Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An idea.

While I was getting some photos developed the other day, I noticed that you can now have a personalized 12 month calendar made using your own photographs. It got me thinking about making up a Japan calendar, as I do have about 10,000 pictures covering my 24 month stay. I dare say I could find 12 interesting images to make a calendar. The question is, would anybody else be interested in owning one of these? Let me know, either through e-mail or comments if you, my loyal readers, think this would be a good idea.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!

For her birthday I took Elizabeth the girlfriend (not Elizabeth the sister, whose birthday is soon but not now) to Idaho Springs for a dose of mountain air and smelly hot water. We had a great time meandering around the foothills, and lucked out with a bit of impromptu elk viewing.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving, especially to those still in Japan, the land that turkey forgot.

The view from Lou's

A bit up the road from my Grandparent's ranch sits the glorious abode of their neighbor, Lou Rovano. While he lives in the greater bay area most of the time, he often spends weekends up in the wine country, growing grapes and making his own vintage. We took some time away from sawing and splitting to take a quick tour of his house, and try some of his delicious home made port.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Starry Night

One thing that has been denied to me for too long was a glimpse of the night sky unblocked by light pollution. While it can be fun to hang out in the brighter than the noonday sun lighting of Shinjuku and Shibuya, the omnipresent neon glare doesn't do astronomers any favors.

Luckily for me, my grand parents ranch is two miles from the nearest town, and tiny Hopland isn't exactly a metroplex on the Tokyo scale. Combine distance with a new moon, and for the first time in ages I had a night sky that was perfect for star gazing.

My total count of "interesting objects" for my time in California came up with a single satellite and a grand five shooting stars! One of those was a pretty large fireball that left a trail across the night sky. I was one thrilled little sky junky that night.

Of course I also had the opportunity to dust off my little used tripod and try some night shots. Unfortunately I don't have a remote, so I was limited to 30 second exposures, which isn't really enough time to get good detail. Luckily, photoshop came to the rescue, and with some enhancement and modification I got some interesting detail out of a couple of my sky shots.

I also tried some interesting lighting schemes with my grandfathers giant flashlight. I was shocked that my attempt to write "Hi!" with light was actually legible, but the standout it my "close encounters" aliens swooping down to abduct a deer on the hillside. Even though I was merely holding the light over my head, it looks a lot like a beam shooting down from the heavens!

Friday, November 09, 2007


I am (or at least will shortly be) gainfully employed once more. I was offered a customer service position with EF Educational Tours. I'll be fielding calls from concerned parents dealing with the company's study abroad trips. The position is certainly entry level in pay, but there are some pretty nice perks, including discounted airline tickets and three weeks paid vacation. I'm pretty excited about the job, and looking forward to earning money once again!

By the way, a big thank you to Alexis for forwarding me the job posting, without her I'd still be scanning Craigslist!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Westward Bound

This past weekend I ventured out to the wilds of Northern California to visit with most of the members of my fathers side of the family. Being that I've been gone for two years, it had been a long time since I had seen any of the California Contingent. I was looking forward to visiting with a lot of good people, and sampling the glorious views and weather of fall in the Wine Country.

Plenty of time was set aside to help my grandfather around the house, and the ranch. With all four of his sons visiting for the weekend, you can imagine that plenty got accomplished, and plenty of beer got consumed!

A very high priority for the boys was this pile of wood the was in need of splitting. A major source of heat for the living room of the ranch is a wood burning stove, and my grandparents will need plenty of wood by the time the winter is over! Luckily, they now have LOTS of wood ready to go. I should know, as I stacked most of it, though certainly that was far from the most difficult job on offer. That would be felling the actual trees...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Love Letter

Kanazawa City
Ishikawa Prefecture

Dear Kanazawa,

I miss you.

I'll admit, when I first met you, I didn't like you very much. You were cold, and covered in wet, slushy snow. I didn't really know you though, and as the seasons changed and I grew to know your back ways and small bars and restaurants, I grew to love you more and more. Over the twenty months that I lived with you, you really got under my skin. Even now, sometimes I just wander your streets with google earth. Its not that Denver isn't a great city, but she lacks your intimacy and exoticism. I just wanted to write, and let you know that I'll never forget you, and that I'll be back for a visit as soon as I can.




拝啓 金沢、

さみし です。

きみ は さむい いつ ぼく は 来ました。でも 雪 の あとで きみ は きれい でした。きみ の 居酒屋 や お好み焼き屋 や バー や こんびに すごい おいしおいしかった です。 ぼく は すぐ 帰ります。ことばじち。