|Here is a rare shot of Yoko "in uniform," ready to go straight from Calvin's relay race to the corporate rat race. B is dressed in his Kindergarten summer outfit. Michelle is in her "going to the park" dress, and Steve (off-camera) is in his "whea-eva's" -- shorts, slippers and T-shirt.|
|This annual display of lights in downtown Kobe is called Luminare and is modeled after one in Italy. Every night for a couple of weeks, they closed down a large section of downtown to allow pedestrians to walk the 1-kilometer route. It was quite nice, but the crowds were amazing. Wall-to-wall bodies. We were told that this particular Thursday night was the least crowded. Thank god, because I had to wait several minutes for the crowd to thin out long enough for me to take this picture.|
|Whizz! Bang! Wow! Every summer, every major community in Japan puts on a show of Hanabi, or fireworks (literal translation: flowers of fire). From our 36th floor apartment, we have a bird's eye view of at least 8 fireworks shows. The closest is this one, in Ashiya, just a few kilometers away. Although when we lived in Ashiya, we were actually closer to the show, trees and apartment buildings blocked all but the highest stuff, so we always had to walk down to the river to see it. Now, on Rokko Island, we merely open the curtains. Pow! Boom! Instant dinner show.|
Remembering that I took this picture from our 36th floor apartment, try to imagine a crane so big that it can lift whole bridges. That's what this one is doing. If you look closely to the right of the crane, you'll see another, even larger bridge. That bridge got knocked off its pins by the earthquake, and this crane -- or its cousin -- picked THAT bridge up and repositioned it! It was quite a show.
This new bridge will connect the two highways seen in the foreground so that traffic doesn't have to detour onto Rokko Island when traveling between Kobe and Osaka. It should make things quieter on the island, as well as eliminate the awful traffic jams on weekends and during rush hour.
In front of the crane, on this side of the green-roofed warehouse is one of several kasetsu (emergency home) subdivisions on Rokko Island. Two and a half years after the earthquake, most of these people still have no place to go.