Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Texan and his Japanese girlfriend came to Ottawa the other day...

Yes indeed, I doubt many people can make the above statement, but there it is! Who was this mysterious Texan you ask? None other than Arekusu (formerly Arekusu-sensei) whom I befriended during his 5 month stay in Utsunomiya. He and Haruna, whom I'd also had the chance to meet while in Japan came up to Canada for a couple of days last week, beginning with a tour of Montreal before spending the weekend here in Ottawa with Yoshiko and I. A grand time was had by all, photos to follow...

One of the reasons I haven't posted in a while is that I've started a new job at the office... while continuing to fill the duties of my old one... making things quite hectic and tiring. Luckily, this is for a limited time only, and by the end of August, I should be able to focus on my new duties. I've taken on the roles of Assistant to the General Manager and Coordinator of the Students program for Ottawa. The first part of that has everything from accounting and budgeting to HR and administrative stuff, with some telecoms stuff, purchasing and HR stuff to go with it. All in all, a pretty wide ranging position which will keep me pretty busy. The students side of things means that I deal with the law students which come through the office, help setup the whole recruiting process and deal with all the day to day stuff relating to their becoming licensed to practice law. All of this, for now, on top of my IT role which means that I am currently a man of (too) many hats. It's all good though, I'm getting plenty of stuff done in my first week with no time to get bored, that's for sure!

Anywho, on to the pics from the weekend. Here are Alex and Haruna coming back from a run to Timmy's for some coffee.


Our first touristy thing was to attend the Changing of the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill. I hadn't been in YEARS, and Yoshiko had never attended, so I thought that'd be a good event to partake. The weather was absolutely AMAZING after a couple of days on rain. Here, you can see the parade arriving on Parliament Hill, complete with marching band.


While this ceremony and its guards are now mostly symbolic, its roots are practical in nature. This ceremony used to be held on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the official residence of Canada's Governor General, who is the representative of the Queen of England in Canada. The ceremony essentially serves to turn over the guard of Rideau Hall from one regiment to another, kind of like a big shift change... with marching bands and guns... lol


Don't be fooled by the symbolism and tradition here however, these are not actors... these young men and women are soldiers, members of the Governor General's Foot Guards, based here in Ottawa and the Canadian Grenadier Guards which are based in Montreal.


The ceremony lasts about a half hour and includes a full inspection of the guards as well as a transfer of the keys and colours from one commander to the next. And then, the whole group marches on off the hill and down the street to their barracks. Quite the show it is, and with Parliament as a background... an added bonus.


After the Changing of the Guards, we decided to run around the market a bit, and sample some of the local fare. On the way, we saw the locks once again in full operation.


It really was a lovely day, with the flag atop the Peace Tower fluttering madly in the wind.


Here is a view of the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica which lies just across from the National Art Gallery. On the grounds of the gallery stands this huge statue of a spider named "Mother"... complete with an egg sack... ick... striking nonetheless.


I was surprised to see that the War Memorial is now guarded by members of the Foot Guards. Seeing as the memorial holds the remains of the Unknown Soldier, and is thus essentially a grave yard, I like the addition, though I'm sure they'll just be on for tourist season.



This memorial is, of course, dedicated to Canada's war dead, and the group of soldiers are passing through an arch which signifies the passage between war and peace.


So that was that for our downtown tour. We headed back home, slapped together some fantastic BBQ, turned in early and slept in. A good day!

Another recent development in the neighbourhood is the arrival of a family of raptors of some kind. I'm having trouble pinning them down exactly as a species. Some have called it a Merlin\Pigeon Hawk... though the Sharp-shinned hawk is also an option in my mind, and the colours match more the SSHawk than the other... hard to tell to my untrained eyes... what do you think?





2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow nice photos. Keep up the good work.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Anskov said...

Glad you guys had such a good time. Good talking to you the other day, mate.

7:31 AM  

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