I love Atsugi

I LOVE ATSUGI! I just thought that was worth mentioning. Not that I'll ever forget.

Today is my last day in Atsugi, and tonight was, without a doubt, brilliant. I had a great time meeting Katagiri and Harasono, and we jumped from a place that served sashimi and fried whale (which was excellent, by the way) to a superb JapanIndian curry place. It was great remembering old times, and also great to see how things are now.

After the meet I went back to the hotel to fetch my bicycle, which I had promised to return to the bicycle shop. In return for returning it, they gave me a 1000 yen discount. I was under no real obligation to return it but felt I should since otherwise they'll think all foreigners are criminals.

Anyway, I couldn't really return it without doing a final run around the block. So I went. To every place in Atsugi that I have memories of. I don't know why but this place just makes me feel so incredibly nostalgic. It's the only place that can really make my heart hurt for remembering it. I went all the way south, first to say goodbye to the youth heim, then to the place my Chinese buddies used to live, and a bit further than that even to the riverside place where I used to reminisce about the month's events. Then I cycled back along the riverside alongside the Sony building, another one of my favourite quiet spots. The sound the summer insects make along that road is just beautiful. Then a bit further still, and I've arrived at the train bridge. From there on I turned back onto the main road and made my way to the bicycle shop. I left a 'thank you' note in the basket and started walking back towards the station.

But what's that? IT'S OTSU!!! Imagine the chance of that. Of the very few people I know that are still living in Atsugi I happen to meet the one guy I didn't have time to meet yet, right before I have to leave Japan. Awesome! He was just on his way home from Tokyo. We had a brief catching-up and then I was on my way again. How could this ever happen anywhere else than in Atsugi? I was smiling to myself as I walked on.

I walked through the 'high street' (ichibangai as they call it here, 'first street') and stopped to buy a cheeseburger at McDonalds. As I was eating it I noticed the typical crowd there: an old lady sleeping there, possibly homeless (people sleep in McD all the time in Japan), a salaryman kind of guy wearing headphones and a severly drunk hipster-kind-of-girl. Then I left and walked all the way to the end of the street and sat down in the park for a while, staring at pretty much exactly the same distribution of people as there were in McDonalds. Then I felt it was time to go, and went back to the hotel.

What a month it's been. I've experienced so many great moments here, so many good times. Pretty much all of them were because I used to live here. That gave me the memories and the confidence I needed to enjoy this place the most. I still love it here, and I don't think that feeling will ever change. Although I'm terrified of that feeling growing weaker, because it's the best (sustainable) feeling I've ever known. But all good things must come to an end, and I am not at all sad about leaving. I know I can't stay here and need to get on with my life. It really is exactly the same as liking the town you experienced your childhood in: you only remember the good things, but you know you must move on to somewhere else to have a future. That's how I feel right now. But I also know that Atsugi will always be there for me, and I can go back any time I feel like it.


Posted in Japan , Thoughts | Tagged ,


Made this one yesterday just before sunset.  Click on the image for the full size (2.7MB!)

Here's how it looked like before I photoshopped it. Tuning: shadows/highlights, playing with the level sliders of individual RGB channels, increased saturation a bit + minor smart-sharpen filter added.

Posted in Photography | Tagged ,

AXT Tower on TV!

Check this out guys:

That's right, it's a Japanese drama show set in the AXT Tower! The cool helicopter shot of the tower was made a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday morning, which I remember clearly because that was the day I had to walk back to the tower to pick up my bicycle, as the front fender broke and made it unmovable. As I was ripping off my front fender at the back of the tower people at the front were shooting this drama show. Awesome :D

Posted in Daily Life , Japan | Tagged , ,

One of those skies


Some days the sky just flares up and I can't help but take some photos, even though I've seen it a million times already since I came to live here. Today the sky was one of those skies that never seems to come out right in a photo. No matter how much I adjusted the white balance the colors wouldn't come out right. The tungsten setting looked the most 'realistic', but didn't at all capture the warm colors that I could see with my eyes. Every other white balance setting made everything yellow instead of just the yellow parts. I guess in this case the unrealistic photos were not to blame on the white balance, but it's rather the human eyes that manage to see things that no modern camera can see, thanks to the eye's ability to resolve extreme differences in contrast.


I found out today that I have a serious focusing issue with my 10-20mm :(. When focusing at or near infinity it's always off by a large enough amount to make photos seem blurry. I'll have to see if I can fix it in-camera tomorrow, but if that won't fix things then I'll have to send it in for repair. No telling how long that would take...



Bonus: here's a panorama :D

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , ,