Friday, 27 May 2016

Day 147 2016: A pigeon pair...

Day 147: ...with splashes of pink

Funny how you can 'accidentally' end up spending 11 hours in the office when you don't mean to do so. And so it was today. Just as I finished up my teaching for the week and was passing colleagues in the corridor, there was an invite of sorts...'we're about to have a meeting on such and such, care to join us?'

Well, that was unplanned, but what can you do? Three hours later...

Such is the lyf of the modern academic. There I was this morning, admiring the flora along the way...

Pigeon pair

Azalea hedge, green with splashes of pink

Then next minute, I find myself walking out the door 11 hours after I walked in. It did mean I got some pretty interesting views of night-time Ariake. One of the main centres here, the Tokyo Big Sight, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a display on its 'wings'. 


I must say, I am always quite impressed/intrigued at the scope of these images projected up onto buildings, be it Canberra, Brisbane or Tokyo. Bravo to the imagination.

[Camera : iPhone 6S, 6.50am, 8.23am,7.40pm, 26 May 2016] 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Day 146 2016: Tugs tugging...

Day 146: ...signs signing

Today was work, and then extended work-post-work-work. Or that was the plan. Along with a colleague we travelled west after work to attend a presentation of a documentary about the protest movement around Parliament House, the type of which I visited (and posted about) last Friday. 

Like the tugs on the port today, I worked quite hard so we could then race off to the presentation. Well, let's just say the tugs did a better job today. We went west, arrived in time for a quick meal, found the venue...only to be locked out because the tickets had all been sold...

Tug tugging

Three little tugs racing

Never mind, we can join another time apparently. And of course I will, for research purposes, naturally.

That meant an earlier than planned trip home via Shinjuku, one of the major Tokyo hubs. I noticed a sign not unlike the Brisbane sign in Shinjuku, in a fleeting social media moment a few weeks ago. So, when in Brisbane, shoot the Brisbane sign, when in Shinjuku...

It's a sign... another sign

...well, compare notes. The Shinjuku sign has its own level of cool, I guess, as these things go. 

{Camera : iPhone 6S, 11.54am, 4.08pm, 7.10pm; 25 May 2016]

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Day 145 2016: It's an early start...

Day 145: ...for the hydrangeas

Well, just about every day is an early start for me and today, after yesterday's slightly delayed start, it was back to the usual 6.40am out the door effort. 

There's always something to see on the road to work, no matter what the time. And there's always plenty going on when I get there...well, OK, all the work at the port. Today it just seemed constant. 

At the end of the day I went to the park near the uni, just for a revisit. I'm glad I did...the hydrangeas are starting to show their colours and unlike home, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and colours. Wait until the season proper starts...

This 'leaf' intrigues

Bring on the 'ajisai' (hydrangeas)

Port comings and goings

Planes, boats, birds

Trains, ship passing...always busy



All sorts

While I was in the park I was approached by a security guard, asking me how long I was going to be...'oh', thought I, 'this isn't a public park, even though I've been here before?' No, just a query, he was about to lock up the gate to the footbridge, was I planning to use it? Phew. Why do we I always have that moment of 'guilt' when approached by such people...?

Then, it was home on the train, ready to start all over again tomorrow.

[Camera : Canon EOS60D, 28-80mm, 9.17am, 5.14pm, 5.56pm; iPhone 6S, 8.18am, 5.56pm; 24 May 2016]

Monday, 23 May 2016

Day 144 2016: It started with the moon

Day 144: ...and ended with the moon

What sort of day might that have been then? Well, I'm not sure really. Following a weekend full of work commitments, this morning I gave myself the 'luxury' of a slightly later departure so I could do the usual weekend things on a Monday morning, like washing...yes indeed, the life of an expat is an exotic one. 

The day started with this this morning at 4.44am...

Waking up to a setting moon
...and included glimpses of life by a busy working port.

Azaleas: a second wave

Trains 'n' boats 'n' things

Boats 'n' planes 'n' things

I did wonder briefly, dear reader, whether or not the regular pics of the port might be now a little, shall we say, tedious...but then I thought, but wait! At my previous workplace I did take pictures of the same lake and the same beach quite often, so...

...the views of a working port, with so much activity, can't be too bad can they. Can they?

And just now, as if to neatly bookend the day, the moon came round the corner again and peeked through the window. 

End of the day, into the night, until the morning

I took it as a sign...a sign of a long day. Time to get ready for tomorrow.

[Camera : Canon EOS60D, 28-80mm, 4.44am, 9.45pm; iPhone 6S, 10.14pm, 5.04-5.05pm; 23 May 2016]

Day 143 2016: When one extra day of work just isn't enough...

Day 143: ...make it a double

So, as if work commitments yesterday weren't enough, then why not walk straight back out the door to another day of work-related activities. Because, you know, academic...occupational hazard really.

Today in town was the turn of a group of academics, journalists and activists who invest their time in supporting an online journal, Japan Focus. I expressed interest a few weeks ago, found myself on one of the afternoon panels as a discussant...occupational hazard really. 

Anyway, as things go, Tokyo has something along these lines going on almost every weekend. Far from complaining about it, it was one of the reasons I took up the new job--the opportunities for meeting and engaging with colleagues like this on a regular basis.

And, there was a bonus Chinese banquet at the end of the day...

It started very blue sky


And ended very orange sky

...well, it can't always be just about the work, can it. Can it?

[Camera : iPhone 6S, 1.31pm, 1.36pm, 6.19pm; 22 May 2016]

Day 142 2016: And it is on to work...

Day 142: ...but not quite as we know it

Today, 21 May, is our university's foundation day, it is also Saturday. Classes are cancelled for the day (yes, some classes are held on Saturday here). Yay! I hear you say...well yes, but not quite. In order to observe this day, there is a formal gathering out at our western Tokyo campus (where the university was established in 1924) and all staff are required to attend. 

And we did. Dutifully.

In addition to the foundation observances (and the birthday of the founder), there was a ceremony recognising the long service of several staff and, just so we didn't miss out, an all staff presentation on curriculum mapping...true. Well, if you're going to go to work on a Saturday, you know, you might as well make it worthwhile...

After lunch, we all headed off in our homeward directions. I had to purchase tickets for a trip to Fukushima next weekend, and then it was dinner time. 

Bonsai bloom

In the garden

Raw ginger

Samplings of a sort

Samplings...of another sort

We tried this little restaurant having come across it in a newish book extolling the virtues of our little part of Tokyo. Not bad. We'll be turning the pages on this book for a little while yet.

[Camera : iPhone 6S, 6.06pm-7.18pm, 21 May 2016]

Day 141 2016: It's Friday...

Day 141: ...and all we are saying, is give peace a chance

I'd like to do a Friday happy dance; you know, end of the working week, time for the weekend. But no, not quite, both days of this coming weekend are taken up with work commitments...but more of that later.

So it was to be another day in the office (amazing how such a wonderful view on the world can draw you in to 'work' every day...) and then on the way home, with a colleague, I opted to call in on the protests around the Japanese Parliament building (for research purposes, of course dear reader).

The protests around parliament are increasing but I'm particularly interested in the anti-nuclear groupings which have gathered weekly, every Friday, for the past five years, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. 

An almost full moon

Guitar man

No more nuclear

Sun setting over the building

The parliament

Part of the gathering

In the sight of Tokyo Tower


Their tent was burned down at one stage, the police presence has increased dramatically, but they continue to gather, and begin their protests at precisely 6.00pm. Got hand it to them, they're a resilient bunch.

[Camera : Canon EOS60D, 28-80mm, 6.42pm-7.03pm; 20 May 2016]

Day 140 2016: Long day ahead...

Day 140: ...classes and meetings, on into the night

Ah, how quickly the week comes around. And still clear blue skies. Lovely. At least, that's what I have to remind myself with a 11 hour-day ahead. You see, it is not just the classes I have to prepare and teach today but also our monthly staff meetings in the afternoon and into the evening. 

I must say though, I do like the way we have the Faculty meeting and then the Department meeting one after the other. Yes, it might mean a late night, but let's face it, getting the meetings all over and done with in one go is a pretty good idea. 

And in the meantime, I have the view...

The approach to work

Working harbour: tugs and trains

The harbour is stil working; and we're still working

On the way home (moon over Tokyo Big Sight)

 In the end, the meetings weren't too bad (though if we'd finished just ten minutes earlier, I could have had some pics of the fireworks going off, literally, over the Bay (not in the meeting, of course). We figured they must have been doing a trial run for something. So, not only marvellous views, but spectacular fireworks to end the day. 

Oh, yes, some are lucky enough to call this work...

[Camera  : iPhone 6S, 8.34am, 9.18am, 4.41pm, 7.55pm; 19 May 2016]

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Day 139 2016: We have days like yesterday...

Day 139: order to have days like today

At least the wind and the rain, as opposed to just the rain, blows away all the clouds pretty quickly, leaving with a blue sky sort of day.

And on the way to the bus stop, even the bamboo grove seemed to have woken up for a clear day.

Into the (bamboo) woods

Yes, it is work...

But not as we know it

Really, on days like today, there are few words to describe the scenes. (I must remember to keep working however; I'm sure the view gets boring an I can take it for granted.


[Camera : iPhone 6S, 6.37am, 8.11am, 8.23am, 18 May 2016]

Day 138 2016: The wind and the rain..

Day 148: ...make for an unpleasant commute

The rainy season is approaching here in Tokyo and so I guess the weather gods just like to help us get a little prepared in advance. For all the convenience of a reasonably reliable public transport system, it is the walking between base and stations in the rain that really is a bit of a downside to the whole exercise.

And so it was today. Rain and, given where I work...wind. Lots of it in full strength coming up from the bay. Makes you realise umbrellas were not invented with these conditions in mind...

This is going to be a wet day...
Wind, rain and umbrella barely coping

Sort of wattly, sort of

Nevertheless, we made it to the end of the day.

[Camera : iPhone 6S, 6.39am, 8.23am, 5.24pm, 17 May 2016]

Day 137 2016: Clear skies...

Day 137: the night falls

And so back to work. Fair enough, it is Monday and someone is paying me to get up at 5.00am, jump on a crowded train by 6.45am, ride to the office...etc. And so I'll do that.

Today a colleague is visiting from Australia as well so there will be quite a bit to catch up on as well as work.

The weather looked a little foreboding to begin...

Clouds and crows

But it cleared up and staying back late we managed a bonus night view as well.

Evening light

A different evening light

As I occasionally remind myself...yep, I'm getting paid to do this and marvel at the good fortune of this kind of view every day.

[Camera : iPhone 6S, 10.46am, 5.54pm, 7.31pm, 16 May 2016]