Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sakurajima Walking, Part 1

A situation that I wasn't expecting to happen for a while finally raised its ugly head - I was about to run out of material to post for this blog.  I've been busy this last month, and coupled with the bad weather we've been having, I hadn't gotten outside much with the camera. First, when I was planning on a hike up Kanmuridake, we had a major storm, coupled with my receiving a short-term contract cleaning up some Japanese to English translations. That led to a few more contracts that shot the next 3 weeks. To be honest, even when I wasn't doing the contract work, I was doing stuff that kept me indoors, including the M.C. Escher kiri-e, and writing a Java applet for accessing the various functions of the Gakken Pocket Miku synthesizer. I finished the kiri-e after 2 weeks, but I'm still working on the Java app. (I can't get all of the MIDI SysEx calls to work according to the Yamaha NSX-1 MIDI datasheet, but what I do have working is pretty cool. What I'm doing now is trying to implement support for the Roland A-300 MIDI controller keyboard. Then I'll think about shooting a youtube video of the results.)

So. Here I am, the Summer completely gone, and almost nothing left to post for the blog. On Sunday, the weather cleared up, and I decided to grab both cameras and a bottle of sunscreen, and head for Sakurajima. For those of you that don't remember, Sakurajima (Cherry Island) is the island on the other side of Kinko Bay that has the active volcano on it. It's accessible by a ferry that runs from Dolphin Port every 15 minutes, for 160 yen ($1.60 USD) one way. Because it's an active volcano, the government prevents anyone from getting 2 km (1.2 miles) from the top. There's an observatory 330 meters up (1,080 feet), on the side facing away from the main cone, that I've been to twice. From the port, it's about 30 minutes to a grocery store where the road forks (north to the fishing village at the north end of the island and east to the observatory). It's another hour to the observatory.

There are two geocaches on Sakurajima. The first is near the parking lot next to the observatory. Since I don't have a GPS, and the best I can do is zoom in somewhat using Google maps Earth-view, I don't have a lot of hope in finding that one. However, the other is an Earth cache, which just requires taking a selfie photo from the entrance of the Information Visitors Center, with the volcano in the background. That much I can do.

The plan was to get out of the apartment at noon on Sunday, walk the 2 kilometers to the ferry port, ride the ferry to Sakurajima, swing by the youth hostel to get the Earth cache photo, then go to the grocery store for snacks before heading up the mountain to the observation building and the second cache. With luck, I'd get to the top by 3 PM, then back down to Kagoshima by 5, and home by 5:30 or 6, having taken enough photos to last me a week on the blog.

As a sidenote Small Adventure: There have been a few events at the Amupla plaza and in Tenmonkan, but nothing worth taking pictures of. Many of them have been stage events for young school kids to show off their j-pop choreographed dance routines. One was a kind of local products market near Lotteria in Tenmonkan. The funny part of the market was that at one table selling shochu were three members of the Kagoshima professional soccer club. Turns out that one of their sponsors is a shochu distiller. While Japan as a whole really supports the national Samurai Blue team, the Kagoshima pro team gets little respect, having to huck alcohol to customers that don't want to make direct eye contact with the players.


zillustration said...

so, an iphone-type app won't get you close enough to the cache with the built in GPS? I thought is was good for +or- 10' - am I wrong?

TSOTE said...

No, you're probably right. I just can't afford the $70/month 2-year contract to get a smartphone.