Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter

Sometimes it is advantageous that the shops don't stock British food - James made delicious hot cross buns!

Hot cross James


My mother-in-law knows the best way to my heart...

Easter Eggs!

And there were 4 more eggs each in the parcel!

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Monday, April 25, 2011


strelitzia, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.
Our pet strelitzia.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Petal Fever

Arrived back on the Kanto plain at the peak of a fantastic but short cherry blossom season - ie all the blossoms came out together.

sakura viewing
Our walk home was shared with many others. It was nice to see the crowds returned to Kamakura.

A week later we went out early to enjoy falling petals...

Komyoji
I'm not sure why some suggested that cherry blossom parties should be cancelled because of the apocalypse. Several Japanese people have explained to me that cherry blossom season is not about spring and new life, but rather is a period of mourning - best enjoyed while the petals are falling - signifying the ephemeral nature of life and beauty. I would have thought, therefore, that nothing could be a more fitting way to mark the recent apocalypse than getting drunk on Tokhoku sake as thousands of petals fall all around.

A few minutes after the above photo was taken, the morning petal blowers and brushers came round to get the night's fall of petals all tidied up. Why they would do this I don't know. Perhaps, once again, petrol powered hand tools allow cultural tendencies to get out of control...

Komyoji


Kaizoji
Not actually cheery blossom petals, but crab apple (kaido).

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Saturday, April 23, 2011


korea, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The April Foolery of Austria Air continued on the way home. We were permitted to enjoy an orange cone for an hour or so in Seoul while the idiots changed flight crew. The subsequent additional snack was, however, a "fluffy muffin", which was a considerable improvement over the pre-Chernobyl chicken ramen we had on the way out.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Vienna

Yes - a sadly predictable post after yesterday's. As a formerly amazingly important and now amazingly irrelevant city, Vienna has a kind of sick desperation in its modern building...

leaning buildings
Just like Sakuragicho, the Viennese can make leaning buildings too!

Austria Center
The Austria Center - the present home of the EGU conference. It is OK inside although this year some of the rooms were too cold. Particularly the one used for the paleoclimate sessions could have been more like the Last Inter Glacial and less like the Last Glacial Maximum. Luckily I had my magic sweater with me. I did not realise it was magic when I made it - but it is incredibly light, warm and compressible. The only issue is having to avoid geeks with rucksacs and velcroey jackets while wearing it, as the loopy weave pulls badly. But really it is quite nice to have an excuse to avoid rubbing up against them...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Olde Vienna

vienna 6
Kunsthistorisches Museum

Karlsplatz
Karlzplatz and Henry Moore

vienna 5
Outside the Hofburg, Rat House in background

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Viennese coffee, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

After the conference, a well-deserved coffee and cake at a konditorei in Vienna town centre.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Butterflies

After the concert, we had lunch in the palm house. The food tasted very good, but this is the only restaurant where I have ever seen a waitress take a swig from a drink before placing it on a tray and taking it to a table.

palm house

Lunch was followed by brief trip to the butterfly house.

butterfly house

butterfly house

Is it a good thing when to be frightened by one's own photographs...?

butterfly house

So much excitement meant we had to go home to the hotel and rest for the afternoon ...and practice our talks. James was under the misapprehension that he could present 30 slides in 12 minutes, so I had to work hard getting him to chop out all the irrelevant guff. Finally got it down to 13, including title page and bibliography. In the evening we ran up to the Conference centre and registered. This process is now very quick, but still worth doing the day before if, like us, you have posters to hang on the Monday and also want to make the first (8:30am) talk.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Strauss - the other one

In pole position poised above the 8th double bass, Sunday morning was the world famous Vienna Philharmonic. Like at the Riding School, photography is not allowed, presumably as it frightens the players, so these photos were all taken in the intervals.

vienna phil

In the first half of the concert, a little dumpy woman (Dame Gillian), did amazing things with the 4 console organ of the Musikverein. Our excellent position above the orchestra was luckily on the side of the hall that allowed us to watch her in action. The cadenza of Poulenc's organ concerto proved without doubt that her little silver court shoes were magical.  

vienna phil


In the interval people go outside, mostly to inhale smoke.


vienna phil

The concert hall is hardly an auditorium and I suspect that all the seats have some disadvantage. From our position, the percussion was perhaps not quite full volume, but how much percussion does one really need?

vienna phil

A lot apparently. In the second half, things got quite excessive. Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony requires an inordinate number of instruments. Apparently, as a child, Richard had a bad time in the mountains one day and got wet and cold and lost, but he survived to tell us all about it. James thought at 50 minutes it was rather a rushed mountain adventure. Does that mean we now need to sample one of Richard's longer works? 

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Extra fun

The advantage of the April Foolery of Austria Air, was an extra day to recover from travels before the conference started. Japanese jetlag wakes you up early in Europe, so Saturday morning we headed off to the Hofburg:

statue

And found the home of the prancing horseys: The Spanish Riding School.

horseys

Our 10 year old guidebook suggested nothing would be on, and that tickets to the proper performances we unobtainable, but that one may find space in a practice session. We joined the queue anyway and got tickets to the performance which started 40 minutes later!

Photography is not allowed, as it frightens the horseys, and certainly it was true that applause made the younger horseys jump about a bit. Having switched off flash and focus-assist lights, and as the final applause thundered out, I thought it should be safe enough and took this shot:

Spanish Riding School, Vienna

Like all real girls, I like horseys, and I do miss never seeing them in Japan, so I enjoyed the show. But I did think it seemed a bit pointless. The best bit was the dance at the end, where they tramped round in a kind of set dance... to Strauss, naturally. After 10 minutes in Vienna one is already sick of Strauss waltzies.

Horse trick

This is one of the horse tricks that I didn't photograph live. Unlike the statue, the actual horses held the pose for just a short while, although they did rather better in the exercises when they had no riders on their backs.

I don't remember Saturday afternoon. Perhaps we ate some cake and fell asleep.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Vienna Breakfast Buffet, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Not often I get a commission! Breakfast buffet at Hotel Stefanie, Vienna. Very nice hotel. Best in Vienna that we have tried. Quiet, clean, big room, fantastic bed, mostly working shower, bird song and church bells in the morning. Only problem was the crap internets.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

smoking

Viennese smoking


At last the impossible has happened and the smoking situation in Vienna has improved. At restaurants and cafes it seems to be under control, and although many people smoke outside at restaurants we were not so troubled by the disgusting habit of people smoking walking around in the streets, that was so prevalent last year in San Francisco and Cambridge. The Viennese do however seem like hardened smokers in attitude. When I asked if the EGU cafe, which was an impenetrable smokey haze two years ago, was non-smoking, the waitress replied that unfortunately it was! Inside the EGU, the one disappointment was the EGU conveners' party.

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Friday, April 8, 2011


poster, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.
James and Dan discuss the importance of making sure the figures in a paper are colour coordinated with the journal's front cover.

The EGU has regressed from internet to internot....at least I don't recall this being a problem last time. So, blogging of pictures from Vienna will have to wait until we are back in Japan.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Mostly Japanese mountains

On the flight we had views of some favourite hills


Fuji-san


Yatsugatake

Kita Alps (we typically head either here or the Minami Alps, for a week-long walk in the summer):

Kita Alps

See our website for some of our adventures on these hills, although I see that some of the most spectacular walks are missing. Must get James on the case.

No photo of the Minami Alps. We passed over them, but I didn't take a photo. So, for contrast, this is Mongolia (I think):

err... Mongolia?

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Narita Airport

Korean Air from Narita

Racing cars?

ANA

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April Fools

We had a slightly unusual trip to Vienna, home of the IAEA.

The Narita Express train is not running so we got the bus.


This was actually a pleasant change. It is fast, frequent, and friendly and affords great views.

Then the April Fool jokes started.


The flight crew disembarked just long enough to Geiger Count the passengers. Fortunately this did not take too long as the flight was not very full.


The only food served on this part of the trip was a tiny tub of pre-Chernobyl chicken ramen.


Stopped for 1.5 hours at Beijing Airport to change flight crew.  Six hours after we left Narita, it was well past 12 noon, when April Fools jokes are supposed to stop. Hungry James was not amused.


Arrived rather late in Vienna, but at least we have an extra day to recover,

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