atomic bombs

2020-08-06 TOKYO, JAPAN -- 1945-08-06 and 1945-08-09. Read about those days and what they mean today. Subscribe to support the authors and publishers; otherwise read for free.

John Hersey "
Hiroshima", New Yorker, 1946-08-24

Michael S Rosenwald "
The US hid Hiroshima's suffering. Then John Hersey went to Japan." The Washington Post, 2020-08-06

William Langewiesche "
The reporter who told the world about the bomb" The New York Times, 2020-08-04, a book review of Lesley M M Blume "Fallout: the Hiroshima cover-up and the reporter who revealed it to the world", Simon & Schuster, 2020-08-04

Additional reading suggested by the New Yorker magazine, 2020-08-02.

rokusho jinja

2020-08-05 OOISO, JAPAN -- Rokusho Jinja is the 6th and last shrine on the list of the 6 most significant shinto shrines in Kanagawa prefecture. We completed our pilgrimage today.

The shrine's driveway leads from Route 1 to the shrine grounds. Route 1 is Japan's main non-express automobile artery that runs from Tokyo via Nagoya and Kyoto to Osaka. In this part of the country, the highway is a simple road lined with shops and houses.

Part of the shrine's driveway is a semi-private underpass that tunnels beneath the Tokaido train line, Japan's premier non-express railroad also connecting Tokyo via Nagoya and Kyoto to Osaka. Here's a screenshot of our dashcam footage.
The cicadas were deafening.

The shrine grounds are well kept, with koi ponds on either side.

Even the koi seem hot!

We prayed for safe travel.

The main building sports an impressive
shimenawa (a rope that marks a sanctuary).

The earth-retaining rock walls were built 400 years ago by the Hojo clan that lived in Odawara castle, about 13 kilometers away.

hiratsuka hachimangu

2020-08-03 HIRATSUKA, JAPAN -- We visited Hiratsuka Hachimangu, the 5th most significant shrine in Kanagawa prefecture.

I like the shrine's see-through sign.

A dog donning a surgical mask guards the entrance to the shrine grounds.

A one-year-old divine horse wanted us to feed it carrots.

We parked at a local soccer (association football)
stadium located on the west bank of the Sagami river. Noriko took a walk with Kero along the levee.

I practiced trumpet. The rainy season ended and all of a sudden the sun came out. Blazing hot! I had to take off the top half of my jumpsuit. I was wearing work clothes because we were on our way to Noriko's parents' place to help clean their house.

5 months since retirement

2020-07-29 TOKYO, JAPAN -- Today is 5 months from my last day of work at Hokkaido University. The 29th of each month is a temporal milestone for me. Not that I did anything special ...

I hung toy aircraft from the ceiling. Battery-operated fans make the plane fly in circles.

A red light flashes on this helicopter. Silly things like this make me happy.

Easy cooking with our steam convection oven. Throw all ingredients (uncooked macaroni and all) in a pan.

Stick the pan in the oven, do something else (like taking a bath) and dinner is served.

cookie monster

2020-07-25 TOKYO, JAPAN -- Noriko got me a box of maple syrup cream cookies.


I spent my early childhood in Ontario Canada. My top favorite sweetness is maple syrup. Absolutely delicious!

In one sitting ...

9-year-old camera

2020-07-22 TOKYO, JAPAN -- I purchased my trusty camera (a Panasonic GX-1) on 2011-11-14 for 85300 yen. This was the first time I pre-ordered a camera (that is, decide to buy when the product is announced, before seeing it or holding it at the store).

Today I learned that I have taken 85147 pictures with this camera. About 1 yen per shot! (I bought a viewfinder and extra lenses for this camera so the mean cost per shot is closer to 3 yen.)

We were expecting the camera to die (that is, malfunction so badly that the cost of repair would exceed the value of the camera) during our trip to Europe in 2017. I am glad that the camera is still chugging along.

Too bad I cannot say the same for my Pentax K100D (I own 2, 1 of which is totally dead, and the other rather sick). My Pentax K5 (I also own 2) are okay.

sakitori jinja

2020-07-20 HIRATSUKA, JAPAN -- We prayed at Sakitori Jinja, the 4th most significant shinto shrine in Kanagawa prefecture.

The shrine is seated near the Sagami river, close to the river mouth, in a woody area.

We heard cicadas for the first time this summer.

The etymology of the shrine's name is unclear. It probably derives partly from "saki" (headland, promontory) because the shrine stood on a piece of land that jutted out into the Sagami river or perhaps the river snaked at the point, creating a peninsula of sorts. The shrine's name is written in various kanji (somewhat akin to "Smith" and "Smythe") but none of the kanji have meaning.
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They gave us a brochure and we bought an amulet and an oracle.

Later, at a nearby riverbank, I attempted to practice trumpet.

Alas, it was too hot for me!

book money

2020-07-20 TOKYO, JAPAN -- I won 1000 yen (about 9 US dollars) worth of book money from "RF World" magazine. Thanks! T7251508_trimmed

The prize were 2 magnetized cards (each worth 500 yen) that you hand over to the bookstore cashier. I will buy study guides for an
electrician license exam (an unofficial, commonly used English translation is "chief electrical engineer") that I am slowly working towards.


2020-07-03 (UPDATED 2020-07-17) TOKYO, JAPAN -- On my way to my mom's house, planning to drive her to her dentist, my rental car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.

Nobody was hurt. Correction: the accident is being reclassified from only property damage to both property damage and personal injury. My doctor of orthopedic medicine diagnosed me with a neck problem. Nothing serious, time will reduce pain, please don't worry.

What we should worry about is the astonishingly poor education among the staff at the
police department. This letter addressed to me suggests that the person who wrote it did not finish middle school. (It reads something like "Mr c/o Goh Kawai".) This is but one of the strange behavior displayed by police personnel. At first I attributed my bafflement to my ignorance of police matters. I now believe there is a simpler explanation -- substitute "my" with "their" in the preceding sentence.

The rest of this blog entry is unchanged since 2020-07-03.

I bring my own dashcam when renting cars, primarily to record the scenery and to view the trip at home. This was the first time the dashcam came in handy for an accident. The camera is placed beneath the rearview mirror, facing forward through the windshield. Because I install and remove the dashcam every time I rent a car, I use a dashcam with a suction cup. I do not have a rearview dashcam because I do not know of dashcam products that allow rapid and frequent installation and removal of rearview cameras.

Here is dashcam footage taken at the time of the accident. If you cannot play the movie within your browser, try downloading the file to your device, and play it from there.

The rear window was completely smashed. Curiously and happily most of the glass fell outside the car, although the impact was from the outside. Safe automotive design!

The other vehicle (a 2-ton truck) was hardly damaged. Sturdy automotive design!

A police officer nonchalantly filled out forms. The truck driver, who admitted complete fault, swept up glass shards with a broom he was carrying on his construction truck.

My rental car agency arranged to have a tow truck carry my car away. The tow truck driver and the accident truck driver hit it off. They engaged in friendly conversation.

I walked 6 kilometers back home. On my way, at the Frog Stone I offered thanks for keeping me safe.

Omiya-Hachimangu shrine is preparing for tanabata festival. I want to go with Noriko.

I received an oracle, which admonished me to "pray before travel" and "exert thyself and thou shalt be employed". I am grateful.

Later in the day, the rental car company and insurance adjusters from both parties called, and reassured me that I have nothing to worry about, nothing to pay, and if I experience discomfort (such as whiplash) please seek medical assistance, which will be completely paid by the other party's insurance.

Noriko congratulated me for driving Oregon Coast style, keeping plenty of space between the car ahead. Truth be told, I had been disillusioned lately because when I leave space in front of me, invariably somebody cuts me off. This happens in urban areas both in the USA and Japan. I had been feeling that (a) people must think I'm a country yokel driver, and (b) there goes my safety margin. I'm glad I kept that safety margin when stopping at the red light today. Otherwise I would have hit the car in front of me.

deliver dinner

2020-07-14 KAWASAKI, JAPAN -- We delivered grilled yellowtail to my mom.

steam convection oven and its temperature probe grills the fish to perfection.

Noriko wrapped the fish in aluminum foil, and placed it in an aluminum grill pan. These pans are unavailable in Japan. We brought them from USA years ago.

I feel like a pizza delivery person! Wish I could chat with mom for a while, instead of dropping of food and driving away.