Bart Vander Sanden

Freelance web developer/graphic designer in Leuven, Belgium

Blog

A collection of my thoughts, experiences, links and photos over the years.

Hiroshima and the aftermath of the atomic bomb - Japan

Looking over the Motoyasu river, with the Atomic Bomb Dome on the right.
Looking over the Motoyasu river, with the Atomic Bomb Dome on the right.

Hiroshima is one of those cities that symbolise a key moment in the history of our world: it was the first city to be attacked with an atomic bomb, which was a turning point at the end of the Second World War, but at a significant human cost of more than 100,000 casualties. It had a profound effect on both Japan and the world at large, of which we still feel the results to this day.

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Chinese New Year in Leuven

Chinese dragons roaming the streets of Leuven.
Chinese dragons roaming the streets of Leuven.

Last weekend the Chinese community of Leuven celebrated their start of the new year for the first time in Leuven. The weather was awful (lots of wind and tons of nearly ice cold rain descended on us), but we quite enjoyed the exhibition shows of the local martial arts and dancing groups, and the march through the city with the dragons leading the way.

Here’s to a great Year of the Pig!

The dragon puppets, ready to come alive.
The dragon puppets, ready to come alive.

A few notes on Kobe, wagyu beef, and ropeways - Japan

A bridge near the Meriken Park in Kobe.
A bridge near the Meriken Park in Kobe.

After finding our way through the maze that is Osaka Station (seriously, it’s a gigantic and confusing underground labyrinth) we took a short train ride to Kobe, a port town to the west of Osaka, and world famous for its local speciality dish: Kobe beef.

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My winter commute in Belgium

Lately I’ve been taking pictures whenever I’m traveling between Leuven and Brussels.

The days are getting longer again, and the sun has been rising and setting during the morning and evening rush hours. It gives me a sense of calm during these moments when the daily commute is anything but.

Attending a sumo honbasho in Osaka - Japan

Sumo wrestlers in action at the Edion Arena in Osaka.
Sumo wrestlers in action at the Edion Arena in Osaka.

Osaka is the second largest city in Japan, and a central hub to quite a few important cities in the area, like Kyoto, Nara and Kobe. We went to Osaka via a short 30 minute train ride from Nara. The city is probably best known for its wide variety of high quality food, but we went there to attend the yearly Sumo competition, the honbasho, in the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium (also called the Edion Arena).

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Burning torches in Nara - Japan

Sunset at the Todaiji temple.
Sunset at the Todaiji temple.

Nara used to be the old capital of Japan, and nowadays it’s mostly known for its shrines (which are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage, like the ones in Nikko and Kyoto) and its hundreds of tame deer which roam the area freely. It’s a 50 minute train ride from Kyoto, so it’s easy to just hop on a train to get there.

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The ancient history of Kyoto - Japan

A couple of torii gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine.
A couple of torii gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Kyoto is probably the second most popular destination in Japan after Tokyo, and it’s seen as one of the most important historic centers of Japan.

It’s easy to get there by using the Ihari Shinkansen line, a ride that takes a few hours. Unfortunately, the trip to the freezing shrines of Nikko caught me off guard and got me a cold. I had to wear a mouth mask to keep my illness contained, as is usual in the country.

It also didn’t help that it was pouring outside, and our room in the ryokan wasn’t ready yet, so we had to find another place to kill a few hours.

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A useful tool: mybrowser.fyi

A screenshot of mybrowser.fyi
Andy Bell created this small tool to find out the basic configuration of your browser and device, called mybrowser.fyi.

It’s simple, yet extremely handy as you can send this site to a client, and they can send back the results in an instant. It’s a lot easier than the old fashioned way by explaining to the client over the phone where they can find the about menu of their browser.

Half a day in Nikko - Japan

Arriving in Nikko
Arriving in Nikko

A few days into our trip to Japan we went on a quick outing from Tokyo to Nikko, a small village north of the huge busy metropolis. Nikko is mostly known for its numerous shrines, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritages.

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