Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hydrate or die

Hydrate or die

We lost some cpu and some vending machines over the summer but fortunately the freezers were kept on so we can still make ice at work. Best purchase of the summer was huge clear Starbucks cups. We only need fill them twice a day.

And they are particularly pretty with pycnocline drinks...

caramel machiato

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

camouflage


camouflage, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Purple flower and a mothy thing.
The mothy thing is a シマゲロオオヨコハイ, or Black-tipped Leafhopper (Bothrogonia ferruginea).

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New old gate

New gate at Kenchoji

The Karamon gate at Kenchoji got refurbished. Last year it looked more like this:



New gate at Kenchoji


[Not our photo - clicking on the image will hopefully take you to the source]

How nice that someone still has enough money to do things properly.... at least I assume it's not a plastic veneer...

And on other side of the gate? Zen central...

Kenchoji

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

More dangerous than nuclear meltdowns...

The Hornets R Back!!! You will remember that, back in 2009, Japanese hornets (which kill about 40 people a year in Japan) were plentiful in our neighbourhood, and we tracked the source down to radical Buddhism at Zuisenji, our local temple...


Japanese hornet nest - closeup

All seemed quiet last year and we thought perhaps the monks had gassed the sleeping hornets over the winter. Perhaps the colony just died off. But they're back and they're setting up a shiny new home.

Japanese hornets nests

For those who don't remember what they look like, here's a massive hornet sucking on a medium sized camellia flower:

Beauty and the beast - Japanese Hornet

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Lotus and lily

Lotus at Hase Dera

lily pond at Hase Dera

I took the above photos with my telephoto lens at Hase Dera temple in Kamakura. With a telephoto, you stand well back and the narrow field of view enables control of the background. Most people ignore this pond as it is just to the side of the route through the temple so, when I arrived, as usual, no one was there. However, all you have to do is wave your camera in a certain direction and a few seconds later...the view was fully obscured by umbrellad photographers pointing their cameras the same way as me. :-)

lily pond at Hase Dera

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Downtown Kamakura

Amanawa

Even though Amanawa, the oldest* Shinto** shrine in Kamakura, is located in one of the busiest parts of town, it doesn't get many visitors. Don't know why. Because entry is free?

*8th Century, although of course none of the buildings are that age - I suppose, in UK parlance, one would say that there has probably been a shrine on this site since the 8th Century....

**It looks very Zen to me - just show what I know...

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

hooked noses

ravens

crows at the beach

I sometimes wonder if the goal of climate science papers is for the last line of the conclusion to consist of just acronyms, a few little words, and a verb. By comparison photographers use hardly any acronyms. One is BIF which stands for Bird in flight. So here we have BOP - Birds on posts.

The ravens in the top photo are at Bryce Canyon while the crows in the lower photo are hanging out at the temporary huts on Kamakura beach. The ravens seem to like having their photos taken, but pointing a camera at the crows pisses them off and they soon flap away in a very deliberately annoyed manner. 

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The young duds

Daibutsu fashion

There was a request to know what the young duds are wearing. Or something. Well here you go. All these were taken at the Daibutsu in Kamakura.

At the Daibutsu

Daibutsu fashion

At the daibutsu

Stupid T-shirts are still very popular:
Daibutsu fashion

A not quite so young dud:
man posing


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Monday, August 22, 2011

Beach Life

Kamakura summer beach life is in full swing. There are already plenty of surfers, even at 8am on a raining Saturday.

beach hut

Surf Rescue

A beach rescuer - just like Baywatch:

Surf Rescuer

No one seems to need rescuing though:

Saturday morning at Kamakura beach

And the ocean's a flat calm:

flat calm

Oh - here's a wave they all missed:

At Kamakura beach

But he's caught this one - surfin' a 2 inch wave!

surfing a 2 inch wave

When there are no waves, why not try all alternative sport - ocean footie - I'm not sure there's that much future in it:

ocean football?

Obligatory surfer babe:

surfer

In Kamakura there are two kinds of people, late-night beachsiders and in-bed-by-10pm mountainsiders. It seems the same is true of the pigeons. These beachsiders looked very much like they were experiencing the morning after the night before.

morning after the night before pigeons


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Sunday, August 21, 2011

One of us

Daibutsu

While the Daibutsu looks nice with a blue sky background, in the even lighting of a cloudy mizzly day the he becomes one of the people.

A man was lying prostrate on the path in front of the Daibutsu. Some checked to see he was OK. Perhaps he was deep in worship. Then it became apparent he was worshipping - but his object was the Nikon rather than the Daibutsu.

Worshipping Nikon at the Daibutsu

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Friday, August 19, 2011

wingnuttery

James, James, James, James

Many barking wingnuts have Galileo complexes. They think that because Galileo wasn't believed, they are as right as Galileo.

Mine is more like a Marie Curie complex. This is a special complex only for women who work with their husbands. They believe that because people only realised quite how clever Marie Curie was after her husband was tragically run over by a cart, that they are also eclipsed geniuses. Mustn't let the lack of handfuls of Nobel Prizes get in the way of the fantasy. 

Actually I cannot imagine how she kept going at such a high standard after losing her best friend and colleague... especially since people are almost always better as either a team or a solo performer.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Very Loud Outside

Cicada!

Japan seems to lack noise pollution laws, so we get annoying vans shouting all sorts of rubbish anywhere, stupid gangs who drive around on motorbikes without silencers, and when the temperature rises above a certain threshold we get these - cicada! The internet says there are 30 different types in Japan and they are clearly the real reason that people don't riot. It's too loud outside to riot.

Note for David Benson [see comment here]: This cicada was wearing this year's new wave fashion of a simple brown wing wrap, but was otherwise naked. 

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

whi O whi O whi?

...is all that is to be a heard from British people presently. (the subject is the recent riots, of course). In answer to the question, everyone just trots out their favourite thing they disapprove of about how things aint what they used to be.

Sunday morning in Yokohama

As I walk past this bar in the middle of Yokohama early on a Sunday morning I have often marvelled at the neatly arranged empty sake bottles, and wondered if the British police would even allow this kind of decoration - after all, to most British people, an empty bottle is a weapon, and anything left out on the street belongs to whoever can grab it first.

There are so many differences between British and Japanese culture, and only one of the two countries had riots last week. I could point to so many things, as I stare out of the window making things up... but I suppose that the British social scientists must be pretty happy, as now they'll hopefully get lots of research grants to work out the real reasons why(owhyowhy).


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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shibuya


Passed this delightful venetian canal in Shibuya on the way to a symposium about how Japan is going to rebuild after the tsunami. It didn't half stink. 



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Saturday, August 6, 2011

butterfly and flower

butterfly on flower

[Jomyoji, Kamakura]

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy cool summer

Jomyoji

Luckily for TEPCO (our electricity provider, who is mysteriously short of watts this year) the summer has turned remarkably cool. A couple of weeks ago we had a typhoon and since then the temperature has barely touched 30C, and overnight it has been positively chilly (diving to around 23C). Here is Jomyoji temple (home of the 2nd blue dragonfly) on a cool and misty July morning.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another blue dragonfly

dragonfly on cone flower

Well I was wrong. The dragon fly viewing is even better at Jomyoji "English" garden that at Kosokuji Juniso. At least it is better in the sense that the garden is much more accessible, and you can sit down and enjoy a nice cup of coffee while you are there.

In other news I joined Google+. It seems very handy and to have a very pleasing interface. Of course, whether it is ever useful depends on whether anyone else joins in! So far I have 2 friends!

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