Saturday, December 31, 2011

Copper roof
Historic Kamakura dates from the 12th and 13th centuries, so most tourists probably don't realise quite how much things change. Here's a shiny new copper roof on one of the buildings in Hachimangu. In just a few months it will start to become dull, brown and then in a few years it will turn dusty green.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy 42nd Birthday to me!

It seems to me there is a place in the world for "trick(s) to hide the decline"... especially when it comes to the ravages of age:

[Photo taken by James on 27th December 2011, in Kamakura St.Arbucks]


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kaizoji bell tower
I took 4 photos in Kaizoji which I thought were OK. I asked James which one was the worst, and he picked the one that I thought was the best. Then he said which one he thought was best, and it was the one I thought was worst. So here are both of them.

As for Christmas, and my birthday, which was yesterday, on which Steve Bloom wanted an update there were no gold Nikon boxes at all under the tree! Instead, yesterday I got to go to fabric town in Tokyo to buy yardage for making clothes for James!! Why has James has come over all austerity measures? You'd think he'd be feeling happy and generous what with having the most downloaded paper in GRL this week. It is a bit odd though. I wouldn't have thought that "On the observational assessment of climate model performance", was an obvious Christmas number one title. I see he has already written a post to brag about it! Tsk - and to think he's the one who teases people for checking their H-index on a weekly basis.


Monday, December 26, 2011

pigeons and a motorcycle
Entrance to Hachimangu. In a week's time it will be a sea of people. I wonder how the pigeons feel about it.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Berry Christmas

The leaves were all injured by a big typhoon this year, but I gave it my best shot.

And for those who prefer red and green...
There seems to be something being cooked in the oven. The pigeons got away...
...but the ducks are looking plump.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tori at Kenchoji
[Kenchoji, Kamakura]


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Which continent?

Another of jules' brain teasers. One of these cappuccinos was made in Kamakura and the other in San Francisco. Which is which?

And which one tasted the best?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gary Dankos

After yesterday's brief diversion to the present, I'm diving back to San Francisco to share 3 silly pictures from San Francisco's best restaurant (says the internets).

Weird plates...

Fancy plate

Poor Pigeon...

Poor Lobster...
I thought in such a posh restaurant it wouldn't do to carry the SLR, so only took my tiny Sony. Shouldn't have worried - the woman on the table next to us had a huge Canon that fired sparks into the air. She was even worse than me, and photographed every little bit of food served, as well as taking romantic pictures of the couple she was with. Mind you, I think it was also her living...


Sunday, December 18, 2011

James' birthday present must be just about the cutest mid-life crises purchase ever. Luckily with the seat right down it fits me too. It is brilliant fun!
[Top photo taken in Kamakura on Sunday. The momiji (maple leaves) may be rubbish this year but the camellia are startlingly good. Although they flower all winter and so provide some welcome colour, usually they are sparse and boring. This year they are incredibly vibrant and abundant.]


Friday, December 16, 2011

San Franciscan kohi

Kohi is Japanese for coffee. It's always a surprise that coffee in the USA is such appalling hogwash. Afterall, wasn't it the USA that invented Starbucks? Now obviously, a Starbucks capuccino isn't the same drink as an Italian capuccino, but they aren't so bad. In fact they are quite nice. At least in Japan. But in the USA even Starbucks seem a bit like...hogwash.

So we went to some effort to find a renowned cafe in which to drink coffee in San Francisco. There is one such place near the Moscone Center, called Blue Bottle. You have to queue for 30 minutes in the cold while the inefficient staff bumble around. Two Japanese could do the job of the six or so staff in a fraction of the time. Then you have to wait for some time while they create your coffee. And then you have to drink it quite fast, before it gets cold in the draughty cafe. But I suppose its as reasonable a ritual as tea ceremony...

The odd thing was that the Blue Bottle's 2 speciality coffees were imported from Japan. Not the beans, of course, but the coffee processes. This is surprising because Japan hasn't really had coffee for very long. And I assume they got it from America. Now it seems they've reinvented it and are selling it back.

We now realise that the rather mild but expensive coffee we get in a little cafe in Kita Kamakura is probably siphon coffee.

This is how you make siphon coffee in San Francisco:
Siphon coffee
In Kamakura you stick the flask over what looks like a Bunsen burner.

The other sort of coffee (which we haven't ever seen in Japan) is "Nel" coffee, which seems to be a long-winded extension of the convenience drip coffee. We didn't have time to try this one.


And here's the stupendous preparation - see the stopclock and weighing scales?
Nell Coffee

More importantly than any of that, here below you can clearly see the effects of siphon coffee on a jetlagged James.

1.  Feeling quite sleepy before drinking
pre-coffee fatigue

2. Enjoying the flavors (sic)
enjoying the flavours

3. Post-kohi buzz
Post coffee buzz

Hogwash does not have the same effect...because it is hogwash.
Airport hogwash


Thursday, December 15, 2011

San Francisco buildings and transport

The highlight of the week - hill running at dawn. This was the view from the top of Powell Street.

A pier off (of) the Embarcadero.

A not closed down bookshop. Having to queue for 10 minutes to pay while the person in front had credit cards rejected was a fun experience you don't get on Amazon.

A street with buildings and cars.

Market Street with buildings and cars and trams.


Monday, December 12, 2011

It's not the camera...'s the lens.

Recently my victims have been complaining about the size of my camera. I thought this may be because cameras are shrinking, but whatever the reason, a frightened victim does not make for good pictures. At the AGU I tried an experiment and took 3 little prime lenses along with my "enormous" DSLR camera body. Not a single one of my victims flinched, most didn't notice they were being photographed, but some of them actually smiled!

Harry Elderfield
Harry Elderfield being Keynotey. Harry has a calm soothing voice, the room was dark and it was Monday morning, but I read later on some blog that he gave a good talk. Actually I only slept through the review part of his talk, and woke up for the newer work part of his talk, which was interesting.

Americans "like comparing Apples and Oranges", but I find this phrase extremely irritating. At least Mark Boslough knows which he prefers.

Donald Lucas explains his poster to 2 interested people. This is atypical. AGU poster sessions are mostly crap.

A geologist...I suppose. They all have beards don't they? He reads his newspaper under the table like it was shameful, because he is the only person in the room without an electronic gizmo in front of him.

At beer o'clock on the 3rd floor of Moscone West, the light gets nice. I don't know any of these people, but it was apparent that most of them also prefer Apples.

She looks a bit dubious about his dodgy results.

Behind her is the queue for the beer!

She's got no beer so I suppose that's gin in her flask. At least it matches her Apple.

A real scientific discussion finishes with a smile.

Andy Ridgwell, the one person at the AGU worth photographing... but he can be quite elusive. Still, nice of him to pick a t-shirt to match his eyes. The T-shirt says "Are your cats old enough to learn about Jesus?"


Sunday, December 11, 2011

"unusual landing"

"unusual landing", originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Actually it was an unusual takeoff too, which was, I suppose, the first tyre popping, and the second one was on landing. It's a pity - we had wanted to attend a fun event in Yokohama this evening - the aeroplanes normally land on time or early at Narita, and it takes 10mins to get through the airport (for a Japanese resident with no checked baggage). But today we missed our train as we had to sit on the runway for an hour (so that if we caught fire we wouldn't take the terminal with us?) and then the aeroplane was towed slowly to the gate.


Friday, December 9, 2011


Fortunately, the recyclable beer cups entirely offset the carbon emissions of everyone's travel to the AGU making it a truly environmentally friendly conference. Sarcasm aside, I think they should allow people to pull a Pielke, and give their talks by Skype.



Thursday, December 8, 2011

AGU Day 3

At 15:30 beer is served at the AGU, inhibitions are overcome and even us scientists become kind of chatty. After all, there would really be no point at all in gathering all those air miles if we never actually spoke to each other. 

Quaffing with Ben Booth.

Kneeling humbly at the feet of Mike Mann.

Annan-Schmittner face-off sharing a joke about skeptics or some such frivolity.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

AGU Day 2

The day was as sunny as hoped.

Weston Hotel, Union Square, San Francisco
As James already mentioned, we sprinted round the Embarcadero for a morning pastry, and then got a bus back to the hotel. In the peace and quiet of lunchtime we toured Tuesday's posters, on regional climate, tsunamis, and bit of paleo. My favourite poster was one on using Twitter to chart climate change expressed in terms of the location of armadillos. Second favourite was a study which analysed whether the climate change people thought they had experienced was consistent with actually observed trends. The answer seemed to be on the whole yes, but sometimes no.

Meanwhile, I am getting quite concerned about the San Franciscans' want of taste. Who would paint their house a color (sic) that clashes with the sky?!
San Francisco house colour
And then there was this in the window of the supposedly top notch bakery...
Hello Kitty Cake in San Francisco!
I read Hello Kitty Hell for a few years but gave up recently, finally overwhelmed by the horrors it reports.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

AGU Day 1

The day began with a chemistry experiment...

Siphon Coffee in San Francisco
on thin films and rainbows...
Coffee slick
Apparently this is called siphon coffee. It was nice but the music was a bit dystopian, which probably wasn't good for the jet lag. The rest of the day was much as expected and involved science and stuff. The "stuff" being the highly entertaining late afternoon philosophy session. 

Can't find any must-see talks to go to tomorrow, so hoping for another sunny morning...
Cliff House, San Francsico
and a walk round the posters in the afternoon.


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