Saturday, August 20, 2005

40th Azabu-juban Noryo Matsuri

The Azabu-juban Noryo Matsuri (麻布十番納涼祭り) is back again!

About 1'000'000 people (more? less? I do not know, but they were a lot) crowed the streets.
In addition to the rows of old-timey night stalls set up by local shops, there were many entertaining programs such as festive music performance, traditional vaudeville and antique fair.
The famous international bazaar provided well-known products and special food of many countries supported by a number of embassies. Various events took place at the Stage 10 Bang, including street performance, samisen, jazz Hawaiian and charity concert.

Panning with the fisheye

Using the fisheye for panning gives this interesting result. I definitely should do some more experiments with this funny lens ^_^

Friday, August 19, 2005

Onioshidashi-en (鬼押出し園)

Onioshidashi Park is an enormous stream of solidified lava formed by the eruption of Mt. Asama in 1783

The stones of parent and child (親子岩 - おやこいわ)

鬼押出し園 with 浅間山 (mount Asama) in the background

There is always place for an amusement park! ;-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Matsumoto Castle (松本城)

Next to Himeji-jo, Matsumoto-jo (松本城) is the next best extant castle donjon in Japan. It is one of the most complete and beautiful among Japan's original castles. It is also a good example of a so called "hirajiro", a castle built on the plain rather than on a hill or mountain.

Built by Ishikawa Kazumasa and his son Yasunaga in 1590, Matsumoto-jo is designated a National Treasure. After Hideyoshi took Odawara he stationed Ishikawa Kazumasa in Matsumoto to govern his eastern provinces.

The history of Matsumoto-jo actually begins with a castle called Fukashi-jo which was built by Shimadachi Sadanaga in 1504. That castle was attacked and captured by Takeda Shingen in 1550.


A picture taken right out of Tokyo, on the way to Matsumoto-jo.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Let's dance

M7.2 quake strikes northeastern Japan, 27 injuries reported

A powerful earthquake registering a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 struck northeastern Japan just before noon Tuesday, with at least 27 people reported injured in Miyagi Prefecture, and the temblor jolting extensive areas including Tokyo.
Reports of injuries include one person seriously injured and 14 others receiving slight injuries when the roof of a recently opened indoor pool in Sendai collapsed, the Sendai fire department said. There were 265 people in the pool at the time of the 11:46 a.m. earthquake. In total, at least 27 people had received treatment at hospitals in Miyagi Prefecture as of 1:30 p.m. following the quake, according to a tally compiled by Kyodo News.
The Japan Meteorological Agency initially announced the magnitude as 6.8, but revised it upward. It also warned of the possibility of an aftershock with an intensity of around upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 taking place within a month. The agency issued a tsunami warning and lifted it after waves reaching 10 centimeters high were observed on the coast of Ishinomaki, Miyagi, just after noon.
Town officials in Shizugawa in the same prefecture said a rise of 40 cm in sea level was recorded at the town's port but there were no injuries. The town has urged residents to prepare for evacuation. About 17,000 households in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures were without electricity after the quake, Tohoku Electric Power Co. said. Operations at some nuclear power plants in Miyagi and Ibaraki prefectures, including the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi, automatically stopped when the quake struck. Several landslides have been reported in Miyagi Prefecture. Bullet train service on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line remains suspended but there were no reports of derailment or injuries. Train runs on the Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen lines are also suspended. The subway system in Sendai was temporarily shut down. The Tokaido, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen lines had been suspended but soon resumed. A section of the Tohoku Expressway in Miyagi Prefecture was reopened after being closed off briefly. Runways at Narita and Haneda airports, which serve the Tokyo metropolitan area, were also temporarily closed.

The strong quake prompted the central government in Tokyo, the National Police Agency and the Ground Self-Defense Force to set up respective task forces to respond to quake damage, with the GSDF and Air Self-Defense Force dispatching helicopters to evaluate the conditions.
The government dispatched a team of officials to Miyagi Prefecture to assess the damage as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi ordered his staff to do their best to gather information.
The quake originated in the Pacific about 80 kilometers off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture and took place at a thrust fault, the agency said. The focus was about 42 km below the surface of the sea. The Sendai weather observatory said Tuesday's temblor ''originated almost at the same spot as the 1978 (Miyagi) Earthquake but the magnitude was smaller than expected.'' It was referring to the magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck Sendai and nearby areas in June 1978, which killed 28 and injured more than 10,000 people. Katsuyuki Abe, a professor at the University of Tokyo, said Tuesday's quake may be the big earthquake that experts have predicted would take place in the region. ''In terms of location and mechanism, this quake bears the features of the Miyagi earthquake scenario,'' Abe said.
A government panel said in January there is 99 percent likelihood a quake of magnitude 7 or above would hit the area within 30 years. Nine quakes of magnitude 6.4 or above, including the latest one, have occurred along the coast off Miyagi Prefecture since 1933. The town of Kawasaki in southern Miyagi Prefecture registered a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, the meteorological agency said. The quake registered 4 on the scale in central Tokyo. An intensity of lower 6 is defined as being capable of damaging wall tiles and windowpanes in many buildings and where many people find it difficult to keep standing.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Monday, August 1, 2005

Fireworks - 神宮外苑花火大会

Tonight there was another big fireworks event, the Jingu Gaien Hanabi Taikai (神宮外苑花火大会). About 10'070 different fireworks were displayed in one hour. This time I was comfortably sitting on a beautiful terrace not so far from the main place, but far from the crowd and - more important! - far from the terrible heat at ground level.

This is my favourite picture.

In this picture, and in a few others below, there is an interesting rippling effect. I think it was due to the combination of high zoom (200mm), long exposure time (F/9, 1.6 secs in the picture above), not so expensive tripod, and wind.
But I like the final result, the picture is more interesting ^_^

The terrace has one drawback, though. In fact, the wind was pushing the smoke in our direction, so that in the long sequences we got more smoke than fireworks. Despite of this, the picture above suggests clouds and rain, and I like it.

My 2nd best.

My 3rd best.

Vulcan ^-^

And you? Which pictures do you like most?