Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Magnolias rate highly on jules' flower list. Not white, but the colour of interior wall paint, the large flowers gleam spectacularly in the sun. This one is *our* dwarf pink magnolia, which has had a record breaking number of flowers this year (5).
Due to the warmth, magnolia flowers in Kamakura burst from their buds only for the petals to fall to the ground about 2 days later. But this year an unusual cold snap arrived, and even now (10 days later) there are still a few bedraggled flowers sticking to some of the branches.
The inlaws come from Scotland, where it is always cold and dark and wet, but it seems they have become soft in their centrally heated thick-walled stone castle. Consequently they have been complaining bitterly about this bitter weather. For some reason they keep talking about how it was cold during the war and stuff. Presumably that was the last time they felt as cold. Welcome to Japan: medieval to 22nd century lifestyle all at once!
Monday, March 29, 2010
Upping the Zennish ante, this weekend I loaded my camera with black and white pixels. Similar in colour taken 10 months ago can be found here.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Architechturally, peonies are all over the place. Furthermore, in colour they range from white to red, which means there is an awful lot of pink. But they do have some interesting shaded tones in their petals and Hachimangu has a special peony garden where they make hundreds of them bloom in early February. The garden is very well tended and all the blooms look fresh. I don't know what dark arts are employed to acheive this remarkable feat.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Today the in-laws arrive! Eleventy! The house is clean (ish*), the cherry blossom is obediently just starting to bloom. Only problem: it's cold and pissing with rain.
This view is the new view of Hachimangu because there used to be a big ginkgo tree next to the upper building [on the left as you look at the photo]. See here for the "before" picture.
*actually it isn't really clean - but we have thrown an awful lot of stuff out to make room for the extra biomass.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Previously I wrote that camelia were a bit dull, but at that point I had forgotten about *our* camelia. It is all different when they are your own babies... We have three bush-ettes. Just one flower so far.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Japanese go to huge effort to make sure their countryside stays beautiful and natural looking.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Plum blossom season is well and truly over, but I couldn't not share this lovely picktur wot I took with my 6.5 foot bipod, with the blossom looking like falling snow or summat. Especially appropriate as it did snow several times during the plum blossom season this year.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Wikipedia says, "International Klein Blue is outside the gamut of computer displays, and can therefore not be accurately portrayed on webpages." I wonder if it is true.
Anyway, here is some Japanese Shinto Orange.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The ginkgo of Hachimangu wasn't the only tree to fall down in last Tuesday night's snowstorm. On Saturday we climbed Hinode, a little hill near Tokyo, and there were contorted dead bodies and severed limbs scattered all over the place. Poor trees!
Actually, wind ripping up trees is pretty cool even when (or maybe especially when) it is an old tree; it is man ripping them up that is upsetting, and the latter is a whole lot more common than the former.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I find camelia difficult to photograph, as, to me, they look like rubbish roses - and I don't really like roses anyway. Their main feature is that the different varieties flower from around November through to March or April, providing a lot of colour. The fancier the variety, the later they bloom. Their other feature is that the flowers fall whole from the bush - hence the blooms lying at Mrs Tiggywinkle's feet.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Japanese people like to photograph Fuji-san looking something like this. The reality is different.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I don't quite know how I have managed to visit Zuisenji for 8 years and never before notice the Mrs Tiggywinkle shrine.
for the extra very pedants: Zuisenji is a temple (Buddhism) not a shrine (Shinto), but as Buddhism likes to blend in with local religions, it is all a bit mixed up, and some temples contain shrine-like things]
Friday, March 5, 2010
One of our pet herons.
[鶴岡八幡宮の大池, 鎌倉 - which is a bit funny, because 鶴岡 means something like hill of the cranes, but I have never seen a crane there, despite having seen lots of black kites, herons, egrets, ducks and pigeons.]
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Normal programming resumed.
This is the Oriental Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha, mitsumata, 三椏), and was photographed at Egaratenjin, an odd sort of a shrine with some great blossom trees, in Kamakura. All the furry bits in the middle soon open up into flowers, and the bush has a really strong jasmine-like fragrance. Ahhh....
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Before getting back to usual programming (flowers, bugs and toxic waste).... here is my only close-up of Simon Le Bon. I would say he's doing quite well for 52 - although a bit porky (which was very fitting given the occasion), he is able to sing in tune better than most, and the quality of his voice seemed good too.