All posts tagged: housing

Reforming a house in Japan

On April 3rd 2015, I moved into the new house. I was well aware that it would need some renovation work. Inside was mainly cosmetic and could wait, but the outside needed immediate work. Some of the drains at the house had been detached by previous typhoons. Leaks had occurred where water pooled up on the balcony and flowed in through air vents. Other water leaks had been caused by air vents missing hoods. In Okinawa rainy season is May to early June. It’s wet but the rain is falling vertically. However in  July, August and September there are typhoons. If you have an ocean view,  you are going to get hit by the full force of the wind and horizontal rain. The first job was to buy a power washer and clean the dirt off everything within reach. This enabled me to reveal any cracks in the concrete and assess the problems. Most homes in Okinawa are built out of reinforced concrete with a core of steel rebar. They are strong and able to withstand …

Buying a house in Japan

2015 has been a busy year, just one of the reasons is that in March I bought my first house. It was a relatively quick and painless process, but it was difficult finding information about all the associated fees in English so hopefully this post will help others. Back in December 2014, I was browsing the internet housing website Suumo. I wanted to check out the prices, and see what was available in northern Okinawa.  One property in Motobu caught my attention, or to be more specific the view from the house looked amazing. The website showed an approximate location so I decided to drive over. I found the house, and although there were no FOR SALE signs, I knocked on the door. The owner came out a little surprised, but was very friendly.  We had a brief chat and I had a quick look at the exterior. Although it was cloudy, the view was as I’d hoped, fantastic. The next day I called the toll-free number of the Sumo website and was connected through …

Let there be underwater light (Part 1)

A you descend beneath the ocean’s surface things become darker and bluer. Light is absorbed by the water and it does this to a greater extent at the red end of the color spectrum. When shooting in the shallows you can capture the vibrant colors of the reef, but sink a little further and your images will look a little green and possibly blurry from slow shutter speeds (or noisy from high ISOs). The solution is to shed a little light on your subject. Send in the strobes. I bought two used Ikelite strobes on Ebay (thank you Vadim in Australia). One is a powerful DS-161 strobe that has a 3W modeling light, and the other is a far less powerful (and much cheaper) DS-51 strobe that I use as fill. The above image is a pre-dive test in the bath, which showed that both strobes worked, and that the light from the modeling light allows the camera to autofocus on the subject. The strobes are positioned in this image for macro shooting. The lens …

Yonaguni Blue

On some dives when you are looking for hammerhead sharks all you find is Yonaguni Blue. You can’t see the bottom or distinguish anything else in the crystal clear waters. Your senses are filled with the sound of your breathing through the regulator and the big blue. Pentax K5 SMC Pentax DA Fish-eye 10-17mm Ikelite Housing