jinian: (birdsquee)
This may be the best pic of me of all time. OF ALL TIME.

(I found it going through the snow monkey pics from Japan in 2012. Would you like to see snow monks? Yes you would. Remind me.)

 photo 2012-12_k_jigokudani_zpsegnrs1wj.jpg


Oct. 22nd, 2014 12:08 am
jinian: (black and white)
Catchup on Inktober posting! I did get behind a few times, due to dire uterus and then to much happier reasons of J visiting, but I am all caught up and here are the posts. A couple of them I really, really like -- I'm very happy to be doing the challenge even when I feel like all the other people talking about it are Reeal Arteests and such.

bunch of pics! )

inktober 2

Oct. 2nd, 2014 09:57 pm
jinian: (baby dalek)
Just a little one today, I've been hurting a lot all day. I guess I'm doing a fall theme for these, which may be unimaginative but that's what I'm thinking about.

This one is about the time I made pumpkin pie in Nagoya, Japan -- actually kabocha as that's the only squash available -- and used Hokkaido butter in the crust. Now, I do know how to make pie crust just fine, but that butter was above and beyond butter. In real life, we had a shallow pan under the pie plate, and it's a good thing we did. The melted fat was set to take over the world.

 photo 2014-10-02-inktober2_zpsa99e40b7.jpg

And, for those of you I haven't marveled to about this already, that microwave-looking appliance is a countertop oven, and that is the only way you get ovens in Japan. Kitchens don't have them built in. Japanese people refused to believe me when I told them standard American kitchens had large ovens built in. It made stress-baking very difficult while I was there! The oven I used for the pie was actually in my workplace, not in the dorm.
jinian: (Thalictrum uchiyamai)
1. I found mokusei! <3 <3 <3 I loved the mokusei when I was in Nagoya last year, and I keep sniffing around hopefully this fall. Followed my nose to an apricot smell in south campus today and found one, neither of the main types from Nagoya but close enough.

2. Doing useful tasks at work and getting things done does make me feel better, even when it all seems really overwhelming because I'm still so tired.

3. The existence of a Cadbury Screme Egg cracked me up, so of course I had to buy it. They weren't even included in the post-Halloween discount; drugstores know what they're doing. It is just as good/bad as the usual kind, but the fondant is swirled greenish.

4. Lehua honey from a former undergrad who visited the lab from her new home in Hawaii. Possibly I wasn't really supposed to appropriate the entire jar, but everyone else can have my share of the macadamias, so it seems fair enough to me.
jinian: (Thalictrum uchiyamai)
Wim's dad and stepmom were in Kyoto, and it doesn't cost that much to take the shinkansen to Kyoto from Nagoya. I got to take them to what turns out to be one of my favorite places, the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts. There are exhibits for EVERYTHING, with some working crafters, and visitors can do surigata-yuzen dyeing, which uses a brush and stencils to make shaded designs. Here are the dragonflies I did on a handkerchief.

[The teacher was very cute, enthusiastic and admiring.]

They later got some maples and acorns on there to keep them company. This technique is not hard, and a person could laser-cut the stencils. It does require nice, thin, impermeable paper, which reminded me of vellum. (Wim thinks mulberry paper, but I think that's more tissue-like.)

We had lunch at the building's cafe and then went to a temple. I wish I knew which one; this is what happens when you let other people plan. [Edit: Definitely Nanzen-ji; I found the ticket from going up inside the Sanmon.] Absolutely stunning leaves, even in the pouring rain.

[The rain made them even more vivid]

[Bellflowers and maples, with enormous gate]

You could climb that big gate in the background, and here's the view from above.

[Forest of trees and umbrellas]

[Mysterious garden where we caught a taxi]
I'll actually say something soon, I promise. Unfortunately my camera was damaged in Kanazawa, but I have LOTS of hot-spring-bathing monkey pics.
jinian: Twilight Sparkle from MLP:FiM (scientific research)
I think I'm being plotted (against) by a petty yet Bujoldian imp at the moment. Nothing is drastically wrong with my life as a whole.* Many things are excellent.

However, the worst thing that could have happened with this experiment was:
(1) for different people to interpret it in contradictory ways -- the optimist first, then the expert, thus jerking me around severely;

(2) for one of the probes to apparently work but mark the wrong cell type, which a supposed collaborator knew and didn't tell me (he is also the optimist; the hell with this guy);

(3) and for the whole thing to need another overnight incubation to determine the final result, thus placing me in a state of ongoing stress when I need to be packing and partying.

(4) Lastly, I would discover that basically we have no usable results.

This is all precisely what did happen.

At least I was able to have amazingly delicious Chinese hot pot with my roommates last night, and they liked my Thai green curry. Tonight: farewell party, Wim arrives (we hope? he still has kind of an odyssey to get here once he lands, but the hotel reservation is here in Nagoya), FUCKING WELL FINISHED WITH EXPERIMENTS.

* Typo "howl", cue mild hysteria.
jinian: (real scientist)
We think it looks good so far. We're developing the color more, so ongoing good thoughts are very welcome!
jinian: (real scientist)
At 10am today I find out whether my backbreaking experiment of the last two-plus weeks has worked. There was no sign of it doing so before we left last night. I lay in bed for a while this morning giving myself a talking-to. I am good. I did my best, which is very good indeed. I learned a lot.

But I really fucking hope this works.
jinian: (Thalictrum uchiyamai)
Cool robot-based experiment failed. :( Here are good things.

Old comic characters and the end of Hostess

Wasabi inari onigiri, OMG. Incredibly delicious treat from the convenience store. Bright green shreds of wasabi, sesame seeds, rice, all wrapped in inarizushi wrapper, which is kind of a fried tofu skin soaked in sweet marinade. Loved it!

Here's a picture of the reindeer garland I posted about before.

Bi poly Lisa Simpson -- I haven't looked into canonicality here, but do I really care? [Edit: From a Christmas special, it seems.]

Avengers nativity scene and other fandoms by the same artist

Big winds today, dramatic with leaves rattling everywhere.

New kind of mokusei blooming in the last week or so; though it's too cold to smell it for blocks it's nice by the post office. Hollylike points on the leaves, white flowers.
jinian: (fan-gee the dracukey!)
And now I have liquor. Yay! Time to relax before ridiculous pressures reassert themselves!
jinian: (learning kyo)
There is a reasonable hypothesis that explains our screwed-up results to date. Not sure how much of the failure to think of it sooner is due to the attitude that the grad students can/should work 16h days and how much is simply that scientists are not all as smart as PI. Will have to try harder to provide own brain power in future, though that is hard when it's all going toward actual execution steps of plan.

So maybe this horrible experience will result in actual learning the way they're supposed to! Sorry for recent brevity and irascibility, all. Please hope with me for improvement.
jinian: (lost sakura)
Today it occurred to me that this whole experiment of doom could be a Cardcaptor Sakura setup in which I'm deliberately being fucked with to cause me to try my hardest and become more awesome thereby. That would be unacceptable. Admittedly my limits are not where I thought they were, but there is no actual reason for this torture. (And I think it's the butterbur that moved the migraine limits, not some stupid endurance training.) Luckily I think it was merely a passing paranoid notion.

No one has any idea why it's going so poorly. We'll try to move forward with the crummy result from this step, but hell if I know whether it'll work. Damned embarrassing if it doesn't, but not actually the last chance for the paper revision, so we'll cope.

There continue to be good things, but right now the best one is I'M NOT IN LAB and I had a chance to buy groceries and shampoo, and do a little laundry tonight.
jinian: (bad wolf)
Fifteen hours of work yesterday. Not successful. Going in today for what is bound to be at least a whole day.

But, I got a postcard from baratron and a family Xmas card in the mail last night. Also M at the lab brought in a garland his wife made: little reindeer embroidered with sciencey best wishes.
jinian: (c'est la vie)
Work continues intense and not very successful. 12-hour day yesterday, going in again today for hopefully not too long. Here are some good things, though.

Amazing snack: basically homemade Pocky? Like a 6 inch x 1cm stick of hard cookie-bread, which seemed to have cocoa in it. Then it had been dipped twice, first in a white substance and then in a delicious purplish-red raspberry-flavored substance.

Russian researcher in another lab telling funny stories about the birth of his daughter two weeks ago. Also he told us her age would be two weeks in an hour and a half, which I think is the funniest elapsed-time specificity I've heard yet.

I got to proofread something for someone I like! Very hard to explain why English does certain things, but I like that, too.

The lab I'm working in at the moment uses methyl salicylate in their experiments, so it smells charmingly (once I found out it was normal) of wintergreen at irregular intervals.

All cultures surveyed thus far (me, Japan, Russia) have an equivalent expression to "third time's the charm."
jinian: (worms' meat)
Completely wiped out today.

Language trivia: the Japanese term for wisdom teeth is no-parent teeth, since there was never a tooth in that spot before. Now I wonder what they call baby teeth: same metaphor? Totally different?
jinian: Twilight Sparkle from MLP:FiM (scientific research)
16-hour day. Main experiment failed twice. Something that really, really shouldn't have gone wrong seems to be doing so.

jinian: (Winry kicks ass)
[I didn't post this because I wanted to integrate pictures, but never mind that, I'll make a separate picture post. This was written 16 November.]

I got to speak English all day!

Yesterday, after taking care of a few things in the lab, I met with Wim's dad and stepmom to take them around Nagoya while they're in Japan for a business trip followed by tourism. We had a great time, not least because even introverts really need to chatter easily in their native languages and know people will understand them. (You know, before we go home to hide in a hole badger-style.)

The Hilton lobby is a surprisingly fun place to chill. Lanky Euro guy in top hat and tails, ladies in kimono. Hilton has American-style pillows, hmm, maybe I shouldn't have turned down the chance to spend a night there.

Lunch at Akbar, a perfectly good Indian place with excellent dessert -- coconut milk with coconut shreds, topped with lilikoi puree, is what I think that was -- where I managed to leave my umbrella. Might go back for it and explore that neighborhood a bit this evening. Tandoor with naan slapped on the side and handled with iron hooks!

Then to Inuyama Castle, which is smaller than Nagoya-jou and has simpler grounds. It's the oldest Japanese castle still standing, so presumably it also doesn't have Nagoya Castle's Optimized Walls of Maximum Engineering Prowess. Still pretty impressive. Beautiful, though those are some damned steep and smooth stairs to be taking in your stocking feet while carrying your shoes in a plastic bag. You could walk all around the top, completely outside! There were signs telling you not to lean on the handrail, which did not inspire confidence, but the walkway was pretty wide and it wasn't raining.

On the way down, though, the fox's wedding!

I had predicted puppy-based souvenirs, which was pretty much a gimme since Inuyama means Dog Mountain. Yep. Samurai puppy named Wanmaru.* He has a topknot made of... I don't know. Furry skin? Best not to think too hard about this, like how Hello Kitty's fur turns brown when she's at the beach.

We also visited a museum about the castle town, which is a little run-down especially by the scenic river where they traditionally fish with cormorants. It hasn't changed in a long time, though, and there was a cool model of festival floats being pulled through the town and a slit-based "time machine" display showing past and current layouts. Some artifacts, cool armor and swords and screens painted with military maps. One of the paintings had a lot of guys decapitating other guys, because that was the style at the time.

The best museum was Karakuri! Puppets and doll-automata, with transformation -- "Urashima Tarou becomes old" was a favorite -- or dancing, serving tea, writing a Chinese character, picking things up with retractable thumbs, really cool stuff. Beautiful craftsmanship, too: the guy whose workshop is in the building has a tea-serving doll in the British Museum.

We had talked about going to Jakkou-in, which is a temple with a maple festival, but it got late and we weren't very close, so we went back to Nagoya and I showed them the science section of Tokyu Hands instead. It was a hit. Wim, you should expect presents.

I'd been pushing for local cuisine all day, so we got a recommendation from the enthusiastic Hilton concierge for a nice place with Nagoya cuisine, went right across the street to Yamamoto-ya. (Spinoff place Yama-chan has just Nagoya cochin, which is salty chicken wings.) Awesome food: Crab salad; tamago with hot peppers cooked in, served with shiso; tasty soft tofu; homemade pickles of daikon, cabbage, and something else with ginger paste, which was great. Special Nagoya miso on our flat-style udon, pretty tasty and way better than the stuff I had at the station before. I recommend against getting tempura in noodle dishes owing to disintegration, however. And for dessert, royal milk tea ice cream, which was both delicious and inexplicably molded into an egg shape.

J was flagging badly but G had desperately wanted some decaf all day, so we hit the neighboring Starbucks. They had to make the decaf, but they did sell it -- not common here. I convinced her to watch Community, and she agreed Big Bang Theory is mean-spirited, which made me really happy.

They sent me home in a cab, which I shouldn't have allowed but man I was tired, and finding Fushimi subway station was not going to be that easy since I'd gotten a little lost on the way there and didn't have a good mental map. The Higashiyama Sky Tower is lit up only in outline at night, an interesting choice.

* I guess I'd translate it as "Sir Barky"? It's got to be a reference to Mori Ranmaru, so there's a period/samurai feel, but Maru is also a common pet name and "wan" is a dog's bark. (Note that it's not redundant, just cutesy. Compare the soot sprites from Totoro, makkuro kurosuke, which seriously means Blackest McBlackerson.)


hey love, I'm an inconstant satellite

July 2017

2 345678


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 23rd, 2017 05:50 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios