Nothing much ado today. Not even a cat to be ignored by as most of today was taken up by travel or activities associated with moving from one hotel to another. Out of our temporary Yokohama home to move to our new temporary Kyoto home. Travel this time was courtesy of the Bullet Train or the Shinkansen as they call it here. In fact if you use the term Bullet Train then you just get blank looks. To be honest the train is OK and anything you would expect from a fast train service in any country, but at 40,000Yen which is 260GBP for an hour and a halfís journey, I think I would like a little bit more, but perhaps I am being picky. However if we had chosen to use our rail pass (that wasnít cheap either, not sure if that was a wise purchase) it would have take about 5 hours. Needless to say that the Shinkansen has us over a barrel. One trip to Hiroshima from here will be impossible without it, and who wants to take 5 hours to get back to Tokyo when you know then next thing youíll do is sit on a plane for 11 hours plus. Anyway, canít complain to be honest, itís what travelling is all about. Learning how not to do it, but having fun trying... to get it right.
Ah I nearly forgot in all of that complaining, this is the view from the hotel in Kusatsu, well this is what the view is like in silhouette.
Today was long and relatively hot. Since my Wife wss not up to walking too far the idea was to go to the Sun Yat Sen garden. For those who don't know it, it's a Chinese garden in the centre of Vancouver. It's a lovely place but not too huge. Apparently it was built using traditiinal methods and materials in an area that was going to be demolished for a freeway.
Anyway the picture isn't of a Chinese garden, it's of the Wall Centre the Sheraton. It was a quick visit as we needed to join the rush hour back but with any luck I have better shots on the Nikon
Last weekend was a trip into London to have a walk around the Tower and a trip down the Thames which was interesting and any trip to London would not be complete without many trips on the underground which is sort of interesting but mainly a chore though it did include a trip on the DLR which is not very interesting at all really especially when we timed it right to coincide with line works so the DLR turned into a bus on Sunday. Staying just near the ExCeL Centre it was all rather new and clinical but comfortable nonetheless, but you couldn't help thinking that they had flattened a bit of London and walled it off so that straying either side of the area would mean that you would run into parts of what had escaped demolition that was less clean and clinical.
Anyway after walking for miles and miles and having rather tired tootsies it was time to force the family to walk some more to find 30 St Mary Axe or the Gherkin as it's known so after a wiggly walk though the streets (wiggly because we didn't know where we were going really and tiredness was setting in) the Gherkin was found a few snaps were taken and off again back towards the Thames to catch a boat back to Westminster Bridge to walk across the bridge to Waterloo to get on the Underground to catch the DLR to eventually stop walking. Anyway on the way back (not knowing where any of these buildings really are we stumbled upon the Lloyds building which is just yards from the Gherkin. On the underground back I fought the temptation at Canary Wharf station to insist on getting a picture of that too... wise move I think I would have had a rebellion on my hands. There are only so many buildings you can take your Wife and Daughter to before they fight back with clothes shops.
Not so much a grey day in Manchester but just a bad camera in Manchester it being the camera phone that is the San Fransisco. To be honest in this lunch hour I couldn't se the screen because of it's badness so I would not advise using the phone as a camera, however I think part of this the auto brightness problem with it. Either way, this is a pic of the new court building in Manchester. I liked the shimmery reflection and symmetry of it. On the phone it looked pretty bad but now it just looks bad.
With any luck I'll get more interesting pics next week as it's been a little quiet for February.
I never said at the start of this they would be good pictures.
On Monday I took a walk around Manchester to find the skating rink now in the new Hardman Boulevard in Spinningfields if you haven't guessed. I did find it and was going to take my annual skate picture but chickened out. Last year I had my daughter with me and kids are a great excuse to do all sorts of things whereas this year it was lunch on a Monday and I thought that I may just look like a bit of a freak in my cycling jacket waggling a camera about at no-one I knew.
On the way to Bridge Street I saw this reflection so whipped out my TYTN II and took a couple of shots and walked back to my office wondering how brilliant they would turn out... the scene did look impressive until I downloaded them and found them blurred. There was camera shake all over the place which is one of the things I hate about digital cameras, they start giving you the impression that there enough light and take the picture and on the whatever inch screen they look good so you download them to find them less than reasonable. I would prefer them to tell you at the time that there could be camera shake and then perhaps you could take precautions.
So as you can guess this isn't a photo from Monday. No I stalked the building all week (all week it's only Wednesday) waiting for some sun and today was the day. But to be quite honest I wasn't feeling it. Perhaps it was the light because I don't think that was as good and perhaps I just felt way too busy at work to wander about taking pictures and perhaps add to that I wanted it to be a good shot. I don't know perhaps it was all of these things. The picture does have a feeling that I was trying to get across but the building reflected is really blurred but then again that's probably a trick of the eye when not looking through a camera. Without a camera a shot always look better and I think my camera chose to focus on the building rather than the reflection.
Anyway here's my effort. A new ultra-modern building reflected in a new ultra-modern building which is a pretty good description of Spinningfields. Another description would be an anonymous collection of glass and steel that could be anywhere and reminiscent of anywhere.
Just opposite the Bridgewater hall is this impressive building. With it snowing, a harsh wind and my Wife and Daughter disappearing into the car park this is the best shot I could get of this quite impressive and yet quite anonymous building.