Friday, 2 October 2009

More Graduation Photos

I would just like to say that although the hakama looks fantastic, it wasn't really designed for breathing in mind...

I made a trip early in the morning to Ikebukuro to pick up the hakama and have it fitted (I used it cost well over 25000yen to rent for the day, but it costs from around 10 times that price to buy one. It was pretty heavy and there were several layers to be tied on, including some towels which were used to wrap around the waist and give a larger fold at the back. At the place where I picked up the rental, there was one lady waiting for me, apperently there are usually 2 people to help dress you, but this lady seemed to be very effecient and it only took her 15mins to tie me into the hakama. Unfortunately she tied it rather tight, but it was sooo nice to get the thing off me in the evening.

Anyway, more photos...

Receiving the certificate.

Group photo

Outside Engineering Building 1




Me and Tokedai (the big clock thing of Hongo campus)

Dad, mum and I at Sanshiro pond

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


some taster photos... more to follow :)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Osaka [大阪]

After spending most of the morning in the shinkansen, we got to Osaka in the early afternoon and after dropping our bags at the hotel we popped off the Osaka castle. Sadly like most Japanese castles the original castle was destroyed quite a while ago but this replica was built in its place, from the inside it basically functions as a very large themed museum to the castle (personally I thought Himeji was a nicer place to visit, mainly on account that it has original castle left to walk around in - giving it a more authentic feel)

Osaka Castle


The Osaka speciality of things on sticks covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried - along with the grimicing mascot.
The famous Glico illumiated advert by the river...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Yanaka [谷中]

A very large cemetry in Tokyo, North of Ueno park [上野公園]. A beautiful sunny day, and whilst Greg took his dad to Harajuku and Meji-jingu shrine my parents and I spent the morning cycling around Tokyo, first going to Koishikawa Korakuen gardens [小石川後楽園] just to the west of Tokyo Dome...

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Asakusa [浅草]

I spent the morning with my parents cycling down to Bunkyo-ku civic center where we went up to the veiwing platform to have a look about town. We then went to meet Greg and his dad then headed to Asakusa...

There happened to be a cosplay convention just outside the Asakusa temple...

Monday, 14 September 2009

Return Ticket!

Went to Shinjuku to pick up the return ticket today; paid a paltry 2040yen for the taxes...but according to the ticket the government paid 494000yen. Craziness!

The Japanese government were very nice and granted me my first choice for days to return! yippee!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Fat Fish = Stuck Fish

King Kong got himself into a bit of a pickle the other day... he'd managed to swim into the little stone tunnel tank ornament and got himself stuck. So there he was frantically swimming to free himself when Greg happened to notice that we were one fish down and then finally saw his little head poking out the back end of the tunnel along with one front fin sticking out and waving about. On inspection, he'd managed to get his head out one end of the tunnel along with one fin which he was waggling about, but the rest of him was wider than the tunnel exit and he had swum so hard to try and push through the tunnel he had wedged himself in the narrow end. Godzilla seemed rather concerned and actually swam up to end of the tunnel where King Kongs head was to watch helplessly (i like to think he was trying to console him). Anyway after trying to unsucessfully free him without directly touching him failed, Greg resorted to pushing him out backwards using his thumb to push on King Kongs head.

So he's free now, and seems ok. We did rearrange the tunnel thing so that they can't get stuck in it anymore by turning it on its end and stuffing stones in it, so it shouldn't happen again.

The whole incident does show that the fishes are still growing :)

Friday, 28 August 2009

Shiny Shiny Book

Mmmmmmmm...tasty. Thesis in Hardcover binding...

Was impressed at the speed at which the printers got the copies done. We (the secretary and I) handed the electronic version over to the printer man on Mondon afternoon, after making the poor guy wait 30mins for me to get the thesis on to a CD and then trying to explain that certain pages needed to be in A3 and then folded with neither the guy from the printers or the secretary understanding my english and then having to resort to very very bad Japanese - which then made me a little bit paranoid that he didnt really understand what I wanted. Anyway, the 3 shiny copies arrived this morning, with everything printed out perfectly.


Post 'Final Defense' Wind Down....

To celebrate the passing of the 'Final Defense' on friday last week we planned a lovely (Greg-funded *THANK YOU GREG*) trip to the beach, so that 1. we could both relax, and 2. i could finally get to use the body board that I bought in Malaysia (dammit its been too long since I've had a holiday)

We ended up getting the Odoriko Minami-Izu free kippu* [踊り子・南伊豆・フリー切符] which, at 11400yen each turned out cheaper than buying our return tickets with the student discount.

We got to Izukyu Shimoda [伊豆急下田] just in time for lunch. MMmmmmmmm unagi, yumyum. while Greg had sanma [さんま](i have no idea what fish it is in English) and what looked like an enormous cockle which aso appeared to be a speciality of the region.

Then took the hotel shuttle bus to the hotel to drop our bags then BEACH TIME!

Look! Palm trees!

The sea was a bit nippy, but a nice escape from the ridicuously hot sun...we eventually wondered back to the hotel as the sun started to set and had a pleasently surprising dinner at the hotel restaurant. The desserts sounded a bit strange (pineapple canole with rosmary sorbet) but they were absolutely fantastic. The pineapple canole turned out to be some rosmary sorbet wrapped in a thin layer of pineapple flesh, lying beside tubes of meringue and some more sorbet in a heap on top.

The next day was spent taking a little wander around the coast line and playing with hermit crabs (there were millions).

*the Odoriko Minami-Izu free kippu is valid for 3 days valid on the JR Odoriko limited express which takes 2hrs 40mins from Tokyo. more info here

[N.B. all photos are property of Greg, because it was his camera and he's also much better at taking photos than me]

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Harbin Part II

Some post conference sightseeing snaps...

The museum and tomb of a regional emporor...
(my professor knows his Chinese history, unlike me)

The burial mound of the Jing dynasty emporor

Central Street - pedestrianised and cobbled

St. Sofia Church - now a mini museum of the photographic history of Harbin.