Sunday, March 27, 2011

G-Shock #12: G-Lide in black.

 Let’s do a short article today. Due to a very busy experiment scheme at work, I haven’t got time to think about anything for 50 Gs. It looks like it’s going to be a wonderful sunny spring day today. I would like to take a ride on my bike. I haven’t done that since October, since the winter came fast and abrupt last year.
As I expected a guest article this week, I did not worry to much, but I haven’t seen it yet. I had also no idea what to present you today. I dove into my collection and dug out some “simple” models and showed Eva, who was coincidentally walking by to the bathroom. She choose this watch. It’s the GLS-5600V-1DR (overseas version of the GLS-5600V-1JF).
The GLS-5600V is part of the G-Lide series. Outside Japan the name G-Lide for this series was already used since 1996, though Japan first released these models under the X-Treme series. Since 1998 also the Japanese domestic models are released under the G-Lide flag.
The G-Lide series are models dedicated to “board sports”, roughly divided in three categories, surfing, snowboarding and skate boarding. This model was released in November 2008 as part of the winter collection ’08. In the official description Casio gave with this model it mentions the shock absorbing structure (duh… it’s a G-Shock) and LCD that still functions at extreme cold temperatures down to -20 °C.
In the past LCD displays were not cold resist, but as far as I know Casio uses cold resist LCD displays for at least 15 years now in the G-Shock line. I guess it is mentioned here specific to stress that this watch is dedicated to Snowboarding.
 The GLS-5600V features a very nice double Velcro strap. The upper part is made of very thick nylon cloth, while the under part looks and feels like a kind of felt. This strap feels very comfortable on the wrist and the Velcro and buckle closure make that the watch is securely strapped around the wrist.
Like most Double Velcro G-Shock straps, there is a patch on the strap. The patch on this model has a G-Lide logo. It is not the usual surfboard shaped G-Lide Logo, but a logo that is made of bold letters.
 The GLS-5600V models from the Winter Collection ’08 came in three color schemes, a white version with black accents, a lime green model with black accents and a purple negative display and this black model with fuchsia accents. The finish of the resin parts is glossy. Maybe not for everyone’s liking, but it is a nice matching contrast with the strap.
The black part around the display has an etched structure, which makes incoming light laying around the display, like if they are light rays sent from the center of the display. You sometimes see this on dials of analog watches (of various brands), but the use of this around a digital display is quite uncommon.
The case has the classic DW-5600 case, but the 3178 module is pretty new. In the past G-Lide models were equipped with 60 minute Countdown Timers and even 60 minute stopwatches. The 3178 module features 2 Stopwatch functions with a 1000 hour capacity. Stopwatch 1 also has the Auto Start function, which has a 5 second countdown, before the Stopwatch function starts.
 The 24 hour Countdown Timer function is also very complete with a repeat function and a progress beeper, which both can be turned on and off.
The Alarm function with 5 alarms (one is a Snooze) and a hourly chime and a the World Time function features 48 cities in 29 time zones make this G-Lide a very complete watch.
 I normally have a preference of bigger G-Shocks on my wrist, but the GLS-5600V is not only comfortable, the strap make it appear bigger on your wrist. Somehow I do not wear this as a winter watch. II actually like to wear mine in spring time. I have the black and lime green model. I love to wear them when it’s warm enough to wear short sleeves outside.
Although this model is more than 2 years old, it is still not too hard to find this model. A quick search on eBay learned something pretty unusual. The best places to buy this model seem to be in Europe (€50.- and €10.- shipping). Not a bad price for a nice looking watch.

Intermezzo #35: DJ's Okonomiyaki

The chief assistant in the Machida restaurant was wearing this apron
Let's get totally Off Topic today in this intermezzo. DragonJade posted a post about Okonomiyaki on his View Japan weblog. Only the word makes me hungry. On the last day I was in japan, we went to Machida. He asked me if I would like to eat Okonomiyaki. "What's that"? I asked. "Oh, that's a small Japanese ancake with vegetables" he said. I like hearty pancakes, so that sounded like no problem to me. It's funny Okonomiyaki is referred to it's pancake. It's such a small part of the dish. One thing for sure, it was one of the best things I have ever tasted!
DragonJade made this video aboveof the preparation of his Italian Okonomiyaki with Salami, tomatoes and cheese in a Okonomiyaki restaurant in Shibuya..
Above is the Okonomiyaki I had in December 2010. It was a version with bacon, eggs and a lot of cheese. If I'm correct it was the most expensive on the menu, but 1200 yen is still a very friendly price for such a big meal. The first thing that came to my mind when it was served: "How do I eat all of this". Not quite a small meal, but very delicious.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Intermezzo #34: Comando-G

In October 2009 I was invited by the guys from Comando-G to joint them Spanish leg of the Shock The World 2009 Tour in Barcelona. These guys are pretty fanatic G-Shock lovers and collectors and it was great to meet them.

En octubre de 2009 fui invitado por los chicos de Comando-G a la pierna Españoles conjunta que el choque de El Mundo Tour 2009 en Barcelona. Estos chicos son muy amantes de G-Shock fanáticos y coleccionistas y fue genial para hacerles frente.
One thing made me pretty curious. Where did that name come from. In English it would be more logical to place the G in front, so you get G-Commando, but the G is placed at the end (and Comando is spelt in Spanish with one M).Adan referred to an old animation series on the Spanish television, called Comando-G.

Una cosa que me hizo muy curioso. ¿De dónde viene el nombre de. En Inglés sería más lógico poner la G en el frente, para que pueda obtener el G-Comando, pero el G se coloca al final (y el comando se escribe en español con una M). Adan se refiere a una serie de animación de edad en la Televisión en español, llamado Comando-G.
The funniest thing is that if you asked about this series, they all start to sing and dance. As I do not speak a word Spanish, it was hard to understand the text, but the dance looked very funny and the song was quite entertaining.

Lo más gracioso es que si se le pregunta acerca de esta serie de televisión, todos comienzan a cantar y bailar. Como yo no hablo una palabra en español, es difícil comprender el texto, pero el baile se veía muy divertido y la canción fue bastante entretenido.

Last weekend I accidentally stumbled upon this video. I still can't understand much of the song (middle in the song they scream jyfully "Mutation!"). I discovered this series was also broadcast in The Netherlands under the name: "Strijd der Planeten". It was the Dutch version of a  US adaption of the Japanese anime series Gatchaman, called "Battle of the Planets". In this US version a lot of scenes were deleted, because it contained too much violence. Well, now the whole family is singing "Comano-G" since I discovered this song. Let's hope this song brings you the same joy. If you speak or write in Spanish, don't hesitate to join Comando-G. They are a small but very friendly and very active.

Último fin de semana que tropezó accidentalmente con este vídeo. Todavía no puedo entender mucho de la canción (en el centro de la canción que gritar jyfully "mutación"). Descubrí esta serie fue transmitida también en los Países Bajos con el nombre: "Strijd der Planeten". Fue la versión holandesa de una adaptación de los Estados Unidos de la serie de anime japonesa Gatchaman, llamada "Batalla de los Planetas". En esta versión de los Estados Unidos una gran cantidad de escenas se han eliminado, debido a que contenía demasiada violencia. Bueno, ahora toda la familia está cantando "Comano-G" desde que descubrí esta canción. Esperemos que esta canción te trae la misma alegría. Si hablar o escribir en español, no dude en unirse a Comando-G. Se trata de un pequeño pero muy amigable y muy activo.
I hope the Spanish text is a bit readable. I have used Google translate, as I can't speak or write in spanish. sorry.

Espero que el texto en lengua española es un poco legible. He utilizado Google Translate, ya que no puede hablar o escribir en español. Lo sentimos.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

G-Shock #11: M-Spec 2010

In November 2010 Casio released a 3 G-Shock models in the M-Spec series. From what I could find, this is the 4th release in this series, which started with the DW-5600B “Timezoner” in 2005. In 2006 Casio released 3 G-313MS models and in 2007 there were three AW-591MS models released.
M-Spec G-Shock models distinguish from the other G-Shock models with their special straps. The straps of M-Spec models is made of ballistic nylon. Often a bright colored fabric is used under this nylon. In the first two series a signal orange color was used.
This orange represented the Indian Orange lining of the MA-1 flight jacket, commonly known as bomber jacket. This nylon flight jacket became popular in street culture since the ‘80’s. While the original Midnight Blue and Sage Green models had these colors to blend the pilots in the environment in emergency situations, now a wide variety of colors are available for public. I assume the orange lining could be used to signal to aircrafts when a pilot was down and needed to be rescued.
While the nylon strap in the earlier M-Spec releases was a one piece strap, where the case was attached above the strap, this series have a two piece strap that is attached traditionally on the top and bottom of the case.
Ballistic nylon is stiff and usually not comfortable. The use of the soft fabric under this nylon makes this kind of straps actually very comfortable. The holes for the buckle are strengthened with little metal rings. This makes the watch look even more tough.
When the G-7900 was first released, I wasn’t very warm for this model. I had seen wrist shots of this model, but in my neighborhood you couldn’t find this model in the shops. The looks are a bit like the ‘90s models, but in my opinion, the DW-001 to DW-004 series looked better. The first time I saw a G-7900 in the flesh was at the Coastal Marathon in October 2010. One of the lifeguards was wearing a white G-7900. It looked pretty big and the owner was quite happy with it. Specially the tide feature, which is a nice useful instrument if you are a lifeguard. Since then I have been looking at the rescue red G-7900A version and the yellow GW-7900CD version (with Waveceptor function). Actually I hoped for a rescue range version, which would match better with the Dutch lifeguards.
I saw this G-7900MS model for the first time in the Yodobashi Camera in Machida, the day we arrived in Japan. I was looking at it closely, because I couldn’t really see what color the accents on the case and the strap were. It looked to me as a color between lime yellow and fluorescent yellow. The model number G-7900MS-3JF suggested it might be lime yellow, as the 3 in the suffix stands for the color green. Although intrigued by this model, I didn’t buy it. Probably first of all, because I was overwhelmed by the amount of G-Shock models that I could buy in a shop.
 Next day we went after dinner to a Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku (there are actually two Yodobashi’s in Shinjuku, thanks for the info DragonJade). Unlike other Yodobashi Camera shops, this isn’t an enormous building with several levels, but this shop was separated into 5 separate buildings. We found the Casio section on the ground floor of the watch department. Again there was a large selection of G-Shocks. The GF-8250-9JF was drawing my attention, but also this G-7900 and a black/gray Jason model, which then was also recently released. About 20 minutes later I walked outside with the G-7900MS and the Jason.
Photo's at the Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku by Bernard Vercouteren
In daylight, the accents on the strap and case are actually yellow. It gives the watch a pretty nice look. In bright sunlight I discovered where the 3 in the suffix comes from. Under bright light the case of the watch seems to be very dark green, but even in bright daylight it’s hard to see that the bezel has a green accent.
You can divide the display of the watch in the upper part and the lower part. The lower part is the main display for the time functions. The upper display is for the Moon Data and Tidegrapgh function. It also displays the day.
The big eye on the left side is the Moon Data display. At the moment it’s empty, because it is full moon. It is actually not just a full moon, but we have today a Super Moon. The moon has not been this close to the earth in the past 19 years. Normally it shows the phase of the moon.
 The usual noise while taking pictures...
The middle part is the Tidegraph. It shows in which part of the tide cycle you are in now, considered you programmed the Tidegraph well.
 This Tidegraph is still programmed the old way, based on your Longitude. The watch calculates the position of the moon at your location and predicts the theoretically high and low tides. If you input the Lunitidal Interval, the delay of the High tide, caused by the mass of the water and geographic barriers, etc, you can program the Tidegraph pretty accurate.
The right part of the upper display is used in the Stopwatch Mode. One segment represents 5 minutes, the upper part of this display shows elapsed time of Stopwatch 1, the lower part of this display for Stopwatch 2. I can’t remember that I have seen such a display on a G-Shock before. Normally it’s for seconds, 10 seconds up to a minute.
I have received a lot of questions about how to set the Tidegraph, where to find the tides table and how to calculate the Lunitidal Interval. First of all, if you cannot find a tide table for your location (but you are located near the sea, of course), it might be that the tide differences are very low. I have read time tables that, where the difference was about 20 centimeter (less than one foot). Where I live, a difference between low tide and high tide can be up to 5 meter (15 feet). You can imagine that knowing the tides here are more important than in places where the difference in tide is less than half the height of a usual wave.
 If you are still interested in how to calculate your Tidegrapgh, check out this article I wrote in 2008, how I calculated my Lunitidal Interval (1 hour and 26 minutes at my location) and how I programmed my Tidegraph.
The G-7900 has 2 independent stopwatches with a range up to 999 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. You start and stop the stopwatch with the signal yellow START-STOP button. Almost 1000 hours, that’s quite a range, but of course you can use them to time much shorter time intervals. The firtst stopwatch also has an Auto Start function, which gives a 5 seconds delay before it starts. When activated, the watch gives three beeps in the last three seconds. I always wondered where you use this, as you know when to start and simply can subtract 5 seconds from the total count…
This watch also has a 24 hour countdown timer on board. It can be put into repeat mode and it also has a progress beep function. When activated a signal sounds every minute in the last 5 minutes, at 30 seconds and every second of the last 10 seconds. If your programmed time is shorter than 5 minutes, it only beeps when one of the above mentioned marks is reached.
Further more the G-7900 has 5 alarms (one is a Snooze Alarm) with a hourly Chime and World Time on board. You can set the EL backlight time for easy reading and also you can toggle the button sound on and off. The EL Backlight also has an Auto Illumination function. Since this watch is not solar, I can’t recommend to use this feature too much. When switched on, the Auto Illuminator function automatically turns off after 6 hours.
The G-7900 might be a basic G-Shock model, but it has quite a lot under the hood. The four fake screws on top of the bezel (don’t try to unscrew them) make this watch look pretty tough and sturdy. When strapped on it feels very comfortable, due to the wrist protectors. Also the watch looks remarkably great on my wrist. In real it looks much better than the official stock photo’s. I think it is really designed to look good on your wrist. As I got a 10% tourist discount, I paid around 12000 yen for this watch ($149, €104.-). The same watch will cost you around €70.- if you buy it in Singapore, Hong Kong or the US, but hey, I bought this watch in Japan, the land of G! Unfortunately this model cost you about the same price in Europe as in does in Japan. There are three versions of this model, a basic black one, a blue version and this green/yellow version. Of all three, I think this one is the best looking. If you buy this watch for around €70.-, you get quite a lot watch for your money.