Log in

No account? Create an account

gentrification paradox

For all the American talk about creating wealth via your home, we've mostly outlawed the historical paths for doing so: living above your shop, hosting boarders, tearing down your house and replacing it with a bigger building when urban development reached you. Instead you're probably living in a single-family zone: no business allowed, no boarders allowed, no apartments allowed.


See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/533547.html#comments


soap differences

I used to get bar soaps like Dove and Ivory. They seemed to melt away fast.

Then I stayed with Fanw for two months, and went through less than one bar of what I was told was Yardley's. Fanw suggested that it's a solid bar of soap, rather than a wannabe aerogel of soap and air bubbles.

Bee and Flower, courtesy of my last roommates, also seemed to hold up. Likewise whatever Japanese brand of soap I purchased here; I'm still on my first bar after 9 weeks, including a lot of two-shower days because of humidity.

(The place did provide its own soap, but as body wash, which I loathe.)

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/533438.html#comments



Dew points of 24+ C have inhibited outdoor exploration. W had thought we could take day trips during the week off but ducked out given the weather. Which included a tropical storm, though the impact here was just a lot of rain Thursday night. Mostly I've read reading, cooking, watching anime with W.

Reading included Judea Pearl's The Book of Why, which was very neat. With the right causal model, correlation *is* causation. More some other time. I started reading an uberlong fanfic, Dungeon Keeper Ami, which was pretty entertaining. W and I finished the Yona anime, she started reading the manga, I started re-reading it, then reading Golden Kamuy. Read articles on psychopathy and online game monetization.

Oh right! W and I finally went out to yakiniku a few nights ago. I'd been shy of trying it myself without a translator, though afterwards she didn't seem so necessary. It's a bit like hot pot but for grilling: you order portions of meat and cook them to your taste on a small table grill. We had "assorted beef" which was decent, then a cheaper tray of outside skirt, which nearly melted in our mouths. Also "garlic" which turned out to be whole cloves, in a small tray of some liquid, which boils on top of the grill. When the garlic finally turns golden-brown you can eat it, maybe with salt and some other sauce. Eating it felt a lot like eating mildly pungent potatoes, which surprised me; I've had oven roasted garlic which became spreadable like butter.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/532993.html#comments

car deaths per km

This is worth calling out from the previous post: look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate and sort by the various columns. In particular the third one, road deaths per billion vehicle-km. US is 7.3, Japan is 6.4, not hugely better. Most rich countries are better, down to 3.4 (UK) or Norway (3.0) Many rich countries are least 1/3 better than the US (5.1 or lower).

So when we talk about the 40,000 car crash deaths a year in the US, and how preventable they are, there are two dimensions: reducing the amount driven, by increasing density and mass transit and bikeability, and improving the safety of cars as they are driven, by I don't know what means exactly but roads can clearly have only 40% the death rate of US ones.

Between the two, well, Canada and Australia (large car-loving countries like the US) have less than half the road deaths per capita of the US, so 20,000 American deaths/year are easily preventable. Looking at the UK or Nordic countries, 30,000 deaths/year are preventable.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/532949.html#comments


guns and causation

I'm reading Judea Pearl's _The Book of Why_ (Caltech book club), about causal inference and types of causation. Just got through necessary vs. sufficient causation. It seems to me that captures part of the gun debate: widespread gun ownership is necessary for frequent mass shootings (no guns, no shootings) but not sufficient (we can imagine lots of guns without shootings... like most of the US's own history).

Gun control advocates point out that taking the guns away will stop the shootings; gun rights advocates argue guns aren't really to blame.

Pearl's own illustrative example is a house fire: a match (or some other ignition) is both necessary and sufficient, oxygen in the air is necessary (no oxygen no fire) but not sufficient (just adding oxygen doesn't start a fire). That includes an assumption that oxygen is 'normal', present whether or not the match is (thus enabling the match to be sufficient, because we can assume the oxygen is there).

Are guns like oxygen? For a lot of the US, yes, in being ubiquitous, considered normal, and mostly not killing people. Removing oxygen to prevent fires is usually overkill, and they would say removing guns is too.

Other modern crises:

* greenhouse gases are reasonably necessary and sufficient for global warming. (No gases, no warming; adding greenhouses gases to an 1800 AD background suffices to cause warming.) (As a side note, Pearl points out that climate models allow climate scientists to generate counterfactual 'data' quite easily, by tweaking model parameters.)

* cars and deaths: cars are necessary for 40,000 dead Americans a year (no cars, no such deaths... alternative transport modes aren't nearly so dangerous) and sufficient (adding cars, or rather a car-oriented and -dependent culture[1] is the main reason we have the deaths).

[1] Japan actually has 3/4 as many cars per capita as the US, but 1/3 as many road fatalities per capita; the cars are used less, as well as being smaller and slower in common use. Many fewer deaths per vehicle too, but similar deaths per vehicle-km.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/532626.html#comments

Osaka: July-Aug 1

Wow, I haven't updated in a couple of weeks. I'm still here, having decided to extend by another four weeks. I'll lose some flight and Airbnb money, but avoid the breakdown in Hong Kong.

Last Thursday W and I went to Tenjin Matsuri, one of the really big festivals. I went earlier, saw stands, bought street food which wasn't that awesome, and saw some processions. Apparently free fans were being given out at subway stations; I'd missed that but got someone's spare. W joined me later and we saw the fireworks, which last 100 minutes! 7:30-8:50. Which gave us time to move around and look for a better view than our initial bridge.

Monday I went to Cosmosquare, hoping for an ocean breeze. I did find some, it was still unpleasantly warm. The area around there is truck country, cars and tall buildings, people live there too but hard to see where.

Today I went out really early for me, wanting to get a walk in while it was hot (29 C, 24 dew) rather than stupidly hot (35 C). The morning cicadas are LOUD. And hard to see; I stared at some trees for a while until my brain kicked in and I started seeing them clinging to trunks. Oddly invisible for such huge bugs.

Back on the 15th I'd gone to a festival at Sumiyoshi-taisha (shrine). More of a pure religious thing than a street festival, but I found the parade and followed it back to the shrine, though not into the building.

I bought a parasol. Hats don't protect your torso and arms, and make a sauna on your head.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/532274.html#comments



After hiding at home for several days with minimal excursions, I finally set forth again, to a shrine I'd passed on the way to Nara. Not so much for the shrine but for being on the boundary of a mountain range separating Osaka and Nara. It's a bit perverse: I hide from the humidity, then plunge into the woods, but oh well.

I also keep forgetting mosquitoes are a thing, though I didn't notice many new bites.

Hiraoka station is small - no Western toilets, biggest nearby building is only 7 stories. Many houses have planter strips or even front yards.

Hiraoka shrine is right by the tracks, on the edge of the mountain. Forested mountain shrine. Lots of cicada noises. Two short white vans. I had Higurashi flashbacks. "Oyashiro-sama, I'm innnocent!"

Went up a tall flight of steps, with various breaks; hopefully my out of shapeness is partly the sheer humidity, 24 C dew point. Rested at the top, with more paths going up somewhere; I decided to be prudent and went down a different path. So, not that prudent, but it worked out. Up another path to some short waterfalls, back down again. Found a playground with an actual Western toilet -- not an electronic Japanese washlet, just a regular toilet. Found a map with a tilted compass rose, where North was kind of pointing toward actual north, so my hypothesis may have some validity.

Ended up by Nukata station which was even smaller; I don't think anything over five stories, and started seeing some sizable yards, even a back one. The 'main' street was 2-way one-lane but annoyingly busy. 20 KPH speed limit.

The crossing guard seemed to go down every couple minutes, if that. Local trains every 10 minutes... in each direction... plus rapid trains not stopping at these stations...

Some of the trains are "Sub semi-express" which I'd thought meant 'sub' as in below, but apparently it's suburban.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/531991.html#comments


low-rise density, or, yards are expensive

Follow-up to Osaka house size and Urban density.

So, buildings here tend to fill their lots and not have yards. They're certainly *allowed* to have setbacks and yards, unlike the draconian land-use and FAR (floor area ratio) regulations of the US, but through much of Osaka they don't. (There are yards in Japan, I've seen them in Nara and Kyoto away from the city centers, in Kyoto not even that far from a train station, in Nara not far from a bus running every 4 minutes.)

Imagine that every lot is 1000 square feet, which allows for a quite ample two-story house, even with a parking space or two (say 200 square feet per space[1]), and/or a strip for plants. Imagine that half the urban land is devoted to such residential lots (after streets and non-residential uses.) That allows for 5381 houses per square kilometer. Assuming an average of 2 people per household (2.55 seems a more accurate 2010 number for Japan) that's nearly 11,000 people per square kilometer -- considerably denser than San Francisco or Somerville (both around 7,000) or anywhere else in the US outside NYC. At 2.5 people per house that's 13,500 people per square kilometer, on the order of Bronx and Brooklyn. Without needing a single home taller than 2 stories, and giving 1000-2000 square feet per home (unless you build a one story home with two parking spaces, and then you're just asking for it.)

It certainly can be nice to have your own yard. But US yard are big enough for second homes. We shouldn't be *requiring* them.

(Note: Osaka overall doesn't look like this, there are many tall buildings. Parts of it and I think Tokyo do look like it, though. And it's an interesting exercise. And my current lot is probably more like 200 square feet.)

[1] Interesting effect of most of the streets being one-lane alleys shared by all modes: no sidewalk, so no curb cut effect from having a driveway.

Parking lots and garages in the US need at least 330 square feet per car because of access lanes, but curbside spaces or house parking that opens directly to the street are different. Hmm, actually the space use of driveways should include the curb cut and denied parking space as well as the car space on the private lot, but again not an issue when there is no curb or street parking.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/531875.html#comments

Osaka house size

Where I'm staying in Osaka has an internal space of around 28 square meters, I estimate, which is 300 square feet. This isn't counting the not-very-usable stepped entranceway (where you'd leave your shoes) but is otherwise an overestimate (I treat my armspan as 2 meters, it's probably a bit less. I've been here almost five weeks so far, out of seven scheduled, and am considering extending my stay. The biggest problem is that the stairs are more like a ship ladder, so it would be annoying to haul stuff like books up to the bedroom/storage room. As a traveler in an era when a whole library fits on my phone, that's not much of an issue for me.

And it actually is a tiny house, just barely detached from anything else.

(It's slightly more than one armspan wide at the widest, and around 3.5 armspans long; I'm 5'10".)

The lot is basically the size of the house; Japan doesn't seem to require setbacks or yards. You can *have* a yard, but zoning doesn't hide the opportunity cost of having a yard instead of another house.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/531512.html#comments


conversation starter: highlight

What have been one or more highlights of your past week?

For me:

* Having W over and making dinner for her as I used to do in Boston.

* Reading those articles about urban shade. (Infuriating, but interesting and informative.)

* Resuming Feynman Lectures reading, including the chapter on the rachet and pawl from a thermodynamic perspective, because I have a thing now about understanding heat engines.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/531216.html#comments

LA war on shade


bus shelters funded by advertising.

'police urge residents in high-crime neighborhoods to cut down trees
that hide drug dealing and prostitution. Shade trees are designed out of
parks to discourage loitering'

'The original settlement of Los Angeles conformed roughly to the Law of
the Indies, a royal ordinance that required streets to be laid out at a
45-degree angle, ensuring access to sun in the winter and shade in the

parks designed to not be friendly to hanging out, meant for passing

LA palm: the iconic Washington robusta, or Mexican fan palm

LA canopy cover is 18%, national average 27%. And correlates with
neighborhood income.

"the forestry department would plant in parkways only if petitioned by
75 percent of the property owners on a block. (“Legal owners and not
tenants,” a Times writer admonished.)"

A massive tree grows in the corner of the future garden, creating a
shady tunnel over the sidewalk. Watkins told me police have asked him to
remove it, because “loiterers hang out under the tree, and the
helicopters can’t see them.”

"Requests to deforest are common in heavily policed areas, where shade
is perceived as a magnet for drug dealing and prostitution."

"Even installing a shade sail in a public park creates new “floor area,”
requiring the provision of more parking"

"environmentalists have gone further with the Solar Rights Act, which
protects homeowners from shadows falling on their solar panels. The law
even goes so far as to define circumstances in which they can trim their
neighbors’ trees."

Rojas described “knowing how to control shade” as a fundamental Latino
value. “All these Midwesterners moved to L.A. and saw the sunshine as a
prize. They don’t want to see shade. It’s dark and gloomy and it’s all
different things.” Latinos, on the other hand, see shade as part of
their lives: “How do we live in darker places?”

Also: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/urbs/a-plea-for-shade/

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/531107.html#comments

random Japan cream

W is skeptical that the 100 yen supermarket was actually a 100 yen store; perhaps I saw the sign for A but entered B. I don't care enough to hunt it down, not at 23 C dew points.

An odd thing here is that I have yet to see cream, outside of a cafe that gave me some with my coffee. The stores have some high-fat milks -- 3.7%, 4.3%, even 5.0% -- but nothing higher. Would I know? Well, cream is probably in katakana, and I can read nutrition panels well enough to identify something that has lots of milkfat.

As I was looking at milks today, an old guy offered to help read/translate. I suppose it could have been interesting to take him up on the offer, though I reflexively figured I knew enough. There's a line that's explicitly about % milkfat, and serving size lines about calories/protein/fat that make it pretty clear what I'm getting. Actually, I could have used him in the *yogurt* section... where I did find "bulgarica" or such in katakana, a Lactobacillus bulgaricus yogurt, today. I don't know why they called out that species in particular. I haven't had yogurt in a while, I don't trust my ability to remember the sugar lines. I did see Greek yogurt.

But no cream.

I'd been thinking of soba as particularly high protein. Actually it's not; the enriched white-flour pasta packets have similar protein numbers, which I think are high just because the serving size is high. I do remember reading that soba had more complete protein than wheat. I also did find a soba packet that had twice the protein of the others, but I couldn't tell why.

Less that two weeks left here, and I may have to spend a few days in Tokyo to see a family friend, so I need to watch out for buying excess food.

W and I went to the Q's Kitchen food court last night, where she helped me order some bibimbap, that wasn't nearly as good as the cheap bap in Koreatown a few weeks ago. I'd had a meh meal from Pepper Lunch there too. I'm starting to believe her when she says the food court isn't all that good, though she does get sushi there, and there's a ramen outpost that she took me to another instance of.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/530824.html#comments


change in Japan and other matters

The smallest bill of currency here is 1000 yen, analogous to a US $10 bill. Coins are 500, 100, 50, 10, 5, and 1 yen in size, and all are in common use. I think coin lockers and laundry machines only take 100 yen, but vending and meal order machines take 10 and up.

Compared to US common practice, note that there are six coin types, vs. four in the US, with a maximum value ratio of 500:1, vs. 25:1.

At first I kept them all in my wallet coin purse, but juggling six unfamiliar coins meant I mostly didn't use them, and they accumulated. My current system is different:

* 500 and 100 yen in the wallet, because they're real money.
* 1 and 5 yen in a pocket, where I can easily whip them out to zero out the 1s digit of a price.
* 10 and 50 yen in another pocket, where with lower priority I can use them to zero out the 10s digit. But if I feel I've taken too long I can skip this step, since 10 yen coins are still spendable without too much pain.

One thing that's easier is that you only have to provide change to a multiple of 10, while US change optimization often goes for a multiple of 25, and you find yourself figuring 43-25.

Back in the US, I might start using the coin purse for quarters, and a pocket for smaller change.

In other news, I visited a 100 yen store. It was not the specialist in 100 yen cheap shit that I expected, and looked more like a full service supermarket.

I still suck at keeping track of compass orientation. Fortunately today was bright and sunny, so my shadow could tell me I was 90 degrees off a proper course for home. Going for a walk on a bright day without my phone or a watch was somewhat foolish, but I had some idea of what time it was.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/530562.html#comments


random Japan

Going by temple offerings, the Buddha likes Pocky and Oreos.

That truck with the ice-cream jingle? It is not an ice cream truck. It is a garbage truck.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/530293.html#comments


Osaka: July 10-12

10th: Finally got to Keitakuen garden in Tennouji park. Nice, but for being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Got into Issenji Temple, which is mostly cemetery, but seems to have many Buddha statues, and two front statues apparently made of compacted ash or something. Went back to Chausuyama, which didn't look much like a kofun, and may not be one after all. Saw a bunch of crows hopping around in a way I hadn't seen before. Discovered that some shrines do have lockable gates, such as Horikoshi. Had an "ultimate burger" and some chicken at Lotteria, cannot recommend.

11th: So Abeno Harukas is 300 meters tall, the tallest building in Japan, and the top floors are observatory for 1500 yen. W's mother visited recently, and passed on the free tickets her hotel gave her, so we went up in the late afternoon. It was pretty neat; the 16th floor is free, but doesn't go all the way around, and the 60th floor is way higher. We played "can I see my house?" and "wow that's a lot of (H) helipads" and "what is (R) on a roof pad?" and such. Then we had Vietnamese pad thai (nice) and hung out at her newly cleaned place. Brief discussion of EVA and its Angels reminded me of the one Angel I could recall and I joked "when d8s attack"; she promptly brought out the matching figurine.

12th: At W's I'd noticed Google Maps showing Ikutama Matsuri Festival. It was still there during the day of the 12th, but had vanished by the time I left home at 5:30, and I saw nothing on my walk up. So if there was a procession I completely missed it. There's some Ikutama market by Osaka Castle, but the real Ikutama shrine is elsewhere; when I finally got there, I found myself in a classic anime festival. Crowds and food stands and crowds and game stands and crowds and a shrine with stuff happening. In this case, teams of teens carrying sacred boxes around and banking on gong and drum. I found it helps to be taller than most of a country. :p The area north of the shrine is full of Love Hotels; I know Japanese religion doesn't frown on sex the way Christianity has but it still felt weird.

13th: I re-read a lot of Hodgell and went out for groceries in between rain.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/530105.html#comments


Osaka: July 9

Went back to Sushiro for an early dinner, because I'll eat infinite sushi at 100 yen per plate.

Went toward Qanat for groceries, then kept going south to explore that part of the area. I heard religious procession music and followed it to a Shinto shrine, where three boys were in a building playing drum and bell and whatnot, while three younger children watched and an older man watched in the back. I'm guessing they were practicing for a procession, while friends listened. It was kind of like a drum circle, catchy and dance-inspiring despite slow change in anything like a melody.

Thought on religious spaces: Churches are generally buildings. Sometimes there's a yard or labyrinth or cemetery but at core they're buildings. These days typically locked outside of service times, too.

Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples here are enclosed spaces. Actually the smallest ones are boxes, like the Little Free Libraries that have been popping up around Boston or Berkeley. But when they're bigger there's a gate and walls enclosing a space in which are those boxes, or when even bigger, actual buildings. In larger temples you often do go inside the buildings, but that hardly ever seems to case for shrines. And being in that space creates a psychological and maybe even acoustic calm, surprisingly quiet given the busy city just outside.

Temples with gates tend to lock them around 5:30 or so, but I don't think I've seen a single lockable shrine; being an *open* gate seems inherent to torii. Of course, before Buddhist influence, shrines were apparently simply a demarcated sacred space, no buildings whatsoever.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/529808.html#comments


Osaka: catchup and Kyoto, kind of

Wow, I really bailed on Japan blogging.

Hmm, looking at my journal, I'm not sure I left out that much. Met up with W a bunch of times for anime or dinner. Went to the Rose Garden, which was pretty lame, no blooms. Walked around that area for a while, got to Ogimachi Park. Been doing a lot of reading and hiding from humidity and cooking more at home.

Yesterday, though, I headed to Kyoto. But as I approached I looked at the map, and decided to ride one station further, to Yamashina. This was on an express train -- I think it made one stop between Osaka and Kyoto! so even at a lower speed, one stop was 8-9 km away. It looked nestled in mountains, and I spent 2-3 hours trying to get up into them. Mostly failing: there's a park to the NE, but I couldn't find a trail, and Google's help was useless. I did get right up to the forest, thanks to a cluster of Buddhist temples and their cemetery. Houses nearby had yards, and goats. Well, one goat, but that's infinitely more goats than I usually see in an urban area.

There was a tiny park area adjacent to the hill forest, with two cats visible, and a sign with 'neko' on it. Don't know if it was saying "don't bother the cats" or "don't feed the cats" or what.

Went to another temple to the norht, Bishamon-dō, rather large, and with several associated shrines.

Roads NW of there looked like they did go further up into the mountains, but I was getting tired of hiking. I found this tiny cluster of houses, on the other side of a canal from everything else. First you hit this communal dirt parking area, then go over a bridge, then there's not even a street, just a foot lane, with houses and yards along it (plus a couple of teeny tiny shrines, basically a sacred rock at foot level.) Felt like a taste of 'rural' Japan. Google claimed it was a cul-de-sac but was wrong, I kept heading south and eventually hooked up with real streets again.

Yamashina back to Kyoto was 7 minutes by express train, 15 by subway, or 25 by car! Nice to be somewhere where the trains are just better.

Oh, yesterway was Tanabata, which seems to be more of a private thing than a big festival. Though as I left home, I heard and found a small procession carrying a god? relic? through the streets of Osaka. I'd wondered if I'd run into more in Kyoto, but I got there after 5pm so things would probably have been running down anyway. Kyoto Station area is full of modern tall buildings and such -- also a post office open on Sunday! With lots of ATMs because Japan has postal banking.

Kyoto also had lots of white people. Yeah, I'm one to talk. But staying in an outer part of Osaka I tend to be the freak gaijin, not one tourist of many, and Yamashina was definitely off the beaten path.

Perhaps related to a high tourist content, the first shrine I found had signs announcing that 24 hour security cameras were present.

Some buses seem to be every 10 minutes, other 20-40. This sort of thing inhibits my "get on a bus and view the city" behavior. At least the stops have schedules, so I can know.

Mosquitoes seem to love me here more than in Boston. That or I'm more often near open water so there are more of them.

Took a Keihan train back to Osaka. Like Kintetsu, there are a confusing variety of express levels. Car would have been 49 minutes, 51 km; train was 40 minutes. And 400 yen, under $4!

Why are trains cheap? Density high enough to fill the seats of a train slung every 10 minutes helps, as does slinging trains every 10 minutes so people are happy to take trains. But I'm reminded of another factor: when I got off at Kyobashi station in Osaka, I immediately found Hotel Keihan and Keihan Mall. IIRC the private railways in Japan own a lot of land around their station, so get a lot of money in rents, which are high from the land value created by their own trains. It's like privatized land value tax. This might be why JR Loop is cheaper than the Osaka subways.

Man, a bit over three weeks left. I don't wanna go! Though I need to worry about actual income.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/529495.html#comments


crusades through Arab Eyes

By Amin Maalouf. I finished this book last night. It's been highly recommended, and I liked it. Not too long, and fairly simple in structure: chronological, with Crusades arriving, getting fought, and finally kicked out. I found it an engaging read. Some surprises or sociological points:

Mercy cut for your reading pageCollapse )

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/529275.html#comments

Osaka: June 26, Nara

I finally made a 'big' trip, taking the train to Nara, 20 miles or so east of me. The best line is the Kintetsu, a different private train than the JR Line, and confusing in its overlapping lines; I found I was on the wrong train and transferred further down, though I didn't really lose time.

Nara is an old imperial capital, from the 700s AD, before the emperor moved to Kyoto. A lot of Buddhist temples were built then and remain today. Deer have been revered/protected since then, I think; at any rate there are like 1,200 sika deer roaming Nara, especially Nara Park. (I didn't actually see any in the rest of the city, in my brief time in it.) Lots of people sell packets of deer crackers so you can feed them to the deer.

Before I got to the park I passed a one-room seismic isolation museum, with some information on earthquakes and building coping strategies, and some models, including a motion chair you can sit in. Simulation of a 9.0 quake was pretty damn violent.

Top temple of the park is Toudaiji, meaning "eastern big temple". I didn't pay for the museum and great Buddha hall, figuring there would be enough things to do in the area without that. Which was true, though I find I don't have much to say about my experience. I found some elevated spot away from the crowds, which was nice. Walked through various bits, past a hill with more deer, ate some soba, found Kasugataisha (Kasuga grand shrine) (huh, the Fujiwara family shrine) which was closed for the admission area by the time I got there but might be worth another visit.

Walked back outside the park, past houses with actual yards, not sure if "land is cheap" or "rich houses". Then some pavilion island, Ukimi-do hall.

I discovered that Google Maps has no idea about buses in Nara, but searching elsewhere found a pretty frequent loop line that took me back to a train station. Very nice, actually: the bus stop had electronic displays showing where the buses were, the bus had bilingual announcements.

Lots of photos. Still haven't curated or uploaded them.

Since then it's been raining or extremely humid, so I've been reading at home, or venturing out just for food and socializing. I did read some explanations of oddities: public trash cans removed after the Aum Shinrikyo attacks, and have been only slowly moving back (before getting spooked again by the G20 summit.) No paper towels in public bathrooms because it doesn't make sense to give you things you won't be able to throw away. (Doesn't explain the lack of *soap*.) I've also been reading about Japanese nutrition labels. I keep buying drinkable yogurt that turns out to be sweetened and that needs to stop.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/529076.html#comments


Osaka: June 25, more kaitenzushi

I craved more. Went to Ganko sushi in the Abeno Harukas basement. Was tricky to find, behind a giant supermarket with varieties of cherry tomatoes and varities of more-than-whole milk (like 5% fat) and more.

Spent twice as much for half the food. The base plates are more expensive -- 120 and 180 yen -- but the real killer is having many more (or any) plates that are more expensive. Like toro. And more toro.

Read about the Crusades in the park, and looked up more parks to visit.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/528640.html#comments



Damien Sullivan

Latest Month

August 2019



RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner