Yabitsu Pass – Cycling (with photos)

Route : Fuchu -> Hashimoto -> Mt. Minamiyama Forest Road -> Miyagase Lake -> Yabitsu Pass -> Miyagase Lake -> Hashimoto -> Fuchu
Distance : 123km

In the morning for a late start, a friend joined me from central Tokyo (to meeting place by bicycle).

Last weekend I rode my bike up to Yabitsu pass (between Miyagase Lake and Hadano Town in Kanagawa Pref.). The ride out ot Miyagase was really nice and a friend and I passed over the (closed) Mt. Minamiyama Forest Road (peak 488m) and down into the Miyagase Lake area. From there the very slow (low grade) climb upto Yabitsu Pass began. The road is very narrow for almost the entire length and in the narrow canyon the views are quite nice. However, as we climbed higher and higher it got colder and colder up to a peak of about 700m where it was about 0C. When climbing, one’s body is generating heat so its not too bad, but the long fast descent was harsh because there is now wind and I was not doing any work so I got quite cold quite quickly. For about 20-25 minutes I was unable to feel my feet at all especially as the sun got hidden behind cloud cover.

Overall, I recommend this route (especially Yabitsu Pass) but due the decreasing temperatures in the winter and that most of the road is a single lane road (on the Miyagase Lake side) with tree cover, the chances of ice forming on the road, especially in the morning, seem very high. Due to the cover, I would recommend it as a hot summer route because of the tree cover.

Photos from Nakata-san here.

Copying files onto the iPod Touch easily

The problem was basically that I wanted to get eBooks (text files) onto the iPod Touch, but not having a wireless network, that was proving to be somewhat difficult. The only real possibility was to try and find an unsecured network somewhere and bring a laptop, connect them both to the network and SCP (secure copy) the files over that way.

However, a colleauge introducted me to a brilliant application combination that allows me to copy files onto the iPod Touch while simply connected to the machine normally though the sync cable. These applications only exist for mac though, but since they prove that it is possible.

First installing macfuse and restarting. Running the iphonedisk application gives instant accecss to the iPod. The iPod Touch is then mounted on the system like any other drive and files and can be copied too and from just like any other filesystem. No fuss whatsoever! GREAT!!!

How to express your discontent with Japan’s Fingerprinting Policies.

As most, if not all, non-Japanese people know, the government started fingerprint and photograph all foreigneres (except a few special classes which basically included 3rd generation Korean Japanese, diplomats, and invited guests).

Many people like myself feel that it is a blantant invaison of my privacy.

Here are just a few things that you can do to express your discontent.

  • Sign This petition
  • Write your ambassador
  • Write the Japanese embassy in your home country
  • Give your complaint in the form of a letter to the person that is taking your photograph and fingerprinting you at the airport.
  • Somewhat less practical, but I found this t-shirt you can wear

Its also useful to point out the impact on tourism (as that brings in big dollars) that such a xenophobic policy will have.

One Small Thing You Can do for the Environment this Christmas Season

One small thing that you can do – and many people are doing – to help the environment this holiday season is to purchase gifts online. Its easy and convinient and doesn’t require driving around to all the shops. However one thing that is often forgotten is that in order to deliver that package a truck must drive up to the destination address (your home for example) and deliver the package itself. While this is better than driving ones car around to all the shops, it still has a reasonable carbon footprint in its own right.

To furthur negate that carbon footprint, having the package delivered to your workplace is an effective way. Since the delivery company is already likely to be sending a truck to your workplace the incremental cost (and carbon footprint) of adding one more package to that delivery is very low.