Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Day 365: 365 days later...

Day 365:'s been a lot of fun

We've arrived at 31 December, 365 days since we started. I'm back here in Tokyo, seeing in the new year with friends before I return home to restart 2015. Turns out it was my second trip to Tokyo this year, for work. 

I guess in its strictest sense, there should have been only 365 photos, but there are a few more than that. I hope you've enjoyed them. There's something quite grounding in the day knowing at some point you have to take a photo (or two) and be prepared to say something about it. Thanks to friend and colleague Susan Hetherington (@snoozen) at for getting me started. As a long time amateur photographer it's been nice to have something to do with the pics other than just store them. 

The view outside my bedroom window this morning seemed to be an appropriate one: sun rising, a new bloom...bring on 2015. 

The morning of the last day
There's also the Japanese tradition of 'toshikoshi soba' to see out the old year and bring in the new. We did this at our local favourite restaurant where we also picked up tomorrow's feast, osechi ryori (think Christmas day lunch...with more than you can eat). 

Taking out the old year, bringing in the new
The other tradition of sorts is to watch the 'red and white' song contest, a mix of old and new talent. It makes me feel a bit old...the ones I watched thirty years ago return each year, looking a bit older and then there are all these new players, too young to be on TV...

Wada Akiko

Wada Akiko remains a favourite from way back when...(think Carol Lloyd, Railroad Gin...)

Anyway, thank you to you, dear reader, for looking at the pics and reading my thoughts on each day of this year. See you next year, maybe. 

I wish you a fabulous 2015. 


[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 28-80mm, 9.33am (cropped); iPhone 6, 6.08pm, 8.48pm]

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Day 364: To a bookshop...

Day 364: seek some...books

I made it out the door today. A lovely bluesky day, I've been fascinated by the way these electricity wires dance across the horizon for ages, they remind me of the sculpture outside the Queensland Art Gallery, but with a practical bent. 

Everyday 'sculpture'

Itabashi neighbourhood scene

I like this scene too of the neighbourhood. There a mix of old and new. Amazing to think some of the area remains unchanged from thirty years ago when I first lived here. 

But all this was on the way to today's major favourite bookshop, the one I've been trying to get to for the past two days. 

If I had to nominate a place of worship...

Kinokuniya, in Shinjuku. That's seven floors of books, magazines, music...etc etc. If you can't get a book here, well, you're not likely to get it anywhere. Well, not quite, but there is a good range to choose from. I thought I demonstrated restraint, with a spending limit and weight limit (thinking excess baggage here) and just how much can one carry home on a train. 

Of course, at the end of a busy shopping day, one must have coffee and...

Short break, tiramisu is served

All the books

Now, to do all the reading.

And now, we face the last day of this #project365...what will tomorrow bring?

[Camera : iPhone 6, 12.05pm, 2.55pm, 3.19pm]

Monday, 29 December 2014

Day 363: A rainy day...

Day 363: ...but no snow

Another rainy day. Snow forecast but didn't happen. But it rained. And it was supposed to rain until about lunchtime which meant I might be able to get to the bookshop in the afternoon. So, we had lunch...

Egg roll; that's one way to have it...

And then sat and had tea and chatted and then it was 3.00pm and although the shop is open until about 8.00pm or so, and one could have made the effort to walk 25mins to the station, ride the train for 17mins to the next station and then catch the next train to the next station in 15mins and then walk 8 minutes to the just didn't seem likely on wet roads and 5 degrees outside. 

The view from my room
So it was really just another day at home and taking in the garden after the rain and before the sunset...
A little to the left

Tomorrow we will venture out. I'm sure. There's only two days left in the year after all.

[Camera : iPhone 6, 2.00pm, 4.07pm]

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Day 362: Bonsai shadow play...

Day 362: ...a stroll in the garden

On a slow Sunday. Some days, it is my head that takes control and says just don't go anywhere today. I planned to go to Shinjuku, to one of the big (and I mean seven floors) book stores there. It has a particularly large selection in my field of politics and political philosophy. 

I kept with the thought until about 2.00pm when I realised that sometimes it's OK to just stay at home. 

Still, I had a photo or two to take so after lunch I took a stroll in the garden. Since his retirement, Yosh has taken up gardening in a big way, including joining local working bees in looking after the gardens of elderly residents. There were a few pics worth taking. 

Bonsai shadow play

A different light play

Lunch : udon

The bonsai shadow play was voted the favourite...

Tomorrow, I shall go to Shinjuku. Tomorrow. 

[Camera : iPhone 6, 2.32pm, 2.31pm, 1.17pm]

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Day 361: Secondhand books as far as you can see...

Day 361: ...a theme park of sorts

With the library closed from today until the new year, there was only place to go...Kanda. Kanda is a part of town where all the old bookshops are, side-by-side. A bibliophile's heaven as it were. So many books, so little room to take home on the plane...oh well, careful selection. 

In the end, I came across about four older books on whaling which will be interesting, they predate the toughest of the recent whaling wars, a book on Japanese thought and one on feminist history. I could have bought so many more but...

Today's haul

On the way back home, I took the long walk back to a station past Korakuen, a theme park in Tokyo, next to Tokyo Dome (with its own hotel), home of my baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants. I thought the perfect bluesky day might make a bit of a nice backdrop.

One of the rides...

Ride, with hotel

Not South Bank (but we could add a roller coaster...)
 On the walk home from the station (the subway which I don't take all that often, the 'back way' as we call it), I strolled through the park for a few different views of local life. Everyone seemed to be out walking, or playing with family or just strolling.

Setting sun in the tree tops in Itabashi

Now there's something you don't often see...

A local sculpture 'ohanashi ga joozu', 'you can talk...' ...

Detail, or selfie-spot

You can almost touch the moon

Then it was back home, to oden for dinner and plans for tomorrow...

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 28-80mm, 3.11pm, 3.14pm, 3.15pm, 4.15-4.20pm]

Friday, 26 December 2014

Day 360: Blue sky for archives...

Day 360: ...just the reading and analysis ahead

Last day to work in any public institutions. The National Library is already closed for the end of year/new year celebrations and today the Archives were opened for just one last day. I had about seven folders I still wanted to look at...a race against time. 

On the way I couldn't help but marvel at the marvellous blue sky, so clear for Tokyo. The light in the icho (銀杏 ginkgo) leaves, the backdrop to Tokyo Tower, the clarity of the buildings around the Diplomatic Archives building. 

Tokyo's trees, Tokyo's leaves

Tokyo Tower, again

Brilliant blue sky
It was dark when I came out. I managed to get through all the folders I wanted to, except one. It was being microfilmed. I'll just have to come back some time. My thanks to the staff there, so very helpful. 

Anyway, I can take it a little easy between now and heading home. Might just have to go for a walk in a park next week. Ueno Park is holiday time after all. 

[Camera : iPhone 6, 10.22am, 10.25am]

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Day 359: A day in the archives...

Day 359: ...yes, in the archives...

Yes, while you were all doing Christmas, I had to make the most of time available to get to the end of my pile of archived documents. Let me say, I had my fun. It's really very interesting stuff, for when you can't be at home doing Christmas with everyone else. 

A document detailing aspects of Australia. c. 1908
I've almost made it to the end. Tomorrow should be the last of the materials, I think.

Afterwards, I travelled up the train line to join friends at a performance by the guitar club from one of my former universities, Daito Bunka. There's a kind of expectation that we, as local 'sempai' or graduates, will attend these things in support. It was fine, they all did very well. 

The Concert Program, had a Christmas theme at least.
We weren't allowed to take photos unfortunately. 

There was a guitarist...

We've just returned from a rather late dinner after the concert. End of Christmas Day. Bring on tomorrow...

[Camera : iPhone 6, 6.21pm, 6.27pm; Canon A480, 4.41pm]

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Day 358: Eight views of...

Day 358: ... a Tokyo Tower Christmas!

Well, sort of. Japan has managed to appropriate aspects of Christmas that make the place all red and green and lights. Much like they manage Halloween (except orange...). Most of the action happens on Christmas Eve (we've just eaten the Christmas Cake). 

Anyway, on the way home from a day in the Diplomatic Archives I thought I'd head via Tokyo Tower, expecting an array of colour and lights. 

Not quite. As I approached the tower, it looked the same orange and white. Perhaps they've forgotten?

An approach to Tokyo Tower

Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree

Tower reflections

Looking up

Much to photograph

Rose, with tower

Change of lights

Last look

But as I came around the corner, there were lights, down around the entrance. 

Poor old TT. Ever since the Skytree opened over the other side of town, it has fallen a little out of favour. But Tokyo Tower is making a comeback. There's a kind of nostalgia for it, or so it seems. Eight views of Mt Fuji, eight views of Tokyo Tower...I think we can see where my nostalgia lies...

[Camera : iPhone 6, 5.15pm-5.25pm] 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Day 357: A public holiday, a little work

Day 357: ...then a little flaneuring in the neighbourhood

As I noted yesterday, today is a public holiday, the Emperor's birthday. All the places I would normally go to work were closed so I opted to work at home instead. We realised it was the first day since I have arrived that I haven't had to go somewhere...

Anyway, about 3.30pm we thought it might be nice to go for just a little stroll around the neighbourhood. It is quite amazing what you find tucked away in places you least expect to find them. 

Like our local Waterwheel Garden. It is a main feature in our area inasmuch as it is a place to mention in directing the taxi drivers to the house. It is probably a place one could visit more often for just a little peace and contemplation...

So while the sun was up all day, it had started to set by the time we got there. Still, there were some interesting scenes along the way.

So, for you, dear reader, a flaneur's view of the Tokumaru Itabashi-ku neighbourhood. 

A working waterwheel.

Small waterfall

Looks like... Ryoanji (in Kyoto / not really)

Waterwheel house

Wheeling away

Plum impression, crescent moon 
Not all the autumn leaves have fallen away
From a distance

Water, leaf, stones

Red climber, stone wall
Sometimes a good flaneur is just what one needs...

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 28-80mm, 3.38pm-4.12pm]

Monday, 22 December 2014

Day 356: A day in the library...

Day 356: ...and surrounds.

I have written before about the National Library being one of my *favouritest* places in Tokyo. I've come to spend so much time there since I first visited it as a graduate student at Tokyo University. While I've been investing much time on the Watanabe project in the Diplomatic Archives (and more recently Wakayama), I had to toss up today between going to the library and going to the archives. Japan is about to shut down for New Year so I don't actually have a lot of time left (and tomorrow is a public holiday into the bargain...). 

I thought I'd take my chances and head to the Library, it closes a bit later today, giving me a bit extra time. I can go to the archives the rest of the week. 

Heading towards the Annexe

I'm glad I did. I found a number of interesting and relevant materials for my current projects and, being a lovely bluesky day, there were some nice pic opportunities along the way...

Across the road, of course, is Parliament House, newly re-elected and with remnants of autumn leaves around.

Autumn leaves at Parliament House
At the entrance is one of my favourite statues in Tokyo, with added value today. 

Contemplation, or lunch
I wondered what sort of quiet conversation he was having. 

Another couple of sights I don't often see either, the leaves...

Fiery ball

Let the sun shine in...
Just the perfect set up for a productive and interesting day. Tomorrow, being a holiday (the Imperial Birthday) is the first chance I will have had in two weeks to stop and catch a little breath. Phew.

[Camera : iPhone 6, 12.10pm-12.14pm]