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Archives:


Zany Sound Experiments

Today on Japanese TV, which is generally either excruciatingly boring (watching people eat and talk, duh) or wonderfully creative, especially at year end, there was a show showing some interesting and zany experiments with sound. Chord around the Race Track - one experiment was whether a chord played in unison (the very definition) by trumpeters around a racetrack, will sound like a song from the
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Station Kiosks - the Hubs of Modern Japan

The Kiosks at Japan railway and metro stations are little stalls like US "News Stands" with two sides open, and two sides closed with storage. They have a refrigerator and a drink heater, as well as all manner of convenient articles - you can get drinks (alcoholic and soft), snacks (candy, bread, squid (yes!)), newspapers, magazines, novels, umbrellas, lighters, batteries, phone cards, neckties, handkerchiefs
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Asakusa Nakamise during Hozuki Matsuri

Asakusa is a popular tourist destination and fun for those of us who live here too. This was taken in the "nakamise" street (nakamise is something like central shops) which is the shopping area leading up to the Sensoji temple. It was a beautiful hot evening during the Hozuki Chinese Lantern Plant festival. An incredible number of people show up for this.
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Rainy Monochrome Mood

I took this monochrome photo on the platform at Shinjuku station, waiting for the Shonan Shinjuku line. The black and white treatment suits its rainy mood. We have had more than our share of rain, even into the fall, so it's sunny days like today that make me feel grateful for this clear, crisp fall weather.
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Japan is Mascot Land

There's no shortage of cute mascots in Japan. They look like they are made of fiberglass, and are in front of storefronts here and there. The one pictured here is the Megane Drug mascot, who has a peach on his headband, leading me to think it might be Momotaro, he of childrens' story fame. The thumb below is his back, with the kanji for trust "shinrai". Search Flickr for fiberglass Mascots and there
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Totsuka Construction - Big Pillars

There are these huge pillars being built near Totsuka station, on the Hitachi Software side of the main road, and these struck me as being an interesting photo. The 40 km speed limit seems to apply to the slow pace of the construction! Click on the photo to explore my photo sets on Flickr, or see my Totsuka Construction photos.
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Japan Rail Kudos - an amazing record

I ride the Japan Rail trains daily in Japan, and sometimes take it for granted that they will be on time. Occassionally there is a problem and a delay, but there's amazingly always an alternative route and always a clear announcement (er, incessant announcements?). Japan Rail - here's to your professional approach and to getting people to where they need to go. Amazing years of basically accident
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Beiju - 88th Birthday

In Japan, a person's 88th birthday is called "beiju" and is a special celebration where yellow- or gold-colored gifts are given. The "bei" of beiju comes from the three kanji characters for eight "八", ten "十", and eight "八", or "hachijuu-hachi" (88), which combined together form the character kome, or rice "米". You can see one eight flipped upside-down on the top, the other on the bottom, and
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Support the Local Stores - Imamiya

This is our local store "Imamiya", which is not as cheap as the local giant chain, but has a certain charm. It has been in business for quite a long time, but recently seems like it is a little bit run down. These places get driven out of business by the big guys, so I like to shop there when I can. Support your local store!
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Japanese Evacuation Centers are Well-Marked

Japan is obviously prone to earthquakes, so there are designated evacuation areas or "hinanjo" here and there, usually in parks or stadiums (stadia?). This one says it is down in the US Military Fukaya Communications Base "tsushintai" in Japanese under the words "EVACUATION AREA". If you live here, keep and eye out for these markers, because that is where most people will proceed in the event of a
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Aging Population in Japan Needs Drugstores

Japan's society is aging, so you see more and more pharmacies and drug stores popping up. This one is in Odoriba, near Totsuka Japan, and has the bases covered by selling typical household goods as well as pharmaceuticals. The colors struck me as I was walking by. Taken with a Nikon D90 and 60mm Micro Nikkor.
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Retro-looking Nissan Figaro, Gumisawa Totsuka Japan

This is a rather retro Nissan "Figaro", parked at its nest in Gumisawa Totsuka Japan. I saw it while cycling around, and compositionally liked the play of the sun below, and the angles of the ferro-concrete house. I took this shot with a Nikon D90, using the Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Macro.
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Kintaro-ame by anzyAprico on Flickr

This is typical Kintaro-ame next to kompeito. Originally uploaded to Flickr by anzyAprico
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"Kintaro Ame" Chopstick Stand at Robataya

Went to Robataya in Roppongi last night, and got this shot of some ceramic chopstick stands that look like "Kintaro-ame" candy. Kintaro's the guy on the right, and he is said to be Sakata no Kintoki, a Heian Period samurai. There is a traditional story about him that Japanese children learn, in which Kintaro, born with great strength, goes on to conquer a group of "oni" or demons. Kintaro-ame is a
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Kamogawa-kan - Beautiful Ryokan in Chiba

I took my family to Kamogawa-kan in Chiba for a couple days to relax in the onsen hotspring spa and sunbathe. Here's the brochure and general look of the place. All Cypress wood and quite beautiful inside. The below is a look at the front gate, and the menus for the kaiseki dinners (partial only). As well as a coaster with an artwork they own, of an "ama" diver gathering abalone, which was featured
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Brush Me Sign

This sign on a door says "brush me" or "touch me" - "furete kudasai". Little sensors near the sign on the door frame respond to your light touch, and the door opens. I must have some kind of special gaikokujin aura, because I can never get the things to work - I have to literally touch the sensor itself and not just the sign. The newfangled Japan Rail touchpads on the ticket machines don't work for
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Baru Tapas in Hiroo, Tokyo

Baru is a great Tapas place in Tokyo's Hiroo district between Tengenji and Platinum Street. Great Tapas and wine, and it is always packed with good-looking ladies (unless a certain Jason is there :). The master is a personable guy, who speaks a little English and a little Spanish. Go. You won't regret it.
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Jack, Anna, Phil and Rick Tour Kamakura

Jack, Anna (pictured), Phil and I tried our hand at "omikuji" at the big Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine in Kamakura. Omikuji are fortunes that you draw by shaking a box of numbered sticks, the number corresponding to a white piece of paper with the fortune written on it. You can pray to improve your fortunes by folding and tying the omikuji paper onto a contraption shrines have, with horizontal wires.
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Japan Post Office

Japan Post Office Originally uploaded by Rick Cogley A snap of the Japan Post Office logo, on our local post office's door. The sign you will see for the PO, or "yuubin kyoku" is a red T with two horizontal bars on the top. Lately, the PO has been marketing hard to better compete with private services - they have come round the office a couple of times to try to hawk their services. Much better
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Kodomo Hyakutouban no Ie - "Kids' Emergency House"

Neighborhoods in Japan have people join the "Kids' Emergency House" network, and affix these signs to their gates. If a child is in trouble, they are taught in school that they can go to a house designated this way, for help.
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Baru in Hiroo

Baru in Hiroo between Tengenji and Platinum Street. Great Tapas!
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Welcome to Snap:Japan

This is the first post on the Snap:Japan weblog. Welcome, and please come back to see snapshots of life in Japan. Warm regards,Rick
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