Kyoto’s “I Fall” Tower
Kyoto's “I Fall” Tower because if you can get this close, you drop dead from exhaustion -- NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto's “I Fall” Tower
because if you can get this close, you drop dead from exhaustion

On the way to Anthony's first ski experience last month, I took a route that runs along Lake Biwa (and past Shirohige Shrine), but on the way home I used a mountain route, and took the opportunity to explore something I'd seen driving by in the past...

In the middle of the mountains, barely visible off to the side of the road among the nothingness that Route 367 winds through, you briefly see this innocuous set of steps...

Looks Harmless Enough -- NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/7.1, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Looks Harmless Enough

And at the top this sign...

NTT Dokomo Kansai Corp ( telephone company name ) Tochu ( location name ) Wireless Relay Station Ascent Entrance This sign made with recycled cell phones -- NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/400 sec, f/7.1, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos

NTT Dokomo Kansai Corp
( telephone company name )

Tochu
( location name )

Wireless Relay Station Ascent Entrance

This sign made with recycled cell phones

And then this:

NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos

Well, it starts off steep, but then it looks to flatten off. Let's take a look!

Here's the view from the top of that run:

“To Infinity and Beyond!” -- NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
“To Infinity and Beyond!”
Perhaps Halfway Up looking back down -- NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/5, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Perhaps Halfway Up
looking back down

How these steps attach to the stringers, with the sturdy adjustable clamps, are, of course, the subject of yesterday's “What am I?” quiz, which didn't fool anyone except perhaps those who gave me too much credit for being crafty.

End of the Stairs, but Not Yet The Top ( way below, you can see the road where this all started ) -- NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/9, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
End of the Stairs, but
Not Yet The Top
( way below, you can see the road where this all started )

After this, it's another 100m or so of easy climb up to the base of the tower, which is surrounded by a fence, so this was the closest I could get:

NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/4000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

The fence is helpful, though, as it helps support your body as your legs collapse into a quivering mess, and your heart attacks you for doing something as stupid as climbing all those steps.

The tower is in the mountains north of Kyoto, but is not visible from Kyoto, nor is it actually in Kyoto, but officially, in the city of Otsu (which people normally think of as being 20km away over the mountains and by the lake). There wasn't much view from the top except for other mountains, but stretching a bit I could see part of the lake and, I think, Moriyama or Kusatsu Cities on the other side.

Not Much of a View -- NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/400 sec, f/14, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Much of a View

One thing I thought was funny was a thin green wire attached to the base, trailing off over to one of the fence posts buried in the ground....

Not Quite Up to Code? -- NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Quite Up to Code?

I can't imagine what it was for. As a grounding wire, it wasn't thick enough for a small residential house, much less one on top of a mountain prone to rubbing up against thunderclouds. The fence itself was already well grounded, should that have mattered, so I'm at a loss to guess what it was for.

After a short rest, I headed down, counting the steps as I went. Even the trip down was an MI-inducing effort. In order to not forget my count, I made a note to myself:

308 Steps plus another 20 or so stone steps back to the road -- NTT Dokomo Tochu broadcast tower -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/60 sec, f/20, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
308 Steps
plus another 20 or so stone steps back to the road

I'd like to be able to tell you how high it was, and normally I'd be able to pull the geoencoded altitude from the photos, but for some reason the altitude was completely wacky in the tracklog I pulled from my GPS unit, giving essentially no altitude change over the 300+ steps. Very odd. It's the first time I've noticed that happen.


All 6 comments so far, oldest first...

I thought climbing Mt. Kurama was bad, but that looks even worse – impressed that you made it to the top, though.

— comment by Brian on March 5th, 2009 at 2:09am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

The next post will be an artistic photographic study of the interior of an ambulance.

— comment by Marcina on March 5th, 2009 at 8:37am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I’m not exactly an electrical engineer (although I am an electrician of sorts) but on the subject of a ground wire, it might be for a slightly different purpose. Having a proper lightning rod on the top wouldn’t be of much use as lightning is just as likely to hit it as the giant steel structure it’s attached to and then arc out to the ground (either the last 1.5 feet to the dirt or maybe through the bolts in the concrete). The green wire however might be enough to dissipate any static buildup caused by the wind on the top of the mountain and/or keep any electrical potential between the tower and the fence at zero.

Just a thought.

— comment by JasonP on March 5th, 2009 at 8:44am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Having done a lot of steps at one time before myself, with no warm up, my guess is that the next day your shins ached so much that you could barely walk across a room. If they didn’t, you’re in much better shape than you’ve given yourself credit for.

— comment by Grandma Friedl on March 6th, 2009 at 2:48am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I believe this could be a “signal ground” to minimise noise and ground loops.

wikipedia: Ground_(electricity) Electronics

— comment by Richard on March 12th, 2009 at 4:08pm JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

The problem with the GPS may have been from the Cellphone tower transmitters de-sensing the GPS receiver. The signals from the satellites is itty bitty ( a radio technical term) here on earth and the signals from the Cell transmitters are humugus (another technical term). Even though the Cell transmitters and the GPS receivers are on different frequencies, the Cell transmitters also transmit harmonics of their primary frequency that may be in the same frequency range of the GPS receiver. The Cell harmonics are of a very low level compared to the primary Cell frequency, but are humugus when compared to the signal coming from the satellites.

That close to the transmitters I’d be surprised if you were able to get a good 3D lock on the GPS. If the GPS was able to receive any satellites it may have only been giving you 2D information which does not include altitude.

Just a though…. I enjoyed your blog. I just happened to stumble upon it.

— comment by Larry C on November 22nd, 2010 at 2:55am JST (7 years ago) comment permalink
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