spring comes to campus

2019-04-22 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Blue skies today! I left home late to take pictures along my way to the office. (I usually arrive at the office at 04:00.)

Professor William S Clark consulted for the Japanese government to design and found Hokkaido University.

Behind Clark's bust is a cherry tree that each spring blooms ahead of other trees. Behind that eager cherry tree stands our apartment building. We are on the top floor.

The cherry blossoms were about 20 percent blossoms and 80 percent buds.

A underwater river emerges above-ground and feeds a stream than traverses campus.

Ohno pond is named after an engineering professor who converted a swamp dumped full of trash into an ornamental pond.

They had drained the pond for maintenance. A few hours later, the pond was at full pool (that is, maximum water capacity).

Skunk cabbages are white on Hokkaido Island.

The former entomology department is one of the oldest buildings on campus. The Sapporo Agriculture School (the former name of Hokkaido University) had a love-hate relationship with insects. Insects devour crops, yet are essential for pollination and sericulture.

The School of Science. In a few weeks, fresh leaves will conceal the buildings from view.

Gothic arches (with pointed apexes) were standard design for imperial universities. Not all schools or buildings used them, however.

The School of Medicine.

A convenience store with a mini-restaurant and demo kitchen opened in summer 2018. The person who designed and installed the kitchen also installed ours at our house in Tokyo.

The campus restaurant Trillium. Unlike some faculty clubs in America or Europe, anybody can enter.

My office is 2nd from the top, 2nd from the left, between 2 offices with red triangles on their windows. The triangles mark fire fighter access. The steel bracing on the exterior wall is seismic reinforcement that, alas, is hardly effective.

ishikari river mouth

2019-04-06 ISHIKARI, JAPAN -- Noriko and I visited Ishikari city, just north of Sapporo.

A local museum shows ancient artifacts. The area was rich with salmon, and people have lived here for thousands of years.

Salmon do not run thick and heavy these days, but they come enough to support an industry. We visited a salmon factory nearby.

We went for a walk nearby the Ishikari lighthouse, which marks the river mouth.

A boardwalk helps keep mud off our shoes.


2019-04-01 MITO, JAPAN -- I visited public parks near Mito station on my way back from Tokyo to Sapporo. During the Edo period, Mito was home to one of the three major Tokugawa families, second in prominence only to the Tokugawa shogun. Mito city is rich in history and culture.

Sembako, a small lake near the Mito train station, is a wonderful place to walk and run. Sakura (cherry) trees line the banks.

Kairakuen park was designed during feudal times as a park occasionally open to the public, a remarkable idea at that time. Admission is free, which is a remarkable idea today. By contrast, Shinjuku Gyoen in downtown Tokyo charges admission.

Kairakuen is famous for plum trees. The flowers were past bloom. Sakura, while few in number, were nearing their peak.

A frog statue guards a sacred spring.

At the Koubunkan villa, topped by the Rakujuro lookout room, the daimyo (feudal lord) would meet with and congratulate elderly samurai and common folk. The guests would sit on the room pictured in the foreground, while the daimyo would address them from the room in the background.

In stark contrast to the subdued, tasteful color tones of Kairakuen and Koubunkan, the Toushouguu shrine close to Mito station is gaudy and ostentatious. The Toushouguu enshrines the Tokugawa shoguns.

neil stalnaker, artist

2019-03-31 TOKYO, JAPAN -- I visited Neil Stalnaker, a friend who gave me a trumpet lesson once in Sapporo, at his painting exhibition near Tokyo station.

Sakura were approaching full bloom.

Neil began painting a few years ago. His form is free-style, as in jazz improvisation.

Neil signed his artwork for me.

This painting invokes imagery of me holding my trumpet. The painting will hang on my practice room wall.

test kitchen

2019-03-31 TOKYO, JAPAN -- I tested our new kitchen. (Note for my students: a "test kitchen" is kitchen that experiments with recipes. Here I played with words -- I literally tested my kitchen.)

Ingredients: yakisoba stir-fry noodles 1kg, moyashi bean sprouts 1kg, sliced pork 300 g. Layer everything in that order in the pan. My new oven takes 2/3 size gastronorm pans (known in Japan as "hotel pans" because they are standard in the hotel and catering industry). The pans are almost square, about 34 cm to each side (353 mm x 325 mm to be precise).

The oven takes up to 6 pans at a time, depending on the depth of the pan. My pan in the picture is 40 mm deep.

After 6 minutes of cooking, take out the pan, pour sauce over the food, and mix.

Dinner is served!

home repair repair repair repair ...

2019-03-30 TOKYO, JAPAN -- Repair and renovation work at our house in Tokyo is almost complete.

A grand team of over a dozen people came to reinstall the sink and steam convection oven.

I am experimenting how to direct the hot moist air from the oven towards the ventilation fan.

The attentive cleaning crew beautifies the construction area.