Meeting Ram and Krish Kulkarni in Tokyo
Old Friends “ old ” as in “ since a long time ago ” , and “ old ” as in “ old farts ” -- Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Old Friends
old as in since a long time ago, and old as in old farts

I made a weekend trip to Tokyo to visit two old friends also visiting Tokyo, brothers Ram and Krish Kulkarni. (Ram, short for Ramchandera, rhymes with prom)

Ram has been my best friend for 30 years, since grad school at the University of New Hampshire. When I then moved to Japan, his twin brother Krish, who was at the time a graduate student at the University of Tokyo, picked me up at the airport.

When I got married almost 20 years ago, Ram was living near Mt. Fuji and came down to Kyoto to be my best man. Fumie and I were at his wedding in Ahmedabad, India, the previous year.

I hadn't seen Ram since a visit to his house three years ago. I hadn't seen Krish since a visit at Kyoto Station as he was passing through the year prior to that.

Snowy Mountains of Shiga from the window of the bullet train -- Yasu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/800 sec, f/5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Snowy Mountains of Shiga
from the window of the bullet train

I never tire of looking out the window of a bullet train to watch the countryside pass at 300kph (185mph). I thought I'd done various out the window of a bullet train posts in the past, but at the moment the only ones I can find are this and this.

Inviting Temple nestled near the top of the mountain taken while moving at 258 kph (160 mph) -- Omihachiman, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/6.3, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Inviting Temple
nestled near the top of the mountain
taken while moving at 258 kph (160 mph)

These kind of scenes catch my eye as I think of the lovely road that must lead up to it. In the case of this temple, it turns out that there are three routes up, including this Strava segment. The location is a ways beyond where the cycling races were held the other day... I should be able to get there in about two hours. (It had taken the train 12 minutes.)

I didn't do much in Tokyo except hang out with Ram, Krish, and Akemi, Krish's friend of 30 years who kindly let us crash at her place for the duration. But we did go out for a walk one day.

Little Inari Shrine not quite a dazzling as its Kyoto parent shrine -- Shibasanchomekita Bus Stop -- Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/8, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Little Inari Shrine
not quite a dazzling as its Kyoto parent shrine
Out-of-Focus Tokyo Tower rushing during the red light, I screwed up what could have been a nice photo opportunity -- Shibasanchomekita Bus Stop -- Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 28mm — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 110 — map & image datanearby photos
Out-of-Focus Tokyo Tower
rushing during the red light, I screwed up what could have been a nice photo opportunity
Ginza Dusk -- 長崎センタービル -- Ginza, Tokyo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Ginza Dusk
Food Arrives at the Raj Mahal Restaurant, Ginza Tokyo -- Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/3.5, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Food Arrives
at the Raj Mahal Restaurant, Ginza Tokyo

Ram got along famously with the waiter, or so it seemed from their happy animated banter in Hindi. Thankfully for me, the waiter also spoke Japanese and English.

I know little about Indian food, so I was happy to let Ram and Krish order, and was not disappointed. We all agreed that it was very, very good.

Raj Mahal Restaurant -- Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/3.5, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Sweet Chai a most splendid end to the meal -- Raj Mahal Restaurant -- Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Sweet Chai
a most splendid end to the meal

Krish currently lives in India, while Ram is currently on long-term assignment in Europe, so we never know when we'll be able to meet, but with both of them, the years melt away when we get together, so whenever it is, this meeting will feel like yesterday.


My Most Brutal Ride: Round Trip to Mt. Rokko
Apparently Not a Good Day This tobidashi-kun doesn't look too happy at the 138km (86mi) point of a very long ride -- Toyono-gun -- Toyono-gun, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 56mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Apparently Not a Good Day
This tobidashi-kun doesn't look too happy
at the 138km (86mi) point of a very long ride

On Wednesday I did what must have been the roughest ride of my short cycling life, a ride that left me absolutely exhausted to the bone before I was even a third done with it. In the end I rode the entire big loop I'd planned, 175km (110mi) to Kobe City's Mt. Rokko and back, but it took 12 hours and a lot more willpower than I thought I had.

It was almost a spur of the moment, and I didn't think it'd be all that difficult for me, and I left the house in good spirits.

About To Enter the Mountains (well, they're still 9km away, but I'm heading there) -- Kuga Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
About To Enter the Mountains
(well, they're still 9km away, but I'm heading there)
Odd Tobidashi-kun ( Tobidashi-kun are explained here ) -- Haigata Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Odd Tobidashi-kun
( Tobidashi-kun are explained here )

The first climb of the day is the nasty Osaka East segment mentioned in my blog post about better Strava segments. Overall it's only 8% for 4km, but it has some very steep sections.

It's always beautiful.

Heading Up -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Up

I wasn't particularly trying, but it turns out that on a 23-minute effort I missed my PR by 15 seconds. Had I known I was so close I might have tried, but at the same time, I knew I had a long day, so I was trying to be efficient more than fast.

Selfie after the first climb -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ + front camera — 1/30 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40 — image data
Selfie
after the first climb

It was a bit chilly (5℃), made worse by the strong headwind that appears once I got over the pass. I was glad that light spring/fall gloves aside, I was still in full winter kit.

Isolated Shrine Gate along a road cutting through rice fields (I suspect the shrine is nestled in the mountains nearby) -- Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Isolated Shrine Gate
along a road cutting through rice fields
(I suspect the shrine is nestled in the mountains nearby)

Not long after this gate begins a long, lovely descent that I'd never taken (though I'd climbed it the other direction twice before, including this ride). It was long and sweeping and fast, so I would have loved to have fun with it, but with the wind I felt like I was trying to swim upstream, so I just let gravity do its thing and hoped it was enough to overcome the wind.

By this time I was just following the route on my Garmin cycling computer, so I had little idea where I actually was, but for the most part it was deserted mountain roads...

Typical Scene -- Ibaraki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Scene
Halfway To the Halfway Spot at one of the many small villages along the way -- Ibaraki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ + front camera — 1/720 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Halfway To the Halfway Spot
at one of the many small villages along the way
Steep Tobidashi-kun -- Ibaraki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Steep Tobidashi-kun

I ended up chatting with the guy seen in walking in the background. He excitedly told me that more and more cyclists were coming by this area, in groups. He seemed to like the idea, and was amazed by it (as the road is quite steep).

Typical Non-Mountain Scene -- Ibaraki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Non-Mountain Scene
12% Descent -- Ibaraki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
12% Descent

Most of the route was new roads for me, so other than what was around Kyoto, and the main destination of the climb (Mt. Rokko), I didn't have any sense for what awaited me, so I never knew what was around the next curve. In this case, it was a steep descent, which is always nice.

Way Up There on a really hazy day -- Minoo, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 43mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Way Up There
on a really hazy day
Mino Dam I'd passed by twice before; this time taking the road that cuts across it -- Minoo, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mino Dam
I'd passed by twice before; this time taking the road that cuts across it

Taking the new road, I was rewarded with a long 12% climb that was most brutal in its layout: it was long and mostly straight, so you could see the long rising road waiting for you. For me, this is much more difficult than the same climb on a twisty road, since I can't see (and be daunted) by what lies ahead.

In the end, though, I got a nice (but still super hazy) view.

Ikeda, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 38mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Again, I didn't know this road so didn't know what might be coming next, but I assumed there would be some sort of descent eventually, and I was not disappointed. The descent from turned out to be a lovely 6km at 6%. And again, I tickled myself by just taking it easy yet still registering a top-10 time (in this case out of 446 people who have done it a combined 1,400 times).

And that's where, a third of the way into the trip, the day effectively ended for me.

10km of This -- Takarazukao Bridge -- Takarazuka, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
10km of This

That long lovely descent ended in a big city, near the Osaka Itami Airport, and the moment I got into city traffic, a profound weariness hit me like the most crushing of post-Thanksgiving-dinner food comas. It was amazing in its abruptness, as if a switch had been turned off. At first I thought it might have been because I used so much energy concentrating during the descent, but even after resting for 10 minutes and eating again, I didn't feel any better.

I didn't think it was the dreaded bonk (cycling version of hitting the wall) because I had eaten before leaving, and on a regular schedule along the way. I didn't know what it was, but hoped I could shake it off during the 10km of city riding I had to get through to reach the start of the main climb of the day, Rokko East, whose 880m (2,888') of vertical gain averages out at 8% over its 11.6km (7.2mi).

Gentle But Unrelenting Start to the day's main climb -- Takarazuka, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Gentle But Unrelenting Start
to the day's main climb

I had hoped that the easy city riding would let me shake off the deep fatigue I felt, but it didn't. I was so tired, that closing my eyes for a second brought the most wonderful feeling of complete comfort, to be followed at the end of the second by the dread of not being able to keep them closed.

A minute or so in, I gave in and stopped, parked the bike, lay down, and closed my eyes for 45 minutes.

Looking Back at the small area of pebbles that was my roadside bed -- Nogami Bus Stop -- Takarazuka, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back
at the small area of pebbles that was my roadside bed

It felt wonderful to lie down, close my eyes, and just quietly listen to the passing sounds, but in the end it didn't do anything to help, so after 45 minutes I collected myself and trudged upward on the unrelenting climb.

When thinking of the big climb up Mt. Rokko, I'd had in mind how easy it was the only other time I'd done it, but it had dawned on me during the 10km across the city that my previous climb was over a 25km route, and that this time I'd be doing the same elevation over less than half the distance (and thus the slope was twice as steep). Ugh, what a stupid mental mistake. But anyway, I was here now and I just had to get through it.

Kids In Over their Head taken while slowly plodding up at 8 kph (5 mph) -- Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kids In Over their Head
taken while slowly plodding up at 8 kph (5 mph)

The only other people I saw going up, besides the occasional car, was one hiker and some kids (junior high or high school) on heavy mamachari city bikes. Well, they weren't on them, since they were pushing slowly uphill. I let them know how much farther it was (4.2km), which shocked them, but they kept on.

Another “ 12% ” Slope but just what I need.... this time it's uphill -- Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Another 12% Slope
but just what I need.... this time it's uphill

There are absolutely no services of any kind during this long climb, except at the main road's pass there's a restaurant and some vending machines, but you're not quite at the top yet, because from there there's a short intense climb (300m @ 15%) to the top...

Getting Close to the Top Restaurant at left, final bit of road at right -- Mt Rokko (六甲山) -- Kobe, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 32mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Close to the Top
Restaurant at left, final bit of road at right

I guess a lot of cyclists don't know about the last little bit to the top, or choose not to take it. It's really daunting if you're not used to steep stuff, especially after having killed yourself for an hour to get here. I'd been wanting to make a Kyoto-Rokko round trip for a long time, and was inspired to actually do it now by an acquaintance's ride a few days prior. He's much stronger than me (his time up to the restaurant was an hour faster than mine), but for whatever reason he didn't make the final push to the top.

In fact, of all the friends and acquaintances I follow on Strava, only one has ever made the full eastern climb I was doing, and even then, the two other folks he was riding with opted to skip that last steep climb.

I didn't skip it, and was surprised that my two-minute effort was only 12 seconds slower than my PR.

At The Top -- Summit of Mt. Rokko (六甲山山頂) -- Kobe, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ + front camera — 1/1400 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
At The Top

The mask, by the way, is to warm the air as I breath. My tonsils are apparently very sensitive to cold, and even a short spell of exertion without the mask would give me flu symptoms for the next couple of days. A combination of some allergy medicine and this cheap ($7) mask makes it possible for me to cycle in the winter.

Blah, Hazy View Summit of Mt. Rokko (六甲山山頂) ( better photos last time ) -- Summit of Mt. Rokko (六甲山山頂) -- Kobe, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Blah, Hazy View
Summit of Mt. Rokko (六甲山山頂)
( better photos last time )

I didn't stick around. Being inactive at the top meant that I was starting to get chilly, and knew I'd freeze on the long descent so for the first time in months I put on a windbreaker as an extra layer. The long descent should have been thrilling, but I just plodded along.

The second half, the gorgeous Ura Rokko descent, should have been the highlight of my day, but my fingers were so cold I could barely feel the brake levers, which is not any more conducive to a safe descent than my fatigue.

I wasn't hungry, but thought that a real meal might help. Unfortunately, I didn't come across a restaurant in a timely fashion, so I made do with a convenience store and had a cup of coffee, some bread, and a natto rice wrap.

This was followed by some more steep climbs, but nothing as long as Mt. Rokko.

Raccoon Tobidashi-kun -- Arimaguchiekizen Bus Stop -- Kobe, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Raccoon Tobidashi-kun
Arima Wanda Garden 有馬わんわんランド -- Arimahigashiguchi Bus Stop -- Kobe, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 56mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Arima Wanda Garden
有馬わんわんランド

At the top of one climb I came across this forlorn sight. Wanda is verbal play meaning more or less the woof, so it seems it was some kind of doggie amusement park. Indeed, I found this urban-explorer report on the place.

Eventually came the next big descent, which turned out to be one of my favorites, the Arima Highway (5km @ -6%). It was long and mostly straight, which means one can really get up a head of steam. I spent most of the time stuck behind a truck spewing dark blue fumes, and then when he kindly let me by I quickly got blocked by an elderly driver in a tiny tin box, but it's just as well. The light meal at the convenience store had perked me up much more than any of the other food I'd been eating, but I still wasn't fit for a mentally-challenging descent.

I had to make my way through some urban areas for a while...

Pretty River, Ugly Road -- Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pretty River, Ugly Road
Not Particularly Fun -- Namase Bus Stop -- Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Particularly Fun
Back to the Grind next climb starts off at 10% -- Namase Bus Stop -- Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 65mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Back to the Grind
next climb starts off at 10%
Mini-Plot Farms just another day in the countryside -- Kawanishi, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mini-Plot Farms
just another day in the countryside

After a long while of climbing and descending, I started to feel lethargic again, which told me that it was indeed the light meal at the convenience store that had perked me up. I have no idea why the yokan and calorie cookies I normally use weren't doing it for me this time, but I finally decided to find a real restaurant. I came across towns and villages, but it took a while to find an appropriate restaurant where I could park the bike safely, but at the 120km (75mi) point in the ride, I did, and I ate.

Beef and Chicken Set and Coke and coffee and tea かめたに -- Toyono-gun, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/15 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Beef and Chicken Set
and Coke and coffee and tea
かめたに

More ups and downs ensued; I eventually started to feel much better.

More Mountains -- Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 41mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
More Mountains
Getting Late -- Toyono-gun -- Toyono-gun, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Late
Happy Tobidashi-kun -- Kuragaki Bus Stop -- Toyono-gun, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Happy Tobidashi-kun
Roadside Entrance to a shrine that should be spectacular when cherry-blossom season hits in a week or two -- Toyono-gun -- Toyono-gun, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 46mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Roadside Entrance
to a shrine that should be spectacular when cherry-blossom season hits in a week or two

The wind, which had been brutal in the morning but then had subsided for me on the other side of Mt. Rokko, had picked up again for hours around the restaurant stop, but mercifully turned into a lovely tailwind toward the end of the ride in Kameoka. That, combined with the energy from the meal, and I was felt good for the first time since the first climb.

I actually didn't feel so bad by the time I got home; I just wish I could have said the same for the bulk of the ride. The ride savaged me, and I'm still not sure why. I want to do it again, but with energy next time, so I'll bring a bike lock so I can stop more easily to eat.

Overall at 176km (109mi) it was my sixth-longest ride ever, and with 3,491m (11,453') of vertical climb it ranked fourth toughest of my rides so far. But on the painful grind scale, I think it ranks #1.


First Bigish Group Ride in a Long While

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 34mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Ride's Crew
L-R: Arthur, Geoffrey, me, Ionut, Jason, Andy, Kevin, Yifen
( we didn't notic until the ride was done, but other than Ionut from Romania, we're all Americans )

I joined a big group ride for the first time in a long while last week, Andy's LSD (long slow distance) ride. I was happy to finally meet Kevin from Kobe and Geoffrey from Otsu, whom I'd conversed with online but had never met in person.

For me the ride (view at Strava) was 116km (72mi) at mostly an easy pace, though the times I tried to keep up with the others quickly took their toll on me. I've been doing long rides lately, but not much fast and not much climbing, so I'm out of shape.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Andy Arrives for Coffee
that his valet, Ionut, has prepared

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 49mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
New People, New Bikes
Geoffrey (at right) on his first ride with us Cycling Kyoto folks

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Caption Contest

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Ready to Head Out
Kevin from Kobe chats with Yifen

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Moving Through The City
taken while cycling at 28 kph (18 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Hotta-san!

As much riding as I do in these parts, it's rare for me to happen across another rider that I know, but I did just that early in the ride when Hotta-san and I crossed paths. I've ridden on a few rides with him in the past, and most recently he was the cycling adviser for a cycling-related movie in which I appeared as an extra.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.1, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Water Stop
as Andy flashes his VOID
at the spring seen in prior posts, here and here

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
First Descent
taken while cycling at 25 kph (15 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
taken while cycling at 35 kph (22 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Plodding Slowly Up
taken while cycling at 28 kph (17 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
taken while cycling at 35 kph (22 mph)

image data
I'm the Yellow Blur
photo by Ionut Sandu

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Fast Descent
taken backwards, one-handed, while cycling at 63 kph (39 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Stopping To Inspect the Troops
taken while cycling at 21 kph (13 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tally Ho!
taken while cycling at 20 kph (13 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Crossing a Valley
taken while cycling at 29 kph (18 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Enjoying the Day
taken while cycling at 25 kph (16 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
taken while cycling at 25 kph (15 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Twins
taken while cycling at 28 kph (17 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Strung Out
taken while cycling at 36 kph (22 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 33mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Paceline
taken while cycling at 46 kph (29 mph)

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, drafting as seen in the photo above is a great way for a pair or group to work together to go overall faster than they could individually, but the act of taking the photo caused me to slow down just enough that I lost the benefit, and they quickly pulled away, leaving me to (slowly) fend for myself.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Geoffrey's Impeccable Form
taken while cycling at 58 kph (36 mph)

At the races this weekend I noticed several riders wearing the exact same team jersey as Geoffrey, such as this guy:


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Strada Racing
wearing the same jersey as Geoffrey did
( from this event )

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 60mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
taken while cycling at 58 kph (36 mph)

I've never seen a pro cyclist in person, so I can only imagine what their form looks like in real life, but that mental image became incarnate during this ride when watching Geoffrey descend. His form was like art... I've no other way to explain it. I'd never seen anything like it. It was truly beautiful and mesmerizing.

I doubt it comes through very well in video, but here's a video of a descent we did toward the end of the ride, taken with my Cycliq Fly12 front camera:

Anyway, we stopped for a break at Hiyoshi Dam...


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Ionut took advantage of the 足湯 (ashiyu) hot foot bath, which is apparently fed by a hot spring. It seems to be available 24/7. I've used it before... it's nice, but one needs to remember to bring a small towel.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Back
along the northern edge of the lake created by the dam
taken while cycling at 26 kph (16 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Nice Road
that apparently, by the looks of the guardrail, recently had a tree fall across it
taken while cycling at 27 kph (17 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 49mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.7, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 46mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.6, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 52mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pleasant
taken while cycling at 33 kph (20 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Passing Through a Small Village
taken while cycling at 21 kph (13 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/80 sec, f/6.3, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Struggling to Keep Up
taken while cycling at 22 kph (14 mph)

This is a lovely road that I've featured on my blog before, here, here, and here. I tried to keep up with the fast folks, and did so for the first half or so, but my legs just gave out. I finished two minutes behind (15 min vs. 13 min).


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Snow

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Pretty Descent
taken while cycling at 45 kph (28 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Post-Ride Riverside Relaxation

Watching My First Cycling Road Race
Race -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 150mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Race

I saw my first cycling road race yesterday, a small local affair. Road racing is quite a bit different than the only other kind of bicycle racing I've seen, cyclocross, so it was a great experience.

The races yesterday were 「第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム」, the fifth Moriyama City Yasugawa River Criterium, with short races all day over a loop on closed-off public roads.

It was a 32km (20mi) ride to get there, so I left with some friends from Kyoto early, to arrive in time to watch some other friends race.

En Route photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 26mm — 1/5500 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
En Route
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 21mm — 1/1700 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

I brought my Nikon D4 and big Nikkor 70-200/2.8, schlepped in a backpack, so I don't have shots of the uneventful-anyway ride there.

I had researched the event the previous day, and taking into account the course, what roads would be closed, good vantage for photography, etc. I picked a spot that gave me easy access to riders at two opposite sides of the loop.

We arrived while the first race was going on, and so I used the opportunity to practice with the camera...

Break-Away Leader -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Break-Away Leader
Pack Follows Behind -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Pack Follows Behind
Me in Action photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 26mm — 1/2800 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
Me in Action
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
Huge Lead -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Huge Lead

This particular race was 12 laps around the 2.2km (1.4mi) loop, so I had plenty of opportunity to try different approaches.

第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/500 sec, f/7.1, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos

I think this guy went on to win by a 20-second margin.

The second race of the day was the one I came to watch, a pairs time trial where teams of two riders start at 15-second intervals, racing against the clock for three laps (taking about 11~12 minutes).

Ionut and Stephanie in orange photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 21mm — 1/320 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
Ionut and Stephanie
in orange
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

We've seen both Ionut (pronounce yo-notes) and Stephanie on my blog in the past, Stephanie here, here, and here, and Ionut here and here.

They were to be the second team to start, so I was down at my spot waiting with the camera.

First Team husband and wife -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
First Team
husband and wife
Second Team -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 170mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Second Team
Fourth Team Higuchi-san and Oyama-san -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Fourth Team
Higuchi-san and Oyama-san

I also knew that Higuchi-san (the lady in the shot above) would be riding this race. Manseki and I did a ride with her last year, and I often stop by a cafe where she works on the way home from a ride.

Higuchi-san had mentioned that the sixth team was strong, so I watched out for them as well...

Sixth Team -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Sixth Team

It's much easier to ride directly in the slipstream behind someone, rather than being forced to push through the air all by yourself. When both riders in the team are of comparable strength, they'll take turns at the front, but in these male/female pairs, generally the man rides in front the whole time, allowing the woman to go much faster than she would on her own, thereby allowing the team as whole to finish more quickly.

Half a Lap Done -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Half a Lap Done
第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 120mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

The difference in posture among the three pairs is striking, with the final pair in a much more aero posture. They clearly had experience doing this.

Not only is the individual position of each rider on the bike important, but even more-so how closely tucked in the second rider is to the first, to take maximum advantage of the draft. In my limited experience, it's difficult to stay tucked in closely, especially on a course like this where the road rises and falls and turns. If the front rider is too strong out of a turn or up an incline, the second rider is dropped and draft is destroyed. If the first rider is not strong enough, the whole team goes slower than they need to. I suppose they need a lot of communication and experience to stay tightly in sync.

Not Quite Tight but still getting a benefit of the draft -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Quite Tight
but still getting a benefit of the draft
Tight this pair worked as one -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 80mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Tight
this pair worked as one
One of the Male-Male Teams a different race, but running at the same time -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
One of the Male-Male Teams
a different race, but running at the same time
Very Aero it's as uncomfortable as it look, but is fast -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 90mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Very Aero
it's as uncomfortable as it look, but is fast
Not so Areo but having a grand time -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Not so Areo
but having a grand time

One more comparison of the three teams I was watching:

第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos

She's so far back in that last photo that she's not getting any benefit from the draft.

It seems clear who's in their first race and who seems to have a lot of experience. I shudder to think what I'd look like. Maybe next year I'll enter and we'll find out.

Consistently Tight Formation -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Consistently Tight Formation
Final Sprint -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Final Sprint
All Done -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
All Done
Stephanie and Ionut win eggs for third place photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 26mm — 1/1400 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
Stephanie and Ionut
win eggs for third place
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

Stephanie and Ionut got third place, which is pretty darn good for their first race. (Stephanie has a long history of solo triathlons, but I think this was her first pair time trial.) Their prize was a dozen eggs each.

The pair whose form I liked came in second place and won gyoza. Amazingly, for all their better form, their time was only two seconds faster per lap (6 seconds overall) than Ionut and Stephanie, which just goes to show how strong Ionut and Stephanie are to begin with.

I never saw the team that won, probably because they started in a slot that put them opposite the teams I was watching. They won by a 35-second margin.

While milling around after the race, I noticed (and immediately respected) this guy:

Man of the Year little girl is so happy because she has the world's most cool daddy -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Man of the Year
little girl is so happy because she has the world's most cool daddy

There were still races all day, but I'd seen what I came for, so I headed off to explore some nearby mountains, but I'll leave that for another post.

To be continued...


Behind Suntory’s Yamazaki Whisky Distillery
Shiio Shrine 椎尾神社、サントリー山崎蒸溜所の裏 behind the Suntory Yamazaki Whisky Distillery -- Shiio Shrine (椎尾神社) -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Shiio Shrine
椎尾神社、サントリー山崎蒸溜所の裏
behind the Suntory Yamazaki Whisky Distillery

As I posted the other day, I made a visit to Suntory's Whisky Distillery in the Yamazaki area just south of Kyoto. Eric and I arrived early for the tour, so we wandered a bit.

A public road bisects the distillery campus, and while the road then turns 90° to wrap up behind and beyond the campus, the logical straight-ahead continuation brings you to Shiio Shrine, apparently on Suntory property.

With Eric from the public road that bisects the campus -- Shiio Shrine (椎尾神社) -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 27mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
With Eric
from the public road that bisects the campus

The public road heads off to the right, pitching up sharply (~15% grade). It looked inviting to cycle, so I came back later by bicycle to poke around. I also made a Strava segment for this road, starting with the slow climb from the distillery entrance until this turn, continuing then with the steep climb after the turn.

But for today's visit, Eric and I were on foot, so we wandered into the shrine. The entrance path has two stone gates.

Between the Gates -- Shiio Shrine (椎尾神社) -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 29mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Between the Gates

Just to the left of the steps in front of the gate in the photo above is a light pole, on which there's an old (and to me, odd) forest-fire warning sign...

“ Mountain Forest File Prevention ” “ Risky! You can burn the mountains with your fire ” -- Shiio Shrine (椎尾神社) -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 36mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Mountain Forest File Prevention
Risky! You can burn the mountains with your fire

As best I can tell, the character in the sign is a chameleon smoking a cigarette. Lovely

Not far away is a little alcove with a water-fountain feature. It seems like it should be photogenic, but I wasn't feeling it....

Wide View -- Shiio Shrine (椎尾神社) -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 66mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Wide View
Shiio Shrine (椎尾神社) -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Meh -- Shiio Shrine (椎尾神社) -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Meh
Looking Back -- Shiio Shrine (椎尾神社) -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back

The small temple building itself is apparently so un-notable that I didn't even taking a picture as I moved to the mountain trails that start behind it.

Temple Roof from the mountain trail behind -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 28mm — 1/125 sec, f/14, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Temple Roof
from the mountain trail behind
Warning at the start of another trail (the pink fungus is poisonous even to the touch) -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/14, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Warning
at the start of another trail
(the pink fungus is poisonous even to the touch)
Distillery from Behind -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/14, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Distillery from Behind
Pretty Bamboo -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/5, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Pretty Bamboo
Uncommonly Thick -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Uncommonly Thick
Splash -- Yamazaki, Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Splash

It's a pleasant place to wander around a bit, so if you visit the distillery for a tour, some time before or after for the bamboo will be rewarding.