Day 08 Home Day 10
Day 09 (Wednesday, 2016-08-17)
Temperature: 28dC (very humid again)
  • D2 Shopping
  • Philosopher's Walk
  • Image Notes
    In the morning the Cone went to look at stores. Specifically home renovations and bike stores. Before it got there though it had to cross the Kamo (duck) river.
    The banks of Kamo river are a popular attraction for locals. Under the bridge there were two teams of break dancers busting moves and on the shallow shores there were many kids splashing in the water.
    The Cone reaches D2 the Home Center store. As soon as it enters the store it finds a flower pot boot and it approves of its design.
    Stores in Japan

    In addition to normal groceries stores the Cone was interested in specialty stores in Japan. Finding Home Centres (like Home Depot, Rona, Canadian Tire) was a little tricky. In the end the Cone determined that these stores are the equivalent:
  • Viva Home
  • D2
  • Homac
  • Ken Mart

    If one is interested in eletronics stores (like BestBuy) then these are the Japanes equivalent:
  • BIC Camera
  • Yamada Denki
  • LABI (in Tokyo)
  • Yodabashi Camera
  • The next series of photos is of items in the D2 store. The Cone uses it to compare selection and prices to what's available in Canada.

    Here is some welding equipment.
    Bath faucets. The Cone appreciates the design that uses one of the knobs to set temperature and the other knob to set water pressure.
    An 80-20 equivalent using round pipes instead. It can be purchased from DIY-life.
    The notorious Japanese smart toilet seats.
    Tatami mats.
    The famous Japanese knifes.
    Duty Free goods for tourists

    The Cone asked to use the duty free program at D2 - which considering the hassle it caused was a waste of time. The process has a couple of requirements:
  • The sum total of all the items purchased in a day from the same store has to exceed Y5,000 (~$60).
  • The items purchased cannot be "consumed" in Japan.
    The cone had two employees go through the process of setting up a special duty free invoice - half of which is stapled into the passport while the other half is affixed to a sealed bag containg the purchased duty free products. This bag must not be open while still in Japan - which makes packing painful. The ordeal took 15 minutes and consumed one passport page. It saved $5 in taxes.

    TL;DR: If you don't spend over a few hundred dollars in purchases at one store do not bother with duty free invoices.
  • Next the Cone visits some bicycle stores. Here are their locks selection. The Cone acquired one of the quick release rear wheel locks for testing in Vancouver. It seems every single bike here has one of these.
    Transportation in Japan

    On a long bus ride the Cone pondered the availabe modes of transportation in Kyoto. The bicycles are ubiquitous - most of which use Brooks-like leather seats. Also all have a small lock on the rear wheel and a basket at the front. These are cruiser bikes with low top tube to make getting off and on very easy. Some bikes have umbrella mounts. Other are designed to carry two children and the Cone saw at least a dozen mothers deftly slaloming between pedestrians with a child in the front seat and one in the rear seat of the bike. Quite a few have dynamos - some of which have it in the hub. And some have electric motor assists - though they don't look huge like the electric bikes in Vancouver. Last but not least nobody wears a helmet.

    In terms of cars almost all are domestic. The imports are (in order of incidence):
  • German (highest incidence): BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Mini Cooper, Porsche
  • French: Peugeot, Renault, Citroen
  • American: Ford, Jeep, GMC.
  • British: Land Rover
  • Italian: Alpha Romeo
  • Swidish: Volvo
    As most of the cars are new (Japan has a step function in taxing cars older than 10 years which incentivizes the people to buy new cars) there's no oil spots on the roads.

    The Cone was suprised to see few hybrids and electric cars. Almost all taxis are gasoline powered - and relatively old looking. There were no Teslas seen anywhere.
  • This will come in handy.
    A chain cover with the memorable inscription: "Multifarious emotions reflecting the individuality". It adds +10% to speed.
    The Cone reaches the Philosopher's Walk.

    This pipe accross the stream reminded the Cone of a certain someone who would prance accross it like it is nothing. Maybe some molten lava underneath would make her reconsider crossing it, or maybe the waves of an angry ocean. Even then the adrenalin rush would probably make her want to cross it more - and get the Cone's heart tied into a knot. :)
    There are small shrines strung along the philosopher's path.
    In the stream there are many carps or are they Tilapia. Let us call them them Pig Fish. These Pig Fish lazily swim against the current trawling the bottom of the stream for food. They won't eat bread that the Cone threw at them - they'll taste it but they'll spit it back out. So in that sense they are very picky eaters. Also the big (older) ones congregate downstream - very close to where the stream ends and goes into an underground pipe. The younger ones hang-out about 2 kms upstream and they are more lively.
    While trying to feed the Pig Fish the Cornelius noticed a sort of dragonfly would leap into the air and try to catch the falling piece of bread. It turns out that this is not a dragon fly it is a damsel fly. Closely related but not the same thing.

    Here it is difficult to see but tow of these damselflies are chasing each other just abouve the stream surface.
    Unlike a dragon fly which at rest keeps its wings perpendicular to its body the damsel fly folds its wings on its back and from time to time opens them up before taking short flights to catch other insects - they are indeed carnivorous.
    The damsel fly spieces on the shores of the stream were of this type. These insects come in a variety of brilliant colors and the Cone was lucky to find a dilligently put together site about them at odonata.jp.
    The Cone noticed that someone in Japan doesn't agree with TPP.
    A short section of the Philosopher's Walk. Let's call it Part 1.
    And here the Cone observes two Cicadas serenading each other.
    Insect intelligence

    The Cone is very much intrigued by Cicadas behavior. In particular there were two events that made it feel the insects had some sort of above average intelligence.
  • Behavior 1: When a crow picked up a Cicada the insect emitted a loud shrill. When was the last time you heard an insect scream when attacked?
  • Behavior 2: While the Cone was recording a singing Cicada it got the camera relatively close to the insect which resulted in the singing pattern to change to a more "stressed" tune.

    A brief search for peer reviewed studies of insect individual intelligence (not swarm intelligence) has revealed very little. The Cone continues to wonder.
  • Another short section of the Philosopher's Walk. Let's call it Part 2.

    The walk is very relaxing and induces contemplation.
    On the path there was a Philosopher's Cats Stop. Cats are great at lounging.
    And here is what the Cone assumes to be the Philosopher's Bamboo House.
    And finally The Philosopher.
    Back to the station the Cone bumps into some tourists from the Southern hemisphere.
    One of the Cone's retainers is wearing the "Zombies don't like Fast Food" t-shirt (sponsered apparel from Adi TT) on the stairs of the Aeon Mall in Kyoto.
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