Coursera-Top Universities’ Lectures At Home

Don’t remember where I got this information, but University of Princeton, Michigan, Stanford and Pennsylvania started joint online lecture courses recently.


You can choose lectures as you like, for instance I’ve taken 8 or something. Because lecture is not long, just about 20 min.

Last weekend, watched the first lecture of “Fundamentals of Pharmacology”, which is very close to the job I want to do in the near future. Professor’s English was slow, maybe on purpose, and lots of slides were used. Also “Vaccine” is already started.

What else, computer science, genome, sociology, finance, literature…I’ve taken two literature related. If it was interesting, I’ll report it here!

Have a nice weekend!


Trams in Toyama

For some reason, I’m temporarily stopping driving a car.

In Toyama City, sometimes using trams to move. It comes every 5 to 10 mins in daytime, quite convenient.

There seems to be two companies running trams now – Toyama Light Rail and Toyama Local Railway. Both has no English website, but English Wikipedias are available.

Toyama Light Rail Toyamakō Line

The Toyamakō Line (富山港線 Toyamakō-sen?) is a tram line of Toyama Light Rail in the city of Toyama, the capital of Toyama Prefecture. The line runs from Toyamaekikita, right next to Toyama Station, bounds for north to Iwasehama in a town of the Toyama Port on Sea of Japan.[1]

Pic taken from the Wikipedia above.

This tram is called “Portram”. And another one is,

Toyama Chihō Railway(some say Toyama Local Railway, like above).

The Toyama Chihō Railway (富山地方鉄道 Toyama Chihō Tetsudō?, “Toyama Regional Railway”) is a transportation company in Toyama, Toyama, Japan. The company is commonly known as Chitetsu (地鉄?). The private company operates railway, tram, and bus lines in the eastern part of the prefecture.

There are several types of trams running. Newest trams “Centram” are not running regularly and I haven’t taken it yet. Though, when I was walking down the street in Toyama City the other day, saw a new tram.

And its route is as below:

I didn’t know one route has added!

I’m not sure of city’s plan for future, but heard that all tram route will be connected in the end. There are only several cities in Japan where trams are running. So these are subject to drawing attention from other area, even abroad.

My Colleagues?

As written in “About”, I’ve got a ferret and a cat. Good companions for a person who works at home. About ferrets it’s over 10 years history of having ones, regarding cats, since I was an elementary school kid.

Many stray cats came and stayed with us somehow, and among them now we have Me-ke (means three colours). Very typical Japanese name for cats. Because many customers visiting my parents’ shop say “Oh, you are Me-ke chan!”. So she finally thought she was Me-ke herself.

Recent shot of her. At least 19 yo, perhaps over 90 yo if she was a human. She doesn’t need remaining food in the dish anymore (typical for cats).

When she wants food (Japanese cats love fish, and she prefers certain blandbrand of canned tuna only), silently sits in front of her dish in presence of somebody. Sometimes, she urges me saying meow.

And my ferrets. I had 5 so far, and one of them I could not care because I passed him to ex-husband. After I came back to Toyama, had 3 in all. Only 1 is still alive. Her name is Nana, girls’ name here and also means “seven”. Some people who are the fan of Japanese manga might remember that there is a piece called “Nana”.

It’s very difficult to take photos of ferrets. They move so fast. Considering of buying an out-of-date digital single-lens reflex camera, but might be I could get a coupon for updating my outdated smartphone, maybe situation would be better, so I hope.

Toyama Suiboku Museum(2) -Ikuo Hirayama Exihibition.

Ikuo Hirayama deceased in recent year(2009) was one of the greatest Japanese-style painters.

Wanted to go to his exhibition at Suiboku Museum, but because of my irregular job schedule, it was postponed until the last day, May 20th. What was worse, I missed the train and there was not so much time left.

I’ve heard that museum was boring before, although on seeing on my own, building and environment were quite tasteful. Access was very easy using the tram from Toyama station and walking a while.

One side of the gate, from the near side of the tram station.

And there was a pond covered with glass, unknown birds were singing, families were enjoying the view.

Could be some meaning of this alignment of stones, like Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto.

Museum itself had so-so usual appearance, just surroundings are soothing.

So, about Hirayama. He was born in Onomichi City, Hiroshima and was exposed to radiation as a child, just 3km away from the centre of exprosion.

A leaflet of his exhibition and ticket, along with the postcard of same masterpiece.

Some of famous his works are about Silk Road, something like these and these. I like blue very much, and his blue was deep and just terrific. Unfortunately, as I was late, much of goods of these blue masterpieces were already sold.

I make it a rule to buy some postcards when I go to museums. If I had some budget, maybe picture books from next time (when I went to Prado Museum Collection in Tokyo, quite regretted of not buying one).

What I’ve bought.

It’s a sketch, could not find English title, but literally translated to “Bamiyan Buddha Statue”. He has traveled many Asian countries, also Afghanistan, and was saddened to know the news that statues were destroyed. For remembrance, he insisted to leave the broken Buddhas as a “Negative Heritage”.

This one as well, no English translation available, but literally “The Old Man in the Central Asia”.

Also no translation seems to be available, something like “A Prayer(Ellora stone cave)”. Ellora is in India.

This exhibition has been going around all over Japan since last year.

Sagawa Museum’s Ikuo Hirayama Exhibition- The Road to The Great Tang Central Asian Drawings(only in Japanese)

Niigata and Akita are still remaining.

Finally, the other side of the gate, bench and a lantern.

Toyama Suiboku Museum(1) -What is Suibokuga?

Suibokuga is a style of painting originated from China. To paint, you use Chinese brush and black ink (very hard to wash off if it splashes to your clothes).

In my university days, just a short period I belonged to the Japanese Calligraphy Club, and in there some senpais(seniors)were adding beautiful drawings along with their calligraphy. Actually they were in colours, not precisely called suibokuga.

Suibokuga is painted only in black Chinese ink, and expressed its degree of thickness.

From the images from Wikipedia in Japanese, you can see how they look like.

(Click to enlarge)

“Pine Grove”(Tohaku Hasegawa, 1539-1610), National Tresure.

“Landscapes of autumn and winter”, Muromachi Period
(Sessyu, 1420-1502/1506), National Treasure. Sessyu was a priest.

In Toyama City, they bulit a Suibokuga Museum in 1999. Haven’t had a chance to visit, and in my first visit couldn’t see suibokuga because I’ve missed the train, in the next post will write what I’ve seen in there.

Toyama Suiboku Museum (in Japanese Only, with sound, uses Macromedia Flash)

(June 21 at 20:30, corrected museum’s name)

My Brother’s New Home Viewing Mt. Fuji

My brother’s home has finished construction in the end of March. I was not aware of that very much as my mother who lives with me. Living with old parents is difficult sometimes, but for now cannot help – it’s sometimes called “parasite children”. In Japan, sometimes single children stay with their parents, but considering that parents get older and need assistance, it’s not bad for them sometimes.

Anyway, she often told me, “It’s their matter, I don’t ask”. But in fact she is sometimes sending big boxes of Toyama food to his family. Especially for her loving grandsons. She’s got thank-you phone calls, actually she knew about progress!

Lately a bunch of photos came from Kanagawa Pref.(his place is about 50 away from Tokyo metropolitan area) as usual, most of them were of home being built, one of them there was a photo of room that you can view Mt. Fuji. Closer look, if you climb it’s not very beautiful with garbage, still its beauty is very special. It was my brother’s room.

People from Toyama feel unstable in other places, because they feel relaxed to see great mountains over 3000 metres when it’s fine. He was out of town when he was young, no longer speaks our dialect when back home, but after all he is from here.

Mt. Tate from Toyama City (Link to photographer’s page)