**** Photoalbum of My Birkin 7 - "Dr. Strangelove for Lotus 7 and Mount Fuji" ****

(a.k.a. "C'est la vie au Japon")

(Last Update: October 18 2014 Second round-Mt Fuji tour in this season: September 27 2014 First round-Mt Fuji tour in this season: September 23 2014 ETC unit replaced: May 10 2014 Odometer hits 80,000 km: April 19 2014 Route 413, so-called Doushi-No-Michi, tour: March 29 and April 5 2014 Sakura in Yugawara Town: March 22 2014 No more snowscape in Mikuni Pass: March 8 2014 Mount Fuji in snowscape Lake Yamanaka/Mikuni Pass after two heavy snow hit Kanto area: January 11 2014 Diamond Fuji under clear sky: January 2 2014 Odometer hits 77,777km: December 23 2013 Replacement of engine oil and oil filter: November 16 2013 Almost fully snow-capped Mount Fuji: October 13 and November 9 2013 Around Mount Fuji tour in autumn color: June 2 2013 Yabitsu tour: April 13 2013 Spring blossom along Route 413: February 16 and 23, and March 16 2013 Mount Fuji tour to Lake Yamanaka: January 26 2013 Mount Fuji tour under very low temperature: January 12 2013 Change of engine oil and filter, with repair painting of rusty parts: November 10 2012 The 23th Go-around tour of Mount Fuji -perfect day-: October 13 2012 Go-around tour of Mount Fuji - early autumn- : September 16 2012 Odometer hit 70,000 km: May 19 2012 Go-around tour of Mount Fuji - Last snow-cap -: May 12 2012 Regular checkup finished with broken muffler heat shield struts fixed, and tour to Yabitsu Pass: April 22 2012 Rupture of supporting struts of muffler: February 18 2012 Replacement of rocker gasket at Elite Motors: January 15 2012 Replacement of spark plug: December 10 2011 Fully snow-capped Mount Fuji viewed from Lake Yamanaka: December 4 2011 Fully snow-capped Mount Fuji viewed from Miura Peninsula: November 27 2011 Go-around tour of Mount Fuji second time this season - Full Autumn Leaves -: November 13 2011 Snow-capped Mount Fuji: October 29 2011 Go-around tour of Mount Fuji - Autumn Leaves - )



Overhanging Sakura on March 29 2014
"Overhanging Sakura on March 29 2014 (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikor-S 1:2.8 35mm)





Snowscape on March 8 2014
"Mount Fuji viewed fron snowscape Mikuni Pass on March 8 2014 (Crick to enlarge, Nikon Coolpix L23)



Mount Fuji across Lake Yamanaka observed from half-frozen scenic parking lot of Mikuni Pass on February 16 2013
"In February 2013" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikor-S 1:2.8 35mm)



Feeling coming early spring on the Mikuni Pass with Mount Fuji under clear sky (no cloud)
March 16 2013
"In March 2013" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikor-S 1:2.8 35mm)



My Birkin taking a deep breath to refresh during 23th around Mount Fuji tour at noon on November 10 2012
"In Autumn 2012" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm ED)



Viewed Mount Fuji with its gorgeous white snowcap under crystal-clear sky (from east-northeast side, Mikuni Pass) at 9:30AM on February 21 2009
"In Late Winter 2009"
(Crick to enlarge, Pentax Optio E40)


My Birkin under autumn maple leaves (on the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi) at noon on November 13 2010
"In Autumn 2010" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikkor -S 1:2.8 35mm)



My Birkin under cherry in full bloom at noon on April 16 2011, on Tsubaki Line of Yugawara, one month after 3.11 Tohoku (East Japan) Earthquake and the associated disaster of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Notwithstanding, Nature gets on, tick-tack, tick-tack,,,,
"In Spring 2011"
(Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikkor -S 1:2.8 35mm)


My Birkin embedded in Rhododendron (Tsutsuji in Japanese) on May 8 2011, at Shonan International Village in Hayama
"In May 2011"
(Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikkor -S 1:2.8 35mm)


My Birkin under the remaining cherry blossom on May 14 2011, at Mikuni Pass
"In May 2011 - 2"
(Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikkor -S 1:2.8 35mm)

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On October 2 2004, I became an owner of Birkin 7 (Second owner, model year 1993, chassis #MA1-93-2484-3, manual 5 speed, Weber twin carburetors, Ford Kent 1.6 littre, basically in original configuration), which is a pedigree of Lotus 7, UK, and was originally designed by Colin Chapman as one of the British light weight sports cars with minimalist's approach, and was being manufactured in South Africa. Here I present some pictures of my Birkin 7, which I keep and maintein at my father's retreat in Hayama Town in Miura Peninsula. Images are arranged in chronological order (Shot with Nikon Coolpix 2100 -2 mega pixel- tilll September 2007, with Pentax Optio E40 -8 mega pixel- till December 2009, with Nikon D3000 SLR -10 mega pixel- up till now, mixed with cheap Coolpix L23 -10.1 mega pixel- since September 2012, if not otherwise specified)

Digital images (To view images, click the underlined title. To return to this page, click *return* on your web browser)

On touring to Hakone in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park about 80km west of Tokyo in the early morning on November 21 2004. "Classic elegance in the mist"

Ditto at Sengokuhara in Hakone on November 21 2004. "Low profile on the misty Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) field"

At Kuruwa beach in Hayama in the evening on October 16 2004. You can see Mt. Fuji in the background beyond Sagami Bay. "Glorious eveglow"

Ditto on January 22 2005. "Glorious eveglow 2"

On the east lakeside of Lake Ashi in Hakone in the early morning on November 13 2004, against crimson autumn foliage. "Ashinoko"

Under the wind-powered electric generator at Bishamon in Miura Peininsula on November 20 2004. "Wind-powered"

Feeling like a Top Gun with countermeasure to cold weather in winter. "NAF1092 Leather Flight Helmet"

Like a pilot on the antique biplanes before WW2. "NAF1092 Leather Flight Helmet (purchased on e-bay auction), vintage goggle and USN Type G-1 Jacket (Avirex, NY, USA"

Spartan Dashboard Layout for fan-to-drive, with no radio/Hi-Fi audio and no air conditioning: (from left to right) Ammeter, water temperature gauge, fuel gauge, revolution counter, oil pressure gauge, and speedmeter "Dashboard"

Weber twin carburetors on Kent 1.6-littre 4-cylinder OHV engine "Weber twin carburetors"

In the early cloudy and rainy morning at Sengokuhara in Hakone on December 12 2004. "With hood"

Under the bouquet of Camellia japonica (Tsubaki in Japanese) during a touring in the early rainy morining on Tsubaki Line in Hakone-Yagawara area on December 12 2004. "Bouquet"

Birds of a feather flock together in a formation at the hard-boiled repair shop Elite Motors in Miura Peninsula on December 11 2004. "Wolf pack"

At Mitohama Beach on the west side of Miura Peninsura on a sunny cold and dry winter day (December 26 2004). Mt. Fuji, invisible today, is beyond Sagami bay in the background. "Sunny"

Ditto at Mitohama Beach (December 26 2004). Desolate seashore in off-season in the background, which is reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor and California beach in the movie "The Sandpiper" with the melody of "The Shadow of Your Smile" "Desolate"

Mt. Fuji under perfectly clear winter sky, viewed from the southern side, from Otome pass in Hakone-Gotenba junction in the early moring on January 30 2005. I approached this vantage point on my Birkin, ensuring the grip of the tires with half-frosted road surface of R.138. "Mt. Fuji", in which Gotenba city is located in the foreground.

Desolate Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) in off-season winter morning of January 30 2005. I met almost nobody there, actually with no hideous commercialism. "Lake Ashi"

Cautiously climbing the prefectural road No.734 to Owakudani, ensuring the grip of the tires, in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park on February 5 2005. White small particles scattered on the road surface is KCl for anti-freeze. I must wash the car after the expedition. "Approaching Owakudani"
Arriving at Owakudani in the early morining, with gasping sulfur gas and steam on the background. There was no regular traffic congestion here in this cold off-season, when only mad dogs and strange doctor go out to. "Owakudani"

On the Kurokura River Bridge at Lake Tanzawa, which is located in the Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi National Park in the northwestern part of Kanagawa Prefecture, in the morining of March 5 2005 "Lake Tanzawa"
Ditto in medium-format print film (FSU folder rangefinder camera Moskva-5, 6x9 cm frame, f16-32, 1/250, tripod, Fuji Neopan 100 negative film scanned with Epson GT-X800 at 3200 dpi, compressed and one-level sharpened) "Lake Tanzawa - monochrome"

On one-way Kurokura-Nakagawa Line at Lake Tanzawa in the morining of March 5 2005. "Fremd bin ich eingezogen, Fremd zieh' ich wieder aus.,,,, Ich kann zu meiner Riesen, Nicht wählen mit der Zeit" "Winterreise on Lake Tanzawa"

Panorama view of Mount Fuji (at a distance of circa 17 km) and Lake Yamanaka from the Mikuni pass in the morining of March 21 2005. "Mt Fuji viewed from the east side"

A profile of my Birkin 7 on the Mikuni pass against the background of Mount Fuji in the morining of March 21 2005. "Mikuni pass"

Beautiful contrail over Mt. Fuji stretched by a commercial airliner cruising at high altitude heading to the west in the morining of March 21 2005. "Contrail"
ATC: "Japan Air five two two, maintain flight level two four thousand, turn right heading two seven zero for ,,,"
JAL: "Two four thousand, two seven zero, roger Japan Air five two two" (in deep voice)
My Birkin 7 under Someiyoshino sakura, Prunus Yedoensis, in full-bloom at the foot of Yabitsu Pass on Route 70 during Miyagase touring in the morining of April 9 2005. The sakura - Cherry blossom - is a national unofficial flower of Japan, which blooms for just a couple of days to a week in spring all over Japan. Its trantient fate takes a very prominent position in Japanese culture and mindset. "Yabitsu"

Tranquil Buddhist temple at the foot of Yabitsu Pass during Miyagase touring in the morining of April 9 2005. "Temple"

Yamazakura, Prunus jamasakura, on the bank of Bishamon creek of the Miura Peninsula in the morning of April 10 2005. The Japanese are very fond of this variety for its humbleness reflecting the spirit of traditional Bushido, which is the code of the Japanese samurai, stressing self-discipline, bravery, and simple living. "Yamazakura"

On the local touring road, prefectural Route-70, in Kanagawa on May 21 2005. "R70 - Yabitsu" - I deeply inhale oxygen that the forest exhales, in comparison with someone's argument "I tried xxxx - but didn't inhale".

I mistakenly broke the neck of the corroded side mirror during adjustment, so I scanned reasonable options at the local discount home center, culled a modest one and installed successfully on May 22 2005. "New Mirror", looking good.

At the lake side Yamanaka, which is located just beside Mt. Fuji, in the overcast summer morning of June 25 2005. "Lake Yamanaka"
With elegant swans on the surface "Swan" - Hope we the general pathologists and Sevens with minimalist's philosophy are not singing swan song. ;)

Summer fashion on the Birkin on the seashore line in June 2005. Subjectively I want to feel like Chuck Norris-type macho man, i.e., "Lonesome Cowboy in the Far East" (Ummm, not bad), however, to achieve that fantasy I firstly overcome WIMP factors in the US jargon, or worse, some people would suspect me of some Chinese villain or Woody Allen 2. "Wimpy Chuck"

"Hayama Beach" on August 20 2005, where I swim and get some sun on the weekends during summer season, not necessarily in order to suppress anti-gonadal function of the pineal gland by light stimulus through retina. A part of the white outer wall of the Japanese "Emperor's Villa" can be seen on the right edge of this panorama image. Lately, white Caucasian families are spotted not occasionally on the beach. Be careful to keep clean the beach always, my fellow Japanese!.

"Mount Fuji in late summer" on September 3 2005 from the Mikuni Pass, with Lake Yamanaka in the right edge.

"On the Kuruwa Beach before a backdrop of sunset in late summer" on September 16 2005. As summer passes by, the atmosphere becomes transparent day by day.

I run up to the Fifth Station of Mount Fuji through Route 152 on September 17 2005 with on my loyal Birkin 7. "Approaching Mt. Fuji on Route 23" in a non-threatening way, "Arrived at the Fifth Station" without leakage of engine oil or coolant water from low barometric pressure which is actually not exceptional for this type of DIY hobby car, "Looking up to the summit" in panoramic view, which is abruptly and completely overcast only a few minutes later. I am lucky for this fair weather.

In October 2005, when one year has passed since purchase, my Birkin (1993) undergoes some DIY repair, which is a pragmatic mandate from wallet and a pure and aesthetic joy for average Lotus/Birkin 7 family users. This time I tried painting of my Birkin with Holts sprays, whose plating is unsightly rusting now. "Repair painting" in Shutterfly site (Crick "View pictures", then "View as a slideshow" in the right column. If images advancing too fast, crick "Stop" and "Next"). Brushing off rust, washing and drying, masking with newspaper, spraying three steps of primary surfacer gray, silver, then clear coating. Outcome is satisfactory to me, who was in fact a 1/48-scale plastic aircraft modeler in youth, with fringe preventive effect against disuse atrophy of some of my striated muscles. Ouch!

On the Mitohama Beach of Miura Peninsula with a backdrop of Mount Fuji with the first snow cap in this season, beyond Sagami Bay under clear sky, on October 23 2005.

On October 5 2005, I go around (encircle) Mount Fuji from 10:00AM to 13:00PM. Starting point was "an abondoned restaurant in Otome-Gotenba", whose scenery is foreign to Japanese culture and somewhat allegoric. Firstly, I run up to the Fifth Station of Mount Fuji at Tarobou (south side) which is a different place from that I visited on September 17, however, the summit is invisible this time because of overcast, regrettably. Then, I tours leisurely on R.180-Fuji Skyline-R.72-R.139, admiring the gorgeous landscape of "autumn foliage", "autumn foliage-2". Gas mileage is terrific this day, 243.3 km/15.84 littre = 15.36 km/l !
"Oh ! je voudrais tant que tu te souviennes Des jours heureux ou nous etions amis " (Les feuilles mortes by Yves Montand)
Mount Fuji is observed with thin clouds but clearly on November 19 2005 as winter season approaches. Viewed from Mikuni Pass at 11:30AM on Route 730, above the water of Lake Yamanaka at noon from Route 729 (recommended), and from Oshino Village against the sun at 12:30PM on the side road of Route 138 . Same view in medium-format B/W print film (FSU folder rangefinder camera Moskva-5, 6x9 cm frame, f11, 1/250, with Y2 yellow filter, monopod, Kodak T-Max ASA 100 negative film, scanned with Epson GT-X800 at 600 dpi, resized and one-level sharpened): above the water of Lake Yamanaka at noon from Route 729, and from Oshino Village against the sun at 12:30PM on the side road of Route 138 . These route will be impassable by my Birkin shortly because of snowfall and road surface freezing (Gas mileage; 330 km/24.8 littre = 13.3 km/l)

The summit of Mount Fuji is clearly viewed from the Fifth Station at Tarobou (south side) with its white snowcaps at 10:00AM on November 26 2005, which is once again attacked after cloudy October 5 tour on my Birkin as usual. After this climb, I encircle the Mount Fuji clockwise through Route180, R.72, R.71, which is an easy-going country road longitudinally running on the west side of the Mountain, and R.21, to reach the shore of Lake Sai (Lake West), which is located to the north of Mt.Fuji (Gas mileage; 227 km/16.9 littre = 13.4 km/l)

Mount Fuji above the water of Lake Yamanaka under perfectly clear winter sky at 10:00AM on December 17 2005 from northeast side (circa 14 km distance) in medium-format B/W print film (FSU folder rangefinder camera Moskva-5, 6x9 cm frame, f16, 1/250, with Y2 yellow filter, monopod, Kodak Tri-X 400 negative film, scanned at 600dpi by Epson GT-X800 and trimmed by IrfanView with no retouching (263KB), with partially enlarged view of the route of the climb near the summit. The summit of Mount Fuji observed from Kagosaka Pass (10 km distance to the east side) on the Route 138 on December 17 2005 (digital with Coolpix).

Tatsuo Hasegawa at age just before 90 on New Year's Day (January 1 2006, shot with Minolta DiMAGE X50), who is a retired automobile and formerly aircraft engineer/designer, cannot resist his curiosity on Birkin 7 (or Lotus 7). His concept formulation of TOYOTA SPORTS 800 (aerodynamically-sophisticated light-weight sports car with supreme fuel efficiency) was about 10 years later than that of Colin Chapman's Lotus Seven, though, he seems to have felt very nostalgic with this bumpy driving experience at Hayama in the freezing winter weather, commenting "This car is similar to my Sports 800, Umm". Please remember that he is at age 90 and still loves sports driving! (Link: My Father Tatsuo Hasegawa)

On Mitohama Beach of Miura Peninsula, facing Sagami Bay, on the clear day (2006.1.8). I love this relaxing time in every Sunday morning, puffing at my pipe. Actually, on this day, my Birkin hit 20,000 km on the distance recorder.

Snowcapped Mount Fuji over the reflecting frozen surface of Lake Yamanaka, under perfectly clear sky at 10:00AM on February 11 2006. Ditto in medium-format B/W print film (FSU folder rangefinder camera Moskva-5, 6x9 cm frame, f11, 1/250, with Y2 yellow filter, monopod, Kodak Tri-X 400 negative film, scanned at 800dpi by Epson GT-X800 and resized by IrfanView with no retouching (118KB). This snow cap is almost maximal, please compare with above images on November 19 and December 17 2005. The surface was almost completely frozen on circa January 10 2006, maximum 20 cm thick, for the first time in the 22 years since 1984. My Birkin on the parking lot againt the background of snowcapped Mt. Fuji and my portrayal with a new helmet purchased from former USSR through e-bay. This type of old-fashioned but high-quality helmet was used by TU-16 crew member in the past (Reference: Braybrook R, Skrynnikov S and Yakutin L. Russian Warriors. Sukhois, MIGs and Tupolevs. Osprey Publishing, London, 1993, ISBN 1-85532-293-5), in contrast to the currently used one. Still frozen landscape of the lakeside on return road.

Transient snow fall in early spring on the crest of the Route 1 between Kowakudani and Motohakone, Hakone, on March 4 2006. Spring is near. Mountain view from the same locus and overview of Lake Ashi from Kojiri in medium-format B/W print film (FSU folder rangefinder camera Moskva-5, 6x9 cm frame, f22, 1/100, with Y2 yellow filter, monopod, Kodak Tri-X 400 negative film, scanned at 700dpi by Epson GT-X800 and resized and one-step sharpened by IrfanView).

I enjoyed looking at Prunus mume - 1 and Prunus mume - 2 in full bloom at Soga Prunus mume (Japanese plum) Garden in Odawara City on March 11 2006. Then traversed snow-lingering Mikuni Pass to Lake Yamanaka, when Mount Fuji was invisible because of dense overcast. I am looking forward to the first signs of cherry blossoms now.

In the early spring when the sakuras are in full bloom, I tour on Route 23 and 152 on the south slope of Mount Fuji on April 22 2006. The life of a cherry blossom is very short.

The summit of Mount Fuji is clearly viewed from the Fifth Station at Tarobou (south side) with its residual white snowcaps at 10:00AM on May 5 2006. Please compare with the image on October 26 2005 posted above.

To please the inspector of compulsory automobile inspection (24 months interval) in Japan, I fit the elatic gum trim to the leading edge of the front mudguards, ditto seen from the different angle. The tirm was purchased at the loca discount home center at less than 500 Yen for 50 cm, which was packing metal clasp to anchor. Let's tuck it in lightly with wooden mallet. The original idea was from the reference (Ron Champion. Build Your Own Sports Car for as little as E50 and Race It, 2nd edition. Haynes Publishing, Somerset, UK, 2000, ISBN: 1-85960-636-9). BTW, my Birkin underwent 12-month-periodic inspection successfully this May at a very moderate price.

After the latest 12-month-inspection in May done at the usual repair shop, when I used the opportunity to increase the idling RPM, because the engine often stalls at halts at traffic light, they adjusted too much, i.e., after engine warms up, it over-rotates at traffic signals, circa 1,400-1,600 RPM. It's a bit noisy and obviously the engine is consuming too much fossil fuel to contribute the greenhouse effect. So I decided to micromanage with DIY, and firstly consulted the mailing list for seven owners in Japan (Seven-ML at http://www.labnet.or.jp/~arai/seven-ML/seven-ml.html), on how to adjust the idling RPM. The response was quick and exact, indicating me to turn a screw (throttle adjust screw) on the Weber carburettor (indicated by three red arrows) that is next to the whitish one. Through some trial and error process, I could adjust the RPM to 600 at engine start and circa 1,000 after warm-up, by winding the screw circa 90 degrees anti-clock-wise. These sites too may be helpful to you; Weber DCOE carburettors, ditto in pdf file, ditto in Spanish. Mechanical engineering dominates here in Seven World, aka Parallel Universe (Many-worlds interpretation, of quantum physics).

Rainy season has come to Japan. Waiting for a lull in the rain, I am touring in new green leaves at Mikuni Pass, to the ease of Mount Fuji, on June 10 2006. Mount Fuji has the last lingering snow on the cap under overcast sky (Lake Yamanaka in the right side of this picture). One more Sevenisque view of Mount Fuji with a reflecting image of me on the silver-gilted surface of the right head lump shell. Fuel consumption rate was 14.9 km/littre (168 km/ 11.3 litre) today.

As a countermeasure to long touring under the blazing hot sun in the summer, I purchased white canvas top (so-called "Bikini Top" in Japanese). Two silhouettes of my Birkin at a scenic overlook at the Lake Motosu (the parking lot of the prefectural R.71), New canvas top 1 (Lake Motosu on the left edge), New canvas top 2 (caudal view). In fact, visibility of twelve o'clock high is hidden, impairing the liberating feeling peculiar to the open two seater. It is the trade-off between fatigue from sunburn vs. fun to drive.

On a routine early Saturday morning touring along the Shonan Beach on Route 134, I nearly clash head-on (joke!) with a pleasure boat on August 26 2006. From the viewpoint of low-profile Seven, it looks like the shark launching into a savage attack on me, usind her upper hand.

There is already autumn flavor in the air at Mikuni Pass to the east of Mount Fuji on September 9 2006, feeling loneliness with coming out Japanese silver grass.

Scale model of Lotus Super 7 series II (1/24) is still available from TAMIYA, which my daughter Naoko spotted and gifted to me this summer. I began to construct this model, after a long interval after I showed a fervor for scale plastic models in youth, engrossed and hand-painted minutely with use of brush and enamel paint. I will show you some pictures: Diolama-2, Diolama-1, Near completion, In the garage, Anatomy, Behind the scenes (in production).

Cycad trail in Miura Peninsula under smiling skies on September 25 2006. Mabori Beach on the east side of Miura Peninsula (neighboring Yokohama) is famous for its avenue lined with cycad. Low angle, Over the top. I wonder if the concept originator of this road may have been humming California Dreamin' (1968) by The Mamas and The Papas, 'All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray. Ive been for a walk on a winter's day,,'

The day after the medium-strength typhoon passes away the northern half of Honshu Island of Japan, I tour around Mount Fuji clockwise on R.139 and 138 on October 7 2006. Making sure on the weather map that the strong and dry wind is blowing from the north west side to Mt. Fuji, I hit the trail under the promising windy and clear sky with mild curl cloud, expecting the photogenic silhouette of the mountain, however, I lose the calculated bet this day. The cloud is always covering the summit when viewing from any angle during rotating around the orbit. From the North View Line of Lake Saiko at 10:30AM, and the northern shore of Lake Yamanaka at 11:30AM (Mount Fuji seen from the east-northeast side). Anyway, the ideal condition for perfect photos can be met only once or twice a season, i.e. autumn to the next early spring. Bright spot this day is Asagiri Plateau on the west skirt, to my salvation, which is a famous gliding field for hang glider. After returning Hayama Town after noon, I once again go out on Birkin to share the beauty of twilight after sunset on Kuruwa Beach on the west coast of Miura Peninsula. Izu Peninsula is seen over the pier and Sagami Bay.

Superficial security is the greatest enemy. During a casual touring in the Miura Peninsula on October 22 2006 (odometer at 26,652 km), abnormal noise abruptly happens, accompanying detonating sound and clatter. I make a stop at the roadside empty lot and examine the car, spotting the unbundled muffler at the mid junction. Watchful examination reveals a stress-induced rupture of the bracket (Red arrows). Using prepared wire, the insecure muffler is hang as an emergency measure, in order to avoid the additional fracture of the backside supporting member, and I bear the car at a slow speed to the attending auto-repair garage Elite Motors at Miura Beach, where the meister skillfully gas-welds the fracture. Fot the time being, I hope the trouble will not recur.

I once again run up to the New (not Tarobou) Fifth Station of Mount Fuji (after the previous September 17 2005 attack) through Route 23-152 (aka Mount Fuji Skyline) on September 29 2006. When I survey the Mount Fuji as usual from the Otome Pass of Hakone over Gotenba City at 8:30AM, she is totally covered with overcast and I lay out today's plan as simply encircling the Mount for second best, without even expecting viewing her silhouette at all. As I forge ahead on the southern skirt on very quiet off-season Route 23, I become totally far removed from the practical world, being attracted to the beautiful autumn colour of leaves Autumn leaves 1, Autumn leaves 2, Autumnal leaves 3. When I am advancing, the clear view of Mount Fuji abruptly appears unexpectedly, probably because I penetrate the thick cloud layer, so I steer to the summit. When I finally reach the parking lot, the sky is perfectly clear over the field of clouds, and the summit of the Mount Fuji, which is yet without snowcap and certainly not gorgeous (ha, ha, ha), is clearly visible. My Birkin is cruising over the cloud (Birkin on the fly), and I feel like a historic biplane aviator before the WW2, Woody Allen-type timid Top Gun (laugh).

Water pump is replaced at odometer 27,000 km on November 11 2006, because of increasing leak of coolant fluid lately. New part was obtained on the net at SUZUSHO (No English page available), and installed at Elite Motors as usual. The procedure is released to the public domain, using Shutterfly page, by the kindness of Meister Sakamoto. Crick [View pictures], then [View as a slide show] at the right column on the next page. The meister was using chemical gasket (Pitwork brand) additionally on the attaching paper(?) gaskets. Coolant filling after the installment of the new pump was impressive, i.e., intermittently filling the fluid from the reserve tank while reving up the engine on again, off again with roaring sound for about 10 minutes. It took about 1 hour with two mechanics (meister and his disciple). DIY is possible, if you have working space in the middle of nowhere (Blasting out coolant fluid when dismounting the old pump, detonating sound when re-filling the coolant,,)

February 11 2007 is the best and only weekend in this season for shooting the Mount Fuji. Firstly I run up the Hakone Pass from Odawara, down to the Gotenba City, then, through R246-Suganuma-Prefectural R151-Subashiri-Kagosaka Pass, reaches Lake Yamanaka, which is located to the north side of the Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is seen crystal clear from the Nagaike Sinsui Park at the north beach of the lake. I take it easy for a while with satisfaction, murmuring "This is the life, C'est la vie!" (in not too much sarcastic sense). After shooting with digital camera, Canon rangefinder and FSU folder rangefinder camera Moskva-5 (6x9 cm frame), I spur to the next destination Mikuni Pass, where I snap pictures of my Birkin with Mount Fuji in the background (wide angle), and (zoom up). You can grasp the overall view of the Mount Fuji, Lake Yamanaka (center) and Mikuni Pass (right edge) with the reconstructed panorama view from three photos. After checking the weather forecast in the previous evening, I waked up early this morning, departed Hayama at 7:00AM, and touched down at 15:00PM, so I was driving on the tight seat for 8 hours under the winter weather. Yes, this is the long-endurance real sports for a crazy mid 50's.

Unsuccessful sortie on February 24 2007. At departure from Hayama at 7:00AM, the sky was clear and the condition appeared to be perfectly photogenic, however, when I reached Otome Pass of Hakone the summit of Mount Fuji was covered with cloud. Then, I hastened to Mikuni Pass, and I was disappointed again there with the same thick overcast. My Birkin looked somewhat modest reflecting my dismay and withered winter scenery. But, just remember, this is an average yield for weekend photographer for pleasure. God's gift is only once a season.

The odometer hit over 30,000 km on March 04 2007. As this photo shows, I noticed this fact after the meter indicates 50 km over 30,000, actually 70 km after the tank was filled and the trip mater was reset. The rim metal is focally rubbed raw and rust. In the morning the day before, I toured Hakone-Lake Ashi as usual, and parked my birkin at Motohakone, the lakeside of Ashi, in juxtaposition with a yellow Ferrari F355 by chance (3.5 L, V8, 1994-2000, E0,000 for a 1995 M-registered Berlinetta to around E8,000 for a 1999 S-registered example). Birkin's morphological distinctness, honesty and seasoned elegance is highly noticeable, compared with sensual refinement and sexual provocation of the dashing Ferrari.

Pursuing the "Best Before End" (Motto of Fortnum and Mason, Piccadilly, London, printed on their green tea can) cherry blossom of this season tardily, I tour in the north west region of Kanagawa Prefecture on April 14 2007. Mount Fuji is covered with cumulus cloud when viewed from Mikuni Pass at 9:20 this morining, however, I beforehand encounter Cherry blossom, Prunus yedoensis, in the mountain village to the east of Fuji Speedway, (ditto enlarged). Then I trail from the lakeside of Yamanaka to Route 413 Doshi Road, where I spot occasionally humble blossom of Rhododendron, Ericales, Rhododendron dilatatum at the idyllic farm house, (ditto enlarged) , Prunus pendula, (ditto overview), Peach, Prunus persica cv. Genpeishidare, (ditto enlarged). More Sakura stuff, please visit my Shutterfly site Sakura (crick View pictures, then View as a slide show in the left column).

I tour around Mount Fuji under spring clear sky on April 29 2007 (first time this year), enjoying the perfect boon to shoot. Starting from the Otome Pass (to the southeast of Fuji) at 8AM, I encircle the Mount clockwise to the Fifth Station of Mount Fuji at Tarobou (to the south, through prefectural Route 152) with its residual white snowcaps at 9:00AM, Asagiri Plateau (to the west side of Fuji, on Route 139) at 10AM, Bird Sanctuary Park of Saiko (to the north of Fuji) at 10:30AM, Saiko (to the north-northwest of Fuji, on the north lake side) at 10:30AM, Saiko-2 (ditto), Lake Kawaguchi (to the north-northeast of Fuji, from the north lakeside, you can see a contrail by a commercial airliner) at 11AM, Lake Kawaguchi-2 (ditto), and to Mikuni Pass (to the east-northeast of Fuji) at 1PM. This was a photoperfect day that I've had in a while.

My Birkin successfully passed the compulsory automobile inspection of Japan on May 8 2007, at 31,400 km odometer, second time since I acquired her (First pass at 13,000 km on May 21 2005). This time the meister at Elite Moters replaced cork cam-cover gasket (yellow arrow, SP: spark plug), from where oil leaks had been notices for some time past. After receiving the automobile inspection certificate and the car, I go on an afternoon excursion to Yabitsu Pass-1, Yabitsu Pass-2 on prefectural Route-70, in Kanagawa, which is full of fresh verdure of spring. Canvas top (so-called "Bikini Top" in Japanese) is re-installed to ease direct sunlight (see images dated July 2006)

Summer season has come. I tour to Yabitsu Pass on August 4 2007 for some temporary rest with forest bathing, hearing the sound of a stream. On a return route, I encounter a Lamborghini Countach LP500S(?) with a resonant baritone sound, whose vehicle height is as low as my Birkin 7, at the seaside Enoshima on R.134. On the next day, I perform self-imposed annual swimming (fitness) training at Isshiki Beach of Hayama, performing tortoise-pace crawling (For a panorama view of the beach from the other angle, see the image on August 20 2005).

My wife and I toured on the tight Birkin with white canvas top and no air conditioning (!) on an extremely hot day when the outdoor temperature hit over 35 degrees Celsius. At first we reached Otome pass in Hakone-Gotenba junction, where we confirm the satisfying overview of Mount Fuji for this season and proceed to Mikuni pass. We enjoy the sensory pleasure of Mt.Fuji in summertime, ditto in panoramic view. After returning to Hayama, I splash into the sea water at Hayama Isshiki Beach to seek coolness. You should laugh, here is an wimpy middle-aged pathologist who dreams of iron man,,,,, or on-stage alter ego Humphrey Bogart?

Since Pirelli P2000 tyres from the first owners days (1994?) have become 70% worn, I replace with economic YOKOHAMA DNA ECOS tyres at the auto parts chain store AUTOBACS Yokosuka at odometer 34,000 km on September 22 2007. After returning Hayama, I happen to experience two separate incidents of over-night air leakage (no problem at night, but flattened next morning; The first time with left front and rear tires, the second time a week later with bilateral rear tyres). After examining carefully with AUTOBACS, the Meister Sakamoto of Elite Motors and nearby gas station staff, mechanical interference between tyre valve core and valve cap is revealed culprit because splaying with cleaning surfactant demonstrates air leakage from the base of the caps. Eventually, I replace caps from original decent metal ones to played-out synthetic resin(?) ones and 4 cores. So far so good, and I enjoy Lake Tanzawa tour on October 13, 2007 and Mitohama Beach promenade1 (Kamisuwa Shinto Shrine) and 2 (Mito Beach) on October 14, 2007 (shot with new Pentax Optio E40 -8 mega pixel-).

I tour around Mount Fuji on the now settled new tyres on October 20 2007. As usual, I start from the Otome Pass at 8:30AM, from where the clouds are observed hanging low at the foot of the Mount Fuji, i.e., over Gotenba City. At 9:30 I reach the 5th station of Mt. Fuji at Tarobo 1, Tarobo 2. The autumn clouds here are drifting by swiftly. I tour clockwise and pass through Asagiri plateau on the west skirt at about 10:30, and reach Lake Shojin 1, backlight Mt. Fuji over Lake Shojin 2, which is narrowest among Fuji Five Lakes, located to the northwest of Mt. Fuji, and this is the first visit by my Birkin. Autumn color of leaves is prematurely seen at Bird Sanctuary Park near Lake Sai. Mt. Fuji is seen over Lake Yamanaka at about 12:30, with first snowcap on the top and overcast on wide skirts. Mikuni Pass is already covered with Miscanthus sinensis, and dominated by autumn flavor. On the next day, I tour Miura Peninsula, and stop at Bishamon wind turbine generator system. Then, I drop by Meister Sakamoto, who is attending technologist for my Birkin and CEO (playing manager) at Elite Motors, and is currently involved in the R and D project of the emission control system for secondhand but very expensive special-purpose heavy construction vehicle, with diesel engine with turbocharger with intercooler, in order to clear the tighter emission standard of Japan that is newly enforced since this October. He is seasoned, and I always view him as an American-style lone-wolf overachiever/challenger.

Intensive maintenance and repair in winter season. After spotting the front wheel swing arms gradually showing rust once again since my repair painting in October 2005, I re-splay with Holts wheel paint color (W-4 silver) after masking with papers on December 1 2007. In the new year, on January 12 2008, I re-paint also the rusted front grill and cooling fan. Firstly, rust is scraped away from the fan and motor using metal brush, and masking paper is plugged into the gap, followed by splaying shassis black paint. The grill is separately worked up; splaying entirely with shassis black as ground coat, then brush-painting only the horizontal ribs with silver. At the end, I splay the currently worked parts with Holts gloss clear. My workmanship which is just like finishing plastic scale models is checked at the garage and on the Mitohama beach. Additionally, rusting on the front lamp base is fixed on January 19 2008. After rust was scraped with metal brush and fine sandpaper, I splay with Holts W-4 silver. As for rust inside the cubicle, I splay blindly with shassis black, then finish entirely with Holts A-4 clear. Operation setup is as usual. In late February and early March, coating with wax and polishing with Pikal (emulsified liquid chemical) is done.

Birkin in snow scape: In the morning after it was reported that the snow deposited in mountain region of Kanto area, I dare to tour the Hakone area on February 10 2008. It is fine day and there is no snow in Odawara City, the foot of Hakone Pass, so I proceed on the Route 1 to Hakone. When I pass Miyagino, snowscape begins on R.138 Leg 1, Leg 2 (Look at number 138 on the road sign), but it appears breezy still, road surface is wet but not frozen. After I pass on Sengokubara to Otome Pass, the landscape drastically changes, Leg 3, snow-broth is spread over the road surface, which prompt me to turn around (retreat) Leg 4. During this tour, I certainly keep my tense but I never feel the loss of tyre's grip. BTW, I don't confirm snow chains on other local people's cars. After this tour, I nervously wash out the antifreezing agent disseminated on the road and adhered to the bodywork. In the evening of the same day, I admire at Kuruwa Beach the crisp silhouette of Mount Fuji in its afterglow of the sunset over the Sagami Bay. On February 16 2008, I again challenge to approach Mount. Fuji, and this time I pass through Otome Pass of Hakone and Kagosaka Pass without difficulty, though the road surface is a bit wet, but with no melging snow. I dare to proceed on to Lake Yamanaka, whose north lakeside I reach at 10:30AM and I appreciate the solemn beauty of Mount Fuji for the first time at close range in this year 2008. The weather map analysis of this day shows that of a typical winter day in Japan, i.e., high pressure center is located on the Asian continent (China) and low pressure center on the north Pacific ocean, as a result wind is blowing from the west to the east. Viewed from the north side, the east foot of Mount Fuji is covered with turbulent cloud, and lake surface is partially frozen. I move a little way to the snowpacked north-west shore, and admire Mount Fuji from a slightly different angle. I head back at 11:00AM for home through dry surfaced Kagasaka Pass.

I explore Aburatubo Yacht Marina, (ditto in panoramic view with Mt. Fuji in the center) at leisure, located in the west coast of Miura Peninsula, on February 24 2008.

First pass-through Mikuni Pass to the vantage point for Mount Fuji in 2008. On March 1, I approach Mikuni Pass from the south (Fuji Speedway side) to stumble onto the "road closed" sign, where I stop and inquire the driver of a car oncoming trafic lane about the road surface condition along the way, who kindly answers "No problem, you can pass". Encouraged by this but still on full allert, I forge then come upon the crew removing icy snow with construction equipments, who gives me instruction to go. This is probably the first full-scale and final removing operation in this season, conveying the arrival of spring. Anyway, I pass through Mikuni Pass without trouble (road surface is largely dry excluding very limited frozen section, however, at least one lane is passable), and appreciated Mount Fuji whose summit is hidden by the clouds. When I call in Elite Moters on the next day, after succeeding the national compulsory automobile inspection of the construction vehicle (see description on October 20 2007), Meister Sakamoto is now being involved in his next project, to clear a large motor caravan (camper) lately imported from Germany of the tighter emission standard of Japan for diesel engine. This car seems Hymermobil-Mercedes.

On March 22, I finally come upon Best Mount Fuji in this season 2007-2008. As usual, I foresee the glorious yield of this day's tour, when getting the first visual of Mount Fuji from Otome Pass at 9:00AM. I haste to Mikuni Pass, because it is always possible that weather condition abruptly worsens over the summit and cloud arises, but, O.K. no problem, the sky continue to be clear when I arrive at Mikuni Pass at 10:00. Heavy rain the night before followed by high gale blowing off the mist and vapor guarantees the nice picture, it is my empirical proof. I feel satisfaction (less-expressive, though ;) with a perfect landscape in a long time, and my loyal birkin too appears proud. Then, I steer downhill and park the car in the parking lot of the Lake Yamanaka (north side). Under this situation, Mount Fuji appears grande dame than usual (panoramic view), still much more when accompanying relaxed swans!.

On March 29 2008, the scenic condition of Mount Fuji from Mikuni Pass is satisfactory in a row.

Cherry blossom covering Birkin 7. On April 5 and 6, I fully enjoy myself with full sakura (cherry) blossom in just arrived spring. I visit Mikuni Pass at 9:00Am as usual to see Mt. Fuji slightly clouded, where international Caucasian visitors exactly arrive on the bus, some speaking distinct German and some noticing and snap shooting my Birkin, and then I swing backward to Yugawara through Tsubaki (Camellia japonica) Line. Cherry blossom is in full blossom in association with Camellia, ditto, enlarged. In Yugawara, Peach, Amygdalus persica, is found on the road side, ditto, enlarged. Actually, it is sometimes difficult for me to differentiate between sakura (cherry blossom), ume (Prunus mume) and peach. On Route 135 to Odawara, I notice a gorgeous Sakura in full blossom and once again stop and shoot. On April 6, I get comfortable on Mitohama Beach under Sakura in transition to young leaves.

After picking up head rests on net auction, which were advertised as from TOYOTA RAV4, I installed them as add-on (extra precaution against whiplash injury) on April 12 2008, which are being hold firmly after inserting strongly between contact surfaces of back rest and external back wall of the seats.

My Birkin hits the odometer 40,000 km on July 5 2008 on the road to Daiyuzan Temple located north to Odawara City, where the multihued hydrangea, Azisai in Japanese, was in full blossom in the dense cedar forest (Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3). In fact, most lately since June I was feeling slow response to my accelerator push with insufficient torque output compared with the feeling in the past. So, I tried DIY replacement of the spark plugs (NGK PBP7ES, previous replacement was done at odometer 20,000 km in January 2006) of Kent engine, which promptly induced idling rpm from 1,000 to 1,600 and recovery of very smart feeling when hitting the accelerator. When examining the replaced plugs (From left to right, 1st cylinder to 4th, the 1st and 2nd plugs burn well sunny-yellow evenly, whereas the 3rd is blackened and somewhat wet and the 4th is whitish dry). On July 6, I hastened to the Elite Motors and requested Meister Sakamoto to readjust the screws of the posterior carburetor for proper air-fuel ratio.

On July 12, I toured to Mikuni Pass to view Mount Fuji in summer green hue, Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3. After returned to Hayama, I jumped into the sea water of His Majesty's Isshiki Beach (the horizontal white wall is of his resort villa). In fact, the replacement of the spark plugs and electrical-contact shower-splay into the plug-cable terminals contributed the improvement of fuel consumption from 11 km/l on July 5 to over 14 km/l on this day. However, I noticed the fine abnormal noise originated from the muffler on the return road, and detailed check revealed the slackening bolt and nut at the base of the muffler stay. The difficulty was when I tried to clench the bolt only from the outside, using a torque wrench, the internal nut rotates accorgingly and I could not fasten it. I ended up to dismount the passenger's seat by dismantling the bottom cushion plate, lifting from the rear end, and unclasp the four bolts (yellow arrows), which are directly screwed into the steel frame with no nuts. Finally, I could fasten the bolt from the underside tenaciously, while holding the nut (red arrow) from the inside simultaneously. It is the pleasure inherent in Seven car category to be able to accomplish with DIY through careful consideration and reasoning (and minimal cost = your labor).

Neck fracture of the ball joint of the rear lateral rod (panhard): When driving on the Seisho Bypass just south to Odawara City in the early morning on August 9 2008, abnormal noise - kan, kan, kan - abruptly disrupted cheerful mode, prompting parking at the turnout area. After stopping, engine idling sounds o.k., and underside examination finally pointed out the fractured and hang-loose lateral rod from the right rear wheel side, which was bouncing and beating the road surface. I gerry-rigged using wire, carryied on a daily basis, hoisting the rod (arrows: lateral rod). After calling Meister Sakamoto, I beared vector to the Elite Motors, where he removed the lateral rod (arrows: fractured point of the neck of the joint component). The fractured point is indicated on the parts list, and on the enlarged image. Fractured surface indicated metal fatigue, a half-cross an old damage and the other half new - distal portion with a ball joint, and proximal portion. Before starting electric welding, the Meister carefully detached internal brass section with use of press machine, because brass would melt by heat of the weld. Then, he welded the fractured ball-joint component. Finally, the Meister reassembled the ball-joint to the body (arrows: hanging welded ball-joint), and screwed into the lateral rod (arrows: nut thread). He recommended me to search the rod parts on the net, because welded portion is not so durable as the virgin parts. On the trial run on the next day, the weld seems durable at least for a while. On the other hand, I purchased a cheap grease gun (AZ 2way 80 G901, circa 1,000 Yen) at DIY shop in Yokosuka with two nozzles (a sharp nozzle for slits, costing 500 Yen, and one for grease nibble), and a cartilage with silicon grease (green, costing 300 Yen) for lubrication of ball joints (piloballs) and other mechanical sliding surfaces. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Leakage of the brake fluid from the drum brake of the rear wheel: At Friday night on August 29 2008, when I arrived at Hayama and checked Birkin after a two-week interval, I noticed a lax brake pedal easily reaching the floor without resistance, which was revealed due to decreased brake fluid level in the master cylinder container. In the next morning, the brake fluid was filled at the nearby gas station, however, watchful follow-up is needed for a while, and I must always carry a spare bottle of brake fluid when going out to drive. On the evening of September 12 when I return to Hayama from Tokyo after a two-week interval, brake fluid is being leaked again, and this time the origin is obvious as left rear wheel drum brake unit. Anyway, I confirm the yellow warning lamp for break fluid on the instrument panel is certainly working. After consulting with Elite Motors for repair, I put my Birkin into the garage at 15PM on September 22 2008. I am carefully monitoring the whole process of this surgical operation by Meister Sakamoto and his desciples for three hours, occasionally helping as an apprentice (sort of surgical resident). It is fairly resistant to detach the left rear brake drum because of anomalous friction between brake drum and linings, but he finishs somehow forcefully. In fact, the anatomy of the drum brake is very complex, however, the leaking point is revealed as wheel cylinder as being suspected due to age-related damages to the two cups, functioning by fringe pressure by fluid, and boots (Image of piston with cup). They find out the minute serial number of the parts engraved on the back of the piston cylinder, and search the compatible ones, and after a while the apprentice drives to and picks the parts up from the depot of the nearby trader. During this operation, they occasionally refer to the healthy and undismounted right-side wheel. It appears a rigid rule never to dismount both sides simultaneously when repairing the byzantine drum brakes.

Paint of the front disk brake caliper: In the morning of September 22 2008, I detach the front wheels, wash the caliper with detergent and water, then dry with a hair dryer hastily, and paint them RED. From the standpoint of glance, it appears no more than a modest facelift, but subjectively my strange love deepens,,,

On September 27 I tour encircling Mount Fuji clockwise from Gotenba, which is in fact 8th one, checking the lately repaired rear drum brake for any sign of leakage. When I return to Hayama and examine the car, I disclose the rupture of the ball-joint rod-end attached to the stabilizer of the front wheels. I experience twice within two-months interval the break of the rod end! I dismount the ruptured rod end, whose model number my friends on the Japanese mailing list for Sevens tell is most likely THK POS8 (right- or left-hand screw). As this failure does not disturb the safety of usual driving, excluding mission-critical circuit one, I apply wire as a temporary fix, while I order the replacement parts on the net. On October 4 I install the obtained parts which is just fit.

On October 4 2008, I tour to Mikuni Pass to view Mount Fuji in early autumn hue. After I look side to the Fujispeed Way (FSW) (2008 FIA Formula One World Championship on October 12, a cut-through field in the left side of this image), I reach Mikuni Pass with a view of Mount Fuji across Japanese pampas grass field (Fuel consumption: 14.5 km/l for over 250 km distance).

On October 18 I tour once again to encircle Mount Fuji clockwise from Gotenba, which is 9th one. Leaves are turning yellow already on the south foot of Mount Fuji on Prefectural Route 23. The air is a bit misty, when viewing Mt. Fuji from the west foot. I eat lunch at the lakeside of Saiko, where leaves are turning red, e.g., at the Saiko Bird Sanctuary. On return path on Route 138 on the east foot of Mt. Fuji, I notice sharp and large sounds to stop at the Auto Paradice Gotenba, on which they insist "European style racing kart".

On October 25 2008 I return to the 5th station of Mount Fuji at Tarobo on the south foot in order to appreciate yellow and red leaves. At Hakone on Route 1, the leaves still do not fully turn color, however, driving down north to Gotenba City, then climbing again north and approaching 5th station, the landscape is distinctly full of autumn leaves in the mist; photo-1, photo-2, photo-3 (panorama). In fact, on this day, I experience several engine stall on the road, e.g., during idling on the go-stop, or going down on the Hakone route, therefore I check the spark plugs after touchdown to Hayama, which show some uneven burn (anterior two vs. posterior two), but no evidence of serious failure.

On November 1 2008, full-transistor ignitor unit and coil are replaced at Elite Motors in Miura Beach with parts that are purchased through internet from Suzusho. Old parts (ignitor unit - 1, ignitor unit - 2 and coil) are carefully replaced by Meister Sakamoto with new ones (ignitor unit - 1, ignitor unit - 2 and coil), with special caution to hard-wiring, recalling the mishap of delayed delivery of Airbus A-380. Post-installation test-run finishes with no problem, i.e., no engine stall. So far, so good.

Engine stall incidents disappear to my relief, and on November 9 I replace the side mirror: The new rectangular one, the previous one (refer to the description on May 22 2005), the original one when purchased.

On November 23 2008 I tour once more again to encircle Mount Fuji clockwise from Gotenba, which is 10th one. Views from Otome Pass of Hakone (east-southeast side of Fuji, vector circa 300). from the west foot (vector 90), across Saiko (north side, contre-jour, vector 180-, noon), across Lake Kawaguchi (contre-jour, vector 180+). Leaves are turning yellow and red on the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi. Obviously, the snow starts to accumulate in the late autumn and early winter season from the south side of its mountain peak.

The sky is crystal clear and dry on November 30 2008 in Kanto area of Japan. Mount Fuji is clearly seen from Mitohama Beach of the Miura Peninsula across Sagami Bay (vector circa 300, distance 70km) - Photo-1, Photo-2.

On December 6 2008, I tour Lake Tanzawa, after checking cloudy Mt. Fuji in spite of clear sky from Otome Pass of Hakone, to immerse myself to the late autumn/early winter colours - Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3. After returning to Hayama, I appreciate Mt. Fuji across Sagami Bay in the sunset from Shonan Village for International Exchange. In the morning of December 7, I again observe Mt. Fuji across Sagami Bay under perfectly clear sky - Photo-4 from Shonan Village, Photo-5 and Photo-6 from Mitohama Bay.

Best picture-perfect Mt. Fuji in this early winter on December 20 2008 - View from Otome Pass, Mikuni Pass, and Lake Yamanaka - thanks to cold and high gale which blows out mist. It will be difficult in a short period for my Birkin to reach these vantage points because of icy road condition. BTW, gas price is dramatically down from about 170 Yen/littre in the peak season of this summer and early autumn to the current 105 Yen/litter.

One week after retreating from Kagosaka Pass on January 11 2009 facing road surface freezing, I successfully pass over that Pass to Lake Yamanaka on January 17. The road is dry in spite of road-side snow on the south lakeside. I encircle Lake Yamanaka clockwise from 6 o'clock to park my Birkin on the north side lot. The surface of the lake is partly frozen, and Mount Fuji is crisply enshrined under the clear winter sky. Then, I push clockwise to stop at the south-east side (4 o'clock), where I appreciate the other angle of view, ditto, panoramic overview. BTW, during this tour, I have never encountered a two-seat open sports car but mine at north to Kagosaka Pass. After returning to Hayama (Yankee Station), I carefully wash away antifreezing agent spread over the road surface from the underbelly and suspension with a hose.

On January 31 2009, I changed engine oil and filter at 44,988 km milage log after over 5,000 km distance since a preious change - Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3. I seem to have learned not to mess up the floor bit by bit.

The weather seems temperate this year, and I can reach Mikuni Pass with nothing to worry about on February 21. Starting from Otome Pass, the road surface is dry with slight snow remaininig on the road shoulder to Mikuni Pass: Photo-1, Panorama. When I first pass-through Mikuni Pass on March 1 last year 2008, the snow was still stacking on the road side, snowy landscape.

Oil leaks from the engine head has recurred lately, and I visit the meister Sakamoto at Elite Moters on February 22 2009, where he replaces cork cam-cover gasket. The procedure is as follows; (1) flush away oil from the engine with water from a high-pressure hose, (2) detach the head block (cam-cover) with use of hexagonal wrench, (3) coat the contact surfaces of engine cam-cover and cork gasket with fast-dry adhesive agent, (4) when the adhesive dries enough, glue together the gasket and com-cover, carefully lining up the inner brim, (5) wait for a while and tighten four screws with hexagonal wrench, when pay attention for cork gasket not to travel inward: posterior head, anterior head. Principal cause of failure is, according to my meister, during tightening the screws, the cork travels inward, which causes inadequate-sealed cam-cover.

Spring has come to Japan, and cherry blossom is in full bloom, when I tour on Birkin to Tsubaki Line (Kanagawa Prefectural Line 75 - Orange Line) on April 4 2009: Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3 (Photo-2 and -3 on Orange Line, bypass road), and to Mikuni Pass (Kanagawa Prefectural Line 730) on April 11: Photo-4, Photo-5. Thank you Sakura for bringing us comfort when the economy is hard hit and people are feeling agony.

My Birkin successfully passed the compulsory automobile inspection of Japan on May 15 2009, at 46,880 km odometer, third time since I acquired her (First pass at 13,000 km on May 21 2005; second pass at 31,400 km odometer on May 8 2007). This time, the device for Electronic Toll Collection System (ETC) Card is installed on my Birkin at the same period at Elite Motors (Implementation of the censor indicated by large red arrows, wiring by small arrows). The function is verified at Seisho Bypass (go and return) on May 23 2009.

Nanny's Birkin 7: On August 1 2009, I send back my mother Miyoka, aged 87 years, from our villa at Hayama to the nursing home Hanaemi at Aobadai, Yokohama, on my Birkin, in transit time of one and a half hour. She put on NAF1092 Leather Flight Helmet (purchased on e-bay auction) for safety. Oh, I forget to make her hold her familiar handbag! At first, she was amazed saying "What a terrific car!", however, she soon became accustomed to the wild touch of this British light-weight sports car, saying " I am courageous, because I was born to a samurai (bushi) family." (Evidence: Graduation certificate of primary school cleary demonstrating her descent, Ditto, graduation certificate of high school cleary demonstrating her descent, Red arrows indicate Samurai descent from Nagasaki Prefecture in Japanese). Actually, in the morning of that day, my younger brother Masao bring her out from Hanaemi, and we meet in Hayama to recreate her, where she plays her antique piano which she inherited from my grandfather (her father) Hajime Fukae, M.D. It was imported from Germany in the year when she was 5-year-old (circa 1930), which is being stamped serial #713, Wilh. Böger, Pianoforte-Fabrik, Berlin - Leipziger Straße 65 (MP3 file of Bach Wohltemperiertes Klavier, Preludio I, played by a 87-year-old female with senile dementia, almost total loss of short- and long-term memory but with preserved individuality, based on cerebrovascular arteriosclerotic cerebral atrophy associated with long-term DM, which is recorded by TASCAM DR-07 on September 21, 4 MB). At about 17:00 August 16, one day after the anniversary commemorating the end (defeat) of the WWII, we visited Yasukuni Shrine and paid respects for the spirits of our war dead, this time with my mother Miyoko, who was very pleased with this visit. In fact, Akio family is regularly visiting Yasukuni twice a year (New year and around August 15) for over 20 years, quite simply because we reside very near the shrine, maybe, and our constitution secure the freedom of religion.

Birkin Seven meets Toyota Sports 800: On September 12 2009, Mr. Hideaki Matsuura (YG) visits my retreat in Hayama, driving his Sports 800 from Tokyo, who is a flagship member of "Sports 800 Club in Japan" and a former correspondent with my late father Tatsuo Hasegawa, an original engineer of this light-weight sports car. Images are as follows; Photo-1 in front of my house; Photo-2 Well-maintained Type 2U air-cooled, two-cylinder, 800cc engine with twin carbureter (45ps, lightly blowing-up engine sound in mp3 format); Photo-3 on the parking lot of Shonan International Village. Mr. Matsuura is a big guy, and actually could not get seated and handle my Birkin Seven, i.e., too tight for him, while he kindly let me drive his S800; Photo-4 My father Tatsuo's autograph proudly remains on the insde of the detouchable top; Photo-5 Instrument panel with slender wheel; Photo-6 Once again a ceremonial photograph in amity. In my impression, S800 runs elegantly like a motor glider, whereas Seven is more muscular and aggressive.

Circling tour around Mount Fuji under clear sky on September 20 2009 - Photo-1 At 5th Station at Tarobo, Photo-2 At the south slope, the foliage season has not yet arrived, Photo-3 Mount Fuji with no snowcap, viewed from the west slope, Photo-4 Mount Fuji viewed from the distal end of Lake Motosu, which is located to the northwest of Mount Fuji. I choose returning route on Tomei Expressway from Gotenba IC to Yokohama IC, and on Yokohama-Yokosuka Road from there to Hayama, inclusively taking about 1.5 hours at legal speed + α (Gotenba - Hayama). On September 21, engine oil is replaced DIY at mileage 49,500 km.

On October 17 2009, I tour to the 5th station of Mount Fuji at Tarobo, when the sky is cloudy and the clouds are hanging over Mount Fuji. On the return road, I notice a small monument which ususally escapes my attention, where I stop the car and investigate. It is the monument for the victims of BOAC Flight 911, which disintegrated and crashed near Mount Fuji on March 5 1966. Actually, this was the third fatal passenger airline accident in Tokyo in that worst month for the Japanese civil aviation history, which I quite remember on impact on the TV News those days. Cenotaph in English and in Japanese is erected by the Japanese volunteer and Gotenba City.

On October 17 2009, I install the mesh grille to my Birkin. I purchased aluminum mesh net for automobile (14x7 mm reticulation) at Yahoo! Auction Japan at 1,575 Yen (item) + 700 Yen (S and H). Firstly, I cut the mesh in accordance with the outer circumference of the detatched front grille, splay chassis-black for antirust, fit together using silver wire at peripheral points and place (without registration number plate yet), and this is finish image. My impression is my Birkin looks a bit chic?

On October 18 2009, the mileage indicator hit 50,000 km

On October 24 2009, I once again reach the new 5th station of Mount Fuji from Mizunotsuka this time (main route). The south slope is showing beautiful but ephemeral autumn color: Photo-1, Photo-2. As I approach from Mizunotsuka, Mount Fuji makes an appearance. After reached the parking lot of the 5th station, I walk aroung the slope for a while, where I come across the monument of Sir Rutherford Alcock, a first British diplomatic representative to Japan, who climbed Mount Fuji using the main route as a first foreigner to do so in 1860: Photo-3, Photo-4.

On October 30 2009, I reach Mount Fuji under first snow cap this year from the new 5th station at Tarobo, on Birkin with new mesh grille. Autumn leaves appear right before deforiation on the south slope on Shizuoka Prefectural Road R.152. As I circle Mt.Fuji clock-wise as usual, it is gradually overcasting on the summit: from west slope, from Lake Motosu.

On October 31 2009, I notice slight gasoline leakage, dripping from right posterior edge of the tank (mine made of steel), which prompts me to hurry on Birkin to Elite Motors, so-called Yankee Station for me (not on Tonkin Gulf), for treatment. On November 7, repair is finished, when Meister Sakamoto explains the suspected cause; when they drained gas from the tank and inspected the inside, it was revealed that two septa to level the gas during turn had been exfoliated from welded points, which might have been concussing the lateral wall of the tank from the inside intermittently and finally caused the minute leakage. To remove them through a hole for the gasoline gauge on the upper wall, the mighty younger tech twisted two stainless panels with manual instrument to run through the hole, just like laparoscopic operation, then followed by welding of the leaking point indicated by filled water in the tank. At the same time, falled-apart buoy of gasoline level gauge was re-installed, which instantly restored the gasoline-level meter on the instrument panel, actually malfunctioning since I acquired this car. By far cheaper than exchanging with new gasoline tank,,,,relieved.

On November 21 2009 under clear sky, I once again encircle Mount Fuji, probably this is the last time in this season because of snowbound traffic limitation for my Seven (Compare the degree of now coverage with the images on October 30). As usual I tour clockwise: Photo-1 View from Otome Path (at 5 degrees Celsius), Photo-2 my Birkin at 5th station at Tarobo, Photo-3 More snow-capped Mount Fuji, Photo-4 Winter apparel suit on the seat, Photo-5 From Asagiri Plateau (west side of Mount Fuji), Photo-6 From scenic point of Lake Motosu, actually northwest end, Photo-7 Back side of 1000 Japanese Yen bill, hey this picture is rendered from this vantage point! this is far-famed, Photo-8 From north side of Lake Motosu, from a bit eastern point to that of Photo-6. After returning to Hayama, I equip the side doors for cold resistance, which retain heated air in the leg room longer.

On the tour to Lake Yamanaka and Mount Fuji of January 9 2010, new Nikon digital single lens reflex camera D3000 makes a debut, coupled with old Tamron 30-70 1:3.5 manual zoom lens and old but expensive Nikon Nikkor*ED 300 mm 1:4.5 (serial# 226570). Under this cold but penetrating clear air (thermometer at Otome indicates 0 degree Celsius), I drive from Otome Pass of Hakone to Lake Yamanaka and Mikuni Pass to view snow-capped Mount Fuji. Images are shot in manual focus/manual exposure mode: From Otome Pass - full view (Tamron 35-70), enlarged view of the south slope, enlarged view of the zigzag climbing route on the north side (both with Nikon 300mm, around F8, 1/250), from Subashiri - full view from Route 138 (Tamron 35-70), from north lakeside of Lake Yamanaka - full view (Tamron 35-70), enlarged view of the opposite shore (Nikon 300mm, what a resolution! unbelievable), enlarged view of the summit 1, enlarged view of the summit 2 (both with Nikon 300mm, around F8, 1/250), ceremonial photo (using tripod and selftimer), ceremonial photo of my Birkin, from Mikuni Pass - my Birkin against a background of Mount Fuji (all images using monopod, if not-otherwise-specified). I love old Nikon Ai-mount, manual lens, and apparently do not need recent autofocus/autoexposure functions, still.

To fix up the sluggish return-response of the accelerator pedal, I inject KURE CRC 5-56 lubricant spray into the accelerator wire (red arrows) on January 10 2010.

I am satisfied with Mount Fuji on January 30 2010 under winter transparent clear sky. The road is dry on total excursion this day, and this time I test my cohort of old Nikon single-focus lenses (35 mm 1:2.8, 50 mm 1:1.4, 85 mm 1:2.0, 300 mm 1:4.5 ,,, not zoom lens!). From Otome Pass: Photo-1 with Nikon Nikkor-S 1:2.8 f=35mm, Photo-2 with Nikon Nikkor 1:2.0 f=85mm, from the eastsouth shore of Lake Yamanaka on Route 413 Photo-3 panoramic view with NIKKOR-S Auto 1:2.8 f=35mm and Canon PhotoStitch software, Photo-4 with NIKKOR-S Auto 1:2.8 f=35mm, from north lakeside Photo-5 with NIKKOR-S Auto 1:2.8 f=35mm, Photo-6 with a contrail of commercial airliner over the summit, Photo-7 ditto enlarged view of the summit with the contrail with Nikon Nikkor 85 mm 1:2.0, Photo-8 ditto with Nikon Nikkor 1:1.4 f=50 mm, Photo-9 commemorative photo using tripod and selftimer, Photo-10 Enlarged view (673 KB) of the summit with Nikon Nikkor*ED 300 mm 1:4.5 and Canon PhotoStitch software, Photo-11 ditto with smaller file size (203KB) with Nikon 300 mm, from Mikuni Pass Photo-12. After returning to Hayama, I drive to Shonan International Village and appreciate Photo-13 Mount Fuji under evening glow over Sagami Bay.

On February 6 2010 I reach Daikanyama ώR of Hakone through Hakone Shindo (Hakone New Expressway V) to view Mount Fuji over Lake Ashi. The warning sign at the entrance of the Shindo is "Be careful of roadsurface freezing!", which means "Snow chain may not be necessary, but if you go ahead it is at your own risk". The landscape is certainly desolate on the uphill Photo-1, Photo-2, but tyre grip is solid. After temporarily lost my bearings and taking a short rest at Motohakone Photo-3, Photo-4, I arrive at Tenkakudai Viewpoint Vt of Daikanyama, Photo-5, Photo-6. The summit of Mount Fuji is to my regret overcast Panaorama view. I wander about the shore of Lake Ashi Photo-7 and park at Kojiri ΐK. I return to Hayama safely thanks to deliberate antifreezing treatment with calcium chloride by the Ministry of Transportion of Japan.

On February 7 2010, I tour on the west shore of Miura Peninsura when Mount Fuji is distinctly observed over Sagami Bay; from Tateishi Parking Lot at Akiya HJ, ditto panorama view, from Mitohama Beach O˕l (old Ai-mount Nikon single-focus lens, manual focus/exposure). This afternoon, after visiting my mother Miyoko in Aobadai, Yokohama, and check her status, I drive my Birkin to my house in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, through Metropolitan Expressway (parked at my residence, AF Nikkor 35-105 1:3.5-4.5, manual focus/auto exposure). Actually, this is the first time that my Birkin intrudes Tokyo Metropolitan Area (My Saab is resting in Hayama for a week by rotation).

On February 26 2010 I received a 1:18 die-cast model of Caterham Super Seven Cycle Fender by Kyosho Co., Kanagawa, Japan, from a on-line shop in Kyushu island - Photo-1, Photo-2, and Photo-3 (Compare with 1:24 plastic model by Tamiya).

On March 20 2010, I tour to Mikuni Pass, now the side screens of my Birkin being detached thanks to early spring climate. Mount Fuji is seen not so clearly because of misty air of the spring. At the south slope on return path in Koyama Town, Shizuoka, I come across quiet and full bloom of Ume (Prunus mume) on the bank in the pastoral scene as if nobody is supposed to know; Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, closeup view of flower Photo-4, Photo-5, Photo-6, Photo-7 (all images shot with old manual focus/manual exposure lense Nikkor-S 35mm 1:2.8 serial # 380104 with D3000). On the next day, I check the Nikon Nikkor*ED 300 mm 1:4.5 (serial# 226570), which came back from Nikon Service Center at Ginza, Tokyo, after maintainance and cleaning (fungus!) finished (first time ever over 20-year interval), by shooting Tobi (Milvus migrans) from Mitohama Beach (manual mode, 1/2000, F8, a part cut from a larger image): Photo-8, Photo-9.

On April 3 2010, I depart Hayama at 8:30AM, actually later than usual, and take a cross-cut route throuth Yokohama-Yokosuka Expressway and Tomei Expressway to Gotenba Interchange to avoid the traffic congestion at the Shonan Bridge of Route 134, then get over Otome Pass to Hakone, which is in reverse direction to my usual route. Passing Motohakone, I downhil to Yugawara at a slow speed to fully appreciate cherry blossom (Sakura in Japanese, Prunus yedoensis); Photo-1, Photo-2, into approximately 50% blossom near the mountain top (closeup view), Photo-3, Photo-4, and at the base near Yugawara turn left heading to the Orange Line; Photo-5, Photo-6, where seen in full blossom. This trip is done business as usual in every year (cf. tour in April 4 2009. I don't notice any climate change yet here). On the next day, in return trip to Tokyo, I stop over the care house at Aobadai, Yokohama, to bring out my mother Miyoko to a short cherry-blosssom-viewing drive, with which she is very gratified and is murmuring "Top of flowers is Sakura, Top of man is Bushi (Japanese warrior)"; Photo-7, Photo-8 , Photo-9 (closeup view). Actually, Miyoko hit 88-year-old on March 4 this year, which we call Beiju-celebration (88 year old birthday). Our whole family (Akio's and Masao's) met for this on March 14 at a French restaurant in Aobadai, Yokohama. Miyoko consumed a full course just as other younger members,,, On April 10, I trace the same course as on April 3; Photo-10, on the Seisho Bypass Expressway I encounter the rainbow; Photo-11; on the downhill course from Hakone to Yugawawa, Photo-12; on the Route 138 from Yugawawa to Odawara.

On April 11, regular maintainance to change engine oil and oil filter at mileage 53,800 km.

During routine annual check at Elite Motors in May, (1) Heat insulating cover is installed over the muffler for the safety of interested pedestrian children, (2) Obstruction by packed rust in the lumen of the bypass plumbing of coolant for air release (red arrows) is unchoked, (3) Rear drum-brake with oil leakage is repaired once again with Japananese parts. After the car is released, I tour to Yabitsu Pass (actually, this is 16th!) in the afternoon of May 15 2010, though Yokohama-Yokosuka Expressway and Tomei Expressway (Hadano Exit) - Photo-1, my Birkin in good spirits; Photo-2, basking in the woods; Photo-3, verdurous background; Photo-4, relaxing babbling stream. C'est La Vie!

I did not miss probably the last chance of viewing snow-capped Mount Fuji in this season from Mikuni Pass on May 22 2010. The landscape is already announcing the biginning of summer; Photo-1, Photo-2.

On July 3 2010, I once again transport my 88-year-old mother from Hayama to the care house for aged in Yokohama on my Birkin, just like the event about one year ago - See "Nanny's Birkin 7. In Hayama, she seriously exercises Prelude No.1 in C major from The Well Tempered Clavier (Das Wohltemperierte Klavier) by J.S. Bach (MP3 file 3.4MB), with her attached Wilh. Böger (Pianoforte-Fabrik, Berlin - Leipziger Straße 65). She is actually diagnosed with Alzheimer for the last several years, and short-term memory is completely lost, however, the ability of calculation on paper (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and barely division) and piano exercises is still maintained. I will continue to follow her clinical course with personal and professional interest (I suspect of her right index finger's weakening of neuromuscular activity, not of imperfect tuning of the piano). These are her portraits before departure on Birkin and on arrival at the nursing home (she drapes rain gear because of occasional minimal rain). She was never afraid of 1.5-hour-driving on this WILD car, rather enjoying on aside of me.

On October 10 2010, seasoned battery PANASONIC 55B24R(s) with thick electrodes, which has been used since I purchased this car in October 2004, is finally replaced with cheap Pitwork-brand smaller one G-series 40B19L at Elite Motors at 3,000 Yen. Actually the night before, Friday, when I arrived at Hayama from Tokyo, the engine of my Birkin did not get started, with only clickety-clack from around the starter motor. Over-night battery charge with home charger did not work (11.7V --> 12V accomplished, though). After I tried cable connection with the battery of my Saab in vain, I started the engine of my Saab which narrowly crank Birkin's engine up! While leaving the engine running, I measure the voltage to be over 14V, which means the alternator is alive. In fact, I carefully drive my BIrkin to my Yankee Station, not to stall the engine at the stoplight midway.

Under fairly clear sky of Autumn on October 23 2010, I tour to Mount Fuji; Photo-1 From Otome Pass of Hakone, Photo-2 From Mikuni Pass to the east of Lake Yamanaka, Photo-3 ditto, Photo-4 Telephoto view of the summit with minimal fresh snow with *ED 300 mm 1:4.5, Photo-5 Lake Yamanaka from Mikuni Pass, Photo-6 Serene silence under autumn decline, Photo-7 ditto.

On November 6 2010 I go around Mount Fuji clockwise - Photo-1 Otome Pass at 9 AM, Photo-2 ditto, closeup, Photo-3 South slope near East Fuji JGSDF Base at Prefectural Route 23, Photo-4 South slope at Route 23, Photo-5 ditto closeup, Photo-6 my Birkin at 5th station at Tarobo, Photo-7 ditto panorama view, Photo-8 At Mizukatuka Part on Route 180, Photo-9 from west slope on Prefectural Route 71, Photo-10 ditto closeup, Photo-11 Passing Aokigahara ocean of trees on Route 71, Photo-12 ditto gazing-up view. When I reach Lake Kawaguchi before noon, Mount Fuji goes completely behind cloud.

On November 13, I try again view of Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi. Starting from Otome path to Photo-1 Mikuni Pass, Photo-2 ditto closeup, Photo-3 encircling Lake Yamanaka, Photo-4 Autumn color on the lakeside of Yamanaka, Photo-5 ditto closeup, then through East-Fujigoko Road (Route 138 Bypass) now under charge-free experiment to OkuKawaguchi Photo-6 Panoramic view of Lake Kawaguchi in the deep northwest side, Photo-7 Resting under autumn color on the north lakeside of Kawaguchi, Photo-8 ditto in low-key, Photo-9 overcast Mount Fuji just before noon, viewed from the north lakeside of Kawaguchi, Photo-10 Crimson foliage of maple leaves on the same place.

On November 21, I try once again view of Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi. Starting from Photo-1 Otome Pass, Photo-2 ditto closeup (300 mm, manual focus/manual exposure), then directly through East-Fujigoko Road (Route 138 Bypass) to OkuKawaguchi - Photo-3 On the north lakeside of Kawaguchi, Photo-4, Photo-5 (for commemoration), Photo-6, Photo-7 (closeup, 300 mm); Crimson foliage of maple leaves on the same place. While shooting, my Birkin is waiting on the roadside.

I change engine oil and oil filter on December 25 2010 at odometer 59,8XX km after 6,000 km since previous labor on April 11 (truant habits?) - Photo-1, Photo-2.

On January 8 2011 under the clear sky, I tour to Lake Yamanaka to view Mount Fuji, eventually this day turns to be the best condition in this season for shooting with penetrating winter air. Viewing begins at 9:00 from Otome Pass as usual; Photo-1, Photo-2 Sub-zero temperature indicated by road-side panel. I reach the north side of Lake Yamanaka with no difficulty on dry road surface, Photo-3, Photo-4 Overview of Mount Fuji across the unfrozen surface of the lake, Photo-5 ditto in panoramic view (Nikor-S 35 mm1:2.8, rendered with Canon Utilities PhotoStitch V.3.1), Photo-6 Telescopic view of the oppositve shore (*ED 300 mm 1:4.5), Photo-7 Telescopic view of the summint (*ED 300 mm 1:4.5), Photo-8 Panoramic view of the summint (*ED 300 mm 1:4.5, PhotoStitch). Even around Mikuni Pass no snowscape is present, Photo-9, Photo-10, when haze begins to prevail in the foot of Mount Fuji, Photo-11 Telescopic view of the summint from Mikuni Pass (*ED 300 mm 1:4.5). On this day, my cold-resistant apparel is consisting of military fatigue jacket, i.e., Photo-12 Garment of German army tank personnel with exterior shell and thick lining (Kohler Gmbh, 8415-12-153-9054), Photo-13 with Avirex G-1 lether jacket on, Photo-14 Labels, perfectly suit for my crazy winter tour on this open two-seater. Cold stress enhances my immunity, it seems. I dare to declare Climate No-Change regarding snow-coverage pattern on Mount Fuji, however I would welcome your unbiased opinion - Cf. 2010/1/9, 2009/02/21, 2008/02/16, 2007/2/11, 2006/2/11.

Odometer has hit 60,000 km on January 23 2011!
(Past history: 20,000 km in January 2006 --> 30,000 km in March 2007 --> 40,000 km in July 2008 --> 50,000 km in October 2009).
Today, I meet a soft-spoken gentleman who is emergently repairing his Lamborghini Diablo on the parking lot of the local fish market at Misaki, who says he has driven his gorgeous car over 100,000 km for the last 15 years, and in fact had been enjoying Seven (Mitsuoka-clone with Eunos engine) before he purchased this Lamborghini. He too occasionally does repair DIY on site with tapes and similar goods to mine, and in one way or another returns to his Yankee Station (service shop). Mind-set of car guy seems same, rich and poor alike (laugh). Opening hood, he kindly demonstrates me its V-12 engine.

On January 29 2011, I notice front-arm components getting rusty (Photo, Photo-2). As easy coutermeasure, after rust removal with metal brush, I splay chassis-black paint with paper masking (Photo-3, Photo-4, Photo-5). Certainly not professional-grade work, but filling my requirements for least protection.

On April 16 2011, one month after 3.11 Tohoku (East Japan) Earthquake and the associated disaster of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Refer to my page entitled "Monitoring of µRoentgen Radiation In Japan"), I tour on Tsubaki Line of Yugawara (Kanagawa prefectural route 75). Cherry blossom has a bit passed a peak, however, its beauty strikes deep into my mind. Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, Photo-4. Notwithstanding human tragedy, Nature gets on, tick-tack, tick-tack,,,,

In May 2011, flowers spring everywhere. My Birkin is embedded in Rhododendron (Tsutsuji in Japanese) on May 8 2011, at Shonan International Village, with a landscape. In the garden of my second house in Hayama, too, flowers are assertive: Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, Photo-4, Photo-5.

On May 14 2011, just before sending the car to Elite Motors for biannual compulsory inspection by the government, I tour to Mikuni Pass to encounter the remaining last cherry blossom, Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3.

After my Birkin passed biannual compulsory inspection at 62,000km odometer on May 17 this week, thanks to Meister Sakamoto of Elite Motors (Actually this is fourth time since I acquired her - First pass at 13,000 km on May 21 2005; second pass at 31,400 km on May 8 2007; third pass at 46,880 km odometer on May 15 2009), I pick up her and tour to Yabitsu Pass in the season of new green leaves (probably this is 17th! May 15 2010 was the last): Photo-1, Photo-2,Photo-3.

Spring has come in full bloom and birds are singing anywhare in Japan, especially Cettia diphone (Japanese Bush Warbler, "Uguisu" in Japanese).
1. Why do birds begin singing in spring? - After long-night/short-daytime in winter is shifting to short-night/long-daytime in spring (shift in diurnal rhythm), melatonin secretion is decreased because its secretion by the pineal organ epiphysis cerebri is suppressed by light exposure, which is perceived directly by the pineal organ in birds and regulated the secretion (pineal gland is photoendocrine transducer in birds), and perceived by the retina and regulate the secretion by sympathetic nerve control over the pineal (pineal gland is neuroendocrine transducer in mammals). Decreased melatonin secretion induces increased activity of their reproductive organs, since melatonin has an inhibitory effect over reproductive organs. Corpus pineale über alles,,,,
2. How birdsongs are contributing to the survival of the fittest, or to the selfish genes? Certainly some characteristics of their song must increase the survival prospect of the selfish gene of each individual bird through successful courting and mating. I am interested in the advantageous acoustic characteristics of the birdsong, the yodel, in fact. These warbling of Cettia diphone are recorded by TASCAM DR-07 hand-held digital audiorecorder on June 5
in the second house at Hayama at 9:00AM (918KB, mp3), in Bishamon bay at 10:00AM (616KB, mp3), and on July 2 ditto at Hayama at 7:00AM (882KB, mp3, best) , edited with Audacity 1.3.13-beta (I usually am using Linux version on ubuntu and occasionally Win version because of unexpected freeze, in fact) , "Hoo-Hokkekyo". As far as I searched, there was no apparent counterpart of courting behaviour in the vicitiny, though he was singing with a full shiver. It is believed in Japan with no substantial evidence, i.e., no scientific paper published on the peer-reviewed English journal, that these songs are intimidation against intruder of their turf, however, they do not appear to stay at fixed point for a long time during singing stunt. In the recent issue of American Scientist, Piper, Mager and Walcott reviewed the social behavior of common loons in North America, including acoustic analysis of male-only territorial call, the yodel, which revealed that dominant frequency is closely correlated not with body size but with body mass. Their results suggest that loons view low-frequency yodels as more threatening, they really do pay attention to frequency, while they speculate the meaning for a small male of "honest signalling" of their body size (Walter Piper, Charles Walcott, Jay Mager. Marking Loons, Making Progress. Am Scientist, 2011:99; 220-227). Similar evidence-based scientific report on Japanese bush warbler is to be welcomed.

After a while I tour to Mikuni Pass on September 10 2011 in the late-summer heat. When I reach there, Mount Fuji is regrettably overcast, Photo-1 (Japanese silver grass is sprouting out already), however, my Birkin is exuberant, Photo-2.

I tour "Ashinoko (Lake Ashi) Skyline" for the first time on September 18 2011 (Charged 600 Yen if you enter on the Mishima side and exit at Kojiri, or 600+350 Yen if you continue to drive down to the foot Gotenba) - Photo-1, at the parking lot; Photo-2 , I dare to ascend to the scenic overlook; Photo-3, Overview of Lake Ashi; Photo-3, after advancing a bit, Mount Fuji over Gotenba City is revealed; Photo-4, ditto.

On October 29 2011 I go around Mount Fuji clockwise (business as usual-style) - Photo-1 Otome Pass at 9 AM, Photo-2 On the south slope of Route 23, Photo-3 ditto, Photo-4 Mizukatuka Park on Route 180, Photo-5 Mount Fuji viewed from that park, Photo-6 from the west slope on Prefectural Route 71, Photo-7 ditto, enlarged view with *ED 300 mm 1:4.5, Photo-8 On the Prefectural Route 71 before a backdrop of Asagiri Highland, Photo-9 From a scenic point on Route 71, viewing Lake Motusu, Photo-10
"Oh ! je voudrais tant que tu te souviennes Des jours heureux ou nous etions amis "
(Les feuilles mortes by Yves Montand)
Or, do you prefer Roger Williams' elegant piano performance? (He died of pancreatic cancer in October 2011 at age 87, actually I have purchased many his reel-to-reel tapes from the United States of America via E-bay for a couple of years). Photo-11 ditto enlarged.

I meet snow-capped Mount Fuji first time this season at Otome Pass of Hakone on November 12 2011, Photo-1, Photo-2 (with *ED 300 mm 1:4.5), then visit 5th station at Tarobo, which reveals to be vain because of being total cloud-shrouded, however, autumn color is obvious there, Photo-3, Photo-4, enlarged.

On November 26 2011 I go around Mount Fuji clockwise, the second time this season - Photo-1 Mount Fuji viewed from in front of JGSDF East Fuji Base, Photo-2 from the south slope on Route 23, Photo-3 Ditto, enlarged view of the sumit (*ED 300 mm 1:4.5), Photo-4 from the west slope on Prefectural Route 71, Photo-5 Ditto, enlarged view of the sumit (*ED 300 mm 1:4.5), Photo-6 From the north shore of Saiko, Photo-7 Autumn color on the lake side of Saiko, Photo-8 Birkin 7 under the autumn leaves on the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi, Photo-9 Autumn color on the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi, Photo-10 Mount Fuji observed through autumn leaves (backlight condition when I reach Lake Kawaguchi, as usual), Photo-11 Supple daylight for late autumn

Fully snow-capped Mount Fuji is observed sharply on Sunday, December 4 2011, from the west shore of Miura Peninsula over Sagami Bay - Photo-1 from Akiya at Hayama on Route 134, Photo-2 from Mitohama Shore, Photo-3 ditto from Mitohama Shore (Nikon's on-the-cheap SLR digital camera D-3000/antique NIKKOR S*C 1:1.4, f=50mm, manual focus/manual exposure).

I approach fully snow-capped Mount Fuji under crystal clear and penetrating winter wheather on December 10 2011. Starting from Photo-1 Otome Pass of Hakone (35 mm), Photo-2 ditto with tele 300 mm, Photo-3 temperature indicator on the roadside, Photo-4 I get on the East Fujigoko Express Way through the entrance gate at Subashiri, Photo-5 At the exit of Lake Yamanaka, I stop my Birkin to the roadside because of sharp image of Mount Fuji, Photo-6 ditto with tele lens (300 mm, photostitched with two images), Photo-7 ditto with telescopic 300 mm, Photo-8 I arrive at the north shore of Lake Yamanaka, when the cloud begins to drift from the east base, Photo-9 Mount Fuji viewed from north side (35 mm lens), Photo-10 ditto (50 mm lens), Photo-11 the summit of Mount Fuji (300 mm lens, photostitched with three images), Photo-12 the panoramic view photostichted from six images, till the present time the summit is half overcast, Photo-13 Commemorative picture (Avirex G-1 leather flight jacket, made in USA, is indispensable for driving on the Seven car in this season) , then I move to Mikuni Pass Photo-14 panoramic image, Photo-15 My Birkin facing Mount Fuji. From the pattern of snow coverage over the summit of Mount Fuji for the last several years, I cannot discern the climate change here in Japan, though I hear some propagandists argue that even Tohoku (East Japan) Earthquate was caused by man-made global warming!

Engine oil and oil filter is replaced DIY as usual (Chevron 10W-40, Motorcraft) on December 23 2011 at odometer 66,072 km.

On December 24 2011 when I reach Otome Pass the summit of Mount Fuji appears over cloud: Photo-1, Photo-2 ditto enlarged. I proceed on the East Fujigoko Expressway to reach the exit of Lake Yamanaka to find that the whole Fuji is about to be overcast.

Spark plugs are replaced at odometer 66,570 km on January 15 2012: Photo-1 (3rd cylinder plug is being pulled out, 4th already new), Photo-2 (From left to right, used 4, 3, 2, 1 cylinder plug, respectively, burn mark looking good).

Lately oil leakage from cylinder head (rocker cover) has recurred from the back end (Actually, I have already replaced this gasket twice, 2007.5.8.). This time I purchased more expensive sandwich-structural-fabric gasket (circa 5,000 Japanese Yen) from the net, which is different from the previously mounted cheap thin cork-fabric one (circa 1,500 Japanese Yen). I drive to Elite Motors at Miura Shore, bringing the new gasket, where Meister Sakamoto detaches the rocker cover, ditto, opened rocker room with shaft and arms (conventional OHV Kent 1.6 littre). The cork gasket was not broken, but, seems to have lost repulsion force due to aging: Peeled-off old cork gasket, ditto, front end, ditto back end (origin of leakage). After high-pressure washing (Meister Sakamoto), the engine head appears clean and dry. Hope the new higher-grade rocker gasket will endure for longer period.

It is noticed with abnormal noise when geting stuck in a jam after exiting from Yokohama-Yokosuka Express Way on April 21 2012 that frontal two suporting struts for mufler cover are being ruptured. Probably L-shaped gooseneck point of the front lower strut was firstly ruptured (fatigue breakdown), followed by the nearest point to the tightening screw of the front upper strut broken (by vibration). I took an emergency measure with wire as usual. Wire is a gold standard for Birkin, to be always carried. It is already arranged that the defect will be treated on annual routine check at Elite Motors scheduled for next month.

On May 12 2012, I received my Birkin at Elite Motors after the voluntary regular 12-months check was finished and my Meister Sakamoto and his staff fabricated those "L"-shaped struts (muffler heat shield support tab) from sheet steel at reasonable prices. I cruise comfortably to verdurous Yabitsu Pass (business-as-usual after inspection is finished in this season every year): Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3.

On May 19 2012, I go around Mount Fuji clockwise (this is its 20th tour) - Photo-1 Snow was still remaining on the overcast summit at 9:00AM, as viewed from Otome Pass, Photo-2 At the fifth station at Tarobou on the south slope, ditto summit overcast, Photo-3 The atmosphere is extremely comfortable with full tender green along the whole journey, leading to humming a song and repeating deep breathing exercises, Photo-4 On the east slope of hilly grassland with field mustard, Photo-5 On the shore of Lake Saiko, I ate lunch at 11:30AM, Photo-6 On the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi, the north side of the summit is observed. What a coziness it is to drive in the ocean of foliage on open two-seater at a slow speed in late May! Actually, I departed Hayama at 7:00AM and returned there at 16:00, with only limited stops in mid-course, and I was still vigorous in spite of age 60. Sentation of freedom was so much for nature boy (By Jackie Mclean).

On September 16 2012, the odometer hit 70,000 km! (Past history: 20,000 km in January 2006 --> 30,000 km in March 2007 --> 40,000 km in July 2008 --> 50,000 km in October 2009 --> 60,000 km in January 2011) near Asagiri highland during going round Mount Fuji that was seen clearly from Otome Pass this morning. On the south slope the woodland is still lush green: Photo-1, Photo-2. It is hot, still in late summer (From this day, pictures taken with Coolpix L23 is mixed).

On October 13 2012, I go to the second around-Mount Fuji tour in this autumn (this is its 22th tour, actually). As usual I go around clockwise starting from Otome Pass of Hakone, and go to the south slope. Mount Fuji is overcast seen from Mizugatuka park (south side of Fuji), where it is at the beginning of the fall foliage. However, on the west slope, it became clear with autumn cloud form, which is changing by the minute, as is in the northwest slope.

Hakone that Prof.Dr. Erwin von Baelz loved (Wikipedia in English, for Japanese) - Vacant lot of his villa: At the beginning of November 10 tour around Mount Fuji, I came across this spot by chance. Actually I brought my Birkin to a roadside halt to shoot autumn leaves of Hakone, where a dirty memorial was noticed. I was really astonished to acknowledge that there is a vacant lot of former Prof. Dr. Erwin von Baelz here who founded the base of my alma mater, Tokyo (Imperial) University School of Medicine, after he was invited by Meiji government under modernization effort of Japan. I will bring scrubbing cloth and brush to clean this next time, I feel very sorry for our benefactor (Map of this site). [Addendum to follow on December 2: Next time I visitied this site on December 1 2012, this memorial had been cleaned considerably by someone. I additionally wiped with scrubbing cloth, using cleaning spray. The view of the gorge looking down from his villa is as this one]

On November 10 2012 (Best day!), I go to around-Mount Fuji tour third in this autumn (this is its 23th tour, actually). As usual I go around clockwise starting from Otome Pass of Hakone, and go to the south slope - just in front of the East Fuji Base of the JGSDF, ditto enlarged view (300mm tele manual lense). It appears ideal weather when ascending the slope, and at a dash reach the fifth station at Tarobo in the south slope, ditto enlarged view (300mm tele manual lense, this is the closest point to the summit in my travel route). Only a few minitues later, moving cloud is appearing from the west side. After driving on the south slope at full autumn folliage to Mizugatuka park, Mount Fuji is overcast completely seen from there (south side of Fuji). Anxiety grows on today's progress. The summit is still partly overcast after downhill to Fujinomiya on the southwest slope. However, going up north from Fujinomiya, voila!, the summit becomes crystal clearly seen. View across Fujinomiya Municipal Hitoana Primary School (west slope), I would say this is the original imagined scenery for us, Japanese. This landscape is really japanesque. I bet there is no bad boy or girl and no insidious bullying in this school. Usual beautiful view from Asagiri highland, this time elegantly snowcapped one, ditto enlarged view (300mm tele manual lense). On the north shore of Lake Motusu, autumn color is perfect. Mount Fuji is perfect seen over Lake Motosu from the scenic point just before Nakanokura Tunnel on the northwest direction from the summit. I have been visiting here more than several times, but the situations were always not suitable for shooting photos till today, the other angle, ditto enlarged view (300mm tele manual lense), ditto contrail by a commercial airliner over the summit. As described on November 21 2009, the back-side graphic of 1000 Japanese Yen bill is rendered from this vantage point! (please compare with the above "the other angle" photo). Autumn color on the north shore of Lake Motosu is really idyllic, and my Birkin too appears to take a deep breath to refresh. I opt to lunch off at the restaurant on the north shore of Lake Motosu, and my choice is local meal of Koshu area called "Houtou" full of vegetables and noodle, with a bit of venison, which is derived from battlefield meal of feudal warlord Shingen Takeda (1521-1573). After taking a quick break, I advance to eastward to Saiko Wild Bird Forest Park - the view of Mount Fuji across the park and ditto enlarged view (300mm tele manual lense) -, and reaching the north shore of Saiko (Lake Sai), ditto ceremonial photograph (car and seasoned solo driver). Final scenic point is Lake Kawaguchi as usual - autumn color and the view across Lake Kawaguchi.
Summary: It took circa 280km, started from my retreat in Hayama, Miura Peninsula, through Hokone, to south slope, then clock-wise circling, reaching Gotenba, then these days I opted Tomei Express Way to Hayama. Gas consumption was 15 km/littre in a long drive, as this time, and usually 12km/littre on rural touring. To evade traffic congestion, I depart Hayama at 7AM every time, and usually return till 13 afternoon. But, this day's sky was so clear and perfect, and landscape is so picture-perfect, I stopped again, again, once again, and shooting, changing lenses, at every scenic points, very very time consuming,,, I returned Hayama at 7PM, 12 hours on the tight seat of Seven. However, I was not tired, rather it was breezy compared with heaviness of our surgical pathology and autopsy practices. Recreation needed for pathologists!


Viewed across Lake Motosu on November 10 2012
"In Autumn 2012"
(Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm ED)

Engine oil and filter is replaced DIY as usual (Chevron 10W-40 and Motorcraft) on January 12 2013 at odometer 71,000 km (after 5,000 km travel distance, since Dec 24 2011) - Photo-1, Photo-1. On the next day, in the dry atmosphere, I repair painted rusty front arms, suspension coil springs and roll bar. Lately rust is breaking out on the front arms and coil springs. Firstly I removed rust as much as possible with metal brush and files, wth surgical mask put on - Photo-3, Photo-4. To decrease holiday with dead inspection angle, I jacked up the front. I painted black and silver with brush (both cheap ones available at Walmart-type supermarket) - Photo-5. Along the way, I painted the rusty roll-bar - Photo-6, Photo-7. Actually, there is no difference between scale model hobby (making plastic models) and maintenance of Seven car. Looking far better than before - Photo-8.

On January 26 2013 under extremely low temperature (for Japan), I toured to Mount Fuji on Birkin to shoot. Photo-1: Viewed at 8:30 from south side (Otome Pass of Hakone), Ft. Fuji was totally overcast, however, as strong north wind had been reported on the weather forecast, I advanced taking a chance of the view from the north side. Photo-2: Temperature indicator at Otome Pass, -5 degrees Celsius, however, the road surface was dry all the way this day through Lake Yamanaka. Photo-3: On the exit of Lake Yamanaka of East Fuji express way. As I forecast, the north slope of Mt.Fuji was only partly overcast, no problem, it seems. Photo-4: Viewed from the north shore of Lake Yamanaka. From my fixed-point observation of Mt. Fuji, there is no such thing as global warming for the past decade ;) I arrived here just a few minutes before the weather condition changed (till this photo: D3000 + manual old Nikkor-S 1:2.8, 35mm). Photo-5: Ditto, combined panoramic view from three images (AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm VR, Software: Canon PhotoStitch). Photo-6: The air was so cold and crystal clear, the opposite shore can be clearly shot with manual old Nikkor *ED 300mm). Photo-7: Weather condition changes very rapidly, already overcast (AF-S 18-55mm). Photo-8: I put on US army jacket (Cold weather, Man's, Alpha, Knoxville, USA). The road is dry, though, it is very cold (Nikon D3000 on tripod, autofocus AF-S 18-55mm + remote shutter release).

[Addendum to January 12 2013] I oversprayed roll-bar with chassis black, after smoothing the surface with #800, #1000 and #2000 sandpaper.

On February 16 2013, I again toured to Mount Fuji on Birkin to shoot (Actually it was extremely good weather condition on February 10, a week ago, however I noticed to have forgotten to bring Nikon D-3000 at Hayama when arrived at Otome Pass in the early morning, in spite of full other equipments. I turned back then in a stupor, feeling like I could cry. Age-related deterioration??) . Photo-1: Viewed at 8:30 from south side (Otome Pass of Hakone), Ft. Fuji was totally overcast, however, as strong west wind had been reported on the weather forecast, I advanced taking a chance of the view from the north side as usua;. Photo-2: Temperature indicator at Otome Pass, -3 degrees Celsius, and the road surface was partly wet. Photo-3: On the exit of Lake Yamanaka of East Fuji express way. As I forecast, the north slope of Mt.Fuji was not bad. Photo-4: I arrived at the north shore of Lake Yamanaka at circa 9:30, where cloud condition is going up as I projected, thanks to very cold west wind (west is right side on the next picture). Photo-5: Viewed from the north shore of Lake Yamanaka. Photo-6: Ditto, combined panoramic view from three images (till this photo: D3000 + manual old Nikkor-S 1:2.8, 35mm), Software: Canon PhotoStitch). Photo-7: The air was so cold and crystal clear, the opposite shore can be clearly shot with manual old Nikkor *ED 300mm). Photo-8: I put on US army jacket (Cold weather, Man's, Alpha, Knoxville, USA) as usual. The road is partly wet but largely dry till this point. Then I dare to approach Mikuni Pass. Photo-9: I reached at Mikuni Pass anyway after a bit of inverse steering and drift driving ;) Of course at low speed, with almost no oncoming car and no street gutter. Never push the envelope too far, I know, never across a point of no return and never hesitate to U-turn. Experienced guess is needed just like educated guess at clinical medical situation. Equation is always changing. Photo-10: Mount Fuji is beautifully observed across Lake Yamanaka. Photo-11: Ditto in panoramic view. Photo-12: I have no financial relationship with Seven company, though, I think this is pretty nice shot for commertial use notwithstanding. Although I paid attention not to bring my birkin deep in the parking lot, after shooting time when I try to retreat from the lot, some hustle is needed to back to the main road (normal tyres and rear-drive, however, low-speed torque-oriented Kent engine with 5-speed manual transmission is very controllable in mission-critical circumstance, of course, thanks to statutory regular maintainance effort by Elite Motors). Always keep even restraint and stay ice-cool. Photo-13: I feel like putting on the ritz hesitantly.


Mount Fuji across Lake Yamanaka observed from half-frozen scenic parking lot of Mikuni Pass on February 16 2013
"In February 2013"
(Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikor-S 1:2.8 35mm)

On February 16 2013 in Saturday early morning, I tour to Lake Yamanaka as usual. Photo-1: The summit of Mount Fuji was totally overcast when viewed from Otome Pass at 9:30. Photo-2: At 10:15 on the exit Lake Yamanaka of the East Fuji 5 Lake Express Way, the summit was clearly seen. I smiled a bit excitedly. Photo-3: The summit with D3000 + manual Nikkor 300mm (manual exposure). Photo-4: But, alas, when reached on the North Shore of Lake Yamanaka, clouds was drifting from east side (left on this image), although the weather forecast reported the cold north west wind! The road surface was dry this day. Photo-5: Ditto. In addition to overcast, the air itself has begun to show signs of coming spring, somewhat hazy with decreasing degree of transparency, though the temperature is still low. My Mount Fuji shooting seems to be over in this season. Photo-6: For recreation, I shoot images of white swan on the surface, with D3000 + AF-S 55-200mm ED DX. Photo-7: ditto. Photo-8: ditto. Photo-9: ditto.

On March 16 2013 in Saturday early morning, I again tour to Lake Yamanaka with no expectation of photographic quality because of coming spring with hazy atmosphere, but want to say goodbye to rigorous Winter Fuji. Photo-1: The summit of Mount Fuji is clearly seen but the base city Gotenba is overcast when viewed from Otome Pass at 9:30. Photo-2: About 30 mitutes later at the entrance of the East Fuji 5 Lake Express Way, the summit is very clearly seen with no overcast. Photo-3: On the exit Lake Yamanaka of the East Fuji 5 Lake Express Way, the summit remains clearly seen. Photo-4: The summit with D3000 + manual Nikkor 300mm (manual exposure). Photo-5: When reaching on the North Shore of Lake Yamanaka, no clouds are seen around Mount Fuji. I am till then pretty relaxed, since it seems most probably cloud-free this day in this region. In this morning I left Hayama with no side doors of my Birkin, which are quite effective to preserve warmed air by the heater within cockpit in the very cold winter season. Photo-6: Panoramic view from the North shore of Lake Yamanaka. Photo-7: The image of the opposite shore is somewhat devoid of sharpness due to spring haze. Photo-8: Portrait with no side doors (screens). Photo-9: On the uphill to the Mikuni Pass. I like this angle of view. Photo-10: ditto, enjoying with pipe smoke and relaxing. I love this very personal time, when I forget the cares of the world (battle field of the hospital environment). Photo-11: Panoramic view from the Mikuni Pass of Lake Yamanaka.


Feeling coming early spring on the Mikuni Pass with Mount Fuji under clear sky (no cloud)
March 16 2013
"In March 2013" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikor-S 1:2.8 35mm)


On April 13 2013 I tour from Lake Yamanaka through Route 413 (so-called Doushi-No-Michi) to fully enjoy myself outblooming spring flowers in the lesser known plateau villages at low cruising speed. Mount Fuji is completely overcast and cannot be viewed this morning. In the Doshi village, the late cherry blossom is still hanging elegantly over the roadside, ditto enlarged view. During shooting photos, very beautiful Caterham stops by behind me, and for a while we have a nice chat. At Karasawa on sidetracked Route 76, I meet again beautifully hanging cherry blossom (or peach?), ditto enlarged view, landscape of this farmland, the other blossom on the road side. Bearing away from Route 413 to approach Miyagase Dam, I come across elegant farm house, where I chitchat with an elder male tending the grass establishment, ditto enlarged view.

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains
Shenandoah River -
Life is old there
Older than the trees
Younger than the mountains
Growin' like a breeze

Country Roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

(John Denver, Country Roads)



The late cherry blossom still hanging over the roadside (April 13 2013)
"In April 2013" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikor-S 1:2.8 35mm)


On April 27 2013 I go on around-Mount Fuji tour first in this year 2013 (this is the 24th tour of the same course). As usual I go around clockwise starting from Otome Pass of Hakone, and reach the fifth station at Tarobo in the south slope, Viewing from the west slope, the snow at the summit appears melting gradually. On the lake side of Saiko, I take a humble lunch. Mount Fuji is clearly shot from the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi, with no remarkable disadvantage of backlighting.


On the shore of Lake Saiko (April 27 2013)
"In April 2013" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikon D3000 with AF-S 18-55mm VR)


After my Birkin passed compulsory automobile inspection (24 months interval in Japan) in early May, I tour Yabitsu Pass on June 1 2013 - Photo-1, Photo-2. At the final stage, Mount Fuji is viewed from Nanohanadai sight seeing place.

On September 21 2013, Autumn color is creeping around Mount Fuji - Photo-1 At Otome Pass, Photo-2 At Mikuni Pass, Photo-3 Ditto with Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis).

On October 13 2013, I got up early morning at 6:00 and departed Hayama at 6:50. Since this is the mid-day of three consecutive holidays, traffic-jam will be hell. Photo-1 At Otome Pass at 8:50, under clear sky, Mount Fuji is looking good. Photo-2 In front of East Fuji Exercise Area (left: US Marine, right: Japanese Ground Self Defense Force), Photo-3 At the 5th station, Tarobo (south side of Fuji), with old Nikon manual 35mm lense with manual exposure, Photo-4 The summit with manual Nikon 300mm tele lense, Photo-5 Sidehill with rusty surface, Photo-6 The summit with manual Nikon 80mm lense, Photo-7 From the west foot, the summit is totally overcast, a bit negative projection of this day's shooting setting, Photo-8 I like this primary school, named Hitoana. Every time, I stop here, Photo-9 Autumn color, quite tailored for shooter (from the west north-west side), Photo-10 Ditto in panorama, assembled from three images using Canon PhotoStitch v3.10, Photo-11 Quite serene landscape.


Mount Fuji in autum color (October 13 2013)
"Autumn color In October 2013" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikor-S 1:2.8 35mm)


On November 9 2013, I tour around Mount Fuji second time in this season, this time she is snow-capped. At Hakone, I clean the momorial of a vacant lot of former Prof. Dr. Erwin von Baelz at the road side of Kiga Onsen (R.138), once again since last November (2012.11.10.) - Photo-1 Memorial, Photo-2 View from the memorial across R.138 to the opposite side of the gorge, Photo-3 Autumn color of the oposite side of the gorge. I believe that Prof. Baelz loved this same crimson foliage.

At Mikuni Pass, the summit is scarcely observed and the foot of the mountain is completely overcast, Photo-4. At this point, I do not expect good images today, however, when I reach Mizugatsuka Park at the south foot of Mount Fuji, the sky abruptly clears, Photo-5, Photo-6, Photo-7 The summit in panorama (Nikon *ED 300 mm 1:4.5, serial# 226570, manual focus/manual exposure, panorama making by Canon PhotoStitch software). From the west foot, the summit is still seen under cloudy sky, Photo-8, Photo-9 Municipal primary school Hitoana of Fujinomiya city (I love this landscape), Photo-10 Across pasture, Photo-11. From Aoki ocean of foliage to the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi, the landscape is filled with autumn colour of leaves - Photo-12 Aoki, Photo-13 North shore of Lake Kawaguchi, Photo-14 North shore of Lake Kawaguchi, Photo-15 North shore of Lake Kawaguchi, Photo-16 Deep red color of the maple leaf, Photo-17 ditto.


Snow-capped Mount Fuji (November 9 2013)
"Snow-capped Mount Fuji on November 9 2013" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikor-S 1:2.8 35mm)


On November 16 2013, in early morning, I toured to Lake Yamanaka to observe almost fully snow-capped Mount Fuji from the other angle from the previous tour (Nov 9, a week earlier). White cottony summit is viewed from Otome Pass at Hakone (from southeast side) at circa 9AM. West foot is overcast and north east side is clear, it seems - Photo-1. I reach Sangoku Pass, with overview of Mount Fuji and Lake Yamanaka (from east-northeast side) - Photo-2 Panorama, Photo-3, Photo-4 Panorama of the summit (Manual old Nikon 300mm tele lense, composite image rendered with Cannon PhotoStitch software), Photo-5 Self-portrait already in winter military jacket (US Army). I move to the north shore of Lake Yamanaka (viewed from east-northeast side) - Photo-6, Photo-7 Nikon manual 35mm wide lense, Photo-8 test shot of the opposite shore with 300mm lense ,,, Somewhat hazy. Much more low temperature is needed to shoot sharp images. It is still warm,,, Photo-9 Self-portrait 2.0 relax time, forgetting duty in the hospital.


Almost fully snow-capped Mount Fuji (November 16 2013)
"Almost fully snow snow-capped Mount Fuji on November 16 2013" (Crick to enlarge, Nikon D3000 with Nikor-S 1:2.8 35mm)


On December 22 2013, DIY replacement of oil filter and engine oil at odometer 77,763 km. I order regular check and compulsory automobile inspection by the Japanese government to my friend mechanics's maintenance factory (Elite Motors at Miura Shore, a small independent business by Mr. Sakamoto, who is, strangely enough, graduate of Nuclear Energy Engineering division of Tokai Univ 1976), though, I do replacement of these parts myself - Photo-1, I hastily wash away the small amount of oil run off from the floor paper sheet with cleanser - Photo-2. Not only muscular work, but also brain work is needed in order not to mess up the floor of garage,,,, hustle needed. How long can I do this with age-related deterioration in the future? BTW, I must pay attention to the instant that the odometer hit 77,777 km for ceremonial photograph.

On "New Year" January 2 2014, the odometer hits 77,777 km! - one more enlarged view.

On January 11 2014, in early morning, I toured to Lake Yamanaka to observe "New Year" Mount Fuji. Snow is remaining at Hakone before reaching Otome Pass - Photo-1 at Sengokubara, Photo-2 ditto at Sengokubara. Mount Fuji is clearly observed from Otome Pass - Photo-3, Photo-4, where temperature indicator at roadside indicated -4 degrees Celsius, which is like spring breeze compared with "Big Chill" from Arctic vortex sweeping the north American soil this new year! - Photo-5. I enter Fujigoko (Fuji five lakes) Express Way -Photo-6 under clear sky, and on the exit Mount Fuji is still not overcast - Photo-7. When reached the north shore of Lake Yamanaka, Mount Fuji is reflected on the frozen surface, which is commonly known as Diamond Fuji - Photo-8 (Nikon Coolpix L23), Photo-9 (Nikon D3000 with 35mm manual single focus lense), Opposite shore is today crystal clearly shot with Old Nikon 300mm manual lense -Photo-10. Now is the time for ceremonial photograph - Photo-11, Photo-12. Panoramic view is rendered with Canon PhotoStitch software as usual - Photo-13, Photo-14, Photo-15 (Nikon D 3000), Photo-16 (Nikon Coolpix L23). After smoking a pipe for a while, I go to Mikuni Pass, with extremely cautious driving to avoid skidding on the focally frozen surface (with normal tyres!) - Photo-17 half-frozen surface of the parking lot, I stop at the entrance, Photo-18 Mount Fuji from Mikuni Pass, Photo-19 Return-leg from Mikuni Pass - I recommend you not to copy my example. Only mad dog and crazy pathologist go out on such condition. On the return road, I say good by to Mount Fuji - Photo-20.


Diamond Fuji with her reflexion on the frozen surface (January 11 2014)
"Diamond Fuji with her reflexion on the frozen surface on January 11 2014 (Crick to enlarge, Nikon Coolpix L23)


On March 8 2014, I visit Mount Fuji again. In this winter, heavy snow paralyzed Kanto-Koshinetsu area of Japan twice, and I would like to check its wake. At 9:00AM, viewed from Otome Pass of Hakone, Mount Fuji is a bit overcast in the southern slope, but, weather forecast predicted strong north wind. Probably north side is no clouds, I guess. Minus 2 degree Celsius is indicated on the roadside at Otome Pass, maybe it's comfortable compared with big chill under Arctic Vortex in the United States! I think cold stress enhances immunity. Since I driving this wild car, I have never caught cold. I reach the north shore of Lake Yamanaka at 10:00 - Photo-1, Photo-2. Turbulant air is evident on the summit (300 mm manual lense) -Photo-3. Opposite shore is shot with Nikon 300mm old manual lense. Since air is crystal clear, the characters are recognized (Gusto in alphabet - fast food chain) -Photo-4 (Nikon manual 300mm, D-3000). I relocate to Mikuni Pass - Photo-5, Photo-6. Edge of Lake Yamanaka is completely frozen - Photo-7. Self-portrait is shot with remote-control shutter in the right hand (seasoned Nikon D-3000) - Photo-8. I wear US Army's military fatigue - Photo-9, and LL Bean's thick denim pants, which I put on in this season when driving Birkin Seven. I really like to taste pipe tabacco in rock-ribbed nature environment. The summit is not particular - Photo-10 (panorama).


Snowscape (March 8 2014)
"Mount Fuji viewed fron snowscape Mikuni Pass on March 8 2014 (Crick to enlarge, Nikon Coolpix L23)


On March 22 2014, I visit Mount Fuji (again, again,) once again. At 9:00 from Otome Pass, Hakone, (Coolpix L23). The condition is extremely good, it appears. The temperature is 4 degree Celsius. At 10:15 from Mikuni Pass (Coolpix L23). Snow has gone, but in spite of coming hazy spring, the air is crystal clear, still. Probably the last in this season. Pipe tabaco time. My Birkin (1993) is still healthy. Then I descend to the east coast of Lake Yamanaka Still 50% blossom on Tsubaki and panorama view photostitched from 3 images (Nikon D3000, old manual 35mm lense).


No more snowscape in Mikuni Pass (March 22 2014)
"Snowscape has gone! (Crick to enlarge, Nikon Coolpix L23)


On March 29 2014, I tour downhill reconnaissance mission for blossom maturity of Sakura (Japanese cherry) from the top of Hakone (Taikanzan) to Yugawara Town through Tsubaki line (Prefectural Road 75). The air is still a bit chilly, and no blossom is observed along the Tsuabaki line. One the next Orange line just proximal to Yugawara, circa 50% blossom is seen - Photo-1, Photo-2. After advancing more down the hill, awesome Sakura appears, overhanging and almost in full bloom Photo-3, Photo-4, Photo-5.


Overhanging Sakura (March 29 2014)
"Overhanging Sakura (Crick to enlarge, Nikon Coolpix L23)


On April 5 2014, I again tour downhill from Hakone (Taikanzan) to Yugawara to observe Japanese Cherry, this week in full bloom. Shot with seasoned Nikon D3000 with manual old Nikor-S 35 mm lense and tele autofocus 80-200mm, if not otherwise specified. I first meet this full bloom at this welcome display panel, indicating "3.5 km from here (1st line), Welcome (hiragana, 2nd) to Yugawara spa (Kanji character, 3rd line)" - Photo-1, Photo-2 (Coolpix L23). Downhill drive continues - Photo-3, Photo-4 (Sakura), Photo-5 (Sakura in enlarged view), Photo-6, Photo-7, Photo-8 (Sakura in enlarged view). After the end of Tsubaki line, I enter Orange line where cherry is in full blossom -Photo-9 (Coolpix L23), please compare with the image of the previous week. On the other hand, this Sakura a few miles forward was one week ago in full bloom, now gone - Photo-10 (Nikon Coolpix L23). Wabi, Sabi,,,, transience of life. After reaching the seashore, I return on Route 135 - Photo-11, viewing Sagami Bay of the Pacific Ocean at Nebukawa. Yugawara and Nebukawa is actually Orange county ;) - Photo-12. Even on the hill along the shore, Sakura is in full bloom - Photo-13 (Odawara City is seen over the sea in the left corner). At Nebukawa, I meet one more overhanding Sakura - Photo-14. This type of landscape is seen all over Japan in this short period, very short indeed - Photo-15.


Under Sakura in full bloom (April 5 2014)
"Under Sakura in full bloom (Crick to enlarge)


On April 19 2014, I tour Route 413 (so-called Doushi-No-Michi) to observe the last Sakura (Japanese cherry) in this season, a bit still chilly with cloudy sky, though - Photo-1, Photo-2 This bridge is indicated "Privately-owned", Photo-3 ditto, in different angle, ("PRIVATE PROPERTY. NO TRESPASSING"), Photo-4 I visit this Sakura every year (2013, April 13, fair weather), Photo-5, Photo-6 near this place, Photo-7 Near the end of Doushi-tour (the same Sakura in the last year April 13).


April 19 2014
"Sakura on the road side (Crick to enlarge)


On May 10 2014, I received My Birkin after routine 12-month check is finished- Photo-1, Photo-2. This hard-boiled professional repair plant Elite Motors is located on the Miura Kaigan (shore) of the southeast edge of Miura Peninsula, that is facing Bousou Peninsula across Tokyo Bay. The CEO/chief mechanics/purchasing agent, in short Swiss-army-knife type boss, aka Meister Sakamoto, is highly intelligent and honest person who is actually a bachelor of atomic energy engineering! (Tokai University, 1967). Then, I tour in verdurous country road at Yabitsu, Photo-3, Photo-4, Photo-5, and eat lunch and take a nap on the roadside, Photo-6. This road is Kanagawa Prefectural road 70 - Photo 7. On the return road, the odometer hits 80,000km! (Past history: 20,000 km in January 2006 --> 30,000 km in March 2007 --> 40,000 km in July 2008 --> 50,000 km in October 2009 --> 60,000 km in January 2011 --> 70,000 km in September 2012), though instrument panel shows pretty battle-fatigue,,,


May 10 2014
"Odometer hits 80,000 km (Crick to enlarge)


On June 14 2014, I toured to Mikuni Pass which is already in early summer, where I was relaxed, although Mt. Fuji was overcast - Photo-1, without so-called Bikini top, it is too hot already. This time I brought director chair in the passenger's seat Photo-2, Photo-3 (Lake Yamanaka).

On September 21 2014, I toured to Mikuni Pass in autumn color, however, Mount Fuji was overcast when I reached there. At 9 viewed from Otome Pass, Hakone. Still only partly overcast - Photo-1. When I reached the north shore of Lake Yamanaka - Photo-2. Then I went to Mikuni Pass, overviewing Lake Yamanaka and Mt. Fuji where autumn color already prevails -Photo-3, Photo-4. Now, piping time - My favorite is Dunhill Royal Yacht - Photo-5.

On September 23 2014, in-vehicle ETC unit was replaced to - Mitsubishi MOBE-550 because of malfunction occasionally happening lately.

On September 27 2014, I toured around Mount Fuji in still early autumn color, which is not yet snow-capped. At 9 o'clock from south side, Otome Pass of Hakone as usual. Sky is clear, go! - Photo-1. In front of Higashi Fuji Base (Japanese Ground Self Defense Force) - Photo-2. Approaching from the south slope, leaves are partly becoming yellow - Photo-3. At the park in the south slope - Photo-4, ditto - Photo-5, ditto, close-up view with manual 80-mm Nikon lense with D-3000 (Otherwise photos are shot with easy-going Nikon compact camera Coolpix S02), - Photo-6, chestnut-colored mountain surface is similar to that of Haleakala. Reflecting iron content? From the south west slope - Photo-7. From the west slope, serene cattle breeding ranch - Photo-8. Lake Motosu, Nippon Alps in the background is not yet snow-capped, too - Photo-9. Aoki ocean of foliage in the north west slope is not yet turning red and yellow - Photo-10, only very partly color is turned - Photo-11.

On October 18 2014, I toured around Mount Fuji, second time in this season (the 29th around Mt. Fuji tour in sum) in starting autumn color. At 9 o'clock from south side, Mt. Fuji was seen totally overcast viewed from Otome Pass of Hakone. On the south slope of Mt. Fuji, autumn color is only occasionally seen - Photo-1, ditto on the Mizugatsuka Park - Photo-2. This day, Mt. Fuji was overcast almost completely, however, on the west slope, I got a glimpse of snow cap, first in this season - Photo-3, ditto, Snow-capped summit, with Nikon's old manual tele-lense (300 mm) + seasoned D3000 - Photo-4. In Aoki ocean of foliage on the northwest slope, crimson foliage is scattered, but still not in full - Photo-5, Photo-6, Photo-7.




October 18 2014
Starting crimson color in Aoki foliage ocean (Crick to enlarge)



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2004-2014 Akio Hasegawa, MD
version 1.22 2014/10/19