Friday, 18 January 2013

Day 33: When you know you want more...

Day 33 (7 Jan) It is the day before I'm due to fly home and typically, I've planned one last charge at the library. I'm still trying to get some biographical information on two Japanese men who were in Queensland in the 1890s. It's my current research obsession and I've got a couple of presentations to make early this year. 

Both men went on to become politicians in the early Japanese parliament and both have their writings on the public record. Eventually I hope to track down their parliamentary records but, as it turns out, that will have to wait. 

Some of the books I hope will help me
understand politics in Japan, at 6.12am
So it was, at 6.12am, I was looking at all the stuff on my floor and wondering how to get it in one suitcase...
I inevitably buy too many books on each visit to Japan. I try to stick to the smaller Penguin-size paperbacks but that just leads to buying more, because they're's a self-defeating logic. I like to get a mix of topics: the domestic political milieu, international relations (from a Japanese perspective); anything about Australia in Japanese; and/or general philosophical texts by interesting thinkers. They all feed into my writing and classes, eventually. I might even add a few reviews, over on the other blog. 

Probably my favourite building in Tokyo
Meanwhile, I had a day to plan. Though excellent, public transport generally takes a bit of planning time-wise. It will take me nearly 90mins to get to the library from home, by the time I walk to the station (20 mins) and take two trains and walk the 5 mins at the other end. All efficient, but time...besides, one thing about working in the national library is that it is across the road from the Japanese Parliament and as a political scientist, I always have a sense of calm excitement around such buildings. 

It's the same when I go to Canberra and when I visited Washington DC...well naturally I went to Capitol Hill. Often my travelling companions wonder about me. I've met and interviewed a number of politicians in Japan over the years and more recently, there have been regular anti-nuclear protests around the building...secretly, I was hoping to catch some of those this time...

Taxi! 6.12pm
Not to be. Not to worry. I did crack a key part of the puzzle about my two subjects towards the end of my day. I've found librarians the world over to be incredibly helpful in my endeavours and equally excited about my finds. I thank librarians everywhere for their marvellous assistance and calm demeanour. I would have liked a bit more time, but I had to be back home by 6.00 for dinner with the end I had to get a taxi to the restaurant which is what I was doing at 6.12pm, just 12 mins late out of a 90 minute trip. Ah, if only I'd had just a bit more time...

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