Rather belatedly, here are my photos from japan (after ISWC) and Australia.
In Hiroshima I went to the Peace Museum which was (quite rightly) a very distressing place, and which coloured all of the rest of my experience of Japan. I’d been enjoying Japan on a hey-look-at-the-cool-graphics/scenary/architecture/high-speed-trains kind of way and given little thought to the horror of the war (although I had read a Hirohito bio on the previous trip and got some of the background from that – great book). The museum was full of tiny kids being taken round from school – almost everyone there was Japanese. While I was there, an older Japanese woman stopped one of the only westerners there – a young American guy – and told him “don’t forget Hiroshima”, and he looked close to tears. I certainly won’t forget the images and stories in there.
I had a brief stop in Kyoto, where two students from the University offered to show me around one of the temples (that’s supposed to be the peace sign I’m making there though it looks more like a girl guide salute). They showed me all the different ways to attract good luck in the temple, and made me rub a statue’s feet for a good journey. Well I did have free seats next to me on the plane, so maybe it worked. I also saw two hundred silver buddhas in one temple but wasn’t allowed to photograph them. The whole of Kyoto was crammed with tourists enjoying the maple leaves and temples. I was disapointed to have to leave before the radish festival – Daikon Daki – but I had to go as there were no hotel rooms left in the city. I spent a pleasant last few days hanging out with Eric Prud’hommeaux near Yokohama, visiting Kamakura and learning about the large testicled badger-like spirits of hospitality (tanuki) and eating delicious fish.
Then I popped over to Sydney to see my lovely ex-housemates Craig and Liz and their crazed kittens. Australia smells amazing – flowers and eucalyptus and is such an arresting mixture of the exotic (parrots flying around, ibis in the park, enormous hulking bats and evil-looking spiders) and the European, specifically British influence, at least in Sydney. I loved the trip to Manly on the ferry (especially the meat pie). In fact the food was great all over.
Then I went to Melbourne to stay with Liddy Neville and speak at the semweb day where I met lots of interesting people from government and aceessibility. Liddy’s students very sweetly let me tag along to watch the penguins trot up the beach at Phillip island (no photos allowed) and also lots of sleepy koalas.
Interesting trip 🙂