It’s been a long time since the last update on this page. A lot of things have happened, but not much has changed. Except that I am now married to the fiancé I meet in Japan 2 years ago J Now that things have settled down a bit in Japan we decided to pay her parents a visit and are currently staying in Furukawa again. Well if I say settled down you might jump to conclusions. What I mean is that there is no immediate thread either from big earthquakes, tsunamis or the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

Earthquake March 2011

Here in Furukawa you can still see the results of the big earthquake on the 11th of march everywhere. Electricity masts are still a bit crooked, places where old buildings collapsed are empty, streets are still quite messy and have been only patched up and you can tell that the whole city has subsided about 20cm because most of the manhole covers are poking out of the ground. But nevertheless I’m impressed how everything returned back to a level that you can call normal. From now own everything will get better bit by bit.

Radiation in Furukawa

What is left are the worries about the troubled power plant in Fukushima. As far as I can tell Furukawa was not directly affected by the 3 hydrogen explosions (or at least that is what the government tells the Japanese it was), but the background radiation level has risen a bit. Normally the radiation level in Japan was lower than in Europe and about 0,05 to 0,1 mcSv/h, now the air radiation level is about the European level 0,1 to 0,2 mcSv/h, but varies from place to place. Measuring the radiation close to water drains my Geiger counter showed little but no significant difference, so either Furukawa has been spared from “black rain” or it has already been washed away.

Radiation in other places

What is more or less sure is that Fukushima city has been greatly affected by the accidents. Just by measuring the radiation from inside the Shinkansen (Bullet train) I can tell that the background radiation went up to 0,5 – 0,6 mcSv/h. Starting in Koriyama the radiation level went up to 0,4 mcSv/h rose further approaching Fukushima city and then went down as soon as leaving Fukushima prefecture.

Even though 0,6mcSv/h does not mean an immediate health thread (the background radiation on a plane is about 2,2mcSv/h) but being exposed to it for a few years in a row could raise the risk of cancer. Especially children are at risk. As told on television there are quite a view hotspots in Fukushima where the radiation level is up to 50 mcSv/h.

What is more frightening though is the fact that rice is grown in these regions as if everything is normal and that there are no compulsory radiation tests for food in Japan at the moment. The fact that radioactive meat nearly had made it to the market just recently proves that food and water can be a thread and will continue to be for the next years until compulsory test will prevent contaminated food to spread on the market.

Now, enough of these gloomy thoughts. Starting of today I will feed you with new photos again and keep you informed about the situation in Japan.

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I’m sorry for the delay… I’m quite busy at the moment with preparations for my departure and furthermore have to fight a cold (at least I hope it’s just one 😉 ).

Friday is my last day at ALPS and before that I will have to hold a presentation about the internship (what I learned, what I think… and so on). In Japanese of course…

Furthermore there are so many people here I have to say good bye to after work… I think I’ll be busy until next weekend.

Please wait a little more, I’ll upload the Matsushima Pictures asp. 🙂

Until then… さようなら

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pew,  long time no update. I was busy with lots of things during the last month so I didn’t find any time to sort and upload all the pictures I took. I myself am doing fine so far, but I feel sad that the day of my departure is getting closer and closer… well can’t be helped since I have to finish studying quickly and return to Japan for a longer period. Until then I might have to do some smaller vacations 🙂

the end of July and beginning of August were quite a busy time. Hanabi (Fireworks) in Furukawa, then the Summer Festival, Obon and finally Hanabi in Matsushima.

Of course I took loads of pictures, especially from the Hanabi-tournaments in Furukawa and Matsuhima so that it wasn’t easy actually decide on the best ones.
The pictures of Matsushima will have to wait a few more days, but let’s just start with the Hanabi Pictures of Furukawa.

Not the biggest Fireworks I’ve ever seen, but quite a few really nice movtives. The difference to other Fireworks i’ve seen until now that it is really conducted like a tournament, one after another and that you can see every single rocket. (This takes some time though. The Fireworks in Furukawa lasted about 1 1/2 hours)

After the Fireworks followed the Summer Festival in Furukawa (called Tanabata). There are loads of  Tanabata displays, stands where you can buy food or useless stuff, a or two stages where groups show their dances (from traditional Japanese to modern hip-hop-parapara) and loads of pretty girls wearing yukata.

Since the rainy season began pretty late and lasted until August I didn’t had the chance to take any sunset and night-view pictures, but at last here they are.

A collection of the finest Sunset pictures over Furukawa:

And here the Night-view:

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One thing I can say now, is that you live is definitely shorter in Japan… One week after another passes and before I realized it half of my internship was over… Since I was quite busy at work and didn’t got to new places that were worth taking pictures I also didn’t have much to present. But since it is the Rainy “Season” now (it’s not really special, only a few days rain until now and all of them not in a row) I took some photos in the rain 🙂

Quite heavy rain though 🙂

You can also see pictures of the typical apartments where most of the younger Japanese live. Its basically one long room but with everything you need, like kitchen, bathroom, washing machine, fridge ….In Furukawa they cost about 300-500 euro per month + expenses for gas and electricity. Over all you should be able to live there for about 500-700 euro. Quite expensive you might say… yes, but it’s still cheap compared to an apartment, and really cheap compared to comparable apartments in Tokyo.

And here a few pictures of my second bike-trip to Naruko. Seems to be a tourist spot, especially in the autumn when all the trees become colorful.

This is about 10km west from Naruko. From there on the hills seem to become quite steep, so going any further might require a 2-day trip 🙂 But since my bike starts to disintegrate now I doubt that it’ll survive my internship or the next long bik-trip 🙂

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uuuaa, this feels like sitting in a sauna. I guess the rainy “season” has begun now (apparently it only lasts about 1 or 2 weeks here). It’s not really warm… just 20deg, but it’s wet outside and the humidity should be around 70 or 75% … I can’t imagine how it will feel like after the rain stops and the temp. rise up to 30 deg.

I’ll gonna die….

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