Dec 30, 2012

My granddaughter's visit

 This has nothing to do with Tomone, my granddaughter. I was returning from a trip to Izumi Chuo and took this picture of the 77 Bank. This is the biggest bank in the Sendai area and they have branches all over the place. In fact there are so many that in their ads they say that next to the 77 Bank there is a 77 Bank, and in some places it is almost the truth.
 We bought a fresh pineapple and it came with instructions for turning the top into a little Christmas tree. You place it upside down on a glass and cover it with the plastic decorations that were included. It was kind of cute and my granddaughter like it.
 This is our Christmas tree with Tomone's presents underneath it.
 Tomone gets a children's book with lots of do-it-yourself projects in it. Here she is working on one of them.
 It snowed and Tomone wanted to go out onto our balcony to see it.
 After spending some time on the balcony, she talked her mother into taking her outdoors where she could play with the snow. I stayed inside where it was warm.
The Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after Tomone had gone to bed. More "presents from Santa" were added to the pile.

Dec 29, 2012

More Pageant of Light

 This shows the setup on an individual tree. On the left is the power box and on the right you can see the individual LED bulbs.
 This is a side street. The Pageant of Light extends to the left and right. The area down in the lit up area is called Kokubuncho and it is the 'red light' district. When I first came to Sendai, it was pretty wild with strip shows and all that goes along with them. Over the last 10 years are so, the area has become much less wild and now consists of mostly bars and restaurants. I used to go to the area with friends but I have not been there at night for more than five years so I really do not know for sure what it is like now.
 This is more of the lights. The red lights are on the rear ends of cars.
 One of the buildings has a large display of blue lights on the wall.
Across the street these lights are reflected in the polished stone wall on the first floor.

Dec 26, 2012

Pageant of Light

 On this evening I went into Sendai for a bonenkai, year forgetting party, with the members of the Sendai Book Club. Ten of us went to this Italian restaurant, Mia Angela, for two hours of good food, good drink, and good discussion. There was plenty of each to go around. After our scheduled time was up, about half of us went to a coffee shop to chat for another hour or so. It was the last night that one of our members, Ginger, would see us for the next two years. She and her husband are moving to Cambodia in relation to his work.
 On the way to the coffee shop, we walked through the Pageant of Light. The trees on two of the main downtown streets are covered with LED lighting for Christmas. I think that the celebration of Christmas is very interesting since there are few Christians here. The celebration consists of decorations and constant Christmas music in public places. It is a time for dating, if you are not yet married. Also I think that more and more people are giving children presents for Christmas.

 This peddle cab went by, covered with lights and driven by Santa Claus.
The dark area in the middle is one of the many statues that are installed on this street.

Dec 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

 I am still a couple of weeks behind in uploading pictures. On this day we had snow again. Now, on Christmas day, we have some snow on the ground and the forecast is for more this afternoon.
 This is my wife putting up our Christmas tree. Since coming to Japan where we were unable to buy a tree we have made our own each year. Now that our kids have grown, we have stopped trying to be original each year and use this one which is made from a green net and green clothes. I will have more pictures of it later.
 On this day it was clear enough to see the mountains which are now covered with snow.
 Work on the new riverbank is now progressing well. It appears that it will be extended until it reaches the same height as the section in the foreground.
The rich guy's house is coming along fine. Since his children are grown and only he and his wife will live there, he has reduced the size of the new house compared to the old one. It looks like it will be about two thirds the size of the one destroyed by the tremors.

Dec 24, 2012

Odds and more ends

 This was the road going around the driving school. It appears that they are taking away anything hard or high.
 The front door to my apartment. The umbrella is hanging on what is supposed to be a place for newspapers, however, the front door is locked so the newspapers have to be left in our mailbox. In Japan mailboxes can be used for newspapers, ads, and even mail.
 I noticed this yellow Santa in the window of an athletic club I pass on my way to my Friday classes. He looks a lot like on of the Seven Chinese Gods, but a close look makes it obvious it is supposed to be Santa.
 My students gave me this as a Christmas present. They specifically said that I was to take it home to my wife.
More snow. I guess winter is finally here.

Dec 23, 2012

Expo and a walk

 I left home early this day to go to the Sendai Expo, a mini conference of language teaching and an exhibition of the various publishers' new books. As I walked along the levee, there were snow clouds on the horizon.
 I went to one presentation. The speaker was a young friend Ben Shearon who spoke about sites on the internet that help with language learning.
 I left in the early evening and had to wait at the train station for about 20 minutes. When I first arrived, there were no other passengers but they gradually arrived. A short trip, only four stations, and I was at Kita Sendai, where I changed to the subway and returned home.
 The next day I decided to go for a walk. I found that they were building a new coffer dam to repair the part of the bank nearest my condo.
 I walked north along a back road. This is a memorial to those who died in the war between Japan and Russia. I have posted pictures of it before and it is still not repaired. I suspect that it never will be.
On the way back I saw this Buddha in front of a store selling Buddhist equipment.

Dec 22, 2012

Ends and odds

 They have finished tearing down the rich guy's house and are ready to start construction on the new house. The tent with red and white stripes is where they had a Shinto ceremony to insure that things will go well.
 Here is how they left the inside of the tent after the ceremony. The chairs were for the family. A Shinto priest would have officiated. In front of the chairs there would have been a carefully crafted pile of sand. At the high point of the ceremony the rich guy would have taken a wooden hoe and pulled down some of the sand. I have never been to one of these ceremonies so I can not say much about the whole thing, however, I have seen videos of portions of many of them.
 This is the admin building in my complex. The men are putting the Christmas lights on the tree.
 Snow falling on the path from our complex to the river. Actually the path goes most of the way around the complex, giving the people with first floor apartments a garden view.
 Snow falling on the remaining cosmos.
A little snow does not keep the construction crew from working on the new banking for the Nanakita River.

Dec 21, 2012

odds and ends

 This is a large store that is being torn down. The front part has already gone and been turned into a temporary parking lot. When buildings are torn down to be later rebuilt, the property is frequently turned into a for-pay parking lot until the actual construction starts six months to a year later.
 I found this cute little three-wheel scooter parked outside a commercial building. I wonder how much it can carry.
 I loved the slogan on the door of this dental office.
The rebuilding of the bank of Nanakita River. They have completed a concrete base and are starting to install the covering for the sloped bank. The covering is large preformed concrete brick-like objects.

Dec 20, 2012

More construction and deconstruction

 This is along a branch to our river. They have rebuilt the levee and are now returning the river bed to its normal condition.
 I went up to the second floor of our parking garage so that I could see what they are doing in the old police area. The last of the multistory buildings is almost down.
 Also they have removed the bridge that remained from the time when this area was a driving school. They are also removing all the pavement.
The rich guy's house is completely gone.

Dec 19, 2012

Along the river

 Straight ahead is a two story apartment building. The hole allows entrance into an inner court. I walked through it but there was no other way to get out. The space was used for parking and entrances to individual apartments.

 Back along the river, part of the path along the river is block for construction, I saw a beautiful white crane.
 Also some ducks.
 Daikon, Japanese radishes, are dried in the sun so that they can be used all winter. One of the main uses is to put them in wooden vats with soy sauce and after aging, eat them as a side dish to your bowl of rice.
This is one of the new bankings that have been built to replace those that collapsed during the quakes.