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Showing posts with label Kagoshima. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kagoshima. Show all posts

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Going To The Maul

Not just limited to Siegfried and Roy, a Japanese zookeeper has been mauled to death at the Hirakawa Zoo in Kagoshima this past Monday.

I know I shouldn’t make light of stuff like this, but we are talking about a wild animal that shouldn’t be kept in a zoo.

Yes… I’ve been to zoos, and enjoyed having tea opportunity to see such creatures, but I honestly believe that we shouldn’t cage such creatures. Keep’em in a wildlife preserve, sure, or in the wild where we know they aren’t liable to kill people or us liable to eliminate their domain.

Riu the white tiger—a natural genetic mutation of the more common orange and black version Bengal tiger—mauled Furusho Akira, 40, in its enclosure.

The male five-year-old Riku was born at the zoo, weighs 374 pounds and stands 1.8 meters in length.

Usually, when a death like this happens at a zoo, the animal is euthanized, but Furusho’s family asked they spare the animal, knowing how much the deceased loved the creature.

Awww. Now I feel like a jerk for making those jokes at the top of the article.

It is suspected that Furusho may have been trying to move the tiger between two cages when the attack occurred. Rules say no one is supposed to enter an enclosure until an animal has been moved.

Furusho’s neck was badly mauled, and was still alive when found, but died soon after arriving in the hospital.  

"When we found him, he was lying in the tiger's bedroom. There was blood on the ground," said Hirakawa zoo officialYamamoto Toshiaki  (surname first), according to Reuters. "It seems like he was bitten, then dragged around the room."

It is estimated that there are now several hundred of the white tigers in captivity—all born in captivity, in fact—with zero such animals in the wild. No white tigers have been seen in the wild since one was shot in 1958.

The Hirakawa zoo is home to four white tigers.

Andrew Joseph  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sakurajima Daikon Good For The Heart

As evidenced by the photo above—part of a 1930s-era collection I purchased when I was in Japan—the Sakurajima daikon radish is one big veggie.

And, provided you can lift it without it killing you, Japanese scientists have discovered that it has positive effects in battling cardiovascular disease.

A recently published article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that compounds in the Sakurajima Daikon radish could help protect coronary blood vessels and potentially prevent heart disease and stroke.

The Sakurajima daikon radish is grown on Sakurajima (桜島, Cherry Blossom Island), which is part of Kagoshima-ken (Kagoshima Prefecture) in the western part of Japan.

The Sakurajima volcano is Japan’s most active volcano, in a near-constant state of eruption expelling volcanic ash all over the island.

Sakurajima is a stratovolcano, with three peaks: Kita-dake (North peak), Naka-dake (Middle peak) and Minami-dake (South peak), the latter of which is active now.

The volcanic ash deposited around Sakurajima, along with the dry density and PH levels of the soils has helped increase the size of vegetation in the area, including the Sakurajima daikon radish.

Radishes in general posses an excellent source for human antioxidant consumption, and according to global scientists, can have a positive affect in battling cardiovascular disease by reducing high blood pressure and clots.

The recent study led by Japanese researchers was the first attempt to see if the super-large daikon radish possessed more cardio benefits than other standard radishes with higher nitric oxide production—a key regulator of coronary blood vessel function.

And, lo and behold—otherwise why am I writing about this, it was realized that the Sakurajima daikon radish did indeed offer more nitric oxide production in vascular cells than other smaller Japanese radishes.

So… while the results are merely the results, with nothing officially set in stone, if you are looking to improve your own cardiovascular health, you may want to include the Sakurajima daikon radish into your diet.

Just don’t get a hernia while trying to heft it onto the cutting board.

Andrew Joseph

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

100 Million People Could Die - And Japan Is At The Heart Of It!

Did you know that down in the ocean  - part of Japan - there's a lava dome that could potentially erupt and kill over 100 million people?

That's 1/76th of the world's current population of 7.6 billion as of December of 2017.

Thanks, Japan.

Okay... but how likely is it to actually erupt and kill all of these people? Scientists peg that percentage at a measly one percent.

Uh... that's actually quite high, if one actually thinks about it.

And just how accurate is that one percent number? It's not like scientists can actually predict when or where or how hard a volcanic system will erupt!

The lava dome, which is inside an underwater volcano was discovered by the Kobe Ocean-Bottom Exploration Center (KOBEC), locating it approximately 50 kilometers (~30 miles) south of the Satsuma Peninsula in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The lava dome is about 610 meters (2,000 feet) high and 9.66 kilometers (six miles) in diameter... so it's a big mammajamma.

Kagoshima Bay itself is actually something called the Aira Caldera (姶良カルデラ, Aira-Karudera). A caldera, as opposed to a volcanic crater, is a huge depression in the ground which formed after a previous supervolcanic eruption. As the magma chamber emptied, the ground above sank in and partially filled the hole left behind.
According to KOBEC head professor Tatsumi Yoshiyuki (surname first) in speaking to Japan newspaper The Mainichi: “Although the probability of a gigantic caldera eruption hitting the Japanese archipelago is one percent in the next 100 years, it is estimated that the death toll could rise to approximately 100 million in the worst case scenario.”

Does that imply that it's at two percent over the next two hundred years, or is it like the way we measure earthquakes, and go up by a level of 10 per 0.1 magnitude?

And really - again - one percent over the next 100 years... so it could be the next 10 years, and an even higher percentage...

While an ordinary volcano is triggered (we think) by internal mechanisms such as magma pressure build-up up over time, whereby it punches through the rock....

A supervolcano is triggered by going's on above the Earth’s crust.

Considering it has a large magma chamber below it, just its weight alone can cause it to become unstable and to form cracks and faults.

Via the faults, magma can create a chain reaction that could lead to an explosion which could extinguish a whole lotta life on the planet... maybe even all life.

So how can you tell when a supervolcano will explode? You can hazard a guess... and that's all.  

And for all you hypochondriacs out there, there's a supervolcano out in the U.S., as well. Out in Yellowstone National Park, where that self-same volcanic system last erupted 600,000 years ago... and while a volcano is usually considered to be extinct if it has blown up in 10,000 years, the Yellowstone National Park is a hub of volcanic-like activity.

Ever heard of Old Faithful, the hydrothermal geyser that erupts like clockwork every few hours?

That's part of it.

Grand Prismatic Spring, one of the geothermal features of the Yellowstone Caldera. Photo by Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia CC-by-SA 3.0

But it's not ready to explode just yet... it takes a few decades for the volcanic system to become hyper enough to explode in an eruption.

Scientists do not believe that the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt for at least another 1,000 years.

But again... how do you know?

There's also a supervolcano in Long Valley, California, one in New Mexico, one in Sumatra Indonesia, one around the North Island New Zealand,  and one under Naples Italy.

Nowhere is a safe spot. Maybe Africa. Yeah... the cradle of humanity...  but the southernmost part.

Okay, so some 100 million people could die if the Japan Kagoshima supervolcano erupts... how do we know that?

After the explosion comes severe pyroclastic flows of a fluidized mixture of solid and semi-solid fragments of rock, ash and incredibly hot expanding gases which act similarly to a snow avalanche.Have you ever seen the "statuary" of Pompei?
The casts of the corpses of a group of human victim of the 79 AD eruption of the Vesuvius, found in the so-called “Garden of the fugitives” in Pompeii. Image by Lancevortex - Own work.
Now... just because you live a long ways away from the volcano, in a supervolcano's pyroclastic flow, the ash is so stupidly hot that it would turn back into lava as soon as it hit the ground... and consider that a supervolcano can push ash hundreds of miles away (100 miles  = 161 kilometers). That means, that even if you are say... 500 kilometers (310 miles) away, you could be showered with lava.

This map refers to the fall out from a possible Yellowstone volcanic eruption. For reference in gold, is the spread of ash from Mount St. Helens back in 1980. 

Should you have survived this onslaught, next comes the winter that never ends, as ash enters our atmosphere and effectively acts as a shield blocking out the warming rays of the sun... dropping the temperature on the planet, as well as effectively stopping plant growth...  

Anyhow... you can see a teeny tiny video below describing the Japanese supervolcano.... though you probably will have learned more just from reading the above....  

You're gonna need Sunscreen 2 billion, I think. 
Andrew Joseph

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

58th Chrysanthemum Festival

Hey - guess what - I’m early with something. So make your travel plans accordingly.

Beginning November 1-23, 2017 at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sengan-en in Kagoshima, Japan, the  58th Chrysanthemum Festival will take place! I've been to that site, though unfortunately not for the festival... I should have planned accordingly!

The festival will feature over 15,000 chrysanthemums on display at one of Japan's most famous gardens, with impressive display pieces, mannequins wearing flower kimono, and carefully manicured bonsai.

Located in Kagoshima opposite the very active Sakurajima volcano, Sengan-en is one of Japan's most famous gardens. Home of the powerful Shimadzu clan for over 350 years, the 12-acre gardens are known for the use of borrowed scenery - incorporating the amazing view of the smoldering Sakurajima into the foreground of the garden.

In order for the chrysanthemums to bloom at the same time, dedicated gardeners will spend weeks wiring each bud closed to prevent them blooming too early in a process called osae. The process must be repeated several times before the flowers are ready to bloom.

I know - flower bondage! It fits in perfectly with the world of Japanese horticulture re: bonsai trees, in which farmers bend copper wires around branches to create what they perceive to be the perfect natural form.

Which it isn’t… forgive my pessimism. I’ve done tree bondage amongst other forms of the sport, and while I thought it was kindda cool to create nature in my own image, that’s too much like one is pretending to be a god… which I admit is fun, but geez. I’ve always felt bonsai looks beautiful, but ultimately sterile.

Now… if I hadn’t found out about this osae, bloom bondage, I might have been simply amazed at the floral display… I’m sure I will be, but it takes away some of the spontaneity of nature. This, for me, is one of those rare cases where it is too much information. Sorry.

Anyhow, this year's theme is 150 years since the Meiji Restoration, and a central display piece featuring the visionary leader Shimadzu Nariakira (surname first) meeting with the last samurai Saigo Takamori (surname first)will be one of the major attractions of the festival. Saigo was the inspiration for the Tom Cruise film "The Last Samurai”, which was actually a pretty decent film even though he’s not lip-synching Bob Segar in that one. 

Local enthusiasts will bring their best chrysanthemum bonsai for a competition, and the fascinating "tairin-giku" where hundreds of flowers are grown from a single stalk will be on display.

It isn't all peace and quiet however, because on November 19, a taiko drumming performance from the Noda-go Shimadzu Taiko will echo around the gardens. Mmmm, love me some taiko.

On the same day there is also a matchlock rifle display from the Hioki Teppo-tai. Contrary to the popular image, samurai were actually very fond of guns, and the Shimadzu clan was one of the first to put them into action.

To close the festival a traditional Japanese kyudo (archery) competition will be held on November 26, 2017 called Kusajishi-shiki in which archers shoot at a target in the shape of a deer.

The archers are divided into two teams, red and white. The deer has 24 areas marked with white circles which the archers aim for. If the shot is deemed to have struck badly or missed a vital area a discussion with a judge takes place to decide whether a point should be awarded or not.

The Chrysanthemum Festival is one of the most popular events at Sengan-en, and is the only chance to see the delicate flowers against the backdrop of an imposing active volcano.
This is Mt. Sakurajima, in a photo from my personal collection (which I purchased) of the volcano erupting back in the mid-1930s. Strangely, when I visited the area in 1992, it was ominously smoke-free - a rarity. Figures...

Andrew Joseph

Sunday, August 10, 2014

NFL's 49ers Selling $336 Japanese Steak

The San Francisco 49ers National Football League team is moving into a new stadium this Fall, but Levi's Stadium has been officially opened as of July 17, 2014.

The stadium costs over US$1-billion (¥102.05-billion), and looks pretty good. It also tastes pretty good, from what I hear.

Situated within the stadium is the 17,000-square-foot (1,580-m²) Bourbon Steak & Pub, a restaurant owned and operated by a famous San Fran chef named Michael Mina--a James Beard Award-winning chef with 20 restaurants.

At this restaurant, there are two menu items that caught my eye:
  • an eight-ounce Kagoshima rib cap steak - $336 ( ¥34,300);
  • a smoking double barrel wagyu beef hotdog featuring two bacon-wrapped hot dogs topped with pork chicharrones, honey mustard and coleslaw - for $18 ( ¥1,837)
Yup... a steak - a small steak, in fact, that costs $336. For that kind of money, the chef should feed me and get me laid with one of the San Francisco 69er cheerleaders. I don't think that's a typo.

Chef Michael Mina wants you to pay lots of money to eat food while watching the San Francisco 49ers. It could abe a long year. Can't I just eat the food?
For some reason, Japan produces some damn fine beef. Unfortunately, it's also a rare product, what with their being little land available for cattle production, seeing as how most of Japan has either been paved over with cement and asphalt or is home to either a rice field or a 7-11.

Just trust me on my city of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, I couldn't go anywhere without riding my bicycle into a ricefield (never bicycle drunk) or getting my fill on pre-made 7-11 triangles of rice balls filled with something delicious.

Anyhow... I never actually ate a beef steak while in Japan... not like what I could get here in Canada anytime I want or can afford it. I'm not that rich anymore, except in the things that count - and I'm pretty pissed off about that.

Steak in Japan was just too expensive.

And so... Japan has exported its expensive steak to the rest of the world, such as San Francisco, where you can pay insane amounts of money for a taste sensation that I can only imagine is out of this world... well, out of this country, to say the least.

But perhaps to prove a point that Chef Mina is a world-class chef, few menu items at the new stadium restaurant are inexpensive.

You can get a:
  • 25-ounce Deus Belgian Strong Ale beer for a mere $75 ( ¥7,600);
  • Mickey's Brown Bag Special featuring 40-ounces of malt liquor - $12 (¥1,225) - good price!;
  • Falafel burger with minted Greek yogurt, tahini and tomato jam - $16 (¥1,633) - where's the beef?;
  • half-rack of ribs with liquid gold BBQ sauce - $18 (¥1,837) - this is a good price.
Chef Mina must be expecting a heavy load of customers, because the Bourbon Steak & Pub can hold 900 people, featuring a dining area with mirrors that turn into TVs during the football games; a pub; and a private tailgate area for games and other events featuring communal-style foods featuring foods cooked by other celebrity chefs from the opposing team's city.

The restaurant will have the capability to roast a 1,200-pound (544.31-kilograms) ox; has a few (three) 500-pound (226.8-kg) pots for cooking hundreds of lobsters at a time; and even a two-story rotisserie that looks like a Ferris wheel to cooks ducks and chickens.

If I lived in San Francisco and was hungry, I might try the wagyu beef hot dogs for $18 each... except that I can eat more than three or four when hungry.

Hmmm.... maybe I'll have to load up on hotdogs at the street vendors for $3 (¥306) a shot outside first. Hey... it's not like I'm such a gourmand who can taste the finer delicacies of Kagoshima or wagyu beef and say I know it's any tastier than the steak I purchased at the local grocery store.

If anyone has visited the restaurant and tried either of the two Japanese-beef concoctions, let me know if it was worth it and if you had to sell your soul to afford it.

Bon appétit,
Andrew Joseph

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Awesome Video of Volcano Erupting

Check out this great footage of Japan's Sakurajima volcano erupting on July 24, 2012.

It's one of the more active volcanoes in Japan, and I'll present some photos taken back in the 1930s that I own. Strange place, in that there are people living at the base of a damn, active volcano!

Check out this BBC link: HERE.

Since scientists are thinking there might be a link between volcano eruptions and earthquakes... let's see if there's a decent sized trembler in the next few days...

Cheers to Matthew (again) for the heads up!

Andrew Joseph

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Iso-tei-en Park In Kagoshima

Welcome to a very touristy place in Japan.

The beautiful Iso Te-in, which I think translates to Iso Park. Located in the city of Kagoshima-shi (Kagoshima City), Kagoshima-ken (Kagoshima Prefecture), way out in the western tip of Japan, it is perhaps more famous for its view of the oft-erupting volcano Sakurajima.

Known formally as Sengan-en, Mitsuhisa Shimazu (surname first) created it back in 1658, based on a garden he saw back in China, as part of his palatial home.

The current Iso Te-in grew into its present form back in 1848. 

The garden boasts a spectacular view of Kinko Bay with the volcano set as the background.

Because I am the rain man, (ame otoko), it rained every single day of my journey out west traveling with my then-girlfriend, Ashley.

Tough to say if she grew tired of me or simply grew tired of being wet. You know what I mean. I have many spectacular shots of Iso te-in - but none of the volcano, as the inclement weather obscured the damn thing like it was Mt. Fuji.

I do, however, possess a black and white photograph taken from a photo album I purchased at a flea market in Utsunomiya that has scads of cool photos in it taken originally in 1934 or there about. It was obviously pre-WWII, but had a lot of photos of Japanese sailors prepping for war against all of Asia. My guesstimate is based on some cars I saw in a few photographs.

Regardless... presented below is Sakurajima exploding in the 1930s. The photo was probably taken at Iso-te-in. Yes... the volcano is that close to people! I'll present some cool images soon of Sakurajima I bet you haven't seen anywhere before.

The  photo at the very top, is simply one I took of a very small stone lantern marker. It was no more than 20-inches high and I stumbled upon it after I stumbled upon it while going off the beaten path where people were not supposed to go. I am daring and clumsy... a lucky combination this time.

If caught, I figured I could get away with just being another ignorant gaijin (foreigner) tourist who doesn't understand Japanese, which was pretty much correct.  

Both photos are the property of me, Andrew Joseph.

Andrew Joseph

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Crystal Ship

This was originally called "Weather Tis Nobler In The Mind To Suffer The Slings And Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune" - but that's not a song by a rock group.

I really needed a vacation. I didn't go anywhere during the winter - and it showed.
No longer was I the sparkling model of efficiency (my view). Now I was a borderline paranoid hypochondriac (everyone else's view). I started developing headaches and dizzy spells, and complained to anyone who would or wouldn't listen all about it. There's no way it could have been due to the blow to the head suffered a few chapters ago in the bike/car collision(s). It had to be stress.
On March 21, 1991 I was off work, though pundits might suggest that I've been 'off' for years.
Myself and Ashley, who may possibly be my girlfriend at this exact point in time, or perhaps not, rode our bicycles to the Nishinasuno-eki (eki means 'station') at about 6AM. We laughed at the cold and bitter gale that blew in our faces with such fury that we occasionally had to stop to walk our bikes--we knew that later in the day we'd be in the warm regions of Japan.
After traveling up to Kuroiso on the local JR (Japan Rail) line, we caught a shinkansen (bullet train) to Ueno-eki in Tokyo and then caught another bullet train west to Kyoto. To-kyo and Kyo-to. Notice how each city uses the same two words? Tokyo literally translates into 'Eastern Gate' and Kyoto into 'Gate to the East'. It's funny what sticks in your head for 20 years.
Arriving in Kyoto at noon (not including biking, it was a 525 kilometre trip... and that six-hours includes lots of time spent walking to tracks and waiting for trains and the local train ride north to catch the shinkansen) we quickly walked to a youth hostel and booked space for the evening. It wasn't my idea, but more whining on that later. It's time for whining of a different nature, about nature.
Ashley and I then went sight-seeing. She had a plan, and that's a good thing because I, due to an innate lack of direction, tend to go whichever way the wind blows.
We checked out a few temples, but by our third such tourist trap, it was quite evident that the weather was as cold as some of my girlfriends had occasionally been, though not as this particular moment.
I, by some quirk of luck, had a coat. Ashley, did not. Not wanting her to freeze to death, I gave her my coat which was gratefully accepted. Chivalry may not be dead, but I secretly wished it was.
Later that evening at the youth hostel, I had to try and sleep on a thread-bare futon with a skimpy blanket. I froze my muscular butt off. Even worse, to avoid hanky-panky, all male visitors had to sleep in a room separate from the women. How is this enjoyable?
But, like all of my adventures, the worst was yet to come.
The second day in Kyoto (March 22), it rained. Hard and cold. Here are some wet photos of KYOTO. Remember, only one of us had a coat, but I did still have a baseball cap. I insisted we go to a hotel (heck, I'm buying), but the Japanese-style one Ashley chose unfortunately had a hissing and flying cockroach in it that was, without exaggeration, the size of my foot (30-centimetres=12-inches or one perfect foot). That cockroach seemed to take great pleasure in dive bombing us.
Anyhow, screaming like little girls--which is fine for Ashley--we spent the night under the covers. No sex, but rather to protect ourselves from this refugee from a Godzilla film.
For our third day, we decided to try our luck in nearby Osaka, which had previously been lucky for me (HERE). It was drizzling rain, but was awfully cold. I was again without a coat--why didn't we go shopping for a coat??!!--and I was thinking how nice Ohtawara would be at this time of year. What was I thinking? March in Ohtawara would be the same as here.
Anyhow, here's a link back to the famous Osaka-jo castle - CASTLE.
Did I mention that neither Ashley or I had brought more than one set of warm clothes each? Dicey.
From Osaka, Ashley had us take a 9PM ferry boat ride to Kyushu. While waiting, we visited the absolutely stunning Osaka Aquarium. This is a must-see place - Here's a Video.
After getting useless information from many a Japanese person (probably tourists!), we finally were able to find the ferry's ticket office. While they didn't have any cabins available--apparently they are booked months in advance-- we were able to get economy class accommodations. It meant not having our own room, and we'd have to share it - something like a youth hostel, but we'd at least be together.
How bad could it be? I figured we'd get a futon and blanket to use on a gymnasium-sized floor. Mope. Here on the HMS Bounty II, we (us and a gaggle of Nihonjin) were let to a holding pen that was about 40 per cent smaller than the average-size junior high school classroom (where each class of mine had 25-30 students).
On the floor, 48 blankets were placed - six rows of eight blankies. Each blanket was four-feet long and one-foot wide. When Ashley and I put our traveling luggage down, there wasn't much room left at all. It was a 15-hour voyage.
I won't delve into the fact that there were seven additional rooms jut like ours - all with their own stand-up video game coin-ops right outside the room where the door never closed. Heck, Ashley and I were lucky... there were about 50 more people who were unable to find a 'space' in the rooms and had to sit/flop on chairs next to the door that led to the outside deck... and for some reason, that door was also open more often than not.
I no longer had to wonder how 5000 people can drown in Bangladesh when a ferry capsizes.
The next morning's weather was, at least, nice and sunny. Still, it was no small comfort to me to have to experience this hellish nightmare. Yup. Don't pay the ferry man, until he gets you to the other side.
At least this boat-hell was an appropriate passage to Beppu. The town of Beppu is known for its numerous hells - hot steaming pools and geysers made of unearthly colours that would seem highly reminiscent of Hell had anyone actually been there and described it to the Japanese Tourist Board.
My first day in Hell was warm and pleasant, though our second day there consisted of a steady rain. Check out Pix of BEPPU taken from a 1930's photo album I picked up at a 'garage sale' in Utsunomiya, the capital of Tochigi-ken. THIS photo is one I have of a nice red Hell - red from the heavy iron content in the water.
The day after that, we traveled to Miyazaki, home to a 36-metre high Peace Tower that was built in 1940, a year before Japan's attack on the U.S. protectorate of Hawaii. It was raining in Miyazaki. A lot. Mere words can not even begin to describe how hard and cold the rain was. WET PHOTO. This the only photo I have or found worth taking of this place.
The following day, we ventured to Kagoshima. While it wasn't raining (yet), it was very grey and overcast. the clouds obscured a magnificent volcano that guide book says is there. Maybe the gods had thought I had left the city, but the sun came out for a few minutes allowing me to snap a few photos to prove it really existed. Did you know that photographs taken directly of the sun the sun don't come out very well?
Here are some KAGOSHIMA PIX from that old photo album plus a few I took.
Our penultimate stop was Nagasaki. I was disappointed. I mean I knew that the city had the crap bombed out of it by an atomic bomb back in 1945, but I expected to see some cool buildings there rebuilt in the old style framed by the dull grey skies. Instead, I got buildings that looked a lot like they were based on American design. To make matters worse, for a city that once glowed with nuclear radiation, this very hilly city made walking a bitch. And, it was still cold enough that Ashley and I had to continue wearing our 'warm' clothes - still damp and now onto our eighth day).
It rained again the next day, but we did spend time checking out the atomic bomb museum. Man. Never again should we ever use an atomic or nuclear weapon. Horrible stuff, but definitely worth the visit.
Here are the only photos I have of NAGASAKI thanks to a house fire.
On the tenth day, it was time for us to head back home to Tochigi-ken. It was drizzling when we left, but when we arrived back at our bicycles in Nishinasuno-eki, it was raining harder that it had all trip. It was also 10C colder.
Oh yeah, on the two trips west and back, Mt. Fuji was obscured by clouds. Japan's tallest and most-famous mountain and I haven't seen it in nine months, even though it's supposed to be visible from the Nasu Mountain north of Ohtawara. It's just always been raining or snowing or fogging.
Oh well. At least I had fun, and more importantly, not only did I get to see a lot of great sights, I finally got to change my clothes.
What kills me is that it's not even the rainy season yet. Yeesh.

Somewhere building an ark,
Andrew Joseph
Today's title: The Doors. "There is the known and the unknown, and in between are the doors."