Rainy day

This rain cloud took the entire day to pass over my area. It's been pouring from morning till evening and I've been in my hotel room doing nothing. Besides the conbini at the opposite side of the road there is absolutely nothing of interest in the town that I'm in. The rain didn't let up even once so I didn't even go outside to take photos. Instead, I spent the whole day surfing the internet, sorting my photos and watching anime. Today very much reminds of the days I spent in the youth heim before I left on this trip. The hotel room very much reminds me of the youth heim: same layout, similar carpet, bed in the same place, almost exactly the same bathroom, except that the hotel room's bathroom is even smaller than the youth heim's. It's life as usual in an unusual place.

A bit of tech talk then, starting with cameras. If I could reconsider I would definitely not have brought my DSLR with me. It's been pretty much a dead weight in my side bag, and I'm hardly ever taking it out. While cycling I take photos with my S90 compact camera because it's just easier to stuff anywhere. If I want to take a photo of nice scenery with my DSLR I have to stop, find a place to park my bicycle against (the stand thingie doesn't support the full weight any more), get off the bike, open the side bag, find the DSLR, take a photo, and then reverse the entire process and continue on my way. Obviously this is silly. Besides that I am hardly ever stopping at places that are so beautiful that I wish I had a better quality camera than my S90. Advice to other people doing this kind of trip: don't bring a DSLR, it's a waste of weight. A micro four-thirds system might just be acceptable though. (Oh, and I would definitely leave behind the silly USB solar charger: there's absolutely no need for it in Japan.)

Back to the S90, the more I use it the more it annoys me. When I want to take a picture of something in the distance I turn on the camera, immediately turn the zoom lever, and nothing happens. I have to wait for the camera to start up first, and then twist the zoom lever, otherwise it won't do anything. This is very frustrating. Another thing that sucks about the S90 is the response time after taking a picture. Usually I take a photo, realize that the exposure compensation should be a bit lower or higher, adjust it and immediately take another picture. I adjust this with the main control ring, but this ring doesn't start responding until a couple of seconds after the photo review screen disappears. I try to make it faster by half-pressing the shutter but that only updated the screen a bit quicker, the controls still won't respond until 1-2 seconds later. These 2 points can piss me off a lot.

Oh, and bad karma to Canon for changing the codec for their videos on the S90. It's using a .mov container and (I think) an H.264 codec, but my favorite programs VirtualDub and VLC are unable to convert this properly to a more compressed format. I'd been meaning to upload a short video to Youtube, but it's 200MB out-of-camera and none of my usual conversion tools work. Thanks Canon for messing something up that worked fine before. I'm almost tempted to use Canon's own software, but thankfully I'm not that far gone yet.

As you may have guessed, I am loving the mobile internet connection and my netbook. I've overestimated the time I would be away from 'civilization', and as a result my netbook's power level hasn't dropped below 9000. Wait, I mean 90%. I can go for 3-4 days without recharging, and still check my e-mail from any location in Japan. It's absolutely brilliant and I would have gladly paid twice as much for this kind of convenience if I had to.

Speaking of convenience, there's an awful lot of Circle-K convenience stores around here. Somehow I always end up at Circle K, even though there's plenty of Lawsons and 7-11s out there as well. Circle-K seems to have picked the best spots. The same goes for restaurants: even though there's plenty of McDonald's and Sukiya's and other Japanese chain restaurants out there, whenever I want to eat there's always either a Mos Burger or a Gasuto near me.

Tomorrow's weather should be nice, so I can continue my trip on route 42. I'll reach the southernmost peak and mini-peninsula, look around a bit, and then continue north towards Wakayama city. I won't reach it tomorrow and maybe not even the day after tomorrow, but I am looking forward to seeing Wakayama again. It's one of the cities I visited on my first trip in Japan, only 3 months after arriving here. That was also a wonderful crazy trip, and I owe it to that trip and the crazy Spanish intern who dragged us along that I have such wanderlust right now. The next few days should be fun :)

Posted in Spirit of Japan , Tech