Monday, 31 October 2016

Day 305 2016: No tricks here...

Day 305: ...just the usual treats

Well, at least I think so. Every day I come to work, every day I look out the window, and every day I marvel at my good fortune to have very much a room with a view. And while for you, dear reader, the view might be getting a bit repetitive, for me, I enjoy the occasional glance out the window at the workings of the port. 

It fascinates me. And if that makes for a boring post or three, well, sorry. But...

Every day is the same but different. And today, two ships decided to sidle up to the port or away with rather tricky sideways movements. 

Pushing away

Steering right

Moving ahead

A complex of ripples

Low load

Coming around

Roped in

A touch of pumpkin sky

My one nod to the fact that today is a pumpkin-themed celebration of life and death in other parts of the world was a bread roll at the bakery on the way home. 

Happy Hallowe'en

It'll do me (although Hallowe'en has really taken off here in Japan as a dress-up festival...amazing really).

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 11.24am-12.15pm, 1.05pm-1.12pm, 4.20pm; iPhone 6s 10.23pm; 31 October 2016]

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Day 304 2016: Photography for beginners...

Day 304: ...the card, the card, don't leave home without it

...or at least a spare.

Today almost didn't happen dear reader. Not just because staying in bed and reading seemed like the right option at 11.00am, but because of lack of due preparation before the trip. Amateurish stuff really, photography for beginners. 

You see, I reached my chosen destination park as expected. I had my camera bag with lenses. As expected. I decided to leave the little cam at home, to give it a rest. 

Took the first pic: error message...fixed with a simple reloading. And then I saw it: 2 shots left! Gah! And no spare in the kit. I can't explain the no spare in the kit bit except stupidity. 

However, lucky we are in the age of the digital. I deleted enough pics I no longer needed or wanted to have enough on the card for today. Phew. 

Today's park is Shinrin Koen, at pretty much the other end of the line of another train, quite in the opposite direction of Yokohama a couple of weeks ago. It is in Saitama Prefecture, just next door to Tokyo. I used to travel out here as an undergraduate student to attend class on campus at the next station, but I'd never quite made it to the park. 

A bit of a turn in the leaves

Japanese garden, one view



Another view of the Japanese garden

More leaves for turning


More ducks

Five ducks a'swimming

The train, the train


A little more colour

Just in case drowning, not waving

Open plain tree

Part of a display of tiles with hopes and dreams, c. 1988 

Plain, trees, rocks

It is quite a large one, I managed to cover perhaps just a quarter of it. All the more reason to head out again some other time. 

Web, moss

From a height 

At a distance

Rosy red


More turning

Fountain, of course 

Colour in the sky

Outside the park

Some colours of Autumn 

There was of course a time I well remember, being of the age, where one might have headed out with three or four rolls of film and hoped for the best a few days later. Not so these days. And I, for one, as a very keen but still rank amateur, am very glad for that. 

I have card shopping on the list of things to do tomorrow. 

[Camera : Canon EOS60D, 28-80mm, 70-300mm, 2.09pm-4.18pm; 30 October 2016]

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Day 303 2016: Another day in the office...

Day 303: ...and another grant application in the works

Academics. When we're not teaching, we're researching. And when we're neither teaching nor researching, we're probably writing. And when we've run out of things to do there (??as if??) it is back to the grind of the grant rounds. 

I'm trying for a small one that will hopefully help me get my longish-running history project into final shape--the one that has taken me from Canberra to Tokyo to Wakayama and Brisbane and back. Hopefully I'll be able to get in a trip to Thursday Island where this Japanese emissary also visited in the 1890s.

One can only hope. 

So today was all about finessing the last bits and pieces for the project. A quiet afternoon in the office. 

Thing still looked pretty much the same outside the window...

Saturday:photo play day

Over the bridge

The big and the small of it

Reflected clouds/actual clouds

Until a rather unexpected shower came through just before home time. 

Gathering clouds

And just as every day outside the office window offers something of the familiar. truths, the project will get done with or without the would just be nice if...

We keep hoping. We keep writing. We keep working.

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 2.25pm-2.33pm, 4.07pm; 29 October 2016]

Friday, 28 October 2016

Day 302 2016: A rather bleak afternoon...

Day 302: ...not a day humanity shone

When I first lived in Tokyo some thirty years ago, news of home was pretty hard to come by. Perhaps some news in a letter from someone, perhaps getting a look at a newspaper that was usually about 10 days old, in a library somewhere. If the story was huge (and included a koala) we might even see it on tv. 

It was a bit sheltered in a way.

Nowadays, via the internet, I can be just as much at 'home' in Brisbane right in my 'office' in Tokyo. This week has been a tough one: first the unfolding of an horrific accident at one of the local theme parks, on a ride most of us have been on at some point. 

And today, a few suburbs away from home in Brisbane, a random act of vileness that saw a young bus driver murdered, the suspect having set fire to some flammable liquid, as he got on the bus. This happened in my part of the city, on buses I catch regularly (when I'm in Brisbane). 

I try, in my day job, to persuade my students of politics that, as was the title of Steven Pinker's book, we need to appeal to the 'better angels of our nature' in seeking to diminish violence, be nice to one another, make a better world. 

Some days it is hard. 

Outside the light never really lifted above grey. Inside, it was much the same. 


More rain

It's not going away

On patrol

Peak port

Tomorrow, I will wake up, I will go back to work, I will keep trying to make the world a better place. But some days, it really is hard. 

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 1.02pm, 1.42pm, 3.13pm; 28 October 2016]

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Day 301 2016: When the most ordinary of days...

Day 301: ...present the most extraordinary things

If we were all still happy after yesterday's effort (and, indeed, there was a report-back to our faculty colleagues this evening), then the day unwound in a most interesting way. 

Of course, dear reader, you are by now all too familiar with my port obsessions, the comings and goings, the light, the colour, the movement. It intrigues me as much as the beach at home, and helps to improve my powers of observation, required in my line of work. 

And so it started off all quite properly, a stunning sparkle on the surface...

Bokeh surface
But then, and as someone who earns part of my living observing Japanese defence and related operations, you can imagine my surprise to observe a Coast Guard ship doing, well, how shall I describe this...if if were a ute on a road, we'd say they were doing donuts; but this ship spent quite some time just going around and around and around...

Heading in one direction

Change of heart

Spin it

...with reverse pike

And back again

Backing up...

Straight, forward

Nah, this way

so much energy, so little forward movement 
 In retrospect, it probably doesn't make much of a photo essay but this is something I shall make a note of and store for later. Hmm. 

Just as well the day looked up, photographically-speaking, when I spied a bridal party off in search of a photo opportunity...

Not quite Abbey Road

On the other hand...

In search of...?

...completely unawares they were being observed...(I suspect).

[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 11.34am, 11.56am-1.07pm, 2.06pm; 27 October 2016]