+crowded world++japan++chiba prefecture++choshi++january 1/5 2011

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I AM slowly becoming expert in Japanese geography. On my trip to Sawara last week I learnt that the Tone River seperates Ibaraki Prefecture from Chiba Prefecture, and empties into the sea at a place called Choshi. If you ever fly into Narita Airport from the Pacific Ocean side and look north, you can see Choshi as a point at the end of the long black beach. That long black beach is called 99 Ri Beach ("ri" being a Chinese mile)... I am not sure if it is really 99 Chinese miles long, but it is cool name nonetheless. Choshi is one of the busiest fishing ports in Japan, and is famous for its marine bird life. The city is also known for its wind and wild weather, and is one of the few places in Japan where you will see wind turbines. According to a ANA's inflight magazine which I read on the runway at Narita Airport last November, the wind turbines in Japan have to be different from those in other countries, due to the island nation's mountainous geography. Apparently the wind in Japan blows UP from the sea to the hills, rather than STRAIGHT across a flat terrain as might be the case in western Europe. It sounds like bollocks when I read it... the Japanese always like to believe they are special. Ever since I started working in Chiba Prefecture in 2002, however, I discovered this is a windy part of the world. It is even windier in Choshi. The day I paid my first visit (New Years Day, 2011) it was literally blowing a gale, and the waters of the Tone River were churning ...



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