This blog is for family and friends, to share my feelings and photos with and for myself, to support my fading memory and improve my Japanese. I intend to do some writing in kanji, but am not getting very far without a Japanese computer. So for the moment I say "konnichi wa". Aisatsu dake - just saying hello.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Nagano, March 2019

What could be better than looking at some cold snow pix, while enduring the hot summer in Fukuoka?

Jaap, Karen Noriko and I stayed 3 nights in Nagano for some snow skiing and sightseeing. Our first night in the hotspring hotel down town was very wintery

The snow of that night presented us with perfect conditions the next day

On the way up to the skifields we stopped to look at a bunch of monkeys crossing our path.
Japanese Macaque, ニホンザル

There were birds as well: Willow Tits, コガラ

On top the view was magnificent!

Here we are at Japan's highest skislope. Do we remember how to ski?

Back at the hotspring resort in Nakano for some Japanese food and baths

On the last day we visited the natural hotspring that is popular with the local monkey population, known as the 'Snow Monkeys'

Flying back to Fukuoka, another glimpse of Mt Fuji

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Impressions of another Japan

We left Kyushu for some business in Hiroshima and used the highway to get there fast. On the way back we took our time, drove on the small country roads, spent a night in the mountains and recorded the sights. At first a nest of Barn Swallows, ツバメ at a highway rest stop.

The weather was great, blue skies white clouds, but very high temps as well. For photography that meant deep shadows and strong highlights

The countryside looked different to us, mostly because there were so many abandoned and neglected farm houses

Right next to it the cemetry of  - most likely - the last owners

The occupied buildings sported pretty tiled roofs with an array of ornaments

We stayed at a campsite on a wooded mountain near skifields, where the air was cool and the rivers clean. At night a surprise on a lamppost: Tens of different moths, from the big Japanese Luna Moth, オオミズアオ to the tiny Kuromonga, クロモンドクガ 

Early the next day most were gone, but still found a Kimonga, キンモンガ

... and a hairy caterpillar with... no head?

More moths on

Continuing our journey back we saw bus stops, most remarkable!

And some more deserted farm buildings

Somebody was there

A religeous touch: Cemetry decorations for the Obon festival, when ancestors return to their homes. We don't see those in Kyushu. It makes me feel like being in another country

Many small charming shrines

This is were the Asian Constable Butterfly, (Suminagashi) スミナガシ flew around, pretty and pleasing to the eye.

But also an East Asian Dobsonfly (Hebitombo) ヘビトンボ. Huge, frightening looking, repulsing, yuck! Why is it that we love some insects and hate others? Is it the environment of the old shady shrine, the moist darkness, rotten wood, unknown creepy spirits? I hoped taking a photo to bring out the beauty of the wings would change that, but actually it didn't. It is probably only loved by the Trout in the river.

There were more pretty bugs, like the Pale Grass Blue, ヤマトシジミ

And a handsome snail. I will have to ask Mr. N for its name.

In this hot time of the year there are few birds of interest, but in some villages the wires were full of  Red-rumped Swallows, コシアカツバメ

Furthermore; places to sit and rest

Last, not your regular vending machine. It should contain eggs, but there weren't any for sale. Maybe it was too hot.