Kamilah Taylor
I didn’t know a city could be so colorful. We arrived in Tokyo by the Shinkansen, then went took the train to Uiguisudani, where our hotel is. The train was packed, I think we were in the tail end of rush hour. Anyway, after we put our luggage up, we left to see Shibuya at night and got off from the train station at the biggest intersection I’ve ever seen.

11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 130 11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 134


Labels: , 1 comments | Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 
Kamilah Taylor
11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 116
I can now say I’ve seen Mount Fuji – we sped past it on the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo. Of course we bought a bento – a box lunch. This is a requirement for riding the shinkansen.
11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 118  

Kamilah Taylor
Before leaving for Tokyo, we spent the morning sightseeing, at the Golden Pavilion and the Zen Garden.  Rokuon-ji Temple is known as the Golden Pavilion, or Kinkaku, because it has a Pavilion which is golden. Not fake gold either, some shogun went all out when designing his retirement home, and used actual thin sheets of gold on the outer walls.
11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 014 11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 016
11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 024 11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 026
11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 030 11Japan-Kyoto-Tokyo 038

Labels: 0 comments | Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 
Kamilah Taylor
Kyoto is very different from Kobe and Nara. It has the history of Nara, but is much bigger and has more temples, but has less charm somehow. It’s also not as pristine as Kobe…I could see myself living in Kobe, at last for a little while, but Kyoto was different…I can’t put my finger on it. Still, it has amazing stuff, we were only able to walk through a castle and a temple in one day, they were both so huge and took so much time to walk through.
We first went to Nijo-jo, Nijo Castle. This is from 1603 though it’s been through at least 2 fires (lightning and a big Kyoto fire). It’s surrounded by a huge moat.
10Japan-Kyoto 021 10Japan-Kyoto 018
Then it of course has a super huge gate with some beautiful gold details.
10Japan-Kyoto 026 10Japan-Kyoto 027

Labels: , 0 comments | Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 
Kamilah Taylor
The first Nara post was becoming unwieldy so I decided to break it into two posts. Incidentally, I took 357 pictures/videos during our Nara sightseeing day, so it’s understandable that I have to break this day into two posts.
After seeing Todai-ji, things start to blur together…I know we saw a really big bell, but I’m not sure what it was attached to. It’s definitely the biggest bell I’ve ever seen though.
09Japan-Nara 208 09Japan-Nara 209
09Japan-Nara 210 09Japan-Nara 212

Labels: , 0 comments | Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 
Kamilah Taylor
Nara is without competition one of the most peaceful tranquil beautiful places I’ve ever seen. We got there around 6 pm and went down this really cool street, Sanjo-dori, which is apparently the center of Nara.
09Japan-Nara 002
Our Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) was actually on this street (so we were happy with Lars for at least one night). We stayed at the Ryokan Hakuho –
08Japan 152  09Japan-Nara 001
- a place which seemed absolutely amazing and charming…until our second night, when Lars and Kristen found a roach in their suitcase. Needless to say, we packed up and switched hotels, to the Super Hotel close to the Nara JR Train Station. Luckily I hadn’t written up this post yet, so I don’t have to take back all the nice things I was going to say, and will instead warn people against going to this place, since their only reaction to finding a roach in Lars and Kristen’s suitcase was to spray some roach spray. Then they disappeared and went to take a shower or something.
This doesn’t spoil the amazing time I had in Nara. There were all these school children, from the very young to the very old, all out on field trips -
09Japan-Nara 081 09Japan-Nara 092
09Japan-Nara 147 09Japan-Nara 223

Labels: , 0 comments | Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 
Kamilah Taylor
ICRA has begun and ended. Here are my highlights from the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2009. Located in Kobe, Japan, there were definitely perks to being able to present at this year’s ICRA.
IMG_915907Japan 002
07Japan 009 07Japan 006 IMG_9172IMG_9171

Kamilah Taylor
Before heading to Nara, we made a detour to see Himeji-jo, a castle about 30 minutes by train from Kobe. So we had breakfast and bid farewell to Kobe. It’s really quite a lovely city.
08Japan 007 08Japan 008
08Japan 009 08Japan 011
08Japan 018 08Japan 022
The day was persistently rainy, but we still had fun. The castle is really beautiful. You can see it from a distance, almost as soon as you leave the train station.
08Japan 033 08Japan 035

Labels: , 0 comments | Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 
Kamilah Taylor

I just gave my first ever conference presentation. The level of nervousness will never recaptured (thank God), and all things considered, I think it went quite well. Really. I was so nervous before, it reminded me of back in the day when I'd have a piano exam or a piano recital and my hands would just be shaking. The benefit here is that shaky hands can just be put behind my back. I don't think my mouth has ever felt so dry, I'm actually kind of glad now that my talk was so late in the conference, because I may have self destructed if I had a larger room of people. I even got some laughs (the picture to the right helped)...and of course, when I gave my anecdote about getting lost in Kobe last night, after Karaoke, there were some shared smiles in the audience (the people I was at Karaoke with). All in all, not a bad memory.

Now I can finally enjoy Japan without this presentation hanging over my head. There'll be a couple more posts about my past couple of days in Kobe, and then it's on to Nara!
Labels: , , 0 comments | Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 
Kamilah Taylor
I must have eaten something that disagreed with me, because yesterday was painful...hence no update yesterday, and I'm yet to add pictures for yesterday. Also, I'm overwhelmed by the number of cool things I've seen, the highlight of which (at least for yesterday) was a fashion museum that looked like the Enterprise from the outside, especially at night.
Edit: Beam me up Scotty! The Enterprise has landed on Rokko Island, Kobe, Japan.
IMG_9367IMG_9366
IMG_9370  IMG_9372

Kamilah Taylor
I keep waiting for jetlag to set in. I am kinda tired now, at the end of the day, but I don't feel completely thrown off...maybe because I messed up my sleep schedule so much before I got here. Hehe...

I love Kobe. Pictures to follow later.
Edit: Kobe is very picturesque.
IMG_9152 IMG_9154
We first went to the conference building to pick up our registration stuff,
IMG_9147IMG_9159
and found this cute little “French” cafe.

IMG_9160 IMG_9162
IMG_9163 IMG_9165
IMG_9164 IMG_9168

Labels: , , 0 comments | Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: