Monthly Archives: October 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

Japan used to be foreign to me, but after living here for more than 7 years, it’s very familiar.  However, there are times that I see things that feel foreign to me.  I lived in the Ofuna area of Kamakura for 4 years, and ever since I moved to Fujisawa, I’ve returned to find changes.  That’s one thing about Japan, there’s constant redevelopment happening.  When people move out of their old house, it’s usually demolished, then replaced by a couple newer, narrower, taller houses.  Since moving from Ofuna, I have seen that several new buildings have been constructed, some torn down, and some renovated.  The building right next to my old apartment is gone, and is currently surrounded by a white construction fence.  Probably one of the most noticeable changes near Ofuna Station is the demolition of half of the station’s main entrance staircase.  They’re installing an elevator.  But this is what makes things so foreign to me.  As things slowly change, my familiarity with the area decreases, even though I return there on a weekly basis.  This is certainly foreign to me.

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Demolition at Ofuna Station.

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge at WordPress’ Daily Post blog.

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Filed under Japan, Kamakura, Kanagawa

2012 Picture of the Week (44/52) – Yokohama Seaside Line

The Yokohama Seaside Line isn’t a traditional train.  It runs on rubber tires on a guideway, and it’s fully automated.  There is no driver.  It runs between Shin-Sugita Station and Kanazawa-Hakkei Station.  This picture is taken under the line.  The entire line is elevated.  Also, a little news.  Today, this blog reached 50,000 views!  Thank you very much!  And now the picture.

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Seaside Line bridges.

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Filed under Japan, Kanagawa, Kanazawa-ku, Picture of the Week, Yokohama

2012 Picture of the Week (43/52) – Japanese Black Pine Tree

The Japanese black pine tree is one of the most recognizable trees from Japan.  It’s famous, in fact.  It’s one of the primary trees used in bonsai.  This tree is also the official city tree of Fujisawa, which is where I live.  You can see them everywhere along the coast.  They’re very tough trees, and they can withstand the strong winds and blowing sands that come off the beach.  They’re excellent at blocking sand from reaching further inland, as well.  These trees can grow quite tall, but they’re also commonly seen as small trees.  In Tsujido Kaihin Park, there are plenty of Japanese black pines.  You’ll know them when you see them, as they don’t exactly grow straight up.  This picture shows the trunks of a grove of Japanese black pine trees.

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The trees tend to bend away from the beach, which is the direction the wind comes from.

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Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Nature, Picture of the Week

Japan Post driving school?

Ever wonder where postal workers learn how to drive?  I guess not.  Probably where everyone else learns to drive, right?  That’s probably true.  I’m pretty sure this isn’t a post office driving school, just practice or training for the motorcycles and small vans that postal workers drive.  When I saw this, I was very surprised.  I had a “What the….?” moment.  They were practicing across the street from a driving school, coincidentally.  Also,  when we passed by them about 1 1/2 hours later, they were still practicing.  Have you ever seen this before?

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Practicing driving mail delivery vans and motorcycles.

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Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa

2012 Picture of the Week (42/52) – Signs of fall

Japan is very well known for its colourful foliage in autumn.  Although places like Canada have already changed colour, here in the Kanto area of Japan, we still have mostly green trees.  In fact, most trees will stay green until sometime in November.  Japanese maple trees are famous for their bright yellow, orange, and red leaves, but that’s not until December.  But now, the ginkgo trees are slowly changing to a light green, while the cherry trees are showing some red leaves.  This is a picture of Kirihara Park with its many cherry trees beginning to change colour.

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These cherry trees are showing new colour.

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Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Nature, Picture of the Week

Fujisawa Manhole Covers and More

Who knew manhole covers could be an art?  In Japan, each community has its own manhole cover design, usually depicting the town or city’s cultural heritage or the city flower or tree.  In Fujisawa, there are a couple manhole cover designs, and they have different purposes.  Fujisawa’s tree is the Japanese black pine (黒松) while its flower is the Wisteria.  Both are on Fujisawa’s manhole covers.

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This is the storm drain, or rainwater, manhole cover. It features Wisteria.

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This manhole cover features the Japanese black pine. This one is for the sewer.

But wait, there’s more!  There are three others that look like manhole covers, all with the same design.  However, they aren’t actually manhole covers.  The first two differ only by the labels.  The final one has another label, but it’s also yellow.  You’ll see why.

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This one covers an air valve.

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While this one covers a place where partitions can be set up.

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Finally, this yellow one is a fire hydrant.

Fire hydrants in Japan are under the road.  They aren’t like the ones in North America, which are above ground.  These are marked by yellow paint, so they can be seen much more easily and can be differentiated from all the other covers.

In the future, I may take some more manhole cover photos in other cities.  If you live in Japan, what are your manhole covers like?

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Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa

2012 Picture of the Week (41/52) – Yakitori

Yakitori, that wonderful, delicious chicken on a stick.  You can find this grilled, cheap delicacy anywhere in Japan.  It’s often sold in supermarkets, yakitori shops where you order and eat while standing, and at yatai, which are small food stands that are usually on the backs of trucks.  This picture is from a yatai.  It doesn’t show any food, but it shows the lantern which you can always find at a yakitori shop or yatai.  I particularly like yakitori with leeks.

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See this lantern, and you can find a nice skewered chicken snack.

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Filed under Food, Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Picture of the Week