Final Construction, Japanese Style
Construction-Site Entrance a large hotel in Kyoto -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 7+ + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Construction-Site Entrance
a large hotel in Kyoto

The scene above is the entrance to a new large hotel nearing completion of construction. The workers putting the finishing touches on the interior have left their shoes at the entrance, and are presumably walking in socks or slippers. This mimics what one does at a Japanese home.

When the hotel opens, people will walk in this public area with shoes like any other business, but until the construction company turns it over to the owner, they treat it with great care, so that it's turned over in pristine condition.

I doubt that this would ever happen in America. When I last lived in America, asking a visitor (such as the cable installer) to take their shoes off inside the house would be met with the same face as if I had asked them to take their pants off.

GPS-Settings Info for Bryton Rider 450 Cycling-Computer Users
Precision (photo is unrelated to the text of this article) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 18mm — 1/8000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 — image data
(photo is unrelated to the text of this article)

I've been testing a new cycling computer, a Bryton Rider 450. I was shocked to find out some information about its satellite-positioning features that isn't covered in the manual, so I'm sharing that info here.

As a bit of background, folks often use the GPS as a generic term for satellite positioning system, but in reality, GPS is the specific satellite positioning system built and deployed (and offered as a gift to the world) by the United States of America. It used to be the only one, but now there are several. Russia has its unrelated GLONASS system, the European Union has its Galileo system. These all provide global coverage. Regional systems include China's Beidou system (which will eventually be global), and India's IRNSS system.

In addition, Japan has a small four-satellite augmentation to the United States's GPS system called QZSS (みちびき in Japanese).

The Bryton Rider 450 is advertised to work with all of these except IRNSS. This in theory would allow my use here in Japan to benefit from the three truly-global systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo), and two regional systems (Beidou and QZSS), so hopefully it would be more accurate than other units I've used.

(In years past, I've posted a few articles about GPS accuracy, including here and here.)

So it was with dismay that I opened up the configuration menu on the unit to find only these options available:

  • GPS + Beidou
  • GPS + Glonass
  • GPS + Gal + QZ

This seems... unimpressive and disappointing.

I wrote to the company asking about this, and was told what the options really mean:

Menu Option GPS
Asia Pacific
GPS + Beidou
GPS + Glonass
GPS + Gal + QZ
What the Menu Options Actually Mean

This means that the GPS, Galileo, and QZSS are always enabled, and that you can optionally enable the global GLONASS or currently-regional Beidou systems.

What horrible menu labels, obfuscating what they really mean. There's plenty of space on the screen, so there's no excuse for this stupidity.

In Japan, the company recommended GPS + Beidou. Wikipedia tells me that Baidou will eventually be more accurate globally than GLONASS (or GPS or Galileo, for that matter), and it perhaps already has better coverage for the Asia-Pacific region.

I'd like to do tests where I bring six units (two at each setting) on the same ride, to compare and contrast the results in different situations, but I'm not about to spring for five more units just for that. Oh well.

(The lead photo, which I hope gives the feeling of precision to go along with this article, is from something I hope to be able to write about later.)

Temple Overlooking a Frosty Kyoto
Watching Over a Frozen Kyoto temple at Shogunzuka, Kyoto Japan -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500mm — 1/2000 sec, f/10, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Watching Over a Frozen Kyoto
temple at Shogunzuka, Kyoto Japan

Last night we a short but intense snow flurry that dropped about 2" of snow in 15 minutes, leaving the mountains this morning with a nice frosting.

The building seen above is at Shogunzuka, covered in Inside the “New” Temple Building at Shogunzuka Overlooking Kyoto and, more widely, a bit earlier in New Views of Kyoto from Shogunzuka’s New Observation Deck.

A bit farther north, hikers were enjoying the clearing on Mt. Daimonji:

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500mm — 1/2000 sec, f/6.3, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos

The clearing is where the fires are lit during the Daimonji Festival each August, as covered in Daimonji: Kyoto’s Least-Photogenic Festival, and in its photographic rebuttal Daimonji Fire Festival Up Close and Personal: Yaron Silberberg’s Photos from Last Year.

It's a simple hike to the clearing, though perhaps more challenging with slippery snow.

Frosty -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500mm — 1/2000 sec, f/10, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos

I tend to like this kind of frosty-cold-with-sharp-detail image, though my favorite is probably the photo seen exactly nine years ago today in Snowy Mountains. At first glance it's a boring photo, but I find it to be interesting at full, sharp resolution.

Also in the same realm is Bridge Over Icy Water, which then itself made a reappearance as a print in Dabbling in Some Fine-Art Printing for My Office.

Native Languages

One line through four generations:

  • My dad's mom's native language was Polish.
  • My dad's native language is German.
  • My native language is English.
  • My son's native language is Japanese.

All four of us were born in the United States of America.


My four grandparents all had different native languages: one each with Polish, German, French, and English.

Three were born in the USA; only the native English speaker, my maternal grandmother, was not (she was born in Canada).


Wigglegram of a Tea House at the Shugakuin Imperial Villa in Kyoto

The previous post, Another Visit to the Shugakuin Imperial Villa in Northeastern Kyoto, ended with the photo of an old tea house. To give a better sense of its common, simple architecture, here's wigglegram of the room:

Animatable Wigglegram (18 frames) — slowly sweep mouse from side to side to view 3D effect