Archive for September 21, 2011

Typhoon Roke is here

Typhoon Roke has finally made it here. It will pass directly over Nagoya and then Tokyo. The wind doesn’t seem as strong as the previous typhoon, Talas. Rain associated with Roke has caused flooding in Nagoya where authorities issued evacuation orders for 1 million of the 2 million residents of Nagoya. It sounds desperate, but it is not. Most of the residents Nagoya live in multi-story condominium buildings or multi-story apartments. Only householders near the Shonai River are indeed flooded. Affected areas are mainly Moriyama and Tempaku. NHK, the national broadcaster, showed pictures of city residents taking refuge in emergency shelters last night, ahead of additional or continued flooding, and ahead of the approach of the typhoon.

Yesterday many workers and students attending their first days of the new semester were stranded at train stations as underground services were flooded, or high risks due to the winds. The stranding of commuters was the probable cause of mobile phone services working only intermittently. Despite learning that stranded passengers in Tokyo was a huge problem after the March-eleven quake, Nagoya seemed unprepared.

Below are photos from Typhoon Talas. I’m not leaving my area until I’m sure that my home and neighbourhood is safe, then I might venture out. My area has a warning of high risk of storm surge causing inundation. My pictures, below, show the storm surge and tsunami protection, however, not all parts of the dyke is as strong and reinforced as those shown.

Disasters – Images by Andrew Blyth

Typhoon Roke is still coming but

Typhoon Roke is still coming, and at the time of writing, the storm zone is still not over Nagoya (my city). Strangely, we’ve had a large amount of rain, but not a massive amount, but parts of Nagoya have been flooded. I would never have thought this, as the rain was not intense enough for long enough, consequently I never thought to even bother go around the town to take a look. 79,000 people in Nagoya have been told to evacuate, and they are apart of the 1.2 million having to move, too. Currently there is no wind, and the storm zone isn’t over Nagoya, yet. The rain is merely associated with the typhoon.

It appears that mobile phone services are operating in some areas intermittently, perhaps as many stranded commuters are calling home saying that their train services are closed or the underground stations flooded.

For the latest information see the Japan Weather Agency website. I’m afraid I don’t know of any other informational services in languages other than Japanese. Currently, it seems the worst of the storm should have past Nagoya by 6pm Wednesday (local time), but Tokyo would still be affected. Companies often stipulate that if there is a Gale Warming (red) then workers are not required to attend. Most companies are not concerned about the other warnings (including flood, rain, and risks of landslides).

Typhoon Roke

This is the latest typhoon on the list, and is expected to cause more damage than the previous one to hit mainland Japan: Talas. However, since many people were displaced by Typhoon Talas, there probably won’t be many more to be displaced in Roke.

Here is another piece that I wrote on Google+. If you want an invite to Google+, please ask.

NHK reported on the TV news just before 10pm that because of the rain from Typhoon Roke, the natural dams made by landslides from Typhoon Talas earlier this month, may burst as early as tonight. The affected areas in Wakayma and southern Mie prefectures were predicted to have up to 200 to 300mm of rain, but it was predicted that only 30mm (a little more than an inch) of rain is needed for some of them to overflow. Villages downstream should have already been evacuated and remain evacuated since Typhoon Talas. Since Talas all attempts to prevent the homes from being washed away, however, they will surely be lost tonight. The typhoon storm zone isn’t even over the Japan mainland yet, just the rain ahead of the typhoon is causing this damage.


Disasters – Images by Andrew Blyth

photo of the week 19 Sept 2011

For a few weeks now I’ve been doing a “Photo of the week” on my Twitter feed. I’m choosing the nice photos of something relevant now or soon, or just personal favourites that need a gentle nudge into the spot light. However, I have got concerned that I might repeat a couple of photos accidentally, perhaps to the annoyance of followers who are eager to see what’s coming out of the land of the rising sun, so this begins my ad hoc cataloguing attempt. Seriously, there are people who do look forward to seeing what’s new from me. I’m not surprised, I do look forward to my daily Dilbert and Sinfest comics.

This Photo Of The Week (POTW) is being promoted now, six months in advance, so that editors can organise their material and choose my photo for it. As you can see, it’s a stunner. And as you can see, it’s a public event and children were there. Here is my blog entry about the Tagata Fertility Festival, held annually in March in Nagoya, Japan.


Here is a list of previous POTW.

Toyohashi Fire Festival:

Mt Fuji and Japan Airlines in the same photo:

Cute Cosplay girls:

Yokkaichi Port

On Saturday late afternoon I went to Yokkaichi Port. Apparently there are great industrial night views to enjoy there. Well… you only live once. Below is a sample of the ‘you only live once’ photos, and more have been submitted to my portfolio at Asia Photo Connection, so they should be there soon. Please check them out and buy them.

Some facts about Yokkaichi and Yokkaichi Port.

Yokkaichi is a major international container port, shipping well known Japanese products like the Honda cars, flash memory, tea, ceramics, and more to San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong, and other destinations in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. It was established as a “modern city” at the end of the Meiji Restoration, at the time of when the Emperor was reinstated as the ruler of Japan (construction of the port was completed in 1899). In the 1960’s many people suffered “Yokkaichi asthma”, due to the toxic pollution emitted into the air by the oil refineries and factories. Yokkaichi receives much of Japan’s oil from the Middle East and some of it is refined there. Still today, many Japanese and foreign residents joke about the air quality in Yokkaichi, especially since a lot of electricity is generated in that area by combustion, including the burning of household and office rubbish and imported oil.

Much of this information was found on Wikipedia/Yokkaichi.

Japanese air force photos

Recently I’ve discovered that one of my portfolios do longer exists. I had images on Gekko Images, which had a “Site under redevelopment” notice across the front page for many months. Earlier this week I went to check up on the ‘redevelopment’ only to find the website doesn’t exist any more.

So, I’ve started to dig up and reorganise my photos I had on Gekko and move them across to PhotoShelter.

Below are my archive photos of the 2008 Komaki airshow of the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force aircraft, including the same search and rescue aircraft that were used iin support of Tohoku and the recent Mie Typhoon Talas aftermath.

Japanese air force – Images by Andrew Blyth

Typhoon epilogue

Epilogue: According to NHK news tonight.

Over 100 people have died, and a hydro-electric dam was destroyed by mud slides, and portions of villages have been buried. Hokkaido has so far been battered by two typhoons since Thursday and without break in between. Water supplies and electricity has been cut off in some areas, and the Japan Self Defence Force (army) are overwhelmed and under equipped. Some villages have no communication out of their mountainous areas. Local governments are unable to assess the full extent of damage as some communities have been completely cut of with roads and communications destroyed. Some villages have created SOS signs for aircraft to see. In some places after mud slides dams were created creating fragile walls and holding a lot of muddy water, threatening more villages in isolated parts of Japan.

It seems that so far, 2011 is the year that Japan would rather forget, but could never.

Slowest typhoon in history

Typhoon Talas, the 12th typhoon of 2011, has moved so slowly that the storm zone entered parts of mainland Japan on Thursday, and is still expected to depart Monday. At times it was claimed to have been travelling at 15km/h, and other times less than 10km/h. At such speeds, many parts of Japan has experienced excessive rain falls since Thursday, and is expected to continue into Monday. This brings floods, loosening of ground leading to landslides, disintegration of some dykes, swelling of rivers which has already lead a lady who was evacuating to an emergency shelter to be washed away.

At the time of writing, drainage canal water levels continue to rise as heavy rain continues to fall unabated. Below is a photo of an emergency flood and marine alert automated station.

AppMakr Copyright violation

For some time now, I’ve been looking at other ways to bring in income using the JapanesePhotos bandwagon. I looked at various publication options, and came across AppMakr. As I was experimenting and trying out their wares I realised they are doing something absolutely abhorrent.

Appmakr is a website that helps you make smart phone applications for Android, iPhone, and Windows mobile OS. Appmakr has just one trick: you add RSS feeds to make and automatically update the app. That is, you enter your blog feed, twitter, or similar and you have an app. However, they do allow you to use photos for the app icon and start up screen. The problem is this: you can upload a photo of your own, or use their ‘search’ function. Via this search function I discovered that I can find my own photos (complete with copyright water mark) and use those. That is to say, anybody can use unlicensed (unpaid for) photos for their monetized apps. Consequently, if anybody uses the search for photo / logo function they run the risk of copyright violation litigation. And AppMakr? I would assume that they could also be subject to the same litigation that companies like Napster faced.

Evidence of aiding in copyright violation:

Screenshot-AppMakr :: Art - JapanPhoto - Mozilla Firefox

Screenshot-AppMakr :: Art - JapanPhoto - Mozilla Firefox

Typhoon Talas photos

Every time there was a typhoon in Taiwan, I always heard that there had been at least one idiot who went to the coast to watch the big waves, and that idiot got washed away and died.

This time, this idiot finally got interested in seeing what the waves look like near where I live. I live very close to Ise Bay, where the major cities of Nagoya, Yokkaichi and Toyota are located. I decided to take my bicycle as it gives me better access along the dyke, so I road my bicycle into the wind in very low gear (2-2 and sometimes 1-1). After 40 minutes of hard cycling I eventually got to the coast to see the bay. The waves were… small. About a foot high, but the wind was full gale force, and the rain stung my skin. There were gale force warnings and flood warnings for my area. I slowly road back home taking photos along the way, and rarely needing to pedal (the wind was strong enough to power me up to being faster than running speed). By the time I got home in my prefecture one person was already missing, 18 injured, some homes were evacuated, and landslides in areas near mountains became likely. Because the typhoon is moving so slowly, there will be so much rain falling over a protracted time and not draining, and so there will be disasters occurring.

Below is the start of a new collection of Disaster photos. The collection currently focuses on tsunami and storm surge dykes. It is modest, but one must start somewhere. If I were funded, I would be prepared to travel to better locations (further than I care to ride a bicycle).

Disasters – Images by Andrew Blyth

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