Yoda's Pad

by waps77

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[Voice: Yoda]

My home this is. Yes. From England originally I may be, now however Japan my home has become. Mmmm. Return I will, yes, yes, someday return. Now, photographs to share with you I wish. For workers it is time to blog as well, ungh?

[/Voice]

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A day out in Nara...

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With "Golden Week"* apon us, we had the rare chance to have a day away from Kyoto, and travel out and about a bit. We decided to visit Nara. It's not far from Kyoto, and in some ways is a very similar place, but still, the atmosphere and surroundings were sufficiently different enough to tempt us...and there are many deer roaming there, which given my likeing of furry animals had me sold.

Anyway, it was a great day out - we were lucky with the weather too, an unusually hot day for early May, peaking at around 28 degrees. Anyway, on to the pictures:The first one is actually from a restaurant in Kyoto that we visited before heading off. It was another tabehoudai place ("Eat all you can"), and we feasted on Italian fare (Pizza, pasta etc) as well as ice cream. In this picture I'm helping myself to the soft cream, but getting it a bit wrong (in my enthusiasm), resulting in freezing cream all over hand syndrome.

The second picture is me being surrounded by hungry deer (Japanese: "shika") in Nara. We'd bought some deer biscuits for around 1 pound, but if the deer see you with such snacks, they soon start to follow...usually slowly, but sometimes quite briskly, with evil intent.

The last picture is from the streets of Nara, with a couple of workers beating some mochi (rice cake)...

* "Golden Week" - a clustering of public holidays that, combined with a little bit of leave, can lead to a whole week off.
3rd May 2006, 15:56   comments (5)

A weekend away in the country

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Have just returned from a weekend away with friends...stayed in a very nice ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in Gifu prefecture (in the middle of the country, in more ways than one). Enjoyed eating traditional food (although I had my fish swapped for steak (^^)v), bathing in a wonderful hot spring bath overlooking the mountains, and getting very drunk with a very boisterous bunch. Anyway, as for the pictures: the first one (with any luck) is of me in a yukata (think of it as a fancy dressing gown) reading to drink some liquer and eat some food. The next is not actually of where we stayed, but of a traditional old-style house (thatched roof, etc) in a preserved village in the mountains. Touristy now, but people still live here. A nice place, but very cold! The last picture is inside one of these houses, showing how the beams are all tied together with rope only..
18th Apr 2006, 15:16   comments (6)

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) by Night. Hanami (flower viewing...)

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A quick visit to Maruyama park in Kyoto tonight...a prime spot for people to hang out under the beautiful cherry trees, drinking in the atmosphere, as well as drinking in a reasonable quantity of sake and beer (depending on one's tastes). We went just to look - very nice indeed, and a great atmosphere. May return soon with our own sake bottle and snack assortment...

The last picture is from a more quiet area, spotted whilst we were returning via the backstreets...I probably preferred this to the more popular park to be honest.
6th Apr 2006, 16:44   comments (7)

Now that's better!

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Same place as for the last shot, but now the clouds have moved away, and the sun is up and shining brightly. Still a little bit chilly, but it's a good improvement over the recent gloom. Now, I just have to get my conference paper polished off, and I'll be feeling a lot brighter inside to :) Will have to get out an about with a proper camera soon to capture all the blossoming cherry trees..
6th Apr 2006, 02:22   comments (4)

Cherry Blossom season is here, but where is the nice weather?

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(sorry for poor picture - rubbishy phone camera)

Well, it's April, and so on cue out come the cherry blossoms. This is a big event here, and people gather beneath the trees to drink sake, and view the blossom. Kyoto is quite famous for it's blooms, so people will be flocking here to get there photos, and compete for space beneath the trees. Or at least that's what usually happens. But the spring weather has still not really arrived here. Rain, rain, rain. And there was some snow last week too! I looked back at photos from this time last year, and we were all in short sleave shirts, enjoying the warm sunny weather. Not so this year, not yet at least. Still, I'm sure the blossom viewers will not be detered, and the parks will be full of drunken blossom revelers this weekend...
5th Apr 2006, 03:21   comments (4)

Japanese Shabushabu

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Love shabushabu. Tastes good, and even the name sounds good. Basically, you have a big boiling bowl of soup on the table (is it water? maybe it starts out as water), and you just fill it up with meat and veg, and take out when ready. You then pick out the bits you want, and dunk them into your own personal sauce bowls (may have several of these, filled with various delicious sauces). Finally, devour. The shabushabu I went to with my fiance a few days ago was "Tabehoudai", that is to say "Eat-all-you-can". There was a 90 minute limit on ordering, but that's ok... Just keep those trays of meeaat coming :)

Anyway, here's a few piccies. The first is the cooking apparatus warming up. The second is the insertion of some ingredients, the third is the mmmeeaaat, and the 4th a sauce bowl filled with bits and bobs (I'm more partial towards a sesame seed sauce, which is creamier and lighter brown in colour...but I always make a mess with mine so didn't photograph it).

PS. Other "tabehoudai" places I've been to have all you can eat whippy ice cream and chocolate cakes along with the main meal components. Lovely (^^)/ Just hard walking home afterwards...
15th Mar 2006, 02:52   comments (7)

Just a couple from around the neighbourhood

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First one: Wouldn't fancy that Porcshe's chances given an earthquake. The "double-decker garage" like thing it's in looked very shakey.

Second one: I remember I was quite shocked by the number of cables running above ground when I first got here. Have got used to it now, but from time to time I still notice it...

PS. Sorry about photo quality. Rubbish phone camera see...
4th Mar 2006, 08:32   comments (3)

My very precarious F1 setup :)

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All so geeky, but anyway...getting ready for another online race. Having the keyboard balanced precariously on starbuck's cups isn't ideal, but it's the best solution I've come up with recently. Only once has it failed, leading to a slightly longer pitstop as cups and keyboard were replaced.
4th Mar 2006, 05:35   comments (9)