I'm Alex Kearney, a PhD student studying Computer Science at the University of Alberta. I focus on Artificial Intelligence and Epistemology.


Getting ready to come home.

Kyōto Station → Shinagawa Station → Narita, Chiba


Yesterday I visited Nara and hiked to the top of Mount Wakakusa. The friends I met at the top weren’t just hanging out at the peak: deer are all throughout the city, mingling with people; however, this congregation was a bit more wary of me than the city-dwellers. After sitting and resting a bit they warmed up to me and continues grazing as I watched the sunset over Todai-ji. In Nara, deer are sacred natural monuments believed to be messengers of the gods by one of the local temples.

Kyōto Station → Tōdai-ji → Mount Wakakusa


Yesterday I made it to the top of mount Hieie: the second highest mountain in the Kyoto prefecture (according to the family I met at the top). At the top of the mountain I took a break to enjoy some tea and met three groups of people who made it to the top.

The first was a Canadian from Toronto who was traveling.

The second was a trail-runner. He started digging around behind one of the trees and retrieved a mysterious granite pyramid which he placed in front of the tree. He said it was famous. I’m still confused by this.

The third was a Japanese family who hiked the mountain. The father started telling me how young Japanese people don’t like hiking and that Japanese people don’t hike anymore. He told me about all the mountains in the area, the number of mountains in japan, and the heights of their peaks.

I left the mountain informed.

Kyōto Station → Ōtsu → Mount Hiei


I made it to the top of Mount Hiei, a sacred mountain in Japan. At the top, I met a guy from Toronto. Canadians are everywhere.


Photograph of the the moment I consider giving it all up to become a tea-farmer. Maren recommended coming to @obubuteafarms for a tour of their estate. The tea tasting we had was so memorable because we also got to see the whole process: from tending to the bushes, to harvesting and processing! I even learned a few new brewing techniques 🍵

Kyōto Station → Kamo, Niigata → Wazuka, Kyoto


Yesterday I went to Kinkaju-ji: the golden pavilion. I got there early to beat the crowds of tourists, and it was filled with school-kids instead! A group of them wanted to take a picture with me. I’m still not sure why 😂 maybe it was a school assignment?


The Okinawa airport has orchids all over the airport, even in all the jetways leading to the plane. It’s a nice way to be greeted when you land 🌸


One of the most frustrating aspects of traveling with friends who are men is having your change, or your tickets, or even your passport handed off to the man. Doesn’t matter if you are booked and paying separately, the dude gets your stuff.


Last day of diving in Okinawa. I’m glad I decided to pack my dive computer last-minute. Exploring the reef in Okinawa has been an absolute treat—so much life!

On to Kyoto!


Unexpected upside to traveling in a country who’s language you don’t understand: all location-based ads are effectively blocked by being uninterpretable.

It’s like Lorem Ipsum.


I found this little friend yesterday! A cute little Nudibranch. I love how varied the colours and shapes and sizes of sea-slugs are! They’re so delicate and beautiful. I could sit and watch these guys inch along all day 🐛

I’m really fortunate my trip aligned with the right season to see them. They only come out when the water is cooler; when it warms up, they head inside the coral to avoid the heat.


It’s my first day diving in Okinawa! Plenty of fish hiding away in sea anemone 🐟 This is my first time diving in Asia, and I’m really enjoying taking in all the surprising differences to what we see in the Americas.




Today was the last day of Haru-no-Taisai, the spring grand festival at the Meji Jinju. Today’s service is the largest Shinto ceremony of the year for the shrine. Amongst the rituals is a sacred dance based on a poem written by Emperor Showa that calls for world peace.


That's it for Tokyo! On to Okinawa for a little bit a scuba-diving and some beach time.

Haneda Airport → Naha Airport





On my Way to Japan for the next three weeks!

Edmonton International Airport → Vancouver International Airport → Narita International Airport