NOTA BENE

Notes, comment and buzz from Eugene Kaspersky – Official Blog

Tag Archives: japan

May 5, 2015

Four tickets to Aogashima – part 2. Hachijo-jima.

A summary of part 1:

07:00. Flight from Tokyo (Haneda) to Hachijo-jima, then a tight connection – helicopter flight to Aogashima, a day there trekking and climbing about, and looking at and taking pictures of every nook and cranny. Beautiful!

The next morning I had a vague sense of déjà-vu: waking up at the impossible hour of 07:30, but this time ‘Boy Scout style’, accompanied by a lively announcer’s voice from speakers all over the hotel: peem paam poom puum ohayo gozaimasu (that’s ‘good morning ‘in Japanese). Followed by a lot more Japanese chatter, of which I only picked out ‘arigato’ and ‘kudasai’. Then rise and shine, get up from the straw mattresses, breakfast – and back to the helipad.

Just to recap: there’s only one helicopter flight a day – if the weather’s good. If it’s bad, no helicopter flight. The Hachijo-jima–Aogashima flight leaves at 09:15 and arrives at the destination around 09:40 (based on our observations). After landing, a regular helipad bustle: unloading/loading freight from/to the ‘mainland’, boarding new passengers – Aogashima natives and stray tourists – and flying back.

Thus, the return flight dropped us off on Hachijo-jima at some 11:30. Our flight to Haneda was at 17:20, so we had some six hours on our hands. How were we to spend that time? Rent a car and go to the onsen hot springs, of course! At least, that was what some of us thought. Wrong! I looked at the map, saw a track leading to the top of the local volcanic blister, and we all proceeded to climb this local Hachijo-Fuji (apparently, all sacred mountains in Japan are called ‘Fuji’) in accordance with this sudden plan.

hachijojima-island-japan-1Source

2. hachijojima-island-japan-2

Read on: Not a bad sight at all!…

April 30, 2015

Four tickets to Aogashima.

The other day as I was browsing the Internet I came across a story about a most unusual place in Japan. It’s hard to get to but really worth the effort as it’s both beautiful and interesting. It’s the island of Aogashima, several hundred kilometers south of Tokyo, on the border between the Philippine Sea and the Pacific ocean. ‘That’s worth a look,’ I thought. Next thing… we were there – spending last Saturday on the island. A very curious place; highly recommended!

Now, let’s see what kind of an island it is…

Aogashima is a volcanic still-life made up of an ancient caldera that collapsed inwards, and the rather fetching cone of a new volcano that started to grow within it a few hundred years ago.

Aerial photos report the following:

aogashima-island-japan-1Source

2.

aogashima-island-japan-2Source

The first thing I did was call KL Japan to find out the details of this bizarre island, ask who might be ready to risk traveling there with me, and make other travel arrangements, which turned out to be rather complicated.

Read on: Yes, reaching that island proved anything but easy…

April 28, 2015

Cool your boots, Japan.

Tired after a seemingly endless journey, the long-distance traveler normally resorts to some kind of body of water first in his/her attempt at winding down, chilling out a bit, and returning from zombie state to kinda normal state. Usually a shower, sometimes a bath – sometimes even a banya and its attendant cold pool!

But only in Japan can one hope to reap the mega-chillage effects of a ryokan, which mixes bathing with a fantastic culinary experience to have you back all recharged and fully energized in no time at all. Which is what happened to me recently at Izukogen Hanafubuki Ryokan on the Izu Peninsula (伊豆), not far from Mount Fuji, Japan. Cool our boots, man, we sure did.

In case anyone doesn’t know what a ryokan is, let me tell you that it is a traditional Japanese hotel, usually not too big, with straw mattresses on the floor, offering super-duper Japanese food plus sometimes hot springs to dip in.

If you’re not Japanese, however, you have to be careful. You’ll need to bone up on the Japanese culture first, as it’s easy to put the proverbial foot in it with some faux pas that will cause upset at best, an international scandal at worst :). Best of all is to visit a ryokan with Japanese friends or colleagues, then there’s no chance of unintended mix-ups/offense. Accompanied by locals, you’re safely under their wing, so can feel just like a Japanese: blissfully content to recuperate for a few days, feed the soul, and revitalize the spirit.

And it’s not just the food and waters that act as a tonic to the body and soul – there’s also all the cherry blossoms still a-blooming here, picturesque little cottages, cozy little paths and an overall abundance of fauna and flora. Most fine.

izu-japan-1

izu-japan-2

Why are we here?

Read on: Rainy day at volcano…

November 11, 2014

Sado-tourism.

What are you supposed to do in Japan if you’ve a free Saturday, you’ve already ‘done’ Tokyo several times, you’ve just had a partner conference in Osaka, and Kyoto’s also been fully inspected before?

My Japanese trolls-cum-colleagues suggested shooting up to Fukushima, but when I asked them what’s really worth seeing there, they went all quiet. So with Kyushu and Hokkaido being too far for a day-trip, we ended up deciding to hop onto a train to speed over to the west coast of Japan, and then travel by boat a bit further – to the island of Sado.

Sado island, Japan

Source

Now, when my Japanese trolls colleagues kept referring to ‘island’ – ‘here on the island’, ‘they reside on the island’, etc. – it seemed a little strange to me. As if Japan were the ‘mainland’, and just Sado were an island. Still, I guess the largest island of Japan is both ‘main’ and ‘land’, so maybe I’m nitpicking… Hmmm.

Anyway, what’s there to see on the smaller island? :)

Simple: not much. Hardly anything interesting whatsoever. A visit is purely just for the check mark on a list of been to’s of the world. Japanese west coast/island: check.

But wait… There’s always something… Surely. Yes: here, it’s the colors of autumn across Japanese mountain ranges: simply stunning.

Sado island, Japan

Read on: Glide with Boeing…

November 10, 2014

The land of the rising vending-machine milk and honey.

Konnichiwa folks!

Apologies for the chronological mix-up of recent events: The described-below happenings occurred before Monaco. So let’s rewind a bit… and off we head to the land of the rising sun.

Once a year in fall in Japan we have our regional partner conference, with accompanying whirlwind meetings, interviews, presentations, parties, and all sorts of other stuff. The highlight for me personally was how well my new presentation on how we protected the Sochi-2014 Olympics was received. The press liked it so much it appeared on the national news during prime time and was then repeated several times over. On the country’s No. 1 channel! Like!

Familiar face on Japan TV. Nice!At least the data cable’s green

Read on: green bear, redesigned…

May 22, 2014

Ice axe allergy.

Hi all!

You’d be a fool not to climb Mount Fuji. Doubly so to climb it twice.

~ A traditional nugget of Japanese wisdom

I agree: to be in Japan and not go up the most beautiful mountain in the country – that’s just silly. But to do it again is also pretty bonkers. I wonder if a third ascent would cancel out the madness? Hope so, because last Saturday was my second climb up Fuji!

Mount Fuji JapanFuji from below…

Mount Fuji Japan…and from the top!

Read on: Fujiyama or Fuji-san?…

December 4, 2013

Japanese scenes and seasons.

“A melancholy time, so pleasing to the eye.”

            – Alexander Pushkin, Autumn, 1833

That excerpt of poetry comes to mind every time I look at a multicolored bit of autumnal scenery, which I did quite a bit of just recently over in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Ashinoko Lake

Fall in Osaka

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to Japan. 15-20? 20-25? Something like that. The first time was back in 2004 for the AVAR conference, and the trips have just got more and more frequent ever since – now up to three times a year. Can’t complain of course – Japan is one of my fave countries in the world, if not the fave. However, I’d only ever been to Japan in the spring, summer and winter. Never fall. But the ‘best’ two seasons in Japan are spring (for the cherry trees blossoming) and fall (for the autumn leaves dropping to the ground). So (finally!) I’ve made it to the country in November – to take in the lush Japanese landscapes of shades of yellow, green and brown!

Read on: Odawara, Kamakura, Hakone, Fuji in November shades…

November 3, 2012

Dressing Down, Dressing Up, Dressing Green.

Hi all!

Well it’s back on the road again for me, off on another crazy trip around the planet. First stop – Japan, for the Nikkei Global Management Forum. I won’t go into the details of the event, but here are a few photos:

More: But the most interesting bit came in Tokyo Disneyland!

April 20, 2012

Cherry Blossoms – ver. 2012

Hi everyone!

Time for some catch-up. Been getting behind on my blogging duties. And that’s down to my suffering a bit of late due to an overloaded schedule. Four cities in a week (not including Moscow) – it’s become quite tough. Before I could manage – no worries. What’s with me? Just need some rest and relaxation, I guess.

Anyway – enough moaning, and back to it! Oki-doki…

And so, there we are again – in Tokyo! Japan – a unique country that can be compared with no other; and Tokyo, its capital – a crazy, magical metropolis that just blows the mind. It’s a place you really need to see in the flesh – photos only go so far in giving you an adequate impression. Therefore, to anyone who still hasn’t had the chance of visiting Japan – get there as soon as the opportunity arises! I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Japan

More: Cherry blossoms, business, and Blade Runner …

April 11, 2012

If You Haven’t Seen Shibuya…

Who hasn’t seen Shibuya hasn’t seen Japan at all! Here I am again in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, and I’m glad to be back …

More: If You Haven’t Seen Shibuya…. . .