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.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I did promise a few more favourites from Yellowstone...
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Right. Back to the bugs. We've had a massive gejigeji in the house for 2 nights running but I've been too terrified to go and get my camera. Instead here is another nephila clavata. At this time of year they hang everywhere, but mostly above Japanese head height (=my head height), thus it was tall James of the steady hands (my bipod) who borrowed my camera for this one, who is currently camping over our house entrance.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
ahhh... a rest from big bugs and 2-dimensional bankers...
This flower could be an ornamental kind of cosmos. I found it in one of the row of 12 small, square gardens in the east side of Hachimangu shrine in Kamakura. These gardens seem to appear each year. I think that they are mostly put together by local garden companies, and will be there for about a month.
Monday, October 19, 2009
New citibank tower in Tokyo. The financial crisis must have hit them hard since it seems they ran out of money after building just the front wall.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Disconcertingly, this was moving from left to right. So, it seems there is an evolutionary advantage to dressing strangely and giving the impression that you keep your brains in your bum. That must be the explanation for modern celebrity culture ....and I suppose it makes me the bug paparazzi.
[taken outside our house. Maybe some sort of swallowtail caterpillar - it was huge - around 8cm long]
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Despite her name, at about 6cm, this is not the largest species of kamakiri in Japan. She is, however, a different (and bigger) species from Trevorina. She was unwisely hunting a 5 legged katydid on the path from the bicycle to the house, so I hope she doesn't mind being blogged, as she could so easily have been trodden upon instead.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I first visited Yellowstone in 1976 and again in 1978, when it was very large and I was very small, and I particularly remember visiting the Fountain Paint Pot of lovely bubbling mud both times, so I was particularly happy to return and photograph an exploding bubble.
I may blog a couple of other views of Yellowstone, but I made a collection of what I think are the best at this flickr set. If you have a few minutes to enjoy them, and are not on dial-up, I recommend viewing in slideshow mode (click "slideshow" near top right of this page).
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
While in Yellowstone, we discovered James' "special ability" is geysir prediction/mastery. How fitting for a
reckless gambler Bayesian climate scientist such as he. So, we pretty much saw them all, no matter whether they were due to go off or not. This one is the tallest predictable geysir (James says they are to be called by their proper Icelandic name, and at least it spared us the whole US/UK guyza/geezer quandary.), shooting to around 200ft. Hard to convey in 800 pixels but notice how ipsy wipsy the huge pines are by comparison.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
In contrast to the wastefulness of the Americans, we Japanese know exactly what do with our hot water, and we don't waste a drop.
Unlike in Iceland, no turbines are being driven. No, this is used as bath water, which while perhaps not considered a necessity by all, I guess it might be an efficient use of the energy.
Ironic tone off for just a moment: I wonder how long it will be before the likes of Greenpeace realise there might just be a direct conflict between "clean energy" and ecology.
Monday, October 12, 2009
hmmm... more than one person now seems to be anthropomorphising the poor bison. I 'm worried now that some may be a little too obsessed... perhaps a psychometric test is in order.
Q: Whose face can you see in this evidence of America's wanton waste of natural hydrothermal power?
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Funny how clouds make shapes that look a like real things. I thought this one looked a bit like a cowboy, but perhaps I was hallucinating after too long in the wild west. I comfort myself that I may not be not quite as bonkers as Steve Bloom, who commented that he thinks this looks like this!
Photo taken in the land of no wi-fi.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Hank Roberts requested clouds so here they are. What is clear is that the sky is much, much bigger over in America than here in tiny Japan (we're back home now). So it really is unsurprising that the different climate models do a better job in some parts of the globe than others.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Louis: What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison?
Thelma: [is too busy taking this photo to answer Louis' one joke-of-the-holiday yet again]
Her Dad: They're just big cows you know, nothing special, and Highland Cattle are much more interesting.
...but they all enjoyed spare rib of bison for supper.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Snapped in the wild west, from the window of our truck.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
More exotic wildlife! Japan has jungle crows, which are rather big, but the well fed ravens of the USA are even bigger, and as we all know, bigger is better. Furthermore, the ravens seem to not only be more friendly but also more vocally gifted, saying a number of things other than "CAW".
Sunday, October 4, 2009
In Europe a moose is an elk, and, we didn't see any on our road trip (Louis, Thelma and her Dad) apart from ones nailed to restaurant walls. This photo is of what the Americans call an elk which is just a quite large deer. Photo was taken in the land of no-wifi.