HDE Advent Calendar 2016

“one day - one person - one blog post”, from December 1st - 25th

HDE Advent Calendar Day 11: Travelling Slow

Hi, I'm Jonas Obrist, from Switzerland and currently working as a Software Engineer at HDE. I had quite some trouble to decide the topic for this blog post, going back and forth between technical and non-technical issues, but finally I erred on the non-technical side and will talk about one of my favorite things to do: traveling. More specifically, traveling in Japan when you're no longer a tourist and therefore no longer have access to the fantastic Japan Rail Pass.

I initially wanted to write this post as an entry in my personal blog (which only has two posts so I won't even link it) two years ago, but that never happened, so I will use this opportunity to finally do it. In spring of 2014, I was studying at a Japanese Language School in Tokyo and as spring vacation was coming up, my Wanderlust kicked in. However being a student meant two things: as a student visa holder I could not get a Japan Rail Pass and I had more free time than spare money. This ruled out hopping on a Shinkansen and just dashing up and down the country as I had done in my previous travels in Japan. Luckily, one of my teachers brought the Seishun 18 ticket to my attention. Basically how it works is this: For a very reasonable price (currently 11'850 yen, or roughly the price of a one-way Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Nagoya) you get five one-day tickets for the whole Japan Railways network. The tickets don't have to be used on consecutive days and they don't even have to be used by the same person, however they're only available during specific time periods.

Obviously there's a catch with this ticket, namely that you can only use local trains. No Shinkansen, no Limited Express, no Express trains.


Ignoring this limitation, I set myself an ambitious goal: Kanazawa. Located about 300 kilometers west of Tokyo near the Sea of Japan, it only takes two and a half hours to reach these days thanks to the newly opened Hokuriku Shinkansen. However, back in 2014 there was no such service and due to the limitations of my ticket, I couldn't have used it anyway. So instead, I split the journey over 4 days, taking 18 trains across 12 prefectures to visit 3 cities.

While this will be a post about my travels, I am afraid there will only be a few images, as I am unfortunately notoriously bad at taking enough pictures.

Day 1

This epic journey starts in Tokyo Station at noon with the goal of reaching Nagoya by night. Heading south on a local train bound for Atami I finally learned to appreciate the ridiculous scale of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. I've of course seen its size on maps, from atop skyscrapers and airplane windows, and crossed it on board high speed trains multiple times, but it is really hard to truly grasp how big it really is. A two hour, slow train ride is a great way to both get a sense of distance and be thankful for the many engineers that make it possible to do the same thing in just over half an hour on board a Shinkansen.

I had to change trains again in Shizuoka, Hamamatsu and Toyohashi before finally reaching my goal for the day, Nagoya Station, shortly before 7pm.

Before I continue, a quick interlude about how I usually travel. I prefer to travel with as little planning as possible, setting a rough route and schedule and then play it by ear. That means that I usually do not book hotels in advance, as I might end up in a completely different city than I initially planned. This works really well, since I have few demands on a hotel beyond cleanliness and allows me to spend more time in places I like and head on if a destination ends up being less exciting than I thought or the weather is bad. The exception to this is when I travel during peak season, such as national holidays. This trip being during language school holidays, which are independent of the holidays of ordinary Japanese, I made no reservations for anything.

As it turns out my spontaneity would betray me in this instance, as I was now standing in front of Nagoya station desperately trying to find a hotel with free rooms. For reasons I never quite figured out, Nagoya was particularly popular that night. I even considered hopping on yet another train and head further south to maybe find a place to stay in another town, however the long day had tired me so I settled for a fancy and expensive (one night here cost as all the other nights on this trip combined) western style hotel near Nagoya Castle. Since I took the cheapest room they had, of course I did not get to see the castle and the nasty rain that was pouring down drowned any desire I had to head over there to have a look.

Though it really is nobodies fault but mine, this whole experience tarnished my image of Nagoya so badly that I did not return until earlier this year when I did another epic journey across Japan, that time without any of these problems and if anyone from Nagoya is reading this, don't worry, I love the place now!

Day 2

Due to the less than warm welcome I felt like I got the night prior, I decided to simply venture forth on the second day instead of exploring the automotive heart of Japan.

So after a late breakfast/early lunch, I headed back to the station, this time with the goal of reaching Kanazawa. The trip was rather uneventful for the first three legs, changing trains at Ogaki, Maibara before reaching Omi-Shiotsu at the northern tip of Lake Biwa. Here, what should have been a quick change of trains turned into over an hour of waiting and wondering if or when my train would show up. There should have been a train every 30 minutes going the right direction, but for reasons unknown to me, none of the trains rushing through had pity on us standing there on the platform braving the strong winds that blew from the lake that day. Bored, I decided to have a look around, but as it turns out, the station, while lovely, really has nothing to offer in its vicinity but a vending machine. I got so bored, I even took a picture of the station:


Alas, eventually a train showed up and actually stopped, allowing us weary travelers to continue westwards to Tsuruga. Now finally on the west coast of Japan, while slowly passing the picturesque landscape, I started to worry if I can actually make it all the way to my goal of the day. Any more delays and I would need to stop early or arrive late at night. I decided to press on, and see how far I could make it.

Luckily, after another change of trains in Fukui, no more terrible things happened, and while I got increasingly hungry and tired as we were creeping north at what felt like a snails pace, I finally did reach the actual destination of this whole trip: Kanazawa. Being as far off the beaten track as it could be back then, unlike the previous night, I had no trouble finding an affordable Japanese hotel (with an Onsen!) and the weather was much nicer. Overall a very nice first impression and a welcome calm after the long and troublesome day. Two days into my vacation, I was finally feeling like I'm actually on vacation, especially after dinner at a small restaurant, soaking in the hotels onsen and drinking a cold beer.

Day 3

While Kanazawa is known as the Seattle of Japan, referring to the high number of rainy days, I woke up to a beautiful blue sky. After a quick bite near Omicho Market, I headed to the famous Nagamachi Samurai District, a small area smack in the center of Kanazawa with small streets lined by old houses, which make you feel like you stepped out of a time machine so long as you can ignore all the other tourists with their smartphones and cameras.


Next on the list was Kenroku-en, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Located next to the ruins of Kanazawa Castle, the garden more than lived up to its hype, and my pictures do not do it justice.

f:id:ojiidotch:20161209192330j:plain f:id:ojiidotch:20161209192336j:plain

Having spent all day walking around town, as day turned to dusk, I felt like I deserved a cold beer and headed towards what the internet told me was the nightlife area of Kanazawa to find a bar. To my disappointment, the "Scramble" in Katamachi had an endless choice of Hostess Bars and similar establishments, reminding me of Tokyo's Kabukicho, but a sever lack of watering holes for the thirsty traveller. I eventually did find a lovely place, though a bit on the posh side for my preferences, and I couldn't have picked a better spot, as I sat down at the counter next to an elderly man who for the rest of the night made it his mission to show me an incredible night. First treating me to some Yakitori for dinner, he continued to show me around, refusing to end the whirlwind tour of late-night Kanazawa until late into the night.

Day 4

Kanazawa being a fairly small town, I decided that one day is enough so in the late afternoon I continued onwards via Naoetsu to Nagano. The by far easiest trip on this journey, with only one connecting train, was nicely complemented by the fantastic views in this part of Japan. The rural coast of the Sea of Japan followed by the slow climb up towards the host city of the '98 winter olympics almost made me wish that the train would run even slower.

The day having been so relaxing and calm, I put off sightseeing until the next day and simply wandered around Nagano until I got too tired.

Day 5

The day starts off with light rain, making me worried I'd have another Nagoya style disappointment. Luckily the weather the weather eventually sided with Nagano and spared me another let down. On my way to Zenko-ji, built in the 7th century and the reason the city of Nagano exists at all, two Australians seemed to confuse me for a local, asking me for directions to their hotel. To my surprise, I actually knew the directions, as I had passed that hotel the afternoon no the day prior during my aimless stroll around town. Invigorated by my good deed I continued towards the temple along the lovely little boulevard that leads to it. If you didn't have a chance to visit Nagano yet, I do recommend you do, even if it's for Zenko-ji only, as the temple is beautiful and very impressive, with its massive main hall and imposing gate. My picture, as usual, does not do it justice.


Day 6

Keeping up the fast pace, after just one day in Nagano, I once again headed to the train station to push on. The first section of the day towards Matsumoto turned out to be even better than the trip from Kanazawa up to Nagano. I go to Ueda twice a year for a weekend retreat with some other members of the Python community, but since we obviously take the Shinkansen each time, I always bypassed this beautiful part of Japan, once again showing that sticking to the bullet trains makes you miss out.

While famous for it's Basashi, I couldn't find a good restaurant to try this local delicacy for lunch and had to settle for the equally famed Soba. I will make sure to not miss out next time.

Heading further south after lunch, Japans most famous landmark started appearing in the distance giving me the (wrong) impression of getting close to Tokyo.


Arriving at Kofu at around 4pm, I foolishly believed home to be but a short trip away, so I abandoned the idea to take a rest here and instead decided to finish the trip. Reaching Takao two hours later I started to regret that decision and was once again reminded of the sheer size of Tokyo. But so close to my goal, now was not the time to give up and I endured the two more hours it took to finally make it back to my home station, with a whole extra day on my Seishun 18 ticket left to be used for a day trip in the future.


The Seishun 18 ticket is an excellent option to travel Japan, provided you don't mind the long travel times, slow trains, numerous changes and most importantly, are flexible. I don't think it is for everyone and definitely if you're a tourist, you should get the Japan Rail Pass, which still allows you to take these scenic routes, but allow you to do so on trains ranging from slightly faster to a lot faster. If you aren't and have enough time though, give it a try! You can of course make a more reasonable schedule and go more manageable distances.

HDE Advent Calendar Day 10: Angklung at a Glance

Hi there, dear reader! Bumi here, a member of the Cloud Product Development Division in this lovely home we call HDE. Today I’m going to introduce you to something that has become my passion for the past 9-ish years of my life. It is a traditional musical instrument from my hometown that has been through many years of history, which a lot of people still enjoy today. Its name is Angklung.

What is Angklung?

Single note angklung ('G'), 2015-05-21
A single angklung

Angklung is a musical instrument originating from Indonesia, specifically the Sundanese region (mainly West Java). It is made from two bamboo tubes carved to a specific length, attached to a bamboo frame. The instrument produces sound when its tubes hit the frame, either by shaking the frame (kurulung), or striking the side of the frame abruptly (centok). The pitch of the sound produced depends on the length of the angklung tube.

Angklung: A History

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Jonge angklungspelers West-Java TMnr 10017867
Children playing angklung, early 20th century

There are many stories about the origin of this instrument, but it is generally known that the angklung originated from traditional Sundanese rituals performed at rice harvest period, to attract the favor of the goddess of rice and fertility, Dewi Sri. At that time, angklung was used mainly as a percussion or melodic percussion instrument, and was not tuned to any musical scale, although in some cases tuned to the pentatonic scale. During the era of the Kingdom of Sunda, angklung was used as an instrument to raise the morale of troops in battle, much analogous to war drums. This effect lasted up to the colonial era, causing the Dutch to ban the playing of the angklung. This lead to a decrease in popularity of the instrument for some time.

Eventually, a teacher named Daeng Soetigna saw the potential in angklung, and decided to adopt the instrument for music education in his classes. Ultimately he made a version of the angklung that is tuned to the diatonic scale, and this forms the angklung that we see and hear today. Because of this, Daeng Soetigna is widely regarded as the father of modern angklung. The diatonic version of angklung is named Angklung Padaeng, in his honor.

The invention of the diatonic (or to be technically correct, chromatic) angklung is very important, because it enabled angklung to become as popular as it is now. Playing the chromatic tones means angklung can play any song written in the western musical scale, from folksongs to modern pop songs, classical music to new age music, western musical songs to asian J-Pop/K-Pop songs. This versatility brought angklung to evolve in various ways.

Angklung Today

High school angklung team performing in Singapore, Esplanade Concert Hall, 2011

Nowadays, angklung is presented in various forms and in many kinds of events. The form that I have played in for so long, is the orchestra form. This is the first form of playing angklung introduced by Daeng Soetigna, and is also the most popular.

In this form of angklung, one person holds several angklung, and together form a team, or orchestra, of angklung, led by a conductor. Beside the angklung there can also be additional accompanying instruments such as double basses/contrabasses, drum sets, vocalists, and all kinds of western or traditional instruments. The resulting music can be quite diverse, and the musical arrangements can be explored to a wide extent.

Me conducting in an angklung concert, 2012

The 5 Values of Angklung

As a teacher in music education, Daeng Soetigna taught us about five core values in playing the angklung, which are known as the 5M:

  1. Mudah (Easy)
    Angklung is very easy to learn. In fact, one of the most popular angklung activities is interactive angklung, where the audience (sometimes some never heard of, let alone play, angklung before) are invited to play a song on the spot. It is always proven that the audience can pick up the basics of angklung instantly, and they are usually left very happy and amazed to be able to produce a song right then and there.
    As a kind of example, here are some students from Kanazawa University practicing and performing angklung within a couple of days.

  2. Murah (Inexpensive)
    Angklung is easy to obtain and does not incur a significant price at all. This is because the materials used to make angklung, the white bamboo and the black bamboo, occur abundantly in the Java island, which is the homeland of angklung.

  3. Menarik/Menyenangkan (Interesting/Fun)
    Angklung is a very interesting and fun instrument to play, because of the many different experiences involved in playing it. Besides the fun interaction between teammates, there is also the fun in playing songs you like (newly released pop songs are usually available as an angklung arrangement very quickly), trying out accompanying instruments for the angklung, making your own angklung musical score, and many other aspects. You’d have to try it yourself, and then you’ll really get this principle.

  4. Mendidik (Educating)
    Angklung is educating in many different aspects. Obviously, playing angklung means learning basic music theory, how notes sound and interact with each other (a.k.a harmony), rhythm, and music-related stuff. But there is also the aspect of team building, communication skills, empathy, and a whole lot of soft skills built into the experience. You can choose to learn the physics aspect of the instrument, or build software to assist angklung team building, or study the biology of the bamboo, capture an insight on visual learning, I can go on forever here listing all kinds of subjects.

  5. Massal (Community-driven)
    One important aspect of the angklung (at least the original form taught by Daeng Soetigna), is that you cannot play the instrument alone. You need a team to complete a whole song, and this brings a plethora of opportunities to interact with others, build communities, focus groups, open groups, you name it; the world of angklung opens us to a whole new world. If there is one thing to bring home after every angklung rehearsal, is the feeling that you will never feel quite alone.


Angklung performance, 2013

Angklung Tomorrow

The future of angklung continues to grow, and there are more activities springing up every day. A world record has been set, new festivals and competitions are introduced (and existing ones ever expanding their borders), performances delivered in further reaches of the world, marvellous technologies invented. My passion will stay here for the time being, and I hope I can still contribute although far away from the instrument’s, and my, hometown.


There is still a ton I could talk about, but I guess I’d have to leave it for another time. Thanks for reading through, and I hope we picked up a thing or two from this post. Have a good day!

P.S: here is a random arrangement of Nyan Cat I made with angklung :)


HDE Advent Calendar Day 9: My Japanese Weight Loss Story

Hello, everyone! I'm Bagus Rahman Aryabima from Indonesia. I'm currently working as a DevOps Engineer in Cloud Product Development Team. Last year, I also wrote a blog article for HDE Advent Calendar. In the article, I tried to explain a little bit about Indonesian cuisine. If you're interested, feel free to jump to the article using the link below, thank you.

I spent quite some time thinking about what to write this time around. First, in keeping with the theme of Indonesian culture from last year's blog article, I wanted to write about Indonesian fashion. However, I wasn't confident in my knowledge of it, so I changed my mind. Second, I wanted to write about other Indonesian foods I didn't mention on last year's blog article. But, I thought that the two blog articles would be too similar to one another, so I changed my mind again. Finally, I decided to write about how I lost weight ever since I started living in Japan. Hopefully, this would be an interesting and useful read to you.

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HDE Advent Calendar Day 8: How does QR code Work?

Hi! This is Ted, a new member and just spent my first week at HDE. Although I really want to write about my experience here in Japan since I have always wanted to come here ever since I started watching animes in high school, but I think there is not enough for me to write for the entire article just yet, and I will save it for another time. After reading about movies, travelling and testimonials, let’s read something informative. When I was scanning the secure browser QR code, I was quite amazed that the image gets recognized and can be converted to a string of text, which is then decrypted. QR code is so abundant today, but how does it actually work? Why can the code be scanned despite the code is often partially damaged? What advantage does it have compared with traditional bar codes?



Some History

QR code, short for Quick Response code is a type of binary code that was invented by a Japanese company called Denso Wave (automotive industry). It has been used widely today in the commercial world including tracking, information management, sales management and goods identification.


How does it work?

QR code is a binary code because it only stores two values 0 (white)/1 (black), but it is also a matrix code. The matrix feature allows QR code to store much more information than the traditional one-dimensional bar codes, or approximately 350 times more information; the ability to store more information also enables QR code to tolerant errors or damages better. The specific math error correction QR code uses is called Reed Solomon code, a technology that has been adopted in CDs, DVDs and RAID 6. There are error correction abilities ranging from 7% to 30%, but there is a trade-off between the amount of data the QR code can store and the correction ability of the QR code. Therefore, we often see QR codes with images on them, thanks to error correction algorithm.


The Technical

QR code has several characteristics encrypted in the matrix that helps the machines to read the data despite the direction or size. First there are the conspicuous position patterns at the three corners. Then there is a “timing code” between the two position patterns at the top and a “timing code” between the two position patterns on the left. The timing code helps the machine to understand how big each cell is in terms of width and height; the ability to be able to scan QR code regardless of the direction, the angle or the size is therefore attributed to the timing code. There are then two copies of the “mask code” along the two position codes on the left which helps to “unmask” the code. The redundancy is to ensure that when one part is damanged, the other part still has a copy of the information. There is then an encrypt information (the type of information stored), the length information (the number of blocks to read).

To understand what I am explaining above more lucidly, I recommend this video:

How to Decode a QR Code by Hand

I think just watch the first 10 minutes will give you a great insight into how to decrypt the code.



Since the mobile devices have been so abundant today and the world is inundated with information, QR code has been used widely for devices to scan and quickly access URLs. However, there are people who exploit QR codes in order to send malicious javascript and web advertisement. There has been cases in Russia, where smartphones that scanned the QR code send SMS texts that caused $6.



I don’t want to explode your brain, so let’s look at how this technology can be used creatively in life!

The World Park Interactive Museum @ New York's Central Park

I hope you really learnt how QR code works or at least the idea behind this technology while reading through this article.






HDE Advent Calendar Day 7: The Last of Its Kind - The Battleship Mikasa

Hi Everyone! This is the 7th day of our HDE Advent Calendar, and my name is Jeffrey Lonan, currently working as a DevOps Engineer in our Cloud Product Development team.

As I have an interest in history, I decided on writing about my trip to Mikasa park in Yokosuka, so please bear with me as I tell the tale :)

Having been in Japan for 8 months so far, I always wanted to visit the Mikasa memorial ship in Mikasa Park, Yokosuka, as it is very much related to my interest in history. The centerpiece of Mikasa park is the former Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship Mikasa, a warship built in the early 20th century, and a well-preserved one at that.


Did you know that the Mikasa was British-made? The Mikasa was built and launched in 1902 from the Vickers Shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness for the Imperial Japanese Navy.


The design for Mikasa was based on the Royal Navy's Formidable-class Battleship with additional armaments. It's Primary armaments consist of four 300 mm (12-inch) main guns in 2 turrets and Secondary armaments consisting of an array of 14 smaller, 152 mm (6-inch), guns. The main guns can fire up to 14 kilometers away. As a comparison, modern anti-ship missiles can have a range of up to 200 kilometers! What a massive technological gap in less than 100 years!

They even have the original Barr & Stroud optical rangefinder! (My apologies for the geek-out moment there...)


This thing is a high tech tool of its day. It is used to aim the main guns at the target, as battles are fought within visual range in those days. The person manning this rangefinder have to look through the scope, calculate and make adjustments, and then tell the gunners how to adjust their guns. All this while under heavy fire from the other side! The gunnery officer must have nerves of steel to man and operate this thing!

Compare it with the 21st century, where modern invention like radar, GPS and UAVs makes fighting feel like playing a video game, where what you see is just a dot on an LCD screen. Targeting adjustment are handled by sophisticated softwares, and you simply press a button to fire a weapon at a target.

So, what's so special about this ship? Well, the Mikasa became famous when it was made the flagship of Admiral Togo Heihachiro (東郷 平八郎), the commander of the Japanese Navy during that time. During that time, Japan was fighting a war with Russia, and the Russian Tsar decided to send reinforcements from Europe to the Far East in the form of battleships and cruisers, grouped together as the Russian Baltic Fleet

The Japanese found out about this and prepared their own fleet to intercept and engage the Russian Baltic Fleet in the Tsushima straits between Korea and Japan. This battle is also known as the Battle of the Sea of Japan (日本海海戦)


After the Russian Baltic Fleet was sighted, Admiral Togo, departing with his fleet, sent this famous wireless message to Tokyo 「本日天気晴朗ナレドモ浪高シ」 (Today the weather is calm, but the waves are high), signifying a supreme calm and confidence in his ships and men, even though there is a possibility that the battle might have destroyed the entire fleet.

As both fleets sighted each other and preparing to fight it out, Admiral Togo ordered the "Z Flag" be flown up the Mikasa's halyard.


The Z Flag was a special signal flag used by the Imperial Japanese Navy to convey a predetermined message to the fleet, 「皇国の興廃この一戦にあリ、各員一層、奮励努力せよ」(As the Destiny of the Empire lies in this battle, let each one do their utmost).


In the end, the Imperial Japanese Navy emerged victorious over the Russian Baltic Fleet. This battle is also known as the last naval battle ever where a ship surrendered and was captured intact.

In the years after the battle, the Z Flag and its message have acquired a legendary quality to it, similar to Admiral Horatio Nelson's signal during the Battle of Trafalgar "England expects every man to do his duty"


Note the hammocks. As the nascent Imperial Japanese Navy was modeled after the Royal Navy, they also adopted some of the customs from the Royal Navy, including using hammocks instead of bunks. Interestingly, during the battle , a British Royal Navy officer, Captain William Pakenham, was assigned to the Battleship Asahi, another ship fighting alongside Mikasa

Captain William Pakenham wrote a report detailing the Battle of Tsushima, including how effective the big battleship guns perform in battle. This report influenced the British Royal Navy to design and build a revolutionary battleship of that time, the HMS Dreadnought).

With the launch of HMS Dreadnought, all existing battleships became obsolete in a single stroke. From that point onwards, new battleships following HMS Dreadnought were referred as "Dreadnoughts", and older battleships, including the Mikasa, were referred to as "Pre-Dreadnoughts"

Sadly, after the 2 world wars, the Mikasa was neglected and its condition deteriorated, and at one point, it was used as a dance hall.

In the 1950s, the newspaper Japan Times led efforts to raise fund from the public to restore the ship, and in 1961, the restoration was finished and Mikasa was opened to the public as the Mikasa Memorial Ship, where it remains to this day as the only surviving example of a Pre-Dreadnought battleship in the world.


Truly, the last of its kind.

To me, this is indeed an interesting artifact of history, and really satisfied my interest on the Naval history of Japan, and of the world.

HDE Advent Calendar Day 6: No Event No Life - Events in HDE

Alola everyone, welcome to the 6th-day installment of HDE Advent Calendar! I am Iskandar Setiadi from Indonesia and I am currently working as an engineer in the Cloud Product Development team here. I’ve also participated in the last year advent calendar, where I wrote an article related to Japanese animation and stuff. If you’re interested, you could check it out in the following link:

By starting the globalization project 3 years ago, HDE has changed a lot, in a good way. When I came to this company as an intern around 2 years ago, there’s no much fun things to do. At that time, there’s no full-time employees from abroad and a lot of stuffs are still in Japanese. As time moves forward, season changes, and wind blows, we received a lot of idea from either our interns and employees to create enjoyable events!

In this occasion, let me introduce several events in HDE which are introduced after globalization project is commenced.


Hanami (花見) & Yozakura (夜桜) / Sakura Viewing

I believe everyone knows sakura, right? No, we’re not talking about the animation (Cardcaptor), but the plants :) In Tokyo, sakura usually blooms for several days between the last week of March to the early week of April, depending on the respective year's weather. Sakura season is also well-known as a season where people can legally get drunk in the public park. And it’s a popular season where people starts to mix basically every foods with sakura petals: ice cream, rice cracker, liquor, and even fancy stuff like this:

Sakura foods in Japan (source)

There are two popular terms: Hanami and Yozakura. The latter is usually used for enjoying sakura in the evening. Initially, there was only 1 scheduled event from globalization team, but our division (CPRD team) boss approved us to see sakura illumination with some additional budget (yay!). Globalization team arranged this event in a nearby park from our office, where we could sit under sakura trees and enjoy a lot of free foods! For the illumination, we went to an annual illumination event at Nogawa, Chofu

Yozakura in Chofu, taken from my own camera!

In any case, hanami is very popular, even among Japanese where all places with good sakura viewing spots are crowded.


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HDE Advent Calendar Day 5: Beautiful Japan through the Lens of My Camera

My name is Kenny Lock.

I am a proud member of the HDE family and I love taking photos.


With the capabilities of the technology today, people from all around the world are able to share photos to social media, blogs, forums and other sites to reach a global audience within just a few clicks. And for many people, sharing photos has become a huge and essential part of their lives. As a result, millions and millions of photos are uploaded to the internet every single day for various different purposes.


For me, photography is a way to express my creativity and how I feel in certain moments in my life.

A way to capture the amazing sights, buildings and sceneries or interesting objects that I have encountered.

A way to seize and celebrate the moments of joy and wonder.

A way to enable myself to relive and retell the stories behind the photos.


Japan is an extremely beautiful country.

And because of the precious career opportunity given by my company, I am able to live and enjoy the beauty of this country and that's why I am trying my best to not take that for granted and capture as many magical moments and experiences as possible.


So here is a collection of photos that I have taken in the past year of the Beautiful Japan through the Lens of My Camera.


The Modern and Traditional Beauty of Japan

The perfect fusion of modern and traditional culture that is unique to Japan that attracts travellers from all corners of the world.


Shinjuku's Kabuki Central Road


Source : Godzilla is coming to town~🎶


Shibuya Crossing


Source : Work hard enough until you can have good dreams, but not too much that you don't dream at all.




Source : The best way to be where you want in the future is to do something today that you will be glad that you did.


Tokyo Tower 


Source : A Random Day. #TokyoTower


Asakusa's Sensoji 


Source : Your mind is capable of more than you know. You simply have to step outside your comfort zone and acknowledge that potential.


Asakusa's Alley


Source : Constant Exploration.


Tokyo Station


Source : Historical Romance at Tōkyō Station 🚂


Odaiba's Gundam Statue


Source : Something special.


City of Osaka from Umeda Sky Building


Source : A view that I wish to have each and every evening for the rest of my life.




Source : Sometimes things do look ten times better in gold. #kinkakuji #金阁寺




Source : Just Can't Get Enough of Dōtonbori, Osaka.


Universal Studio Japan - Attack on Titan Statues 


Source : We are not food. WE ARE THE HUNTERS! #進撃の巨人 #AttackOnTitan


The Natural Beauty of Japan

People love to visit Japan during the Spring and Autumn because of the excellent effort and determination of the Japanese people to treasure, preserve and develop the graceful and precious nature.


Everyone's Favorite - Sakura #1


Source : Even the little things can give you the biggest motivation.


Meguro River - The Wall of Sakura 


Source : Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.


Everyone's Favorite - Sakura #2


Source : Sakura in Autumn at Shinjuku Gyoen. 久しぶり...


Tokyo Midtown - Sakura Illumination


Source : 🌸Speak without Offending.Listen without Defending.Live without Pretending.Love without Depending.


Everyone's Favorite - Sakura #3


Source : Happiness is understanding that there is always something to be thankful for.


The Golden Season - Japan's Autumn


Source : Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned.


Chuzenji Lake


Source : Playing with Fire.


Momiji - Maple Leaves 


Source : Autumn is a reminder to us, even leaves can shine like flowers.


Showa Kinen Park - Ginkgo Avenue


Source : The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.


Showa Kinen Park - The Ginkgo Giant


Source : Imagine the time and energy it required to be this beautiful and majestic. Just the same way as any other great and meaningful achievements in life.


Shinjuku Gyoen - Mesmerizing Colors


Source : Moments leave. Memories stay.


Shinjuku Gyoen - A Lazy Afternoon


Source : Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.


Last but not least, one of my personal favorites.

Mount Fuji - A million reasons to fall in love with this symbol of Japan.


Source : You may easily forget about some of the best moments in your life unless you capture them in both your heart and photograph.


I wish this article could present to you an idea of how beautiful this country is and inspire you to go out and start exploring and admiring the vast beauty of Japan with your own eyes after looking at my collection of photos.

Additionally, I also wish to use this article to mark the beginning of a much greater and more breathtaking journey of my traveling and photography for the years to come.

Thank you.