18 August 2006

Let's Not Make the News Tonight

Here I am, on the night bus returning to Kagoshima. (Where did I go? Updates to follow.) I didn't think that the return trip could be worse than the trip out, but the weather had to come play in this equation. See, there's this typhoon (maybe "only" a tropical storm or depression) headed for Kyushu.

So am I.

In a big bus. A bus that likes to catch every wayward gust it can, and thus swerve all over the road.


Thank the Gods I bought extra alcohol for the trip home.

14 August 2006

Taking the Night Bus

(Posting from my cell phone tonight.)

There are a few different ways to get around Japan.

First, you can walk or ride a bike. These work well for short distances with little to no luggage.

After that there are cars, trains, and buses. Each of these are about the same as in the western world (just cleaner and better).

For longer distances, you usually go with either the shinkansen, regular trains, buses, or planes. Planes are the fastest, but also the most expensive. The shinkansen can cost almost as much as a plane and isn't as fast, but it's nice in its own way.

Buses and trains, for the long haul, offer the night (夜行) option. Basically, you get on the train/bus in the evening, and wake up at your destination. It might not be as glamorous as the other options, but it is a little bit cheaper.

I took the night train from Kyoto to Akita back in 2001-2002. It was really neat, and the JR yukata (robe) that followed me home is still a prized possession.

The night bus, though, ain't all that. Just like everywhere else, the seats are too small. The rocking of the bus is less "gentle and soothing" and more "gee, I'm on a bus".

Not much I can do about it now, though, except have a drink and try to sleep.

Good night.

13 August 2006

Yet Another New Toy

Yet Another New Toy
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei.
After all the headaches I've had with my current camera (Canon Powershot A300) -- the recent memory corruption issues, slow shooting times, no zoom, and so on -- I decided to get a new camera.

Meet the Canon S3 iS. 6 megapixel, 12x optical zoom, SD memory card, and a host of nifty features. I hope I don't regret buying it here in Japan (since the warranty may not be honored overseas) and at the last minute. I've been wanting a camera for so long, it's nice to finally have one.

So this will probably be the last picture taken with the A300. Long live the S3iS!

11 August 2006

No Liquids?

U.S. posts code-red alert; bans liquids

Gee, thanks. Good thing I didn't go out and buy a few rare bottles of shochu to bring home and share with friends and family, so they can see what I've been talking about.

Oh, wait. I did. Screw it -- I'm shipping this stuff home. There's no way I'm tossing it out. Since I'll be shipping, I'll pick up a few extra bottles of other unusual shochu, so I can have more to look forward to.

Insured airmail, here I come.

What I don't get is how this is going to stop anyone from blowing anything up. If you really want to get liquids aboard a plane, fill a water baloon or other plastic bladder up, insert into rectum, and go.

Oops -- now we all get to enjoy body cavity searches. Hospital gowns for EVERYONE!

Except first class. You can wear bathrobes.

08 August 2006

Ripe for the Picking

Ripe for the Picking
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei.
There's a blueberry farm about a half hour away in Okuchi. A little less than five dollars gets you in, and you get to eat all you want from the bushes. Anything you choose to take home is charged at a reasonable rate (I think it was a few dollars a pound or something like that).

In other news, packing and cleaning are quite a bit done.

There's a writing project I'm working on that is driving me crazy. I've done the research. I have the notes. I even have some pictures... unfortunately I also have a miserable case of writer's block. I've written almost three times as much as is required, but nothing is coming together. It's all fragments and half-baked thoughts. I need to get through this and get through it soon.

Please forgive the little rant above. The last thing I want is to have anything like a LiveJournal or MySpace page filled "my life is blah" and "current mood:" angst-ridden posts all over the place. I'll try to keep it to a minimum. I promise.