Monday, March 9, 2009

My 5km Walk To The Town

Short note: Compared to me few previous entries, this is gonna be a heavy entry, not with words but with pictures. So, it could take some time for the pictures to upload if you are having a slow connection. Forty pictures in total, which I think is one of my entries with the most number of pictures.
For the past couple of weeks, my daily schedule was to wake up at noon, go online and check my mailbox, take my lunch, online again (which includes watching dramas and chatting), take my dinner, continue online again until my Internet gets disconnected (which usually happens at 2.30am sharp) and go to bed, and the whole cycle will start again the next day. But this is not good at all, and I know that as well. So, for the past few days, I have been trying to wake up early, take my proper breakfast, spend some time exercising, do some reading, and go to bed by midnight.
However, it's still winter now and with the highest temperature outside doesn't go beyond 10 degree in the afternoon, with the cloudy and dark sky with occasional rains to add to it, it's just make me not in the mood to go out and have a good jog. Yesterday, it was an exception. The weather was great - blue sky, bright and sunny day and since I have not gone to the town for almost a week already, I thought about the idea to walk all the way there.
The distance between my dormitory inside my college to the town is roughly 5 kilometers. My college (bottom right) must be located in a damn ulu place as you can see there are so many square boxes, which are paddy fields that even Google Earth can't give a clear view of it lol.
From this point onwards, the caption below each picture will tell you what I saw along the way, and it will also show how does the place I'm living now look like.
#1 - At the entrance of my college, before I start my journey.
#2 - This is how the bus I normally take when I go to the town because it snows heavily in my place during the winter and it is rather dangerous to cycle. It is not cheap either, because a 13-minute ride will cost us 200¥(RM 7) and bus fare has been increased recently =\

#3 - The nearest bus stop from my college -
Katakai-iriguchi bus stop. The bus time table is at at the bottom and although I said taking a bus ride here is super expensive, the service they provide is first class, in terms of punctuality. For the two year that I have been taking the bus here, I could only recall once when it was late for eight minutes; other times, it arrived exactly on the minute.
#4 - The road which I have seen for the 2967343249th time. But one thing for sure, there are no potholes or rubbish along the meticulously clean and well-maintained road, even in small towns.
#5 -During winter season, evergreen trees usually have stiff bamboo or wooden poles paralleling to its main trunk. Each pole has varying lengths of rope descending from the pole top and tied horizontal limbs on the tree beneath. This create a cone-shaped structure like a Christmas tree and they were ties to limbs to keep them from being broken by heavy, wet snow.
#6 - Here is anther example. They usually start doing this towards the end of November before it snows and it really takes up a lot of time tying all these trees after each autumn.
#7 -A signboard shop.

#8 -Several stalks of big onions which were hung on the wall for some time already, I guess, judging from the stem that grew from the onions.

#9 -A rubbish station in front of an apartment. Rubbish are generally divided into two types, degradable and non-degradable. There are certain days where you can only dispose a certain category of rubbish and if you don't follow them, then they will not collect your rubbish.

#10 -As I walked, I could see more shop houses and car, which means I am getting nearer to the town. But I wasn't even one-third of the journey yet by then.

#11 - Oh hi! I actually wanted to take a picture with the liquor shop across the road but too bad I had a wrong angle.
#12 - I continued walking and I suddenly noticed a large crowd in front. I thought it was a road-accident. Y'know, whenever there an accident happens in Malaysia, the motorist will be the busiest one, looking for the plate numbers for TOTO number.
#13 - When I took a closer look, I realised that it was something totally different from what I first thought. Someone was getting married that morning and she just got her make-up done there, because the bridegroom was nowhere to be seen.
#14 - The bride, who went into the car already by the time I was near enough to catch a glimpse of her. This is my first time seeing a bride in Japan; I mean, of course I've seen some from dramas and pictures, but I've never seen one in real life. This picture doesn't show how white the face of the bride was, it was so white that I think they use a few kilograms of flour on her face.
#15 - This was taken against the direction where I was heading - the crossroad at Nakazawa. The road on the left will lead to my college.
#16 - I sneaked through a small lane in between two shops and saw this.
#17 - Stopped halfway through the walk and took this picture, right in front of 7 Eleven.
#18 - I began spotting more cars. The flyover on the top left is the trunk road that lead us all the way down to Tokyo in the south.

#19 - One of the place I frequent the most when I do my groceries. - Gyomu Super. Most of the stuff here are much cheaper than the supermarkets.
#20 - I recently noticed this shop which sells bento sets, although I have never tried it before yet. It might not be as convenient as getting one from the convenience store, but I think the food here are fresher and cheaper too.
#21 - An example of a convenience store - Daily Yamazaki. You will get to see tons of them in Japan. You can get almost everything here 24/7 - from snacks and drinks to stationery, paying bills and cashing out money from the ATM machine. That is why they call it a convenience store.

#22 - This is something cute. When I first saw it some time ago, I thought it's some machine selling rice but it's actually a place where small farmers can take the paddy they plant themselves here and the machine clean the paddy from the husk to turn them into rice.
#23 - The city library, where I have came here a few times before.
#24 - Here is another example where they protect the plants from snowfall. It would be impossible to protect the multi-trunked shrubs in similar fashion with poles and ropes; instead they build little bamboo lean-to structures that allows light and moisture goes through it, but keep heavy snows from crushing vegetation.
#25 - A telephone booth outside the library.
#26 - Just a week ago, the snow was twice this height. Someone who sells
ice kacang must be loving this, eh? This was taken from the parking lot next to the library.
#27 - Well, at least this is something familiar.
#28 - I took a different route this time, cutting through the blocks of houses to get to the town, and saw this tree, which I'm not very sure what tree it is. It looks like a pear thought. Don't know, it could be a watermelon tree.
#29 - This is the small lane I took, instead of the main road to avoid the traffic. I have no idea what those poles signify.
#30 - Walking through the small lane and passing by rows of houses along the way, I took a break for this picture to be taken.
#31 - Finally, after walking for almost an hour, the town is just a few more steps away. Despite living in a dormitory which is surrounded by paddy fields, at least the town is not that bad.
#32 -This place caught my attention, and when I went closer, I got to know that it was a place where the council keeps the towed bicycles and motorbikes. Whoever who wish to claim back their bikes, there is a fine though, roughly 1,000¥(RM 35) for bicycles and 2,400¥ (RM 84) for motorbikes.

#33 - I finally reached the train station of Nagaoka and this is a pathway which goes across the railways below it.
#34 - It so happened that there was a train when I was there that time.
#35 - The ticket counter inside the station.
#36 - The front section of the Nagaoka station.
#37 - The main road which leads to the other part of the town across Shinano River.
#38 - I did some shopping and groceries and it was time for me to return. This time, I took a bus because it would be crazy to carry all my stuff all the way back. This is where I usually board the bus which goes to my college.
#39 - It is not a practice to take pictures in public in Japan, but this is how the interior of the bus looks like. Talking about boarding a bus here, you are not supposed to talk on the phone and turn it to silent mode (they call it manner mode) inside the bus, fearing that it will be a disturbance to the older generations. Same thing applies in the trains.
#40 - Final picture of the day, it was a full moon.

If you made it this far, well-done and thank you for reading.


Anonymous said...

u look so blur in #11, hahahaha

specialhuman said...

Nagaoka is really a small town huh..I mean...along the way to the town very few cars and people...:)

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
really? ^.o

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
now that you have mentioned it, only i realised about the lack of people and cars in the pictures in the entry. actually, i purposely waited for the road to be clear from cars before taking the pictures, hence you don't see many cars. besides, it was still early that time.

but of course, you can't compare nagaoka with tokyo. anyway, nagaoka is still better than nibong tebal xD

sheryl0202 said...

hey, interesting way of sharing your life in Japan with us!

calvin said...

@ sheryl0202:
thanks, it was just a random idea =)

=chuan guan= said...

aik...looks so peaceful....

kh said...

yeahor... forgotten to suggest this to you... ask you to walk to niigata city....

your place is a million times more inaka than mine la adui...
but your eki is much more canggih-er... at least got shinkansen...


calvin said...

@ =chuan guan=:
it can sometimes be a little bit boring though =\

calvin said...

@ kh:
i might do it one day, when i am really really bored and death is the next thing i'm gonna face.

yes, you're right. i got shinkansen, you don't have that. and the most important thing is, nagaoka has me, miyazaki doesn't. so, nagaoka is still better than miyazaki.

period =)

Endoru said...

Very the 暇 lately huh. *hehe*

akatsukiotoko said...

Great post, Calvin!

This post actually reminded me about my life in Saitama a few years ago. Surprised that the environment are quite similiar!!!

PS, I loved #24!

MichelleG said...

nice photos~~ esp moon one. the roads are similar here too, clean pavement and roads. and how everyone is so systematic and courteous to others.

the paddy machine is kakuii!!!

calvin said...

@ endoru:
yes, sir xD

calvin said...

@ akatsukiotoko:
i've been to saitama for half day last year and yea, basically the surroundings are pretty much the same; neither too city nor village, just like nagaoka =)

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
moon picture was taken with the focus mode turned into infinity. but at least christchurch is so much better than nagaoka, that's for sure T_T

talking about that paddy machine, i actually went inside once, only to realised that it doesn't sell rice =.=