Japan/USA diary, day 7

2 November, 2015

Sunday, 7 June, 2015. 17:26

I am sitting at Boston airport again, waiting for M.’s flight from Dallas to arrive.

I slept through from 22:00 last night until 05:00 this morning, but was awake from then. Still, not too bad for the first night’s sleep after a 13 hour time shift.

I had some dry Weetabix which I’d bought last night from Trader Joe’s near the Mexican place. I didn’t get any milk or yoghurt for it since the room doesn’t have a fridge to keep it cold. I dressed and caught the train to the Hynes Convention Centre, where the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) conference is being held. It turns out they had breakfast supplied there! They had bagels, babkas, and fruit. After waiting in a queue for about 10 minutes to collect my registration package I grabbed a bagel and some fruit.

CVPR registration queue
Registration queue at CVPR conference.

I ran into Peter who recently left CISRA, and also Anthony who is still working there, both within a minute of each other. I had no idea either of them would be here!

I went to a morning tutorial session on computer vision applied to cinema. It was presented by five guys who worked on various aspects of applying computer vision methods to cinema production.

Read more: My first day at the conference, taking a walk to Copley Square at lunch, picking up M. at the airport, and Thai food for dinner.

Japan/USA diary, day 6

31 October, 2015

Saturday, 6 June, 2015. 14:01

I am sitting on my flight from Sapporo to Tokyo, about to take off.

I got up at 07:30, had a shower, and packed my bags to leave. After a quick FaceTime chat with M., I checked out and left the hotel. M. was leaving for the airport in Sydney at the same time, for our converging flights to Boston. I got some rice snacks from the convenience store near the hotel and ate them sitting on a bench in Odori Park. While there, a huge suite of people came through the park, armed with extension claws and plastic bags, picking up any and every tiny scrap of litter from the paths, grass, and garden beds. Now it’s clear how they manage to keep the park so spotless.

Tranquil pool
Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens.

I had a bit of time to kill before heading to the airport, so I walked a few blocks to the Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens. These opened at 09:00, and I was there a few minutes early, but there were already a handful of people waiting ahead of me. The gates opened right on time, and I bought a ticket from the machine for 420 yen. Then I asked the lady at the counter window if I could leave my luggage there, as it was too big for the provided lockers, and she happily took it inside the little office for me.

Read more: I tour the Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens, head out to New Chitose Airport to fly to Boston via Tokyo, deal with a 19-hour flight delay, and arrive in Boston.

Japan/USA diary, day 5

29 October, 2015

Friday 5 June, 2015. 16:30

I got up this morning for the usual routine of heading out to the convention centre on the subway, buying some rice things for breakfast at the 7-11 near there, and then eating them in the warm shelter of the convention centre as it was very cold out. There was also a driving drizzle, making it rather unpleasant. I tried an item with pink rice today, and it had sweet adzuki beans in it, which was nice. I didn’t get anything sweet this morning, figuring I’d tried enough strange sweet things.

Sugar Margarine Snack!
Sugar margarine snack… mmmm…

Read more: It’s all basically food today!

Japan/USA diary, day 4

28 October, 2015

Thursday 4 June, 2015. 23:13

It’s been a bit of a long day. I slept in until almost 07:30 this morning, then made the usual trek out to the convention centre on the subway, buying some sushi packs from the 7-11 again for breakfast, as well as an intriguing looking baked good labelled as a “cheese mushicake”. It was almost savoury cheesy in a slightly unpleasant way that didn’t approach the niceness of cheesecake, and I didn’t finish it. I sat inside the convention centre to eat this morning as it was really cold out today.

The meetings today were considerably more disagreeable than yesterday. No real heated argument, but certainly some frustration by different delegates that we couldn’t agree on certain technical points about various proposed standards. I won’t go into too much detail here.

The lunch break was a bit shorter, so today several of us just went to the restaurant in the convention centre. Their menu was fairly uninspiring, but I chose a katsu curry with rice, which had sliced mushrooms in the sauce. It was a typical Japanese curry and reasonably good.

Sapporo Beer Museum
Sapporo Beer Museum exterior.

After lunch were some more technical sessions, finishing at 16:30 in time for us to leave on a bus at 16:45 for the Sapporo Beer Museum and Beer Garden restaurant for the social event of the meeting. The weather outside had turned frigid and as we arrived there was a light sprinkle of rain, which Jackson described as ice particles and even snow, but I’m sceptical that it was that cold at all. It just felt like a drizzle with a brisk wind to me.

Read more: Visiting the Sapporo Beer Museum, and cooking our own food at the ISO meeting dinner function at its restaurant.

Japan/USA diary, day 3

28 October, 2015

Wednesday 3 June, 2015. 21:39

Today we got into the ad hoc discussion groups in the ISO meeting, which was more interesting than yesterday. These cover the actual technical discussions leading to standards definitions, and often people have differing views on things. Mostly it was a lot of agreement, but there were some disagreements which will need to be nutted out over future drafts of the proposals.

I got up at 07:20 this morning and checked the weather forecast for Sapporo. It said 100% chance of rain, so I took my umbrella, though it wasn’t raining yet and the weather was actually warmer and the sky a bit clearer than yesterday (though still very cloudy). When I got to the convention centre I mentioned to Jackson that I’d brought my umbrella since the forecast said it was going to rain today, and he was surprised as his weather app said there was only a 30% chance of rain.

Night bikes
Rain in Sapporo (evening).

Read more: standards discussions, exploring Sapporo in the rain, dinner with a surprising English menu.

Japan/USA diary, day 2

27 October, 2015

Tuesday, 2 June, 2015. 20:54

I slept really badly, struggling to fall sleep most of the night. At one point I opened my eyes and saw the light of dawn coming in the window and thought it must have been almost time to get up, but when I looked at the clock it was only 03:45! The sun comes up really early here. I closed the curtains tighter and went back to bed to try to sleep some more.

I got up eventually at 07:00, quickly dressed, and left to make sure I could find my way to the convention centre okay. I popped into a convenience store across the street from the hotel to buy a couple of packaged rice snacks for breakfast, and carried them with me on my trip into the subway.

I had to get to Higashi station, but managed to confuse myself and got on the wrong subway line, because the station near the hotel caters to three intersecting lines. Instead of the Orange Tozai line, I got the green Namboku line, since it has a station called Hiragishi, which I mistook for my destination in my hurried reading of the maps as I was negotiating the maze of tunnels in a streaming mass of commuters. I realised when on the wrong train, but thankfully before reaching the next stop, so I turned around and only had to come back one station to correct my error.

Sapporo Convention Centre
Sapporo Convention Centre.

Read more: First day of ISO Photography meetings, sushi lunch, exploring Odori Park, and Old Ramen Alley for dinner

Japan/USA diary, day 1

25 October, 2015

Monday, 1 June, 2015. 20:46 Japan time

I am sitting on the rapid airport train from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo, just waiting for it to leave the airport and carry me into the city. The airport is a long way out and the trip apparently takes 45 minutes or so.

I got up at 05:00 back in Sydney this morning, dressed and called a taxi to take me straight to the airport. The driver was chatty and kept saying how mechanically terrible his taxi was, and how in particular the brakes needed fixing. Traffic is light that early in the morning.

I checked in and managed to get the last exit row seat on the flight to Tokyo. I had no large bag to check in, packing light enough to keep everything in carry on. After getting boarding passes through to Sapporo, I went through customs and into the departure terminal, which is being renovated, again. The huge duty free shop at the entrance has been moved into what was the large elliptical open area in the middle of the terminal, crowding out several other shops and food places.

Being so early, many of the food places weren’t open yet. I found one place that served muesli, with yoghurt and a poached pear, which was interesting and very nice. Though it cost a whopping $17. After eating, the sun rose spectacularly through a panoramic window looking north-east to the city, and I grabbed a few photos.

Leaving Sydney
Sunrise at Sydney Airport.

Read more: Flight to Sapporo via Tokyo, then dinner at restaurant in Sapporo.

South Australia diary, day 9

25 October, 2015

Friday, 15 May, 2015. 12:12

We got up early this morning, just before 07:00, so we could drive up to Adelaide and get breakfast at the Adelaide Central Market before catching our flight home to Sydney. We packed our bags and left the motel room, then joined the procession of cars in the weekday morning commute into the city.

The weather has finally fined up here, on our last day. The sun had barely risen as we set out and McLaren Vale was shrouded in morning fog. The main road north to Adelaide was pretty light on traffic, especially compared to Sydney. On the freeway we witnessed an accident happening right in front of us. A car in the innermost lane clipped the concrete barrier and came to a crunching stop. Several other cars stopped to assist by the time we had pulled level, so we drove on.

The traffic intensified a bit closer in to the city, but was still not a problem. We navigated on to King William Street and from there turned into Grote Street and the car park for the market, arriving a bit after 08:00.

Poached eggs and smoked salmon
Poached eggs and salmon at Adelaide Central Market.

We had a brief look around and M. got a cup of coffee before we found a cafe bar where we could order some breakfast. M. got some banana bread with ricotta and rhubarb compote, while I had poached eggs with smoked salmon on some very thick slices of toast. The eggs were good, though could have been just a touch softer in the middle.

Read more: More food and yummy stuff at the market, before flying home.

South Australia diary, day 8

25 October, 2015

Thursday, 14 May, 2015. (no time recorded)

We walked out to Bracegirdle’s House of Fine Chocolate for breakfast this morning. Being a good Hobbit name, I expected we could have had second breakfast as well if we wanted to, but a serve of muesli and a hot chocolate was good enough to charge us up for the day. Bracegirdle’s is also a chocolate shop, and has a sign boasting award winning chocolates. It seems every second cafe, bakery, winery, and restaurant in South Australia has won awards for something.

Breakfast at Bracegirdle's
Breakfast at Bracegirdle’s.

The muesli was a gluten-free mix with no oats, but lots of little seeds and rice crisps. It came with yoghurt and fresh strawberries and banana slices, all piled in layers in a large glass. Which looks nice, but makes it highly impractical to stir and mix everything before eating it. It tasted good though.

Read more: We drive through the hills, visit a gallery for lunch, go to the beach, see a spectacular sunset, and have Italian food for dinner

South Australia diary, day 7

13 September, 2015

Wednesday, 13 May, 2015. 09:33

We have woken up to a fine and sunny morning in Hahndorf, but very cold. We walked out to Cafe Assiette for breakfast. They had muesli on the menu, served with fresh banana, yogurt, and local honey. M. asked if she could have something substituted for her banana, and they said would strawberries be okay. M. said yes, and the other serving (mine) would be fine with banana. Then the lady said they didn’t have banana this morning! The fruit choices were strawberry or fig. M. asked for strawberry on both, but when they came they both had both strawberries and figs. Which was good, because I preferred the figs, and we did a swap. The muesli was really good, and the honey was a bit spicy which went well with it when mixed in with the yoghurt.

Muesli at Cafe Assiette
Muesli at Cafe Assiette.

On the way back we popped into a chemist to buy some sunglasses for me, after I lost my pair somewhere yesterday. I got a cheap pair, which M. says looks almost the same as my other pair.

Read more: We check out the jam factory at a berry farm, the home of one of Australia’s most famous landscape painters, and travel to the McLaren Vale wine region for more good food and wine.