小樽 Otaru – Where the Glass Glows

After a small girl waved me goodbye at Sapporo Station, I started my journey back home. My next stop was Otaru which I had passed the previous day. Between Sapporo and Otaru there is a nice and huge cliff in the ocean which I had seen glowing brightly due to the sunshine of the setting sun on the previous day.

In Otaru, there are, interestingly, a lot of chiromancer (i.e. fortune tellers; see. Pictures #12 and #13) although the town is famous for its glass and its hand organ hall (the music there sounds like Harry Potter at times). So, I do not want to be racist by any means with the title; rather, I want to express that this town is renown for its glass studios.

And now, this:

函館 Hakodate – In Japan’s North Star

The stamp shown above is proof that I visited the 五稜郭 Goryōkaku in Hakodate, the only star-shaped fort in Japan, modeled after European forts. Of course, I took photographs there; indeed, I also took photographs of the places I visited before arriving in Hokkaidō. But those photographs went missing in the form of the SD card that they were saved on.

I must have lost the card when changing the battery of my camera in front of the 旧函館区公会堂 Kyū Hakodate Kōkaidō (“Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward”, see below Picture #11) because the SD card was in the same pouch as the battery.

Therefore, there are only photographs that were taken on the second SD card (I changed the cards in the hotel on my way to the public hall). A selection follows.

O Aniki, Where Art Thou?

Something paradox (but to be expected) has happened. I was in Japan for two months, with one of the hopes of being there being able to obtain various information “on location” and writing about it, and yet I haven’t written a single post for this blog in that time.

Now I am back in Germany again and can only write retrospectively about what I have done there. And so it shall be.

The calm … during the storm?

It has recently been a little bit quieter on this blog. I missed to mention many things of importance that would have had its place in the thematic spectrum of this blog. From the commemoration days of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th 1945, and the following end of the war on August 15th (with the formal signing of the Surrender on September 2nd and how it was celebrated in China this year, for instance) to various travels of mine from Matsumoto to the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route to Okinawa (not in one trip).

And as much as I would have liked to write about everything, time was – despite the end of classes – not on my side. It was for a greater part occupied by thinking about my academic future and trying to find a place in Heidelberg.

Now, as it’s raining outside due to the 18th typhoon by now (the 19th is already on the weather map but is said to narrowly pass Japan), I finally get to post again. There will be a musical piece matching this weather in the next post, so be prepared: fluctus excitare in simpulo.


Fuji am Meer

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Der Versuch, den 富士山 Fujisan ein wenig ungewöhnlicher in Szene zu setzen, mündete in diesem Bild. Entstanden ist es am 4. Januar in 静岡 Shizuoka, als ich am letzten Tag meiner ersten Fünf-Tages-All-You-Can-Bahnfahr-Ticket-Tour eine der 100 schönsten Landschaften Japans besucht habe, 日本平 Nihondaira.

Vor dem an diesem Ort typischen Fujibild konnte ich mich allerdings auch nicht abhalten, denn die Aussicht war zugegebenermaßen sehr beeindruckend und außerordentlich für mich, der ich diesen Anblick – so glaube ich – noch nicht in natura gesehen habe:

Return of the Jedi

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Es ist seit dem letzten Artikel viel Zeit verstrichen. War ich zu der Zeit des letzten Artikels in der abschliessenden Phase meines Praktikums, so habe ich mich in den darauffolgenden Wochen wieder mehr durch Japan bewegt. Aber alles der Reihe nach.

Das Praktikum war ein kurzes, sechswöchiges im 国立情報学研究所 National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, bei dem ich einen Parser für’s Japanische implementieren durfte. Das war ganz schön, zumal ich es mit einem für mich neuen Grammatikformalismus (Combinatory Categorial Grammar, CCG) und einer neuen Programmiersprache (Scala) zu tun hatte.

Nachdem das Praktikum am 23. März zu Ende ging und ich innerlich feststellte, dass ich nur ungern zu Java zurückkehren möchte, blieb dann aber auch keine Zeit zum Ausruhen.

Es verschlug mich am 24. März für fünf Tage in eine Region Japans, die seit Mitte März durch den Schnellzug, dem 新幹線 Shinkansen, erschliessbar gemacht wurde – was auch seit einem halben Jahr beworben wurde, weswegen ich mir auch in den Kopf setzte, dort hinzufahren.