Monday, March 31, 2014

The Majestic Nojimazaki Lighthouse

"Darkness reigns 
at the foot of the lighthouse"

Japanese proverb

The majestic Nojimazaki Lighthouse in between the pine trees.

Back in late September 2013, the second tour of Chiba Kun Ambassadors took us to tour the most southern tip of the Bōsō Peninsula in the city of Minamibōsō, Chiba prefecture. Sitting majestically on a hill was Nojimazaki Lighthouse (野島崎灯台), which was one of eight lighthouses to be built in Meiji period Japan under the provisions of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 1858, signed by the Bakumatsu period Tokugawa Shogunate.

The lighthouse was completed almost 150 years ago, back in the second year of Meiji era (1869). A French - François Léonce Verny (1837 – 1908) was the engineer who was responsible in designing and constructing this lighthouse as the second Western-style lighthouse built in Japan.

At the entrance to the lighthouse, there are several marine-related items to greet the visitors.

The French engineer who built this lighthouse had his name engraved on the walls inside the lighthouse.

The huge Second Order Fresnel lens that has intensity of 1.2 million candela.

The breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean from the top of the lighthouse.

The coastal line of Shirahama can be seen from the lighthouse too.

Photo-time with two fellow Chiba Kun Ambassadors from Korea.

Bonjour! So, this was the guy who built the lighthouse.

In this exhibition hall called Kirarin-kan (きらりん館), there is a French-made Fresnel lens, which looks more like a glass art.

Nojimazaki Lighthouse is noteworthy as the second lighthouse to be completed in Japan after the Kannonzaki lighthouse on the opposing entrance to Tokyo Bay. It was one of the eight lighthouses required to be built by Tokugawa shogunate in accordance with the Edo Treaty of 1866 signed with Britain, France and the Netherlands. As completed, the whitewashed octagonal brick structure stood 30 metres high, and had a first-order Fresnel lens, with a kerosene light source. The lighthouse was first lit on January 19, 1869.

Unfortunately, the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 torn down the top eight meters of the structure. It was rebuilt in concrete and re-commissioned a couple of years later on August 15, 1925. However, the structure suffered major damages again 20 years later in 1945 by the bombardment by the United States Navy. It was repaired after the war with a second-order Frensel lens, and was subsequently electrified.

Surrounded by the Japanese pine forest is an old shrine – Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社) which was built in 1779.

This shrine celebrates the Seven lucky Gods (Shichi Fukujin, 七福神), the seven gods of good fortune in Japanese mythology and folklore.

Beautiful red torii gates at the shrine.

Today, the Nojimazaki Lighthouse is open to the public. Besides the mini museum at its base, that showcases the history of the lighthouse and also a model of the gigantic lens use at the top of the lighthouse; visitors get to climb all the way to the top of the lighthouse. From here, visitors will be able to enjoy the fantastic panoramic view over the Pacific Ocean.

Nojimazaki Lighthouse is registered with the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities as one of the "One Hundred Most Important Lighthouses in the World" and by the Japanese government as a Historic Monument.

The 29-meter tall Nojimazaki Lighthouse, as seen from a open field below.

Standing at the most southern tip of Minamibōsō Peninsular.

Minamibōsō Shirahama sunrise point.

Beautiful blue ocean and if you look carefully, you can see a whale ship at the horizon.

Do drop by this lighthouse when you happen to visit Tateyama city!

Nojimazaki Lighthouse (野島崎灯台)
Opening hours:
200 yen (including the exhibition hall)
Address: 630 Shirahamacho, Shirahama, Minamibōsō-shi, Chiba Prefecture 295-0102, Japan
Tel: 0470-38-3231
① Train:
From JR Tateyama station (JR 館山駅): Board bus for Shirahama (白浜行き), alight at Nojimazaki-todai (野島崎灯台).
From JR Chikura station (JR 千倉駅): Board bus for Shirahama (白浜行き), alight at Nojimazaki-todaiguchi (野島崎灯台口).
② Keisei Bus:
From JR Chiba Minato station (JR 千葉みなと駅)・Keisei Chiba-chuo station (京成千葉中央駅)・JR Chiba station (JR 千葉駅), board bus that heads to Tateyama station・Shirahama・Nojimazaki (館山駅・白浜・野島崎).
③ Express bus: From Tokyo station Yaesu Exit (東京駅八重洲口) to Awashishirahama (安房白浜), board Boso-nanohana-go (房総なのはな号) express bus.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dinner & Dialogue Session With Anwar Ibrahim In Tokyo

"Madiba, mad for sure we are,
Crazy, I'm certain we are"

Anwar Ibrahim,
when he visited Madiba

Proboscis monkey, the mascot of Visit Malaysia Year 2014 welcoming guests.

Anwar Ibrahim; a name which is just too synonymous not only to Malaysians, but also the global community.

After a failed attempt to get himself into Japan a month ago due to some complications, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim finally managed to pass the Japan Immigration for a short business trip to Tokyo. Despite his tight schedule, we managed to get him to join us in a dinner-cum-dialogue session a day before he flies home.

The entrance to the restaurant.

A very well furnished interior, which provides a warm and cozy ambiance to the diners.

A name tag prepared for the guest, just in case people doesn't recognise him haha!

The venue was the same - Malay Asian Cuisine, a Malaysian restaurant which was opened in early January this year, and located just a short 10-minute walk from Shibuya station in Tokyo. The chief chef in this restaurant is Chef Muski, from Terengganu and you can expect authentic Malaysian dishes carefully prepared with local Malaysian touch at this restaurant.

Back to the event, the delegation this time also consists of Prof. Dr. Ramasamy, the Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan, who also the Deputy Chief Minister of Penang, Dato' Kamarudin Jaffar, the Member of Parliament for Tumpat, Shamsul Iskandar, the Member of Parliament for Bukit Katil and also Khalid Jaafar. Besides the guests, there were approximately 70 Malaysians and a few Japanese who joined this dinner.

Mr Yeoh introducing the guests.

As our main guest was busy with his Facebook and Twitter.

Food was served in buffet style.

The food was simply fantastic.

A very mixture of everything on a plate lol!

Not often you get the chance to have DSAI to serve you haha!

The event started with a welcoming speech by Mr Yeoh, followed by a brief self-introduction (each of us were given 15 seconds due to time factor), and some words by each of the guests. Group photo session followed up afterwards, and then the makan session. Food wise, the free-flow food and drinks were great, and there was no complain at all. 

The evening was continue with the main event, which is the Q&A and dialogue session with the guests. To be honest, the questions raised were mostly issues which I shall call "basi" stuff, and the answers provided were quite disappointing; we was not given a concrete but instead vague replies, especially when asked what is their strategy to penetrate the people from East Malaysia. Well, I don't know, probably that is something which they would prefer to keep it behind close doors.

 The man running his show.

Q&A session, with Siew Fong posing a question regarding the term "justice".

Prof. Dr. Ramasamy, answering another question from the floor.

The giant killer in Bukit Katil, who showed a former Chief Minister the exit door - Shamsul Iskandar.

Another giant killer who also beat another former Chief Minister in Penang - Prof. Dr. Ramasamy, now the Deputy Chief Minister of Penang.

This is not a giant killer, but a very close friend of DSAI - Dato' Kamarudin Jaffar.

 With the most mad and crazy person in Malaysia.

Nevertheless, I personally enjoyed the sense of humour that is always associated with Anwar in his speech, especially when he talked about his visit to see the late Nelson Mandela. Both fought for a slightly different cause, but they shared one thing in common - the two has tasted the life of living in a prison but never allowed that dark experience to stop them to continue to fight for what they strongly believe on.

The session was closed with a presentation of a souvenir for DSAI, whom Mr Yeah described it as something which will be useful during his upcoming campaign and by-election he is facing in Kajang. The special gift turned out to be a 24 million yen cincin (pun intended).

"I guess Azizah will like this a lot."

Aha! Just kidding lol! It was a hand-painted Japanese traditional fan. I bet it will be useful when he is preparing satay in Kajang lol!