There’s a map for that

Posted by in Mike's blog


View Map of Fukui, with love in a larger map

I like maps.

When I was a kid I didn’t have a Spider-Man poster in my room. I was as big of a Spider-Man fan as every other kid, but I was quite happy with the maps that I had on my walls.

Now that we live in a part of the world where most streets don’t have names and everything around us is completely foreign (no pun intended), maps are so much more important. Mary was handed a large photocopy of a Japanese map of our neighbourhood by her supervisor on day 1 in Fukui. We walked around with this thing for a couple of weeks, but it was quickly replaced by an English map of the city that had been written and translated by one lady (I met her, she’s nice) at the FIA. This map was useful, but it was not detailed enough to find things in specific areas and some key parts of the city weren’t on it, including Mary’s school and the main shopping area with Fukui’s largest mall. We used a couple of other maps that we picked up in our travels as well.

By the time we got our internet service setup we had several maps with notations sprawled throughout our house. With the internet came the wonders of online maps – and I noticed that Google had updated their Japanese maps with many useful english translations since the last time we came to Japan. Kanji everywhere makes reading hard. Using the powers of the internet, we found a mapping project by the good people at FJET quite helpful for finding some new places in parts of the city that we might not have otherwise visited.

As we continued to explore the city, I discovered that we needed a way to keep track of where we had been and where things are, especially because of the missing street names thing. After being inspired by the FJET map, I played around with Google maps for a while and I started to put together something that we now have been using and building upon for the past couple of months. It’s still a work in progress, but I am pleased with the results so far. We visited all of the places shown above except for one or two of the banks (they are on there in case we need them). The icons are from this Map Icons Collection.

Now we have a handy visual representation of many of the places we have been. Some things get added to the map because we want to go back, others serve as landmarks. I added descriptions and website links both for my own memory and for the benefit of anyone that might find our adventures helpful.

We still have quite a few places to explore. I hope we have as much fun finding them as we did finding the things that are already mapped.