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.