Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tokyo to Sendai

Sendai was the city hit hard by the earthquake, since then bullet train service from Tokyo stopped at a station called Nasushiobara, about one-third the way to Sendai.This past Monday service to Sendai was restored, I found myself at Tokyo station today (Wednesday) and saw Sendai back on the time table... Good news. On the sign above, Sendai is the 19:36 train leaving from platform 23.Me, I was taking the train on the left, back to Nagoya.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Yashica Camera

I got a great little birthday present this year, the Yashica EZ F521.The F521 is sometimes called the digital holga (cheap cameras from China), but from what I can tell this thing can really take good photos. Below are some examples from the camera, biking around Nagoya this afternoon.New garden above.Below is a car, there were nice cars all over Nagoya this afternoon, parked in the weirdest places.Below is Nagoya central park, the group of people are playing music in the park.Back to the apartment.

Shikata Ga Nai

You may have heard the the above phrase, shikata ga nai, mispronounced on US news this past month, it means "it can't be helped." Japan seems to make it more difficult for foreign people to get a driver licenses, but for the past three years this was no worry to me because I had no need to drive in Japan. But this year is different from the past three, this month my US license was to expire and I figured I could just go get it transferred to a Japanese license. I need the Japanese license to continue driving when I visit the US. From the time I submitted the application to by birthday, I had time to take the particle driving test three times and ended up failing all three times. Shikata-ga-nai!!!Above is map I made to help remember driving course B, you are given the course A or B, I was lucky enough to get B all three times. You have to memorize the course and drive it during the test, if you get lost, you fail.Above is the Toyota Comfort Deluxe. The Comfort is the standard taxi cab in Japan, it drives like a boat. It is also used for the driving test.Here are a few views of the driving course, above is the sharp turn, if you bump the curb, you fail.Same as above, bump the curve you fail. I was good enough not to bump the curve all three tries, I failed on turning in the intersection I think.My big error was, when you approach the light to turn right, you have to hug the white line on the right. I had a too large gap, but if you hug to tight, you fail.Good luck! My new plan is to get a license next time I visit the US.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hanami 2011

Hanami is a festive time a year when people in Japan enjoy spring, eat food under cherry blossom trees and take lots of photos of flowers. In Nagoya this is usually the first half of April, this year everyone hit the park from the first weekend of April and stayed there through this past weekend. These photos were taken during this three week time period at Tsurumai park and Meijo park. Below is the entrance of Tsurumai park, early afternoon. You can see people are all ready staking out there spots under the trees, but if you are not there, I think it is okay to use the spots till the blue tarp owners show up.
Below is a couple taking photos of the blossoms. This was the first weekend, so the blossoms are still blooming.New blossoms.People are just having fun outside in the park. Here is a group of people, the guy in the middle is DJ'ing, there are two turn tables on that I-pad, he stood there and mixed for hours.More flowers.Here is a single serving of sake, Japanese rice wine drink.At night, most parks are lit-up till about 9pm.It's good to learn Kanji, the meaning of the one below is: refreshments-sold-here.The remaining photos are from Meijo park, this past weekend.At this point most of the blossoms are falling off the trees (there has been high wind and rain the past few weeks in Nagoya too, that does not help). New leaves replaces the flowers, but all the peddles make a real mess.Below you can see Nagoya castle in the background.Not all flowers are cherry blossoms.