Monday, March 1, 2021

Hina Matsuri Fish Paste

There's a shop near Tenmonkan that sells processed fish paste snacks and products (pictured above). They have a display window at the front of the store that they use some times for seasonal advertising. This one is for Hina Matsuri (Girl's Day), March 3rd.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Geisha Coke

Found this artwork on a Coke vending machine at the top of Shiroyama. Haven't seen anything like this anywhere else. Very nice.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

This area patrolled

Found this sign on a vending machine at the top of Shiroyama. "This area patrolled."

Friday, February 26, 2021


While I was shooting the time lapse video of Sakurajima with my GoPro, there were several birds in the area. Initially, I spotted about 6 hawks (or kites, I don't know the difference) circling around for close to 2 hours. Later, I noticed a heron flying in from the north end of the bay, and continuing down south to at least Kotsuki river, if not further. A little after that was a seagull. I haven't seen gulls around Kagoshima at all before, so that was a surprise.

One hawk kept flying around a cargo ferry that was loading up a little off to my right, which was in easy shooting distance of my regular pocket camera. Its mate sat on an antenna near the warehouses next to the ferry. I tried working my way closer to the antenna, but some old woman came up on the walking path just at that moment, and for some reason made a beeline directly at the GoPro. I hurried back to the tripod to protect it. After the woman left, finally circling around me because I stood between her and the tripod, I turned back to the antenna, but by then both hawks were gone. Sigh.

The hawks were fun to watch, but really hard to get good shots of.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Cog is Dead t-shirt 2, and a short adventure

Tuesday, Feb. 2nd, I decided to return to Waterfront Park to experiment with the GoPro. I'd been out the day before to test the time lapse feature on the camera, but the default setting of 0.5s intervals was too slow to produce interesting video of the ash plumes from Sakurajima (behind me). Tuesday morning, I spent an hour scouring through the online user manual PDF to figure out how to change the settings. I find the manual to be confusing, so it took me a really long time to understand the user interface. Eventually, I got it, and I headed out to Waterfront a little after 3:30 PM.

I arrived at the park just before 4 PM, and it was WINDY. My plan was to use one of the nearby pavilion benches to hold my backpack and gear, set up the camera along the fence, activate time lapse, and then return to the bench to wait and read manga magazines for 2 hours. I pulled the tripod from my bag, set it up on the ground in front of me, and started to take out the camera bag, when the wind suddenly whipped up so hard that the tripod skittered right at me like an alien trying to kiss me. That called for a change of plans - the camera's not that heavy, and I was afraid the tripod might tip over and fall into the bay if left unattended.

I carried all my stuff to the fence, got the camera ready, took this still photo of me with the Cog shirt, and then aimed the camera at the volcano and hit record with a 2 second interval time lapse. The wind was still strong, but not dangerously so, so I sat on the ground and tried reading Shonen Jump, until my leg fell asleep. I got up to walk around and wake my leg back up. When I was distracted, there was a huge gust of wind and the tripod flipped forward. There was no real threat of it going into the water, but it started falling over on its side, which probably would have shattered the screens. I leapt out to grab it, and got lucky. From this point on, I stood right next to the camera, and stabilized it when the wind picked up again. Anyway, the lens was no longer pointed in the exact same direction, so I knew the video was compromised.

After about an hour and a half, the battery dropped down to 15%. Sakurajima wasn't doing anything interesting, and the wind over the top of the cone was flattening out any ash that was coming out (so, no chance of big, tall columns of smoke reaching up into the sky). I stopped the recording, and changed batteries. At this point, the sun was going down behind me, and there was a chance of a red sunset through the clouds racing across the far horizon. I turned the camera around to face the city skyline, and hit record again, this time with a 0.5 interval time lapse. And this was when I started getting angry.

Some time after 5 PM, more people came out to walk around the park, jog, or ride bike. Up to this point, they mostly ignored me, although one friendly guy did stop to talk for a few minutes. But now, with the camera pointed inland, everyone seemed intent on walking right in front of it, looking right into the lens and deliberately screwing up the shot. Fortunately, with the time lapse, they'd only be visible for 2 or 3 frames, but it was the deliberateness that bothered me.

I had an English lesson at the school at 7 PM, so I hung out at Waterfront until the sun was fully down and the sky was turning black; a little after 6:30 PM. The wind was getting stronger, and the air was more chilly, to the point my hands were beginning to ache and I was thinking about zipping up my windbreaker. The second battery had dropped to 18%, so it was time to give up. I put the magazines in my backpack, collapsed the tripod, and hand-carried that with the camera still mounted to the nearest McDonald's, about 5 minutes away. I ordered a Gran Bacon Cheese burger for 330 yen ($3 USD), put the camera and tripod away in my bag while I waited for my order to come out. Then, I ate my dinner on my way to the school, another 5 minute walk away. I got lucky - I finished the burger just before my student caught up to me from behind and began talking to me, so I didn't have to apologize for having my mouth full.

I got home at 8:30 PM, had a real dinner, and copied the files off the camera to my laptop and checked out the videos. They were all useless. The camera had been bouncing around so much, even though it was imperceptible to me, that everything was just shaky and jumpy. Sigh. The only good things to come out of this was the shot of the Cog shirt, and my learning more about what the camera can do. Plus, I also had my burger.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


Just a photo of the sign for Pellot restaurant, in the red light district. I like the simplicity and elegance of the artwork.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Angel Kiss Sign

I was over at the red light district side of Tenmonkan a few days ago, and decided to take pictures of a few of the signs. This one is for Angel Kiss, a "sexy cabaret." All shows are 35 minute sets, and the prices vary based on start times. The most expensive period is from 8:30 PM to last order. 6,000 yen is about $57 USD. Looks like you get all you can drink (doesn't say if this is shochu and soda (chuhi), soft drinks, or whatever alcohol you want), and snack nuts. There's no mention of what VIP gets you for the extra 1,000 yen. I'm leery of going by myself, and I don't know of anyone else that would want to drop 4,000 yen to go with me.