Close encounters with gejigeji are an effective cure to the traditional British fear of teensy weensy spiders, but still there remains something unappealing about humungous spider crabs.
For my birthday, Pa gave me a flash gun, which enabled me to shoot this scary monster good and proper.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Actually, the show is great. It involves truly multi-talented girls and some remarkable sea mammals who do lots of clever things including leaping out of the water in time to the music.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Actually for my 40th birthday I got a visit to Enoshima Aquarium and a dip in the black waters of Inamuragasaki Onsen.
Very funny being at a Japanese aquarium. As I stood in horror, eyeball to tentacle with some monstrous sea creature, little tots would run up to the tanks excitedly squealing "oishi sou oishi sou oishi sou", which means "it looks delicious", which is even more frightening when you consider that how it looks is at least 75% of the appreciation of food to the Japanese. In fact sometimes looks are so important that you don't really need to eat the food at all, an attitude that would clearly be a good solution to the obesity problems of the western world.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The duck was delicious, thanks to James' Google-based cooking expertise.
Question is what to do with the pint of fat that came out.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Today I shot a duck. What are you having for Christmas dinner?
[Hachimangu pond, Kamakura]
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
year-end cleanup pic 4:
While some assumed poor James enjoys raw prawn and sea urchin gonads, this is closer to the truth, and would have been blogged earlier if not for the camera shake.
Monday, December 21, 2009
year-end cleanup pic 3:
In a similar way to how computer programs wont work unless you copy the magic from someone else's code, a macro lens will not work correctly unless initialised with a pollen covered bee. This was that shot.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
year-end cleanup pic 2:
The foreigners cemetery is a historical landmark in Yokohama, while the building in the background is the Landmark Tower. Completed for the end of the last millennium, it is still the tallest building in Japan
Friday, December 18, 2009
In Western Britain, where I grew up, it is very very dark in winter, but in springtime some weak sunlight occasionally escapes round the edge of the cloud, enabling people to see how dusty everything has become over the winter. Thus, "spring cleaning". Here, in Eastern Japan, it is the other way round. The driest, brightest, clearest time of year is late December. So I suppose this must be the real reason why the Japanese do their big cleaning at the end of the year.
In order to try to fit in with the tradition, I am cleaning my flickr photostream, and so have decided to blog some of the pictures I like, but failed to blog when they were taken.
[year-end cleanup pic 1: wet lotus leaves at Engakuji, Kamakura]
Thursday, December 17, 2009
For my fortieth birthday I'd like a garden and a cat. Is that why this picture appeals? (OK so the pedants will be unable to spot the cats, but there were plenty around).
This may look common-all-garden to many of you, but actually this exotic and historical house in Yokohama is so exotic and historical that it's a museum!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Our windows got cleaned. This job looks like such fun. The colleague I was with when I took the picture seemed to think it is dangerous employment. I suspect the most dangerous part is having to breathe neat Shin-Sugita air.
[taken by iphone]
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Nine lessons and carols comes early in the Yokohama foreign community, because they all flee the country in mid-December. As usual James and I did our best for the worst choir in Christendom. As you would expect, he always sings both in time and in tune. I added some volume to the altos and bore the enormous responsibility of being lectern monitor, which was very exciting, since it meant I got to play with electronics (the mircophone).
Monday, December 14, 2009
Do buildings look like this in your country too?
Sunday, December 13, 2009
...and here is the mall referred to yesterday, "Lalaport", at Kashiwa no ha Campus, all dressed up for winterval. It is a slight improvement over a few years ago, in that an edible meal can be obtained there. A few years ago there was nothing at all apart from the station, then a McDonalds appeared, and then the rest followed a year or so later...
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tokyo university's Center for Climate System Research is located on the Kashiwa campus which is, unfortunately, not the Hongo campus. It is located about thirty minutes north of Tokyo on the "geek express" which is a special train line joining the characterless new-town-for-scientists-only of Tsukuba directly to the Akihabara Yodobashi Camera 10 story electric store. To make you feel extra good on arrival at the campus, the close-by bus stop is at the National Cancer Centre. This jolly start prepares you fittingly for the desolation. of the campus itself The huge concrete office buildings have been built in a infinite row, facing an infinite stretch of barren concrete. Staring across the flat expanse my mind fills in the people, coffee shops, student shops, convenience stores that should be there. But the closest anything is a 10 minute ride away, at the newly erected generic mall, "LalaPort" located next to the only slightly less new railway station, fittingly called "Kashiwa no ha campus". From there you may as well head straight back to Yodobashi Camera.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Ikuo Hirayama, "the most famous artist in all Japan" (so say our friends), died a few days ago. This is the kanji from the front of his house ("Hira" above "Yama"), just down the road from ours, and right next to the radiant gingko. I expect someone good at words would find a haiku in there somewhere...
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Today I did the annual evaluation of the members of JUMP (named so that QUMP group at the UK MetO know we are just copying them smaller and cheaper, and pose no real threat). I am happy to report that the partition of labour within the group is considerably more fair than that shown in this photo.
...Kamakura is hilly, so it can never be an entirely flat ride, but I am not sure all of the jinriksha pullers would agree to go this extra steep uphill to the actual entrance gate to Zuisenji.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
While those yellow trees that were sheltered from the typhoon a few weeks ago are looking good, the orange, for which Japan is famous is not up to much this year. Fortunate then that there is still some orange to be found.
Before generalisations arise about men having all the gear and women caring more that their electronics matches their outfit, note the young lady in the background whose SLR peaks from under her jacket.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
I suppose this is why in some parts of the world this season is called "fall". Where I come from, it is autumn: the leaves are brown, the sky is gray, then the next day after the storm there is a slippery brown mush on the ground.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Those are gourds, and round about are aging strings of tiny origami cranes (its a bit of a scruffy shrine really), and there at the back in the darkness, are people actually laundering their money.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Zenarai Benten is Kamakura's money laundering shrine. It is best to allow it to dry out before using though. As James once found out to his cost after a particularly wet mountain expedition, the ticket machines at the railway stations don't like wet money.
And then I found this.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
In response to Belette, the problem is that sometimes nothing happens. Although, as I later learned over the breakfast table, actually at that very minute something so outrageous that I have been forbidden from blogging it, was in fact occurring on the internets.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Showing that Jomyoji tea shoppe really does have a British-style garden, the first snow drops I have seen for 8 years.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Jomyoji, one of the top five Zen temples of Kamakura has an English tea shoppe in its grounds. I have avoided it for 8 years, because English tea shoppes in Japan sell cakes that look realistic but taste of salt rather than of sugar. This is so crushingly disappointing that its better to avoid the places altogether. I thought the Zen temple version would be the worst of the worst, but I was wrong. Not only were the cakes actually sweet and the coffee quite acceptable, but the garden was actually very realistic too.
There was even an on-site bakery, which is what the picture is of.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This time the focus is on data people, but to all climate modellers, whose arts are equally dark: in order to avoid being boiled alive after all is revealed, make sure you have fully published your climate model at the journal created especially for the purpose of improving transparency in modelling science, GMD.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Don't come the raw prawn with me, and yes that's the ole sea urchin's gonads next to it... mmm delicious. But it would have felt kinder if the chef had killed the poor prawn rather than leaving its top half a-twitching on the plate.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Another abrupt climate change occurred yesterday and it is only 4 months since the last one. Now it is cold, and therefore "virtually certain" that all the mantises are dead including dear sweet Trevorina
Photo is taken in a sub-temple at Hase-Dera. It is a scary place. There is one little concrete statue for each dead baby. I hope Trevoria managed to make 10 times this many progeny before she died. Mantis infant mortality rates are very high...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Autumn colours and cherry blossom in a single photo! The title of the photo gives it away. This is a cherry blossom that flowers in October. The tree is rather sparse now, so I wouldn't bet on it still being in flower by the time the maple tree in the background has turned all the way to red. But then again I do usually lose my bets...
Monday, November 16, 2009
Commissioned by Steve to disambiguate kiddy kimonos, here's a 3 year old girl.
Yesterday, 7-5-3 festival day, I stood inconspicuously with my long lens along with the other inconspicuous men with inconspicuous long lenses, at the foto-place at the foot of the stairs by the bandstand, and we all took pics of happy families. It is quite entertaining. Basically the child is charged with climbing a large staircase wearing expensively rented constricting clothes and shoes it is impossible to walk in. Luckily parents are allowed to help. Despite all this it was smiles all round and I saw not a single tear or tantrum. Japanese kiddywinks are the best!
Then, most bafflingly, as we stood there surrounded by beautiful people in lovely kimono, one of the inconspicuous photographers came up and asked me (dressed in tatty jeans and drab jacket) to pose for him! Hmmm.. seems that I will never be an inconspicuous photographer after all...
Friday, November 13, 2009
In the comments to the tiny dot boy and his family, on Js empty blog Steve was getting curious about men's attire.
THis is how it seems to me:
0-10: "moe!" (dressed by Mum)
11-18: Exhausted school boy (dressed by school)
18-25: Fashion icon seeking mate (dressed by self)
25-65: Exhausted salaryman (soul and dress-sense owned by company, wife does what she can but his heart's not in it)
65+: Inconspicuous (obeys she who must be obeyed)
0-10 and 18-25 are by far the best. Here's one of the latter.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Our meeting last week was mostly about the last millennium, so as well as oceanography we also mused on some old trees, one of which (a ~500 year old ginkyo) frames most of the right hand side of this photo.
I often try to take this photo of the bandstand and several tori down the ~1.5 mile dead straight road between the beach and Hachimangu shrine in Kamakura. I like the lighting in this one but, the thing I find most interesting is that almost everyone who is not actually walking up the stairs is engaged in photography.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This year disaster training had to be postponed at the last minute due to a disaster; a typhoon was directly overhead. Luckily the replacement day was 20C and sunny. For the first time this year there was a 10 second count-down to the pretend earthquake. I do hope we will get one of those for the real thing. Then there will be time to grab my helmet and sit cuddling my Mac Pro under my desk. Really I just like any socially acceptable excuse to cuddle my Mac Pro.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
When the family dresses up kimono-stylee, the salaryman remains attired the same apart from his accessories; his briefcase always becomes a camera, and in extreme circumstances, such as shown in this picture, he may adopt a more brightly coloured tie. It is really quite odd, because there does exist traditional kimono-stylee wear for men.
[Early 7-5-3 celebrants at Hachimangu, Kamakura]
Monday, November 9, 2009
This picktur what I took in Yokohama yesterday is getting an awful lot of hits on flickr. Odd. It's not that great a picktur. Anyway, Christmastide has just started in Japan, so we are all dustng off our faux fur, mini-skirts (shorts are also permitted) and knee high boots.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Our week of Let's Internationally Climate Science (=we had visitors) ended yesterday evening. Last session, oceanography.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
What's the integral of one over cabin dcabin?
[Old Faithful, Yellowstone]
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
While Todai (Tokyo University) does include a half-hearted attempt at the cloistery thing, it does Japanese style much better. This is the lovely Akamon (Red Gate).
We were at Todai yesterday to hear Manabe-sensei (he's Suki Manabe to you) tell us all about the Younger Dryas.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I hope, like all Japanese mountaineers, you can name all the peaks and troughs on this famous ridge. hint.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Starting later this week and for a whole week we are hosting a Let's Internationally workshop, so we seized the weekend and climbed some mountains and also watched some leaves.
The trick now is to not get diagnosed with 'flu before the visitors leave, since if one of us gets it then we both have to stay off work for 8 days.
Friday, October 23, 2009
On Monday we weren't only making our decadal visit to yasukuni shrine, but were in town to hear Uzawa-sensei and Lord Nicholas tell us all about the economic impacts of climate change. Usually the Blue Planet Prize is a bit ethereal; everyone applauds, goes away and then carries on as usual. This time, however, with economists talking money people seemed much more interested, with fun questions such as Why Can't the Third World Just Pay for It All Themselves?
No photography was allowed, so instead here's a montage of my doodles. Uzawa-sensei is at the top, to his left is Lord Nicholas, in the middle is most important person - the simultaneous translator, and the rest are the audience, some of whom were of course asleep. The woman at the bottom had red hair and a white suite with 80s shoulder extensions and she asked how we can make the forests as profitable as the parking lots which they are knocked down to make way for.