Sunday, 14 January 2018

Day 14/365: Refracted through a new lens...


This weekend sees the national entrance exams for universities and high school students all around the country have sat at selected universities yesterday and today, hoping all their study will pay off with a place at university, starting April. My university was one of the selected exam sites which put me in the odd position of not being able to  go to campus to prepare this week's classes as is my wont (some might say that is a good thing). Still, with classes first thing Monday (just three weeks to go) it is my preferred back up plan...

So, after a morning and early afternoon working at home, time to step out into the the fresh, really fresh (about 4 deg C fresh) air. Off to Ikebukuro to get some photos of the SunCoast beaches enlarged for the office wall. That was the plan.

Waiting for the train to go

Still waiting

Ikebukuro neons


Tokyo Theatre

Waiting for trains (again)

The photos were enlarged, but somewhere in between ordering and then waiting for them to be printed, I was persuaded to consider a new camera. My everyday workhorse, the little Lumix, is a little tired and I've been pondering a leap into mirrorless cams for a while. 

And I have now leapt, as it were. Let's see what develops.

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 4.32pm, 6.54pm-6.55pm, 7.13pm; 14 January 2018] 

Day 13/365: An indulgence...

...a reward for a task done

I'm still a bit old school when it comes to the price of a hamburger. Having spent time in my youth working in a shop that made all sorts of burgers, I still find it hard to part with more than say, $4.55 for a hamburger with the lot and a bottle of chocolate I said, old school. I marvelled at the ridiculous prices for 'artisanal' burgers back home for the cost of what I once would have spent on the weekly shopping bill. Seriously? It's just a burger...

But there is one place in Ikebukuro I have passed by a few times in the course of an ordinary day: artisanal, juices, coleslaw...looks good, looks expensive...

But today, after my second clarinet rehearsal with my new group, I figured, heck, why not. It is way past lunchtime, on the way to dinner time so I can do two birds with one stone as it were...

At the bus stop, 6 deg C


H is for...


And as hamburgers go, with a rissole to make your eyes go all misty for the rissoles mum makes...this one was up there, well worth it. In the end, the juice cost more than the burger so that makes it a cheap burger really, doesn't it. Doesn't it?

It just might become a fortnightly indulgence.

[Camera : iPhone6s, 12.56pm, 4.00pm-4.11pm; 13 January 2018] 

Day 12/365: Seeing patterns here...

...and almost snow

Is that smoke, or just getting up a head of steam? The industrial stacks visible from the office window stand out some days, other days barely raise a ripple (some of my classes can be like that, but that's a story for another day). 

They can act a bit like a weather vane too, showing us which way the breeze is blowing. Doesn't show us how cold it is though. And today was a cold one, so cold in fact, I expected the late afternoon clouds to offer a few flakes of snow just on commuting time...

Eye on the clouds


Wake - up

Light on the stacks

Later in the day

Sunset clouds with wheel

and perhaps a little snow on the way didn't quite reach that point in the end, but it felt like it. The snow in Tokyo can't be too far away now. 

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 9.54am, 3.52pm, 4.58pm, 5.04pm; 12 January 2018] 

Day 11/365: On a clear day...

...crisp and clean

Funny thing winter, particularly for a Queenslander not quite so used to really cold weather...those blue skies. Blue skies, clean crisp air, see for miles and miles...but it maxed out at about 7 degrees C today. All senses kind of walloped. Can't go outside without four or five laters and yet, it all looks so inviting. 

Days like these are lovely to watch from inside the safety and warmth of the tenth floor office space, that's for certain. 

Clear as

Clear and sparkly

Surface tension

Zooming in

Heading out

And even the patterns on the water offered up something for the imagination today. And they lingered. 

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 11.44am, 12.26pm-12.27pm, 13.33pm, 2.05pm; 11 January 2018] 

Day 10/365: The remains of the day...

...fade to black

Sometimes, just for the fun of it (and, let's face it, for a degree of research purposes) I like to observe, via the camera lens, the colours of the day as the atmosphere does its stuff. This afternoon was just that sort of encounter. Having spent the morning at a travel agent booking a research-related trip to Hiroshima and surrounds in March, it was a late-ish arrival at the office to get on with work. 

But the light. 

It is what 'photography' is all about, is it not?

Sun glimpses on the wheel 

Layered colours

twilight of sorts

Lights of another kind

Until the end of the day...

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 4.11pm-4.50pm, 7.17pm; 10 January 2018] 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Day 9/365: Sail on...

...sail away

I have a view of a marvellous working port from my office, in case you hadn't noticed. The ships come and go, the tuggers operate all day, little boats, big boats, police boats, fishing boats and occasionally the odd, very odd, jet ski. There are also research boats that will berth for a few weeks, and then go. 

And when they suddenly up and go without warning, well, it is like losing something familiar. That is particularly so with the training ship NipponMaru which docked in early December. I think its just the masts really. A touch nostalgic for a seafaring time, I've never personally known, it must be said. 

But nostalgia can play tricks like that.

So while I was off training the next gen of budding political scientists, off went the ship into its next training adventure. 


Under the bridge

Through the chop

And onwards unto the distance

And we are back to work, full-swing, with growing lists of growing responsibilities (some might say more a palming off of unwanted jobs to academics...but I wouldn't say that). One day, I might just hitch a ride or stow away on that barque, next time it drops by.

Sail away, sail away, sail away, as a song from my teens went. Or is that nostalgia laughing again?

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 2.42pm-3.16pm; 9 January 2018] 

Day 8/365: Practice run...

...for it begins again, tomorrow

Not the most promising weather on the horizon today. But there are classes to prepare, syllabi to q¥write, books to read, articles to post, etc and so forth.

Today is actually a public holiday in Japan, 'Coming of Age' day, celebrating all those who turn 20 this year, the legal age for the usual adult activities drinking, smoking, driving etc. Used to be voting but that was reduced to 18 in 2016. As with most things, it is about as symbolic as 21 being the key to adulthood in Australia, except everyone gets dressed up, heads to the local council chambers and gets a group photo. 

I turned both 20 and 21 in during my first stint in Japan, neither of which was celebrated with any particular fanfare. Which I guess explains much.

So apart from a passing glance from the bus as we drove past the local council chamber, coming of age day for me was coming to work day. Even though all the gates were locked. I suppose that was sending a message of sorts too but Tuesday's prep could not wait another day.

Heading out

More than a ripple

I'll take your ripple...

Tie it up

And double it

Found my way in through the secret passage eventually and carried on with the required aplomb for out there everyone was on hols. Except of course, the tuggers...through the waves, in each other's wake. There are metaphors there I'm sure but I shall leave them alone for now. 

Work done. Bring on the final three weeks of classes for the 2017 academic year (in 2018).

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 3.56pm-3.57pm; 8 January 2018]