Wednesday, March 31, 2010


magnolia, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Using the extendable bipod plus that lovely 70-300mm Nikkor zoom that the bipod made me buy, it is possible to photograph the neighbours' own magnolias almost slightly artistically.

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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!

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Monday, March 29, 2010


Zen garden at Zuisenji, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010











I can't decide which of these two pictures I prefer, so as a special treat there are two photos today.

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.


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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.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


our camelia, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


shizen! Near Okutama, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The Japanese go to huge effort to make sure their countryside stays beautiful and natural looking.

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Friday, March 19, 2010


Zuisenji ume, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Egaratenjin, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Broken trees, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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.

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Friday, March 12, 2010


camelia, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Fuji-san from Kamakura, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Japanese people like to photograph Fuji-san looking something like this. The reality is different.

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Monday, March 8, 2010


bear shrine thing, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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 pedants: I'm fairly sure it is supposed to be a bear not a hedgehog... Having said that, if it were Mrs Tiggywinkle it would only mean that there was more than one shrine in Kamakura sporting anime characters...

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]

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Friday, March 5, 2010


heron, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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.]

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010


furry flower, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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....

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Duran Duran live in Tokyo, 2010


Duran Duran live in 2010, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

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.

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