Jan 31, 2013

Things around town

 In downtown Sendai the traffic lights have timers in the bottom section to show how long it will be before the pedestrians can cross.
 After my art class we often have lunch on the top floor of this building. The food is cheap and quite good. Notice that a young woman in a kimono is walking on the other side of the snow drift.
 This is the south side of Yaotome station. For some reason there are no taxis in the picture. The road just goes around in a circle so that the taxis can park until they pick up a customer.
 This is the shrine nearest my condo. You can not see it because of the glare but a number of people have entered to pray and it is only 8 a.m.
 This is the bus depot on the north side of Yaotome Station. The subway is actually an elevated here and arrives on the top floor on the left.
The Jodoshinshu Buddhist temple near the bridge to Yaotome.

Jan 30, 2013

More stores and things

 This is a beauty shop near my condo. This space has changed hands many times in the last few years. It has been a barbershop, a beauty shop, a vegetable store and a couple of other things that escape me at the moment.
 Early morning in downtown Sendai, I saw this man moving beer kegs along Josenji Dori.
 The lights from Christmas are along gone and Josenji Dori is back to normal. In another few months the leaves will start coming out again and the street will resume its summer charm.
This is my condo from the opposite side of the river. My apartment is on the second floor in the larger building and against the open space.

Jan 29, 2013

Stores in my neighborhood

 This is the main intersection in Izumi Chuo. I am crossing the street and going to Starbucks which is in the Selva building on the left.
 This pyramid functions a roof over a flight of stairs from the lower level where the bus depot is.
 This is a pachinko parlar. Pachinko is a game where you shoot balls and they bounce of pins until they fall to the bottom or go in a hole. If they enter a hole, you win some additional balls, if they reach the bottom you lose it.
 This is a Japanese style restaurant. I frequently pass it but I have never eaten there so I can say whether it is good or notl
 The store with the yellow sign sells hanko, name stamps. The one next to it on the right, with a white sign, is a beauty parlor. For many years my barber was in this space, but she closed a few years ago.
This is the Macdonalds that is closest to my apartment, less than a 10 minute walk.

Jan 28, 2013

More after the snowstorm

 This little building in on the road at the front of our complex and between the admin building and the parking building. This is the collection point for our trash.
 This was the day for plastics and there was a large pile inside. I added a bag from my apartment. Trash, plastics and burnables have to be placed in bags that you can purchase at almost any store. Plastics go in red bags, burnables in green. We get two sizes, there may be one more larger size but I am not sure. The small size is about 20 yen a bag and the large size about twice that, I think. In addition glass and metals are collected as well as paper. More and more recycling is being done.
 I walked around the parking building and took a shortcut out to the path along the top of the levee. When we first moved here the area to the right was a large truck garden, but the owner filled it in and now it is a pay by the month parking lot.
 In spite of the snow, work is progressing rapidly on the repairs to the levee bank. Sorry about the blob in the top left corner. I think that is part of my glove. When the sun is shining I can to see the screen on the camera so framing and keeping extraneous things out of the picture are a problem.
 This is the open area between the buildings at Izumi Chuo. I was on my way to Starbucks which is straight ahead on the first floor. It opens at 7 a.m. but the rest of the building does not open until 10. After coffee I walked over to the Bunka Center and taught my once a week class.

Jan 26, 2013

The snow is still on the ground

 This is the path from our complex out to the river. The administrative staff has cleared it a bit but it is still covered with ice and snow.
 My apartment is on the second floor at the corner of the building. We have a southern exposure so we have the warmest apartment on the floor.
 Here is my apartment from the side. The balcony is beside the kitchen and dining areas. We used to have flowers in the area next to the dining table but gave them up a few years ago when we were away and they all died from lack of water. The area next to the kitchen is where we keep the trash until it is time to take it out for collection.
 This is the river. The snow clouds in the distance are completely covering the mountains.
 This is the front, public entrance to my building.
 This is a cherry tree along the river.
Snow covered leaves in back of our building.

Jan 24, 2013

More after the snowstorm

 My wife and I decided that, in spite of the snow on the ground, we would walk over to the local bookstore and have lunch in the coffee shop there. The bookstore is quite large and, except for the nearest corner which contains the coffee shop, it occupies the whole building. They have a surprisingly small but good selection of English books.
 In the coffee shop, we ordered coffee. It is inexpensive so it does not have waiters. You go to the counter to get what you want, then you have to carry to your seat yourself.
 In addition to the coffee, we had chili dogs, German sausages with chili. They are quite good and very reasonably priced.
 After eating and then buying some books, we started home. This is the row of stores and restaurants that are next to the bookstore.

We passed a gas station where regular gas was 141 yen per liter. I am too lazy to do the exact calculation but I think that it would be about US$6.00 per gallon.
 We crossed the street and headed for Seiyu to get some food for supper. This covered walkway goes all the way from the street to the building which you can see in the distance.

Jan 22, 2013

Snowstorm aftermath

 This is the view when looking out from the landing in front of our front door. It is a bit interesting that I took these pictures exactly a week ago and we are now having another storm. We expect about the same amount of snow again.
 This is the front of my building. My apartment is on the second floor. The windows you can see are for our bedroom. The door allows people to exit the building but to enter you must go around to the right and use a key.
 This is the open area in front of my building. The entrance is in the one story structure on the left.
 This is the administration building. The room on the left is used as a playroom for preschool children and the one on the right for grade school kids. The admin staff have an office at the other end. There is also a sitting area where you can talk to guest who you do not want to invite into your home. The second floor has a guest room where guests can spend the night, a party room with cooking facilities and some study booths for students.
 This is the visitor parking space in front of the admin building.
Along the sidewalk in front of the complex, the trees looked like they were in full bloom.

Jan 21, 2013

Snow storm

 When I got up around 5 a.m., I looked out the kitchen window and saw this - the first real snow storm of the year.
 Later after the sun came up, I could hardly see anything out my living room windows.
It was snowing so hard that Seiyu, the next door supermarket disappeared.

Jan 20, 2013

Construction in the area and my apartment building

 This is the space in front, on the north side, of my condo complex. There is major work going on but no one seems to know what they are doing. The picture was taken from our parking garage.
This is the view to the right of the above picture. They are moving around huge piles of dirt and concrete chunks.

 This is the reconstruction of the river bank. The picture was taken from the bridge to Yaotome.
 This is a second construction project along the river. You can just see it in the picture from the bridge.

 This is the entrance to my building. It was the only part of our building damaged in the tremors. A contract has been signed to do the repair work but the company is having trouble finding workmen and supplies.
 These are the stairs leading up to my apartment. You can see the door at the top of the stairs. At each landing there are two apartments. Straight ahead is the door to the elevator, which we seldom use.

Jan 18, 2013

Walking around the neighborhood

 This is an Italian restaurant. We ate there once but did not like it. Apparently some people like the food because it is fairly busy. We have wondered if they have a new chef but have not bothered to go back and find out.
 This store is called "100 Yen Shop" because everything is priced at 100 yen, 105 yen when the sales tax is added. It is like a small supermarket. They have a little of all most everything.
 This is part of the 77 Bank. Inside the door there is a machine where you can use a bank card or a bankbook and take out or deposit money. Most people use cash so there are these money machines all over the place.
 This is the gate, or mon, to a house on the main road to Yaotome. The house is nothing special, quite old, but I do like the gate.
 This used to be a house, but it is being rebuilt. I assume that the earthquakes damaged it.
This open space used to be a bar. The roof was damaged so I assume that there was structural damage, too. I don't know whether or not it will be replaced.