Nov 30, 2011

Mostly more Tsubasa

 Tsubasa is having lunch at a table outside a bread store. It is at the entrance to Parktown so it is a bit far, but we usually stop if we have the chance. If you buy bread, they will give you a cup and you can get free coffee from a coffee maker. They have tables and chairs inside and outside on a landing next to the entrance. In addition to the free coffee, the bread is pretty good.
 This stone statue is next to the entrance. Tsubasa was fascinated by it, especially the fruit that was in the rabbit's basket.
 This is our favorite Chinese restaurant, Kabo. My wife and I were going to take Tsubasa and his mother for a good meal, but when we got there they were closed, some sort of special day off.
 This is Tsubasa looking at the sign that says the restaurant was closed for the day.
 Tsubasa has his own iPad and can navigate around very well. His favorite things are the video of the Shinkansen, the Japanese Bullet Train.
 Here he is watching a cartoon he found on the internet.
Changing the subject, this is the bridge that I cross on my way to Yaotome Station. The day before I took this someone had come and smoothed out the height difference that was caused by the earthquakes. The step was turned into a ramp by filling in the space with asphalt.

Various practice shots plus Tsubasa

 This is an apartment building that is lit up by the lights from the soccer stadium. I had tried to take a picture like this with my old camera, but it was always blurred. My new camera took it with just my normal way of holding the camera.
 A flower that I found along the levee.
 This crane is on the other side of the river. Again I could not have taken it with my old camera.
 I have got to find out the name of this plant. I really like the contrasting green leaves and red berries, very Christmasy.
 The bus depot at Asahigaoka.
 Tsubasa, all ready for a walk to the store on a very cold and wet day.

Tsubasa, having breakfast.

Nov 29, 2011

Learning to use my new camera

 I took this picture of the sidewalk on the main east/west road from Izumi Chuo. The bus that I take to go to Tohoku Gakuen U stops on this road. The bus stop is about a five minute walk from my condo.

I am still learning to use my new camera so there may be some strangeness for a while. For example, these pictures are all 16.2 megapixels, I think. At some point after using the camera for a while I discovered this and reduced the picture size. Please bear with me for a bit.

 These flowers were still struggling against the weather. At the bus stop, I stand behind this fence to stay out of the wind.
 After my classes were over and I started walking home, I noticed that the setting sun was very pretty.
 Both sides of the paved path on the top of the levee near my condo contain gardens that expend every year. I think that it is a hobby for a couple of the people who live along here. On this sunny day the reds were quite nice.
 The power company was working on the electric lines. The building on the left is the fire station.
 I was walking to Izumi Chuo and ran into a local festival. This is only a kilometer (about a half mile) but I had never seen it before. I do not know if it is new or if I just missed it other years.
 The members carry the portable shrine around the neighborhood. The idea is to take the god from a local Shinto shrine and carry it around the area so that it will know the area that it is protecting, or at least bringing good luck to.
I arrived in Izumi Chuo and met Keith for lunch and then a soccer game. My new camera has a panorama function that takes and then stitches together a series of pictures. If you click on this picture, I believe that it will be shown, enlarged to the full width of your monitor screen. At least that is what happens on my computer.

Nov 28, 2011

New camera

My old camera died. The internal motor started vibrating,shaking the camera so much that the pictures were blurred. I had to buy a new one. I got another Sony CyberShot. I had sworn not to buy another one, because although the functioning was good, Sony forced you to use a special memory card that worked only in the camera and cost a lot. However, I discovered that they had finally decided to allow the use of microSD cards so I bought a DSC-TX55. It takes pictures of up to 16.2 megapixels and has an on board computer with some very powerful algorithms for improving the pictures when set to automatic.

 This is the first picture that I took with the camera. It is in our living room. The pictures are all ones that I drew. The two bumps in the foreground are my knees.
 This picture is out in Parktown near my doctor and dentist.
 This is just to the west of the last picture. The little gazebo in the middle of the picture is quite nice but I do not think it gets much use.
 This is the same pond from a slightly different angle. The house in the background is one of a group of around 20 that are all huge by Japanese standards. Green Mart, the upscale supermarket, is just beyond the houses.
 This is a public housing compound on the main road between Parktown and Izumi Chuo.
 This is a small Shinto shrine that is next to the shopping center beside our condo. I walk by it every Tuesday on my way to school.
This is a very good example of how the Japanese dry laundry. There are very few electric driers here and almost all houses and apartments have a balcony where laundry can be hung outdoors.

Nov 27, 2011

Mostly downtown Sendai

 This is in the bus depot at Asahigaoka. Notice the whitish lines on the far wall. These are places where more than nine months after the quakes they finally got around to patching the cracks. We had a fairly strong quake the other day and I was talking to another teacher about it. She said that a small unrepaired crack in her home had opened up and now she could see all the wall outdoors through it.
 This is a large glass window in the entrance hall of the building where I am now having my art classes. The work crew has dug up and is replacing the sidewalk outside. The quakes had so badly damaged it that it was difficult to walk on, as are many of the sidewalks in the city.
 In the shopping arcade they were having a concert of some kind. The bands, the one that were playing and one that was waiting, were both young and were playing pop music.
 The reason that there are so few people is that it is still early, before the opening times of the stores.
I could not understand who this character was supposed to be. Mr. Orange or something?

Nov 26, 2011

Odds and ends

 Almost back to Izumi Chuo, I pass a pet hospital. It is one of the more interesting buildings in the area.
 The buses used to stop next to the station but drivers waited in the same place to pick up people from the subway, so there as a lot of congestion. They solved the problem a few years ago by building a tunnel from the subway station to the next block north and then rebuilding the road so that there is  space for private cars as well as a bus stop. People still try to wait by the station, but they installed a metal fence so most people now use the official waiting area. These are rather stylish seats for people who are waiting to be picked up. The structures are stone but the seat itself is wood.
 This is an elevator down to the tunnel.
 The next day I went to Tohoku Gakuin U to teach and found students using the temporary stairs that allow them to bypass the place where the hillside collapsed.
 They were also working repairs to that hillside.
 At the little park at the intersection of the road to my apartment complex and the main east-west road a work crew was cutting the grass and trimming the trees and bushes. The building on the left is a public toilet and the one in the background is part of the shopping center.
 This is the newly completed pedestrian walkway at the Asahigaoka bus center.
A long stretch, about 200 meters, is covered with flowers that have either been planted there by the neighbors or have escaped from the gardens on the inland side of the levee.

Nov 25, 2011

On the way home from the dentist

 This is Sendai Dome as seen from the north. The Dome is used mostly for high school sports. It is very high tech. The curved roof can rotate so that sections are open allowing air to circulate, a necessity in the summer. I have never been inside but I have seen it on TV and it is quite impressive. The rectangular building in front of the Dome is a consolidated center for preparing school lunches. The food is cooked in large batches and then distributed to the various schools by truck. I have never eaten a school lunch but people who have tell me that they are pretty good. Japanese students are generally required to eat everything in the lunch, whether they like it or not, so when they grow up everyone can eat everything.
 This is the farm house that goes with the rice paddies in the foreground of the above picture.
 This spider had spun a huge web next to the road, using a tree and some bushes as anchor points.
 This is a gas station. At one time there were two here, side by side, but the one on the other far side eventually went out of business, as have many others. At one point there was a very large number of gas stations in Sendai, but gradually the unprofitable ones disappeared.
 This is the entrance to a high school.
 This farmer's market opens a few mornings a week. We have stopped a few times but it is not particularly cheap and we would have to carry anything we bought about five kilometers to get it home.
 This, believe it or not, is a dentist's office. The color makes it stand out and is frequently used as a landmark.
A while back I showed some workmen tearing down a community center. This is the space where that center used to be. The signs indicated that they were preparing to replace the building. At some future date I will show the new building.