Activities in the Park

Today was the first day of Golden Week in Japan. I had a very nice stroll in Inokashira Park.

There were many people and many activities for a nice warm day.

A music concert at the stadium.

This man reads comic books for customers with his dramatical voice.

A traditional Japanese performer entertains youngsters.

The park's regular rock and roller. He is there every weekend.

And a bumble bee was busy gathering nectar from flowers.


Yamato Museum

The City of Kure has a long history with ship building. It is situated across a bay from the The Japan Self Defence Force Maritime Officer Candidate School I visited just about a year ago.

There is a museum dedicated to the most celebrated, but ill-fated battleship of the Imperial Navy during the WWII - Yamato, which was built at a factory in this city. Here's the link to the museum.

1/10 scale model of Yamato exhibited at the museum.

Some of the original design drawings are displayed at the museum.

The battleship did not travel far from the base on its last voyage on a mission to travel to Okinawa in April of 1945. The map indicates where it left (Kure) and where it was sunk (marked by X).

The model of how the battleship rests at the bottom of the sea - recreated by the findings from the 1999 search mission.

At the museum also exhibits other WWII materials, a Zero Fighter plane and submarines.


Zenpukuji Park

I had a pleasant jog and a stroll in Zenpukuji Park yesterday. Weather was warm and beautiful.

This is a view from the Lower Pond (east side) where the water becomes Zenpukuji River.

Sakura flowers are now 80 percent blown off the trees.

Sakura petals fell and made pink patterns on the surface of the Upper (west) pond.

A close-up view of the petals on the pond.

A nice picnic area.

A playground is situated on the side of Upper pond.


Asukayama Park

In 1720, cherry trees were planted by then shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune, at a hill of Asukayama for enjoyment of the public. This area has become one of the most famous parks for cherry blossom enjoyment in Tokyo.

Yesterday, I had a nice stroll in the park at lunch time.

This is the entrance to the park from Hongo-Dori street.

A nice playground.

Shinkansen and other train tracks are close from the park.

There are nice trails through the park.

A nice little clock tower.

A family enjoys a picnic under cherry blossoms.
It has been windy, so I don't think the flowers will last much longer this year.


Earthquake and Tsunami Affected Areas

This week, I had an opportunity to go up to where the earthquake and tsunami hit. I was there 18 and 19 days after the earthquake of March 11.

Sendai was the closest large city from the epicenter. My hotel still did not have hot water or air-conditioning. Also for breakfast, they served only an onigiri and a cup of tea.

Since the train system including Shinkansen is damaged, people have to take buses.

Here's a long line at a bus stop.

Still, gasoline was difficult to come by - cars were lined up for a gas station.

Right by Sendai Airport - cars were washed up by tsunami.

It is currently restricted to use by the Japan Self Defense Force and the US Military. I heard that it will take over 6 months for commercial use will be possible.

Inside Sendai Airport - saw many damaged aircraft.

The town of Minamisanriku suffered a severe damage by tsunami.

Thousands of people used to live here at a fishing port town until just three weeks ago.

There was a memorial for the victims for the tsunami caused by a big earthquake in Chile of 1960. Here at a park, the broken sign on the right shows how high tsunami came then (2.6 m). This time, height of tsunami was over 10 m - over a three-story building. A steam locomotive (the black rubble on the left side) used to be where the rails are in the middle of the photo.

The Self Defense Force was camped out to help.

Here's another convoy of Self Defense Force trucks bringing supplies to another destroyed city of Ishinomaki.