Spring is trying to arrive

This can be a really nice time of year. Spring is trying to arrive. We’ve had some really nice days lately and today was no different. The temperature was not cold, the sky was clear, and the trees and flowers are JUST beginning to show their colors. In the next two weeks the cherry blossoms should explode. However, during the week the lows are going to hover just above freezing, so I worry a little.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain, so I really wanted to make sure I got out for a nice stroll in the sunlight. I brought along my camera to record the rebirth. I walked from my place to Nagoya castle and back. It isn’t a far walk, but I was probably out one and a half or two hours.

The magnolia tree directly in front of my apartment.

In front my apartment


Along Sakuradori ….

Along the street where I live


Along the street where I live



In front of my local Starbucks

Along the street where I live, in front of Starbucks


Of course, Japan only needs an excuse for a festival. This sign says さくらまつり or Sakura festival.

Sakura festival lighting


A few trees were in full bloom. Although this looks like a cherry tree, it is actually a plum tree.

Plume tree in full bloom


I’m looking forward to the Spring. Although I will be busy, it will be nothing like last year. I don’t even remember anything about last Spring other than “Oh my God, what have I gotten myself in to?!?”

I am still challenged by work, but I feel more at home here in Nagoya and I feel fortunate still to be here.

A taste of Spring

I’m in Kobe this weekend, isolated around the port area and catching a couple of Coldplay shows here. We had great tickets last night (number 4 and 5 into the venue) so I was front row, center. SInce it was general admission though, there was much jockeying for space, pushing, etc. I felt violated and so did Tomo! I’ve been to some crazy, packed dance clubs in my younger days, but never have I become so familiar with those around me. I won’t get in to details, but it seems I should have at least learned the names of a few of the folks!

That’s not the point of this note though. The weather this weekend is amazing. Spring is in the air – you can feel it. It is warmer here than in LA. Unfortunately, it is going to get cold this week with a prediction of snow. But the hint of Spring is really refreshing and I look forward to changing to a light jacket or shirt sleeves. Heck, I am even sort of looking forward to the dog days of summer, the buzzing of cicadas, the oppressive heat. I can wait though and savour the anticipation – for now I want to enjoy the winter a little bit more. As much as I complain about the chill in my apartment, I am really enjoying have seasons.

I want to forecast the weather too!

I used to use www.wunderground.com extensively back in the States. They were pretty reliable. If you take a look at the forecast from wunderground below, you would think I was living in a snow belt! That’s for the Nagoya Airport.

Snow day soon?


If you look at Nagoya City, it is a bit different story.

It is only rain ...


What’s the difference? The airport is a little bit away from the city but on the coast – so certainly not at higher elevation. Both of these forecasts are “Nagoya.”

Which do I choose?


If you go to Yahoo! Japan, it looks like pretty nice weather coming up.

Just a few clouds


Finally, if you look at the official Japanese government weather forecast, it looks a lot like the Yahoo! forecast.

Statistically speaking ...


I think the Weather Underground forecaster just wants to see some snow, kind of like a little kid wishfully thinking that tomorrow will be a snow day. In the end, I believe all the meteorological information is from the same government source, and the difference is only how the icons are applied. At what percentage chance of participation do you change from a sun to a precipitation icon? What temperature leads you to a cloud dropping snow or dropping rain?

I don’t know why I thought this would be interesting. I guess since the time I’ve been here I’ve been amused by the variety of forecasts that I can find on the internet. In the end, I guess they are all the same.

Tsunami advisory

I happened to turn on the TV this morning to see if there was anything interesting on the tube (although I shouldn’t use “the tube” anymore because there are no tubes in modern TVs). I guess I’m just kind of stalling / denying that I have to work tomorrow. I’m in total chill mode. I rarely watch TV in Japan because, well, I don’t understand it. I know that watching TV is a good way to learn a language but I feel like a Peanuts character listening to an adult.

When I turned on the TV I noticed a map of Japan with yellow highlights on the south facing coast line. I knew there was an earthquake in Indonesia, so I wondered if it was a tsunami warning. My prefecture is on the coast, but I am nowhere near the coast. However, I was curious. I went to the Japan Meteorological Agency website and sure enough, there was a tsunami advisory.

Tsunami advisory

I’m not trying to make a tsunami sound exciting. It isn’t like a snow storm or something. As a matter of fact, I got a very stressing text message in 2004 from a good friend who was on Phi Phi island in Thailand when the tsunami hit (by the way, my friend started a charity as a response to the disaster). However, part of this blog is to report what is going on here.

Since the time I’ve discovered this tsunami advisory and started this entry, the tsunami has already arrived. It appears to have been between 10 to 20 centimeters.

How much is it worth?

Has it really been twelve days since my last blog entry? Wow. For both of you out there reading this, I apologize that it took so long. I had a few entries in mind but they have escaped me. I know one was really amusing too. What a bummer, I can’t remember what it was.

Today I am having a few colleagues over for a movie night. Hey, no big deal. It is a good excuse to make me clean up a little bit and finally wade through some of the uninteresting mail that has piled up. So I’m in a relatively clean / picked up place. Nice. I’m getting better organized. I thought it might be kind of fun to have some chips and salsa as a little movie night kind of behavior. I went to one of the gaijin grocery stores and sure enough I was able to get some Tostitos white corn tortilla chips and salsa (luckily while I was there I saw some chili beans so I’ll be able to make chili this winter which makes me very happy). I bought two bags and two salsas.

How much would you pay for this?

How much do you think that little purchase cost? Sure, it is Japan. Things are more expensive here. I understand that. The total purchase was … are you ready? It was about 2300 yen, or $20. Yikes! We will have to enjoy every last morsel.


Other News

In other news, we had our first typhoon of the season. The storm was weakening and then start building up again. I made sure I left work at the peak of the storm, it appears. It was pretty rainy and getting windy when I left. By the time I got home the air was still and it was gently raining. What happened? The storm looks pretty wet when you look at the RADAR image below. Compared to one of the typhoons in Mito in 2004 this was nothing. I must have been on the good side of the eye or something.

It looks worse than it was


I have actually succeeded in framing and hanging some pictures. As a matter of fact, you can see some of the images with the Tostitos. I ordered 9 more frames today. Just part of my prairie fire spending!