Thursday, 29 March 2012

For the bike lovers

Hi All,

When in Oji today we stopped in at the bike shop, I took a few photos of some interesting bikes. Enjoy the following pics Amon, Brad, Alton and Dave

 Notice the square box section frame $380NZD
 $1700NZD on special
 Notice the deep rims and spoke configuration
Bit of a grunter looking bike

A we bit of spring in the air


Today we walked to Oji and then to Jadolkan on the way I spotted some spring in the air.

 Fresh spring growth
 Cherry Blossom
Another small cherry blossom tree

 Taken 1 April
 Taken 1 April
 Taken 1 April
 Taken 1 April
Taken 1 April-  new bud

Monday, 26 March 2012

New Transport

 Hi All,

I am nearly 40, been driving since I was 16 and never bought a brand new push bike in all my life, so I have gone from a 2001 Toyota Mark II Grande to a black 5 speed push bike, I guess the push bike is a 2012 model making it newer than the car I owned, not to mention the bulk standard Japanese commuter bike hasn't changed how it looked for 30+ years. I am looking forward to it, not having a car must be good exercise. I start school next month (as a student) and it is a 30min bike ride each way. I could actually catch the bus not far from home to close to the school but what fun would that be, I have a few ups and downs to go over, a couple police stations to pass, a fire station, so will be a good ride each day. Should be real nice in spring time as I have quite a lot of cherry blossom tress on the way.

Its not that easy to get a bike home when you have no car or trailer, so my shopping was limited to several shops in the area, I have about a half an hour walk to get to the shop to pick it up. I am so excited my first new bike!!!!

I pick up my racer tomorrow 27 March, I will post some photos of it when I get it!!!

To wet your whistle here are some specs

26 inch frame
Alloy Spoked Wheels
Dynamo Light
Front Basket
Back Carrier
Drum brake on the rare
5 Speed Shimano back hub, I just found out its 6 speed BONUS!!!
Twist the handle to change gears

To be honest Japanese commuter bikes are real nice to ride, nice springs in the seats and just go for ever, they are not built for speed but rather to get you from A to B and carry things. A racing road bike is just that, fast transport but rather impractical here, a mountain bike is just that an off road machine and really not suited here for day to day travel, a Japanese commuter is perfect!!! Its used to get you from the train station to home, carry your groceries, carry your umbrella, school etc

The other day we were in a Toyota Mark X, it was a nice car but after riding in trains for a while now the car did feel rather cramped.

Do check back soon for a photo of my new bike :) - Photos added

 Bike Shop
 More bikes for sale
 My cruiser ready to be picked up
 Shimano gears
 At home
 Gear changer
Bell - handy when you are riding on the foot path past people
 Straight handlebars
Straight handlebars

Update - The bike went really well but when turning tight corners my knees hit the wrap around handle bars, so yesterday I swapped over the straight handle bars off my wifes old bike to my new one, it changes the riding position(lean forward a bit) but now I don't hit my knees on the handle bars. I have also added a bungy cord around the carrier in case I need to bring something biggish home.

I have had a we ride on it now and I am impressed, Amon yes it can pop a wheelie :) Its smooth and comfy to ride, good brakes, quite light, if it had all the heavy stand removed and the carrier it would be very light indeed! Its perfect, if you work your way up the gears it can get along quite fast actually, faster than what I thought a commuter would go :) I am happy!!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Spring is close

Hi All,

Spring is close, Tuesday was a public holiday here for the first day of spring, you can see the buds on the trees ready to shoot, the days are getting lighter in the evenings, the temperatures are trending up and some small cherry blossoms are coming out. Cherry Blossoms will be in full bloom early next month, can't wait to see. I will take some photos and put them up when there are lots of Cherry Blossoms.

See You

Sunday, 18 March 2012



My father in-law has an exhibition coming up soon, he is painting the image from a 6x4 photo on to a huge canvas, I snuck into his work room and took this photo of him creating his masterpiece.

Festival at Hokutopia

Hi All,

Well I guess you are wondering what Hokutopia is, its a big building near Oji station, each area has some sort of big building and Hokutpoia is what it is called for Oji.

They had a festival there on all weekend, there were some food stalls, games, and shows put on by various companies.

Disney Land was their promoting their new Disney TV Channel, Tokyo Gas was there and a few others.

The Japanese are more proactive on education than in NZ, they are always doing things to educate children on Safety, Fire Saftey, Gas Saftey, Quake Safety, they always make it fun events with lots to do and see. On our way to Hokutopia the fire service pulled up one of their big trucks just around the corner form the house and were giving a free demo didn't take long for the kids to arrive.

 Disney was there giving all the kids a toy
 Leo learning about gas saftey
 Some of the stalls
 That was a soft rubber ball
 Not anymore after being in dry ice, thats it in pieces on the botton
Hand gestures in Japan mean different than NZ, check out the banner on the table, the girl is waving and whats the boy doing?

Friday, 16 March 2012

300 series Shinkansen retired


For all the tain buffs out there the 300 series bullet train (Shinkansen in Japan) is to be retired for more efficent models. They were put into service in 1992 and had a top speed of 270kmph. A toal of 300 will be retired from service. In 2006 I traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto on one of these babies they go fast!!! But my friend Darin will tell you his Mazda RX7 is faster.

Shinkansen, Mt Fuji, Tokyo tower and Sky tree are iconic symbols of Japan.

This is a photo of the last run of the 300 series

Earthquakes in Japan

Hi All,

Anyone been following the news will know that Japan has been rocked by a few decent quakes over the last few days. What I find amazing is the speed at which we are informed here, our mobile phones sound an alert a good 5 seconds before the quakes hit, the TV has instant information where the quake occurred, Tsunami warnings are issued pretty much straight away. The Japanese have a very good warning system in place. Many of the houses here are clad with a brick veneer sheet, it has about 1cm gap between joins that is filled with silicon sealant, I can only assumed compared with chch quakes the Japanese have learned that this reduces damage to houses in a quake as things can move a bit. In NZ our houses still using brick an mortar, this cracked on many house during the quakes in NZ.

See You

Monday, 12 March 2012

Sky Tree/Combi Van


Skytree is decorated in lights at the moment so at 7pm we thought we would walk to the bridge and have a look, well we live a bit far away so it was hard to see it. I did see a cool looking combi van parked in a garage that we walked past so I quickly took a photo on the way pack. Combi vans for some reason hold some sort of charm with everyone, not sure if it is because they symbolize the 1960s, they are a surfer wagon, they just look great! Anyway enjoy the combi photo.

You can just see sky tree
Looking down the river
The Mighty Combi Van

Friday, 9 March 2012


Hi Everyone,

Today we went to the super market and they had a special on beef, the super market is quite large and is a chain of them. NZ beef doesn't seem to be for sale nor do any NZ dairy products. In the super market they were selling real nice looking Australian beef steak, it was 880yen ($13NZD) for 425grams. Talking to people here they say NZ beef is to expensive, what is NZ doing wrong to make Japanese think our product is to expensive, we get told in NZ we have to pay a lot for our beef because thats what the international market demands, looks like that is a load of rubbish. In Japan they think NZ product is expensive, in NZ we think NZ product is expensive.

See You

Japan Quake March 11 2011 a year on

Hi Everyone

We are coming up to the 1 year anniversary of the big mag 9.0 earthquake in Sendai Japan, so many people lost so much, many paid the ultimate price and the country has for ever been damaged by Fukashima Dai ichi. Its just sad all round for the Japanese, they are at a loss to how to clean up the radiation, its un charted waters, maybe the easiest and cheapest option is make it a no go zone for the next 120 years, that will give the Caesium-137 time to drop to 1/8 of what it is now.

There has been quite a bit on the TV leading up to the anniversary, from video of it happening, the clean up effort, the problems at Fukashima power plant, earth quake proof buildings etc some of which has been very interesting and some has been pretty sad for the people of Japan.

I will leave you with one image that has forever symbolized the whole quake.

Snowing in Tokyo this morning


More snow in Tokyo, probably won't amount to be anything but the city looks good when it snows :)

See You

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Interesting Facts

Hi Everyone,

I read some interesting facts about Japan - Japan has an aging population, people are living to a very good age here, birth rates are very low, so you know where this is heading :) By the year 2050 the population is expected to be approx half what it is now, so that is 60,000,000 people, my wife tells me the government is putting the GST from 5% to 15% to get the money to pay for the aging population.

Japan also has a residents tax of 10% plus income tax, when the GST goes up that will be 25% tax before you pay income tax WOW!

I have been reading on-line about how NZ has had a budget blow out and how the asset sales is not going to net as much as what was first thought, I think in NZ they will be looking at 17% to 17.5% GST soon to cover all these short falls. Time will tell but thats my prediction way before anyone else.

This is mostly likey to be the last term natioanl has in power, NZ people seem to get sick of govs every couple terms and turf them out for another party, so it may not be the nats who increase GST but one of the parties will.

Every time a new party gets in they say oh the books are far worse than what we were thought we are going to have to take drastic measures. You watch :)

Thats my take on Tax

See You

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Trip to Ueno Zoo

Hi Everyone,

Saturday was a nice day about 10 degrees so we decided to take the kids to Ueno Zoo, I took a few photos to share, I could put hundreds up but will share a few of the more interesting animals.

 This guy was big
 This guy was small
 This guy looked friendly
 This guy was big
 Leo caught it!!Good one leo!
 Flimingos doing what ever they do
 Polar Beer
 Soaking up the winter sun
Dunno but looked pretty