Feb 27, 2013

More walking

 The low building in the front is a children's hospital and the tall building in the rear is a very expensive retirement home, where the people living there buy the apartment and then pay individually for all the services, meals, medical, shopping, etc.
 This was a field and a small wooded area last year. Now it has been cleared and they are starting to build a medical center.
 Here is the first of the actual construction.
 These are storage containers. Because so many houses were damaged in the earthquakes, there are many people looking for temporary storage while there homes are being rebuilt. Little storage areas like this are springing up all over Sendai.
 This is a new apartment building on the west side of Izumi Chuo, about a kilometer from the station.
 Here is another storage area.
 This building used to have a nice little coffee shop that I always planned to visit but never got to. Now it is a car rental office.
Kame House is famous for its hamburgers. Again I have never eaten there but I have been told that it is excellent.

NOTE: Later today I am going to have to temporarily disconnect my computer and move it. I will try to get back on line but, if I have problems, I may not be able to continue the blog until I reach Fukuoka. Therefore, if this is the last entry, please check back occasionally. I will definitely be back on line in early April and will have lots of pictures of both our move and our new apartment. If nothing new shows up here, check my Facebook page for status reports.

Feb 26, 2013


 This is inside Ito Yokado, the large department story in Izumi Chuo. It is part of the large company that also owns the 7/11 chain of convenience stores.
 A Buddhist statue outside the Buddhist supply store near my apartment.
We live in a very civilized part of town. This is our local Kentucky Fried Chicken and on the left is a large pachinko parlor.

NOTE: Yesterday we spend the afternoon at the real estate agent and completed, signed and sealed, all of the documentation so we have official sold our apartment. The sealed of 'signed and sealed' is far more important than the signed. As I said I will keep posting as long as I have internet access and then will begin again from Fukuoka as soon as I can get reconnected. I am spending most of my time between two things, packing and small goodbye get-togethers. Today, however, I will go to the doctor's to get my monthly supply of medicine, then to the Green Mart supermarket to get coffee, and finally on to Izumi Chuo where we have a number of errands to do, buy shoes (my feet are very wide and I have to go to special shoe stores), stop at the bank and get the change of address forms, and do some shopping.

Feb 25, 2013

Still walkin'

 As I was walking, it started to snow really hard. These to young women came walking out of the snow toward me as all three of us passed under the bare branches of the Shogen cherry trees.
 This used to be a small shopping center with a supermarket and a couple of small stores plus a coffee shop. I have no idea what will eventually replace it, but it is an empty lot now.
 This is the Shogen cherry trees. The are beautiful in the spring but we will not be here to see them.
 I love the moss on the old cherry trees. I keep thinking that there must be something artistic to do with it but as yet I have no good ideas.
 The cherries are along a ridge line. At the end of the row of trees, there is a slope down to a pond. It was damaged in the quakes and they are reconstructing it.
After turning the corner and walking parallel to the concrete work in the previous picture, I was in a position to see the pond. The water level is very low but during the rainy season, the water will fill the area.

Feb 24, 2013

Continuing the walk

 There is a large Shinto shrine on the top of this hill. It is surrounded by a housing area.
 Some time a couple of months ago, I showed this as a large empty lot and before that as a building being taken apart. Now there are two new structures on the lot. The one on the right is a private home and the one on the left seems to be some sort of business office.
 This is the bell tower at a Buddhist temple that is a couple of kilometers away from my apartment.
 Most homes are heated with kerosine. This delivery truck is putting kerosine into a small tank beside the house, a quite unusual set up. Most homes keep the kerosine in plastic containers about the size of a 5 gallon can.
 This is a cake shop. The cake here is average but it is very cheap so the place is always full of customers.
Another empty lot. Can't remember what was here.

Feb 23, 2013

Another walk

 As I walked along the top of the levee, I saw this really neat tracked dump truck moving across the river.
 I have shown this building a number of time. I has the large gate, on the right, that I like so much. It is hard to see but most of the inside of the house has been torn out.
 Another corner, another building gone.
 The building just beyond the brown building on the right is a police station. The stations are small and are not always manned, but they do have space in them for the officers to sleep if they have to be on duty continuously, like during the period after the earthquakes and tsunami.
 This tree has been trained in the same way that they do bonsai. The trunk is nearest the camera and the only branch stretches out into the distance.
Again another large building gone. If I remember correctly, this used to be a rambling, wooden, one-story meat market.

NOTE: We have found a new apartment. It is in Fukuoka near the Hakata Minami Station, which is a shinkansen stop. The apartment is a 3LDK, one large room that functions as a dinning/living-room/kitchen. This has wood flooring as does one bedroom. The other two room are tatami mat. It is near a supermaket and there is a shopping area about a five minute walk from our building. I will eventually post pictures of the apartment and the area around it.

Feb 21, 2013

Returning from Book-Off

 This is an animal hospital and school for veterinarian assistants and animal trimmers (Is that the correct term? They give animals hair cuts and trim their nails.)
 This looks like a typical sign showing the hosptial's schedule. However, normally the times when it is open would be indicated with an O and the closed times with an X. I thought the paw prints were cute. The large writing at the bottom says that this is the Senkyo Animal Hospital.
 Nearby is a Volkswagen dealer. This is on the Sendai ByPass road and this stretch of it has a number of foreign car dealers.

I thought this picture was quite representative of Japan. In the front there is a large parking lot, then a typical style house, traditional but not old fashion, and final there is a large modern ferro-concrete building. In this case it is what is called a "Love Hotel", a hotel where you can rent rooms in two or three hour blocks. Most Japanese homes are small and crowded, so husbands and wives have little chance for privacy. This missing and necessary privacy is provide by the Love Hotels. Also, of course, if you are cheating on your spouse, it gives you a place to go.

NOTE: For the next month and a half or so, my posting might become erratic, but I will continue to post as often as I can. The reason for this is that we have sold our apartment and are moving to Fukuoka Prefecture, far to the south of here. I will continue taking pictures to document the move and post whenever I have a chance. I will tell you in advance when I have to go off line while we change internet providers.

Feb 20, 2013

A trip to Book-Off

 A snowy morning along the river
 I applied for a short term temporary job and they asked for a picture, so I though I would post it here, too. The picture on the main page of the blog is a couple of years old.
 My wife and I walked over to a place called Book Off, actually a used book store. The word "Off" is Japanese English for low priced. The building in this picture is a pachinko parlor. The five long red stripes are all on the first floor and make the three story building look much taller.
 This is a food market that sells 'wholesale'. Actually it is not wholesale but it is cheaper than supermarkets. They specialize in larger packages for restaurants and hotels but sell to the public, too.
 This, as you can see is Book-Off. The large white kanji on the red background means 'book'.
 It is a little hard to see but the brown stripe on the left, just beyond the cars, is actually a large group of rice paddies.
This is one of the aisles inside the store. The paperback books are mostly 105 yen. I bought the original Japanese version of "Woman in the Dunes" by Kobo Abe. The Sendai book club is reading the English translation this month and I wanted to see what the original text was for some specific spots in the book.

Feb 19, 2013

More from around the neighborhood

 This is the back of the grade school. The nearest building is the gym and the classrooms are in the next building. If you walk down the sidewalk, you can see into the first floor library.
 This is a staircase leading from the street level to the the pedestrian level at Izumi Chuo. The walkway leads from the bus terminal passed a bicycle parking area to the entrance to the supermarket in the Ito Yokado department store.
 This is near my home but out on the main street. The store in back, the one with the purple sign, sells various pieces of equipment that are used in Buddhist ceremonies as well as altar for the home. Many (most?) Japanese have an altar in the home where there is a black and white picture of a relative who died. They family places food and drink on the altar and then rings a bell and burns incense.
 This is the area in front of my condo. All the police buildings have been removed and they are now shifting the dirt around and flattening it all out.
This shows how they are putting a slope between the surface and the road level. The wooden structure marks the level for the flat area and the slope that they will build. The grade school is in the distance on the left. The gray building on the right is a place where children can go for monitored play.

Feb 18, 2013

More in my neighborhood

 This is the inside of the supermarket next door to my apartment. The sign is a shortened form of "Do Yasui" which is a combination of the English word "Do" and the Japanese word "Yasui", meaning inexpensive. Aside from being totally incomprehensible to most Japanese, it does look foreign and therefore good.
 I am not sure what is going on here, but the pile of stones makes it look like they are landscaping, putting in a Japanese style garden.
 I have shown this gate, behind the car on the left, a number of times because I like it. However, on this day as I passed, I discovered that the house behind it was being torn down.
This is looking through the gate. You can see the large power claw which is used to bite into and tear apart buildings.

Feb 16, 2013

Odds and ends again

 This is the construction at the bridge. They have reached the landscaping phase. In the background you can see the bridge, Izumi Chuo being to the right and Yaotome to the left. Behind the bridge is the soccer stadium and behind that is Izumigadake, the nearest mountain.
 This is a little garden with a Shinto shrine. The walkway on the right is Suisen Dori, Daffodil Road, a pedestrian way that leads to Izumi Chuo
 This shows that not everyone throws their trash and cigarette butts on the ground.
 This is on the first floor of the building in which I have my art lessons. I am very curious as to what they actually do.
 This is on the first floor of a large department store. They are selling cakes and other small sweets.
To get home, I took the subway from this platform. The subway stations are very grey and a bit depressing. I wish they would decorate them like they used to do in the USSR. A few years ago I visited Tashkent and their subway stations are beautiful, each one differently but artistically decorated.