Thursday, August 31, 2006

super typhoon

Not to be a fear-monger but there is a big-ass typhoon headed our way. It's called super typhoon Ioke or known as #12 locally. It'll be the fiercest since 1994 if it achieves a direct landfall.

According to the Saffir-Simpson damage scale the potential property damage and flooding from a storm of Ioke's strength (category 4) at landfall includes:

  • Storm surge generally 4.0-5.5 metres (13-18 feet) above normal.
  • Curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences.
  • Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down.
  • Complete destruction of mobile homes.
  • Extensive damage to doors and windows.
  • Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the centre of the storm.
  • Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore.
  • Terrain lower than 3 metres (10 feet) above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 10 km (6 miles).

  • There is also the potential for flooding further inland due to heavy rain.
    I hope it doesn't hit here but if it does, with minimum damage and no loss of life, in a perfect world that'd be. I'm so conflicted about these natural disasters, so fascinating yet deadly.

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    more pics (summer '06)

    See if you can spot our little friend there.

    In reality this view accounts for 80% of the trip. Car, car, car, and more car; driving, driving, and more driving. Almost a carbon copy from last summer.

    Your typical Japan's warlord's castle. This one is located in Miyagi-ken if memory serves.

    It'd make a pretty decent wallpaper. Maybe I'll find a few for that later.

    summer '06 (cont')

    From left, Shoko, Todd, Lewis. Shoko is a college student and Lewis is serving the country (U.S.) on a Japan's US airforce base. Again, we accidentally ran into a hanabi (fireworks display festival) in northern Gunma-ken.

    The crowd at the hanabi. Some locals in yukata (a summer kimono).

    At a rest stop this is what we found, some ice and snow to cool the kids off.

    Some scenery we snapped while driving. We seem to have done a lot of those aimlessly but they end up being some of my favorites.

    Our dash, it's got a killer GPS satellite navigation system. We haven't got lost with it even once, oh well, maybe twice.

    It does literally everything under the sun. It tells you where to turn, three or four times; it suggests which road to take; it counts distance; it predicts arriving time; it tells you where there is a traffic jam; it shows maps as detailed as you can see outside the car with your own eyes, or zoomed out as far as the outline of the entire country; it dices; it slices... the driver's duty is gradually reduced to that of a monkey at the wheel.

    Here is what happens when we, out of character, tried to plan to go somewhere. It took us literally hours to get to the town, one and a half to get up the mountain, another one hour to hike the hill, which we cheated by paying a toll to get to the top where we were so thrilled to see a crater lake. (Mount Zao in Yamagata-ken)

    And this, this is the best shot we took. Fog so thick you can cut it with a chainsaw.

    Just for contrary, this is what it supposedly looks like. (not our pic)

    summer '06 (pics)

    This is the car we drove during our '06 summer "camping expedition". We made use of the heat on our vehicle energized by the unforgiving morning sun as an effective dryer.

    Some unlikely breakfast. We were very hungry after the first night of non-resting. It turns out in this town upnorth the only foods available this early are in the fish market open from 4:30am.

    A random sighting. We thought it was picture-worthy. Most of our destinations are not planned. Running into interesting things roadsides seems to do the trick.

    One of these sleepless nights we decided to crash in a love hotel to sleep, not unlike dead people hit the ground. Notice this particular hotel lends its guests free cosplay outfits. Wow! zzzzzZZZ

    We came to a lake in Fukushima-ken. There are beaches, rowboats, swan-paddlers, and jet-skis, and burning sensations from the toasted sand. I love the mountain range in contrast to the cloudy blue background.

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    summer in Tokyo

    I'm writing this in Tokyo. The past couple of days I've been catching up with old friends in the capital. Not having a cellphone once again proves to be inconvenient, particularly being lost in these concrete walls.

    My remedy for surviving the noise is to avoid going to crowded places. Waseda is one of those places. The excitment is not worth the suffocation.

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    other news

    Here is the other news that slipped my mind a while ago:

    Tanabata festival this afternoon;
    been playing a lot of basketball;
    New co-workers include a teacher from the OC (the place), another from Boston, and a new manager;
    The Boston guy will take my Saturday's; (thank god)
    been watching a lot of crap movies;
    some camping is in order;
    wondering about the lurker who frequents this blog;
    Alaska's quakes continue to rock after one month;
    like new TV show Kyle XY;
    our town rings the morning bell at 7:00am to a christian tune on Sun;

    news worthy:
    Isolated Americans Trying to Connect (the irony!)
    Yet another Ferrari Enzo destroyed (actually a really cool owner)
    Who Killed the Electric Car? (PBS discusses it)
    Hubble Space Telescope Wallpapers (large! and Hubblesite)

    official summer break

    My two-week summer holiday started tonight, and right off the bat I have trouble sleeping. Be it the heat or the anticipation of an unsure near future, said holiday period inclusive.

    It's 4:40 in the morning the birds all began their chirping at the same time, without fail everyday right around 12 minutes after daybreak, as if they had an agreement. They probably do.

    A girl I dated pretty briefly five years ago suddenly got in touch and has become somewhat accesible from where I'm at at the moment. Not that there will be any romantic expectations but it's damn good to catch up with her. In addition a number of old friends I'll be visiting while going west to the metropolis, killing multiples with one stone so to speak. (hold your horses, I know how that saying goes. ^_^)

    The second part of my holiday involves driving to Hokkaido, again. But it doesn't look as sure. This year I've decided not to make the trip myself, an atempt to quit my self-inflicted social suicide (notice the redundancy). One person is onboard, but a second is not confirmed yet she holds the key to it being a reality or otherwise.

    Other news includes a billion things that slip my mind.

    Semi (cicadas) are not the best looking bugs out there but if any one thing would instantly reminds me of a Japanese summer it's got to be a semi's ability to use its body as a resonance chamber to produce sounds louder than 106 dB. (between a jack hammer 1m away and a jet from 100m)