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The California High-Speed Rail Authority made the news after their monthly public meeting last Thursday in San Francisco. As an engineer, I’m very excited by the passage of Proposition 1A the High Speed Rail bond.
Until you have experienced a Shinkansen (or TGV) it is unlikely you will know what we are missing in our transportation portfolio. I suspect that there are very few delays compared to air travel but I don’t have the data. On this particular Nazomi train there was a 110 V power outlet on each row of seats, perfect for powering your laptop.
The cars are fairly quiet – some conversations at low volume and often many people sleeping. In summary, I’m a very big fan of well run rail systems especially the high speed trains.
Not only does the High Speed Rail Authority need to manage this program correctly, we need to continue the dialog and education to ensure the public maintains support for this transformative project.
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September 15th, 2012Tagged active stratovolcano, Aokigahara, Aokigahara Forest, climbers, climbing, enivronment, erupt, forest, Fuji Five Lakes, haunted, Honshu Island, Japan, Mount Fuji, mountains, Mt. We haven’t done much looking around at Japan, other than Nara Dreamland, the abandoned Disney knock-off amusement park, but now the experts are red-alert claiming that Mount Fuji volcano is about to erupt. Estimates are as high as 100 bodies being recovered every year from the suicide hotspot of Aokigahara. Magnificent Mount Fuji from Lake Yamanaka, the highest, yet the shallowest, of the Fuji Five Lakes.
Endless fields of purple flowers in foreground, Mount Fuji still capped with snow in the background. View of Mt Fuji and Asagiri Plateau from Mount Kenashi which is a “1,964 m (6,444 ft) mountain on the border of Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures in Japan. Even though Aokigahara Forest is called the Suicide Capital of the World by some people, it is undoubtedly gorgeous. Some suicides scenes are staged for movies, such as about to happen on left, but the scary, haunted feeling is real enough in the Sea of Trees. They rotate cities throughout the state each month to obtain a wider range of public input. And of course, the quietest solution of running the trains in long tunnels or trenches is the most expensive option. Not only can you carry on water, you can drink whatever you want as long as your behave yourself. Cell phones are typically not used in the actual cars except for a very quick one or two sentences or texting. I hope that not only will we learn how to build our system in California using the best the world has to offer, but that we innovate and build the best in class system that becomes the cornerstone of an efficient rail system for both short and long distance travel. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ira Feldman and this blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
While no one is exactly certain, it is thought that the first ascent was in 663 by an anonymous monk. All the recent worry about an eruption started after the 2011 disasters like the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that wreaked so much devastation. Instead, we wanted to examine the beauty of Mount Fuji and its exceptionally symmetrical cone which has been a subject of Japanese art and stories throughout the ages. Here in the foothills, we see Aokigahara Forest, also called the Sea of Trees, which is infamous as a dense forest where troubled souls go to commit suicide. Lake Yamanaka is located in the village of Yamanakako in Yamanashi Prefecture near Mount Fuji.


Wikipedia adds, “Paragliders take off in the vicinity of the fifth station Gotemba parking lot, between Subashiri and Hoei-zan peak on the south side from the Mountain, in addition to several other locations depending on wind direction.
Fantastic Japan explains, “This iconic natural wonder is not actually a single volcano but three.
According to Wikipedia, “There are two stories behind the naming of the mountain, which have opposing meanings. The 3,776-meter peak straddles the border of the two prefectures, both of which celebrate the mountain on Feb. The Japanese government proposed making Mount Fuji a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site; the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is expected to make a decision in summer of 2013. It’s part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and a protected Japanese Natural Monument since 1936. Climbing Mount Fuji is “very popular not only among Japanese but also foreign tourists, who seem to make up more than a third of all hikers. Some say “due to the wind-blocking density of the trees and an absence of wildlife, the forest is known for being eerily quiet. For those people brave enough to hike beyond the blocked and closed walking paths at Aokigahara Forest, they often encounter signs of real suicides in the Suicide Forest. Fuji during fall that people will see next autumn, or will the volcano erupt as experts predict? And the Bay Area didn’t fail to deliver, especially on the contentious issue of how the trains would be routed in the existing Caltrain rail corridor along the peninsula from San Jose to San Francisco. However, they should not cause the project to lose momentum and be derailed (pun intended) due to analysis paralysis. However, as a frequent traveler who has marveled at the high speed rail in Europe and Japan it is very exciting to have some signs of progress in this area.
And there is no problem in getting on an earlier or later train, however you give up your reserved seat without changing your reservation and sometimes the trains are standing room only. This is easy to do since the Shinkansen stations are interconnected with the metropolitan rail systems and subways. On the Nazomi, the person sitting across from me was enjoying an elaborate lunch he had packed and was working on a bottle of champagne during the trip. There is a slight wind noise and occasional whoosh when you pass a train on the parallel track. If you want to make a call, you go to the vestibules connecting the cars but sometimes that is too noisy to be practical. The Shinkansens are in the stations with the doors open for absolutely no more than 90 seconds unless there is an emergency. As much as I like flying Southwest Airlines, I simply cannot wait until to go from the Bay Area to Los Angeles in less than two and half hours via high speed train! In September 2012, the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention used mathematical models that suggested that the pressure in Mount Fuji’s magma chamber is higher than it was the last time the Japanese volcano erupted in 1707. The youngest volcano, the one we all know today: Fuji, lies on an older volcano known as Kofuji, underneath which is Komitake volcano. The peak season for climbing Mount Fuji is during the school vacations which last from around July 20 to the end of August.
And dropping or delaying this portion of the line has significant impacts on the potential ridership which drastically changes the economics of the project. To make high speed rail successful in California, and by extension the United States, we need to have the best and brightest working on the challenge and must maintain the political will to continue. Some of the rail stations in Japan are virtual cities within themselves – everything from food, housing, hotels, shopping and offices. I would have had to leave my hotel at roughly the same time for the trip via plane and the fare would have been slightly higher. Yes, you need to find your way around the station but it is an easy walk and all the staff is helpful if you can’t find your train. There is a countdown clock the conductor and staff uses and I’ve seen stops of sixty and seventy seconds.


Other scientists have claimed that is poppycock and it’s pure hysteria to spread such fear in the media. As of 2011, the most popular means of suicide in the forest were hanging and drug overdoses.” A zombie sneaking through Suicide Forest? Climbing from October to May is very strongly discouraged and many people who ignore the warning have died due to accidents and the cold. If walking, the ascent to the summit is reportedly much longer than from here than the other 5th stations. The squadron, based in Atsugi, Japan, provides combat-ready armed anti-surface and anti-submarine helicopter detachments to ships deploying in the Korea, western Pacific and Persian Gulf regions. This lake, Lake Saiko and Lake Shojiko were all formed by lava flowing across what is now Aokigahara Jukai Forest and into the enormous lake that once dominated the area. About 240 schools, including 93 prefectural high schools and elementary and junior high schools in nine municipalities close on that day to celebrate their beloved mountain. The peak of the peak is reached during the Obon Week in mid August, when climbers literally have to stand in queues at some passages. The annual body search, consisting of a small army of police, volunteers, and attendant journalists, began in 1970. Or is this yet another hailing of coming Apocalypse, common among the doomsday 2012 phenomenon predictions?
As the largest public works project in California in over fifty years, there is well placed concern about the accuracy of the financials especially given the track history of public works. And yes, we cannot shirk from the responsibility for the project to be fiscally sound as it continues.
Being late is not an emergency… The passengers on board get off smartly and the new passengers who have been waiting in the queue area marked on the platform quickly get on board. We’ll leave that for the scientists to decide because nothing can be done to stop a natural disaster. Nowadays people travel from all over the world specifically to see this view; about 300,000 adventuresome souls climb to the summit annually.
An overnight climb in order to reach the top for the sunrise (go-raiko) is the most traditional thing, but you will probably be shuffling along in a slow-moving line for the latter stages of the ascent.
This is possible since the trains stop exactly at the designated spots on the platform, within an inch or so. Then with a great sense of pride the cleaning crew stood at the end of the platform and waived to the departing train and passengers. Most hikers climb the mountain at night in order to be in a position at or near the summit to see a sunrise such as this. 23 as Mount Fuji Day in December 2009 and then the Yamanashi Prefecture followed suit in December 2011. Consider starting out in the late morning to reach the summit for the equally majestic sunset, with a tiny fraction of the crowds to accompany you.
It’s been around in Japanese art since ancient times when samurai warriors trained at the base and women were forbidden from climbing to the sacred summit.
Fuji, we’ll get back to the bizarre and scary aspects of the otherwise sublime Sea of Trees. Aokigahara Forest, also called the Sea of Trees, is infamous as a dense forest where troubled souls go to commit suicide. So we interrupt the scheduled panic and doomsday disaster news, to take in the beauty before it is allegedly destroyed in an eruption.



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Comments to “Shinkansen hours”

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