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欧州自転車レース追っかけ日記

欧州在住者が自転車レースを追い掛けてる日記とか

Lower tax on bicycles?

Lower tax (value added tax?) on bicycles in Belgium

I read some articles. To promote bike use among its residents, Belgian government lowered the tax rate on bicycles.

Normal VAT won't apply to bicycles and electric bicycles in Belgium. Normal rate was 21 % but not it is only 6 % for bikes. Does this apply only to new bike sales? What about used bikes? How about the bike components?

Some (or many) European countries are said to be following the foot step.

Has this made already a big impact on bike sales in Belgium?

Will Luxembourg follow?

TomTom app map update

It was two or three weeks ago that I received the latest update. I have not yet tried it if the latest map data reflect some of the discrepancies that I know of?

A cat coming in my way?

This morning (March 28, 2019) one of my colleagues told me that her friend living in Belgium had just had a three new kittens (born three days earlier).

So I reserved the right to get one of those.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Lower tax on bicycles?]の続きを読む

テーマ: - ジャンル:ペット

  1. 2019/03/28(木) 17:47:49|
  2. Things European
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DVB-T2 (H.264/H.265) ready!

August DA100D 10-inch DVB-T2 portable TV set

I wanted to buy this portable LCD screen TV set. This particular TV set does not have battery on its own. It uses 4 of 1.2V AA rechargeable cells. If you prepare two sets of 4 AA cells, you can use it twice as long as it can run on 4 AA cells.

There is no risk of the battery inside going bad and having to discard the entire device even though the rest of the device is just fine.

Its normal price on Amazon Germany is around € 135 but I got a notice that it was on a flash sale. The moment it came on my cell phone I was there to see the notice. I also had time to see what the flash sale was like.

Its price was reduced to around € 95 so I bought it and immediately after that the price went up again back to its normal price.

The DVB-T2 standard is not standardized at all. Yes, it is standardized but what DVB-T2 means is a bit confusing. H.264 and H.265 both refer to DVB-T2 standard but they are different.

When European countries started to shift from DVB-T to DVB-T2, they (countries) could choose to adopt H.264, H.265 or mix them. They (TV signal providers) have to replace the signal emitters, which I guess, consist of big encoders and amplificators. The former (H.264) signal is less information in it than the latter (H.265).

France started using H.264 equipment and gradually started replacing the old DVB-T equipment. They decided not to jump on H.265. They can start using H.265 equipment anytime when the prices of the equipment come down. They started this process around 2016 or so.

On the contrary Germany decided that they would wait a bit and replace all of those old DVB-T equipment totally and jump on H.265. They did it in 2017 or 2018.

You should search for the correct information regarding DVB-T2 adoption in European countries.

Anyway, so when I travel through France in 2019, the chances are I will get DVB-T signals in remote rural places, DVB-T2 (H.264) signals in big cities (like Paris) or I could get DVB-T2 (H.265) somewhere.

In Germany I can only get DVB-T2 - H.265 (maybe some exceptions apply to very remote rural forgotten places where they still have DVB-T?? signal emitters??). In Germany (before they switched the system nationwide) they ran a series of TV ads (and paper media ads, I guess) telling the consumers that their DVB-T devices won't work anymore past this set date and they had to replace their devices which would meet the DVB-T2 (H.265) standards.

In 2018 I could use my old DVB-T TV sets in Belgium, in some places in France and in Luxembourg. I used my tiny DVB-T2 receiver connected on my Android phone (Google Nexus 5X) to watch TV programs in France but I could not tell which signal I was getting (T2 or T, retrospectively nicknamed as T1).

In Belgium and the Netherlands (according to some Wikipedia pages), the cable subscription rates are so high (everybody has cable TV along with Internet connection) that they are not aware of the DVB-T or T2. Almost everybody I encountered pointed to my DVB-T portable TV set and asked if it was a satellite signal TV.

So they don't think T1 or T2 an issue at all. As far as I know Belgium people are happy with DVB-T and don't bother with T2.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ

[DVB-T2 (H.264/H.265) ready!]の続きを読む

テーマ:ヨーロッパ - ジャンル:海外情報

  1. 2018/12/16(日) 17:27:22|
  2. Things European
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近所付き合い(Written in Japanese only)

This is written only in Japanese because the content is rather a sensitive issue.

普段の原則(英語と日本語の併記)を破って、日本語だけで書きます。内容が内容なだけに、英語では書けません。

これはオランダ人の顔見知り(自転車観戦を通して知り合った親しい連中)との雑談の内容です。

発言者の背景を書かないと、発言の意味がぼやけるので、ある程度彼女達(女性です)のことを書きます。

オランダ人で、歳は20代(の前半だろう)です。若いです。彼女達は英語がペラペラ(オランダ人ならまず例外無しに、英語はペラペラですよ)なので、英語で話をしてます。

Gent-Wevelgemの会場での会話です。彼女達はオランダから電車で来てた。「だって私たち車の免許無いし〜」という感じの話から始まった。

僕が「まず免許とって、それから車買って」と言うと、「お金も掛かるし〜」という回答。「じゃ、良いアイデアがあるぞ、フレミッシュ(ベルギーのオランダ語を話す領域)の男をレース会場で捕まえて、彼氏にしてしまえば良いじゃないか。フレミッシュには自転車レースファンが多いから、候補が多いはずだろう。言葉もオランダ語で通じるし、簡単じゃないか」

すると、「オランダ語とフレミッシュは違う、例えば(以下略)」とオランダ語とフレミッシュは違うというくだりがしばらくあった。

でも、「オランダ語とフレミッシュなら話は通じるし、ブラジル人とポルトガル人でも、同じく話は通じるだろう。もちろん、違いはあるは分かるけど」

この辺はまだまともな内容だ。この先が面白いのだ。彼女たちの話を要約するとこうなる。

オランダ人にとって、フレミッシュ地方とは、「下」の位置付けなのだ。私たちオランダ人は英語は当たり前だけど、多くの人はドイツ語を習得して話す。ドイツは私たちオランダ人の「兄」の位置付けなので、尊敬の念がある。産業、経済活動ではやはりドイツは上だ。

私(二人のうちの一人)は、ドイツ人とフレミッシュ人から選べと言われたら「ドイツ人」を選ぶけど、フレミッシュ人は無理、と断言。

例えば、フレミッシュのサッカーチームとオランダのサッカーチームが対戦して、前者が勝つと、フレミッシュ人は大喜びだ。我々はちょっと冷えた目で、「でも我々はワールドカップ常連国だし、ランクも上だし」と思うだけ。

今回の冬季オリンピッックでもフレミッシュ系はメダル2個程度で、オランダは20個以上だしね(格が違う)。

フレミッシュ系のメディアだと、合わせて22個のメダルを取った、見たいな言い方をするのを見たけど、私たちに言わせれば、私たちは20個で、あんた達はたったの2個なのよ。

このような発言でした。いやー目から鱗だった。オランダ人(若い世代)が好きに放言すると、こんな本音が聞けるですね。

これは人種差別の問題じゃ無いのですよ。これはちゃんと書いておきます。彼女たちは「金髪で青い目」系ですが、彼女たちが熱を上げてる選手は、これまでの数多くの選手のことも知ってるが、現時点では南米系(インディオの血も引いてる)の選手だったりする。人種(白人、黒人、アジア人)のことは彼女たちも気にして無いのです。

あくまで、「所属する文化圏とその地理的位置関係」がこの隣人問題の根底にあるのです。


ベルギー(フレミッシュ地方とワロンヌ地方)国内でも、おそらくフレミッシュ人がワロンヌ人を…、と思ってるだろうしね。

欧州は細かく国(国の中にさらに別の文化圏)が分かれてるので、この隣人問題は根深い。

最近だとスペインでも「英国のEU離脱問題、そしてスコットランドが連合王国から離脱したいと意思表明」に刺激された独立運動が問題になりましたよね。やはりあるんですよ、この隣人問題。

例えば、我々日本人だと、遠い地球の裏側の文化圏の人たちに特に敵意を感じないでしょう(だって普段接することがないのだから、まず知らないし)。でも近くに居る隣国の人たちとは普段から接触するので、ライバル心、敵意を感じてしまいますよね。

と、この辺で終わります。

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2018/03/26(月) 23:12:35|
  2. Things European
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The buck stops here or does it?

I bought something from the UK (still in EU for this moment so no import charge imposed) on ebay. I was told that this item was sent through ebay global shipping. OK.

I was tracking the item to see whether it on the way. I knew by Yesterday that it was close. Today I learned that someone seemingly had attempted to reach me and failed as I was not home at that time.

I wanted to know if they would attempt again or the transporter had deposited the item somewhere (there are numerous pickup stations.

It took me not too long but a short while to find out where my parcel was.

ebay's purchase history page first sent me to here.
wnDirectTracking.jpg

Then I clicked a link to get here.
PostNLTracking.jpg

Finally I found out that the parcel had been left at a pickup station near my residence.
dpdTracking.jpg

So the buck stopped there. I knew immediately that someone (from DPD Luxembourg) came and went back with the parcel but did not know what happened to it. I had to dig further to see where the parcel had gone.

The last site carried the information that I needed; the name of the pickup station where I was supposed to go.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [The buck stops here or does it?]の続きを読む
  1. 2017/09/13(水) 18:43:06|
  2. Things European
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Swiss Motorway vignette and December holidays planning

French Motorway Companies Site (www.autoroutes.fr) is a useful site that I use on occasions like planning a driving trip though France and when I would like to know the toll charges beforehand.

Here's what they told me when I simulated the trip that I would make in coming October.
MotorwayFrances.jpg

The actual toll charges I will pay is €9.5. I have made several drive trips on this route. Most (or much) of the stretch is free of charge fortunately.

I have to pay for the Swiss Motorway Vignette, which will cost 40 CHF (€ 37 ?). It is valid for 14 months. For example the one I have to buy will be year "2017" one. This vignette is valid (or has been valid) since December 2016 and will be valid until the end of January 2018. When I buy it, it has 4 months of validity but I intend to use it only in October.

December holidays planning

I have two weeks of paid holidays in December. I have no plans for the moment. I have nowhere to go; I checked the UCI calendars for road race and cyclocross races but there were no suitable events in that period. I don't want to drive 600 or 700 km to get to the places along the Mediterranean Sea just for warm weather during that period. If I was going to go somewhere, I want to go with my bike and ride it.

Getting ready for the draughty swirling winds around the neck

BikerjacketHM.jpg
(from H&M's site)

In the previous entry, I wrote that I had felt a bit cold around the neck when driving in cool air. I was wearing a cap then and so I did not any wind in my hair.

"On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night"
(Hotel California - Eagles)

I have a strong, very strong feeling that the driver of this car was driving a convertible and was not wearing a proper eye protection like a pair of wind blocking sunglasses. This is what I was talking about in the previous entry. Thanks to the excellent aerodynamic design by Mazda engineers, my MX-5 (ND) gets me less draught while driving but it was true that I was feeling a bit cold around my neck.

Look at the jacket I bought at the local H&M! It is a biker jacket. I liked it because it had a strap with buttons to choke the neck. I am not a biker as a motorbiker but I felt like I needed this jacket.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Swiss Motorway vignette and December holidays planning]の続きを読む

テーマ:愛車と日常 - ジャンル:車・バイク

  1. 2017/09/09(土) 23:53:25|
  2. Things European
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