Monday, December 30, 2013
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The people came and packed up our stuff and took it all away - in 143 packages.
Getting ready to eject the sofa out the window and over the balcony; a standard procedure in Japan.
Wrapping a tandem
This being Japan the level of service and organisation was extraordinary.
They were amused by the number of unicycles, bicycles and tandems, and quantity of bicycle parts so it was fitting that the last package, no. 143 was Tandem Bicycle (blue). Naturally we have another tandem tucked away in our check-in baggage. Wouldn't do to be without any tandems at all for 6 whole weeks!
Don't know what Pickfords are like at the UK end, but at this end they were just as careful as you'd expect a normal Japanese moving crew to be.. (super-careful).
What now, you are thinking? This is Japan! Now we CLEAN!
Saturday, December 7, 2013
It's a tough life working for JAMSTEC. Here's my desk on our last day.
By the third from last purchase, when we were told to buy new computers if ours were more than 3 years old, because there was too much money to spend, I'd run out of good names and called my new Mac Pro "MACXS". The only mitigating circumstance is that these are the sum total of both our computers. The oldest dates from 2008, which is a long time in PC world, but Macs almost all just keep looking new. One is broken beyond repair and another so well used that it is held together with string and sticky tape. But another only has a dodgy trackpad, and the iMac's disk blew up a few weeks ago; we would have got that fixed if we were staying.
So what happens to all these computers now? Usually when someone leaves, precisely nothing happens. We have been there longer than almost everyone, and since our research was so fundable, we had three large budgets we had to help spend on our really rather cheap science. Computers and travel are what we bought. So I think we have accumulated more than average. We have at least got someone in another program interested in taking the latest two laptops. But I don't hold out much chance of the Mac Pros going to a good home - everyone will want the new style tiny black desktop thingie... I prefer the old one, as the modularity was very useful for spending up budget. Buy a base model one year and then ramp up the disks, RAM, graphics whenever the budget demanded to be spent. If only the motherboard could also have bee upgraded...
Things are going to be different now! We have a beautiful second hand laptop from Akihabara with his'n'hers partitions.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Wordpress.com seems quite good. I tried a couple of others, but they mostly seem focussed towards simple display of piccies rather than useful things like uploading and linking to PDFs. Next step is to try to get the Wordpress.com blog posts to forward to James' Empty Blog - so if you see a few weird things there in the next few days, that will be our experimentation!
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Since that was (sniffle) the last Japanese mountain adventure ever, and soon we are off to do blue skies research in the land of famously cloudy skies, here are some unashamedly gratuitous bonus blue skies!!
Saturday, November 9, 2013
The aim of the day was climbing Akadake, Yatsugatake's highest peak. With Fuji-san visible from early morning, we set off expectant of blue skies.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Another view of Yatsugatake, for those who have forgotten the story so far (sorry for the delay in posting).
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
It has been the wettest October in Yokohama since 2004 with a series of typhoons trundling by (394mm so far - footling British storms take note). Even when they don't really hit, the typhoons disturb the weather forecast, leading us to think that the typhoon forecast and weather forecast are not that well integrated. But the Japanese Met. Agency fixed it for everyone to enjoy the October public holiday that is specially set aside for exercise. A week in advance, the forecast was set fair, and so it proved to be! We headed for Yatsugatake.
This was the first peak we got to, with more of Yatsugatake (it means 8 peaks!), behind James. Last time we came here, all we could see was cloud.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
After the hornet plague came the typhoon plague. Two at once yesterday.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
It was starting to cool a little in early September and I braved a run to work. To wile away the time I decided to count hornets and, in about 45 minutes, got to 29. In the weeks that followed the numbers dwindled. It was the year of the plague of hornets, but now it is almost all over. New predators have arisen!
Hornets like to use the human-made paths in the thick forest vegetation. They are kind of like hornet motorways. A couple of weeks ago, suspended over such a path at Jufukuji temple were a series of webs of which this was one.
Elsewhere smaller spiders were just posing attractively over gravestones, eager to attract boyfriends for supper.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Red for Shinto. Sasuke Inari Shrine is all about a man who saw a fox...
Monday, October 21, 2013
Zeniaraibenten is one of the most visited shrines in Kamakura.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
A while ago it was in the news that Starbucks in the USA is encouraging people to not bring guns into their shops. But is the intention that the weapons are left propped up by the door while their owner relaxes over a cuppa inside? Behind the sign asking us to please not lean our tandem against the wall are Japanese Archery bow and arrows, owner nowhere in sight.