Glasgow Science Centre

p1080799.jpgIsn’t this architecture wonderful? I love this part of the city. It is only a few years old. In this picture you can see the Science Centre and the Tower. Unfortunately on the day we visited the museum, it was too windy to take the lift (elevator) to the top of the tower. You get a great view of the city from the top.

And this is the Clyde Auditorium where you can attend music concerts. Its nickname is The Armadillo.

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This footbridge over the River Clyde opens to allow tall ships to pass through. We were lucky to see it opening. It swings open. If you click on the picture, you should be able to see a larger image.

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The museum of flight

On August 14 we went to the Museum of Flight. As you might expect, there are many aeroplanes here. We saw helicopters and rockets, very old planes, planes from the wars, and best of all, Concorde, the only commerical plane that flew faster than the speed of sound. This is the highlight of the visit. If you go to this museum, you must make a reservation to board Concorde. It cost about 8 pounds but I thoroughly recommend it.

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In the msueum only 8 people can enter Concorde at a time. It is so narrow. The design is very interesting and there is a good display about the history of supersonic flight. Did you know that the Concorde got so hot when it flew that the plane expanded widthways by 20 centimetres? So the carpet had to stretch too. The walls of the plane got warm too. It could fly between London and New York in less than three hours. Of course it was very noisy and used a lot of fuel but it is such an important part of aviation (flight) history.

And here is Concorde’s toilet!

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Kelvingrove Museum

Before school started, we took the kids to this museum and art gallery. It was built just over 100 years ago. It is in the West end of Glasgow. All of the museums and art galleries in Glasgow are free to enter. Cheap day out!
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We saw the Egyptian room and a display on dinosaurs and extinct animals. (Extinct means that the animal is dead now; for example dinosaurs, mammoths, and dodos.) There is also a plane from World War Two suspended from the ceiling.

There is a nice collection of Scottish art, and some Impressionists, and a few Rembrandts. One of Dali’s most famous pictures, Saint John of the Cross, is here too.

From this museum you can see the university where I did my undergraduate degree. Glasgow university was founded in 1451 but this building is not so old, only about 100 years old. This building is the reason why I chose to study at Glasgow. I passed the exams for other universities but I liked this tower the best! My English literature classes were held just to the left of the tower.

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Summer in Scotland

I spent a month in Scotland this summer. I had a few days holiday before I started doing some research: visiting local schools and their libraries, and attending a conference at Stirling University.

Here are some pictures of my family. You can see my parents, my sister and her husband and son, and my children. We love to get together and eat dinner. Then the kids all play together. We had roast beef and Yotkshire puddings for dinner. It was a special request from my daughter. Yummy!

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And here is my daughter playing in the street where my parents live. They live in a cul-de-sac, that means the road is a dead end; there is no way to drive through. So it is quite safe for children to play in the street. There are about 40 children living in this street although there are only 54 houses! So they all play together. In the summer it gets dark about 10 p.m. Kids usually play outside until the street lights come on just after 9 p.m. They are on bikes, scooters, skates, and skateboards. Somehow a large town in the UK seems a lot more child-friendly than rural Japan.

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My final evening in Monterey

I went to the Monterey Institute before classes finished. I wanted to say goodbye to my students. They will stay in Monterey for one month. They were all doing their best in class despite the jet lag. They tried to answer the teacher. This is a picture of the students.

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After class, we went for coffee to the Cafe Noir downtown. Monterey’s restaurants and cafes reflect its rich ethnic heritage. You can eat all kinds of delicious food here. I think it would be a great place to live. It is so pleasant to sit in nice little cafes; there are none near our university in Shimane. The students seemed to enjoy eating cake. I admire their courage to go to a foreign country and study. I hope they will have an unforgettable experience.

The aquarium

p1080412.jpgMonterey is famous for its aquarium. There are many kinds of marine life here. I saw sharks and turtles and all kinds of fish. The tanks are large and seem quite humane for the sea creatures. I enjoyed the building too especially the sardine tank. The aquarium was the only place where I saw the sea otters that Monterey is so famous for. And after an hour or so in the aquarium, I had fish for lunch. Here is a picture of the delicious tomato and fish stew.
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Then I met with Dean Larrimer from the Monterey Institute who told me more about the program and hoped that we would be able to send more students next year. I hope so too! I met Hillary Bennett for breakfast that day too. Hillary was telling me how carefully she selects the families for the homestay program. Shimane first years, please think about coming to Monterey! It is a wonderful program.

My hotel

p1080477.jpgI spent four nights in Hotel Monterey on Alvarado Street. It is a few minutes walk from the Monterey Institute where my students were learning English. The hotel was built over one hundred years ago but it became quite derelict in the 1960s. Luckily, it was sold and the new owners fixed the problems and made the building stronger because this part of California sometimes has earthquakes. My room was small but very pretty. There were lots of antiques in the hotel. Breakfast was good too!

Carmel Valley

p1080287.jpgOn August 5th, after an early morning walk by the ocean, I met two good friends. Scott and Miki who used to live in Shimane but now live in San Jose, came to take me out for the day. (My students were with their home stay families and I had a cellphone with me at all times!) First of all we went to Point Lobos. It is a nature reserve. Look how green the ocean seems. Then we went to a vineyard in Carmel Valley.I tried some red and white wine. I bought some Merlot, a delicious red wine.This is a picture of Scott and Miki at the winery.
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Next we drove on a famous road called 17-mile Drive and later had a wonderful dinner in Monterey. I love seafood. I must say thank you to all 18 students for not calling me today!