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Day 06 (Sunday, 2016-08-14)Temperature: 35dC
The Cone doesn't spend much time shopping for food in Tokyo. In the
little time it does it finds it very difficult to get fresh fruits. This
is in the Cone's opinion only an issue in the inner city once one goes
to the outskirts (like Kamakura) vegetables stands are more commonplace.
The picture to the left shows a stand at the local Family Mart. There are very few greens and even those that show up on the shelves are more yellow than green.
The Mini Marts appear to be the stores of choice in the inner city. They are stocked with most of the articles one needs day-to-day. The Cone noticed a somewhat interesting trend - most of the cashiers at these stores are not Japanese - they appear to be caucasian, east indian or middle eastern. These are the only foreign looking workers the Cone noticed during its travels in Japan. This might change in the future.
Once in Yokohama the cone made its way to the Sankeien Garden. The
garden was designed and built by Tomitaro Hara, a wealthy silk trader.
It opened to the public in 1906 and contains a few important buildings
from Kamakura and Kyoto that Mr. Hara had moved to his garden.
In its garden the Cone finally managed to snap a picture with an elusive black butterfly (the same species was also seen at Kamakura).
|Background image of a three story pagoda built in 1457 and moved to the garden in 1914 from close to Kyoto. The pagoda was closed to visitors.|
|In the shade of the garden a cat is lounging lazily. Way too hot to do anything else. When the weather is hot the Japanese say "Atsui".|
|A little Buddha wanted to hold the Cone in its palm. Again the Cone in its vast grace allowed it.|
The Cone found the husk of a Cicada.
Cicadas "hibernate" underground for many years (some up to 17 years). They all come out to breed at the same time. The cohorts that come out at the same time are called broods. When the Cicadas come out they don't have wings and are somewhat cockroach like. They mold and leave behind this body to become winged insects.
And here is a recently deceased Cicada.
Cicadas sing by using an organ called a tymbal. Their song is very loud. In fact it can peak at above 100dB. According to US federal worker standards sound levels above 90dB-95dB can result in hearing loss. In fact they are so loud that they have to fold their hearing organ to protect it from damage.
The Cone noticed very few birds around cicada areas and theorizes that cicadas' songs prevent birds from hearing each others mating calls. Ravens appear to be the only ones who are not affected by cicadas.
|The Cone reaches a Yanohara farm gassho house. This one in was built in the Edo period (1600-1800) and moved here in 1960 from Gifu prefecture. The distinctive characteristic of gassho houses is their thatched roof which is built by a communal work party known as YUI. A YUI must thatch an entire roof in one day.|
|The Cone has managed to climb on the hook of the irori - the fireplace in the middle of the room. The Yanohara house has two irori one is burning throughout the day - and making a lot of smoke.|
|Gifu prefecture is located in the mountains and as such roofs of houses from this region have to whitstand heavy snow falls. The attic of the house is built around a complex structure of beams that are difficult to see due to darkness and the smoke in the attic.|
|The Yanohara house is very luxurious by farmer house standards. It is very spacious, it has a reception area with tatamis and special windows seen in Zen temples.|
|The Cone is dangling on a camera. Look at that lens - the photographers were trying to take pictures of birds. But the Cone thinks there aren't any because of the songs of the cicadas.|
|The Cone retainers are at it again - ignoring their duties and taking selfies.|
|In the background the cranes of the city of Yokohama can be seen.|
|Another view of those cranes.|
|Rinshunkaku is a villa built in 1649 by Yorinobu the son of Ieyasu Tokugwa (first shogun of the Edo period). It was moved to the garden in 1917 and supposedly it has beautiful paintings inside. The Cone could not get to see them as the house was closed for tourists.|
|Another cat at the garden. The Cone noticed that most cats in this region have short tails. After a brief search it determined that cats originating from south east Asia due to an accumulation of genetic mutations have short tails. In the central regions of Japan where trade with China has been more prevalent short tailed cats are more common.|
|The Cone is relaxing in the shade with a nice view of the three level pagoda.|
|To save space most cars are small. Yet garages are also clverly designed to take advantage of all available volume. Can one work on the underbody of the car in this fancy garage?|
|There's also many removable curb ramps.|
|One the way back to Tokyo the Cone noticed a Pikachu-con happening in the new center in Yokohama. It got off the train to investigate.|
|Small Pikachus, large Pikachus and humongous Pikachus were present. But there was no Raichu in sight.|
|The entire mall had Pikachus plastered around.|
|There was even a Pikachu onboard of the sailship.|
|Inside the Pokemon store - there were so many children that this must have been a hotspot for infectious diseases.|
|There were many dancing types of Pikachu. The Cone liked Gangster Pikachu the most.|
|Pikachu show ending. Look at those ears wobble.|
|The Cone felt that the fuel train passing through Yokohama main passenger train station was a little suspicious. Has Big Oil gone too far?|
|Safely back in Tokyo. Unlike in the morning when most people left where tourists the employees were returning on Sunday evening.|
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