Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tiger Stare

Tiger Stare, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Hand

The Hand, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

The lady in front of me on the flight back could be the reason I pick up Japanese studies for real again. I really want to learn how to express my feelings on slamming her backrest down on my knees as soon as the wheels left the ground at Osaka, and constantly stretching her arms over her head into my field of view, in a properly polite, yet adequately passive-agressive way so as to leave no question how much I hate people who can't consider their fellow passengers even one bit.

Lonely Coast

Lonely Coast, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Got back home again yesterday. Return flights from Japan are always easier. When books and movies and food run out there's always the vast emptiness of Siberia to look at. Here some very empty looking White Sea coastline.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

KIX by Night

KIX by Night, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

View from our hotel window. Task tomorrow is to haul the luggage over to the terminal in the background, and then let Finnair take care of the rest until Helsinki.

Last Stop

Last Stop, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Had a good dinner with Mariko downtown and came back out to the Airport for the night. The last train was getting a bit spooky towards the end.

Owlship or Train?

Owlship or Train?, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Osaka's Nanakai train company has some pretty spaced out executives approving design. This is the rapid one going to Kansai International. A bit intimidating, so we took a more regular one.

Shinkansen Lunch

Shinkansen Lunch, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Standard fare: Fried veggies and chicken on rice with sauce and egg, plus some pickles, and a free beer as thanks from JR for using their campaign ticket.

Filled the belly up to Osaka and beyond.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Shibuya, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

The Doctor is Out

The Doctor is Out, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Palm reading prophesier's stand waiting for a nights brisk business.

Tokyo Singlespeed

Tokyo Singlespeed, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

They do seem to get more popular year by year over here too.


Venice?, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Escape-From-Reality-Day at Tokyo Disney Sea resort. Not as tacky as I feared, and though the rides were short and lines long it wasn't such a bad place. The general scenery and atmosphere were better done compared to the Universal Studios theme park in Osaka.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nakameguro Backstreet

Nakameguro Backstreet, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Walking to Minami's place.

CSI Tokyo

CSI Tokyo, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Tokyos finest were hustling around an apartment building when I walked past. No blue plastic sheets were put up at least yet, so perhaps no corpses inside. A burglary, maybe?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yamanote Controls

Yamanote Controls, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

The lower right dial tells speed, not sure about the right one, The bright spot next to them is an inset , well lit old skool mechanical pocket watch for holding the schedule, the touch screen shows status for each car of the train (accelerating, braking, doors open) +other important stuff, and needed minimum interaction. The most used part of the UI seemed to be the brake lever, operated with the left hand. The driver didn't touch the right hand lever at all. Maybe it's there just for having something to hold on to?

Somehow observation habits from work die hard even when you're not on duty.

City Lighting Up

City Lighting Up, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Evening view from the Tokyo Metro Government building top floor. Best time to visit.

Tokyo Dusk

Tokyo Dusk, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Cue some Blade Runner music.

8mm Test Shot

8mm Test Shot, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

The kind staff at Yodobashi Akiba let me try out the new 8mm fisheye on my own camera, and here's what it looks like. I think I need to stay away from this lens, as I get a strange urge to go all Gollum on the shop staff and not return it as soon as I get my hands on one. This lens would be great out on the streets here in Tokyo. Too bad it has a pricetag.

Sky Tree

Skytree, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

That's grown out of the ground in the year since I visited last time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Minami Senju Skyline

Minami Senju Skyline, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Tokyo signing off for tonight.

Ueno Evening

Ueno Evening, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Walked around a bit in Ueno park, and on the way back I was treated to this spectacular evening sky over the station.

Personal Touch

Personal Touch, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

JAL's very own Captain Hatanaka and Co-pilot Suzuki have my thanks for doing a textbook landing ahead of schedule at Haneda today. Haneda must be the busiest airport I've been to compared to how cramped the airspace is south of downtown Tokyo. Planes come in at 1min 30 sec apart over Tokyo bay, do a tight left hand turn over the local fishing boats right before the runway, touch down and move aside as soon as possible. About 50 secs after the plane is off the runway, the next one touches down, and repeat, and repeat all day.

Anyway, in Tokyo now, and cooling off a bit at the hotel before heading out into the +35 C late afternoon.


AKJ, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Took the traditional Haneda hop today. Air Do was getting ready a few gates away (only a few gates there anyway).

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Wagonload, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

That would get a pretty good party going.


Party, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Seven Odd People Getting Drunk, by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806). The people modeling for this piece must have had fun.

Old Skool Sake Ad

Old Skool Sake Ad, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

The brewery had a small museum too. The old print ads were pretty interesting, as was all the old sake brewing gear on display.

Fancy Sign

Fancy Sign, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

The Origin of Sake, Asahikawa

The Origin of Sake, Asahikawa, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Went down the main street in this part of town to visit the Otokoyama sake brewery. Apparently it was founded somewhere down south about 340 years ago, but relocated to Asahikawa because of the superior climate and water. Something the locals are pretty proud of.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Sapporo, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

A quick one day visit yesterday, seeing friends. Also got to try out the new Pana 8mm fisheye, which is indeed a nice piece of precision optics. A bit steeply priced at Yodobashi, though, especially with the strong Yen rates as of late.

Also ran into a Finnish guy biking around Japan with his pal for three months. His travel blog can be found here (in Finnish). Big respect!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Parting Shot

Parting Shot, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Asahidake (on the right) hovering over the new dam lake they made since I was here last time.


Reward, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Can of Asahidake Beer (I doubt they brew it anywhere near the mountain, though) in the afternoon sun while waiting for the bus. An OK pilsner type of thing. Glad they didn't put Sulfur in it to strengthen the mountain branding.

Natural Trailside Onsen

Natural Trailside Onsen, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Hot spring, which has been dammed a bit by some kind soul, creating a nice natural tub. Too hot day for dipping in, but I did soak my feet for a while. This would be a welcome feature on our autumn hikes in Lapland.


Flowers, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Everyone else was shooting flowers around there, so I joined the crowd. Very Japanese, in a way.

Homemade Onigiri

Homemade Onigiri, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Salmon filling. Keeps you going, and going.

Roof of Hokkaido

Roof of Hokkaido, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

First time on the top of Asahidake in proper summer. Looking as good as ever.

Asahidake Ridge Trail

Asahidake Ridge Trail, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Perfect weather for going to the top, and detouring back the long way. Still made it with time to spare to the last bus back to Asahikawa.


Alive, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

It's supposed to do that, no worries. Luckily the wind blew most of the Sulfur smelling steam elsewhere today.

Into the Wilds

Into the Wilds, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Immediately after stepping out of the Asahidake gondola top station wild furry animals appear. Glad it wasn't a bear.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sushi Screen

Sushi Screen, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

A new kaiten sushi place here sporting fancy touch screens for ordering beside the conveyor belt. The orders arrived on a Shinkansen-shaped mechanic tray sliding above the belt. Minimized need for interaction with the staff, but it doesn't necessarily make for a better experience. The sushi at Choice, our traditional kaiten place, is better too.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Asahikawa Suburbia

Asahikawa Suburbia, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Those kids just started a sand throwing fight, which naturally ended in tears. Otherwise it's really nice and peaceful here. Slept 13 hours last night, which finally took care of the jet lag. Wondering if we should take the dog out for a walk before dinner.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Elevator Door Warning

Elevator Door Warning, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

You get the point: It hurts.


KIX, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Got to Kansai international on time in the morning, and been taking care of a local SIM card for the phone, some sleep deprivation and lunch since then. Still an hour or so before boarding for Sapporo, but the lovely free WiFi helps kill time.

Good Morning Mongolia

Good Morning Mongolia, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Finnair has a seemingly more direct route to Osaka these days, going over Mongolia, China and South Korea rather than just sticking to Russian airspace. Didn't go any faster, though.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Product Segmentation

Product Segmentation, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Basically the same product sold as luggage scale: 35€, and as fish scale: 20€. Guess which one I bought.

Flying to Japan again later today, and will be over there for the next three weeks.

Monday, July 05, 2010


Tadpoles, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Cute little fellows, busying themselves with getting bigger.

More Trail

More Trail, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Occasional speed bumps ahead every now again.


Trail, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Not exactly on the official maintained trail network, but sure beat backtracking.

Holiday Start

Holiday Start, originally uploaded by Rollofunk.

Took last Friday off too, and headed out to Helvetinjärvi national park for a two night hike with Mikko. It's was a new area for us, which meant more running around compared to straightforward motion. Nothing wrong with that of course; the weather was almost too hot, the local geography nicely challenging and the lakes were good for swimming. Might want to visit in the future as well.