ogikubo walk

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

Suga Jinja, a local shinto shrine of obscure origin.
ZGK_2588

When drops of water fall into a buried jar, clear resonant sounds are heard through the bamboo pipe.
ZGK_2592

Otaguro park, built partly to commemorate the musician Motoo Otaguro, whose heirs donated his property to the city.
ZGK_2627

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.
ZGK_2614

Otaguro's Steinway piano. Painstakingly restored.
ZGK_2618

The park is tiny yet immaculate. Highly recommended for a stroll, if you happen to be in the area.
ZGK_2645

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.
T9286922_trimmed

Vinegar rice (which is what sushi means -- "su" vinegar, and "shi" short for "meshi" rice) no problem.
T9286943

Noriko prepared the avacado and cucumbers.
T9286945

We rolled so thick that we got full fast!
T9286958

The nori came from mom.
T9286965

enoshima

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.
T9266804

I drew an oracle at Enoshima Nakatsunomiya shrine.
T9266816_trimmed

The oracle read "Visitors arrive unannounced". Wow! The gods are correct!
T9266866_trimmed

We celebrated with a nice lunch.
T9266856

kero station

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

Kero!
T9196265

Truth be told, the station is called Moro, not Kero. For us, it's Kero for sure.
T9196269

2-car diesel-electric trains run on single tracks roughly every half hour.
T9196275

Waiting area.
T9196273

Station facade.
T9196289

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.
fall_of_civilizations

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.
T9176147

Keroppi macaron. Discovered by accident at a nearby cake shop.
T9156053

Keroppi power strip and USB power supply. Irresistible.
T9156010

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.
T9045470

All is well, thank you, I see much better now!
T9246706

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
T9246705

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.

T8305157

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.
GK5B2086_trimmed

The bridge is named Fudou bridge.
T8305180

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.
T8305214

Creating jobs is as important as building roads and schools. An amphibious bus gives tours of the lake and the land around it.
T8305184

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.
T8305202_trimmed

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").

GK5B1603

The roar of the waterfall masked the sound of my trumpet. The spray kept me pleasantly cool. I loved it!
GK5B1607

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!
GK5B1592

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.
GK5B1528

A frog commended us on our pilgrimage.
GK5B1554

A 4-kilometer peaceful pathway circles the lake.
T8244291

A sister shrine (also Akagi Jinja) on the opposite side of the lake is now an empty ruin.
T8244347