5/9/14

After the first 2-month tour to India, New Zealand, and Australia, I am now on my second tour of the GSA international lectureship which will last the month of May and is taking me to Japan and China.

Tokyo lived up to its reputation of combining old and new traditions in a large, bustling city.   Everything seems clean, orderly, and efficient.

Lovely temple in busy Shinjuku district of Tokyo.

Lovely temple in busy Shinjuku district of Tokyo.

Tokyo Municipal Govt is housed in this tremendous skyscraper

Tokyo Municipal Govt is housed in this tremendous skyscraper

But our visit wasn’t quite complete until we woke up early and got a glimpse of Mt Fuji, beautiful and majestic looking against the city skyline.

Toy MtFuji

The Tokyo subway system can be dizzying, and makes the Paris and New York metros look simple.

In the densely packed city, many skyscrapers have interesting architecture.

Modernistic building called the cocoon tower in Shinjuku District.

Modernistic building called the cocoon tower in Shinjuku District.

I gave 2 talks hosted at ELSI (Earth and Life Science Institute) at Tokyo Institute of Technology.  ELSI is a new interdisciplinary collaboration between Earth and life sciences, with a special emphasis on the origins of life and early Earth.  These talks were co-sponsored  by the Sedimentological Society of Japan, the Geological Society of Japan, and the Exploration Technology Committee of the Japanese Association for Petroleum Technology.  At every place I visit, my kind and gracious hosts have always made me feel welcome, and I come away feeling that is has been an enriching and educational experience.

Before my talk at ELSI.

Before my talk at ELSI.

Discussing after the talk with Joseph Kirschvink of CalTech and ELSI.

Discussing after the talk with Joseph Kirschvink of CalTech and ELSI.

A highlight was a visit to the Sensoji Temple  (Tokyo’s oldest temple) with the Kaminarimon Gate in the Asakusa region of Tokyo. Visitors come and leave with blessings.  The promenade from the Gate to the Temple is lined with many shops, and eatery delights.  Some “firsts” for us were the samplings of frozen fruit shavings (tastes a lot like sorbet, but even better) and deep-fried crispy bread balls filled inside with curry paste.

Crowds file through a huge gate into Shinoji Temple, past incense burners.

Crowds file through a huge gate into Shinoji Temple, past incense burners.

The Kaminarimon Gate at Shinoji Temple with its large lantern.

The Kaminarimon Gate at Shinoji Temple with its large lantern.

 A row of shops line the path to Shinoji Temple selling all kinds of goods and tasty treats.

A row of shops line the path to Shinoji Temple selling all kinds of goods and tasty treats.

A traditionally dressed couple pauses by the garden waterfall.  Shinoji Temple grounds.

A traditionally dressed couple pauses by the garden waterfall. Shinoji Temple grounds.

On to Kyoto via the Shinkansen bullet train…

The quiet and smooth Shinkansen bullet trains come and go before you know it.

The quiet and smooth Shinkansen bullet trains come and go before you know it.

The bullet trains only make brief stops and when they say brief, that’s exactly what they mean.  From the opening to the closing of the doors is only about a minute as passengers quickly maneuver off and on with their baggage.

Margie