Thursday, June 11, 2015

PHOTOS: Taiwan-Japan trip 2015

Hello everyone,

Back in September 2015, I had started a blog that I called I had broken up my very first post, my Japan/Taiwan trip 2015, into at least 14 parts and placed it into the blog. Sadly, I was foolish enough to delete all the photos in the blog around December, so...I lost all the photos on that blog. So, anyway, I decided to restore them with this post that I am giving you here. Instead of 14 parts, it is just one big part. This segment only covers the photos, though. You can find the videos either on my Youtube channel of JPBX909, or use the subsequent post with the videos combined into a nice little hour-long video.

So, sit back, relax, and bring a cuppa to your computer and enjoy the trip!
First off, we have a Caltrain EMD F40PH 907, Mountain View on the opposite track. This was not our train, but, I just included it anyway.

For some reason I could not locate a picture of our train that we rode to Millbrae for the connection to SFO, but, here is the BART train that we took. It is a Rohr A stock train, bound for Pittsburg-Bay Point.

We had to transfer onto a C stock train at San Bruno because BART is a pain and only allows direct connections to the airport on weekends and evenings. This is a BART train at San Bruno station bound for San Francisco International Airport.

This is our view on our United Airlines 787-8 bound for Kansai Int'l Airport. Not much to see.

This is a cookie that I had mid-flight. It was all right.
As I was jet-lagged, I found this sign to be funny.

We were riding the inter-terminal shuttle train, kinda like the SFO variant. This is a picture of the maintenance switcher, which I thought was cute.

This was not our train, but instead another train bound for somewhere that we were not going.

Well, we boarded the limited express Haruka to Shin-Osaka, which was a very nice ride. This is an Ocean Arrow trainset that we saw on our travels.

Well, outside of Shin-Osaka station. Outside, they had a comparison of three different wheels. Two were steam, and to the 3'6'' cape gauge, and one of them was to 4' 8 1/2'' standard gauge.

This one was off of a steam engine.

This one came off of a C57, a very large tender engine with a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement. In other words, there are 2 wheels to each side in the front, which keep the train on the track, 3 driving wheels, which power the train, and 1 smaller wheel in the back of the engine to help stabilize it. 

This wheel came off of an 0 series shinkansen train, which is at the standard gauge. 

This was our train that would take us to Fukushima. No, not the Fukushima where a nuclear reactor melted, I mean the one in Osaka.

Well, the main reason for our trip to Fukushima was for a bike tour, but because of frequent Osaka Loop Line trains, and also because we were slightly early, it gave me a chance to railfan for a bit. On average, trains come at a 2 minute interval.

I believe this was a train heading towards Kansai Airport.

I call this type "The Old Orange Type" because I don't actually know what type it is.

So, anyway, eventually the bike tour started. One of the points that our guide in the group was the tiny teahouse that is in the center of the picture. 

While biking near the river, we came across this wedding boat. As far as I remember, we all clapped. :)

In the tour, we also came across a rather nice garden, that is, until we found out about the mosquitoes.  Well, there were fish...
Another destination of our bike tour was the Osaka Castle. It was reached by climbing a very, very steep slope. Eh. The views made up for it. That, or the ice cream that I enjoyed!

There was a boat at the bottom of the moat that reminded us of one of those boats from Miyazaki's Spirited Away.

Well, the bike tour ended around 2 pm, so we got a late lunch at Umeda (Osaka) station. I got to watch trains while a member of our group used the bathroom.

These trains are most likely Osaka Loop Line trains, except for the first one.

This is another Haruka service, or maybe a Kuroshio service, or maybe a Thunderbird service. Or a train to Unazuki-Onsen. 
Well, eventually we boarded a Thunderbird service to Kanazawa, where I took these pictures of various local trains.

I am pretty sure that this is a privately owned train, as only some of the doors are opened and I cannot locate any JR markings on it.

This is most likely a former JR railcar, but sold off to a private operator in search of some cheap coaches.

Well, from Kanazawa we rode on the new Hokuriku shinkansen in the all-new E7/W7 series. This is the rather unique pantograph. That said, I am pretty sure that the E5 series trains use this type of pantograph, too, but it is just hidden from view.

Toyama has some rather compact trams, consisting of no more than two or three cars. This is one of the trams, a 9000 series tram, in the morning after we got to the hotel, when we were bound for the Toyama Chiho Railway. Incidentally, the trams are owned by the same company.

This is one of the older trams,  a 7000 series, with one car and in another livery. The most interesting thing about this photograph, in my opinion, is the pantograph. It appears to be a bow collector, rare among trams.

Anyway, back to Toyama station, where our journey through the Japanese Alps really began. These two trains are local trains bound for various places on the main line, but most likely not Tateyama because otherwise we would've taken them. The one on the right is a 14760 series, and the same goes for the other one.

This was the style of train that we had, just...not the train. :( 
Did I mention that it took a long time before we went to the platform? It took a long time!

This is a newer trainset, bound for an Onsen; in other words, a hot spring. I can't seem to find any information on this train type in my book that I have been referencing.

This is one of the more luxurious trains the they operate, which passed us at one of the stations. It is a two-car 16010 trainset.

As we were ascending into the mountains, we passed over this river, which was very far below us. Driver was kind enough to slow down and have people take in the view.

This was another train at one of the stations.

At Tateyama station, I took a picture of our train. it is a member of the 10030 class, and it was numbered 10040.

This was the first cable car that we rode up the mountain.
I took a video while we were going up the mountain, it will be in the separate video post.

Snow! At last! In the middle of June!

Yup. That is big, all right.

The snow walls can get to over 10 meters high, and you are allowed to play with it.

Nodame is one of my favorite jDrama characters. She comes off of Nodame Cantabile, a show that I like.

Frosty suffered the same fate as Marie Antoinette...

The views of one of Japan's three mountain ranges are just spectacular!
I regret not taking any pictures of the trolleybuses inside the tunnel, but I found a couple off of the internet.

This photo is from Wikipedia, and it is of the very first tunnel bus we took through the mountains.

This is the second cable car that we took, and it looks almost exactly the same as the other one did. I also managed to snag a rear view, which I shamelessly recorded.

Well, going up, over, and across in the gondola, we finally reached the main point of our mission: the Kurobe dam.

That is a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong fall.

This is the second trolleybus that we took, which went through the mountains and above ground, too. Link below.

Eventually, we reached our hotel, which was a wonderful onsen hotel. They gave us a very nice dinner and breakfast, complete with a wonderful onsen.

Sure, whatever ptarmigans are!

Oh, I guess that is what it is.

We rode a train from the nearest JR station to Matsumoto. This is our E127 train from the Oito line.

This is another local train arriving at the station.

These are two Oito line E127 trains running past each other.

This one has a Super Azusa train photobombing the picture! 

At Matsumoto station, the Highland railway EMU was waiting to depart. I swear I saw it once in my book, but I can't find it now. Oh, well.

Man, that is something I'm going to be asking for when my birthday rolls around!

This is a Super Azusa trainset leaving Matsumoto station.

Yes, pigeons! This is a marshmallow pigeon, which is brown and white.

And this is a black and white pigeon.
We were on our way to Matsumoto castle, a so-called "Black Castle."

Yes, I took a lot of photos of the castle! Anyway, these are some brave geese that came near shore. They are the same ones that I photographed in front of the castle.

Well, it was almost time for us to board the Shinano Limited Express. This is an interesting building; a museum, I believe, that we saw on our way back to the station.

Turns out there was still time to spare, so this is a Shimano Limited Express that was going in the opposite direction.

This was a Super Azusa set.

What I found to be the most interesting thing about these trains is that they have a mid-train control cab, which you can see here.

This is another local Oito line E127.

And another local service bound for points unknown...

And yet another Super Azusa set.
Once we reached Nagano, we had a very, very late lunch.
After this lunch, we took a stroll around town, where we encountered a crosswalk with stripes large enough to be placed onto an airport runway.

Nagano actually hosted the Olympics one time, hence the sign.

At the very end of the road we were walking on, we went to a temple, where I bought a green tea ice cream. (My favorite)
This is a statue with a bib attached to it. I found it funny.

And here is a lion mooning some other statues. 

This is the final temple that we were going to. The swastikas that are on the cloth are actually designed in reverse, and they actually denote peace.

By the time we reached the shelter of Nagano shinkansen station a light rain had started. This is an E2 series Asama shinkansen that was waiting to depart. Ok, I lied. Light rain is an understatement. When we entered the station, it was a minor drizzle. But when we stepped out five minutes later, a gigantic downpour had erupted!

This is another Asama in the station.

And yet another Asama service. We actually visited this station back in 2014, when we were riding on the new E7 trains.

Well, anyway, we finally reached Kanazawa. Outside of the station there is a water fountain that gives you the time, date, and a welcome message.

Kanazawa also has a big steel structure that resembles an old temple, except it is mixed in with new qualities.

This message translates to "Welcome to Kanazawa."

The benches in front of the train station have flowers in the middle, which is good for the environment but not for a third person trying to wait for a train.

Well, the next day, we travelled to Shirakawa-go to see the famous A-frame houses. At the information center, some sparrows had built a nest above a No Smoking sign.

This is the A-Frame house that became the tourist center.

This is the bridge between the tourist center and the actual village.

This is one of the A-frame houses. The interesting thing about this house is that there is a rooftop entry point, which you can access only by ladder.

This is one of the B & Bs that were scattered around town. As this is a big tourist center, they charge big bucks to stay here, so we avoided it.

This is another one of the A-frame houses that was left in place.

This is a ceramic planter that is shaped into the form of the Nekko-bus from Totoro.

This is Yubaba from Spirited Away.

Totoro, from Totoro.
This is No-Face evidently bartending, for the guests in Spirited Away.
Totoro again!

This is one of the farmhouses in the village.

We eventually climbed the mountain, where we got to see the entire village before finally reaching the top.

This is a Hungry Little Caterpillar. 

This is a small waterfall in the side of the mountain.


When I was taking this photo, I heard some lady talking in Chinese about how she imagined it cooked and ready on her plate. I was more than a little disturbed...

Rubber duckies in one of the sewers!

In Japan, you can find these types of sewers everywhere. They might be covered in some places, but they just transport the water around. 

This is a big shrine (again) that was in the town.

This is actually a fire station. It houses a hose inside, and a phone to the nearest Fire Department. The funniest thing, though, is that it is shaped like an A-frame house.

Well, we boarded the bus and went away from Shirakawa-go. Instead we took a bus ride to Takayama, where we walked around town. I heard that this is actually a bookshop.

They had these statues near the station, which displayed different words, just with a little artistic license. 

For example, this word means mountain, or yama in Japanese.

They are so polite at Japanese Lawson's! In America, they would probably have put something up that just said CLOSED.

Great. Now I have sparrows mooning me. WHOOPEE!!

From Takayama, we boarded the Limited Express Hida to Kanazawa. Wide windows and a nice railfan window made is an absolutely spectacular ride.

This is one of the train cars from the local railway. 

One end was green, while the other one was red.

Ah, that wonderful railfan window.

This is the view over a river.

Shaky cam time!

The JR operated train did not stop at the local railway stations.

These are some freight cars, and they are tankers. They are probably bound for the nearby factory.

Speeding through a station...

Ok, that was a lie. The only way that I would have gotten a clear photo of this is if we had stopped.

We are now going through a bridge, about to enter Kanazawa Station.

This was our ride aboard the Limited Express Wide View Hida!

Oh, Japan, Japan, Japan. Land of the Rising Sun, extremely good food, and stoplights that take an insanely long time to turn green.

This was our compact Toyoko Inn room for the night.

In the morning we set off for Kanazawa gardens/castle. Sadly this area was closed, though it would have been nice to walk around in it...

Well, we finally made it to the Kanazawa "white" castle.

It certainly was impressive!

Naturally, as the warlords that stayed in Japan only accepted the highest of goods, there were lavish gardens.

There was also a statue of a Buddha, that was shuttered off.
We had lunch in a nice cafe that overlooked a park and the art museum.

This was what I ordered: Salsa rice, coleslaw, sausage, hamburger, and a shrimp tempura. Oh, and the Russian flag, for some reason.

This was our E7 that we rode to Omiya, where we made our obligatory pilgrimage to The Railway Museum, Japan's biggest railway museum of all.

Also, staying there gives you the added plus of seeing at least five different JR lines, a shinkansen line, and at least one freight train per 30 min.

Oh, it is also within walking distance of The Railway Museum, so, I got that goin' for me!

This is a Shonan-Shinjuku line train. The near tracks get three services: the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Shonan-Shinjuku Line, and the twice daily Sunrise Izumo/Seto.

See? The JRF gods must be having some fun up there.
This was a random local train. Even at 10:00 PM the trains were still hellishly crowded! (This was not at 10:00 PM.)

This is a Hitachi train. I forgot to mention that these guys used the near track, too.

This is (believe it or not) another freight train! This was an EH200 B-B+B-B locomotive, meaning that there are two articulated units, with four wheels per side.
This is another one of the ubiquitous Shonan-Shinjuku trains.

Inside the museum, you see one of the first trains ever to operate in Japan, between Yokohama and Shimbashi. This locomotive was made by the British.
This is another British-made locomotive, this time a tank engine.

Ever wondered what the underside of a steam train looked like? Well, now you know.

This is a C57 class 4-6-2 locomotive.

This is one of the first electric multiple units to operate. Like a trolleybus it had two poles, probably a positive and a negative side.
This is a cutaway of a steam engine.

ED4010 is a rack locomotive, which probably worked the Usui Pass, which was steep and in the Japanese Alps.

This is EF58 89, which is a normal electric locomotive.

I believe the French had another locomotive that they called "The Pregnant Lady" which looked similar to this EF55 locomotive.

This is a Toki express set. Toki trains are now entirely shinkansen operated, and they use the E4 double-decker trainsets.
This is the limited express Hikari. It is also a shinkansen now; operates with the Series 700 and N700 trainsets.

This is a ED 75  locomotive that came off of the Akebono, which runs from Ueno station to Aomori station. It is a sleeper train, and it is now a seasonal train because of JR's devious plot to replace cheap and convenient sleeper trains with slow, much too expensive, and inconvenient tourist trains. Have you even seen some of their plans?!

This is a EF66 locomotive, first batch. Back in the day when JNR and JR were still operating a majority of their sleeper trains, this class of locomotive dominated the trains. Now, there are only two left in service.
This is the roof of a 0 series shinkansen. It had a small pantograph, which is rather curious.
Sigh...idiots are all around us. This guy literally had a sign next to him that said "Please don't sit here" yet here we are, with his feet on the chair as well! Seriously, this is almost as bad as some of the stuff I have to deal with every day!
This is the JNR logo, which stands for Japanese National Railways.
This 0 series shinkansen won't be going anywhere soon...
This is one of the sets being delivered, with a sleeper train on the other track.You can tell it is a sleeper train because it is blue, and old sleeper trains were called "Blue Trains."
Wow...even the shinkansen had squat toilets.

Outside, there are various little activities for kids like this little model of an Asama E2 series train. It runs back and forth on a straight piece of track.

Since the railway museum is parallel to the Tohoku shinkansen, I shot a bunch of videos. You'll see in the videos post. Meanwhile, here is the New Shuttle train making the rounds.
The museum houses one of the largest model railway dioramas in Japan (apparently). Maybe once an hour someone comes in and gives a talk on the trains in Japanese, but the trains are running all the time.
These are some American trains, or at least the ones on the top shelf.

This is the EF55 locomotive in full, as seen  from their second floor.

Since I was unable to get a photo or video (but I saw) of this type of shinkansen, I bring you a picture of a picture.

This is a locol train that was plinthed and left to die put on display. Hey, it could be worse.

Evidently, one of the Tiki Room trees was rejected from Tokyo Disney.

Yes. I kid you not, this is a bathroom map.

This is a Keihin-Tohoku line train which acted as our shuttle between Omiya station and Saitama-Shintoshin.

This is a shot of the penultimate shinkansen that we rode, a E2 class.

Riding the Tokyo Monorail to Haneda airport yielded a nice railfan window.
This was our monorail train.

This was a newer monorail that came in on the opposite track.
Inside Haneda airport it is dressed up to look like an old Japanese town.

Well, the food could have been worse...
Uh...we're supposed to be on the plate?
Songshan train station had some model Taiwanese trains. This is a 200-class locomotive with some DMUs.

Well, we took the new Puyuma express service from Songshan to Taichung Main station, and I got to see this EMU 500 train. These trains only run on local train services, never on anything else.
The next day we went with a friend to see an optometrist's shop turned into an ice cream parlor. Inside it was very Monsters University-esque.

These are some very cute dough bears that were for sale in one of the many confectionary shops in this place.

They had some chandeliers inside the parlor. Not your average Baskin-Robbins, eh?

Well, since the line in the store was too long we got an ice cream from 7-11 instead. It was apple flavored, and was not that bad!

This is a white pigeon that we spotted while walking in a park.

Here we have two geese gossipping to each other...

These were some oddly colored birds from the same park...

Three guesses what the bird is doing there...

There was a carpark near the tracks where our friend had parked, and there was an old luggage van just sitting there.

This is another EMU500, on the next day. On this day we were heading off to Linnei to see some relatives.
This was the EMU 500 that we got on the way there. This type was nice and comfortable, but on the way back we got a EMU 800. We were drenched with rain, and the AC that was kept at 60 degrees F was not appreciated.
In Linnei the light posts are all shaped like little birds. This little bird was right outside of the Linnei train station, near the rear entrance.
I saw my first monkey in Taiwan!

Well, after a nice lunch and a trip up to Zhushan for some pretty views, it was time for us to head back to the train station. While in the waiting room, We were surprised to find a freight train, with EMD G12 R21 in the lead.

Another G12, R42 as the trailing engine.

Technically this was not a freight train, but instead an extra train. While the rest of the train is in the video post, one key sign was that the train had a brake/crew van in the front as opposed to the back. Well, even the back had a brake/crew van, too, soooooo...
In the train there were some gondola (probably ballast) cars, and then a passenger car, which is rare on freight trains. After the passenger car came the crew/brake van. The passenger car was an old model, and I'm guessing that it was being hauled off for scrap. 

This is a photo of a EMU 800 that passed us, in the opposite direction. Too bad it was not ours...

Well, anyway, we eventually got onto that train. This is a photo of a JiJi line train and a random G12 near Ershui station.

This is a shot of the head of the JiJi line train. In February we would be riding on this line between Ershui and Checheng, which I wrote about here.
The next day we managed to squeeze in some time at the Shan-xing Train Depot. Literal translation: Fan-shaped.

This is a DHL class switcher locomotive in one of the bays of the shed. The DHL stands for "Diesel Hydraulic Locomotive."

This is R40, one of the last few locomotives in the blue paint scheme, as opposed to the normal beige-orange scheme. This is a EMD G12 locomotive.
This is the DHL locomotive in the same bay.

This is a EMD G22CU R153 in the next bay of the shed, or "stall." That came about back in the day of the "Iron Horse" or steam trains.
In the next...ahem...stall...we have the steam locomotive DT668, which, along with CK124 and CK101 live here and take the occasional special train.

This is R22, another G12.

This is R46, another G12.

I think you get the general gist of how this is going to go...

Well, after that complete deluge of EMD G12s we have here...OH HECK NO NOT ANOTHER G12!!!!!!!

<Facepalm> Another G12...

Ah! Finally something different! We have here to GE E200-or-300-or-400 series electric locomotives, probably on a deadline waiting to be scrapped. Dark and morbid, right?

This is S318 which has not moved since I last saw it, in February 2016. 

This is another DHL locomotive, this time it is number 110.

This is a GE E300 class locomotive that was shunted in while we were waiting. Too bad it did not come onto the turntable.

This is my "Dramatic View of the Day," when I placed my camera down onto the track and shot a few pictures.
This is one of the number boards for S318, the switcher that is still there to this day. We're going to be there soon, wonder where it'll be?
This is a view of the open side of the roundhouse, which is right next to the railway mainline.

This is the turntable which is operated when they want to bring an engine into the shed or turn it around.
This is DT668 inside the shed, next to the EMD G22CU.

This is a cute/creepy/oddly disturbing train/head/guy. He was advocating for crossing safety.
This is the head of the G22CU, taken on the other end of the roundhouse on our way out.

This is a savory cupcake...I think.

For some reason, outside of the station there was a plane without any landing gear just sitting there, right next to a bunch of robots. 

Here is a funny etiquette sign. Now if only people would follow it...

Turns out: June is monsoon season!
The next day we went to Guandu College of the Arts. Incidentally, the place where we were at had a great view of the Beitou works on the Danshui/Xinbeitou lines.
Awww...why isn't that cute.
Yay! Flower pictures! I believe this is a flowered version of the above...thing.

Our taxi driver left us with one gigantic leaf and no less than seven giant cicada exoskeletons. Yeah, that gift was left in the car.

The owner of this truck may want to invest in some bungee cords. Heard that they're useful in keeping flying mattresses down.

This is some serious cone art.
Well, sadly, that was our last day in Taiwan.  This is a cool sunrise picture that I snapped from our seat.

This "breakfast" that United gave out was only 40% actually good. Everything else besides the egg, potato (I think) and tomato was fine, but those items gave me some severe nausea.

Seriously, just spending a week in Taiwan is enough to melt a person.


Strangely enough, United's Business class had seats facing backwards. Isn't that, like, hell for anyone with motion sickness?

Well, our trials and tribulations were not over yet. We still had a ride on the BART train bound for Pittsburg-Bay Point to San Bruno, a change onto the Millbrae bound train, and then ride the Caltrain home. Not to mention that we missed the Caltrain by about 2 minutes and got screwed into an hour of waiting a Millbrae. Well, this is a C stock cab car in the rarely-used section of track in the station. Platform 2, which is a bay platform, is always roped off and the tracks are dusty, so it's pretty rare to see a train there.
This is our Rohr A-stock cab car that we rode on for exactly one stop before getting off at San Bruno.
Well, I don't have any more pictures after that, but a rather funny odd suspicious story to tell. On our ride from San Bruno to Millbrae, some random guy came up to the seat opposite us, lifted up the cushion, and then placed it back down. Another fellow commuter and I shared a very creeped out look! Fortunately, the train was almost in the station.

Well, I'm going off to Japan and Taiwan soon, so, it might be a little while before the next post.


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