Two business men walk towards the camera. Both walking in the same direction, much like the monotonous everyday life. Cookie cut lifestyle... if you know what I'm talking about. The one in white shirt looks tired with drooped shoulders. Maybe from all the stresses of life, family, kids, etc. On the other hand, the one in black suit walks with somewhat stronger and livelier gait. The support for the structure above hides his face and leaves us with a bit of mystery.
Tsutenkaku tower in Osaka. I think it's almost a parody, Eiffel tower and Arc de triomphe de l'Etoile put together. This cheesiness portrays the cheesiness of the entire city of Osaka. It's a city full of character, much more so than many other cities in Japan.
The area is very lively during the day, but it dies down at night. This shot taken through a bicycle frame darkens the picture, making the brightly lit tower stand lonely in the night.
I took this photo in Kyoto. Walked around Arashiyama area and stumbled across this. This is a row of red rental city bikes. Some people were staring at me like I was weird taking a picture of this, but that's nothing new with me.
Once again, I have returned. Changing it up a bit an maybe put photos up as I take them, and possibly even write about them.
This was a part of the first set of pictures I took. Close up picture of the window in one of the Ijinkan residence. These houses were the ones where the rich foreigners lived back in late 19th to early 20th century. A little more about it here.
A picture I took somewhere up the Rokko Mountains in Kobe, Japan. Same photo on my flickr, but this one has better color.
Some showroom in Osaka, at night.
Tennis ball and reflection over water.
Man waiting for the light to change under the railroad tracks in Osaka.
The closet door at an interesting restaurant.
Shadow/Self-portrait. On my bike, on my way back from lunch.
Watch your head!
These are it for now... in the meanwhile, check out my flickr for more photos.
I promised myself I will write here more often. I also promised myself that I would get more sleep every night. Good track record. Maybe I should just not make any promises at all at this rate.
Anyways, it's been about 2 months since I started working at the bike shop. So far, so good. More people are buying bikes, and bringing their old ones in for repairs and overhauls. It seems like the combination of nice weather, raising gas prices, and concerns for obesity are the main reasons for the surge in the cycling population. I ride 22 miles to work one way, and it keeps me in good health. No need to maintain the car or buy gas for it. No need to look for parking spaces. I love it.
Time for bed though. I would like to update this blog more often, but no promises.
I haven't written here in a while, so I figured I would write something to keep it alive.
I had an interesting weekend. It consisted of: 120 mile round trip ride, visiting Tsuyoshi who toured the world on his bicycle, talking to a 66 year old that is attempting LA to NYC solo bicycle trip, and babysitting 3 kids. Here is the story. The long ride was a means to get to and from the house in which Tsuyoshi lives. At his house, was the 66 year old that wanted to get advice about US for the solo trip. And the 3 kids are Tsuyoshi's who I helped take care of for the day. I learned a few things this weekend. One is that it's never too late to start anything. Second, is that I don't want kids for quite some time...
On the way back, I noticed some weird clicking noise coming from the bicycle. It's a metallic clicking noise that occurs at certain position of the crank, and only when I am spinning fast. I don't hear it at low cadence, and the amount of load doesn't seem to make any difference. It's only related to cadence, and happens with both small and big chainrings. This problem is new to me. I will post once more when I figure it out.
If you were like me when I was little, you must have spent a significant amount of time playing the good old Nintendo. I don't know about you, but when I hear Nintendo, or "famicon" as we call it over here, I think of: Super Mario Bros., cartridges that seem to quit working on every single Nintendo ever made, and the finicky power cable. Seriously, every last Nintendo owner I know, made it a ritual to blow into the cartridge in hopes to try to get that thing to start. Some people will just blow directly at the cartridge, while others got fancy and covered the cartridge with the part of their T-shirt, and then blow into it. I was cool, so I was the latter.
Anyways, this ritual performed by every avid gamers to appease to the gods of Nintendo, was probably a futile attempt at getting the game to start. If it did start, it was probably just luck. But we all want to believe it was due to individual's efforts and skills. At least I do.
Now, the power cable. I haven't seen a single machine that had a fully functioning power plug. Usually. when i had the machine setup in front of the TV, I had to tell people never to walk over it, but around the back behind me. As soon as someone tried to walk across the front, the god of Nintendo was infuriated by the act, punishing the gamer through the supernatural resetting action. So you get pissed off and try to get the thing to start again, but that was also pretty difficult. If you don't keep the cables at certain angle, it would reset again.
Last, but not least, if you were into games where it requires saving where you left off, you probably know about the ever increasing forgetfulness of the game cartridge. It wipes your saved data randomly at times. I was playing "Dragon Quest", or "Dragon Warrior" for those of you in the US, and it started to delete the data. Gradually increasing as time passed. At the end, it would delete it everytime, so I had to leave the thing on forever until I beat it. It sounds like a great idea(sort of, or at least it did back then), but that never worked. Then you had someone that would step over the wire and it would all be gone. It wasn't until much much later that I learned it was due to the dead battery back up. Genius idea.
Nintendo games were not only difficult inside the game, but also the struggle against the physical issues of the machine made some games impossible to beat. Of course, there were some games that was just impossible to beat. Maybe they set the difficultly level about 20 levels too high.
Anyways, all I wanted to say is that playing Nintendo wasn't just mental, but also a physical struggle between the man and the machine(?). I'm sure a lot of peope out there can sympathize with me.
I did go on the bike ride on Sunday which I wrote about earlier. The bicycle ride is always good, but what was best was the relief from leaving the Osaka city. It's not a bad city I suppose, but I am not a big fan of cities in general. Anyways, I took the road heading southeast, so I can get to the mountains that seperate Osaka and Nara. I didn't have the intention to leave the Osaka side because I left home late, and the roads in the mountain would have iced over. My roadbike with 28c road tire just won't cut it. I rode to the area around Taishi-cho, Kanan-cho, and Chihaya Akasaka-mura, all located by the mountain on the Osaka prefecture side. Only about 30km one way, but more than enough for me to enjoy a scenery of the forgotten past of Japan. Really, everyone thinks(or am I the only one who thinks so?) that Japan is all about the city like Tokyo where everything is modern, full of cool electronics, nightlife, etc., but those are only part of it. It reminds me of how a lot of Japanese think that US is all NYC, Seattle, and LA, but thats far from the truth. Anyways, once you step out of the city, you experience the part of Japan that rarely receives attention. I have heard someone calling Japan the most backwards of the first world countries. "Wasteful" and disregard for the nature are two things that came to mind when I first heard it. We are good at making new technology, and improving what's already out there. We were so focused on the future that we hadn't had the time to look back into the good parts of the past. The old frugal lifestyle still exists in those areas away from the city. I think the hint for the modern environmental concerns are right in front of their eyes, waiting to be rediscovered. This is my opinion and the issue is quite debateable.
This brings me to another point, the nature in Japan often seem a bit different from what one might find in the US, for example. I don't know what it is, but seems like it's man-made, or having some kind of human intervention. Not necessarily in a bad way though. People used to live in coexistance with the nature, and maybe that's what it is. I do disagree with the mentality that some people in power have, about making places in nature more accessible to people. It invites more people who can come and trash the place. One mountain in Nara Prefecture finally put a limit to the number of people allowed every week, due to the quicker than expected degradation of the nature. I believe small "eco-tours" are pretty good idea because while inviting people to the nature, it educates them the dangers it's facing. That said, the nature found in Japan can be spectacular such as the Iriomote-jima, a.k.a. the eastern Galapagos. One thing we lack is nature in the massive scale such as Grand Canyon, and the great wilderness of Alaska. But I think it gives each country it's own unique colors.
Sorry, I digress. Now back to the ride. The small towns and the village I went through were quite amazing. People were very friendly and they had the time to talk even if it was just for few moments. It was the day after the "snowstorm", and the melting snow gave the air the damp smell unique to areas with soil and trees. I long for this because where I live, this experience that can be taken for granted by many, is few and far in between. As I made the 1400ft climb, the temperature got significantly cooler with more remnants of snow. That's when I turned around to leave the mountain pass for another day, for the sun was setting. No need for trouble. No need to hurry. I shall return again.