Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ETC - Electric Toll Collection system in Japan

They say a special deal is now available for those "usual" cars which hold an ETC system. Huge cars like tracks, buses are exception.

You only need to pay 1,000 yen when you drive rural/country toll roads on Sats, Suns and national holidays. But this does not seem so simple, while I try to check the fee through this site ( Sorry, only in Japanese! ), it says

Hachioji (Tokyo) --> Toyoshina : 1,000 yen
Nagoya --> Toyoshina : 1,950 yen
Suita (Osaka) --> Toyoshina : 2,250 yen

It does not seem that 1,000 yen applied to every case. Anyway perhaps this could be a good news that now cheper fee is available. But on the other hand, ferries seem to have hard time due to this price competition. Some ferries might be out of service in the near future because some ferry companies won't find there's any business profits any more. JR (Japan Rail ) won't care the old lines along the new Shinkansen (bullet train ) line when it will get in service.
Probably I guess if we get some convenient services, we might lose something else. There won't be wide choices available any more, then.

Hayaokidori website

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rail cleaning cars

rail_cleaning_car03.jpgI bought some rail cleaning cars at a web shop in the United States.

rail_cleaning_car02.jpgI subscribed myself at the newsletter of the web shop. They notify that they would provide some discount web coup'ons to their newsletter subscribers in a limited time. This limited offer got my attention and I had an access to their website to purchase some rail cleaning cars. Lucky it was just when Yen started stronger and stronger against the U.S. dollars, so my credit card was not charged so much even including its delivery cost :-)
Many American guests in my place have told me that post office delivery in the states sometimes does not work good. It might be late on time too much, sometimes the luggage might be broken! I was a little bit nervous because of that informations my guests gave me. But it was alright this time. :-)
Cleaning cars in this pic were sent from a delivery center in Illinois where Chicago is located.

rail_cleaning_car01.jpgThe ones in this pic were sent from a delivery center in Nevada where Las Vegas is located.
 I have purchased some rail cleaning cars through some auctions but it was not timely, sometimes I missed to purchase ones. So I decided to get some from the manufacturer directly. Now I don't need to worry about rail cleaning cars for a while, I got a couple of them this time.

Hayaokidori website

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Self-service train !?!?!?

self_service_train.jpg Found this English description at the closest train station. It explains how to get on and off trains driven without a conductor. Local trains here are a lot often in service without a conductor. We call this kind of trains "One-man" trains because the driver has to do the work all by him/herself. 
This sign says "Self-service train" for it. I am not sure if this were a correct expression or not. English is not my mother tongue, so I am not really qualified to mention anything but sounds as if I need to drive the train! lol....

I had better ask it to someone whose mother tongue is English.
Hayaokidori website

Saturday, April 11, 2009

PC in the garden

09040919.JPG When you get older and older, you are to have a pair of far sighted eyes :(. This may cause it harder to work on computer. Maybe there's no way of it because usually there are many documents and books around when you work on computer in the house. Additionally you would like to save your time, then you try to type as quick as possible, which also might cause some stress on you.
Since we got a wireless LAN connection back in last December and I have already had a laptop PC, so why don't I work on computer in the garden? 

This is a lot easier and less stress! 

 It's so much easier to work on computer outdoor rather than in the house which feels too tight. I don't get so much sore shoulder like as when I work on computer in the house. I can take fresh air as much as I want, sunshine filtering through foliage helps to look at the monitor when I type something.
The only bothering thing is I need to move the table follwoing the shade when the sun goes on! But I guess this could be a good exercise to me lol....

Perhaps it will be my daily matter to type in the garden for a while.

Hayaokidori website

Friday, April 10, 2009

Symbolic Hakuba 3 mountains in early Spring 2009

09040701.jpg Took this pic a couple of days back. It was so fine day, too brilliant for take some pictures for skillless man like me lol.... I even didn't adjust the exposure to take it. Spring will have come when some snow marks show up at the moutain surfaces.

Hayaokidori website

Repairing a DD54 -- worm gears wanted!

motor_replacing01.jpg As I succcessed repairing my ED70 loco, this time I've started doing a DD54. It's a powerful diesel loco with 2 pairs of inside gears plus vertical motors. But it does not seem to go ahead even then I slightly hear some electric noise when I turn the power pack on. I am planning to replace the motors into canned motors. I guess I have already gotten most parts for it but probably I need to get a pair of worm gears.

motor_replacing04.jpgTha parts in this pic is a pipe which has an iside diameter of 2.0 mms, an outside diameter of 2.4 mms. The shaft from a vertical motor seems to be an outside diameter of 2.4mms, so if I could use the worm gear at the shaft, the shaft from a canned motor is a slightly thin because it is an outside diameter of 2.0mms. That's why I need to put this pipe inbetween the worm gear and the shaft to fix it.

motor_replacing02.jpgBut the worm gear at the shaft is glued good at the shaft from the vertical motor, unable to take it out of it. So I need to get some pairs of worm gears but hey, then I really don't need to get ones which are 2.4mms outside diameter, right? I can get ones which are 2.0 mms outside diameter to set them to the 2.0 mms shaft from canned motors....? Echo model staffs say they don't have worm gears at all, so I guess probably I should ask the manufacturer of this DD54 Model Endo. I guess they would recommend MP gear system which makes a lot of $$$$$ to them lol.... :p

motor_replacing03.jpg Echo model staff also say the worm gears need to be good fit with herical gears which are located next to the worm gears in the gear box, so usually they are sold in a pair. I made a phone call at Katsumi model at Meguro but they said someone in charge for it were just out of the shop, would call me back when he is back. Now I am waiting and waiting and waiting, crossing my fingers :)

Hayaokidori website

Zenkouji Gokaicho

You can see the buddah in Zenkouji temple only until May 31th 2009. This is what we call 'Gokaicho' which is held every 6 year.
Check it out in one of our web page

The year 2015 is the next chance for Gokaicho.

Hayaokidori website

Thursday, April 9, 2009

To pass winter for plants with full of joy and sorrow

09040904.jpg I am a little bit confused why some plants were not able to survive winter and others were able to do better than usual. Maybe because of this warmer winter we had this season or maybe because of other reasons. This picture is a size 6 pot chervil. Not that bad condition to have another new Spring.

A lot bigger pots full of chervils. Looks a little bit tired :(

09040907.jpgTulips. Grows better than usual. Maybe because the warm weather in this winter.

09040909.jpgRosemaries. Also better condition maybe because of the warmer weather. But just wondering if the temperture affects even plants inside of the house in winter?

09040908.jpgDelifinium in a flower bed. It showed up a little bit earlier than usual. An important kind of plants which survives for some plural years. Wonder how long it has survived.

09040916.jpgOreganos also seem to success surviving this winter. They survive outside of the house, so it does not bother me at all.

On the other hand, some plants were not able to survive this winter.
09040901.jpgNarcissusesto which get in bloom in midwinter. For me, it's just natural to have this pops up in my mind when people say "Suisen" in Japanese. Daffodils pop up for someone, but narcissuses for me because I was raised up and lived in Kansai area where narcissuses were just natural and popular. Narcissuses get in bloom in midwinter when no other flowers get in bloom. They smells very elegant and have very tiny cute flowers.
I left them in some pots outside of the house. Not sure what was wrong. Maybe because snow got on top of the pots or maybe because of the warmer weather this winter. They even didnt have leaves at the time of blooming and finally went bad :(
In Kansai region where I lived before, we just put them in a flowerbed and waited for the bloom. They got in bloom in midwinter. Probably I guess they need very "dry" and "cold" situation. When snow covers the pots, it could provide some moist which bothers them to grow? I am not really sure but would like to know the exact reasons why.
I would like to have them in bloom next year to welcome our guests.

09040915.jpgThymes were almost annihilated. I thought it was one of the easiest herbs to survive winter, so it was a kind of shock to see them dead. What was wrong? :(

09040906.jpgPangies I transplanted into a flowerbed the other day. You can see some lavenders behind them.

09040911.jpgA combination of yellow and orange pangies in a pot with a stand. A combination just to express joy to have another new Spring.

09040912.jpgA combination of white and red pangies. I guess probably it's better to have ones without marks at the center.

09040917.jpgMost rosemaries had some roots out of the bottom of the pots. I needed to transplant them into bigger pots. So I did it from 6 size pots to 8 size pots.

09040918.jpgWhen I need to transplant 7 rosemaries, I need to more sand than expected. Need to place them somewhere sunlight does not reach for a while.

Hayaokidori website

Italy accepts help

Big earthquakes keeps hitting central Italy.

Italy, with Berlsconi as a prime minister, finally accepts helps offered by other countries after has been refusing any since April 6th 2009 when the big earthquakes occured at the center of the country just about 100kms apart from Rome.
Japan sometimes has earthquakes everywhere in the country. If I remember right, Japan also did the same when we had a big one around Kobe in 1995. Some countries offered this and others did that but Japan refused the most of them. I have no idea why some countries do that when nations in the country need a lot help.
In my opinion, in these case politicians should not refuse any proposals for help if it's to rescue the nation. But probably a lot often the decision would be made in different point of view which I can never imagine.
Actually I had been worried until when Italy would refuse proposals because we had hard time at the time of Kobe earthquakes in 1995.

Probably I guess it needs much time to reconstruct the life there, every time when earthquakes hit somewhere in this earth I relly pray it will go alright as soon as possible as a human who lives in a country of earthquakes.

Hayaokidori website

Finished repairing my ED70!

ed70_05.jpgFinally I made it to repair my ED70 electric locomotive. It seemed that the motor itself was out of order.

I did stuff like followings.
#1 Took the loco into pieces.
#2 Checked the wires.
#3 Replaced the broken wires.
#4 Took off the motor and replaced it into a new one which one of our Japanese blog regular reader "Yamashina no Tecchan" presented me last year :-)

v_motors01.jpg This is the original motor which my ED70 held. It wears a smaller gear box because it needed to supply the original gear box for ED70.

Hayaokidori website

All former JNR(Japan National Railways) colors!

 A customer who stayed in our place a couple days ago brought many train cars, locomotives which were all painted in JNR color. Of course they ran the layout. The EMU train running in the clip is the former JNR 153 series train provided for the limited fast service around Kansai area - Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Both end cars were with lower windows at the control rooms.

CIMG3276.JPG A streamlined train car 52 series which were built for Kansai area fast service train soon after the WW2 was over. They moved around here and there and at their last years, they were active in Iida line ( Toyohashi in Aichi prefecture - Tatsuno in Nagano prefecture ). In 1977 when I was a senior high student, I talked about getting on this train with my friends but we were not able to make it. We can not do anything after something disappears so we should do make it while they are avaiable!

CIMG3294.JPGOld passenger cars local train pulled by a DF50 series diesel locomotive. It reminds me of the old Fukuchiyama line, San'in main line local trains. DF50 was a type of diesel locomotive which holds motors as well as a diesel engine. The diesel engine worked as a motor generator to provide electricity to the motors. Then the motors worked to run the locomotive to pull passneger cars, freight cars etc. In short, the engine on this DF50 did not work directly to drive the wheels, just worked to provide electricity. This type of diesel locomotives seemed to be a major system for the former JNR but it anyway had more complicated mechanics and heavier weight compared to the other type of diesel locomotives like DD51 which drive wheels directly by their engines. So, the latter type of diesel locomotives got major.

CIMG3298.JPGDD51 diesel locomotive pulling an old passenger cars train. This kind of scene were available in the good old days anywhere in JNR lines which were not electrified.

CIMG3299.JPGA DD51 with a DE10 as a leading helper running uphills beside a cross country sking trail.

CIMG3303.JPGAn Ozashiki(Tatami matt) train pulled by an EF65(500). I think this coloring is a best fit for EF65(500).

CIMG3293.JPGAn old passenger cars train pulled by a steam loco C55. The white line at its waists looks cool.

CIMG3305.JPGDF50, C53?, DE10? (left to right ).
Just an usual scene in good old '60s.

I enjoyed the former JNR trains which I don't have after a long interval. Also enjoy our customers bring their own trains to drive in our layout. The customer this time seem to build everything by himself. I envy him, wish I could have that skill! :(

Hayaokidori website