Oct 31, 2011

Last legs of the way home

 This house had a nice entrance but the building itself was nothing special.
 Every time I see this chimney I want to go, knock on the door, and ask to see the fireplace, although I suspect that there really is not one or at best a small free standing wood stove.
 Under the bridge near my home, I saw an art class of some kind out on a field trip. It might be another group associated with the same culture center as my classes.
 Here is Tsubasa again. This time getting ready to go out for a walk to Izumi Chuo to do some shopping.
 And this is Tsubasa and his grandmother playing in our queen sized bed.
This is our next door Seiyu department store/supermarket. We have heard a rumor, from a reliable source, that in September the headquarters of the chain finally decided to actually reopen, so work is now going on. We will be very happy when it opens because we will not have to go to Izumi Chuo to shop for food.

Oct 30, 2011

Walking home from Miyagi Gakuin University

 The main roads in this area are all relatively new and are four or six lanes wide with a tree-lined divider in the middle. Also the sidewalks are very wide.
 I am not sure exactly what this building is. Shortly after the disaster, it was a disaster coordination center. Now it seems to be some sort of center for children.
 The large building with the Itokin sign on the roof used to contain a furniture store and probably apartments on the upper floors. Now it is empty because of damage, but the store had already closed before March. It was one of the casualties of the economic condition.
 Up close you can see all the cracks under the netting. It looks like the walls between the windows were particularly weak.
 I crossed the street at the intersection in front of the building and stopped at the restroom in a small park. This is typical. It has one a couple of stalls for use by both men and women and three urinals against the opposite wall. If you look carefully, you can see one of the urinals through the door. I guess the point is that since there will be both males and females inside there is no need to hide them.
A couple of hundred meters up the road I found this nice house. I would bet that the house is not really made of bricks. It must just be a brick facing over a reinforced concrete wall. Most brick house would have fallen during the various quakes.

Oct 29, 2011

Mostly around Miyagi Gakuin University

 I was not sure whether these kindergarten kids were from the university run kindergarten or some other, but I thought they were cute.
 A little later, I saw another bunch of them on the lawn in front of the university chapel. The school is official a Christian school.
 Walking home from school for the first time since the quakes, I found one of the buildings just down the road from the university was badly damaged. Notice the red box like object on a pedestal on the right. That is a mail box that is not being used now, because it is too dangerous to go near it.
 A little further down the road a mail deliverer on a motorbike was just leaving a store that sells objects imported from Thailand, lots of wooden things.
 A jet liner from Sendai Airport left a long line across the sky.
This was right beside the sidewalk and it was a large collection of plastic pipes. The building contains some sort of plumbing or construction company. I was impressed by this because in most countries leaving stuff like this beside the road would result in it disappearing during the first night it was there.

Oct 28, 2011

Here and there

 The sign on the roof says "Drive through" but phonetically. I have always wondered how many people actually understand the frequent cases of what is called katana eigo, English written phonetically. It was on my list of research projects but I retired before I got to it.
 This is a small shopping center that has replaced a nice field with a patch of bamboo.
 I am not sure that I would use this clock store. The two clocks make a nice decoration but they do not show the same time. There is almost 10 minutes difference between them.
 My grandson Tsubasa Sato, having a drink while on the way to Izumi Chuo.
At the Asahigaoka station the repairs to the elevator column in the middle of the waiting room have suddenly increased.

Oct 26, 2011

Finishing the walk

 This is a new park that is about two years old. Previously it was just some waste land, but the city came and turned it into a nice little park, although some trees would have been nice. As is typical of Japan, once a park is build, except for a twice yearly, thrice yearly at most, trim by the gardeners little or no maintenance is done. As you can see, the grassy areas are being invaded by other plants and does not look as good as it did last year, but at least it is green.
 At one point the road is way above the houses, because everything is on the side of a hill. It is a little strange to stand there looking down into someone's backyard, even if it is extremely small.
 I passed a house with people on the roof. They were a team of construction workers repairing the roof and walls of a home.
 That night I went to a meeting of the Sendai Book Club and saw the sun setting.
 The next morning at Asahigaoka station I saw a group of kindergarten students going out for a walk. You can tell them because they are all wearing hats, a different color for each class.
This traditional style work shed is near Miyagi Gakuin U. It looks like green beans growing on the poles and that is rice in the foreground.

Oct 25, 2011

Walking north from downtown

 This is the Tohoku University hospital. It is the biggest and best in town. At one point I was going to take over some English classes at the medical school but could not fit them into my schedule.
 This is a typical street light for pedestrians. When it is okay to walk, the red human figure turns green. The lights at the bottom of the signal indicate how much time remains until the light changes. Most major intersections where there are a lot of people have this kind of signal.
 Just a block up the street, I found this old wooden structure. On closer inspection, it did not seem to be old, but instead quite new. It appears to be part of the buildings belonging to a construction company, as is the blue truck. The building seems to be an understated ad for the company.
 The ridge line in the distance used to mark the northern end of the city. Now it is still covered with temples and a few shrines, but the city has continued to spread for miles. Because the surface of the hill was already occupied, they built a tunnel so that traffic could get to the other side.
 This is the gate into a Buddhist temple. At this point I was beginning to worry. As you can see from the sky, it was starting to look like rain and I was not carrying an umbrella. In fact some drops started falling and I stood under a roof for a while. Luckily it stopped after a few minutes and did not start again until after I got home.
Near Kita Sendai Station, I noticed this traditional style storehouse. The gray are on the wall is where part of the siding, probably concrete, fell off.

Oct 24, 2011

In downtown Sendai

 This shows that same newly constructed terraces in the background and some more blue tarps covering cracks in the bank of the stream.
 A typical street in Sendai. The thing that always impresses me is how many power and telephone lines there are. I am sure that I have mentioned it before, but in Japan these lines are always above ground. If they were below ground find breaks and repairing them after an earthquake would be a daunting task. Above ground any problems are easy to locate and then to fix.
 The frame in the middle holds six fish that have been gutted and are now drying. They will be sold later in the store in the white building. One thing about drying fish, it stinks.
 An old wooden house surrounded by concrete high rises.
 This building actually contains a functioning store, a fish market.
I was fascinated by the pattern made by the stairs, a fire escape, in this building

Oct 23, 2011

Still walking toward home

 This is yesterday's bridge from the ground. I passed over it from right to left and then walked about a kilometer to reach the bottom of the hill and come back to this point. To get home, I went under the bridge and turned left at the golf driving range, following the river back to Yaotome and then home.
 This is the under structure of the bridge. There seemed to be little damage, nothing that would need to be repaired, just a few minor cracks.
 The river is to my right and behind a single line of houses. On the hill in the background, you can see a lot of houses. When I started walking along this road, about four years ago, the hill was covered trees, now it is covered with houses. This whole area is still expanding with both single family homes and large apartments going up like weeds.
 I found this pretty flower in a small garden along side the road. There were both flowers and vegetables.
 Now, within a few hundred meters of Yaotome, I stopped in a park where I took a short rest, admiring this statue.
This series of terraces was built within the last year. I am not sure what it is for but I would bet money that the flat surface behind the low concrete wall will soon have one or more houses built on it.

Oct 22, 2011

 This is a view of the valley that I had just walked up. I am standing on a ridge line and on the east side there is a river valley and on the west is some higher land that eventually leads to the main river valley. On the west is the road that circles Sendai.
 This is the convenience store where I frequently stop for a rest, a toilet stop, and a bottle of sports drink.
 The road runs along the ridge line and passes through a housing area. I was surprised to find the sidewalk roped off with yellow police tape. At first I could not figure out what the problem was, but then I looked closer at the house. The wall nearest the street was in very bad shape, so bad that a fairly strong aftershock would collapse it.
 Here is the wall that is parallel to the street. You can see that the siding is falling off.
 To make a road, they cut through this ridge and built a bridge. When I was doing my 10 km walks I came from the top of  the picture, passed under the bridge, went to the left and then up the hill to reach this bridge from the left side. In the distance you can see the golf driving range that I showed a few days ago. There is an intersection between the range and the bridge and today I went up the to right.