult to gain the rights to all of them. He said he couldn't just go to one person, but had to deal with many different people.

Well imagine my joy when AnimEigo began making these available. During the mid nineties they were released one episode at a time about every two to three months. When the DVDs were released not too long ago I noticed they appeared very different from the laserdiscs. A scene I had mentioned earlier in which Itto fights assassins in a shrine looks entirely different from VHS and laserdisc to DVD. The VHS and laserdisc depict this scene as being very dark. The interior is dimly lit as one would expect of a musty, little used indoor temple. The people are difficult to make out which adds an air of uncertainty and desperation to the fight sequence. However, on the DVD this same scene is extremely bright and well lit. Blood stains that appeared like dark crimson smears on the laserdisc are bright glowing red on the DVD. It struck me as being artificial looking. To be honest, it has been so long since I saw the original in the theaters, I can't remember which is correct. It's probably somewhere in between. But I will say I greatly prefer watching these movies on laserdisc. They appear more film-like, while the DVDs in spots seem overly contrasty and bright. I wonder if this was done intentionally during mastering. Were certain scenes color adjusted just for the DVD? I also noticed that the English translation is different from the theatrical versions to those released by AnimEigo. I had my father, who was born, raised and educated in Japan watch a series of scenes where I remembered the original theatrical subtitles. We then compared them to the subtitles in the current releases. In the instances I could remember the old subtitles, my dad felt the new releases had the more accurate translation.

Some reviewers on this site have commented that these films don't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with greats like Seven Samurai or even deserve a 5 star rating. I can certainly understand that viewpoint, but I choose to rate films on how they affect me and what they mean to me, not in the overall scheme of movie history. So with that in mind can you imagine the lasting impression a close up of Oyuki's beautiful tattoed breasts made on a young lad in the midst of puberty? Or the shock and repulsion of seeing Retsudo behead his loyal quick change artist and the gushing fountain of blood that ensued. Scenes like that would convince anyone that Japanese have the highest blood pressure of any ethnic group around. I love it!

These films are a look into the morals and trials of Samurai bound to the codes of Bushido during 17th century Japan albeit with a bit of James Bond [especially part 6] mixed in. They're also not too unlike the classic movie Harakiri, in that they focus on the corruptibility of people in high places and the consequences those actions have. Educational and fun! All these films are beautifully photographed, and shot on locations not like the artificial sets of Hong Kong action movies or Japanese Chambara TV serials. Some scenes are unforgettable such as in part 1 when Itto and Kurando face each other in preparation for a duel at sunset in an open field. This scene is also a cinematic example how he who has the advantages of nature does not always prevail in a duel. Another striking image is from part 4. In one scene there's a camera view down on Ogami Itto pushing the cart-of-goodies. The neat thing is that 95% of the screen is filled with a large tiled roof, while Itto and Daigoro only occupy a corner of the frame. On the other hand, action scenes such as when Itto is fighting a large assembly of various Yagyu warriors in a debossed mini maze showcase battlefield swordsmanship in its starkest and most brutal fashion. Many Michael Myers' Halloween techniques are utilized here. In part 1, during a pivotal scene in which Itto and son are seemingly ready to commit seppuku, the subsequent fight is filmed in an eerily silent manner. Ogami Itto runs slently through his house cutting up the Shogun's officials. You hear no foot steps, no screams, no grunts. All you see is the frantic battle and the sound of the blade cutting through flesh. There is some supernatural jumping in these films, but very little flowery swordplay and posing ala Crouching Tiger nor is the fight choreography presented as an effortlessly balletic dance as that of Nakadai Tatsuya's Tsukue Ryunosuke from Sword of Doom. The techniques in Kozure Ohkami are powerful, direct and meant to kill. Instantly. This isn't Kendo. It is a closer to Batto Jutsu which is a modern practice with roots in the battlefield tested techniques of pre-Tokugawa era warriors. Sure there are some flourishes thrown in for effect, but overall the viewer is hit with the powerful and deadly swordplay of Wakayama Tomisaburo. And in that there is great beauty. Even Itto's sword is the famous Dohtanuki which was a beefy, heavy battlefield sword. Definitely not one for the limp-wristed swordsman.

I truly believe these movies are a must see for any western foley effects artist not familiar with the way Japanese weaponry sounds. I don't think I've ever seen an American film get the sound of a katana right. As much as I liked The Last Samurai, I cringed every time I heard a sword being drawn in that movie. Japanese swords are in wooden scabbards [saya], so the sound is metal against wood, not metal-on-metal as in movies about medieval Europe. This may seem like nit-picking to many, but to me it would be like watching Roman Holiday with the voice of Fred Flintstone coming from Audrey Hepburn. It just isn't right!

It's interesting. Until a few years ago I had no idea these films were originally a manga series. And it is nice to know that the people who are fans of Koike Kazuo's books are pleased with these movies. There was an attempt in the early 1980s to adapt the movies to a weekly television series. The show starred Yorozuya Kinnosuke, but I could never get into them. They had a completely different feel from the movies and lacked the over-the-top charm of the 6 originals. I'm also aware that modern movie versions were made and one even has a conclusion to the series. I bought these versions on Ebay several years ago, but still to this day haven't gotten around to watching them. I think that in itself reveals my devotion and narrow-mindedness where these films are concerned.

I hope you enjoy them as well.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2012 8:46 AM PDT

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