Friday, March 28, 2008

Timelapse Clouds on Mt Buko

This is a small timelapse movie I made this morning. I used some hacked firmware on my Canon A650IS, which allowed me to run simple script that takes a photo every 2 seconds until I press a button on the camera to stop it.

I then used a program called Slide Show Movie Maker to take the individual images and put them together into an AVI movie.

I then used VirtualDub to clean things up a bit - tweak the contrast, etc.

uploaded to google video - sadly the compression they use makes it a bit chunky. the original version is bigger and much smoother. still, better than nothing!

and there you go. about 2 hours compressed into 2 minutes...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Map

View Larger Map

Heres a google map that ive added some things to. Ill add more as time goes on.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I feel like I've misstepped into a slightly alternate universe. I'm in Japan, and Chichibu, but not quite the same one as I left last time...

The flight over was great - a brand new Airbus A330 with 2-4-2 seating. Comfy seats, and the only empty seat on the flight was next to me, so I had both an aisle and a window, and was able to put the middle armrest up and sleep lying down(ish)!

Flying into Japan at sunrise is something worth having a window seat for. A low mist covered the ground, but some things poked up above. power line towers, smokestacks, giant wind turbines. Ethereal. And gorgeous!

Our plane was first to land, and i was through immigration and customs in a flash. Only issue then was that the first Skyliner train into Tokyo didn't come for another hour and a half. So I decided to jump on a "local" train - which takes two hours instead of one to get into Tokyo, as it stops at every single station. I didn't mind though, as I alternated between dozing and watching the various groups of commuters ebb and flow. Japanese trains provide a wonderfully rich soundtrack of squeaks, hisses, groans, whirrs and squeals, which then gets added to depending on passenger density by sneezes and snuffles, book page flipping, foot shuffling and quiet chatter. I could have pulled out the recorder, but was enjoying it all in a sleepy traveller's haze just a bit too much to move.

Across Tokyo, only to discover that because of a track problem on an intersecting line, the Red Arrow (Express train to Chichibu) wasn't running. So onto another local train. Here again, the feeling of being in an alternate universe took hold - I swear they have changed some of the station names on the Seibu Chichibu line.

Still, I was in Chichibu by lunch time, and I decided to walk from the station to the Kakizakai's place. Haruka (eldest son) opened the door and got a surprise to find me there and leaped out to give me a huge hug. Lunch with Kaoru, Megumi and Haruka was just what was needed, before Haruka - who has just got the japanese version of his P-plates, drove me around to the caravan, under the somewhat nervous supervision of Kaoru ;)

Luckily for Kaoru, Haruka is about to start studying Physics at university, so if it survives the next week, the car should be safe for a while - the party on Monday night will be to both welcome me to Chichibu again, and to farewell Haru, who will be living on campus.

So, im settled in the slightly alternate universe caravan. Its chilly, and there is still a bit of snow visible on top of Mt Buko. Spring is on its way though - blossom and new growth starting to appear on trees. and they've changed the midday song too. i guess its a seasonal thing...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Third trip

I'm off to japan again. Three months, but this time in spring rather than autumn. It was going to be less, as patchie and I miss each other a lot, but as she pointed out to me - last time I was just making significant breakthroughs after two months, so to have to come home at that point would be a shame.

the Sakura Forecast is estimating the first cherry blossoms to open in tokyo on the 26th of march. I arrive on the 25th :) so I should be there for the full cherry blossom experience. Expect lots of photos...