Saturday, December 16, 2006

DeLonghi heater



It is very cold. I am not sure if this is because I am in Misasa or because this is winter after 5 years. Winter in LA was too easy. Finally I decided to spend money to heater.

I purchased an oil heater by DeLonghi because not only shop clerk but also my mom recommended me. It cost more than $400. Besides DeLonghi the only heater I had just cost $20. The cheaper heater looks 20 times warmer.

Wow! This really works. Part of reason why this makes me so warm is that I want to believe. I planned to buy cheaper heater and iPod but I cannot get the latter.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tsuruoka



My wife and I visited Tsuruoka because my grandfather in law passed away. Tsuruoka also faces Japanese Sea. However because Japan is designed to Tokyo-centered country, I have to fly to Tokyo first and then take trains.

By the way this photo is taken at Tsuruoka railway station when we go back. Big picture with hole at the face is common in Japan. I have thought that it is stupid for long time but now I am.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Throw-in building again



Finally Kae climbed up to the throw-in building ''Nageire Doh''. I have suggested her many times but she never listened to me. She saw an article about Nageire Doh in a magazine issued by her job organization. Also her friend recommends to see it.

In fact, she was satisfied to see the "Nageire Doh" as I thought. I want her to believe and listen to me slightly more.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Certified Khumii singer







Amara (from Mongolia) and I went to Mongolian concert in Tottori. Mongolian throat singing is known as Khumii and of my interest. I have been practicing the Khumii in labs for a long time. Sound frequency of turbo pump is similar to that of Khumii sounds.

After the concert, I demonstrated my Khumii to the main singer and he told me (Amara translated) that I already passed novice-player step and need proper exercise to go next.

Chinggis Khan praise, Four season steppe, Milk god, and Altain mountain praise were pretty good.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Misasa Ekiden (team running competition)





As a part of Misasa non-scientific activity, we participated Ekiden (team running competition). We made two teams. Each consists of 8 people and runs totally 14.07 km (1.8 km for each). Photo is before and after. Although it took efforts to create two teams this year, several people already promised me to run next year.

We are 30th (1:03:51) and 31st (1:04:38 ) place out of 38 teams. 108 s and 110 s per 400 m. My time was 0:07:47 (2.01 km) which is 92 s per 400 m pace. Cheers from sidewalk and a will to catch people up (or not to be caught) helped.

It seems that a head of Misasa town was pleased for our attendance and we got testimonial from him. Our goal next year is to be in first half among all teams.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Football



We play football on Sunday in Misasa. Number of participate is getting lower and lower. Two weeks ago, there were only four people. I thought that non-academic activity is good especially for non-Japanese students. Well, we will keep playing just for fun and health. This week, we are eight, which are enough to play mini game.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nabe (pod)



Since I do not have enough time to go out and take picutures by my new digital camera, I decided to take my dinner.

Now, I prefer cook-and-eat Japanese food called nabe (pod) as dinner. Pod and heater are set on the table and food is cooked in-situ with boiling water. Food is always hot.

The main component is celery cabbage. Bean-sprout, onion, mushroom, carrot, tofu, alimentary yam past and beef (or pork). At the very end you put udon (Japanese noodle). You can put anything you want. The cooking procedure forces conversation among family. Very common winter food in Japan.

We had this nabe dinner during our trip (this September). We were addicted and purchased an electric nabe heater. Although my wife has gone I love to keep using it. Side benefit is, I'll be full easily only by celery cabbage *with* satisfaction.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

New digital camera




Since my Olympus does not work anymore, I purchased a new digital camera, Sanyo VPC-C40 (or DMX-C40). I planned to buy just a cheap digital camera which should cost $100-$150; however, once I visited an electrics shop, sky would be the limit.

I found a camera that works both as cam coder and camera, is lighter than 1 pound and costs less than $250. Since I wanted cam coder too, I purchased it. It saves movies as MPEG 4. I decided to purchase 512 MB SD memory because I want to limit movie size less than 640 MB: hi-quality 20 min and low-quality 2 hours.

http://www.sanyo.com/entertainment/cameracorder/index.cfm?productID=1237

In Japan, users are not allowed to return it but we have five years warranty. At least I can update this blog and take my running and swimming form.


This is public bath for people who work for Okayama University. It does not look nice but the water is real "radon" hot spring. They charge me $10 a month and I don't know that's a good deal or not. My shower in my apartment is out of order thus I take that bath 30 times a month. The guest house has much better "rock" hot spring.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Yasukuni

The Aug 15th is a special day for East asia. I visited Yasukuni temple at that day, 2006. It takes a while to compile what I thought.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Watermelon marathon




I ran at Hokueicho watermelon marathon festival. This is not ekiden and I just ran for myself. The distance was 5 km and my time was 23 minutes and 30 seconds. Relatively slow.

There were 3,000 people on that race. I did not know how narrow the streets are and was at the middle of the crowd at the beginning. That was a mistake; the crowd was very slow and hard to escape from it.

After the competition, Hokueicho offered us watermelon. The watermelon is their money maker (dollar bako); taste pretty good. The entry fee is 3,000 yen. I think that it is reasonable although I did not have to pay because of international program related things.

It seems that I am pretty active in Tottori (in term of running).

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ekiden

On 25th June, I ran for Misasa. Twenty three teams from Tottori area were at the 1st Nishi-Takao team-running competition (Ekiden).

Misasa had three teams a, b, and c. Each team consists of 5 runner. Each has to run 6, 3, 3, 6, 3 km, respectively. I was the third runner.

When I got a baton, Misasa-c was 22nd out of 23 teams. I was caught by 23rd runner. Thus when I handed the baton to the forth runner, our team was 23rd out of 23. Fourth runner caught 22nd runner up again, our team was finally got 22nd.

Misasa-a 19:35, 10:27, 12:52, 20:02, 10:10
Misasa-b 20:58, 11:39, 13:13, 23:03, 11:23
Misasa-c 22:57, 12:46, 12:42 (me), 23:29, 11:37

My time was 12:42. Among the third 3 km runner that is 19th out of 23. I am happy because when I was running alone on a track it took always more than 14 minutes. To run for team makes something different.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Nigeire-doh

Misasa owns national treasure named Nageire-doh (throw-in building). June 12th, we had opportunity to climb up there. The throw-in building is a part of Sambutsu temple in Mt. Mitoku, which is known by Japanese local religion Shugen-do.




The Nageire-doh is located at almost top of the mountain. To climb up to the Nageire-doh is training in Shugen-do. It took about an hour to reach there. The Zaoh-gohgen is their statue and I tried to look like it.





Nageire-doh is 1300 years old and under construction. View from Mt. Mitoku is nice and slightly scary.




Mitoku (Japanese)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Grand parents visited Tottori





My father and grand parents visited Misasa 13th May. They liked Misasa and stayed two nights at the guest house. Grand father went into the hot spring in the guest house seven times out of just two nights.

A picture is taken at Iwato, where is located just east side of Tottori sand dune. Do I look like them?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sand dune again



My friends also visited me. I took them to the most popular spot in Tottori, sand dune. It was very crowded because of the big holidays.

I had to park 1 mile away. While we were walking, I found one sign. The Tottori sand dune faces to Japanese sea.

To residences who live close to see shore: report to Tottori police immediately when you see people

  1. who are considered as blockade runners based on how they look and/or how they speak
  2. who communicate with a ship using flush light on and off
  3. who look strange somehow as tourists

Golden week



Japan has a week-holiday called "Golden week". My wife visited me to Misasa, so I brought her around Misasa. Misasa is a little tiny town and famous for hot spring with radon.

This picture shows Kawara-buro (spa next to a river). Left hand side is full-body spa and right hand side is spa for foot. Both are free and open 24 hours a day. My wife did not want to go too close because she did not want to see naked men. To be naked in public place is a crime in Japan generally.

I have taken the full spa once with colleagues after a beer party. It seems that, after 3 am, some women take the full-body bath.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

100% full



Finally they are full. I wish this lasts long. From now on, the percentage is going down back. There is a strong wind today. This might accelerate the flower-fall-off procedure.

Anything lasts just a while, this is the fundamental of Japanese beauty.

Monday, April 10, 2006

White wall





Downtown Kurayoshi retains historical buildings. We visited very famous area that is characterized by white wall. In all guide books besides "Lonely planet", one can see this landscape. A festival related with girl dolls was going on.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sand dune





With Karl, Nagender, and Jeong-Seon, I visited Tottori sand dune, which is the only sightseeing spot in Tottori according to a guide book named "Lonely planet".

The dimension of the sand dune is a few kilometer scale. There are decent amount of Japanese tourists. I was happy to see those people because they prove that I live in a place that is worth to visit.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

90% full




With Karl, I went to Utsubuki park at downtown Kurayoshi. A lot of people were there to enjoy cherry blossoms. We saw only three non Japanese. It seems that Misasa is more international than Kurayoshi. There are a lot of temporal junk-food shops. They are part of cherry-blossoms season.



Kurayoshi invited a hip-hop band to the festival because vocal guy was grown in Kurayoshi. It was a pity that their crappy music ruined the atmosphere.



In the evening, we went to a festival run by Misasa. Because the target of the festival is not local people but hot-sprint visitor, they are serious. Japanese drums, Japanese three-string guitar, and Japanese traditional songs. I like Misasa's festival more than Kurayoshi's.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

50% full



The cherry blossoms are getting open and open everyday. I like this waiting-phase the best because I do not have to worry to loose nice flowers. Today there was a HANAMI party under cherry blossoms right next to the main river.

I misunderstand "comment moderate option" as "comment modify option". Now anyone can put comment without moderation.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Time for cherry blossoms (5% full)



Japanese likes cherry blossoms. A new school year starts from April with fullly opened cherry blossoms. A flower means cherry blossom in Japan.

I can see cherry blossoms from my new office. They are 5%. I cannot wait to see fully opened cherry blossoms because I have not seen them five years.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Toyota Starlet





Original plan was to buy a brand new Mazda 3 (it is called Axela in here); however, soon after I became realistic, I noticed that the car is not as cheap as I imagined. Fortunately, there are two guys who already own Mazda 3. That was a good enough excuse to change my mind.

I decided to get Toyota's compact car named Starlet (Glanza S, 1300 cc, 1998 yr, 45,000 miles). Second hand cars in Japan are cheap and the Starlet costs $2,000. I paid $3,300 including tax and registration fee to a dealer. My colleague named the car "pointer", which is a car for Ultra-man ranger.

I got a car at 30th March, at least I am not carless anymore.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Track in Misasa




Misasa owns multi-purpose dirt-ground field. There is a 300 meters track in it. It is very hard to trace a lane. Considering popuration (7,000), this is even over kill. I thought it is easy to find running partners because there are a lot of Africans in the institute; it is not. Excuses are language of the world.

Because I am still in the guest house and cannot cook by myself, I'm getting bigger. I started running from March 24th. A relatively big river goes through Misasa town, and there are anchors every 200 meters. Run down to the track following the river as warm up, do drill A, B, and C on the track, and then come back.

It seems that there is a serious track at downtown Kurayoshi. Kurayoshi is a middle-size city next to Misasa.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Guest house



The institute owns a guest house. A visitor can stay there up to 6 months. They charge 1700 yen (~$15, including breakfast) per night, which is reasonable. Misasa (name of the town) is famous for hot spring and the guest house has built-in hot spring. It is very nice at least for Japanese (Indian visitor told me that he does not like it at all).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Arrival



Left LA 12th March, spent two nights at Tokyo, and arrived at Tottori 14th March.

The first day was horrible. Flight from from Tokyo to Tottori takes one and half hour usually; however because of snow, the airplane could not land on Tottori. I was thrown at Osaka airport and had to take a train. I had two huge suitcases, which made my trip very painful. After all, it took 12 hours rather than 4 hours.

I miss LA.