The big RNA conference was on in 2011 in Kyoto, and we thought that it was about time that a representation from the lab went - after Paula forged the way in 2010 at the meeting in the US. This time, myself, Mitch, Marylene and Katschi fronted up, throwing caution into the wind by not taking lead-lined underwear. The meeting was in Kyoto - it was the first time in Japan for the others and the second time in Kyoto for me. Mitch and I shared a room and Katschi and Marylene did the same - at the Hearton Hotel, which was reasonably priced and did the job nicely for us. Having Mitch swearing in his sleep was an interesting start to the week, but after the first night he had obviously gotten it out of his system!

The conference was very good, and was held at a very nice conference centre on the edge of the city. One of the typical Japanese touches was the birdsong that played in the conference toilets - anywhere else, I would say that was weird, but somehow it actually worked there! The conference dinner band was something special too- Japanese hard rock and Police covers (mostly Roxanne!).

We had a chance to spend a day or two in Kyoto afterwards. We hired bikes one day - Kyoto is a superb city for just cruising serenely through the back streets - bikes can go anywhere. We also visited the onsen (outdoor hot spring bath) at Kurama and had a couple of short walks in the hills, giving Mitch a chance to take about 1500 photos of running water in various guises - just a minor obsession! The onsen was great, as usual - so relaxing that I fell asleep and Mitch had to wake me up to go and meet Marylene. Strangely, I also fell asleep when we stopped for a small sit down while touring Nijo castle as well - clearly I find Japan a very restful place! Also had some great food and drinks at tiny places in back streets - it is a great city to go out in...

I would happily go back to Kyoto (especially if i was tired!)...

[Click on the thumbnails to get a caption and a larger image]
Temple roofline (192kb) Kyoto hire bike - highly recommended! (235kb) Doesn't look very Japanese! (165kb)
The conference center (168kb) The conference center - very nice setting. (131kb) Waiting for Marylene at the underground station... (123kb)
Fish on a stick? (163kb) Just for Andrew - a whole fridge of tofu! (197kb) OK - *this* is for Andrew... (147kb)
Performers at the conference dinner. (90kb) Performers at the conference dinner. (88kb) OK - so, what are we supposed to do with this barrel of sake? (119kb)
We're supposed to do *what*? (121kb) OK! (112kb) The conference dinner band - Police covers and Japanese punk! (115kb)
Marylene losing weight at the train station... (133kb) Cemetary in the hills. (246kb) Mitch and Marylene in the hills (207kb)
Small shrine in the hills. (253kb) Walking in the hills. (257kb) Mitch (248kb)
Marylene (254kb) Ferns (233kb) Mitch and Marylene in the hills (248kb)
Mitch and Marylene in the hills (234kb) Trail (261kb) Now, *that's* a tongue! (68kb)
Maple leaves (243kb) The Palace (151kb) Pond in the castle gardens (210kb)
Moat around the castle (222kb) In the castle gardens (231kb) Table service - *great* food - with Ollie from Fred Allain's lab. (155kb)
Stairs to a shrine in Kurama (244kb) At the shrine in Kurama (205kb) Riverside dining in Kibuneguchi (130kb)
Roots (196kb) The intrepid walkers (169kb) Bridge (243kb)
Tree support (215kb) Coffee in a can... (167kb) Now, where was that crab restaurant? (139kb)
The market in Kyoto (196kb) Kyoto was full of places like this! (209kb) Not sure which of the Chu's this is referring to... (128kb)
Purse? (179kb) The old and the new. (129kb) Something on a stick? (104kb)