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Snowy Day in Tokyo

18 Jan

The weather forecast yesterday said that it was going to snow in the Tokyo area this morning, so I wasn’t surprised by this morning’s snow.

It snows a lot in northern Japan, but only a couple of times each winter in Tokyo. And when it does snow here, it’s normally not very much. I have seen blizzards and heavy snow in Tokyo…but not so often.

Because it doesn’t snow so much here, Tokyo isn’t as prepared for it as they are up north. Most people don’t own a snow shovel here. You can often see people using dustpans to move snow from driveways.

And, the buses and trains will often be delayed when there is a lot (by Tokyo standards) of snowfall. There were a lot of delays this morning.
Though train and bus delays are an inconvenience that we’re not so used to in Japan (due to the extremely punctual public transportation system here), no one complains…everyone understands that the train and bus workers are doing their best to deal with the weather. Better “safe than sorry”.

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A picture I took this morning of someone’s flower garden covered in snow.

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Kamakura at night

1 Dec

Yesterday we drove to 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan). We have been there many times but it had been awhile since we went there by car.

I drove there because we wanted to see the autumn illumination (light-up) at the famous, beautiful 長谷寺 (Hase-dera Temple).
At certain times of the year, the temple is lit up and it looks even more spectacular than usual.

During our drive there and back, we could see Tokyo Tower, a beautiful sunset over Tokyo Bay and a clear view of Mt. Fuji.

So many beautiful scenes! Here are some of our photos:

20 Years ago in Kobe, Japan

17 Jan

Today is 2015 January 17th…the 20th anniversary of the huge 1995 January 17th earthquake in 神戸 (Kobe), Japan.

I’ve experienced many earthquakes since I came to Japan in 1990…but only two that were big enough to destroy a city:
the 1995 Jan 17th Kobe Earthquake, and
the 2011 Mar 11th Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami.

Memorial ceremony in Kobe for victims of the 1995 Jan 17th earthquake. (Photo © Getty Images)

I never want to experience such a massive natural disaster ever again!

Imperial Palace inner grounds

10 Dec

If you have ever visited the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, you most likely have only seen the outer grounds.
That is the area that is normally open to the public. There are only a few days each year that the general public are permitted to enter the inner grounds (and on those days, you must line up and go through a baggage search and pass a metal detector).

Last weekend was one of the rare occasions that the Imperial Palace inner grounds were open to the public.
People were allowed in to view (and photograph) the beautiful autumn colors in the royal gardens.

Last Sunday, my wife and I went there. Here are some of the photographs I took of the inner grounds:

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The staff quarters.

 

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This foundation is the remnants of the original castle from centuries ago. The roof of the famous Nippon-Budokan can be seen in the distance.

 

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The Imperial music hall.

 

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One of the original guards’ quarters

 

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From there, we walked to the 100 year old Tokyo Station for dinner.

 

Super Typhoon

9 Jul

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The biggest typhoon to hit Japan in years is currently wreaking havoc in southern Japan. It’s on course to hit the Tokyo area in a day or two. If you’re in Japan, take care! Typhoon storms, like hurricanes and cyclones, are dangerous!

Japan in January

1 Mar

Japan is beautiful in January … and every other month!

19 Years Ago …

17 Jan

Today (2014 January 17th) is the nineteenth anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake which struck Kobe, Japan on 1995 January 17th.

I wrote a post about it five years ago.

It was the first of two major earthquakes that have struck Japan since I’ve been here … hopefully there won’t be another!