Sunday, 24 September 2017

Day 267, 24 Sep 2017: It is our right to protest...

Day 267: ...and protest we will

I could have headed out early to get to the beach, near the club house, to help with a beach clean up. I only found out about it late yesterday and it would mean a 7.00am departure to reach the beach in time. Perhaps if they'd held it in the afternoon...

Suffice to say, my 6.45am body told itself to rest a little longer, for this week classes are on and you return to the gym.

So, next option was to head off in the other direction on the local train line to explore a little town. Just because Sunday. 

And then, in my twitter timeline, notice of a gathering at Shinjuku Station for a demonstration against proposed changes to the Japanese Constitution. This is work. Off I went, for research purposes...

It was only a small group that gathered, but at one of the busiest train stations, they picked up a fair bit of passing traffic. 

A kind of multi-media presentation using traditional kami-shibai--a traditional storytelling device, acting, street theatre and singing. 

And a couple of demonstrations in passing--one related, about US bases on Okinawa, and another about raising the minimum wage--all in a day7s research really. 

Opposition to amendments

Running through the points

'Peace! We love Article 9'

The group's banner

A pause as the Okinawans pass through

Could be a dugong, an animal under threat in Okinawa

People of Okinawa don't believe the national government is listening, nor cares, about them

Another version of the script

Every protest needs its song

Now for the minimum wage protestors

Over work
I think we all feel that...

Closing comments
'Keep fighting the good fight'

We don't hear a lot about the demonstrations against the Abe Govt here in Japan. They vary in size, but not in passion, these people today really believe in what they're doing. It is important to listen. 

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 3.35pm-4.42pm; 24 September 2017] 

Day 266, 23 Sep 2017: To work, perchance...

Day 266: eat

I have oft remarked that the area where I work is a lot like South Bank back home in Brisbane. And the bonus is, there is always something going on. And this being my second year here means we are running into repeat events. Like last year, the Tokyo Food Festival has landed again for three days. 

Now I did have good reason to go to the office on a Saturday: a) I usually do; b) there is always work to do; c) I keep willing my manuscripts into publishable form; d) class reflection and forward prep; these are the usual reasons. 

There were other reasons today too food festival a colleague was attending an event at the nearby food festival convention centre so we caught up for food festival coffee. And, of course, checking out the food festival is always a good thing to do, help out the economy, discover new things, etc and so forth.

A Saitama mascot

Food for all

This: a Wakayama hot dog, smoked, with plum sauce

Behind the tents

Food in all directions, this way...

...and that

Much smoke

Actual peanut butter (Chiba)

Saturdays as work days. or work daze sometimes. One day it won't be the case...

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 2.55pm, 3.04pm, 6.11pm-6.49pm; 23 September 2017] 

Day 265, 22 Sep 2017: Blue one day...

Day 265: ...'wow' clouds the next

So the typhoon came and went earlier in the week, the blue skies were yesterday, so what explains today? Unexpected showers, that's what. And on a Friday. This is no way to invite the weekend over now is it.

Still, photographically-speaking, from my vantage point, there is rarely a dull moment. Like today.


Moving in

Layer upon layer

Fly through

That fence keeps coming down

And then the rain came

Even on the window

And look at that, 265 days down, that means just 100 left in this year, 2017. 

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 2.52pm-3.11pm; 22 September 2017] 

Day 264, 21 Sep 2017: Clear blue skies...

Day 264: fas as you can see

The summer heat is dissipating, the autumn tinges are approaching. Although we are not quite done with the hot weather yet, there are signs of autumn. 

Today was just one of those stunning clear blue sky days where, from the office, I can almost see home, by which I mean Brisbane (which is of course a slight exaggeration, but only slight). 

Today was the first day of one of those very important classes, students joining their first political science seminar to find out what it is all about. Some already have clear ideas about why they want to study politics, others are a little less sure. It is important for me because it is this point in their academic studies where they can really 'get it' or decide to give it is a bit if a responsibility. And a challenge.

But I quite like it.

Clear blue, with a touch of cloud

You can see as far as...

Zigged, zagged

What to do...?

It'll be alright

Coming down

Days like this are truly one of those 'if only I knew then what I knew now', transport the now me back to the then me, and join today's students and'll be alright. It will all work out. Keep your eyes on the blue skies. 

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 11.49am-11.50am, 1.15pm-1.16pm, 1.41pm; 21 September 2017] 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Day 263, 20 Sep 2017: New semester...

Day 263: ...and so the seminars resume

With the Japanese summer lolling (!!) pretty well over, it is back to normal scheduling for just about everything, including my various research institutes, study groups and seminars. 

Today consisted of explanatory meetings for seeking external grants (constant ongoing unavoidable occupational hazard)  and the first post-break meeting of the East Asia Community Research Institute. Tonight was my second meeting. 

I like going there, it is held in the former residence of former PM Hatoyama Ichiro. It is now a national trust property open to the public during the day and then the venue for the research institute meetings in the evening.  Easy to do when the president of the institute is the son of said PM, Yukio, himself PM for a brief period in 2009. 

They continue working on my park below...

Just sitting there all day

A hint of sun

The river passes through Edogawabashi

A little reflection before the meeting

A hint of garden

I do plan to come back here during the day one day, to take in the gardens, quite beautiful I understand. But first, work. And research.

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 4.02pm, 5.17pm; iPhon6s 5.21pm; 20 September 2017] 

Day 262, 19 Sep 2017: And so it begins...

Day 262: 9.00am

The timetabling gods weren't smiling on me this semester. Two classes starting at 9.00am, means a 5.00am up and at it to begin the 90minute commute about 6.00am. Yes, by that calculation I do get to work by about 8.00am but I've never been one of those lecturers who can walk from the car park to the lecture theatre (as it were). I like to check over notes, double check the IT (in this era of mostly inconvenient IT breakdowns) and just breathe. 

We have a new-fangled roll-taking system now too (which went on the blink half-way through) and our 'new' class management system (another bit of annoying IT intervention invention) isn't quite fully operational. Bit awkward for getting the material to students on time...

Japanese university classrooms are a lot less tech-oriented than Australian university classrooms. When I left the Australian classrooms, almost every student read facebook posts in class worked off a laptop; lectures were expected to be a kind of techno-bravo song and dance session. Japanese student still take notes the old-fashioned way, pencil and paper, and might occasionally look at their smart phones. And yes, of course chatter and/or sleep all the way through. Some things remain the same.

That early light

Speeding this way...

Floating that way...

I know that feeling

Just like the port. Some boats might look a little worse for wear, just like the teaching staff, but, they keep on working through whatever, the timetable throws at them.

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 8.23am, 2.48pm, 4.05pm; 19 September 2017] 

Day 261, 18 Sep 2017: And as the typhoon approaches...

Day 261: the new semester begins

So it turned out, we had to turn out for the start of the new semester after all today. Just when we hoped we might squeeze out one more day...

But to look at the sky this morning, you'd be right to wonder 'typhoon? what typhoon?'; beautiful *clear* blue skies, fresh, and a 'delightful' 33deg celsius. Yes, 33 deg. In September. Hmm.

For the rest of the country, today was actually a public holiday, Respect for the Aged Day. We also get all the aged statistics too: the oldest person, a woman is 117 (imagine!), there are more than 67,000 centenarians this year (imagine!) and 88% of those are women.

Nice idea but I would hope we would be prepared to respect the elderly every day.

Meanwhile, while I had no scheduled classes today, I do have a busy Tuesday to prepare for. Not that that stopped me looking out the window from time-to-time, for research purposes of course.

Now just where did that typhoon go?

Clear as...

Intriguing wall

Wheel of rainbow colours

Cranes craning

That holiday feeling

Tomorrow is an early start, with three classes running on one after the is going to be an interesting semester. I may join the ranks of the aged this time next year. 

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 15.01pm-15.03pm, 4.00pm; 18 September 2017]