Wednesday, August 21, 2013


   The other day I returned to the dam I visited once before, to see if I would be able to walk across it. It turned out that the dam had a road running on top of it, and not only was I able to walk over the dam, but I was even able to take an elevator down inside it.

   With the rainy season more than a month passed, most of the rivers in my prefecture are running low. Still, it was hard for me to imagine the river so full as to account for the dark stains on the lower portion of the dam. I could see that the banks of the river had less and younger plantlife up to the same level as those stains on the dam, though, so I guess the river must run pretty high sometimes. 

   The view from on top the dam. 

   The view on the other side. 

   I had only expected to walk across the dam, but I discovered a building on top, with an elevator inside, and some visitor-friendly explanations about the history and construction of the dam. I discovered that the dam is about 1300 feet high. I was nervous about taking the elevator, so I waited around until some other people came out of it, to assure myself that it probably wouldn't break and trap me inside.

   This was the building with access to the elevator. Aside from the complete lack of people around, the most unsettling part about it was the retro elevator music streaming out of that loudspeaker attached to the door. If I had been holding a portal gun with a potato battery attached to it, I would have felt more equipped to enter.

   I took the elevator down about half way. From the hallway, which had some creepy artwork of children's handprints, I could see through this door to the gate controls.

   This picture makes it look more airy and well-lit than it actually was. It was very damp and musty. That door at the far end led to a stair case leading out of the dam, but at the moment it was off limits. There was also a terrace, but I didn't get a very good picture from it.

   The coolest part about the dam were the stairs and ladders giving access to every part of it. Of course, they were all off limits to me. But it would have been really cool to climb it.

ps I went to a lot of effort not to make the title of this post a pun on "dam." I hope you appreciate it

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer doldrums

   The temperature is staying firmly above 80 degrees, wandering into the mid 90s in the afternoon. It's pretty soul-crushing. I've been hiding out in the air-conditioned mall in the afternoons to avoid the worst of it.

   Yesterday, I took a walk at around 7am, while it was still bearable out.

    I just got back from a trip back home, and while I was gone, a crazy bird moved into the neighborhood. Every morning at 5:40 sharp, it starts screaming its head off from the electric wires over my apartment. I think it might have been raised by fire trucks.

   I realized that I've never broken 50mph driving in Japan. The speed limit on most roads is between 25 and 30mph, and even though everyone here speeds, they don't often go over 45mph. I think if I broke 60, my tiny car might fall apart.

   That's a cat, snoozing in the middle of the road. I don't see cats very often. Either not many people own them, or not many people let them out of the house. I'm not sure if this one was domestic or feral. Usually when I see cats, I meow at them. They always stop, give me a look, then run away. Maybe I'm saying something weird.
   There's one yellow cat that comes by my balcony, yeowling sometimes, but when I meow at him, he always goes away. Idk if he's hungry or looking for a mate, but if it's the latter, I can tell him right now, he does not have a very attractive meow.