Monthly Archives: September 2014

Deadly Eruption at Mount Ontake

Mt. Ontake erupted on Saturday. Here’s what I had to write about it.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Mt. Ontake.  Looks beautiful, doesn't it? Mt. Ontake. Looks beautiful, doesn’t it?

Such a tranquil-looking mountain isn’t it?  Well, Mt. Ontake is Japan’s second tallest volcano, and it erupted on Saturday.  There were around 300 people on the mountain at the time, and 31 are suspected to be dead, as there were many at the summit around the caldera during the eruption.

I live around 190 km from the mountain (Tokyo is 200 km from it), which is on the border of Nagano and Gifu prefectures.  At 3,067 metres tall, it’s a fairly tall stratovolcano with a somewhat frequent history of eruptions.  It’s interesting that it’s often climbed considering how often it does erupt.

Another volcano, at 3,776 metres, is Mt. Fuji.  It’s visible from my area, and is the tallest mountain in Japan.  It occasionally has earthquakes around it, and in recent years, the lakes around it have been getting a bit warmer.  There…

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Filed under Gifu, Japan, Mountains, Nagano

A Morning at the Embassy

On Friday, I visited the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. I blogged about this on my other blog, as this has more to do with Canada than Japan. Please check it out.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

On Friday the 19th, I went to the Canadian Embassy with my daughter.  The Embassy is in Akasaka in Tokyo, which is an area that has many embassies, shopping areas, and is just plain rich-looking.  The Canadian Embassy is across the street from the Crown Prince’s residence.  You can’t see the house from the Embassy, just trees.  It’s surrounded by a wall with cameras and police officers patrolling the perimeter.

I posted these pictures last night, hoping you could guess what they were.

The front of the Canadian Embassy. The front of the Canadian Embassy.

The west side of the Embassy. The west side of the Embassy.

The southwest corner of the Embassy. The southwest corner of the Embassy.

It’s a pretty modern building and quite massive for an embassy.  There are other buildings on the embassy lands, including one that looks like it’s a hall for events.  In the main building, the first floor is a library, but to get inside, you have to take an escalator…

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It Can’t Be Halloween Yet, Can it?

It’s early September, and what do I see?  Halloween decorations.  Sounds like some businesses are very enthusiastic about Halloween to be decorating this early.  Not even out of summer yet.  Well, I made this video a couple days ago about how businesses in Japan tend to decorate for Halloween far earlier than they need to.  Keep in mind that the business I show is an opticians and they don’t have a special Halloween sale going on.

Now, this video isn’t just me talking about Halloween decorations.  You’ll want to watch to the end, because I had a rather creepy encounter.

I sure didn’t expect that.

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Filed under Asahi-ku, Festivals & Events, Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Yokohama

Moving Out? Demolish that House

Anyone who lives in Japan will notice a lot of old houses get demolished.  You never see a for sale sign in front of a house.  Why is that?  Well, the real estate industry is much different in Japan than it is in North America.

In North America, when someone moves out of a house, they sell it.  It’s usually appreciated in value, especially if work has been done on the house to improve it.  Houses are also built to last for decades.  They’re solidly built.  That’s not the case in Japan.  Houses are not built to last.  They’re rather thin-walled, poorly insulated, and many of them these days are prefabricated.  Old houses are usually torn down and replaced with two or three new houses on the same property.  Near my home, there was one property that was divided into seven.  The value of a house is not so much in Japan.  It’s the property that’s valuable.  Moving out? Tear down that house and let the new property owners build their own.  Or are you tired of living in an old house? Tear it down and rebuild in the same location.

I made a video about this as I saw a house in my neighbourhood being torn down.

Whenever I see something like this, I wonder what’s going to be built in its place.

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Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Vlog