Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows: September 2014

08 September 2014

Hokkaido trip preperation 3: Camerea

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What trip would be complete without a camera to have a record of what you have seen? Especially more so if it is of somewhere where it isn't easy for you to get to enough to have the next time of being there being hard or impossible?

Well, you don't need those expensive cameras, as well as expensive lenses and equipment to go with it, to get a good picture. A normal point an shoot camera will do. I don't recommend ones built into a mobile phone: it lacks a lot of features (though smartphones like iPhones has things like point focus and exposure), memory is shared with everything on your phone (less space for your photos and messy to organise), reduced battery life due to non-camerea related use (not good if you want to take pictures all day), analog zoom, the awkwardness of holding it. More importantly, how long does it take between activating the camera and being able to take a picture? And for phones with touch screen, are you able to take a picture without looking out for that capture button on the screen?

I have grew up in an era where the transition from analog to digital happened. I am so glad that there are fewer bad shots and less of that blinding camera flash.

Anyway, I bought this camera a little more than 2 years ago and it came with two 8GB SD cards. I considered that big back then. There was a mention of SDXC (64GB to 2TB) support, but I never thought back then that I would be this close to getting it as it was in the store when I bought the 32GB memory card last week. (On a side note, my Kobo Aura HD I may have mentioned, back in December or January, having a microSD slot that "supports up to 32GB". Guess I can use it there, though 2GB alone is a lot for an ebook.)

The more I use this camera, problems that I did not foresee have come up. Nothing major, but can be fustrating. These include:
  • Battery levels not indicating actual levels: I hadn't been paying attention as to if it really does not indicate actual levels, but that is what I felt as I used it. Even more so when charging times is unusually long for a "full" battery. It does, however, really warned me if it is really low.
  • Moisture in the camera pouch around the lens in certain situations. I don't know why.
  • Corruption of photos: I really did lose 3 days worth of photos. I did try uploading as soon as possible, but I didn't have my laptop with me, there were only two shared computers whose speeds are painfully slow, if not already in use by someone else. Given the situation, I could have lost more photos that were on that memory card. Till today, I have no idea why that happened, but I strongly suspect the memory card reader that I used. Only pictures that I took with the camera phone that day (which was hardly at all) surives.
  • 8GB only lasted me halfway through my Kansai trip. Good thing I had the other memory card. Used this experience to prepare the Europe trip a year later by bringing all the memory cards I have (which are mostly 1GB and 2GB micro SD cards from somewhere). Seeing that I've used two, this adds up to about 16GB. Few 720p videos were recorded, but I want to record more footage in 1080p. Storage limitations were a factor of this.
  • Adjusting brightness of the screen (not light exposure) is kind of troublesome.
  • I don't have a spare battery, so I had to charge the battery at the end of the day regardless of how much I used it to avoid having the battery to run out on me, which was what I did during my Europe trip that, even despite that, with how photo snapping crazy I was, managed to drain to empty despite charging the day before. I know I should get a spare battery, but where? (Saw one on an online shopping site, but I don't know if it is reliable.)

Oh well. At least the problems listed above aren't problems directly relating to the camerea itself. Should order that battery now, knowing how long it could take by the cheapest (and slowest) option.

03 September 2014

Hokkaido trip preperation 2: Accomodation and timing

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Since the previous post, I have more or less decided to enter Hokkaido by plane to New Chitose Airport. Shinkansen (Aomori is the furthest north it goes currently) would still be an option should there be an aviation or timing related issues.

Initially, I was thinking of making a day trip to Hakodatte from Sapporo, but the travel time of 3 to 4 hours made me reconsider to maybe staying there for some days instead. Double that to make my way back. What can I see if most of the day was spent on travelling alone? Adding to that, it is winter, and quite far north (though London is the furthest north latitude-wise I've been), which means less sunlight.

Timing-wise, I'm not sure of the exact dates yet as this is largely determined by flight and accommodation availability (and prices). I want to visit the Winter Festival in Odori park in Sapporo, but that is in February.

Not sure when this trip would be, but it won't be any earlier than December. This also largely depends if I had save up enough funds by February, or a month before the start trip if earlier and nowhere near February.

Regardless of when I choose to go, it must not overlap this year's winter Comiket at Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center; and yes, it's in Tokyo) between 28 to 30 December. Don't think I would want to travel on 31st, though undecided for the following day. Maybe availability and prices would determine this.

Heading to Comiket itself wasn't on my mind until I thought of how snowy it was for the last Wonfes (Wonder Festival).

01 September 2014

Hokkaido trip preperation 1: Where exactly?

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It has been more than a year since my last trip to Europe, which made up of the Paris, Venice, and London. (Read my entries that I had written on this blog as I was travelling then, though I neglected to write the London portion of it there) While planning for that, there were considerations to visit Iceland, Berlin, Rome, Vatican City, and Zurich, but time and financial constrains limited this. Total trip was about a month.

How is this related to this next trip I'm planning? Preparation, packing, and an unfamiliar environment that pictures and words can't make you fully prepared for it. My packing was so efficient, having experience from earlier travels (Hong Kong and Bangkok), the accommodation host was surprised that I only had two regular-sized backpacks instead of those large luggage bags with wheels commonly associated with a travelling tourists.

My plan at the moment is to visit Hokkaido, with nothing booked yet, but where exactly should I go? At the moment, I'm thinking of Sapporo and Hakodate, with me leaning more towards Sapporo. Might also include neighbouring towns and places like Biei (美瑛). Not sure about the details, but I noted that it takes about 2 hours between Sapporo and Hakodate by train.

Then there is also the planning of how do I even get into Hokkaido: by plane, or train? There are plane fares that could go as low as around 10,000 yen, which is cheaper and the quickest than the train route (more specifically, Narita to New Chitose airports), as the air route is one of the world's most busiest. The rail route involves a shinkansen to (Shin-)Aomori before taking another train that passes through the Seikan tunnel linking the mainland and Hokkaido. At the moment, I had not figured out what exactly I need to take to/from Aomori that stops or passes through Hakodatte, or if booking is required/necessary for it. For the plane option, stuff like travelling to/from the airport, and time to check in before actually boarding the plane. I'm not in favour of reserving things ahead of time.

Budget and time wise, the air option would seem like the best option, but what can I see out of the window besides clouds and open skies? Also, the rail option lets me take a detour of places in the Touhoku region, which I have not travelled to before too. I think Sendai and Aomori are places that are enroute there. Thinking of Niigata too, but it is far out of the route though.

I would be discussing about preparing the gadgets I am thinking of bringing next, or whatever comes to mind.

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中野区, 東京都, Japan
帰国子女 英語能力は堪能。趣味はアニメや漫画やプログラムコードを編集。通常、あたしの小説を英語で書いてです。Grew up abroad &travelled to different countries. I write my own fictional novel on my blog.