Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Climb

Even though I didn't get to see the rocket launch, I did take enough photos to justify putting them into a blog entry. As mentioned a couple days ago, I wanted to take the pictures from the top of Shiroyama. That's Shiroyama ahead of me in the above shot. The street runs along the south wall of Terukuni shrine, and past what had been love hotels, but are now mansion buildings (upscale apartments). The path continues straight into the trees, then turns into a flight of steps going up to the left.

I've taken pictures of the stairs before, so I won't bother doing that again. I've timed myself doing laps up and down, and at the best of times it's 15 minutes from this point and then back. The height of the hill is equivalent to a 35-story building, give or take a story. My goal is the parking lot in front of the hotel just barely visible as the brown structure at the top left of the photo. The stairs end at the left side of the hotel, about 12 feet from the top. There's a walkway that spans the entire length of the hotel and ends in another flight of steps up to a different parking lot on the other side of the broadcast tower. So, it's about 1 block to double back from the tourist parking to get to the north entrance to the hotel.

At the top, from the hotel parking lot. The volcano has been pretty quiet lately. I think all those clouds are just plain clouds. And in fact, this morning the Japan Times newspaper website had a story that the eruption alert level for the volcano has finally been downgraded again.

Tanegashima is somewhere out past the horizon to the south of the volcano. I was hoping that I'd see the rocket trail in this general direction. Turns out, though, that I may not have been able to take video of it anyway. For some reason, I'd pulled the memory card out of the camera and forgot to put it back. The big camera does have internal memory, but just enough to store 3-4 minutes of video, but not any more than that...

I've seen this submarine in the bay several times now. When I mentioned it to one of the taxi drivers waiting to watch the rocket launch, he acted like this is a common occurrence. I'd just like to know if there's any way to get tickets to ride inside it.

From this angle it looks like the boat is going straight at the sub. Actually, it just kept going down to the south end of the bay.

Now, on the walkway running below the hotel on the way up the hill, there was a Japanese guy with a good camera aimed at the volcano, and clicking away at about a 10-second rate. I asked him what he was doing, and if he was going to watch the launch. He answered, "no," and that he was there to make a time-lapse movie of Sakurajima. He also had a drone for taking higher altitude pictures. It was fairly noisy, and never got much more than 50 feet above the trees. It was cool to watch it hover, though. Maybe some day...

After giving up prematurely on watching the rocket and returning to street level, I walked past this bar that has this large medallion with the Alien on it, and the word "Power" underneath. There was no good angle for taking the photo without getting too much reflection off the glass. So, that was it for that day's excursion. The weather was nice, though, and I guess the walk up the hill counted as exercise or something...

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