Notogawa Suisha is an old waterwheel (actually two waterwheels) in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. The site includes a small park, a little museum, and a boat rental facility. This quiet park, about 30 kilometers from my home, is one of my favorite places.
Notogawa Suisha (small waterwheel)
Video was recorded with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 II. Audio was recorded in the camera with input from an Audio Technica BP4025 stereo microphone and a Tascam DR-70D recorder. Music, “Love Story (piano),” is by Sławomir Zając. I edited the video with OpenShot on a Lenovo ThinkStation 20 running Fedora GNU/Linux.
On November 24, 2014, I went cycling along Yasugawa in Moriyama. I took my camera and a new zoom lens I had just bought. I had hoped to find some wildlife along the river, but I saw onlya few Japanese black kites soaring high overhead.
Just below the bridge, Hattori-Ohashi, I saw farmers harvesting soybeans. I parked my bike against a little shed for monitoring water levels along the river, grabbed my camera, and shot video clips as I braced myself against the wall of the shed. The harvester is a Kubota ARH430 (in Japanese).
I appreciate farm equipment because I grew up on an apple orchard and began to operate machinery at an early age. I suppose now an 8-year-old tractor driver would be a violation of child labor laws or an insurance risk, but in the mid-1950s it was normal.
Notogawa Suisha is a very large old waterwheel that continues to turn slowly in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. The site includes a small park and a boat rental facility. Recorded with a Sony M10 on August 13, 2014.
Typhoon 11 of 2014 passed through western Japan on August 11. By midnight the southern sky was clear enough to see the super moon, although fast-moving clouds from the southwest often obscured the view.
Super Moon at 00:03 on August 11, 2014
The morning of August 11th was clear in the east, so I took a 36 km bike ride down along Yasugawa to Biwako and along to lake to just north of the Hino River, where I saw some windsurfers far out on the lake between Omihachiman and Oki Island. A strong wind continued to blow from the southwest. The ride home against the wind was exhausting, and heavy clouds came up from the southwest. I didn’t even think of taking more photos on the way home.
On the way to Biwako I saw two turtles. The first one was a Japanese pond turtle with a diameter about the size of my head. These turtles are very common here along rivers and lakes. The second one, about the size of my hand, was a more colorful species I hadn’t seen before. After searching The Reptile Database and studying photos on the Web, I think that turtle a red-eared slider (trachemys scripta elegans), a non-native species. (If you can confirm or correct the identification, please let me know!) Both turtles had just crossed the embankment road and were moving away from Yasugawa, down toward the canal at the base of the embankment.
Lower Yasugawa after Typhoon 11, looking upstream to Shinjo Ohashi and Mikamiyama
Lower Yasugawa after Typhoon 11, looking downstream
On 1 July 2014 I rode my bike about 7km down Yasugawa and recorded insects, birds, and a lot of low frequency noise from machinery and aircraft. Six minutes of my recording can be heard on SoundCloud. Listen with good headphones or speakers to hear the low frequencies.
This location along the river is near a large concrete plant. Sometimes the plant is very noisy, with conveyor belts, a rock crusher, and dump trucks and mixer trucks coming and going, but today it seemed fairly quiet. The noise that we hear is from other machinery, airplanes, and maybe large boats on Lake Biwa, a few kilometers from here.
I decided to leave the recording as-is, with no equalization or other processing to alter the sound. I don’t think people “hear” the low frequency noises. Even I don’t notice it unless I’m tuned in to the environment. This recording is a reminder that the countryside around here is not at all quiet.
Nevertheless, this is a great place for all kinds of birds and bugs. It’s between parks and playgrounds, and there is a lot of vegetation. The road on the embankment is closed to cars, so there is not much human activity within a few hundred meters. Some of the flying creatures that we can hear on the recording were also buzzing around my head, even though I moved away from the recorder and stood on the gravel road near my bicycle. Considering its proximity to farms, factories, and houses, it’s a pretty wild place.