Saturday, March 31, 2012


I think I might have missed the magnolia. They don't usually flower for long around these parts, but this year they've been shot out of the branches on to the ground extra quick. Anyway, here are some more ume.




Meanwhile, I have to slightly take back part of this, as I finally found some sympathy. Mind you, it was among middle-upper rather than middle-management. Even if nothing comes of it, it was a relief to find someone who actually thinks it is wrong that of the 3 best performers in the project, two were rewarded with demotion and pay cuts, while the third merely gets to be disgruntled at having no reward. The response of everyone else supposedly in power has been to "explain the rules", which is their way of obfuscating. Still, it is little shocking to have found out who are and are not our supporters! Unfortunately our non-supporters rise in power in JAMSTEC while our supporters drift or are elbowed away, so I'm not sure we'd get another 5 years after this one. It is the end of the financial year, and many people seem to be leaving climate science at JAMSTEC. I expect JAMSTEC to continue to sideline the climate science over the next few years, and guess that remnant of RIGC will absorbed into some other larger part sooner of later. The proposed merger of the different JAMSTEC-like institutes in a few years time could be the wild card that makes or breaks RIGC.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

bio power pruning

With looming summertime electricity shortages, the trees have been pruned so they can be easily plugged into the grid.




kawazu zakura
[Kamakuragu, Kamakura] This is an early cherry blossom, called kawazuzakura. It also is very late this year - I associate it with travel to the Wimmin's Conference, which takes place at the end of January. Meanwhile the magnolia are already starting to come out and the more common sakura wont be far behind...

I wonder if this far superior photo is of the same tree. Anyway, its good to see that the new cool D800 has already done Kamakura.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Let's Park Too

James said that people would think I was exaggerating about Sunday morning hobby parking of weird cars outside Starbucks on Motomachi Street, Yokohama, so I've been keeping up surveillance. I know a few dog breeds, but my car breed knowledge is more of the "that's a red one" kind.
Feb 26th:
Black and silver, with big ears and curly bits, which I also saw last Sunday driving into Kamakura as we were riding out. Cocker Spaniel.

Motomachi Cars

A flat white one with a funny shaped nose. Bull Terrier.
Motomachi Cars

A little red one with a white spot. Chihuahua. Also seen in central Kamakura, last Monday.
Motomachi Cars

Mar 19th:
Shiny black, obviously a Flat-coated Retriever. Not sure why they've painted its toes orange.
black and orange

Mar 25th:
Very white. A Samoyed.
white and red

I'm not sure whether it is the miniature schnauzer that is the small and grey and hairy breed that is very popular here.
I think this one is cute, but I suspect it eats a lot?




err.... Ume varieties of deep pink, pinkish and yellowish...

[Engakuji, Kita Kamakura.]


Sunday, March 25, 2012


Some more not-ume flowers. This is mitsumata (paper bush). Not only are the flowers pleasant smelling, they are also furry!
Furry buds at Engakji in January last year,


...and the same bush, last weekend

But Egaratenjin has the bigger blooms. Furry buds formed in January this year,
paperbush - mitsumata

...and big yellow balls last weekend.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Living it up...

Ark Hills Club, Roppongi
Usually when I attend a posh Oxbridgy event I try to admire the view, enjoy the food, be room filler, and actively avoid the important guests as much as possible, simply because I am sure they will be better entertained by others. This explains how I have dined on several occassions with the Crown Prince of Japan, but never even told him how much I like his shiny hair, suit and shoes. However, last night it all went wrong and James and I ended up with the Ambassador to Japan on one side and the head of Exeter College (Oxford) on the other. The main difficulty for me is alcohol tolerance. Being almost half Japanese, my tolerance is quite low, but it takes a couple of glasses of wine before the honoured guests rise to their full intellectual height, by which time I am well on the way down. Anyway, while embarrassing myself, I learned a great deal - that blogging is bad because words are valuable and people should be paid (in cash) for them, that no journalism in the UK happens outside of London, that the cut in the high end income tax rate is a very good thing, that suggesting that people might be considerate towards each other (in the context of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians) is "banal", and that politicians are wonderful people who only "obfuscate" because normal people can't draw the right conclusions when the hard numbers are laid in front of them. I supose that makes it sound terrible, but it really was a lot of fun, and I have taken these messages to heart, particularly the first one, so will make a suitable contribution towards their valuable time and words when I receive my next shiny begging letters from Oxbridge.

On the way home, 2 of the 3 trainlines between Tokyo and Yokohama were down (due to suicide, as usual), so everyone got on one line, and it was an amazing sardine ride, and we got home very late.

[View is from the Ark Hills Club, Roppongi, Tokyo]


Thursday, March 22, 2012

springing spring

At last the flowers have come out. Usually the first tree blossoms are ume "plum", but with the delay I think we are going to get a lot of different things blooming close together. These are not your normal ume...

oubai at Zuisenji
...but are oubai "yellow plum". They have a nice jasmine like smell, much stronger than ume.
[at Zuisenji, Kamakura]
There is more to come...
Anyone else think the new D800 looks groovy? Pity about the paycut... or perhaps I use it as a sympathy bargaining point?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Political Incorrectness Gone Mad

May all JAMSTEC's pathetic middle management, who have used us to bolster their own careers, be swept away.

North Shore, Pipeline

North Shore, Pipeline

Hopefully the sweeping away will not be actually due to physical waves, but instead there will be a revolution in Japanese so called "science", and they will start fostering scientific development, new ideas, even perhaps climate science.

North Shore

Yes... James forced me to sign my abusive (and illegal - in Europe) contract - he says we can leave whenever we want. Hmph. I might have already reached the limit of working hard to make other people look good. I'd rather stay home and sew up my fabric stash. He says I would get bored quickly and that he would have noone to help him pedal to work (and, of course, tell him what work to do...).

[photos are from the North Shore of Oahu, where, for the first time in living memory (or rather the 7 years that our guide, Oli, has been resident) there were no surfers out. However, as a former wave modeller, I've long wanted to see the famous nonlinear interactions caused by the offshore coral reefs around Hawai'i, so I was absolutely delighted with the show, and would very much like to return to inspect some of the other beaches.]


Friday, March 9, 2012


I think I know this one.

Egret! What was weird was the way it was wading through the grass creeping up on and stabbing nuts that had fallen from the trees.

But what are these?


This one I Googled easily
Red crested cardinal
Red-Crested Cardinal imported from South America.

Later on it rained so much that all the birds flew away and these were swimming past the hotel window.
Jelly fish.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Turtley awesome

They do not often come up for air...


But sometimes the waves try to beach them...


I'd no idea that turtles just turtle about in the shallows a short distance from residential neighbourhoods. Some of them were really big. At this beach it really was turtles all the way down.
turtle beach


Monday, March 5, 2012

Oahu touristing

We had some free time today so went on the tourist walk to see Manoa Falls. On the way up the falls were flowing quite enthusiastically,

Manoa Falls

but then the rains really started. By the time we passed the falls on the way back there was water flying in all directions off the cliff. Unfortunately the waterproof camera was stuck in the depths of James' rucksack, so I didn't try a water immersion shot. Meanwhile, the unwaterproof camera was starting to explore new artistic directions...
Manoa Falls walk

Manoa Falls walk


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Looking up

looking up
Workshop over. All talked out. Only good for staring at sky, although at this point we still had the workshop buffet to complete. Unusually, possibly uniquely, at this workshop no shopping at all was achieved, but quite a lot of work was done. So, now you know not to refuse, should Gavin Schmidt (the little one in this photo) and Axel Timmermann ever invite you to a workshop.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Caption Competition

science R US
It's deja vu all over again. Only this time, not only are there windows, but they don't even have glass in them!!!


Let's tropics

1st of March and the weather continues unseasonably warm. More confusingly, only 50% of the people are speaking Japanese. The rest gabble in some weird, primitive English dialect (which sounds a bit like "yada yada yada"). And there is still something funny about the vegetation:



Thursday, March 1, 2012

29th February 2012 x 2

The day dawned snowy at Kamakuragu, near our house,

Kamakuragu in the snow
but by the time we visited the Daibutsu in the afternoon, it had got so much warmer that massive palm trees had shot up into the sky.


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