Sunday, December 8, 2019

Spider Guts

I found this spider and web in the park near my apartment recently (it is still there today). The camera had a lot of trouble focusing right, so I had to stand next to a tree, focus on the tree, then re-aim the camera at the spider and pray that I was keeping the right distance. Because of this, I was on the side of the web that exposed the spider's underside. I haven't seen this part of a spider before. The web is a few feet away from the children's swings, so maybe it will be eating well this winter.

Saturday, December 7, 2019


One of the more rare "sun behind the clouds" events. I haven't seen this much orange in the sky in a long time. The camera didn't do it quite enough justice.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Random Sax Acts

As I was finishing up my photos of the rainbow, I heard saxophone music coming from nearby, but it didn't seem to be from the Kodawari fest behind me. There's a big bus circle in front of Amu, with people standing and waiting in the circle for several of the bus lines. Generally, the idea is to go back to the plaza in front of Amu, take the escalator down to the cross under tunnel, and ride the escalator back to street level in the middle of the circle. But, there was no traffic at that time, so I bypassed the barrier chains and walked across the street to the escalator point directly. There, I found a small stage, table and mixer stand set up and protected from the rain that had just passed.

One guy was on sax, and the other on keyboards, playing John Lennon's "So this is Christmas." There were a few men standing around in black business suits, and a couple women looking like they were part of the group putting on whatever was happening. But, there were no signs explaining what the event was, and no one was wearing name badges identifying their companies. The table had four chairs and 4 switch boxes, making it look like there may have been a quiz panel or judging event earlier, but the table was abandoned by then. The people near me all went to the other end of the table to huddle and whisper among themselves, and when the music stopped, the sax player joked with the sound guy.

No one came up to talk to me, or tell me this was a private event, so I stood there waiting for the next song, taking a few pictures for the blog. Suddenly, a CD started playing, and the keyboard player ran to his keyboard to try to catch up to the song. The sax man joined in immediately, and they went off on a jazz standard that I can't remember. The music was good, but I would have liked to know what was going on.

Not so much that I wanted to stick around and ask. I continued on my way home to process my photos and play more of the game.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Rainbow in the Dark

I was in Seattle's Best, drinking coffee and playing video games. After an hour or so, I went back outside only to discover that it had rained. The skies were already clearing and the rain had stopped. I turned to walk home, and saw this glorious rainbow leaping up from the direction of the apartment. I tried taking several shots with the little pocket camera, to see if I could get the manual aperture settings right, but the rainbow pretty much faded away as I was standing there. This was the best I could get, which is nothing compared to what it looked like in person.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Kodawari Products Fest, Dec. 1

Across the sidewalk from the Nisshin udon noodles truck, Amu Plaza was running their periodic regional specialties fest, where growers and packagers try to huck their shochus, teas, vinegars or other handcrafted items.

These fests usually have a live music stage, but the quality of the acts playing have been going down hill, in my opinion. The fest ran from Friday to Sunday. I didn't know about it on Friday, and I had to work most of Saturday. I didn't get to Amu Plaza until a little before 3 PM, by which time most of the music was already over. Looking at the schedule, the majority of the stage events were promotions of the businesses represented there, with some foamhead mascot appearances, and dancing from the nearby dance studios. Here, we have the Taste of Honey Japanese brass jazz band. The audience liked them, I thought they sounded stiff and amateurish. The last act scheduled was Sachi. I've seen her before - acoustic guitar pop music. She's enthusiastic, but it's mostly copyrighted songs that get blocked on youtube.

After hanging out for a couple minutes, I went inside the department store and played Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 3 for an hour at Seattle's Best. Even that wasn't all that interesting - I'm getting to a point in the game where either I beat the last remaining side quests, or I give up and shelve it once and for all. I'm not all that much of a fan of the DQ series, actually, and I only bought it because it was cheap, used.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Kitsune or Tanuki?

When I got to Amu Plaza, the first thing I noticed was this instant udon noodle truck. Apparently, Nisshin is running an advertising campaign now where two guys in fake samurai armor argue over which of the company's two flavors of udon, kitsue (fox) or tanuki (racoon dog), tastes better (I can't find a website link for the campaign). The consumers are allowed to have the final say. The truck has been driving all over Japan, serving up both favors to anyone that wants to fill out a questionnaire afterward. There were about 10 people at the paperwork table writing down their impressions. I kind of wanted to try, too, but no one offered me a bowl. I guess I'm not part of the target market. Which is ok, because I'd just had breakfast (I sleep late) and wasn't at all hungry then.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Tenmonkan Health Fest

As mentioned yesterday, I was walking through Tenmonkan on Sunday, heading towards Lotteria, when I found this health and activities event running in front of 7-11. Some of the displays are for asking if you're eating right. Some of the other tables are just selling the regular craft items that show up every weekend.

The sign is telling everyone age 40 and up to get an annual health check.

Another of the tables had instructions for doing origami.

And then there were a few kids making things out of cloth, and these scarves hanging over the walls of the booth.

I didn't seem to be part of the target demographic, so I just kept walking to Lotteria.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Kagoshima Food Fest, Dec. 1st

Time to pull the curtains back a little and show some of the behind the scenes stuff that goes on here at Three Steps productions. Whenever I go outside, I generally have three things that I'm looking for to record in the blog. First are any events, product-related or music. Second are signs with good or strange artwork or badly-spelled English, and third is anything that strikes me as out of the ordinary. Lately, there hasn't been much of anything worth photographing or talking about. This is relevant in that I like to keep about a 3-4 week backlog of blog entries at all times. If lots of stuff is happening over a weekend, I'll decide either to separate each event or item out to run one day each, to build or maintain the backlog. Or, I'll combine everything into one "weekend of" entry because the backlog is getting too big and posters dated for stuff in August are obviously not getting run until November. Well, I've pretty much exhausted my backlog, and there were several things that happened this last weekend. So, even though there aren't that many photos for any one thing, I'm breaking them out into individual entries in the hopes that I can hold out until the Christmas season live music stage opens up at Amu Plaza, and I can get a real backlog again.

Anyway, I was walking in to the English school on Saturday, and saw this sign and the tables set up in the area in front of Lotteria. The event itself, Kagoshima Foods Festa, was scheduled for Sunday.

So, I drop back on Sunday at about 2:30 PM. Still not a lot going on. A few tables selling processed foods (honey, jams, cooked meats), and some food stalls with noodles, curry and coffee. I was tempted to get the hand-poured hot coffee, but it was taking 10 minutes per cup, and selling for 450 yen ($4 USD) for an eight ounce serving, and I gave up.

I just kind of like how it looks as if this old chef is trying to apply for a housing loan.

The sequence was: From the apartment I walked to Tenmonkan, where I encountered the health event. From there, I walk here, and along the way I spot a family walking from Terukuni shrine to the arcade, and their young daughter is dressed in full kimono. I get here, take my photos and go to Terukuni to see what's happening there. Turns out, there's nothing special I can see, so maybe the family was just participating in a private observance of some kind. I continue to Amu Plaza, and there's a whole bunch of things going on there.

To be continued...