The Sophomore Slump

Home » Articles posted by rommel

Author Archives: rommel

Last Calls…

Without any further ado …

Last Calls…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Japan, etc.

Here are some of the “side trips” or “mini-stops” during my six months of traveling in mainland Japan.


Yet another “side trip” driving back home from Takato Cherry Blossom Festival and Matsumoto Castle was Narai in Nagano. It is a time-warped old town where buildings where kept as they were in Edo period. It features quick stop hotels of working and walking travelers back in the old times when transportation was limited.



It’s just so neat to know that there are places on Earth where Superman’s changing room still exist.




I saw this on my way to Horikiri Iris Garden in Tokyo, Japan …


…. and these “manimals”.😀



Before witnessing Kawagoe’s Lantern Festival, we stopped by Kita-in Temple…



… where there are also statues of 500 rakans or disciples of Buddha.


It is said that each of the statues have different facial expressions, and that anybody could find their own resemblance to one of the statues.


I saw my own face when I took a selfie. Ha!😀


If you ever visit Shibuya Scramble Crossing, do not forget to pay a visit to the statue of a faithful dog named Hachiko.


For those of who are unacquainted, Hachiko is considered a hero to the Japanese. Hachiko would go see his owner off to work in the morning at Shibuya Train Station, and went to go see him again at the same spot after work. One day, his owner never came back because he died while at work. Hachiko continued to come back to the train station in the morning and afternoon even when he already had a new owner. He became a celebrity as the story spread all over Japan. People would come by to see the dog wait and leave the train station. It continued for ten years until he died at a street near Shibuya Train Station.
There have been several movies about Hachiko, including one from the US. So if you haven’t seen the movie, then you made a huge mistake reading the paragraph. Ha!😀 Ooops, my bad.🙂


Last one …

There is a beautiful park across the street of the Squirrel Garden in Machida called Yakushi-ike Park. So better not miss it.



There are different flowers blooming here for every season.


I was here in July, and there’s an abundance of lotuses. I have no cheap joke to end this one. Ha!😀


If you’re ever here in Japan visiting major places, perhaps one of these “side trips” maybe a good idea if you have time to kill.😉

Last Calls…







DIY: How to make a 550 cord bracelet and keychain – Tips and Tricks

Hello everybody! Don’t be alarmed. You are still viewing The Sophomore Slump 2. Today I am taking a pause on travel post, and present you a DIY post.

I got three end products to teach so I’m going right on it.

I’ll show you the end results now to give you an idea what we’re working on.




  • All images are taken with a cellphone.


This is the third installment of the tutorials. In order to achieve these results, you need to visit the first tutorial.

The link to first tutorial ==>

The link to second tutorial ==>

Okay, for this post, I will be giving tips and tricks on making the bracelet or key chain a little easier.



You will need two long lanyards or paracords and one short lanyard. Cut the long lanyards about two to two and a half arms length. The short one should be about the size of your wrist WITH EXCESS.

Normally, when using two colors, you have to burn both ends of the two long lanyards. That is basically the hardest part of the whole process. Now, I will show you how to avoid doing that.

Take both ends of the two long lanyards. Make a square knot.


Make a loop on the small lanyard, making it even; and then insert it inside the hole. DO NOT make the loop of the small lanyard too big.


And tighten it! Do not pull the ends too hard so you are only leaving a small extra length.

Then start making the cobra knot on the first tutorial. The pictures below shows you the pattern. See link above on step by step tutorial on how to do cobra knot.



When you get to the end, tie the end of the small lanyard.


Cut the ends of the small and long lanyards. And burn it.


That’s it. You’re done! You got yourself a bracelet.


The first tutorial it shows how to make a bracelet with attaching a button. If you do not have a button, just tie the ends of the small lanyard and burn it. With button is still better because it’s more secured. That is why you really need to not make the loop of the small lanyard too big or else it will make it even less secured.


This next one, we are attaching a small buckle.


This is different from the second tutorial. The two have different steps to make. See link above.

With this small one, we are basically just attaching it to the cords.

See Product 1 because it is close on how to do it. You need two long lanyards and one short lanyard.

Attach the female end of the buckle to the loop of the small lanyard.


Next, take the end of the small lanyard, and make a half square knot.


Attach the male end of the buckle on one of the ends. And then, complete the square knot.


Basically the same steps as Product 1 from here.

Make a square knot using the two long lanyards.


Insert the end of the small lanyard (the one with the male end) to the hole.


It looks messy right now but it will look better as we go on.

Start doing the cobra knot.


See, it starts looking more decent. Either cut those loose ends or burn it to make it even *more neat.


Again, when you get to the end, cut the ends of the long lanyards and burn it.


There you have it, you got yourself a 550 paracord bracelet with a buckle. This one is going to be mine.🙂


Here is another trick so you don’t have to burn two ends together.


Plus, you will only need one or two colors on this one. You do not need to cut or use a small lanyard on this one.

First make a curve. Again, the short end should be about the size of your wrist with some excess.


Take the long ends and make a knot going around the loop that you are going to make.

My apology. I should’ve taken a picture closer. But I know you can do it.😀 It’s all about securing that end, and making a loop.


Now, start doing the cobra knot again!




Again, tie the short end and burn; cut the long ends and burn.


Viola! You got yourself a bracelet.

But wait, here’s a tip for you.


I turned this one into a key chain. I am actually using one just like this I just made here.


Like the second tutorial, you can make any of the above with a thinner design.


All you need to do is yank the inside threads out.


Yank those out.


And then just do the same steps as you would with the thicker design.

DO NOT remove the inside thread on the small lanyards. The small lanyards will always remain thick.




There you have It folks! It may seem like it’s too much. I’m telling you. It is easy. It gets even easier once you get the hang of it. It’s nice for gifts to give away. It’s good hobby. And it can be addicting too.😀 I do this while watching T.V., when doing laundry, when hiking, and I even do it when I’m out sight-seeing.🙂


I actually have a ton of these. We are doing a fund raising next weekend, and I’ll be selling these.

Once again, thank you for viewing the first and second tutorial. Those two posts always generate at least one view a day. The first post never left my list of Top Posts. Every single day, it is there.

Thank you, thank you.

I have done my due diligence in making these bracelets. If you think this is also worth the share on other social media, like Pinterest and Facebook, please do share this post. You or someone else you know might be interested in making it.

Please feel free to ask any questions. As always, don’t be shy to say hi.🙂

Unique Japan

From an exclusive island where you need a reason to visit it; a gigantic Buddha who/that likes to be outside,; a temple with rows and rows and rows of Jizo statues; …


to Takato, home in July for fluffs and fluffs and fluffs of cherry blossoms; here are some more of the most unusual, unique, weird, odd, out-of-this-world, one-of-a-kind, outlandish, interesting and fun places, things, and events in Japan…

I’ll start with a viewers’ favorite post…

Gotokuji Temple is not just a regular Japanese temple. To its side is a small area filled with waving cats.


Maneki neko or beckoning cats, are believed to bring good luck.


This might as well be the luckiest place on Earth!😀


In Kawasaki, they held a festival with the ….uhm …. ah …. it’s the …. uhm … it’s ahhh….uhm….something that…uhm…that ahh …. the thing where …. uhm …. the penis😀 as its central theme.


What’s even yummy … ehem … funny about it is that you can see women and men … uhm …. okay, I’m just gonna say …. sucking on penis lollipops😀😀😀 everywhere during the event.



The annual event is totally contradictory to Japan’s nature. Today, Kawasaki Fertility Festival is used to raise money for HIV research.


You wouldn’t participate in a Jenga game that is, say, a 100 feet tall, would you? Or like a horseshoe that weighs 50 pounds? Well, Okinawa’s cranked the game of tug of war to the highest level. Every year, a giant rope of over 650 feet is laid on a street of Naha and get pulled by hundred thousands of people.



It was exhausting, but so much fun! I love how ridiculously excessive Okinawa is with so many things.🙂


Still don’t like crowds, what about an amusing one? Shibuya Crossing …


It is said that about 2,500 people cross this junction at one time, and 250,000 to 500,000 everyday. Most people cross it just to cross it. Not exactly because they need to, but just to be part of it or simply to experience the craze.


Scramble crossing in Shibuya is a kind of a bucket list to check when you travel to Tokyo. Shibuya Crossing is one people-infested area that I think is enjoyable to watch; especially with people waving their cellphone around as they cross the street.


There is a national park in Fukushima, Japan that has lakes with five colors.


Although, it’s only two-and-a-half for me ….


… because I am colorblind. Ha!😀


The snow monkeys in Nagano, Japan are so amusing to watch!


They walk around the area like it’s nobody’s monkey business.


They are like celebrity monkeys over there. They know they are the superstars, and they do not mind posing for the camera.



I’ma leave this post with another place for adorable and entertaining animals.


In Machida, there is a “garden” filled with  …. squirrels!!! Visitors can wear gloves and feed the squirrels with nuts.


As one of my commentators said, cuteness overload!


Japan is unique in every sense. I decided to do this post early to make room for more unique places in Japan I go to in the future.😉

Last Call …


If you’re intrigued by one of these unique stuff, either click on the links or try the Search tab.

I also have Unique California and Unique Greece on this blog.

And finally, Arigato Gozaimas for all the linkage, re-blogs, and Facebook shares!

Explosions in the Sky (A re-do)

Me and control, we have a love-hate relationship.



You see, I’m a kind of person who let things be.


I just let the nature and forces out there do whatever it is they want to do.



I’m not one who plan things.




I’m not one who grabs a hold of something. It has a lot of disadvantages being that way.



But whatever the outcome is, whatever I’m given, I’ll take it!




If it’s a good thing then I’m grateful. If it’s something bad then it’s a challenge, a lesson learned.



If the forces out there are taking too much time to provide me the thing that my heart desires, so be it!




I’ll wait. I know patience can be so cruel.


But when that time comes…


… victory and success will be delicious.



It will be magnificent.


It will be oh-so sweet.



The words here are excerpts, same words from a post a long time ago, which I titled “Explosions in the Sky“. Having this post now, the post turned out to be like a poetry in the making.🙂 Over at the original post, I was reflecting fireworks with having better opportunity. Two years later, I have this exponentially bigger opportunity of witnessing the best fireworks display I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen many spectacular fireworks displays but none can hold a candle ( or in this case, a firework🙂 ) to Yokohama’s Fireworks Festival.

I’m going to open up to you here. So far, I really can’t complain with life. I’m having a blast here in Japan. But one of a good number of frustrating things for me right now is that I can’t make promotion. I’ve been trying hard for the last couple of years to get to the next level, but I’m not having any luck. Economy is horrible, and competition is getting fiery. But you know what, I’ll stay optimistic and continue to try.  Just like this moment of capturing the most spectacular fireworks, maybe something out there’s ready to burst; maybe something magnificent and beautiful up there that would lighten up; and that maybe I’d be in for a big surprise.😀 If not, c’est la vie, and it is something to celebrate about.😉



Kawagoe Lantern Festival









Squirrel Garden in Machida, Japan


I used to always feed squirrels when I was in California. They’re roaming freely around by the pier in Downtown Ventura. When I saw an ad about a squirrel “garden”, I immediately knew I wanted to go there.


They are so cute.


And utterly photogenic! I’ve always known that, so I was excited to come here.


In Machida’s Squirrel Garden, they just scamper around everywhere. They are so many of them there.


You can get a bag of nuts to feed them.


It was so nice, amusing and such fun!


They do get comfortable, and start to jump at you. And boy, they can jump. It’s up to you to be friendly or get jumpy. If you put the glove and the nuts on your lap, they will sit on you.


They have different houses for them.


…. and hotels.😀


Is anybody home?


This one was just chillin’ despite all the nut-grabbing action going around.😀


My only reservation is that, unlike here, I was doing something like this when I was in California for free. Oh well, that’s basically what zoos are for. In this case, a squirrel “garden” is for.


I do love that they’re plenty of them all in here. And they look like they’re enjoying themselves, and that they’re very well accommodated.🙂

Last Call…


How to get to Squirrel Garden: From Machida Station, take the North Exit. Go straight and walk about 5 minutes until you see POP building. Take the #21 bus in front of that building, look for the bus sign. You can use your PASMO train card for bus fare. Stop at Yakushi-Ike or Yakushigaoka , it’s a park right across squirrel garden. Best to tell the bus operator where you trying to stop at. I’ll post about Yakushiike Park later.😉



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,155 other followers

%d bloggers like this: