Married and back from the honeymoon

On the 7th February Emma and I got married on a brilliantly sunny (and hot) Auckland day. We then had a great honeymoon in Nelson and Golden Bay, where amazingly the weather held out very well compared to the rest of the country.

In Nelson we stayed at Te Puna Wai and in Golden Bay we had a comfy bach at Adrift. Both of the places were excellent, and if you are in that part of the world definitely consider them both if you are after great views, spa baths and hospitality.

For posterity I have put some of the photographs we took of our travel online here.


The Coromandel on a bad day

We went up to the Coromandel again this year but the weather was not nearly as good as last year - in fact the words 'tropical cyclone' spring to mind....

A weekend on the Coromandel Peninsula

This weekend we went up north to Whangapoua Beach in the Coromandel Peninsula for a bit of R&R. It was the first time I had spent a decent amount of time in the Coromandel and I came away really impressed. The weather was generally very good, the beaches beautiful and the swimming in the 3-4 foot waves awesome fun. Now I just have to get back to work, the only problem being the weather in Wellington is still brilliant....

Most Japan conference photos online

Over the weekend I went through the photographs I took in Japan and put most of them online in the Gallery section. You can check them out here:

Kumamoto, Japan - March/April 2006 Gallery

Mount Aso Tour

Today was the second full day CAADRIA tour around Kumamoto. We boarded the buses at 8:30am and did not get back to the hotels until 7:00pm. During this time we travelled up to Mount Aso and took in a number of landmarks and prominent buildings. It was very tiring, there was lots of busing about and many things to take in. The most interesting thing to see was the quantity of Japanese tourists, I think, but in actual fact there are more Japanese tourists touring Japan than anywhere else.

Touring southern Kumamoto

The CAADRIA conference has come to a successful close and we are now into the touring side of things. Today after lunch we boarded buses and headed south to Yatsushiro to checkout some Toyo Ito architecture. Afterwards we headed north-east into the hills to visit a very pretty lumber town and then went to a Japanese puppet theatre for a small show and dinner. Fortunately our table was lucky enough to have the english translator sitting with us so she was able to tell us what everything was along with a tonne of background to each of the foods. It was a very good tour and tomorrow we head north to visit Mt Aso, an active volcano and then some more architectural spots. Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Scouting Kumamoto University

Today I went walking around Kumamoto to find out where Kumamoto University actually is. The conference doesn't start till tomorrow as it starts early in the morning I needed to figure out how long it would take to get there from my hotel. The answer is about 30 minutes walking time but initially it took about an hour and a half to find (after a number of back-tracks and wrong turns). 

Sightseeing around Kumamoto City

Today I met a friend of a friend of my mothers (figure that one out) who took me around a few of the sights of Kumamoto. The weather was great and the cherry-blossoms where flowering all over the city. Lunch was interesting, it was at a resturant that specialised in tofu. We had a four course lunch that consisted of tofu salad, tofu soup, fried tofu, steamed egg and eel rice all finished off with a tofu and mandarin desert (which tasted a lot better than it sounded at the time).

It was a very good day, my thanks goes out to Mrs Tobioka for taking the time to show me around.
I took a lot of photographs and here are just a few of them (click on a photo to enlarge): 

CAADRIA 2006 Conference in Japan

I left for the CAADRIA conference in Japan on Monday 27th March. It was a 3:30am start to get the 6am flight to Sydney before jumping on a Japan Airlines flight to the very cool Kansai Airport near Osaka. The flight into Kansai was late and consequently it took an hour to get through customs as a number of other planes landed at the same time. I got through customs at 10pm and found that the bus I would be getting to Itami Airport where my hotel was near would not leave until 10:30pm and wouldn't get there till 12am. Rather than spend more time waiting in the airport I got a room in the hotel inside Kansai airport, cancelled my other hotel and got to bed at a reasonable hour. The coolest thing about the hotel (apart from it being inside the airport) was the crazy super-toilet which resembled an ejector seat and had just as many options (spray, clean, water pressure).

Testing the new camera on a Wellington weekend

It was a sunny weekend with lots of activities on so I took the chance to test out my new Canon Powershot S2 IS digital camera. The camera's 12x optical zoom is a massive improvement over what I have been used to in the more compact digital cameras I have used. The camera is also very fast at focusing and shooting images and the end results are pretty impressive (as you can see from the bottom set of photographs).

In one afternoon we walked along the waterfront to checkout a dance festival, the Volvo Ocean Race and then headed up to the Westpac Stadium to watch New Zealand play the West Indies in a one-day cricket match. All in all a very good afternoon and evening (especially as New Zealand won the match).