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Forum: Our World Japan RSS
My adventures, let me tell you them!
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Author name (Administrator) #31
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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In reply to post ID 2945
Subject: Taking care of the bees.
After a guest complained about the bees (see previous post) we went to take care of them.  The boss took me along, but wouldn't let me too close to them.  He says because I was wearing black I was at risk of a good stinging.

So he went and assaulted the bees, double-barrel style!  After several attacks and several hasty retreats, he knocked their nest down with a big stick, and let 'em have it again and again while their nest was ground-based.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Bees1.jpg]

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Bees2.jpg]

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Bees3.jpg]

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Bees4.jpg]

And then we noticed this nest above the first.  It was much, much larger and he figured it'd be harder to eradicate.  We're going to tackle that one tomorrow.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Bees5.jpg]
BLEARGH
Author name (Administrator) #32
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Bugs!
Zumi's a regular bug-finder she is.  She called my attention to this cute little kamakiri on the deck:

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/kamakiri.jpg]

And then, tonight, a Miyama kuwagata (Miyama stag beetle) landed on her shirt.  She caught it and kept it for me. 

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Kuwagata-1.jpg]

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Kuwagata-2.jpg]

I don't like the Miyama kuwagata as much as the other kinds.  They tend to be very tense and aggressive, and they don't live long.  This is a small one, and doesn't have the prominent ridges above the eyes that usually indicates the type.  Sadly, around here, we don't often see the really large, really laid-back O-kuwagata that Japan's famous for.

I love it here.  =D
BLEARGH
Author name (Administrator) #33
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Up the creek - again.
The heavy rain for the last two days meant we had to trek back into the jungle to the creek that supplies our water.  It's not a task to undertake on a whim, despite its relatively short length.  The three or so hundred metres between here and the intake are known for spiders, thorns, vines, mud,  aggressive wild pigs, and a steep, winding path. 

If you can call it a path.  This picture shows what it looks like in there:

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/UpCreek4.jpg]

You can't see the path 'cause basically there isn't one.  There's a zig-zaggy sort-of path where the bamboo has been pushed aside, but you can never really clear it 'cause everything grows so fast.  Even if you cut the bamboo down, it doesn't fall 'cause more often than not it's held in place by grasping vines.  I get the impression that if I were to stand perfectly still overnight the vines would be growing on me too.

In the next shot, the boss contemplates the water pipe.  It's only about an inch and a half in diametre, but runs full speed all the time, until it stops. 

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/UpCreek2.jpg]

Here's a rare break in the foliage.  We've made it through the vines and bamboo, and are nearly at the creek itself.  In fact, it's about six feet to camera-left. 

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/UpCreek1.jpg]

And here's the water source.  That pipe pokes into a concrete box set in the centre of the creek.  The box is about two feet deep, the pipe set in the side about one foot from the top.  We have to dig all the mud out that covers the pipe mouth, and the farther down we dig beyond that, the more time it'll be before we have to come up here again.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/UpCreek3.jpg]

Check out the lens fogging.  I basically gave up taking pics by this time, about fifteen minutes into the jungle.  It was so wet, I could not clear the lens.  By the time the left side was clean, the right side was fogging up again.  It's no wonder the foliage up here is so amazingly thick, the conditions couldn't be better for growing things.
BLEARGH
Author name (Administrator) #34
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Japanese Jewel Beetle
This is a tamamushi (玉虫), the first I've ever seen in Japan.  It's absolutely, deliriously irridescent, and I'm totally unable to capture the beaty with the camera. 

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/tamamushi1.jpg]

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/tamamushi2.jpg]

Its metallic sheen makes it look positively robotic, and it has click-action elytra (wing covers) that it snaps open and shut like no other bug I've ever seen.

In fact, it snaps them open and shut when it's upside down, and trying to right itself:

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/tamamushi3.jpg]

And finally, here's a shot as it's just about to fly off my hand.  Landing gear is raised, elytra held out of the way of the wings, and he's off!  They make a loud, throbbing buzzing sound as they fly around, and like most beetles, they're clumsy fliers.  They tend to launch and ascend well, but all descents seem more like barely controlled crashes than actual flying.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/tamamushi4.jpg]
BLEARGH
This post was edited on 2010-08-11, 20:29 by NFG.
Author name (Administrator) #35
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Update, and a mukage - Japanese Centipede
Been raining all day today, more or less.  When it's not actively raining it's very actively wet, with low-hanging clouds and sprays of fog shooting up from behind trees up here in the mountains.  It's a good day for sitting under the AC, but instead we were cleaning and prepping ten rooms.  Every guest today was clean and sorted their garbage for us before we got there, but still, after four hours of changing sheets and vacuuming, you get a little tired.  Everyone's dozing in the living room now.

Earlier today the boss asks me if I want to see a mukage (centipede) eating a kamakiri (paper cutter) beetle.  Well naturally I did, and here are the pics for your enjoyment.

Or not.  These mukage are seriously fucking creepy critters.  They inspire a fundamental, almost primal 'ick' instinct in most people.  The Japanese believe they're intensely poisonous, and while only painful the first time they bite, will possibly kill you the second time.  This may be a modern myth, but the fear is still real, and the ick is definitely real.  It's practically tangible how much I want this thing to stay way, way, way away from me.

Luckily we don't see them often.

Click here to see the mukage in action!  (it's just a centipede!)
BLEARGH
Author name (Administrator) #36
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: An extra week in Tokyo!
It looks like we'll be out of Izu a week early.  Tentative plans are to leave here next Wednesday the 18th, giving a week more in Saitama/Tokyo than planned.  It'd have been nicer to have that time at the beginning of the trip when, it seemed, everyone I knew was also in town.  This end of the trip doesn't seem to have any such happy coincidences. 

I reckon I'm gonna spend a lot more time out there with the camera.  I've got some ideas about parts of the city I want to check out, and I might try and find a random model to abuse for a few hours, and see how that goes.
BLEARGH
Author name (Administrator) #37
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Shiny Beetles
Last night we found a stack of beetles, but despite my best efforts trying to attract them with lights in the yard, these ones just wandered into the house.

First, another kuwagata (stag) beetle.  This one's a ko-kuwagata, which seems to be a catch-all term for small unremarkable kuwagatas.  It may be a specific, smaller breed, but it seems every tiny kuwagata, no matter what it looks like (and they do all look similar!) is called ko-kuwagata.  So there you go.  This one was about 3.5cm from the tip of his elytra to the tip of his pincers:

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/KoKuwagata.jpg]

The green one we found on the dining room roof, and the gold one in the bathroom, clinging to a tube of toothpaste.  The smaller one's less than 1cm long, and he seemed to be playing dead, tucking in his legs and basically being boring.  The green one was calm and collected, but made sure to have his legs out and cling to anything presented to him.  But that was it, he'd just sit there.  As soon as the lights were out though, both were just gone with a buzz.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/TwoKanabun.jpg]

And here's a close-up of the green guy.  The colour in real life is just glorious, changing from emerald green to brown depending on the light.  Up close you can see he's not smooth, and he's surprisingly hairy, but still soooo cute!

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Kanabun.jpg]
BLEARGH
Author name (Administrator) #38
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Buncha bugs from the yard
I went out today and braved the mosquitoes to try and capture some of the great variety of insects we've got around here.  All of these were found within about 2 metres of the house.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Tombo.jpg]
Tombo - Dragonfly

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Butterfly.jpg]
Chou - Butterfly

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/DangoMushi.jpg]
Dango mushi - Pill bug

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/MorabineGrasshopper.jpg]
(??) - Morabine grasshopper

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/ZouMushi.jpg]
Zou mushi - Elephant bug

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/ZouMushi2.jpg]
Zou mushi - Elephant bug

Tomorrow is the last of the busy cleaning days, but since it's basically the end of the busy week, we're only going to do half of it.  We'll do the other half on the following day, apparently, and use the extra time tomorrow to go shopping.  We're out of skin spray to keep the mosquitoes away.  =(
BLEARGH
Author name (Administrator) #39
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: People these days...
The global epidemic of shrinking responsibility didn't miss Japan.  In addition to the people mentioned a few posts back we had a cancelation last night who managed to drag out a missed turn into almost three hours of not showing up, in an attempt to establish a legitimate excuse to get his deposit back.

No, to be clear, the road to this place isn't exactly a wide, well-marked road.  It is, however, the only road turning off the main highway for a couple of klicks in either direction.  So when your instructions are to take the only turn-off 1.5km past the Family Mart, it's pretty clear: there are no other turns within a kilo on either side of this turn off.  And, if you try to turn right instead of left, you're gonna get intimate with the frickin' ocean.

So with that context in mind, when the guy called last night at 11:30 (he started calling at 9 for directions) and said it took him nearly an hour to turn around in the narrow street he took by mistake, the boss figured he was full of shit. 

The twenty-somethings of Japan are a waste of space, everyone knows it.  Entitled, rude, self-absorbed dickheads with naught but their own fashionable existence in their heads.  I heard about it a lot when I was in Australia, from people working with Japanese tourists.  A few years older or younger and they're wonderful people, but somehow this one entire generation is just stupid.

I mean, I lost count of the mean-looking scruffy-orange-haired guys with pretty girls and beautiful sports cars who are filled with their own self importance and rage at the world who completely fall apart when they're asked to drive a narrow road.  Yesterday, while driving the boss' Prius down a windy road I've never seen before, I was tailgated by a large black sports car driven by one of these angry boys.  He was all over my ass, scowling, waving his hands at the delay.  The road got narrower and twistier and suddenly I was tearing down the craziest little back road in a little hybrid and steadily losing the asshole as he just couldn't drive for shit, and couldn't keep up.  When we got back to the straights and he caught up again he was a little more subdued.


Super hot this morning, for the first time in a week.  Happily, since two guests made up silly stories (one left his luggage on a train and spent several hours trying to find it) and didn't check in, we've only got three rooms to do.  After that time we'll...  I dunno.  I might wander down to the beach and take some pics.  Or, given the heat, I might sit under the AC and let the day pass by.
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Photos from Around
Figures the day I have time to wander around and take some pics it was the hottest day in memory.  This region is normally cool when Tokyo's hot, warm when Tokyo's cold, but not today.  Unfortunately Japan's suffering a heat wave and it managed to hit us hard even here, with temperatures cruising past 35C this afternoon. 

So I wandered for an hour and a half before deciding that, really, I'd had quite enough.  It was just too uncomfortable.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Boats.jpg]
Some local fishing boats in a harbour also used for swimming families and at least one jetski.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/EarthControl.jpg]
Japan spends an awful lot of time and energy trying to control the hills, which are very prone to sliding themselves into the ocean every time it rains.  Which is often.  This area/s covered in efforts like this.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/ForestPath.jpg]
I found a set of unmarked concrete stairs that led to this path.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/MyBike.jpg]
Nature reclaims everything left behind, and quickly.  I only parked my bike here an hour ago.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/TheBeach.jpg]
This is the local beach.  It's very popular.  If you want to see good looking Japanese bodies, you ought to come here.

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/TheWater.jpg]
Look at the colour of the water!  It's gorgeous, and very nice for swimming.
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: More idiot guests
The boss was returning from picking someone up at the train station.  On his way back up the narrow road, he comes across a car traveling away from us.  They couldn't pass each other so he stopped and knocked on the window.  "Aren't you Nakamura?" he asked. 

The driver of the other car said curtly "No."

The boss asks again "You are Nakamura, aren't you?"

The other driver says "Yes, actually we are."

More deception to get out of paying the cancellation fee.  These guys, in their hot lowered car, didn't think they could make it all the way up so were trying to avoid admitting they had finally found the place.  Now that the busy season is over and these chowderheads aren't reserving rooms other legitimate customers would have taken, the boss isn't too fussed by the shenanigans.  But, after relaying the story, he said "Japanese travelers aren't as respectable as they used to be."


Side note: I don't know what the guest's real name was, I chose Nakamura for no reason at all.

Side note 2: The boss says it's a problem with all Japanese, but Zumi maintains the worst offenders are the twenty somethings.
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: The sound of Japanese bush
Around this time of year there's a lot of cicadas in the trees.  They're quite unlike Australian ones, with a call that repeats and fades rather enjoyably, instead of just droning on and on.

Download an MP3 (400kb, 30 seconds) and check it out for yourself.  This noisy bugger was sitting next to me while I waited for a ride at the side of the road.
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: More dumbass guests
These kids called and said they were having trouble finding the place.  I fired up the laptop and Google maps, and based on the interchange they were at, pinpointed their location (A).  They need to get to (B), it's 41.0km away, which will take them an hour and 16 minutes to drive.  Yeah, welcome to Japan.

Anyway, they argued with us.  We said they were on road 414, but they were adamant they were on the main freeway (which they had to have left 15 minutes earlier).  They were dead certain they were on the ocean road, but as you can see, they were well inland.  They had a GPS navi in the car, which I suppose is the only reason they weren't in fucking China or something.

Anyway, we told 'em what was up, they disagreed, then called back ten minutes later and said "You were right!  We'll call when we get off the freeway." 

You retards, you've been off the freeway for a quarter hour already! 

The boss mutters when the call is over "Japanese today are so useless.  It's the end of Japan!"

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/idiots.png]
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: The mountains behind us...
We're back in civilization now, with the mountains and ocean behind us.  Had a great trip back, took the scenic train with huge windows and seats that faced them.  Ate and marveled at the scenery and had a great time.  Shinkansen into Tokyo, and a green car all the way back to Saitama.  Great trip, good fun, sooo glad to be back.

Our train:

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/Shinkansen.jpg]

The view:

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/photos/Japan2010/TheView.jpg]

And if you're interested in more bug pics, check out the Kuwagata thread and the Kabuto thread
BLEARGH
Author name (Administrator) #45
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Member since May 2011 · 2462 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Pizza-La.  Yeah.
Today was awesome.  Went shopping for lunch foods, found all manner of beverages and foods.  Seven Eleven once again proved how awesome it is, with freshly prepared noodles and sliced veggies for four AU dollars.  600ml Coke for $1.50, etc etc.  Australia doesn't know jack shit about food.

And Japan proved it again tonight with Pizza-La for dinner.  Oh, man, the ebimayo (ebi = shrimp, mayo = mayonnaise) was unbelievably good.  But, for $44 AUD, it had better be, right?


See, the thing is, a $6 Domino's pizza is made of the cheapest, hastily-assembled ingredients available.  Even a deluxe pizza from something like Pizza Capers or a woodfire bakery/cafe, at twenty bucks or so, is a random affair.  Pizza-La though takes their pizza so fucking seriously I imagine working there is a high-stress affair.

Every slice had two perfectly placed shrimp.

Every.  Single.  Slice.

I ordered a half/half pizza, the dividing line between the two types could have been drawn with a laser.  Each pizza looks like it was the one hand-made for the commercial.

Ebi may mayo ebi mayo (EBIIIII!!)
BLEARGH
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