Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
July 2018
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Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion Temple) and Ryoanji

On my last morning — where, according to one sign, it was 40°C — I managed a couple of excursions before my flight homeward. My first port of call, and priority for the morning, was the Kinkaku-ji Temple (officially called Rokuon-ji), site of the famous golden temple. The highlight of the trip is actually the […]

12 of 12, July 2018

This particular conference, occurring every four years, seems to be very consistent with its dates, since I have a “12 of 12” record dating from Flagstaff, Arizona in 2014 and from Ljulbljana, Slovenia in 2010 (which, scarily, also indicates that I have been “12 of 12”-ing for over 8 years!). Today was a routine conference day, and […]


Most international conferences that I attend usually include a half-day excursion and thus it was that I got to visit Osaka.

The tour gave me the impression that Osaka is really just a very large city. We had a fairly unscenic cruise on the river and about the most exciting thing about this was the […]

Not your average spar-and-lashings construction project

One of my regular international travel challenges is to track down the national flag of the country I am visiting so I can get one for my brother Colin’s vexillological collection. This was accomplished via escaping from the conference during the middle of the day, catching the subway north to the Kyoto CBD, and making […]

The Nanzen-ji Buddhist temple complex

I then figured out how to catch the subway, making my way east to the Nanzen-ji Buddhist temple complex. Here there were more impressive wooden buildings and gorgeous gardens.

There was also an unexpected brick aqueduct. I found a cache here (although I needed the photo hint as my phone GPS isn’t the most accurate and there […]

Nijo Castle

On my second free day I decided to visit Nijo Castle.

This amazing place was the seat of the feudal shogun government from the early 1600s The main palace building itself is an impressive massive timber structure. We had to remove our shoes in order to walk around the interior of this building (and taking photos […]

Fushimi-Inari Taisha (Shrine)

After attending a mathematics education conference in Auckland (my regular annual conference involving mostly Australians and New Zealanders) I headed off to Japan for the four-yearly international statistics education conference. This was my first real visit to Japan (overnighting at an airport hotel en route to somewhere else hardly counts) and, fortuitously, the conference was […]