This was an old blog I posted in 2007, but decided to re-post it today as a cultural exchange blog for my new students! America celebrates the 4th of July as Independence Day because it was on July 4th, 1776 that members of the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence – a document officially declaring separation from Great Britain, thus resulting in the birth of the United States of America. Celebrating Independence Day is impossible without fireworks, an American tradition. While back home in 2007, I went to the fireworks show at Gasworks Park, the most popular place in Seattle to take part in the festivities. Check out my video below of the fireworks show at Gasworks Park in Seattle!
The Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a 40,000 km (25,000 mi) horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements. The Ring of Fire has 452 volcanoes and is home to over 75% of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes. About 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 80% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire. Ten percent of the world’s active volcanoes are found in Japan, which lies in a zone of extreme crustal instability. Moreover, Japan dangerously lies at the intersection of four tectonic plates; the North American Plate, the Eurasian Plate, the Pacific Plate, and the Philippine Sea Plate. These plates all meet on the island of Honshu, the largest of the many islands that comprise the country of Japan. Thus the reason why the country is extremely vulnerable to earthquakes. There are approximately 1,500 earthquakes recorded yearly in Japan, and magnitudes of four to six on the Richter scale are not uncommon. Minor tremors occur almost daily in various parts of the country, causing slight shaking of buildings. Unfortunately for me, even if I was still living in Seattle, Washington, the situation may not be any safer. A message of caution to my friends and family living in the Pacific Northwest of the United States who are unaware, the Juan De Fuca subduction zone is the only significant fault line on the Ring of Fire NOT to have experienced a major earthquake in the last 50 years. Please take precautions as natural disasters as in Japan can occur at a moment’s notice.
Visiting southern California in the winter makes one truly appreciate the difference weather makes in one’s quality of life. When I left Seattle, it was cold and raining nearly everyday. This is something I should be used too, since I’m from Seattle, but having lived away in better climates these past several years, I was reminded how much I hate the rain! Spending 2-weeks in California visiting my friends Nawang and Rigo was the winter weather escape from Seattle I desperately needed. I can still recall the recent feeling of playing tennis (6-3, 7-5 :)) in a T-shirt and shorts in the California Sunshine in December!.. I don’t know about you, but in the winter I have a hard time remembering the feeling of humidity, heat or any type of summer weather for that matter, so spending some time in southern California was a welcome reminder how the sun feels when it shines. Living in Tokushima it can be very cold in the winter and very humid in the summer, but for the most part it’s at least sunny year-round… incidentally, both Tokushima and Los Angeles are both 34th parallel north cities… My time in California was spent mostly between hanging out at Nawang’s in Anaheim near Disney Land, a trip to L.A. to watch Slam-Dunk Champion rookie All-Star Blake Griffin and the Clippers play… and a trip to San Francisco to ring in the New Year! Overall, it was a great time and I’ll leave it at that! And lastly just for Xbox statistical records, I left California on a six game Madden win streak vs Nawang! Manning to Wayne all day baby!..
Note: For a look at all the pictures I took, see my California Winter 2010 Album!