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Sky View Of Tomakomai 

iPhoneOgraphy – 21 Dec 2016 (Day 356/366)

Tomakomai (苫小牧市 Tomakomai-shi) is a city and port in Iburi Sub prefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the largest city in the Iburi Sub prefecture and the fifth largest city in Hokkaido.

As of February 29, 2012, it had an estimated population of 174,216, with 83,836 households and a population density of 310.27 persons per km² (803.60 persons per sq. mi.). The total area is 561.49 km² (216.79 sq mi).

The name of Tomakomai is derived from Ainu word “to” and “mak oma nay”, meaning “Marsh” and “River which goes into the depths of the mountain”.

In year 1873 The village of Tomakomai was founded. Later in year 1918 Tomakomai village became Tomakomai town and lastly in year 1948 Tomakomai town became Tomakomai city.

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Let’s Go Skiing

iPhoneOgraphy – 18 Dec 2016 (Day 353/366)

A ski is a narrow strip of semi-rigid material worn underfoot to glide over snow. Substantially longer than wide and characteristically employed in pairs, skis are attached to ski boots with ski bindings, with either a free, lockable, or partially secured heel. For climbing slopes, ski skins (originally made of seal fur, but now made of synthetic materials) can be attached at the base of the ski.

Originally intended as an aid to travel over snow, they are now mainly used recreationally in the sport of skiing.

The word ski comes from the Old Norse word “skíð” which means stick of wood or ski.

In Swedish, another language evolved from Old Norse, the word is “skidor” (pl.).

English and French use the original spelling “ski”, and modify the pronunciation. Prior to 1920, English usage of “skee” and “snow-shoe” is often seen. In Italian, it is pronounced as in Norwegian, and the spelling is modified: “sci”. Portuguese, German and Spanish adapt the word to their linguistic rules: esqui, Schier (a German plural of Ski) and esquí. Many languages make a verb form out of the noun, such as “to ski” in English, “skier” in French, “esquiar” in Spanish, “sciare” in Italian, “skiën” in Dutch, “esquiar” in Portuguese or “schilaufen” (as above also Ski laufen or Ski fahren) in German.

Finnish has its own ancient words for skis and skiing. In Finnish ski is suksi and skiing is hiihtää. The Sami also have their own words for skis and skiing. For example, the Lule Sami word for ski is “sabek” and skis are “sabega”. The Sami use “cuoigat” for the verb “to ski”. The term may date back to 10,000 years before present.

The oldest wooden skis found were in what is today Russia (c. 6300-5000 BCE), Sweden (c. 5200 BCE) and Norway (c. 3200 BCE) respectively.

Nordic ski technology was adapted during the early 20th century to enable skiers to turn at higher speeds. New ski and ski binding designs, coupled with the introduction of ski lifts to carry skiers up slopes, enabled the development of alpine skis. Meanwhile advances in technology in the Nordic camp allowed for the development of special skis for skating and ski jumping.

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Hoshino Resort Tomamu

iPhoneOgraphy – 17 Dec 2016 (Day 352/366)

Ski mountaineering is a skiing discipline that involves climbing mountains either on skis or carrying them, depending on the steepness of the ascent, and then descending on skis. There are two major categories of equipment used, free-heel Telemark skis and skis based on Alpine skis, where the heel is free for ascents, but is fixed during descent. The discipline may be practiced recreationally or as a competitive sport.

Competitive ski mountaineering is typically a timed racing event that follows an established trail through challenging winter alpine terrain while passing through a series of checkpoints. Racers climb and descend under their own power using backcountry skiing equipment and techniques. More generally, ski mountaineering is an activity that variously combines ski touring, Telemark, backcountry skiing, and mountaineering. It is planned by the Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme (UIAA), to make ski mountaineering by itself part of the 2018 Olympic Games.

Military patrol was an official event at the 1924 Winter Olympics, followed by demonstration events at the 1928 Winter Olympics, in 1936 and in 1948. Military patrol is considered to be a predecessors of the biathlon.

From 1992 to 2009, the Comité International du Ski-Alpinisme de Compétition (CISAC), founded by France, Italy, Slovakia, Andorra and Switzerland, sanctioned the European Championship. Then the CISAC merged with the International Council for Ski Mountaineering Competitions in 1999, which in 2008 became the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF).

Outside Europe, international championships started with the 2007 South American Ski Mountaineering Championship and the 2007 Asian Championship of Ski Mountaineering. The 2012 North American Ski Mountaineering Championship was the first edition of a North American Championship of Ski Mountaineering, sanctioned by the United States Ski Mountaineering Association.

A ski resort is a resort developed for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. In Europe, most ski resorts are towns or villages in or adjacent to a ski area – a mountainous area with pistes, ski trails and a ski lift system. In North America, it is more common for ski areas to exist well away from towns, so ski resorts usually are destination resorts, often purpose-built and self-contained, where skiing is the main activity.

Ski areas have marked paths for skiing known as runs, trails or pistes. Ski areas typically have one or more chairlifts for moving skiers rapidly to the top of hills, and to interconnect the various trails. Rope tows can also be used on short slopes (usually beginner hills or bunny slopes). Larger ski areas may use gondolas or aerial trams for transportation across longer distances within the ski area.

Ski areas usually have at least a basic first aid facility, and some kind of ski patrol service to ensure that injured skiers are rescued. The ski patrol is usually responsible for rule enforcement, marking hazards, closing individual runs (if a sufficient level of hazard exists), and removing (dismissing) dangerous participants from the area.

Some ski resorts offer lodging options on the slopes themselves, with ski-in and ski-out access allowing guests to ski right up to the door. Ski resorts often have other activities, such as snowmobiling, sledding, horse-drawn sleds, dog-sledding, ice-skating, indoor or outdoor swimming, and hot tubbing, game rooms, and local forms of entertainment, such as clubs, cinema, theaters and cabarets. Après-ski (French: after skiing) is a term for entertainment, nightlife or social events that occur specifically at ski resorts. These add to the enjoyment of resort-goers and provide something to do besides skiing and snowboarding. The culture originated in the Alps, where it is most popular and where skiers often stop at bars on their last run of the day while still wearing all their ski gear. People that browse ski resort & hotel websites will commonly seek mention of the quality of après-ski in the area, and such information is often found. It is therefore seen as an important factor for skiers to consider before booking a holiday. The concept is similar to the nineteenth hole in golf.

Though the word ‘ski’ is a derivation of the Old Norse ‘skíð’ via Norwegian, the choice of French is likely attributed to the early popularity of such activities in the French Alps, with which it was then linked.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

The Kamikawa Shrine

iPhoneOgraphy – 16 Dec 2016 (Day 351/366)

Shinto architecture is the architecture of Japanese Shinto Shrines.

With a few exceptions, the general blueprint of a Shinto shrine is Buddhist in origin. Before Buddhism, shrines were just temporary structures erected to a particular purpose. Buddhism brought to Japan the idea of permanent shrines and much of Shinto architecture’s vocabulary. The presence of verandas, stone lanterns, and elaborate gates are examples of this influence.

The composition of a Shinto shrine is extremely variable, and none of its possible features are necessarily present. Even the honden or sanctuary, the part which houses the kami and which is the centerpiece of a shrine, can be missing. However, since its grounds are sacred, they usually are surrounded by a fence made of stone or wood called tamagaki, while access is made possible by an approach called sandō. The entrances themselves are straddled by gates called torii, which are therefore the simplest way to identify a Shinto shrine.

A shrine may include within its grounds several structures, each destined to a different purpose. Among them are the honden or sanctuary, where the kami are enshrined, the heiden, or hall of offerings, where offers and prayers are presented, and the haiden or hall of worship, where there may be seats for worshipers. The honden is the building that contains the shintai, literally, “the sacred body of the kami”. Of these, only the haiden is open to the laity. The honden is located behind the haiden and is usually much smaller and unadorned. Other notable shrine features are the temizuya, the fountain where visitors cleanse their hands and mouth and the shamusho (社務所), the office that supervises the shrine. Shrines can be very large, as for example Ise Shrine, or as small as a beehive, as in the case of the hokora, small shrines frequently found on road sides.

Before the forced separation of Shinto and Buddhism (Shinbutsu bunri), it was not uncommon for a Buddhist temple to be built inside or next to a shrine or to the contrary for a shrine to include Buddhist subtemples. If a shrine was also a Buddhist temple, it was called a jingu-ji. At the same time, temples in the entire country adopted tutelary kami (chinju (鎮守/鎮主) and built temple shrines called chinjusha to house them. After the forcible separation of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines (shinbutsu bunri) ordered by the new government in the Meiji period, the connection between the two religions was officially severed, but continued nonetheless in practice.

The practice of marking sacred areas began in Japan as early as the Yayoi period (from about 500 BC to 300 AD) originating from primal Shinto tenets. Features in the landscape such as rocks, waterfalls, islands, and especially mountains, were places believed to be capable of attracting kami, and subsequently were worshiped as yorishiro. Originally, sacred places may have been simply marked with a surrounding fence and an entrance gate or torii. Later, temporary buildings similar to present day portable shrines were constructed to welcome the gods to the sacred place. Over time the temporary structures evolved into permanent structures that were dedicated to the gods. Ancient shrines were constructed according to the style of dwellings (Izumo Taisha) or storehouses (Ise Grand Shrine). The buildings had gabled roofs, raised floors, plank walls, and were thatched with reed or covered with hinoki cypress bark. Such early shrines did not include a space for worship. Three important forms of ancient shrine architectural styles exist: taisha-zukuri, shinmei-zukuri and sumiyoshi-zukuri They are exemplified by Izumo Taisha, Nishina Shinmei Shrine and Sumiyoshi Taisha respectively and date to before 552. According to the tradition of Shikinen sengū-sai (式年遷宮祭), the buildings or shrines were faithfully rebuilt at regular intervals adhering to the original design. In this manner, ancient styles have been replicated through the centuries to the present day.

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Torii The Japanese Gate

iPhoneOgraphy – 15 Dec 2016 (Day 350/366)

A torii (鳥居, literally bird abode) is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred. The presence of a torii at the entrance is usually the simplest way to identify Shinto shrines, and a small torii icon represents them on Japanese road maps. They are however a common sight at Japanese Buddhist temples too, where they stand at the entrance of the temple’s own shrine, called chinjusha (鎮守社, tutelary god shrine) and are usually very small.

Their first appearance in Japan can be reliably pinpointed to at least the mid-Heian period because they are mentioned in a text written in 922. The oldest existing stone torii was built in the 12th century and belongs to a Hachiman Shrine in Yamagata prefecture. The oldest wooden torii is a ryōbu torii at Kubō Hachiman Shrine in Yamanashi prefecture built in 1535.

Torii were traditionally made from wood or stone, but today they can be also made of reinforced concrete, copper, stainless steel or other materials. They are usually either unpainted or painted vermilion with a black upper lintel. Inari shrines typically have many torii because those who have been successful in business often donate in gratitude a torii to Inari, kami of fertility and industry. Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto has thousands of such torii, each bearing the donor’s name.

The Japanese torii is derived from the Indian Torana which also inspired the Chinese Paifang.

The function of a torii is to mark the entrance to a sacred space. For this reason, the road leading to a Shinto shrine (sandō) is almost always straddled by one or more torii, which are therefore the easiest way to distinguish a shrine from a Buddhist temple. If the sandō passes under multiple torii, the outer of them is called ichi no torii (一の鳥居, first torii). The following ones, closer to the shrine, are usually called, in order, ni no torii (二の鳥居, second torii) and san no torii (三の鳥居, third torii). Other torii can be found farther into the shrine to represent increasing levels of holiness as one nears the inner sanctuary (honden), core of the shrine. Also, because of the strong relationship between Shinto shrines and the Japanese Imperial family, a torii stands also in front of the tombs of each Emperor.

Whether torii existed in Japan before Buddhism or, to the contrary, arrived with it is, however, an open question. In the past torii must have been used also at the entrance of Buddhist temples. Even today, as prominent a temple as Osaka’s Shitennō-ji, founded in 593 by Shōtoku Taishi and the oldest state-built Buddhist temple in the world (and country), has a torii straddling one of its entrances. (The original wooden torii burned in 1294 and was then replaced by one in stone.) Many Buddhist temples include one or more Shinto shrines dedicated to their tutelary kami (“Chinjusha”), and in that case a torii marks the shrine’s entrance. Benzaiten is a syncretic goddess derived from the Indian divinity Sarasvati which unites elements of both Shinto and Buddhism. For this reason halls dedicated to her can be found at both temples and shrines, and in either case in front of the hall stands a torii. The goddess herself is sometimes portrayed with a torii on her head. Finally, until the Meiji period (1868 -1912) torii were routinely adorned with plaques carrying Buddhist sutras. The association between Japanese Buddhism and the torii is therefore old and profound.

Yamabushi, Japanese mountain ascetic hermits with a long tradition as mighty warriors endowed with supernatural powers, sometimes use as their symbol a torii.

The torii is also sometimes used as a symbol of Japan in non-religious contexts. For example, it is the symbol of the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment and the 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division and of other US forces in Japan.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

Walking On The Snow

iPhoneOgraphy – 09 Dec 2016 (Day 344/366)

Snow pertains to frozen crystalline water throughout its life cycle, starting when it precipitates from clouds and accumulates on surfaces, then metamorphoses in place, and ultimately melts, slides or sublimates away. Snowstorms organize and develop by feeding on sources of atmospheric moisture and cold air. Snowflakes nucleate around particles in the atmosphere by attracting supercooled water droplets, which freeze in hexagonal-shaped crystals. Snowflakes take on a variety of shapes, basic among these are platelets, needles, columns and rime. As snow accumulates into a snowpack, it may blow into drifts. Over time, accumulated snow metamorphoses, by sintering, sublimation and freeze-thaw. Where the climate is cold enough for year-to-year accumulation, a glacier may form. Otherwise, snow typically melts, seasonally, and causes runoff into streams and rivers and recharging groundwater.

Major snow-prone areas include the Arctic and Antarctica, the upper half of the Northern Hemisphere, and alpine regions.

Scientists study snow at a wide variety of scales that include the physics of chemical bonds and clouds; the distribution, accumulation, metamorphosis, and ablation of snowpacks; and the contribution of snowmelt to river hydraulics and ground hydrology. In doing so, they employ a variety of instruments to observe and measure the phenomena studied. Their findings contribute to knowledge applied by engineers, who adapt vehicles and structures to snow, by agronomists, who address the availability of snowmelt to agriculture, and those, who design equipment for sporting activities on snow. Scientists develop and others employ snow classification systems that describe its physical properties at scales ranging from the individual crystal to the aggregated snowpack. A sub-specialty is avalanches, which are of concern to engineers and outdoors sports people, alike.

Snow affects such human activities as transportation: creating the need for keeping roadways, wings, and windows clear; agriculture: providing water to crops and safeguarding livestock, and such sports as skiing, snowboarding, and snow machine travel. Snow affects ecosystems, as well, by providing an insulating layer during winter under which plants and animals are able to survive the cold.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

Otaru Canal, Japan

iPhoneOgraphy – 08 Dec 2016 (Day 343/366)

Otaru (小樽市 Otaru-shi) is a city and port in Shiribeshi Sub prefecture, Hokkaido, Japan, northwest of Sapporo. The city faces the Ishikari Bay, and has long served as the main port of the bay. With its many historical buildings, Otaru is a popular tourist destination. Because it is a 25-minute drive from Sapporo, it has recently grown as a bedroom community.

As of 31 July, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 131,706 with 67,308 households and a population density of 541.71 persons per km (1,403.0 persons per sq. mi.). The total area is 243.13 km (93.87 sq mi). Although it is the largest city in Shiribeshi Sub prefecture, the subprefecture’s capital is the more centrally located Kutchan.

Otaru is a port town on the coast of the Sea of Japan in northern Shiribeshi Sub prefecture. The southern portion of the city is characterized by the steep slopes of various mountains, notably Tenguyama; and the altitude of the land sharply drops from the mountains to the sea. The land available between the coast and mountains has been almost completely developed, and the developed part of the city on the mountain slopes is called Saka-no-machi, or “Hill town”, including hills named Funamizaka (Boat-view Hill) and Jigokuzaka (Hell Hill).

The city was an Ainu habitation, and the name “Otaru” is recognised as being of Ainu origin, possibly meaning “River running through the sandy beach”. The very small remaining part of the Temiya Cave contains carvings from the Zoku-Jōmon period of Ainu history, around A.D. 400. Otaru was recognised as a village by the bakufu in 1865, and in 1880 the first railway line in Hokkaido was opened with daily service between Otaru and Sapporo.

An Imperial decree in July 1899 established Otaru as an open port for trading with the United States and the United Kingdom.

The city flourished well as the financial and business center in Hokkaido as well as the trade port with Japanese ruled southern Sakhalin until the 1920s. Otaru was redesignated as a city on August 1, 1922.

On December 26, 1924, a freight train loaded with 600 cases of dynamite exploded in Temiya Station, damaging the warehouse, the harbour facilities and the surrounding area. Local officials stated that at least 94 were killed and 200 injured in this disaster.

Since the 1950s, as the coal industry around the city went into a decline, the status of economic hub shifted from Otaru to Sapporo.

A canal adorned with Victorian-style street lamps runs through Otaru. The city attracts a large number of Japanese tourists as well as Russian visitors.

Otaru is well known for its beer, and Otaru Beer, next to the canal, is a popular restaurant with a medieval theme. Otaru is also known for the freshness of its sushi. The town also has substantial shopping arcades and bazaars, but fewer than nearby Sapporo.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

The Edomae Zushi

iPhoneOgraphy – 06 Nov 2016 (Day 311/366)

Sushi (すし, 寿司, 鮨) a type of food preparation originating in Japan, consisting of cooked vinegared rice (鮨飯 sushi-meshi) combined with other ingredients (ネタ neta) such as seafood, meat, vegetables and sometimes tropical fruits. Ingredients and forms of sushi presentation vary widely, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is rice (also referred to as shari (しゃり) or sumeshi (酢飯)). Although commonly mistaken for sushi, sashimi, which is also a Japanese delicacy, consists of thinly sliced raw meat or fish and may or may not be served with rice.

Sushi can be prepared with either brown or white rice. It is often prepared with raw seafood, but some common varieties of sushi use cooked ingredients and many are vegetarian. Sushi is often served with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce. Popular garnishes are often made using daikon.

The original type of sushi, known today as nare-zushi (馴れ寿司, 熟寿司,) was first made in Southeast Asia. Fish was salted and wrapped in fermented rice, a traditional lacto-fermented rice dish. Narezushi was made of this gutted fish which was stored in fermented rice for months at a time for preservation. The fermentation of the rice prevented the fish from spoiling. The fermented rice was discarded and fish was the only part consumed. This early type of sushi became an important source of protein for the Japanese. The term sushi comes from an antiquated grammatical form no longer used in other contexts, and literally means “sour-tasting”, a reflection of its historic origin as a fermented food. The oldest form of sushi in Japan, narezushi, is still made by wrapping fish in soured fermenting rice, which causes the fish proteins to break down into their constituent amino acids. The fermenting rice and fish have both a sour and an umami taste.

Contemporary Japanese sushi has little resemblance to the traditional lacto-fermented rice dish. Originally, when the fermented fish was taken out of the rice, only the fish was consumed while the fermented rice was discarded. The strong-tasting and smelling funazushi, a kind of narezushi made near Lake Biwa in Japan, resembles the traditional fermented dish. Beginning in the Muromachi period (1336–1573) of Japan, vinegar was added to the mixture for better taste and preservation. The vinegar accentuated the rice’s sourness and was known to increase its shelf life, allowing the fermentation process to be shortened and eventually abandoned. In the following centuries, sushi in Osaka evolved into oshi-zushi. The seafood and rice were pressed using wooden (usually bamboo) molds. By the mid 18th century, this form of sushi had reached Edo (contemporary Tokyo).

The contemporary version, internationally known as “sushi”, was created by Hanaya Yohei (1799–1858) at the end of the Edo period in Edo. Sushi invented by Hanaya was an early form of fast food that was not fermented (therefore prepared quickly) and could be conveniently eaten with one’s hands. The size of the previous sushi was about three times as large as contemporary ones. Originally, this sushi was known as Edomae zushi because it used freshly caught fish in the Edo-mae (Edo Bay or Tokyo Bay). Though the fish used in modern sushi no longer usually comes from Tokyo Bay, it is still formally known as Edomae nigirizushi.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

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