Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




"Kyokuyako" written by Yusuke Kakuhata



I read the "Kyokuyako" written by Yusuke Kakuhata, a non-fiction writer and an explorer.



In the Arctic Circle, there is a period called polar night that the sun doesn't rise for many days. This book describes his travel with a dog in the dark for eighty days in detail. He traveled without a sponsor and GPS.


In a TV program, Kakuhata once said, "I feel that adventures and explorations are similar to pilgrimages in religion." "Maybe I want to relive experiences of ancient hunting people." When he said these, his straight eye seemed to have a subtle fear, which might be an awe of nature.


For someone like me who are blessed with the sun for granted every day, the lonely darkness for months was far beyond my understanding. But Kakuhata's clear vocabulary, sensitive depictions of scenes and realistic mental sceneries made me feel fulfillment as if I traveled together with him. His exploration itself was not only stoic, but there were several funny episodes, and he even wrote embarrassing information honestly, which was graceful. While reading the book, I experienced a strange feeling that my main purpose of life is the "exploration" in the book, and other everyday things seemed footnotes to me.


Following are excerpts from the book.
"The dog has quickly become debilitated due to reduced feed and moving along at once.
Although it is a dog breed that is resistant to cold weather, it did heavy labor as low as minus 30 degrees C. Its ribs stood out, around its waist got thin, muscles around legs to buttocks were lost entirely. Every time I check it while petting its whole body, I pitied it and I was near to tears."


As for the descriptions of the dog, it has been like a little dispassionate. But when I read this part at last, I really felt relief because I found that he also had a caring kind side. Meanwhile, Kakuhata tweeted the other day, "I swallowed a gastric camera for the first time. It was painful." I thought he is actually an ordinary person.


Next, I will read another book by him, "Uncharted five miles", which is the records about that Kakuhata challenged world's biggest Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet. His writing is very interesting, so I want to read from one to the next, which is highly addictive. (H.S)


Dog training for next travel to the Arctic Circle
The rightmost dog is the one traveled with Kakuhata
(The photo is from Kakuhata's Twitter @kakuhatayusuke)


Kakuhata is making a new sledge.
(The photo is from Kakuhata's Twitter @kakuhatayusuke)


[Video] Interview with Yusuke Kakuhata, explorer-Challenge to polar night- (including video clips that Kakuhata himself shot) (11'44")

Large flocks of starlings


On the last weekend evening, when I waited for a traffic light at an intersection a little away from the center of Fukui City, there were unusually many starlings all around. Because such a lot of birds had been gathering, the cry was quite loud. And it also requires too much effort to clean up bird droppings.


Large flocks of starlings were in the city center before, but I haven't seen them recently. It seems that the measures that Fukui City has been doing since five years ago are effective. So my guess is that they moved a little away from.


Anyway, it is interesting to hear that a traditional falconer was the most effective measure they have tried. Also, I think it is nice that the report did not treat birds just as villains but said about the good aspects of birds. They eat harmful insects of fields and street trees.






Buckwheat noodle restaurant recommendation in Echizen City "Urushiya"



The buckwheat noodle restaurant ”Urushiya” once offered their soba noodles with grated radish to Showa Emperor. But the restaurant was closed more than twenty years ago. Recently, I heard that the restaurant reopened this spring and saw its photos on Instagram from time to time. The retro-flavored atmosphere and the good reputations made me want to go to the restaurant, and I went there the other day.


The restaurant is located on the north side of Soja-Daijingu Shrine in Echizen City. In the Teramachi area, there are a stone path, a deli shop and a nice cafe, which create a good atmosphere. The restaurant's parking lots are separated into a couple of places nearby. So, when you go there for the first time, please ask restaurant staff.


As expected of an old established restaurant, the interior and the garden were elegant. The owner and staff were kind, so I felt cozy and of course their buckwheat noodles were freshscent and delicious. I would like to visit the restaurant again. (H.S)


Inside the restaurant


Hanging scroll and flower arrangement by my table


They serve Japanese multi-course meal as well.


I ordered soba noodles with grated radish and tempura set.


Flower arrangement at the entrance


Stone washbasin at the entrance
It's autumnal.


The restaurant was built in Taisho Period. A staff fit into the photo, saying "It's embarrassing to fit into a photo. Back shot is fine."

Hanagaki's special brewery bar on Shichiken Street in Ono City



Annual "Three major morning markets' regional products fair" is being held on the Shichiken Street in Ono City this weekend, and I went there yesterday.


During the event, the street is filled with not only open booths for Schichiken morning market, which has a 400-year-old history, but also specialty products of Ono City, its friendship city and neighboring towns.


And another pleasure at the event is enjoying sake at the special brewery bar being opened by Hanagaki only at the weekend. In the bar, you can taste many kinds of Hanagaki's sake. It is so nice to enjoy sake while chatting with Hanagaki's sake brewers and looking at the Shichiken Street, which many people come and go. (H.S)


It is fun to talk with sake brewers of Hanagaki about sake.


The daiginjo-shu is named "Ultimate Hanagki".


Sake tasting set to compare three kinds of brewer's rice


The menu of the bar


In front of the Hanagaki's shop, you can buy special sake and sake lees only during the event.

Five hurdles in the use of DJI Flight Simulator


Production notes


I started using the DJI Flight Simulator, which I have wanted to use for practicing drone operation. As its name suggests, it is software released by DJI, a leading drone manufacturer, which features a function of simulated operation of their various drones.  


It is attractive that you can use industrial drones such as Mavic Enterprise or Matrice 210 if you purchase a licence. You can use it as a free version without the license as well. In this case, you can only use a general aerial camera, and options of its menu are limited to some extent. Even so, it has a good quality that seems to be very useful for practice. However, there were some hurdles to make it available.


[PC specs]
It runs on Windows 10 only. Moreover it doesn't run on ordinary office use computers and requires fairly high performance. I was able to run on a laptop computer "HP Pavilion Gaming 15-dk0000 Performance Model". The specs are CPU CORE i7, memory 16 GB, graphics board GEFORCE GTX 1660 Ti, disk 256GB SSD + 1TB HD.


Even though it is made by DJI, the transmitters of Phantom4 Pro+ and Mavic Pro cannot be used for the software. So I had no choice but to get a used transmitter of Inspire 1 on an online auction. I connect this to the computer by a micro USB cable.


[User manual]
It is available only in English. I can't help but doubt whether they really want to sell it or not.


"Mode 2" is displayed on the screen during actual operation in mode 1. The upside-down transmitter image is also a mystery.


Even if the stick mode was set to 1 on the software, the transmitter operation did not change to mode 1. But when I set the stick mode to 2 on the software, I was able to operate the transmitter in mode 1. However, it was not comfortable because the mode displayed on the screen and the actual operation didn't match. Additonally, the flight mode cannot be set to sport mode. Does it depend on the type of transmitter?


[Internet connection]
Internet connection is always required to use the software. Normally I don't think it's a problem, but this time I had to use it in a place without a network environment, so I rented a mobile router only at the time.


Therefore, there still are some tiny problems, but I'm happy because the software has become available.