Climbing Mt. Fuji at Night
Wow, What a View just after sunrise, just prior to a typhoon blowing in at 3,205m (10,500') elevation, on Japan's Mt. Fuji -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Wow, What a View
just after sunrise, just prior to a typhoon blowing in
at 3,205m (10,500') elevation, on Japan's Mt. Fuji

I moved to Japan in 1989, and the person who met me at the airport in Tokyo was Krish Kulkarni, a graduate student at Tokyo University, and the twin brother of Ram Kulkarni, my best friend at my own graduate school in America. I had most recently met both of them a year ago in Tokyo, and last week met Krish and his family as they vacationed in Japan.

Climbing Mt. Fuji was high on the list for Krish's 19-year-old son Vishnu, and they kindly invited me along.

Our Hotel Kawaguchiko Hotel (河口湖ホテル) -- Kawaguchiko Hotel (河口湖ホテル) -- Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/2500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
Our Hotel
Kawaguchiko Hotel (河口湖ホテル)
View From The Back Window -- Kawaguchiko Hotel (河口湖ホテル) -- Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44mm — 1/2500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
View From The Back Window

Krish's back was bothering him, and despite a massage in Kyoto from Ken-chan that helped a lot, he decided to sit this climb out, knowing that I'd be there to look after his family. Anyway, Krish had already climbed Fuji twice in his life, which is more than enough.

There are various trails up Fuji, but the only one open this early in the season was the Yoshida Trail. One reaches it by road to the 5th Station at about 2,300m (7,500'), then hikes the remaining 1,476m (4,800') of vertical climb.

Our plan was to climb at night, so as to see the sunrise from the top.

We didn't make it.

Our Last View of the Mountain at least, our last non-close-up view, on the drive up toward the “ 5th Station ” -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
Our Last View of the Mountain
at least, our last non-close-up view,
on the drive up toward the 5th Station
Scenic View on the drive up -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Narusawa-mura, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Scenic View
on the drive up
At the Parking Lot Mt. Fuji Yoshida 5th Station -- Mt. Fuji Yoshida 5th Station -- Narusawa-mura, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 0.6 sec, f/4.5, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
At the Parking Lot
Mt. Fuji Yoshida 5th Station

In the past I've had very good (skill) with slow-shutter hand-held shots, such as this, this, and this, but my luck (skill) wasn't here on this hike; the shot above, and other slow-shutter hand-held shots are all pretty bad, sorry.

At about 8pm, the three of us (Krish's wife Nilu, son Vishnu, and me) headed out from the parking lot.

Starting the Hike Proper with Nilu Kulkarni and Vishnu Kulkarni -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/6 sec, f/2.8, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
Starting the Hike Proper
with Nilu Kulkarni and Vishnu Kulkarni
Half an Hour In at the “ 6th Station ” photo by Vishnu Kulkarni -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Half an Hour In
at the 6th Station
photo by Vishnu Kulkarni
What We Saw for most of the night.... nothing more than a string of lights -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/4 sec, f/2.8, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
What We Saw
for most of the night.... nothing more than a string of lights

At various places along the trail are huts that seem to be privately-owned businesses that offer lodging, and food/drink. They have bright lights, so you can see those dotting the path going up, as well as the lights of the climbers slowly moving like fireflies in between.

Early on we didn't meet many others on the trail, except a few descending from having seen the sunset, and the occasional few fast-paced hikers that passed us. I was astounded at how many people completely ignored my hearty good evening as we passed on this relatively unsteep early section. It's possible that a few had earphone in and didn't hear me, but for the most part I think some people are just jerks. 🙁

Early View Back to the City -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/4 sec, f/2.8, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
Early View Back to the City
Unfathomable if you need a smoke here, your addiction has stripped all self control -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 36mm — 1/25 sec, f/2.8, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
Unfathomable
if you need a smoke here, your addiction has stripped all self control
Sunrise it looked so much nicer than this photo illustrates -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/13 sec, f/2.8, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
Sunrise
it looked so much nicer than this photo illustrates
Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/8 sec, f/2.8, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Farther from the city -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/8 sec, f/2.8, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Farther
from the city

Climbing at the pace we went was not physically challenging for me, though I saw many out-of-shape people who were puddles of misery very early on.

For most people who can climb a few flights of stairs without needing to stop, success comes down to a few basic things:

  • Have comfortable, well-fitting hiking shoes.
  • Have appropriate clothes (it's both very hot and very cold at the same time).
  • If climbing at night, have a good light.
  • Be lucky and don't get altitude sickness.

That last point is the hard one to predict, and the one that waylayed our attempt to summit.

But first, a couple of comments about equipment.

I used this flashlight, which was more than bright enough for climbing while at its lowest setting. I see now in my blog post about that flashlight that it's purported to last for 5 days on its lowest setting, but sadly I didn't remember that and so was perpetually worried that my battery would run out.

I had the head-mount strap with me, but I never used it. The path is very rocky, so for safety you really need to see each rock and judge its size/location precisely, and to do this you need shadow. With the light mounted next to your eyes, you are the only one who doesn't seen the shadows cast by your own light... you see everything fully lit, which may sound nice but you totally lose the ample depth information that shadows provide. Most people I saw had head-mounted lights, but I carried mine in my hand, well below and off to the side of my eyes. It was very effective.

One thing I didn't use were hiking poles. My hikes-a-super-lot bother Steve swears by them, but I think they're more of a hindrance on this climb than a help. It's not just a hike, as there are times you have to carefully scramble up steep rocks on all fours.

(The descent path, on the other hand, which has very different terrain, is perfect for hiking poles.)

Anyway, back to altitude sickness.

Altitude sickness, which apparently presents as an intense headache and/or nausea, seems totally unrelated to one's level of fitness, or to any other non-altitude experience we've had. It seems to be a predisposition that you're born with, but don't find out about until you're on the mountain. It's a roll of the dice.

In our case, 19-year-old energetic Vishnu, who had been leaping up the trail with seemingly-boundless energy, was suddenly struck by deep nausea and malaise. He tried to press through it for some hours, sometimes curling up in a fetal ball on the edge of the trail to recoup energy. At one of the huts he bought canned oxygen, which he said helped a bit, but it was too little too late, and finally at around 2:30am we stopped at the 3rd hut in the 8th Station and paid for a bunk to rest.

In stopping, we knew that we were abandoning the chance to see the sunrise from the top. At that point the hike to the top would take about two hours (if we were all well), and that's just how long it was until the 4:30 sunrise.

He and his mom were asleep within minutes.

By 4am it looked like the approaching typhoon, which had seemed to be something for later in the afternoon after we'd descended, was actually going to arrive much sooner. The wind was amazing. We heard later that some folks who had been approaching the top to see the sunrise from there were turned away, so I guess it's just as well that we hadn't tried.

Sunrise from Mt. Fuji Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山 の 白雲荘), at 2,304m -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Sunrise from Mt. Fuji
Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山白雲荘), at 2,304m
Side View shows the steepness -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Side View
shows the steepness
Looking Down at the trail we'd arrived on -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Down
at the trail we'd arrived on

Having climbed in darkness and seen only whatever rocks were within the limited view afforded by my flashlight, I had no idea what the landscape really looked like until now. It was barren and rocky, to say the least.

Me and Puffy photo by Vishnu Kulkarni -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Me and Puffy
photo by Vishnu Kulkarni

I thought it would be fun to bring Puffy, a stuffed panda that has a special place in our house, on the hike, just for a photo at the top.

My fashion looks ridiculous, I know, but it was what I had available, and it kept me very comfortable. The base garment is winter cycling bib-tights, which even though they're just one thin layer, keep my legs warm while riding at speed in sub-freezing temperatures. Over that I put a pair of gym shorts, for looks (cycling tights look really weird to non-cyclists, I imagine).

For the upper body, I had an Under Armour cold-gear shirt, which I wear when cycling, and the yellow Gore wind-resistant jacket that I also use for cycling. In between is a big green raincoat that I'd put on just for the descent, because it looked like rain would come soon.

So basically, I was wearing all cycling gear except for the shoes, the raincoat, and the gym shorts.

As for the spectacular lenticular clouds in the background, I was told that they are a common sight just before rain. I'd never seen such spectacular clouds before, so I was thrilled.

Puffy's New Friend worker at the hut, who lives there full time -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 40mm — 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Puffy's New Friend
worker at the hut, who lives there full time
Back into the Backpack 10 gallons of Puffy getting squished into a 5-gallon backpack photo by Vishnu Kulkarni -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Back into the Backpack
10 gallons of Puffy getting squished into a 5-gallon backpack
photo by Vishnu Kulkarni
Vishnu and Nilu before we start back down, hoping to beat the rain -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Vishnu and Nilu
before we start back down, hoping to beat the rain

I may as well include here the photo that appears on the previous post, taken just after sunrise at about 4:30am:

Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/2018-07-08/2866 -- 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 — 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

Half an hour later, we were starting our slow descent back to the car...

Heading Down -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Down
Saying Goodbye the initial reason for the trip -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Saying Goodbye
the initial reason for the trip

One impetus to climb Mt. Fuji was to spread the ashes of their dear dog Sabkuch, who died just before the trip. He'd been a member of their family since Vishnu was a kid.

Ever-Changing Clouds notice how the lenticular clouds look different in each shot... they morphed among shapes fairly quickly -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Ever-Changing Clouds
notice how the lenticular clouds look different in each shot...
they morphed among shapes fairly quickly
Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Passing By One of the “ 7th Station ” Huts -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 31mm — 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Passing By One of the 7th Station Huts
Connecting from the ascent trail that we'd been on, to the descent trail -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Connecting
from the ascent trail that we'd been on, to the descent trail
Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/5.6, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 60mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Taking a Little Break as what looks like a parent-child pair walk by -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Taking a Little Break
as what looks like a parent-child pair walk by

By this time Vishnu's altitude sickness had abated, but unfortunately it was replaced by foot pain, for both Vishnu and his mom, who had rented their shoes and other equipment. In particular, Nilu was really suffering with each step, so the 3h45m descent was really unfun for her. Vishnu and I took turns helping her down.

Getting Darker -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Darker
Last Photo before the rain -- Mt. Fuji (富士山) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/7.1, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Last Photo
before the rain

It rained heavily for the last couple hours of the descent, but with the rain gear we were fine. It's the rental shoes that made the descent hell for Nilu and Vishnu. We vowed to do it again some year soon, but with well-worn shoes.

We got to the car at about 8:45am, absolutely soaking wet, and made the 30km drive back to the hotel.

Here's the hike on Strava:

The next day, I did the road part by bicycle, twice, but that's a separate article.

To be continued...


A Minor Warning About WhatsApp: The PC Version Doesn’t Work If Your Phone Breaks
Sunrise from Mt. Fuji just prior to a storm -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 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 — 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Sunrise from Mt. Fuji
just prior to a storm

The photo above is from a hike on Mt. Fuji a few days ago, which I'll write about soon (I hope), but today's post is about the WhatsApp messaging service, and something I discovered about it during my Fuji trip.

On a bicycle ride on Mt. Fuji, while in the middle of taking a photo with my iPhone, the iPhone just spazzed out and died, and I was left without a way to contact the others I was traveling with. Unfortunately, the ride went some hours longer than I had anticipated, and I'm sure my friends worried.

When I returned to the hotel, my friends had gone out and left a message for me expressing their worry, so I wanted to contact them using WhatsApp on my laptop. But it wouldn't connect.... it turns out that WhatsApp won't do anything if it can't contact your phone first. My phone was a useless brick, so I was stuck.

Other messaging services that I use both on my phone and my laptop — LINE and Facebook Messenger — worked fine, so I could contact others to report my mostly-unreachable-while-on-the-road state, but I was cut off from everyone for whom WhatsApp was my main method of communication. This was unfortunate.

I've a special spot in my heart for WhatsApp, because it was created by a couple of friends, and I gave them some minor help early on. I was one of its first users, before it was a messaging app, and was literally the first WhatsApp user in Japan. But these days I tend to use LINE more, both because it has more reach in Japan (WhatsApp has much more reach outside of Japan), and because I find that LINE has more features that are important to me.

If you use WhatsApp, just know that you're running a risk: if your phone dies, or is lost/stolen, or runs out of battery, you're cut off from all your contacts, even if you have WhatsApp running on your computer.


Announcing my Upload-to-Google-Photos Plugin for Lightroom: Prepare to be Disappointed

Six years after Google unveiled their Google + social network with photo hosting, with heavy emphasis on photographers, and a couple of years after Google shut down Picasa Web Albums, the sort-of-backdoor way to upload photos to Google, Google has finally released a photo-upload API, so that I can make a Google Photos plugin for Adobe Lightroom.

Sort of.

What Google allows at this point is extremely limited, and I don't hold much hope that it'll expand.

As of today's initial release, the plugin can:

  1. create an album in Google Photos
  2. upload photos and video to such albums.

That's it. Nothing more. The plugin can't upload to existing albums or any album not made by the plugin.

The plugin can't delete or update photos, even ones it uploaded in the first place, so we can't make a publish service.

From the employee-developer interaction I've seen so far, I don't hold much hope for this API.

More information, and updates as they happen, on the plugin's home page.


Finally Back on The Road, Exploring Roads Near Hiyoshi Dam
Good Satellite Tracking with three different units, as I rode along the south edge of this road -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Good Satellite Tracking
with three different units, as I rode along the south edge of this road

Over the years I've reported on informal tests with satellite-tracking location-logger units (GPS trackers), such as More GPS Cycling Tests from three years ago, and from six years ago, Another Informal Location-Logger Test (itself a followup to iPhone 4s GPS is Shockingly Good).

When cycling, I try to record my ride on at least three different units, because they tend to fail in the middle of a ride a lot more commonly than one should think, and the data geek in me doesn't want to risk losing data on the ride. I've recorded every one of the 23,827 kilometers I've ridden since getting into real cycling a few years ago, and I love every bit of it. (Hahah, bit... data.... see what I did there? 😀 )

Finally getting my bike fixed (after my frame bit the dust in March), I was able to do my first proper ride in ages the other day (at Strava):

Along on the ride I had three units to track my location:

On The Climb To Rokucho Pass blue is an iPhone 7 orange is a Garmin Edge 820 cycling computer green is a Polar M460 cycling computer -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
On The Climb To Rokucho Pass
blue is an iPhone 7
orange is a Garmin Edge 820 cycling computer
green is a Polar M460 cycling computer

Satellite reception tends to be pretty bad during that climb, so the minor drift seen above is pretty good for all three of them. The blue iPhone track is the most accurate by far, though.

Still Pretty Good even in the mountains on this climb -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Still Pretty Good
even in the mountains on this climb
Not So Good but still totally usable -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Not So Good
but still totally usable
Perfect Again in a flat area -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Perfect Again
in a flat area
What!? Suddenly the Garmin Edge 820 is more than a mile off track -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
What!?
Suddenly the Garmin Edge 820 is more than a mile off track

Just after I got to the river at the left side of the screenshot, the Garmin's location lock started to drift, and for 3½ minutes it was merely pretty bad, but then suddenly it started marching off on a steady, mostly-straight line across the map, like a drunken member of a strolling group who suddenly sees a late-night pancake house and determinedly, though slightly wobbly, homes in on his target, much to the consternation of the others.

After 3½ minutes of that wildly-off-course single-minded deviation, it must have gotten its pancakes, because it stopped updating for two minutes, and then was suddenly back in the general vicinity of correct. After another minute or so of trying to stand without falling over — 10½ minutes after it went totally crazy — it's back in perfect step with reality.

I've seen a lot of bad tracking in the decades that I've been paying attention to this stuff, but nothing even remotely this bad for so long. Just crazy.

The Garmin's tracking was just dandy for the next seven minutes, but then it went bat-shit crazy for the next hour and a half....

An Hour and a Half's Insanity -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
An Hour and a Half's Insanity
Whaaaaaaaaat!?? -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Whaaaaaaaaat!??

And so after almost two hours of this craziness, it fixed itself and was fine for the rest of the trip.

Really weird.

In any case, I was able to use the tracklog from my phone (recorded with Galileo Offline Maps), and so my ride data was saved.

The ride itself was lovely.

For the first two climbs, I consulted with Jason Eisenmenger (seen here) on a kind of power training, where I pick a power level, and try to stick to it for the whole duration, watching the readout from my power-meter pedals, adjusting my effort to try to keep it consistent.

For the first short climb (about 4 minutes at 10%), I thought I'd try to keep an average of 300w, but it turned out to be too steep to use that little power, and I ended up averaging 385w.

My time of 4:03 was much slower than my all-time best of 3:14. In order to equal that best time again, I'd have to average 482w, which I doubt I could do, but if I were to shed 10kg of fat, I'd have to average only about 440w, which would be plausible.

The second climb was much longer, 7.6km @ 5%. For this I aimed to keep a 280w average, and ended up at 287w for the 32:14 it took.

To equal my best-ever time of 27:38, I'd need to maintain 335w, but if I dropped that 10kg, I'd need only 300w, which again is plausible.

So, hopefully getting back into a habit of rides will both increase my fitness and decrease my weight.

After those climbs, I put the power meter away, and just enjoyed the mountains. My goal for the day was to investigate some of the minor roads around Hiyoshi Dam.

Arriving at the Lake made by Hiyoshi Dam -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/350 sec, f/2.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Arriving at the Lake
made by Hiyoshi Dam

There's a long, lovely descent just before arriving here. I first did it two years ago (mentioned on this post), and have now done it many times.

That first time I'd taken it carefully, averaging 65kph (40mph) for the 2:05 it took to find the bottom. Over the next few attempts, I really gave it my all and tried to finish as quickly as possible, and every time I ended up with exactly the same time. It was frustrating.... I just couldn't break that two-minute-five-seconds barrier.

This time, though, I had no intention to try to hard, being so out of shape and out of practice. It's been a long time since I've had my downhill mojo, so I didn't push hard and just had fun. And, of course, I beat my record by one second. 🙂

I didn't have a real camera — only my iPhone — but I've posted photos from this area many times over the years. (Also see my map of blog photos centered on the lake.)

Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/260 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

One of the roads I explored ended up at a possibly-abandoned dirt race track:

Sad Little Area -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/1400 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Sad Little Area
Local Logging -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/390 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Local Logging

One road I explored ended up diving into the lake, as an apparently-little-used slipway:

Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/690 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Steep Return Trip -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/1000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Steep Return Trip
For Bears who don't want to poop in the woods -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/240 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
For Bears
who don't want to poop in the woods
Not a Paved Residential Road -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Not a Paved Residential Road

Most of the roads I checked out had been marked on OpenStreetMap as paved residential roads, which seemed highly unlikely, but before fixing that data I thought that I should check to be sure, so I did. The one above was gravel, but fine on a road bike.

Pausing at Vending Machines so I propped the phone up and used the timer to take a photo -- STIHL Forest Kyoto (STIHLの森京都) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/900 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Pausing at Vending Machines
so I propped the phone up and used the timer to take a photo
Another Slipway -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/280 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Another Slipway
This One In Active Use -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/800 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
This One In Active Use
Most of the Road is Gone -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Most of the Road is Gone

It's a bit difficult to see in the photo above, because I took it right from the edge of the road that remained, but much of the road that had been there had fallen into the ravine. I put road in quotes because it was very rough, overgrown gravel. Even if the road hadn't disappeared, I probably would have turned around soon.

There was a parallel road on the other side of the steep ravine, and that was in much better shape...

View of the Fallen Road from across the ravine -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
View of the Fallen Road
from across the ravine

But it, too, became more and more rough as I got deeper into the mountains...

Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Mud Puddle this is where I called it quits on this road, and turned around -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/25 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Mud Puddle
this is where I called it quits on this road, and turned around
Looks More Promising -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Looks More Promising
Beautiful very-well paved, but covered in a deep layer of detritus -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Beautiful
very-well paved, but covered in a deep layer of detritus

iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/730 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
End of the Lovely Road
it joins to a new, modern road that dives into a tunnel,
but also there seems to be a road up over the tunnel....
Above the Tunnel -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/900 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Above the Tunnel
Oops, But It Doesn 't Go Anywhere -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/400 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Oops, But It Doesn't Go Anywhere
This Offshoot Seems To Go Somewhere but it's way too steep and cluttered for me to try now -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/730 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
This Offshoot Seems To Go Somewhere
but it's way too steep and cluttered for me to try now

I then took the tunnel, which descends steeply toward the city of Kameoka. After exiting the tunnel is this lovely, steep descent. The fastest time averages 70kph over the whole 1.75km distance, which is too fast for me to take some of the curves it has.

Newly-Planted Rice lots of this in Kameoka -- Kameoka, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/4000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Newly-Planted Rice
lots of this in Kameoka

My final surprise for the ride was that I made a new personal record (PR) for the climb up the mountain that separates Kameoka from Kyoto. This shocks me even more than the aforementioned descent PR did, as I wasn't even trying to have fun, or anything, with this one... just plodding along, trying to get my fat gut back home. But, as I found out when I got home, I beat my previous best by 23 seconds.

Anyway, it was lovely to be back on the road. I hope my Garmin Edge 820 has its sanity back for good. We'll see.


Nghia and Minh in Kyoto, Part 3

I'm very surprised to find that I prepared this article last year but didn't actually post it. It's the final followup to Minh and Nghia Photoshoot Preview, its Part 2, and wigglegram.

We'd left off while at the Murin'an gardens, so we'll continue with a few more shots from there...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62mm — 1/200 sec, f/9, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
p -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos p
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Cooling Off -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 29mm — 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Cooling Off
At the Nanzen Temple 南禅寺 -- Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
At the Nanzen Temple
南禅寺
Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/200 sec, f/5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Wafting the Smoke Over Yourself is supposed to help what ails you -- Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Wafting the Smoke Over Yourself
is supposed to help what ails you
Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

A photoshoot at the Nanzen Temple must include a visit to the old (but still functioning) aquaduct.

Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Final Shot -- Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 29mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Final Shot

After this shot, I bade them farewell, and they continued on with their Kyoto sightseeing.