Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yokohama: Y150 and Docks

Despite 'Rainy Season' being in full swing, we managed to walk around and take in quite a bit. Yokohama, with a population of 3.4 million, is in the midst of celebrating 150 years of history which it is marking with a special Y150 site.

It was nothing more than mud flats when it first opened to foreign trade in 1858. Nowadays it's port facilities are complemented by massive steel-making, automobile, oil-refining and chemical industries.

With superb rail connections and proximity to both Tokyo and the sea, as well as international associations through the port, it has been bestowed with a certain cosmopolitan sheen making it both popular with sightseers and shoppers alike who often see it as a leading fashion center.

The Y150 site has various displays of modern technology and stage shows entertaining the visitors. The gigantic robotic spider was particularly eye catching.

I imagine it would have been that much more impressive though had the weather been cooperative. Maybe next time...

Aiko's mum, Masako, joined us from Osaka. (another surprise)

Dad and I

Aka Renga, the red brick warehouses on the docks where silk was traded

Grand old sailing ship now doing harbour cruises

Cosmo World amusement park and the huge Cosmo Clock ferris wheel standing tall at 105m!

Dad, just taking it all in on the waterfront

The gigantic robotic spider requiring 6 'pilots' to simulate realistic movement

Birthday Surprise!!!

Turned 34 the other day!!! I had the day off from work so had a couple of surfs and went to see a surf flick at the local makeshift theater. Aiko was 'busy' apparently at work. After the movie Sei gave me a ride down to Donya Restaurant, where I began to be a little suspicious as we usually car pool, where Aiko had said she'd meet us.

Anyway, no give away signs from outside so we made our way in. Low and behold, there stood a graying version of myself!!!! I needed 3-4 takes before it sunk in that it was my DAD!!! So stoked to see him as it was just the second time he'd been to visit in Japan. I had absolutely no idea, so I guess it was great payback for the surprise I gave him for his 60th.

Aiko and Dad had been in contact for the last 2 months planning everything. It was definitely an awesome present. And Aiko had penciled in a sightseeing schedule for the week he was here. I'll post some pics of what we did shortly.

Awesome to get a short clip from my loverly nieces, Pippa and Holly, and nephew, Ben, back in NZ.

Thanks Liz and Brian for doing that!!
video

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bob McQueen


Stumbled upon this article about one of my best mates, Bill's, father. Unfortunately he's in the news for the wrong reasons. They took on Transpower, a state run electricity company that planed to run huge pylons thru his neighborhood, and failed after 4 years in the courts to halt proceedings. I hope they at least get a hefty compensation for property devaluation and loss of lifestyle aspects.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Handyman fun

Well, it's been sometime since I last picked up some tools and got around to making anything, but with the beach looking more like a lake I had time on my hands...

THE PROJECT:
A surfboard rack to house the longboards.


Awhile back I inherited a rack from good friend Dave. It was constructed from PVC piping and very light and versatile and did the job nicely. However, after a facing the onslaught of a couple of typhoons, it was in a little disrepair. Hence the need for something new.

Due to the semi-exposed nature of the place it has to go, I needed something a bit more weighty and if possible shaded from the direct sun. So, I drew up a couple of plans and decided upon this one. It seemed simple and sturdy while providing the necessities.

It was off to the DIY store CAINZ HOMES where we bought some timber and screws for "Stage 1" of the project. After that I swung by Maki's and picked up a drill/screwdriver. Then it was all go!

The old guy at the store cut all the timber to size which simplified the whole process, so it was just a matter of laying everything out and measuring everything and marking the screw placement.

I drilled the holes first and then had to screw it all together. A piece of cake if you have a space like a garage/shed and clamps, etc. I was restricted to working on the balcony by the front door!

It came together nicely in the end. So well in fact that Aiko asked me if we could use it as a table!!! To which she got a solid NO.

The half finished rack

"Stage 2", building the roof/shade, will have to wait until the next flat spell. I had a lot of fun though, and although it wasn't quite perfect, it was very satisfying to complete it.

A visitor


Recently the sparrows have been in heat and are searching every nook and crany for a place to build a nest where they can start to make babies....
Sorry bud, but no room here. It's already a squeeze with just two of us.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Out Front

Aiko had a wee surf the other day to wind down after Sea Festa. I had already snuck a session in early so stayed on the beach and snapped a couple of pics of Aiko and friends.

Aiko

Junji


Yukio and Junji

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Good friends, Kayo (works/ed at Donya Restaurant) and Ko-san (Chef at Grand Hotel), married on a beautiful sunny day at Seaside during the Sea Festa festival on June 7th!!

We wish you all the best for a long and happy marriage!!

See you in the surf

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sea Festa Wrap

Well the weather didn't really co-operate on Saturday but it was all go with "aloha" shirts at work and the girls moved to an inside venue for the dancing. I had a bit of time before work so was able to take some video and pics, which hopefully, after I clear some space on the computer to upload, can make some kind of slide show for you all.

Sunday was like night and day/chalk and cheese!

The weather couldn't have been better scripted!!!!! Good waves on offer in the morning too meant a really big turn out this year. Probably in excess of 50,000!!!

Friends of ours featured in the "HAWAIIAN BEACH WEDDING". They both looked like they enjoyed the event and Kayo looked fantastic. (again, pics will follow)

After the dust settled we BBQ'd at Junji and Momoko's house and celebrated a successful weekend.

Much mahalo to everyone involved and their efforts to make sure things went as well as they did.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sea Festa Countdown...

This weekend!!! There should be waves for the surf contest but the weather forecast is patchy at best until Sunday arvo. Aiko and Co. will be dancing on the MAIN BEACH STAGE at 10:00 Saturday morning.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Busy Weekend

Finished work Saturday evening and couldn't be bothered cooking much so it was SUSHI for dinner!
I'm a full convert after not being a big fan of fish in my younger days unless it was battered and fried.






Sunday, after watching the CHEIFS lose the Super 14 Grand Final and the CAVS bow out to The MAGIC in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, we decided to get out of the house and go for a drive. We ended up in Ichihara City (well, in the outskirts of it) at a park which was staging a hula event.





Aiko's Kumu was guest of honour so we caught up with him, which was good.



(L-R: Rika, Mizuki, Kumu, Kumika, Kona, Aiko)

He entertained the crowd before jinxing us all with a comment about the beautiful weather!


Would you believe it? It poured buckets about 40 minutes later!!!





The show must go on, or so they say, and the dancers persisted to there credit until it just became to wet for all.


On the way home everyone was starving so we pulled in to Oshou, a Chinese style family restaurant, in Kimitsu and ate ourselves silly. Four adults and 1 child only came to just over ¥5,000! Not bad at all and the food was killer!