Monday, January 23, 2017
(Kirishima onsen mascot)
I've written about the Marugoto Fairs held at Amu Plaza before. Marugoto means "everything" or "all-encompassing". The idea of these fairs is to showcase local products, from tea and shochu to snackfoods and ceramics. There have been 3-day fairs at Amu Plaza for the last two weekends, but most of the live events have been either promotions of the booth sellers, or of the foamhead mascots. What little music they've had wasn't anything I had any interest in. Then again, I've had to work all Friday and Saturday on both weekends, and I've been busy for most of both Sundays.
However, on the 22nd, I did get up to Amu Plaza around 3:30 PM, when the MC, Hikarin, started introducing a special guest performer, one of the shopkeepers, who performed on Shamisen. He introduced a pair of folk songs, at least one of which apparently came from Ryukyu (the old name for Okinawa). I don't know if he was Okinawan himself, but I'd expect it. The songs were good to listen to.
Afterward, I went into Amu Plaza to drink coffee and read the Riemann Hypothesis book I'd gotten for Christmas. When I was done with that, I came back outside, where Hikarin recognized me and said "hello." We talked a bit, then I asked her to pose with me for a couple photos.
One of the things about my living so close to Amu Plaza is that I can go there whenever I want, since it's only a 5-10 minute walk away. And pretty much the only way to find out what events are taking place there are to visit in person. So, I'm up there pretty much every Sunday, and if there is some kind of live event taking place, the MCs are likely to at least see me in the audience. Meaning that after a while, I have some kind of face recognition with those MCs that work those events the most often. Eventually, we end up talking about something (which may be as minor as my asking about the event schedule, or turning in someone's forgotten smartphone. Then, that MC is more likely to wave to me when I show up at their event some weeks later.
That's what happened with Hikarin. She was a member of one of the local idol dance groups (not sure which one) and is currently working as an idol talent, which consists of emceeing various events and promoting stores in Kagoshima. I've seen her as an MC for at least the last 3 years, but this is the first time we've posed together.
The Shamisen music was good, too.
Direct youtube link
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Friday, January 20, 2017
I didn't realize it before, but there's a Japanese doll showroom fairly close to me, located between the aquarium at the bay, and City Hall. I discovered it the same afternoon that I took the cloud/contrail photos. It was close to closing time, and I had to get back to the English school before my break ended, so I didn't go inside. I may try looking around inside some day when I have more time.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Kagoshima is about 30 miles south of the closest local airport, which is in Kirishima. and a lot of the flights out from Kirishima pass over Kagoshima City. Generally, the weather's been bad most of the last year, so it hasn't been all that common to see contrails, especially ones that pass through the clouds near sunset. So, when I had the chance, I took a few photos to capture the contrail shadow against the clouds. Another feature this time was that the winds at that altitude were so strong that the contrail blew several miles to the west in kind of a spiral, within only 1-2 minutes.
I like this photo, because it kind of looks like the antenna is being struck by lightning.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
There's an aquarium at the north end of Dolphin Port, and there's kind of a moat that goes around it. A few times a day, the aquarium staff bring out the dolphins to do tricks in the moat for any visitors watching at the time. There are fence nets at each each of the dolphin space to keep them from escaping, but the nets have holes large enough to let in smaller fish seeking the remains of whatever fish chunks the dolphins don't eat.
One day, I was walking around the port for exercise during my break at the English school, and I saw a guy standing next to the moat, with his camera aimed at the water. I'd thought he was just taking photos of a little yellow buoy for some reason, and it took me about a minute to finally see the fish swimming all over the place. I got my big camera out and tried taking photos myself, but the things kept wanting to swim too deep down, and I had a lot of trouble getting any kind of shots at all.
I'm told these are sharks. They averaged at least 3-4 feet long, at a guess.
I must have spent 45 minutes watching them, but it didn't feel that long.