Well after getting the D700 and selling the D80 + 18-135, was I lacking a decent lens wider than 35mm. Yes, I've still got my sharp copy of the Sigma 10-20, which I can't seem to part with (just in case I one day get a cheep DX camera, also I can use it for artistic effect on FX). However I really wanted a wide prime. Anyway I bought my D700 from Yodobashi Camera and they give you points when you buy things. It the amount of points depends on the product, but with the D700 it was 10% of it's yen price. Each point you earn can be used as one yen's credit on later purchases. I found I had accumulated enough points to pay for 60% of a 24 f/2.8D, so one month after buying the D700 I went back and got the 24 f/2.8D. So that was a little bonus.
Note 21/09/2011: We're currently in typhoon lock down for "Typhoon Roke" at the moment with all the shutters closed, no sure how much of it going to hit us here, but the rain and wind are getting stronger at the moment.
Sorry it's not the greatest photo technically/artistically for this PBLOG entry. However I just wanted to share this one, because it is something that I've noticed in Japan, little signs that God is a work here even when others think He isn't. Sometimes it can be a contemporary Christian song that starts playing in a shop, cafe, or restaurant (in English) just at the right time when I or someone with me needs it. Other times it can be something written on a billboard or a building that relates to something in the Bible.
The story behind this one was that Ritsuko and I took a walk around the area after we had dropped off our Australian Drivers licenses to get translated by the JAF (Japan Automobile Federation). We came across this apartment building. The Japanese underneath it actually says "Kyoto Imperial Palace" because this building is opposite the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds. Since then I've seen another building with "Noah's Ark" on it, in another location in Kyoto. I'm not sure if it's the name of a company who builds the apartments, or it has some other meaning. All I know is that God used it to encourage me at the time.
The other thing is all of these signs are in English (although Dad saw one of a portion of the Lord's Prayer in French, while he was here) and not Japanese. So I feel I have to be the messenger along with Ritsuko to Japanese people, who by and large seem to be ignorant of the existence of the creator God, while His signs seem to come up everywhere for me.
BTW a few days later Ritsuko and I went to the Licensing Centre with our translations, plus our Australian Drivers Licenses, Passports, Expired Japanese Drivers License (for Ritsuko), etc. and after a lot of Red Tape, Paper Chase, Rubber Stamping (especially for me), we both got our Japanese Drivers Licenses.
Dreams of Flight
At this stage it had been a year and a half since I had arrived in Japan, and I had not flown anywhere in that time. In Nagaokakyo where I live, we pretty much only see vapour trails, we don't see the planes up close. Anyway at this stage I had booked my first trip back to Australia (August 2010), but it was still a few months off...
So dreaming about flying somewhere, I took a trip out to the airport on a beautiful May Sunday afternoon. I was the first time and only time (as of 12/09/2011), I've gone all the way from Nagaokakyo to Kansai Airport without meeting someone or sending them off. This trip was purely for photographic purposes. It was also a good chance to test out the D700 famed low light capabilities. Click here to see a photo
and the two next ones in that gallery taken on the same day, that are examples of some low light action shots I made on this visit to Kansai Airport.
Note 12/09/2011: Today's a quieter day in the middle a very busy couple of weeks, so this might be my only PBLOG until next week when it quietens down considerably. Actually next week is Silver Week (a week in September with two, sometimes three, public holidays) not quite as good as Golden Week in April/May with 4 public holidays in a space of a week.
The start of my second year
Out of all the various bits of work I do here, teaching at Megumi Kindergarten has got to be my favourite. Every time I walk into the kindergarten the following verse comes to life:-
"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 19:14 (King James Version)
It is just an amazing place, around 450 students aged from about 3 to 6, most of them living out the principle of "Love one another". The staff and students are a living example of the body of Christ showing such Grace ("Megumi" is Japanese for Grace). I'm still humbled by and learning so much from my times at Megumi. I teach English to about 300 students there, the nenchu classes (turning 5 in the school year) and nencho classes (turning 6 in the school year). Well, after the 3 months break during the change of school year it was great to get back into the swing of teaching at Megumi for my second year. It was good to see how the nenchos had grown since last year and then meet so many new students in the nenchu classes.
During the break I was busy preparing a new workbook for the nencho classes, so as the second year started it was great to see how they used it so enthusiastically.
Note 30/08/2011: That was last year, I'm now almost halfway through my third year. This year I've written a new workbook for the nenchus as well. I've also made a lot of updates to the nenchos' book based on my experiences with it last year.
The first I time tried a 100yen sushi shop (that's 100yen per small plate), I wasn't very impressed with the taste. Actually, I commented to a friend that the sushi from the supermarket (in Japan) is tastier and cheaper. Well, that particular sushi shop went out of business not long after. However my friend found a better 100yen sushi shop and decided to bring us there.
The sushi was quite good, yeah well not up to the top sushi shops standards, but much better than supermarket sushi, even the better supermarket sushi from the fish section. The catch is: of the best sushi you only get one piece per plate, and of the average sushi you get two pieces, so even at 100yen per plate it starts to add up! While I'm easy, Ritsuko was not amused with the automatic plate counter that had a flashy display and made loud noises every time you inserted the empty plates. Sometimes it even dispensed some plastic toys as prizes. The cliental was generally young families, and it kept their kids entertained as far as I could tell. Not a place to go for a romantic evening with the better half, but tasty none the less!