Sunday, April 28, 2013

Kamakura colour

While we were away, Kamakura sprung into green and other bright colours.






Meanwhile, Hachimangu pond has been having a bit of a 'mare. It is making glugging noises and is full of men getting trenchfoot. I wonder if it sprung a leak, and what they did with all the carp before it was drained. The other question is whether it take two decades to get fixed, as happened with Yokohama railway station refurbishments. In protest, the pond-side wisteria have refused to flower properly this year.


Friday, April 26, 2013


Finally the big day came and we jumped into a taxi and headed for IIASA. It is located in a palace in a village a bit outside Vienna, called Laxenburg. At IIASA they do all sorts of things like global energy and population as well as working out the effects of climate change. They asked us lots of challenging questions during our seminars, which were a lot of fun to try and answer.

They have all mod cons onsite to help them achieve their lofty goals.

1. Church


2. Restaurant

3. Palace
Rather excitingly, the palace doesn't have or need air conditioning despite very hot summers (38C). James' theory was that (unlike Japan) it cools down at night, so the massive thick walls never really heat up all summer. There were also high ceilings which might have helped airflow in some mysterious way.

4. Pretty offices!

Clearly some effort is required to make JAMSTEC as habitable. Perhaps we could start by painting mountains on the grey walls.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sunday running

Last Sunday James went for a run in the rain around a concrete military base. Having done the AGU "fun run" in torrential rain I had no inclination to repeat the experience, so stayed at home. The previous Sunday, however, we both got to enjoy seeing some real runners in the sunshine, with the backdrop of Viennese architecture. They passed very near our hotel at about 8km.

Vienna marathon

And again just after halfway, by which time Haile Gebrselassie, who won the half marathon would have already collected his medal. For the marathon itself, the man with number 1 on his chest (Henry Sugut) eventually did the decent thing and came in 1st place.
Vienna marathon-2

Vienna marathon-3

Here are the fastest wimmin just after halfway. By the end F10 (Flomena Cheyech) was quite a long way in the lead.
Vienna marathon-4

The marathon was cleverly arranged to go around the town centre making it easy to cut across and get to any bit of the course before the runners. ...although some might argue that this made all that running rather futile.
Vienna marathon-5

We hung around in the sun until the funny shaped white men started stumbling past
Vienna marathon-6

However, as James pointed out, about 10 percent of them didn't seem to be in too much pain. He claims that he will be one of them one day. At 2km to go their legs weren't getting very far off the ground.
Vienna marathon-7


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 1 EGU

Day 1 is of course Sunday and mostly involves recovery from travel.

First we visited the Albertina art gallery which, like SFMOMA, made me want to give it all up and become a penniless artist.

Inspired by the extensive exhibition of shit photography, my photography took an artistic nose-dive, at least until we got to the opera house.


Where we saw the ballet La Sylphide.

And then it was up to the EGU to register and enjoy the ice breaker party.


Saturday, April 20, 2013


Japanese travel rules do not allow scientists like us to stay in foreign longer than the length of a business trip, even at their own expense. A few weeks ago, however, we drank a great deal of sake with a man from IIASA, which is near Vienna, and he accidentally invited us to extend our trip and visit him on the Monday after the EGU. This meant that we got to spend last weekend recovering from the EGU in Vienna. We had seminars to prepare for Monday, so Saturday morning was spent with a laptop in a Viennese cafe. These cafes boast of the geniuses who have thought deep thoughts within, so I suppose this is the way they are meant to be enjoyed, rather than at a hectic tourist pace. Our change in attitude had a miraculous effect on the impression of the waiter service, which had previously seemed offensively slow. It now seemed discreet and considerate.

My first coffee was a latte:
Latte, Mozart Cafe, Vienna

Work done, the rest of Saturday we wandered South as far as the botantical gardens, which had nice trees and a bit of bamboo and a few flowers growing in the grass.
tulips, Vienna botanical garden

We strolled back through the adjoining Belvedere palacey thingie place. Weather had become a magnificent stormy-bright.

The olde Viennese may have been artistic deep thinking geniuses, but it seems they were quite zoologically confused. Here's a typical titty man lion horsey woman and its naked love child.

There were others too with wings, hooves, paws and/or fishy tails, although most also had tits. Many of the tits were burnished by the many hands that have felt them up. This probably explains the breakdown of Western civilisation. We Japanese also stroke our stone statues, but on their ears, noses or tummies. 

If one could drag one's eyes away from the titties, there was also an impressive view across Vienna, with Stephansdom spire in the middle.
We wandered back to the hotel... the following sights are on the way, but actually the first 2 photos were taken on the following Tuesday evening, when we revisited a restaurant near the Belvedere, and the third picture was from after dinner earlier in the week.

I suppose this is a war memorial behind the fountain...
Fountain, Vienna

And this is the famous Karlskirche...
Karlskirche, Vienna

And this is a probably very cliched new-and-old Vienna combi sunset photo


Friday, April 12, 2013

EGU, 5pm Friday.


'Bux Vienna

Even weirder things can be found outside 'bux Vienna, than 'bux Japan

For the confused and alarmed, here's another view of the arms and legs and things.

It's part of the Hoffburg palace.

Some might prefer Cafe Central, where at last I managed to enjoy delicious cake this morning - we took the morning off after fusing my brain on nonlinear timeseries last night.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

EGU Tuesday

Yesterday was the day of our (me, Michel and a not actually present Gavin) session about using paleoclimate models and data to learn about the future.

First were the talks...I might be biased, but thought it the most interesting session I have convened. Here is the 8:30am warm-up act, Dan Lunt.

In the afternoon we had a PSD. ... a sitting-down poster session, with opportunities for discussion. I had my doubts about it, but it was quite interesting to have a small group discussion as well as the one-to-one poster discussions.

The alcohol assisted poster session in the evening seemed busy and active...

Then off to hear Brahms 1. It was very good, but before that reward, we had to hear someone trying to break a nice cello with the help of Prokofiev.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Red and Blue

Flight to Vienna. Austrian Air goes in for scarlet in a big way.

In aeroplane food horror desperation PTSD, James clicked on a special meal for both of us: not vegetarian, vegan, kosher, halal, fruitarian, but he went the whole way and went for "raw vegetables", and it was the best ever.


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