The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for the ‘japan’ tag

On the Road……Bicycle Parking is Easy in Kyoto

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December 7th, 2014 at 10:53 pm

On the Road……Downtown Kyoto, Kawaramachi

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When you go to a foreign country you often see unusual car models zipping around that don’t exist in the US…well, the same thing is true for unusual models of bicycles.

The bicycle above is a great example of a morphology that I’ve never encountered in the US., but it is fairly typical of what you see on the streets of Kyoto.

What stands out to me about this bike:

  • small wheel diameter
  • dual front and rear racks and baskets
  • rain covers for the seat and rear basket
  • large kickstand to support the bike when loaded
  • high handlebars allowing for a comfortable, upright riding position
  • fenders and chain guard
  • an umbrella holder!

In a utilitarian sort of way, I find it quite a beautiful little machine.


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December 6th, 2014 at 10:38 pm


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Random Images……Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (The Kiss)

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This poster led me to Kahitsukan, the Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art, and a Robert Doisneau exhibit. Doisneau was a street photographer in Paris around the same time as Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Question: Does the fact that Doisneau staged this image change how you look or feel about it?

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November 22nd, 2014 at 7:01 pm

On the Road……A Few Days in Kyoto

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What an awesome city to travel by bicycle. I rented a bike from my hotel and had no trouble getting wherever I needed to go — coffee, ramen and sushi shops, Uniqlo, museums, gardens, and the famous Cycles Grand Bois.

More pictures to come.

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November 16th, 2014 at 2:14 am


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On the Road……Cherry Bloosoms are (were) Peaking in VA

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Everyone is eager to call the peak, or predict the peak, or declare they saw the Cherry Blossoms at their peak. It doesn’t matter if you are in Washington DC or in Japan — it’s the same.

I’m in no position to do any of these things because I have a hard time recognizing the difference between a cherry blossom and a plum blossom.

(editor’s note: I wrote about Ume and Sakura — the Japanese words for plum and cherry trees — in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park awhile back.)

However, about a week to a week and a half ago the weather was in the high 60s low 70s in northern VA.  Now, I’m a bit hesitant to make the call but…I swear the cherry blossoms were at their peak!

I was riding my bike to work all week. Even though I was running late on this particular day, the landscape was so compellingly beautiful I stopped to make these pictures.

Below are some close-ups of the blossoms and the petals. Because of the small notches at the top of the individual petals, I believe these are, indeed, cherry blossoms.

Can any of my botanically-minded friends help me out here?



Finally, here is a map that I think shows the 2014 forecast for Sakura, including when and where they are blossoming across Japan’s different climate zones.

It looks like until May 10th there’s still time to see Sakura in the far north around Hokkaido.


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April 30th, 2014 at 6:14 am