Hakodate visit

I made a trip to Hakodate, Hokkaido last weekend. Since it is quite a bit further north from Tokyo, it was still very cool.

Hakodate is a port town, famous for fresh fish.  Here are ships dedicated to catching cuttle fish, seen from an elevated road by the port.

Fresh fish market was open early in the morning.

A dance troop was practicing to participate in a big competition in Sapporo.

The view of Goryokaku from the observation tower right next to it.  This place became a big battle site in 1868 - Battle of Hakodate.

Recently constructed Old Magistrate's Office from some 150 years ago.

Azaleas were still beautiful by the moat of Goryokaku.

Hakodate used to be a big trading port with the Russians.  Here's a Russian church.


Johannesburg and nearby

I am a bit late in writing this, but after Cape Town, I was lucky to be able to spend a weekend with my college friend and his family in Johannesburg. This was the first time in over 17 years since I saw him last.  It was great to see him and his family. And - they really took me around!

First, we drove to the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve,.  It was like a safari and I saw many wild animals roaming around.  The below are some of the pictures from the interesting place.

It was a feeding time for the Lions.

Rhinos and deer-like creatures.


We then went to The Cradle of Humankind - a World Heritage Site.  

The skeleton of Lucy - the oldest human known.  We learned that its name came about because the excabators were listening to the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".

I also went to Soweto - the largest of townships close from Johannesburg.

This is a wall on the Vilakazi Street depicting Winnie Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela.

Inside the Mandela House - the actual house where Winnie and Nelson lived.

A typical house in Soweto - the Mandela house looked very much like this one.

A momorial right outside of Hector Pieterson Museum - a facility dedicated to the 16 June 1976 uprising against Apartheid that bears the name of the 12-year old boy that was shot to death on that day.

The statue of the most famous and popular person of South Africa at the Nelson Mandela Square.


Cape Town visit

I had meetings in Cape Town, South Africa this week.  It took over 24 hours to get there from Tokyo.

As usual, I did not have much time, but I could do some walking and running.

Upon arrival on Wednesday, our group was first taken to the Table Mountain, the over 1,000 meter altitude rocky plateaux that is a symbol of the city.

We took a cable car to the top.  Unfortunately, due to a very heavy fog, we could not see anything from the top.

These rock hyraxes live up on the top of the Table Mountain.

Cape Town is 14,733 km away from my home.

This is the view of the city from the Cable Car station at the bottom.  

Went for a walk up the hill from our hotel, yesterday morning.

Very interesting vegetation on the hill.  The ocean is the Atlantic.

A beautiful view of Lion's Head around 7:30 this morning.