Feb 29, 2012

 In case you have not figured it out, I was fascinated by the snow covered trees. Here are a couple of more pictures

 Later in the day we had heavy snow again. On a clear day you can see a range of mountains behind the school buildings. Today you could not see the dorms on the other side of the main building.
 During the afternoon it cleared again. This was one of the two typical weather patterns: alternating snow and cloudy or just snow.
 There is a sidewalk on the right but it had completely disappeared under the morning's snow.

 This round building is one corner of the library. The students can sit at desks in the windows and either study or gaze out at the mountains.
 This is a factory of some kind. I could see it from the window at the end of the hall on the floor of the Research Institute, where my office was located.
 I worked late so I was returning to my apartment after dark. The building in the center is the Research Institute.
 I stopped at the cafeteria and had my evening meal and then discovered that it was snowing again. This road is on my way home.
By the time I got near my apartment, they had turned on the water and the road was wet. Even though I was there for a month, I never did get used to having water on the ground when everything else was frozen.

Feb 28, 2012

Trees and snow

I am now back in Sendai after four and a half weeks away. I still have a lot of pictures from the campus of the International University of Japan and the local town of Urasa. I will publish those first. Then I will show the pictures I took, mostly in Kanazawa, during a short vacation following the end of my teaching assignment. Today I am going to show pictures of the trees around the campus. I was fascinated in an artistic way by the contrast of the the dark trees against the bluish white of the snow.


Sometimes big blobs of snow got caught in the branches, looking like some sort of surrealistic bird's nest.

Feb 24, 2012

Going out to eat

 The weather was bad, but my friend Tony took me to a famous soba restaurant up on the side of a mountain. There was a Shinto shrine next to the parking lot. I could not see much because it was dark and there was a lot of snow covering everything.
 The restaurant was in what looked like an old house.
There was a sign on the door that said junbi chu, meaning there were preparing. We stood there for quite a while, looking at the parking lot.
 I walked up and tried to get closer to the shrine but all I could see was the snow on the roof.
 Another shot of the torii. You can see the shrine just to the right. After we had stood there in the cold for a long time, two men came out and told us that they had already closed for the day and that they did not serve an evening meal in the winter.
 We drove down out of the mountains and went to a noodle shop in town. The food was excellent.
 The next morning I found that I had to walk through ankle deep snow to get to my classroom.
Once I got off the path and on to the roads, it was alright, because they had already plowed.

Note:  I will be travelling for the next few days so I will probably not be able to post here for the next four days. When I get home, I will continue to post pictures from the International University of Japan and then from my travels.

Feb 23, 2012

Night on campus and another snow storm

 The Research Institute, where my office is, is on the left and the Library is on the right.
 This is one of the paths that I take to get back to my apartment.
 This is another of the paths but nearer my destination, my rooms.
 Many of the students here have never seen snow before, so things like snow angels, in this case without the wings, are common. Some of the students told me that, when the snow was the deepest, they started jumping out of the third floor window into the snowbank below. They said they had a lot of fun for two nights but on the third night the school found out and the guards made them stop.
 The snow and fog in the hills were picturesque.
 I used this picture as the basis of a pencil drawing. After I return to Sendai, I will try to remember to post a picture of my drawing.
 This is the tiles on a second floor roof as seen from a third floor window. It was snow hard and the maintenance staff had turned on the sprinklers, so the roof was covered with little waves.
The snow in the trees. No other comment necessary.

Feb 22, 2012

Finally, a nice day

 We finally had some good weather and some of the snow on the ground started to disappear. I am not sure what happened to it. I expected that there would be large puddles formed from the melting snow, but none appeared. The picture shows a fire hydrant with a red and white pole that marks its location when it is covered by snow.
 Along the edges of some of the paths, enough of the accumulated snow disappeared that the ground was visible. To my surprise, under all that snow there were green plants.
 My office is large and well equipped. I have a computer with a laser printer, a telephone, and a large box of office supples. Any time I want to work, I can call the engineering office and have them turn on the heat in my office, which I can then adjust to my comfort level.
 The view out the window is not bad, either.
 With the blue skies, the campus began to look very pretty. Notice that there are broken branches on the trees. The snow piles up on them, as you have seen in some of the other pictures, and the weight causes the branch to break.
 The view out some of the windows is very breathtaking.
 The fog near the mountains was quite intriguing. I took this picture from a third floor classroom window. The snow drift in the foreground is on top of the roof of part of the second floor.
This is looing to the left out the same window.

Feb 20, 2012

Back from the walk

 This is the gym from the ground level. The snow is almost as high as the top of the windows.
 I am not sure what this building is, but it may contain the boiler room which supplies the heat for the campus buildings. The last two pictures are very gray because there were dense clouds and it was getting near dusk.
 There is no smoking in any of the public buildings so people must go outside to smoke. There are a few ash trays around the campus.
 It was snowing very hard so some students were killing time in the library. I have been told that the library is both a place to study and a place to go when you have nothing else to do. Many of the students listen to music on iPods or sleep.
 This is the door of the Research Institute, where I have my office. The snow was getting very heavy and even under the roof this car was getting a coat of snow.
 The snow was so heavy that I could barely make out the nearest trees.
 The snowflakes were large enough that they became part of the picture, the blurs on the right.
Actually it was quite pretty. I stood waiting for Tony to pick me up and found myself fascinated by the view, or maybe I should say the partial view.

Feb 19, 2012

The end of my walk

 The clouds started rolling in but not before I was able to see that there is a small village just in front of the mountain.
 On my way back to the campus, I disturbed a crow.
 This is a relay box for the power line, or something. The bottom seemed to be about head high but as it was buried under the snow I could not be sure. The top had a hat of snow that was more than a meter tall.
 The buildings in the distance are the university campus. From where I was standing I should have been able to see the mountains, but they were hidden behind the snow storm that was approaching.
 If you look carefully, you can see some icicles in the center of the picture. They are hanging down from the upper layer of snow beside the road.
 Back on campus, I found a tree that had broken branches due to the weight of the snow.
 This snow is completely covering a walkway between the main building and the gym.
From the same spot I was able to look to the right and see the student dorms. There are rooms for more than 400 students.