Feb 28, 2011

Walking back from the doctor's 02

 This is an athletic area, mainly for school competitions. The dome opens which explains the strange construction of the roof - part of it rotates. Inside the dome there are various facilities, restaurants, shops, facilities for various sports, etc. I have never been inside but I saw a TV program about the place.
 One of the reasons that we walked this way, a route we do not normally take, is that we wanted to stop at the store in the light brown building. The same TV show that had the bit about the dome also had a section on this store. It sells yuba, the skin that forms on the top of the pot when they make tofu. The store is a bit far to just go there to shop, but stopping on the way home is convenient.
 They don't have much of a variety. Only the stuff of the top shelf is for sale. The white things are simply yuba in different packages. The darker items at the far end are little bags made of yuba and tied with something edible that contain various things. We bought some plain yuba and six of the little bags, two each containing chicken, vegetables and scallops. They are eaten with soy sauce.
Getting closer to home, we passed a large hospital in the middle of some rice paddies. About six years ago I had a very bad bladder stone attack. Masayo took me there in our car, extremely painful trip, and they would not accept me. It was early morning and they said that they only had enough staff to handle a case that was on the way in an ambulance. We went home, again bouncing in the car was extremely painful, and called the city ambulance. They came and radioed around to find a hospital for me. It turned out to be a very good one. Now if I ever have another attack, I can go to that hospital because I am their patient.

Feb 27, 2011

Walking back from the doctor's

 I need to go to the doctor's once a month to get my high blood pressure medicine. My wife used to drive me when we had a car, but now we take the bus and then walk home. It is just a little over four kilometers.
This picture was taken in the housing area in which the doctor has his office. There reason we go there is that we used to live here and this doctor was closest. We discovered that we liked him so we still go there, even though there are many doctors closer to our apartment. The thing to notice in this picture is the crosswalk (zebra crossing). It is a t-intersection but you can only legally cross in one direction. Sendai is starting to put this sort of thing in many intersection. They claim it is safer but I do not see how.

 We decided that, since we were later than usual, we would stop for lunch. This is the remains of our yakiniku meal [yaki means fried, grilled, or burnt, and niku is meat]. The food comes to the table raw but they bring a charcoal grill and you cook for yourself. I had chicken. It was delicious.
 This is the entrance to the restaurant. Immediately inside is a garden. The seats are behind it.
This was rather unusual. These are automatic sales, each with its own little building. What is surprising is the combination. The blue place sells rice and the red one is a laundromat. A sort of weird combination. All I could think of was using the laundromat to wash the rice, something that you always do when cooking Japanese rice.

Feb 26, 2011

Out for exercise 13

 A little further on I found more evidence of the surveyors, but again no people. It looks as if they are checking the distance across the river before doing whatever construction is planned.
 The atmosphere was extremely clear. The mountains were like a painting.
 This is a little Shinto shrine if the yard of one of the house that abut the riverside path. This kind is very common and you see them all over. They are ceramic with a reddish brown glaze. The other side, the front, has a little open door and people put something inside. I will try to remember to take photographs of these when I see them, so that you can see what sort of things people put inside.
This is the riverside garden as it looks in winter. In the summer it is beautiful, with greens and many colored flowers but now all there is a shades of brown.

Feb 25, 2011

Out for exercise 12

 Every year a group of white geese make a stop on the river in the park. They stay for a while because people feed them, but eventually they continue on to the south.
 I did not get close enough for them to think that I would be the source of a free handout, so they ignored me.
 This is not a Japanese Stonehenge, but it is the remains of someone's barbecue.
As I was walking from the bridge to my apartment, I discovered something extremely unusual. It was the tripod from a surveying kit. There were no people, just the tripot. I later discovered that they were surveying the river again in preparation for doing some construction work on the other side. I will have pictures and information about that as they do the work.

Feb 24, 2011

Out for exercise 11

 I took a longcut and went through Nanakita Koen, the large park near the subway station. I entered through a gate on the north side that I had never used before and discovered this road to nowhere. I guess it must have been an access road but then someone built that apartment building on the land outside the park blocking the section between the park and the road.
 This was the skinniest snowman I have ever seen.
 The snow made some parts of the park very pretty.
The air was very clear and I could see the mountains in the distance, something that is almost unusual.

Feb 22, 2011

Out for exercise 10

 This is a city truck that picks up recycled glass and metal, mostly in the form of bottles and cans. They are put out at the same place as the regular trash but on a different day. Regular burnable trash is picked up twice a week. Other stuff is collected once a week, or twice a month, or once a month depending on the type.
 This is a little rice paddy surrounded by houses.
 I was almost back to Izumi Chuo when I passed a city gym. My wife and I ate in the restaurant once. I had chicken and they gave me two large chicken breasts and a whole bunch of other stuff. I could not eat it all. The price was about the same as you would pay at other places but the serving was about twice as big. While I was eating the waitress came over and tried to give me more rice. I would have preferred a second cup of coffee, but I had neither.
 One thing that happens frequently in Japan is that the outside of large buildings are painted and repaired. I still find this surprising since there is almost no maintenance done on machines and equipment which are just allowed to fall apart.
This is the other side of the same building. It gives a good view of the scaffolding that they erect when painting. This scaffolding was still being constructed, but when finished they will almost assuredly cover the outside with large sheets of plastic to cut down on the noise and the mess.

Feb 21, 2011

Out for exercise 09

 Walking south along the west end of the park, there is a beautiful view of the little lake.
 The bushes here trimmed so that they spell shogen koen, or Shogen Park, in hiragana. Actually this is not in the park but on the grounds of a high school. Their baseball field is behind it.
This is a public housing project. Scattered around the city there are many places like. The apartments are small but very inexpensive. The problem is that the conditions you have to meet put them out of reach of people like me.

Feb 20, 2011

Out for exercise 08

 Continuing along the same road, I reached the park. They have recently done a lot of work on the paths and the shore line of the small lake (just visible in the background). The reason for this upgrading is that the street is lined with cherry trees and it has become a very popular site of viewing the cherry blossoms in the spring.
 Across the road from the park and on the north side, there used to be a supermarket, but I found that it had closed, a common occurrence with Japanese businesses these days.
 I little further on I discovered that they have built a bridge in the park. This little stream used to block the path along the edge of the lake. People had to climb a steep hill and return to the sidewalk before going down the hill again to return to the path.
 On the other side of the road was a red Post Office motor scooter. I assume that the mail carrier was delivering something in the building. Postal service is really quite good here.
Reaching the point where I planned to turn off to the left, I noticed that I had a good view of a church. It is interesting that downtown Sendai has almost no religion connect buildings. However, about two kilometers away to the north and farther to the west, there is a band of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Then there are almost none to the outside of this band, however, there are a surprising number of Christian churches in the suburban housing areas.

Feb 19, 2011

Out for exercise 07

 After passing the cake shop, you come to this place. I hesitate to call it a store but that is what it once was. Now, I am not sure what to call it. The sign on the wall says that it is named Nakanoya, which means Nakano's store, and that it sells rice, sake (meaning alcoholic beverages), cigarettes, salt, and food. However, you can see that the outside is lined with vending machines.
 This is a closer look at the front of the place. The door which is under the green awning is blocked so that you can  not enter. The only things that you can buy are in the vending machines - cigarettes, beer, sake (rice wine), and soft drinks. Everything else is gone.
 My side of the road was in the shade so the sidewalk was still covered with snow, actually, ice.
This small white building is a police station. Most of the time there is at least one cop inside, but on this day it was empty. They were probably out on patrol. The green wall on the right separates the police station from a gas station.

Feb 18, 2011

Out for exercise 06

 I continued walking passed the crewcut trees. This strange looking building is a cake shop. They sell a huge variety of cheap cakes. For some reason this shop is very popular, but other shops in the same chain do much less business. During the Christmas/New Year holidays this place does so much business that they hire two rent-a-cops to direct traffic. Oh, yes, I forgot. The cake is not very good.
 The name on the sign board says 'Peace Green' or maybe 'Pea Green'. They are both the same when written in katakana. It made me wonder what kind of place it is. However, a quick look at the smaller print on the sign told me - it is a bar.
This fence keeps people from falling onto the road that passes through a tunnel beneath this hill. The road is the main road to the north from the built up area around the last station on the subway line, Izumi Chuo. I have only been through the tunnel a few times but having the opening above sure is nice. It gives light and lets a lot of the exhaust gases escape.

Feb 17, 2011

Out for exercise 05

 I left the shrine grounds on the west side, but to do it I had to go down a very steep road. I was slipping and sliding and almost landed on my head a few times, but in the end I got down without mishap. I then returned to the main road and continued walking to the west.
 This road looks very strange in the winter, or maybe I should say that the road is normal but the trees are weird looking. Almost all the branches are trimmed off in the fall, so they look like something dead that you might find in a swamp.
 Except for the trees, it is a normal housing area with small houses on even smaller lots.
Here is a final look at the trees that line the sidewalk.

Feb 16, 2011

Out for exercise 04

 I walked around to the southwest side of the shrine to check out the view. To the north and east there was little to see, but to the south the whole city of Sendai was spread out before me. My apartment is in the distance just under the hanging branch on the left hand tree, but it is way off in the distance, at least two kilometers..
 Moving around to the west side, I discovered a beautiful view of the mountains.
 And to the south west I could see the mountains that contain a number of large ski areas as well as a skyline drive that is only open in the summer. Right now it is buried under a lot of snow.
 These mountains are even further away but they were still pretty. You can see the statue of Kannon that I have shown many times.
These buildings on the horizon are the tallest buildings in downtown Sendai. Most of them are around 20 stories tall.

Feb 15, 2011

Out for exercise 03

 I climbed the flight of stairs, actually about four flights if they were in a building, and turned around. A long narrow valley filled with houses stretched out before me. The Sendai Bypass road is somewhere in the distance as is the temple that I visit a couple of months ago.
 There was a slight slop in front of me and, after walking about 10 meters I saw the shrine, Atago Jinja.
I did not enter the actual grounds of the jinja because there were workmen doing something and I did not want to cause any interruptions. You can see one of the workers on the right, dressed in blue. He was almost in line with the steps up to the shrine itself, so you can see by comparison that the shrine is not very large.