ogikubo walk

2021-09-29 TOKYO, JAPAN -- I walked through a nearby yet unfamiliar neighborhood.

Suga Jinja, a local shinto shrine of obscure origin.

When drops of water fall into a buried jar, clear resonant sounds are heard through the bamboo pipe.

Otaguro park, built partly to commemorate the musician Motoo Otaguro, whose heirs donated his property to the city.

Otaguro was the son of well-to-do parents. His father founded what would later become Toshiba corporation, the electrical and electronic equipment manufacturer. In 1912, at the age of 19, Otaguro went to the UK to study music, and introduced Debussy (among other composers) to Japan. After World War II, he became a music critic, and had a popular radio show.

Otaguro's Steinway piano. Painstakingly restored.

The park is tiny yet immaculate. Highly recommended for a stroll, if you happen to be in the area.

temaki sushi

2021-09-28 TOKYO, JAPAN -- We had a temaki (roll-your-own) sushi party at home.

I am an awful sushi chef. My knife technique ranks only slightly above my trumpet technique.

Vinegar rice (which is what sushi means -- "su" vinegar, and "shi" short for "meshi" rice) no problem.

Noriko prepared the avacado and cucumbers.

We rolled so thick that we got full fast!

The nori came from mom.


2021-09-26 KANAGAWA, JAPAN -- We walked to Enoshima, an island connected by a sandbar to Shonan beach.

On our way, we ran into our former student and his family! Wow! Absolutely made our day! We were overjoyed to be favorably remembered. For the sake of their privacy, I'll put their masked picture here.

I drew an oracle at Enoshima Nakatsunomiya shrine.

The oracle read "Visitors arrive unannounced". Wow! The gods are correct!

We celebrated with a nice lunch.

kero station

2021-09-19 SAITAMA, JAPAN -- We discovered Kero train station.


Truth be told, the station is called Moro, not Kero. For us, it's Kero for sure.

2-car diesel-electric trains run on single tracks roughly every half hour.

Waiting area.

Station facade.

fall of civilizations

2021-09-18 TOKYO, JAPAN -- For the past several days, I have been enthralled with the "Fall of civilizations" podcast.

I wrote the following comment on their website:

The tales are so superbly told that I cringe to watch the episodes, for I feel as if witnessing a rape or murder, and I shudder realizing the evil that man is capable of lies within me, hopefully dormant until my death, but ready to be awakened by what we believe to be righteous or justified in our current time.

This is a partial screenshot taken today from
their website.

keroppi goodies

2021-09-17 TOKYO, JAPAN -- Fun frog items for Noriko.

Pedometers. Left: Hangyodon for me. Right: Keroppi for Noriko. We'll be walking together a lot, now that the weather is cooler! I want to compare the number of steps we take. I'm taller than Noriko so I should take less steps than her.

Keroppi macaron. Discovered by accident at a nearby cake shop.

Keroppi power strip and USB power supply. Irresistible.

eye surgery

2021-09-03 (UPDATED 2021-09-29) TOKYO, JAPAN -- I had surgery on both of my eyes.

For 2 weeks (until 2021-09-16) I wore goggles to prevent dust from entering my eyes. Wearing goggles (all day and night, even in bed) was not that big of a deal. Being unable to wash my face was a bit of a drag. Noriko cut my hair the day before surgery. We stayed mostly at home.

All is well, thank you, I see much better now!

I got a new prescription for my eye glasses. The frame is from before. This is the first time in 50 years that I have had difficulty adapting to my new prescription. I get seasick! haha

waterfall trumpet part 2

2021-08-25 NAGANOHARA, JAPAN -- I practiced trumpet at a different waterfall, this time on a bridge spanning a reservoir that is being filled with water by the newly-built Yamba dam.


The waterfall is named Fudounotaki ("waterfall by the Fudou diety"). The waterfall consists of at least 3 stages, falling over steep cliffs, following the surfaces of the rocks rather than free-falling through air.

The bridge is named Fudou bridge.

The Fudou diety building was moved from its original location (now submerged beneath the artificial lake) to its current place at the south end of the bridge. The building itself has little historical significance, other than being one of the many foci of local religion. Dam projects necessitate the relocation or new construction of numerous roads, buildings, and infrastructure.

Creating jobs is as important as building roads and schools. An amphibious bus gives tours of the lake and the land around it.

I walked up and down both sides of the bridge, taking in the sights of this sparsely populated mountain reservoir, and the soon-to-be submerged shoreline.

waterfall trumpet part 1

2021-08-25 TSUMAGOI, JAPAN -- We parked at a roadside rest (that is, a tiny parking lot alongside the highway) at the site of a tiny waterfall called Setonotaki (meaning "the waterfall back door" or "the waterfall behind the house").


The roar of the waterfall masked the sound of my trumpet. The spray kept me pleasantly cool. I loved it!

But Noriko was not pleased. Although the waterfall is in plain view and hundreds of cars pass by it daily, we had never seen anybody stop to visit, and thought that it would be a nice place for us to be alone. Alas today, perhaps because Kero was here, at least 5 groups came by. A lady motorcycle rider even asked to take my picture!

akagi jinja

2021-08-24 GUNMA, JAPAN -- We visited Akagi Jinja, a shrine at a caldera lake on top of Mount Akagi, a dormant volcano.

The main building is resplendent after renovation.

A frog commended us on our pilgrimage.

A 4-kilometer peaceful pathway circles the lake.

A sister shrine (also Akagi Jinja) on the opposite side of the lake is now an empty ruin.