Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Small Adventures #27

When I first came to Kagoshima, I thought that the big brown brick building at the top of Shiroyama was part of the Kagoshima University campus. Turns out, though, that it's the most upscale hotel in town. It's about 1 block long and maybe 10 stories tall. The north end lobby is on the 4th floor, and the south end lobby is on the 1st. A terrace on the east side overlooks the city and has a great view of the volcano. During the "end of the year" period last month, I had a small bonnenkai party in the French restaurant on the top floor, although the food was a French-Japanese fusion that didn't work all that well (bonnenkai = "forget the old year party"). At the end of the meal, I was exiting the south lobby when I noticed a small sign advertising free classical music performances twice a month, with the location alternating between the two lobbies.

Every so often, I'll climb the stairs behind Terukuni shrine, either for the exercise, or to take sunrise photos of the volcano from the observation point at the top of the hill. The walking trail passes right under the hotel terrace, and comes out at the bus parking lot in front of the souvenir shops closer to the observation point. It's a 2 minute backtrack to get to the hotel's north entrance. On Jan. 22nd, I climbed the hill (took a little under 20 minutes from the apartment to the observation point, 7 minutes from the bottom of the stairs to the top) to try to track down that poster again and find out when the next classical performance would be. Going through the hotel, I decided to go out on the terrace and take photos of the water fountain shooting spray into the air with the volcano in the background. The sky was perfectly clear and bright, deep blue, as was the water in the bay. I noticed some tables to the side, covered with dayglo 12" tall wax block candles, and took a couple of shots of that with the intent of coming back at night and getting matching pictures of the candles when they were lit. Then I continued to the south end, and saw the poster with the announcement that the next performance would be on the 23rd at 2:30 PM. From there, I went down the back side of Shiroyama and took additional pictures of stuff that caught my eye.

The next day, I returned up the staircase behind the shrine, and went into the hotel. The performance consisted of 4 members of a Japanese philharmonic orchestra, playing harp, flute, cello and clarinet for 45 minutes. The music included works by Hayden, and a Japanese composer. The lobby seating space was packed with about 50 people, and the entire thing was well received. I video recorded one of the songs with the digicam and took another 10 photos of the performance.

Back in the apartment, I started copying the files from the SD card to my laptop, and when the video file, which was taking the majority of the time, was through with the transfer, I pressed delete to clear off the SD card. A few seconds later, an error message popped up saying that Windows couldn't find the next file to copy. That's when I discovered that the transfer hadn't finished - it's just that Windows had closed the progress box on me prematurely. So now, only 25 of the 35 files had made it over, and the SD card doesn't have a recycle bin on it. Thinking that I might get lucky, I pressed CTRL-Z, the standard Windows "undo function". Rather than undoing the last delete, Windows undid the file copy, and in the process lost another 13 files. I copied the files again, and this time I only got 12 of the 35, plus the huge video file. I was left with the first half of the photos from the concert taken prior to the video, and a couple that were taken on the way back from the hotel that day. Among the lost files were the ones of the candles and the fountain with Sakurajima. (The video itself wasn't worth keeping because I could only shoot it from behind the crowd and the performers were blocked out of view half the time.)

The next day, I went back up again, and headed straight for the terrace, only to discover that the tables and all of the candles were gone. Apparently they had been put up just for a 1-night event. Further, the sky was all overcast, and Sakurajima looked dull and gray in the distance, ruining the shot with the fountain. Not only did I lose what probably were great, unreproducible photos, but I'd made that third trip up the stairs for nothing (discounting the exercise from it). Stupid Windows.

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