23 July 2006

Rain, Rain, Get the F--- Out

Heavy rain sweeps southern Japan, 4 dead
4 die due to heavy rain in Kagoshima Pref., death toll rises to 24

It's been raining here since something like Tuesday, and it really started coming down heavy on Friday (or was it Thursday?), all the way through Saturday night. In total, the news says, we've had about 120 centimeters of rain... which is just a hair under four feet. Four feet of rain in less than a week. I think that's more than a year's worth of rain for most anywhere in Southern California... in about five days. The north half of my town got hit pretty hard. If my camera were working, I'd try to go get some pictures to post.

I just watched a train go by and it looked like there were mud splashes on the sides of the first few cars.

Oh, yeah -- my camera has earned a boatload of wrath. I had pictures on there from a visit to a shochu distillery, as well as pictures from my farewell party and pictures of the river ready to flood its banks... and when I hooked the camera up to my computer, they both inform me that the memory card is EMPTY. What the hell?

Any good camera recommendations out there?

Considering History

Worshipping Yasukuni-Jinja
originally uploaded by BenTokyo.
I really wasn't sure what to title this entry. I toyed with "Let's Get Political (For a Minute)", but maybe "The Biggest News That Will Go Nowhere" would be more accurate. I'm not saying that I want the news I read about over at Pure Land Mountain to go nowhere; I just have little faith in the Japanese news machine to persue this matter or ask any hard questions about it. (I have the same lack of faith in the U.S. media. They've let the world down as much or more than the Japanese media.) They'll probably just look the other way and hope it goes away. If this were the U.S., I'd be sure that was the intention.

Meh. Who am I kidding. The visits will probably continue, so as to appease the Japanese political right and antagonize the rest of Asia. Nothing like following tradition for nothing other than the sake of following tradition.

Thanks to BenTokyo for having this picture of Yasukuni in his Flickr set.

12 July 2006

My Neighborhood

My Neighborhood, originally uploaded by gogakuhei.

Google Maps updated the satellite imagery for my area. (Feel free to click the link and explore around town.) You can now make out individual buildings and even cars. The imagery is still at least a year old -- the Taiyo (a supermarket chain) isn't in the picture, but it does look like they might have started grading the lot where it was finally built (inside the curve in the river just to the left of center, in the upper part of the picture) late last year. I stuck labels on things, for everyone's edification. To give an idea of distance, it's a five minute walk from home to work.

11 July 2006

Breath: Taken

They Went on Forever
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei.
My buddy Kensoux (of The Fan fame) came out to visit last month, and we had a good time of squeezing a lot of good Kyushu times into three days. This was on our way to Beppu, in Oita. The road we chose to take looked like any other road on the map, except for this one part where it looked like it got a little thinner... and boy, did it get thinner. We drove for a few miles through tiny, winding, tree-enclosed roads. I'm surprised there was pavement (for the most part). I'm also surprised we didn't have Indiana Jones leap across the road, persued by fierce tribesmen and bloodthirsty Nazis. It was crazy.

So we thread our way through miles of tree-tube-road, and finally come upon something more like a normal road. We could tell there was some sort of valley up ahead, but you couldn't tell because of this house on the outside of a curve, blocking our view. "Wow," I mused, "that house must have one hell of a view."

And then we rounded the curve, and we could see past the house... and we came to a dead stop in the middle of the road. The real thing is, of course, much more impressive than the little picture. Let's just say that I won't be forgetting that view for a long, long time.

06 July 2006

Mea Culpa

Shanghai 042
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei.
Okay, so it's been a while. A long, long while. More than two months. So much for resolutions, eh?

If you follow this link, you should hit my set of pictures from Shanghai over on my Flickr page. Most, but not all of them, are commented -- that should make for some amusing reading for ten minutes or so. I need to go figure out what I'm doing for class tonight. I'll try to write more this week and next.


I promise.

Uh... don't quote me on that.