Wednesday, June 20, 2012

八ヶ岳高原 - Yatsugatake Kogen


I went to Nobeyama, Nagano. Yatsugatake Kogen Lodge is a huge, private resort estate with well-maintained infrastructure at 1500m altitude where you can enjoy wide highland views. The lodge functions as the hotel in this gifted resort.


Their music hall is a nice facility with open windows to the garden, and there was a time when summer festivals were popular here. This year among several concerts, Nobuyuki Tsujii's concert has been sold out.


There was a pond with a nice view here. Deers, squirrels, flowers and trees are all amusing.


The facility did not have "onsen", unlike Kusatsu, but we can drive to one of nearby hotsprings. RE-EX in Uminokuchi had a great outdoor tub with the view of Mt. Asama in distance.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hydrangea in Kamakura – 鎌倉の紫陽花



Kamakura in June is busy with visitors regardless weekdays or weekends. The crowd’s destinations are Hase temple, Joju-in or Meigetsu-in, all known for hydrangea. It was such a sunny day today that I walked to Meigetsu-in with my SLR camera. I wanted to run on my bike but declined the thought considering no parking there. Actually, there was a tiny space next to the public phone box at the entrance, which was good to know.
The admission was 500 yen, and as you proceed in the garden you will be surrounded by hydrangea literally as it is nicknamed “hydrangea temple”. Flowers were relatively smallish, and under the clear sun, they looked rather moistless. I appreciate the sun for photo-shootings, but hydrangea in the rain displays more charming elegance.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

パンクは続く – Punctures Repeat

先日の松姫峠ツアーで体験したタイヤのパンク以来、立て続けにチューブに穴が開いてスペアがなくなってしまった。これまでのところ、1年弱使ったブリジストンExtenzaの1本は裂けたが、もう1本は健在。それより後に買ったビットリアUltraliteは4本中2本がアウトで、うち1本は入れ替えたら穴が開いていたという感じだ。そこで今回は何が良いか、しなやかとの噂を聞くAirComp Latexだの、もう一度Extenzaで行こうかだの、あれこれ考えてみたが、結局値段と配送で折り合って補充したのはミシュランのエアストップという低価格チューブとなった。これはビットリアUltralite同等品という感じで、重さは93g。何しろ長持ちするという評判なので、段差を叩いたりすることもあるフロントにはこれで安心かなと、Cannondaleに組み込んでみた。

ところでOnixの方はチューブの入れ替えを機に後輪のタイヤも黄色いストライプのOpen Corsa EVO SCに統一してみた。現状ではチューブも含めてすべてVittoriaとなっている。Continental GP4000Sとの比較を語るほどの感性を持ち合わせていないのが残念だが、EVO SCの方がやや硬い乗り心地で路面の振動が直にハンドルに伝わるような気がする。換えたのは後輪なのに?

After the puncture I first encountered in the tour to Matsuhime Pass, the trouble repeated with Vittoria tubes twice. One of replaced tubes did not work with a tiny hole when installed. Having run out of spares, I considered what to order this time among options such as reportedly smooth AirComp Latex or Bridgeston Extenza again, but their price and the delivery did not meet my needs, and I ended up ordering Michelin AirStop that is an equivalent low-cost alternative to Vittoria Ultralite. It weighs 93g and is fairly well reviewed by users for durability and I thought it would be good for the front wheel as it occasionally hits bumps. Now my Cannondale is back to its routine.

By the way, for Onix I replaced the rear tire to uniform front/rear with Vittoria’s yellow-striped Open Corsa EVO SC taking the opportunity of inner tube repair. Onix now uses Vittoria in and out entirely. I am not sensitive enough to tell the difference between Vittoria and previous Continental GP4000S, but EVO may be stiffer and more direct in transmitting the road surface situation.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Off-season Fireworks in Zush – 季節はずれの逗子花火


Zushi Fireworks was cancelled last year right after the 3.11 earthquake/tsunami disaster, but it came back last night after 2 years of patience. The beach must have been packed by visitors because the traffic in Zushi during the day was so bad. One of reasons why they decided the event so early before the summer was the timing before building the beach shacks for more space while inviting less audience to avoid an overflow.
We went to Hiroyama Park this year as a change. The cars cannot access the park because the road is blocked at the entrance of Hiroyama Park Mansions. At 2 hours before the show, there were few people gathered yet, but the good spots were already taken and it was impossible to get the view overlooking the bay. We realized that the ideal area to photo-shoot was to go beyond the guradrails and sit on the slope. The fireworks in lower hights tended to be blocked by the trees or other obstacles and thus this was the place to enjoy the atmosphere rather than watching the full view of fireworks while avoiding too many people on the beach.