Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Kabutomushi are awesome

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

In Japan, there is a famous and well-loved beetle called カブト虫 (kabutomushi), which goes by the common name of Japanese rhinoceros beetle.

Anyway, here’s the wikipedia link to it:

You might have seen pictures and if you watch anime, you will probably have heard of them. However, these things are huge. Check this out:

(No banana for scale but an adult’s hand)

They’re completely harmless but it scratches slightly when they hold on tight due to the slightly hooked ends of their legs.

They can be kept as pets although they don’t live very long. Since they’re mostly active at night they will sleep during the day. They eat jelly and fruits e.g. pieces of apples and watermelons.

For some reasons, they will invariably fight an other species of beetle called クワガタ (kuwagata) when their paths cross.

The above picture was taken at a exhibition on beetles in Shinjuku.

The pain of moving…

Monday, December 4th, 2017

across continents. Moving to another continent at the end of the month and besides being scared shitless, there’s so much to do when you need to clean out your apartment. So much to throw away…. because there is so much that accrues over time. I found old guitar cables, not used for 15 years. They definitely need to go. And since I’m boarding the plane with just three pieces of luggage, I can’t afford to bring almost anything. Shipping is quite costly.

But then again, so much memories are buried in all that stuff.

PADI Assistant Instructor – done and dusted

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

While still doing the PADI Divemaster internship, I started and recently finished the PADI Assistant Instructor course. The certification card should be on its way.

Whereas the Divemaster has a lot of practical aspects, the next step in the PADI career focuses on teaching, teaching techniques, structuring lessons and applied lessons in confined water and open water.

First time supervising an open water lesson was pretty stressful. All of a sudden you have to deal with things such as bottom topography and current, which you don’t really have to take into consideration in a pool.

One of the most painful lessons I learned was the aspect of control – even if you have an assistant, you need to constantly monitor everyone around you, even the assistant – unless you know him/her pretty well and you make a good team.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the first dive *after* the course because after weeks and weeks of tasks, homework, assignments and such I finally got the chance to enjoy a quiet, no-pressure dive again. Felt good…

(Edit on 2017/08/25: corrected three typos)

Summer Problems…

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Guess what kind of shoes I’ve been wearing this summer so far…

And don’t look at my weirdly shaped little toes… which you probably can’t unsee now.


Pictures to movie: A simple example of avconv

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

In 2011, I travelled from 豊岡 (Toyooka) to 京都 (Kyoto) by train. Every couple of seconds I took a picture with my camera. Since then, I wanted to merge all these pictures into a movie, if possible with some music.

I tried the better known video editors such as OpenShot Video Editor, Pitivi Video Editor, Blender and such but never really got far. Either pictures couldn’t be mass imported or they couldn’t be distributed evenly etc. etc.

Finally, a friend mentioned ffmpeg last week so I tried it again. Unfortunately, ffmpeg seems to be deprecated but they recommend to use avconv instead which comes with “libav-tools”

Format converting is an art of its own, but if you just want the basics, all you need is the following command:

avconv -f image2 -r 3 -i ./%04d.JPG -i soundfile.wav -c copy -crf 20 output.avi

Run this from the folder where your *.JPG pictures are and you will get a movie “output.avi” including a soundtrack from soundfile.wav. “-r 3” means 3 frames per second, so play around with this value if you a ‘faster’ or ‘slower’ movie.
Something else to keep in mind: The pictures must be named in numerical order: 0001.JPG, 0002.JPG etc.
If you don’t have your pictures named like that, try this command (all on 1 line in the terminal):
i=0; for f in *.JPG; do ln -s $f $(printf “%04d.JPG” $i); i=$((i+1)); done
This will create symlinks for all .JPG in your folder in the order that `ln -s` would output them.

This is the result: The final video

As usual, a couple of simple examples in the man page would have been helpful.

北京 – the funny part

Friday, April 20th, 2012

After spending a couple of days in Beijing, the sarcastic 外国人 in me started showing through again. I’ll demonstrate showing you some pictures, all of which were taken on 王府进大街 (Wangfujin Avenue, a big shopping street).

1) Directions?

If you have ever heard of “CHINES ECR EATURE” or “PHOTOG RA PHIC EQU IP MENT”, please raise your hand. And if you need a wrapping service for your presents, please go see the “THE BOX WRAPPER HAS”.

2)  The perfect gift for you 3 year old daughter…

You love your daughter, you have just been to 北京, why not show your love with this special t-shirt?

While you are in Beijing, the context may save you, but try wearing this t-shirt in an English-speaking speaking country in a park at night…

3) The Supermarket

Just a couple of shops down from the t-shirt store, I found this gem:

I wonder what the specialty is… probably spelling foreign words without using particular vowels. “Look, Ma! No ‘a’s!”

4) Those damned word boundaries again…

At least here, they have an explanation (well, sort of): They try to make the letters fit onto the panels. But they did a better job on 3)

5) Dictionary words, what a pain

Some words are easily recognizable, even when the spelling is incorrect. This one took me a minute and I first was thinking of “wrath”, but how can you sell that?

Only after looking at 手表, I understand that they meant “watch”. This is really pitiful… grammatical errors is one thing, but dictionary words? Also, they got the plural in handicrafts right, but will the supermarket be able to survive by selling just one watch and one shaving razor? Finally, thanks for providing a second translation of “toy”, didn’t get it the first time…

6) Ingenious parent-kid bike

Found this little germ on 北池子大街 (Beichizi Avenue), north of 天安门东站 (Tian’an men East station): an electric bike with a built-on kid’s seat. Given the traffic in Beijing, 新日 (new day) sounds more like a family prayer while riding.