In the last couples of hours I just went through a pretty large earthquake. It didn’t help that I was driving at the time. Oh, and the roads were icy as heck. Here is how it went down.
I’m almost home from my daily commute from Ashiro to Matsuo (about 30 minutes) The road conditions are poor and it’s snowing. Then, out of nowhere, my iPhone starts blaring. I know immediately that this is the built in Earthquake warning system. I slowed my car down from 50km/h to about 30km/h, then things start shaking like there is no tomorrow. Even at 30km/h I was having trouble keeping it on the road. It feels like I’m driving on an uneven dirt road. I did manage to keep control, and the quake subsided. I figured I had about 10 seconds from the alarm to the quake. Not a lot of time, but enough to get my car under control. Scary stuff. All is ok. I got the car under control and home with no major issues.
Some folks are asking me which app I used. This one is built into all iPhones sold in Japan. I am ok, and there doesn’t seem to be any damage. But, boy am I glad that system was in place. Apple and the Japanese Government had the best coop deal in the world there.
Oh, I should also mention that many other phones in Japan have this feature built in. It isn’t exclusive only to the iPhone. I’m just glad it was there.
Living in northern Japan has its share of good and bad. Being in a smaller area means that you have less access to major shopping and entertainment facilities. These are downsides many people could not stand to live without. One major bonus, however, is the incredible amount of raw nature a person can experience. In my little area of Northern Japan, Hachimantai City, located in Iwate Prefecture, I live not 15 kilometers from Mt.Iwate, one of Japan’s one hundred famous mountains.
Mt.Iwate as seen from Hachimantai City
Now Mt. Iwate is famous for a number of reasons. It looks just like Mt.Fuji from some angles. It’s a great mountain for climbing, and its snow cap paints a picturesque view in the winter. Recently, I have discovered that Mt.Iwate, like other cone shaped volcanoes such as Fuji and Mt. Rainer act as amazing lenticular cloud making machines.
Lenticular Clouds near Mt.Iwate
Lenticular clouds are saucer shaped clouds that are often seen stacked like pancakes near large mountains. On certain days winds rolling off the mountains create a standing wave. If stable and moist the air is around the mountain and falling downwind when the dew point is reached, the disks condense into clouds will stack up on each other. Every year, many people call the police to report these odd clouds. They looks either like a flying saucer or a cover for one. they are perfectly normal clouds. But you tend to find them around mountains.
Mt.Iwate has been a perfect source of lenticular clouds this year, and I’ve had my camera going most of this summer trying to document them. The following is what I have recorded so far. Sometimes, the lenticular clouds bend and warp out of shape and form incredible bulges in the sky. Once or twice a year, they provide for a spectacular sunset. Please enjoy these photos and look out for them the next time you are hanging around some mountains.
It was near five o’clock yesterday when I looked out my window and noticed the waves in the sky. The sun had not set, but I knew there was something up with the clouds. So I grabbed my camera gear and took off to find a better perch in which to shoot them. Here is what I got:
It appear as if a large ribbon had formed over the sky.
This amazing lenticular cloud appeared out of nowhere.
More of the lenticular cloud with Mr.Iwate.
The lenticular cloud and the ribbon wave seen together.
Mt.Iwate seen with the ribbon wave and a bridge.
It’s funny that I forgot to write about this on my blog. Considering how long I’ve had this site, you’d think I’d remember to do something as simple as letting you all know that I’ve asked the love of my life, Akira, to Marry me. Yes, we’re officially engaged.
You see, last year, I went to this really expensive work party at a local ryokan called “Saito.” A ryokan is a traditional Japanese hotel. Saito was famous for it’s multi course meals and using Maesawa Beef , one of the most expensive and delicious meats in Japan. After I came back from the party, I told Akira about the food, and she instantly wanted to go and try it. I promised her that I would take her at some point, but I wasn’t committal about it. That is, until about three weeks ago.
I asked her if she had and free time during the weekend and I made the plans. She got really exciting about going. What she didn’t know is that I was going to pop the question to her. On Saturday night, after we checked in, we went the baths to freshen up. When she came back to the room, that is what I asked her if she would marry me. I became the luckiest guy in the world when she answered, “Yes.” I think that made the Maesawa steaks just a little more delicious.
So there you have it. Marriage plans are forthcoming. Stay tuned for details, and thanks for reading this blog, depsite the lack of update. I promise you that more is on the way.
Akira at Saito
You may remember my photo, “Rainbow of Peace.” I took it during my trip to Nagasaki in 2006. At the time I never thought it would be my most popular photo. I stood over the ground zero point at the memorial area and tried to get as many colors in the photo as I could. Once I got that photo on flickr, it took off and quickly became my most popular photo on flickr.
Well today, over two and a half years after I took it, “Rainbow of Peace” has surpassed the 15000 mark. I never though I would have a photo do that well. It’s certainly not my only successful photo on flickr, but it was the first to make me realize that I can take pictures that make people smile. It was the catalyst that lead to where I am today. On the road to a career as a pro.
I just wanted to thank everyone who helped make this photo the success it is today. I couldn’t get back to all of you, but I appreciate all the kind words you wrote for me and the photo.