Snow!

This is how my bicycle looked like in the morning.

I never expected this to happen. I woke up at 7, seeing a lot of light through the window of my icy cold room. I thought it was sunshine, but no. Everything is covered with snow, and when I left one hour later it was still snowing. I don't really have any clothes fit for this kind of weather. I asked at the local conbini if they sold scarves, but the conbini lady told me that they don't have them in this season. She said "this snow if kind of special". (kono yuki ha tokubetsu). Indeed. I didn't want my face to freeze off so I used a towel instead, and sunglasses against the snowflakes which kept hitting my eyes.

Criminal

Strangely enough this day has been the most fun on this trip so far. The roads are mostly flat, slightly uphill or slightly downhill, and cycling is easy. Besides that, the snow made the landscape very beautiful. It's colder here, so the sakura are still blossoming, and today I witnessed sakura trees covered in snow. Beautiful.

Winter Sakura

I'm at a roadside resting place right now, just finished eating curry udon, which was the best meal I've had in months. I'm getting used to my daily routine of getting up early and preparing the bicycle, then cycling all morning, finding a resting place for lunch, and then deciding where to stay for the night. I just booked a hostel that's even cheaper than the one I stayed at yesterday. I wonder how that will turn out. From here on I'll travel downhill all the way until the coastline. More later!

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A big blue watery road

Sakura trees near Hiratsuka
My legs near Hiratsuka
Wordpress sucks donkeyballs

Cycled to the beach today. I changed the mounting point of my bicycle computer and now it finally works like it's supposed to, and it doesn't rattle to bits any more whenever I take a choppy road instead of a smooth one.  I can't believe how cold it is. It has consistently been warmer around this time of year in Japan, for all four years that I've been here. I'm cycling with gloves, winter hat and coat on cause the wind just freezes you down to the bone in a couple of minutes.

On a tech note, I've spent four hours last night trying to update the damn graphics card drivers of my Asus 1101HA netbook. The Intel GMA 500 drivers provided by Asus are notoriously bad, and we all know that we shouldn't expect any quality tech support from Asus. Intel does provide beta drivers for developers, which are supposed to work better. Installing those would have been easy, but during the uninstallation of the previous drivers something messed up the windows registry, and I spent two hours discovering and fixing the registry problem instead. Not sure if Asus or Intel is to blame for that. In any case, after three hours I could finally upgrade my drivers, and things did improve. Slightly. Games are now twice as fast: instead of 5 frames per second it will do 10 frames per second. I'm talking about very low-spec games here: Trackmania Nations and Audiosurf, which work perfectly on almost any PC, even 10-year old PCs. Need for Speed 5 still refuses to even start, and I'm starting to give up hope. Either the hardware is shit or the software is shit. Or both. In any case, there's nothing I can do about it, except complain about it on my blog. Then other people will at least know what to expect if they get an Asus netbook. Don't expect to run any games made in the last 10 years. Except Worms 3, that works. Worms 3 is awesome.

Posted in Photography , Tech | Tagged , , ,

Sakura in Yokohama

As mentioned in the previous post, I went to Yokohama today. The weather was perfect and the sakura beautiful. Here are some huge photos.

On the way to minato mirai
Excellent day for a stroll
Landmark tower
Landmark tower. AGAIN

I also came across this fascinating way of youth transportation:

Baby bag

Check Picasa for more sakura photos :)

(Note: this post took over 1 hour to write because it takes 3 seconds for each photo to load on my netbook. 50D resolution is not very compatible with a slow-by-default netbook..)

Posted in Japan , Photography | Tagged , ,

Sakura saku

The hatopopo park in Atsugi, not too late at night, in a year where the sakura season is much colder than usual. Not many people are in the park right now, mostly because there's very light rain falling down all the time. It's not the time yet to be drink underneath the sakura tree until late at night. We can only hope that the weather improves before all the sakura disappear again..

I've been having a lot of fun lately, so much fun that I feel I'm enjoying myself too much. This kind of confuses me, because the kind of fun I'm having is the local hanging-out-with-friends kind that I could also have if I didn't quit my job. It makes me wonder if things would be the same right now if I hadn't quit. And if I knew I would be having this much fun right now, would I have quit my job three months ago? Questions, questions..

(Un-edited image here, my Canon S90 had some trouble getting the right white balance for this shot)

Posted in Photography , Thoughts | Tagged , ,

Longing for spring..

Only four years ago. I was a student in a local university in my province. I had a crappy digital camera, didn't know anything about shooting photo's, and coming to Japan had never even occurred to me. Not to mention the fact that I was geeky, living at home, and never went abroad without my parents. Fast forward to now. I am 23. I have been living in Japan for 2 years. I have grown enormously, as a person and as an engineer. I enjoy traveling by myself, doing crazy trips, taking pictures with a DSLR, and enjoying spending time with international friends. My workplace is great. I work at the 22nd floor of a huge skyscraper without any other tall buildings around. The view is spectacular at clear days. I can see Mount Fuji every day from my room on the 5th floor and my working place at the 22nd floor. How many people can say that they've even seen mount Fuji once? I am lucky. All I have now is gratitude. That sudden instant, where I realize: "hey, what the f*ck, I'm in Japan! What the bleep am I doing here!?!". It puts things back into perspective, and that is something I have been missing for a long time.

From my blog, two years ago.

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