Great Excitement in Small Pleasures: A Starbucks Opens Nearby
ROHM Theater Kyoto ロームシアター京都 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
ROHM Theater Kyoto
ロームシアター京都

The old Kyoto Theater Hall near my house reopened today after some years of renovation, emerging as ROHM Theater Kyoto (ロームシアター京都). ROHM is a semiconductor company based here in Kyoto, last mentioned on my blog more than 10 years ago, before I got into photography or even blogging that much, on this post about their annual Christmas lights at their company headquarters. They must have paid a boatload of money to someone to get branding rights for this renovated concert/theater complex.

I have a vague recollection of seeing some kind of performance at the original theater 25 years ago, when trekking this deep into Kyoto was a rare thing for me. (I lived in Takatsuki City at the time).

More recently, the old hall was the site of the Presidential visit seen 10 years ago in Presidential Visit means REALLY BIG hubbub, and since we live nearby, it's been in the background of numerous shots, such as this and this and this and this and this.

Anyway, we don't really care about the theater itself, but the BIG BIG BIG excitement of the reopening is that it now includes a combined TSUTAYA Bookstore + Starbucks Coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos

The theater had grand-opening events all day, but we were interested only in the 4:30pm grand opening of the Starbucks. We didn't know whether thousands might be waiting in line or no one, but we wanted to check things out so we headed over there a bit before.

It was bustling but not crazy. We showed up to find that they had taken pity on all those waiting in line and opened early, so the line was moving along briskly by the time we entered, and the wait was 20 minutes.

Kyoto Starbucks Coffee Cup -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/40 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto Starbucks Coffee Cup
10 Staff where presumably two or three would normally be -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
10 Staff
where presumably two or three would normally be
Our Order -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/30 sec, f/5.6, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Our Order
We Sat away from the hubbub and it was quiet and nice -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 40mm — 1/50 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
We Sat
away from the hubbub and it was quiet and nice
Second Floor Restaurant & Bar not part of Starbucks, but somehow integrated -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/20 sec, f/5.6, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Second Floor Restaurant & Bar
not part of Starbucks, but somehow integrated
Restaurant's Menu on the pricey side -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 38mm — 1/30 sec, f/5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Restaurant's Menu
on the pricey side
Third Floor some kind of lounge / book area I guess you can bring your Starbucks order here to chill -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Third Floor
some kind of lounge / book area
I guess you can bring your Starbucks order here to chill

We like Starbucks coffee and even if it were a normal Starbucks we'd be pleased that it's close (but not within sight 😉 ). The real attraction for us, though, is the combination with the bookstore and the lounge-like areas; we envision that we can retreat there for some quiet quality time with a book (or, in my case, with the free Wifi).

Rediscovering the Second-Floor Restaurant we didn't realize it was connected from the lounge -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Rediscovering the Second-Floor Restaurant
we didn't realize it was connected from the lounge
ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Floor -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Floor

On the way out of the restaurant / cafe / book building, I noticed that the floor was some very nice lightly-sculpted woodwork. I wonder how long the protruding ridges will last.

We took a look at the theater building as well. The main theater was completely rebuilt, but the sub-theater and the rest of the building were merely remodeled. Sadly, we weren't allowed to see the new main theater.

As Far as We Got -- ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
As Far as We Got

The gates barring the way, rather than some kind of impersonal security gate, were made of nicely-stained wood with a nice modern Japanese aesthetic....

ROHM Theater Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos

The whole area is getting a makeover. This past autumn the final leg of Jingu Street (Shrine Street), which dead-ended into the Heian Shrine, was closed off and turned into a pedestrian mall.

In Front of the Heian Shrine 平安神宮の前 -- Heian Shrine (平安神宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/20 sec, f/1.7, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
In Front of the Heian Shrine
平安神宮の前

Compare with this photo from about the same place eight years ago, as seen on Snowy Round Trip to the Heian Shrine...

Eight Years Ago 八年前 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Eight Years Ago
八年前
Heian Shrine (平安神宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 70mm — 0.5 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos

The small playground that Anthony used to play in was also remodeled, with the location of things shuffled around...

Swinging with Mommy -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/25 sec, f/1.7, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Swinging with Mommy

The apparatus* are the same, but if you use the nearby photos link to compare to the many prior photos from the area, it becomes apparent that the locations are all different.

*Note to my mom: I realize that the plural of apparatus is apparatuses, but I invoke artistic license to use apparatus as singular and plural, 'cause it sounds better to me.

The reshuffling was apparently done to make space for a tourist-information center (for Japanese tourists; I saw no information in any other language) housed in an old streetcar, which you can see in the background of the photo above.

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

The very first electrical-power generation plant in all Japan was nearby, and as such the nearby Niomon Street was the first in Japan to have streetlights and streetcars, so the old streetcar here is apropos.

Old Photos of the Area -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Old Photos of the Area
Ready to Drive Home -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/40 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Ready to Drive Home

All in all it was a nice family outing.

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/25 sec, f/1.7, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos

Lightroom Resource Utilization: On Setting Up a Machine for Lightroom Usage
desktop background image of a sunset over Nouméa, New Caledonia -- Hilton Nouméa -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 43mm — 1/1250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Desktop-Background Versions
1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600  ·  2880×1800

Adobe Lightroom deals with a lot of data — sometimes thousands of images at a time, each one potentially huge by itself — so it uses a lot of computer resources. When setting up a machine for Lightroom use, one wants to know what kinds of upgrades will be most effective, and along these lines I got an email from James Palik, a professional photographer who also teaches processing and workflow with Lightroom, asking specific questions about Lightroom resource management.

Sadly I'm not the right person to ask about this kind of stuff, but luckily I have a contact within Adobe who is. I've received permission to reproduce the questions and answers here so that all my benefit.

The current version of Lightroom is 6.3 (LrCC 2015.3).

Q:How much installed memory will Lightroom address. For example, is there any value to installing a full 64 GB on a Windows machine.
A:

Lightroom 6 runs as a native 64-bit application. In theory, the image processing engine can use up to 50% of the total RAM on your system to backup its internal virtual memory system. Typically, processing a single photo would not require 32GB of RAM. Current Lightroom heuristics set a maximum limit on the number of negatives cached in RAM at any given time (last 3 or 4 negatives loaded). So having more RAM adding to the machine would not be helpful.

However, if you could use the additional RAM to setup as RAM disk. That would be immensely helpful to speedup the previously loaded negatives. This is the same reasoning why having the catalog and negatives (Smart Previews) on a fast SSD drive is very helpful.

In the normal case, I would currently recommend 16GB of RAM.

Q:Lightroom determines a set amount of Cache when it is installed. How does Lightroom determine this setting?
A:

I assume by Cache you meant the camera raw cache? It depends on your workflow. If you are following a DNG-only workflow with Fast Load Data embedded, the camera raw cache rarely comes into play. If you process the raw files (CR2, NEF, RAF) only, then having a bigger camera raw cache is very helpful. It depends on the number of photos that you would need to process through each time and how often that you need to go back and reprocess them. Having the camera raw cache directory on a faster drive is very beneficial.

Q:When does Lightroom start to use Cache. (in what part of the development process)
A:

Every time that Lightroom would need to render the negatives with the adjustment settings, in the develop module or the quick develop in the library module.

Q: When it comes to CPUs and cores, what is your best advice for purchasing the most powerful standalone machine when it is going to be used almost exclusively for photography processing in Lightroom?
A:

Lightroom likes multiple processors/mult-cores and make uses of them.

Q:Will Lightroom take advantage of dual processors?
A:

Yes.

Q:How many cores will Lightroom take advantage of?
A:

Since Lr 6.2, Lightroom will make use of all cores available.

In all Lightroom versions, you can check the Lightroom's System Info dialog invoked from the Help menu. It has a field named Maximum thread count used by Camera Raw that tells how many cores that Lightroom will be using.


There we have it. Some of the answers bring up further questions, but hopefully this information will be of value. The RAM disk for the Camera Raw cache seems like an easy place to win greatly, if you have the spare memory. The size and location of the Camera Raw cache is configured in Lightroom's preferences dialog under the File Handling tab.

desktop background image of the boat dock at Îlot Maître (メトル島), New Caledonia -- Îlot Maître (メトル島), New Caledonia -- Îlot Maître (メトル島) -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 65mm — 1/10000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Îlot Maître (メトル島), New Caledonia
Desktop-Background Versions
1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600  ·  2880×1800

Lazy New-Year Break and Reflections on Last Year’s Cycling

It's been a mostly-lazy New Year break for me, just hanging out at home with the family, working here and there on my Lightroom plugins, from time to time updating roads I cycle a lot at OpenStreeMap.org with much more accurate road data than they currently have, and some general vegetating.

I did get to bookmark the change of year with a last bicycle ride in 2015 up into the mountains north of Kyoto on the last day of the year. There was even a bit of snow. Brrrr. Then on January 2nd, I did a lazy ride to the Kuuya-taki waterfall with Alain, a French friend visiting from near Tokyo.

Exiting the Waterfall at the Kuuya-taki waterfall (空也滝), Kyoto Japan -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 26mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.9, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Exiting the Waterfall
at the Kuuya-taki waterfall (空也滝), Kyoto Japan

When we arrived at the waterfall (which has appeared on my blog many times, such as Cooling Down at the Kuuya-taki Waterfall), a small group of what looked like members of a college karate club were taking turns going into the freezing water, similar to when I visited here last March.

Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.3, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos

Alain is a talented photographer, but was here for a bike ride so didn't have his real camera. He put the place on his must return to list.

Candles -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.3, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Candles

The return trip can go over or through a mountain. We went over it on the way, and though my time was not particularly special, it was the fastest properly-recorded for the short but steep segment. Strava lists my time as the 11th fasted, but it turns out that those listed above had either gone through the tunnel directly underneath, or had not made the full trip up to the pass.

Strava's segment matching has to be necessarily fuzzy to allow for the necessarily-fuzzy results one gets from consumer GPS units, and so it's not surprising that some efforts get assigned to a segment in error, but Strava gives the user no control over fixing these kind of Strava errors. It'd be nice if they allowed the user to remove a segment from the day's ride, and to allow other users to flag the incorrect-application of a segment to a ride. Sigh.

On the way back, we did take the tunnel. The beginning from this side is fairly well lit and wide and boxy...

Entering the Tunnel -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Entering the Tunnel

... but it gets dark and narrow and creepy...

It's Actually Darker than This -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/20 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
It's Actually Darker than This

I wanted to process it so that it reflected reality, but when I did it was mostly just black with a vague spot or two of light, so I settled on the rendition above, which is somewhere between reality and this overly-bright rendition from March.

My cycling one-year anniversary is coming up later this month, so that'll be a time for me to reflect on the past year. But never to pass up a chance to be a data geek, I compiled my 2015 stats...

Total distance: 5,756km (3,577 miles)
Total elevation gain: 86,810m (284,810 feet) this is actual gain, not Strava's voodoo gain
Longest ride: 228km (142mi)
Longest week: 486km (302mi) (rides of 228km, 115km, and 143km)
Most elevation gain in one day: 3,356m (11,010ft)
Fastest speed: 76.7 kph (47.7 mph) at this location on this ride.
Longest non-stop ride: a 125km (78mi) section within this 203km ride during which the wheels never stopped.
My Eddington number at the start of the year: N/A
My Eddington number at the end of the year: 37 meaning that I had 37 rides of at lest 37 miles
Crashes: 0
Times I fell due to being clipped in: 2
Flat tires: 5 at least

Weekly distance over the year:

I'm certainly looking forward to 2016 as my first full year of cycling, though it's getting off to a slow start.


Cycling with Kentaro Kataoka on His First “Real” Ride
Kentaro Kataoka out of focus and “ artsy ” , but doing some real cycling -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 34mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.3, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Kentaro Kataoka
out of focus and artsy, but doing some real cycling

The other day I went on a ride with Kentaro Kataoka (Ken-chan), who has been a friend for a long time. He's a sports-massage masseur with his own clinic.

He's been on my blog a number of times over the years, such as when he graduated from massage school four years ago, giving a friend an impromptu massage last year, or just seeing the sights with me (here and here).

He does a lot of running (street and mountain), but is new to cycling, having just bought his first real road bike. We went on our first ride together the other day.

Michael and Manseki Joking Around I don't know what they were doing, but their smiles were infectious -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Michael and Manseki Joking Around
I don't know what they were doing, but their smiles were infectious
Ken-chan Shows Up wearing his mountain-running clothes, along with real cycling shoes -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Ken-chan Shows Up
wearing his mountain-running clothes, along with real cycling shoes
In the Mountains -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
In the Mountains

We got our first taste of a hill with a short climb that on my best day I did in 58 seconds. He didn't really know what to expect other than a short climb that takes a minute or two, and just took off, and he did it in 68 seconds without much effort. I was stunned... that was faster than my 2nd-fastest time, which was the 72 seconds that I did trying to keep up with him.

He's new to cycling, but his fitness level is very high.

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
At The Foot of Mochikoshi Pass photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.1, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
At The Foot of Mochikoshi Pass
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

The eastern climb up to Mochikoshi Pass is 1.1km at an average of 9%, but the first half is much more steep than the second half. It's absolutely brutal if you try to go fast.

I wasn't thinking to actually ascend it with Ken-chan, but I wanted to show him the initial super-steep section. He seemed to handle it just fine, so we decided to make the full climb to the top. He made it in about six minutes with little apparent effort. (His time registered longer because he paused to let a truck go by, but had he stuck with me, he would have easily had my time. I knew the road and knew I'd get to the top before the truck got there, so I didn't waste 20 seconds pulling over to wait for him to pass.)

He's in such great physical shape that all he needs is some experience learning about cycling technique, and he'll quickly become one of the top riders around.

On the way home we stopped by NORU for coffee and cake...

Refilling the Gas Tank at NORU -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Refilling the Gas Tank
at NORU
Size Comparison a cyclist from Shiga compares her bike to mine -- NORU -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Size Comparison
a cyclist from Shiga compares her bike to mine

It was a short, rainy ride but it was great to show Ken-chan some of the mountains that I've learned to love this past year. Can't wait to do it again.


Surprises With New Caledonia Traffic Signs

On my recent trip to New Caledonia, I did a fair amount of driving. As someone with limited driving experience outside of North America and Japan, some of the street signs were not intuitive, such as this bicycle-related sign that I presented as A New Caledonia No-Bikes-Allowed “What am I?” Quiz:

Contradiction? -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Contradiction?

To someone used to driving in North America or Japan, the sign above clearly and unambiguously means No Bicycles Allowed, because anything with a diagonal red slash through it means No  whatever  Allowed.


no cars allowed?

Along those lines, the sign at right would clearly mean no cars allowed, but in New Caledonia I'd see this sign at each expressway off ramp, a spot where a no cars allowed sign would be jarring to say the least. The first time I noticed it, it was at an exit that I was thinking to take, but upon seeing the sign I quickly changed my mind... No Cars Allowed!

Once the initial shock wore off, I realized that it must mean End of Cars-Only Road, and so in New Caledonia (and likely Europe as well), a red slash means End of  whatever  Restriction.

So, a superficial answer to my quiz question is End of Bicycle Lane.

Still, that leaves the question of why the sign appears in a spot where the lane clearly doesn't end. The path that continues from that point was quite new, so I just assumed that they'd not yet removed the sign from when it really was the end, perhaps due to a classic government-worker not my job issue.

However, as answers came in to the quiz, I had to re-evaluate my idea of what Bicycle Lane meant.

I had assumed that it was a restriction on what can travel in the lane (bicycles only), so the sign was a restriction against cars, pedestrians, etc. But then I realized that it could be the other way... it could be a restriction against bicycles, that they must travel in this lane and may not travel on the road.

Or perhaps it's both.

So further research brought me to this page on the site for French cycling-related organization, and it seems that a circular blue-background white-bicycle sign means bicycles (and only bicycles) must use this path, while a square version means bicycles (and only bicycles) may use this path.

bicycles must use path bicycles may use path

In retrospect, this makes some sense. While driving in the middle of nowhere on a road with a bicycle path, every time we came to a short narrow bridge, there'd be an end of bicycle path sign at the start of the bridge, and a bicycle path sign a car length later at the end of the bridge. It seemed to me to be an excessively verbose level of detail for a road that might get a few cars an hour, but if it's releasing the cyclist from an obligation so that they can cross the bridge, well, I guess it makes sense. Somewhat.

A Roundabout with an “ end of bicycle path ” sign upon entrance, and in the background a “ start of bicycle path ” sign upon exit taken while cycling at 18 kph (11 mph) -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 52mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
A Roundabout
with an end of bicycle path sign upon entrance, and in the background a start of bicycle path sign upon exit
taken while cycling at 18 kph (11 mph)
Just Reminders, I Suppose taken while cycling at 21 kph (13 mph) -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Just Reminders, I Suppose
taken while cycling at 21 kph (13 mph)
Green Areas for Emphasis taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph) -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1000 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Green Areas for Emphasis
taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph)

The first sign that surprised me was the stop sign, which looked like an American stop sign:

Arrêtez! taken while cycling at 18 kph (11 mph) -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Arrêtez!
taken while cycling at 18 kph (11 mph)

Being a country with French as the national language, I somehow thought that the stop sign would, you know, be in French, such as Arrêt. It's been more than 25 years since I last drove in Quebec, but I seem to recall their stop signs being Arrêt.

Then I found this page that talks about how Stop is actually a proper French word (stop signs in France use Stop), and that because some areas of French-speaking Canada are so anti-English that they don't want even the possible misunderstanding that their Stop might be the English Stop instead of the French Stop, so they use improper French (Arrêt, which in proper French is apparently is more of a bus stop kind of stop).

No matter what's written on it, the red octagon speaks for itself across much of the world, so even if it said, for example, 「止まれ」instead of 「STOP」, most folks would understand. Then I started to think about Japanese signs, and I realized how opaque the must be to newcomers.

Here's a Japanese stop sign:

Here's a New Caledonia warning, speed-bump ahead sign:

Speed Bump Ahead -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Speed Bump Ahead

I was very disappointed to find that the trees and hammock were not standard, but stuck on this particular sign by some happy, mischievous soul:

Modified -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 52mm — 1/160 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Modified
Alert! “ risk of flooding 300m ahead ” , I suppose -- Moindou, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 70mm — 1/2000 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Alert!
risk of flooding 300m ahead, I suppose

The signs above makes complete sense, but I'd often see the ! sign alone, without any indication of what was being alerted. It felt a bit silly. I eventually realized that it could only mean Ken Thompson Nearby.

In context, speed limit signs are pretty obvious no matter how they're presented. In New Caledonia, they're numbers (kilometers per hour) within circles:

Suburban Nouméa not suburban Socal taken while cycling at 37 kph (23 mph) -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Suburban Nouméa
not suburban Socal
taken while cycling at 37 kph (23 mph)

As I rode through this neighborhood, I realized that except for the street signs and the color of the road paint, this picture looks like it could have been taken in Southern California.

As I write this blog post, I realize that I was speeding. Oops.

Now, let's look at this photo from downtown...

No Left Turn taken while cycling at 16 kph (10 mph) -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
No Left Turn
taken while cycling at 16 kph (10 mph)

... and compare to this photo of a traffic circle....

Right Turn Only taken while cycling at 21 kph (13 mph) -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Right Turn Only
taken while cycling at 21 kph (13 mph)

Both turn-restriction signs made intuitive sense to me, but again in thinking about Japan, I realized how different it is. When it comes to turn restrictions, Japan doesn't have signs that indicate what you can't do (there are no official NO LEFT TURN signs in Japan, for example), but only what you can do.


Japanese
No Left Turn
sign

So of the pair above, the Right Turn Only would be the same in Japan, but the No Left Turn sign would instead be presented as a Straight and Right Only, as illustrated at right.

I've been driving in Japan on and off for more than 25 years, and this still gets me. I learned to drive in America, so it's ingrained at the neuron level to look for No Left Turn signs if I'm thinking to turn left, and not at all ingrained to look for some other turn-restriction sign to see whether it happens to include the left that I want to do. It's still very unintuitive to me.

(One exception to what I said above about Japan's only what you can do turn-restriction signs are No U-Turn signs, which are the same in Japan as probably everywhere on earth.)

Anyway, that's about it for now for my musing on street signs. I'll end with this photo from the previous post, a warning on approach to a traffic circle. It's my favorite New Caledonia street sign:

“ YOU DO NOT HAVE PRIORITY ” No comment about who does, except that we know for sure that it's absolutely not you -- Nouméa, South, New Caledonia -- Copyright 2015 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 38mm — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
YOU DO NOT HAVE PRIORITY
No comment about who does, except that we know for sure that it's absolutely not you

Actually, one more street-sign thing: in Japan there's one particular street sign that I think is by far the most common, perhaps by an order of magnitude beyond the next-most-common sign. What is it?

To be clear, I don't actually have any statistics to back up what I think the answer is, but if you've spent much time in Japan, the moment I tell you my idea, you'll say Ah, yes, indeed.    Probably. 😉