Saturday, March 17, 2018

Yamakataya Ad - Lightful

I'm not really sure what the message is supposed to be this time. The woman is obviously bathed in light, so I guess that's the "lightful" part. But she looks like she's either just woken up and hasn't had her coffee yet, or is in pain because the light is giving her a headache. Looking directly at the poster itself, she really seems to be unhappy. The photo here failed to capture that in full detail.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Small Adventure 57

With the numbers of people in Kagoshima, and especially in the area up around the main train station, it's not too surprising to hear sirens several times a day (and in the middle of the night). However, there is a strangely low amount of police activity in the city (I can go months without seeing a patrol car), and the sirens are almost always for ambulances. This is because of the extraordinary number of people 80 years old and over in Japan, and because there are so many hospitals and clinics in the city. A lot of people here have specific hospitals they want to be taken to if there is an emergency, and there always seems to be an emergency of some kind here.

Even so, I do have to say that I wasn't expecting to see someone collapsed on the sidewalk. I'd been walking up to the main train station one day, and I was approaching the street lights along the stretch leading to the big post office. As I turned the corner of the car rental company parking lot there, I saw two guys kneeling next to a third one. The third was maybe in his 60's or 70's, and very thin. It was a hot, clear day and someone had set up a black umbrella on the ground to shield the guy's head from the sun. One of the women from the car rental company was coming up with a bottle of water she'd bought from their vending machine. One of the two kneeling guys kept asking the old man if he was ok, if he was feeling better, where he was coming from and where he was going, etc., while the old man continued to lay motionless on the sidewalk on his back. I couldn't tell if he was homeless and malnourished, or just a Chinese tourist that had pushed himself too hard for the day.

A small crowd formed at the corner as we waited for the light to turn green, and most of us watched the spectacle from a distance 10 feet away. After a couple minutes, the light changed, and the old man started struggling to sit up. The two kneeling guys helped him up, and I crossed street to go to Amu Plaza; there wasn't anything in particular I could have done to be helpful, so I left to remain out of the way. A little later, I came back from Amu Plaza and the old man and the umbrella were gone, and I didn't see an ambulance. I'm assuming the car rental company charged the guy for the bottle of water.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

March 7-13 Recap

I've still got enough of a backlog of stuff to write about for the blog that it's ok to combine everything into one entry for the last week. First, I've finally gotten my hands on an old PS One console, and have found a copy of one of my favorite Playstation games - Chrono Cross. I also picked up a video capture module so I can run the console while using my laptop monitor as an analog TV replacement. Unfortunately, the game has two DVDs, and I couldn't find disk 2 when it came time to swap disks. So, I took the street car to the Arata Hachiman platform, then walked the mile over to the new Across shopping plaza, which has one of the bigger Book Off stores in the city. I'd been there a few nights earlier when I was searching for PSOne memory cards, and I'd noticed they had two copies of CC on the shelves. I knew those copies would still be there when I wanted to get one so I could keep playing, and as I was walking to Across, I happened by this Toyota service center. The Kagoshima Marathon was on the 4th, and here, a few days later, Toyota had one of their sponsor cars out on the lot, collecting volcano ash (the wind had shifted that day and blown the ash from Sakurajima our way).

I don't think this car is going to have much market value now...

On the 11th, I was back at Frespo Park (a rival shopping center across the street from Across) for furniture shopping (actually, I was at Sakoda Furniture a few blocks farther away, and had stopped at Frespo for coffee and crepes on my way to the bus stop in front of Frespo to get back home). The big cineplex on the 2nd floor of Frespo is running the new Doraemon movie, and the star of the film was there to greet his fans. He looks much smaller in person.

On the 9th, I visited Amu Plaza just to see if anything interesting would be going on over the weekend. Work had finished for setting up the tables for the Saigo-don food fest, but they wouldn't start service until Saturday. The local Kagoshima dialect has an affectionate nickname for Saigo - Segodon. Now, the word "don" can also have the meaning of "bowl", and "donburi" is a bowl of rice with some kind of topping, so "Saigo-don" is "Saigo's bowls of foods." The event is just restaurants selling their regular dishes.

Nothing happening yet on Friday afternoon.
I had to work on Saturday, and I could already tell that there wasn't going to be an event stage. After work on Saturday, I just went home and played Chrono Cross.

On Sunday, I went to the Sakoda store to look at furniture, then Frespo for coffee and crepes. Afterward, I took the bus back home, and hiked up to Amu Plaza to get White Day chocolate from Kaldi (White Day is Mar. 14th, and is the day men are supposed to give return gifts to the women that bought them something on Valentine's Day. Kaldi has some good chocolates, and I spent about $20 on that.) There were quite a few people eating at the Saigo-Don event then. I wasn't hungry, so I didn't get anything. The event is going to run another week. Maybe I'll get something this weekend.

Like the Ramen King contest a few weeks ago, this one has tokens you use to vote for your favorite rice bowl after you're done eating.

While I'm writing this up...
Shinmoedake is an active volcano up in Kirishima prefecture. It's far enough away from me so that when it erupted a week ago and spewed ash and rock 3 miles into the air, I didn't notice it until reports started showing up on TV and yahoo. When I was at Sakoda, I was only 1 block from the bay, and I went there after shopping to look at the water. In the far distance, I could see two lines of mountains up north, and the back line had a tiny little white plume barely sticking up from one of the peaks. I assume that was Shinmoedake.

Unfortunately, this weekend was supposed to be the Ryoma Sakamoto Honeymoon Walk, with 2 walks on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. I've been wanting to go on the 12 mile hike through the Kirishima mountains for 2-3 years, and this year was the one I'd finally promised myself I'd go. It costs $20 to participate, and maybe another $20 to take the trains up to Kirishima and back, and the cost was the main reason I'd been hesitating. Then, as I'm about to commit myself to the walk, the organizers cancel it because of flying rock warnings from Shinmoedake. Shinmoe is expected to keep spewing rock for maybe another month at least, from what I understand.

Sigh. No idea if the event is going to be rescheduled, or if I have to wait yet another year. As far as I know, nothing else interesting is happening in Kagoshima this weekend, other than the rice bowl thing. I've already seen 5 of the 12 endings for Chrono Cross. I guess I could try watching the remaining seven as well.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


You see this box outside a building, with a combination punch lock like this, and you think "wow, someone really has something they want to protect here," right? Actually, it's a trash box. The sign is asking the neighbors to stop leaving their trash in other people's pick up spots. Everything is expensive in Japan, including when you have bulk garbage you have to pay to have taken away.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Kimono Sign Art

I like the artwork.

Women still like wearing kimono in Japan, but the things are expensive. Kimono rental is becoming a more popular alternative.

Shooting through glass windows never turns out right. The kimonos look much better in real life.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Snoopy Car

I'm assuming that the owner bought some stickers and personalized his car this way, and that it's not a case of the manufacturer making a line of Snoopy cars. Still, it's a pretty professional-looking job.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Loop Shoes Girl

Loop Shoes has new chalk artwork. Not sure if the character is based on a manga or not. The text says "mou owaruru you" ("The sale is almost over"). The sale is almost always over...