Thursday, March 31, 2011


Sakuragicho, Yokohama

Morning at Landmark Tower

The Sakuragicho area of Yokohama seems like the only place around these parts where there has been any town planning. Even the electricity cables are underground. A century ago some of it may have been underwater, and then there was the earthquake and WW2, which both flattened much of Yokohama. A few years ago was the last time I looked down on it all from the top floor of the Landmark Tower (tall building in lower picture), when the area looked like a not particularly successful SimCity game. But maybe most of the blocks are filled in now - the curved one in the lower picture has certainly not been around long.


A couple of days later... (than this)

The rings are large and James the mathematician thinks it was only about 50 years old. Being a ginkgo it could yet regrow, but its roots must pass through much of the building plot so I wouldn't be surprised if it gets dug up.

Poor ginkgo.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Niwaki #2

This is what really high-end tree pruning in the proper Japanese way gets you:


However, just down the road from that photo at Zuisenji, chain-saw based, "progress" continues apace:


And even more sadly, the building next to the most beautiful gingko in our neighbourhood (previously blogged here) has been razed. Hope the new build will sport a solar-paneled roof! It is not clear to me whether the tree will survive but I suspect its days are numbered:



Saturday, March 26, 2011

party, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Ate all parts of the chicken last night.

One curious dish, which was a novelty to many at the party, was raw chicken cooked just on the very outside, with the inside warmed lightly to optimum salmonella growing temperature. At least we got to debate whether or not it was more dangerous than the water. Not that many were drinking water...


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sorts of duck



Mallard, and Northern Pintail being chased by Wigeon, all in Hachimangu pond, Kamakura. I noticed that one of the Northern Pintails at Hachimangu is more elegant than the others, with a striking glint of green to his head, so I was interested to see on the internets that Mallards and Northern Pintails can inter-breed! Meanwhile, at home, we are still enjoying duck-fried potatoes, Ducky having been eaten at Christmas last year.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Ghosts and Zombies


At Yodobashi Camera Akiba, the lowered electricity-saving lighting makes it possible to photograph the Ghosts.


Zombies caught in the sunset at Akihabara.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

James, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Post Great Tohoku Earthquake James.

Photo taken this morning in St Arbucks, where the service pauses only for powercuts. contrast to the ex-pat Anglican congregation in Yokohama (as James already mentioned). After coffee we enjoyed the weekly shop in an unusually busy, but well stocked, supermarket and then supported the local economy by lunching in town.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Monty Hall problem Part 3 - pigeon v. Professor

The food that is for sale is really meant for the big smug koi in the pond, but Kamakura is still devoid of tourists and the pigeons and ducks are clearly feeling peckish. 

Pigeon man

Whether or not they can win at the Monty Hall game, the pigeons, clean, polite, and friendly, certainly managed to win over Andy. 

pigeon stacking

The pigeon stacking game

pigeon head

Head pigeon

strutting pigeon

Happy pigeon


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Global Thermo Nuclear Cat - meh", says Professor Andy Ridgwell.

Hello Kitty Armageddon, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

As he packed to leave for the airport, Andy's cat got shot. In the head. Unfortunately, it was not dead. There was no alternative but to abandon the trip to Japan for the vet. The cat survived with one eye fewer and a bullet lodged forever in its neck. But that was back in 2010. The rearranged visit was this week. Andy knew we'd never talk to him again if he cancelled his trip, and he has funding for a project on which he needs our expertise, for goodness sake. Since the Earth Simulator has been switched off, presently we can do our science where we like. Today's meeting was in a nice cafe in Kamakura.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sprouting House, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Spring is in the air, the birds are singing and houses are sprouting.

Having all your power produced in a small number of locations seems to be a bit problematic, so why don't the Japanese government make solar panels (or solar roofing) mandatory on all new buildings?


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunset this evening

Man and Fuji-san


peaceful Japanese coast


Friday, March 11, 2011

photo.JPG, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Thanks for your queries. We are not dead yet, and that was not Tokyo's expected "big one". Different fault. James is stuck in Tsukuba, his least favourite city in Japan, having trekked down the trainline. I'm in Tokyo, and had a pleasant earthquake in a very very new building, built on wheels - the building just glided and nothing even fell over. In a bizarre twist of fate we have just taken food and bedding to the UNHCR.


tree, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The ghosts of pruning past, at Hachimangu, Kamakura.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Night time Hachimangu, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The fallout from the photo show in Yokohama, CP+, has so far not been too injurious to James' wallet. While the bendy tripod with a choice of magnetic, spiked or suction feet, seemed a bit odd, the gorillapod for SLRs looked lots of fun, and was duly purchased a few days later. Hence this nighttime photo with flags waving in wind at Hachimangu!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

singing in the snow?, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Yesterday it snowed. James was celebrating being recovered from a cold.


Saturday, March 5, 2011



End of year pruning

Year end pruning

The Japanese are famous for the careful aesthetics they employ in tree pruning.

Unfortunately, in March, much of Japan has money to burn. I have no trouble with the four men who spent three days up the handful of pine trees at a local cemetery using chopsticks to plucking out every third needle, but that act just make the contrast with the inability to control the violence of the chainsaw even more disturbing. A few years ago it was the islands in the ponds at Hachimangu that got this treatment. This year it is historical-y site of what was probably the seat of power in Kamakura (just down the road from our house) that is being...cleaned up. As well as the trees I feel sorry for all the birds, bugs and squirrels so cruelly displaced from home. Since the idea is to spend money I don't see why they don't employ 50 men with scissors instead of 10 with diggers and chainsaws. They could surely more expensively achieve a more pleasing result. 


Friday, March 4, 2011


A special post for the taller of my sisters in law, who is dating the last thatcher in Britain.

Sugimotodera thatched roof

While there may be debate over who whittled the guards. where and when, the thatched roof of the guards' house at Sugimotodera dates from 2009/2010. It was being redone and all under scafolding when we visited in June 2009. Looks like a beautiful job to my inexpert eye.

Up the hill past the guards' house, the roof of the main building, which houses no end of important cultural thingumajigs,  seems to be enduring more interesting times. 

thatched roof!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Deva King, Sugimotodera, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Not quite so uncomplaining portrait model? This is one of the two guards at the entrance to Sugimotodera, apparently whittled in 1223 (by Unkei, one of the most famous Buddha statue sculptors of the Nara Period, and often referred to as Japanese Michelangelo - says the interweb).


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