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.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mud Skippers

In spring the male Japanese Mud skippers start jumping to attract females in their burrows to spawn. They erect their blue-speckled fins and jump up vertically.


The burrows are actively defended from intruders (other males and crab) 


Few rocks are scattered about in this grey muddy field. They provide solid housing and are subjects of ongoing arguments among all mud-dwellers.


We had about 3 min of sunshine on this otherwise cloudy day. Look what it did to the colors! 

View from Mutsugorou koen (mudskipper park) in Saga on one more sunny moment.

Mata ne

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Brown Hawk Owl families

There are so few birds around this year; it's almost like a premonition. With the Hawk Owls it’s no exception. Many of the yearly returning birds haven’t shown up at their nesting site. Why?
This year’s rainy season has been a bit extreme. Kyushu has had floods and mudslides and now, 1 week after Yamakasa it’s still not over. I was quite relieved to find one pair of owls that had 1 chick, which they took with them into the woods in record time. There was only one day for me to see them around the shrine where they have their nest.

アオバズク  =  Brown Hawk Owl

And I was very surprised to hear about another pair having 4 chicks. By the time I got to their place the father and the eldest chick had left, after a fight with the crows. But here was mum, busy looking after the other 3. She flew back and forth getting them cicada's which they happily munched on, hopping from one branch to the other.
I hope they grow up well.

And, as requested, last year’s trio.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Yamakasa, the final


On the final day floats start racing from 4:59am.
But only the first turn in front of the Kushida Shrine is timed.
Winning is not important.
From the Kushida Shrine the 7 groups run through the streets over a 5km course. At 6:00 it’s all over. 
Kort maar krachtig

Returning to base covered in bandages, still thrilled with excitement.

Kawaiiii wan-chan

Friday, 13 July 2012

Hakata Gion Yamakasa, July 12th

Oiyama narashi
All groups participate in this practice run around town.l

15 の本番「追山笠」のリハーサルです.

From Jotenji we could watch the floats doing a u-turn in front of the temple.

Paying respect to the chief priest at the Jotenji Buddhist temple
I love his charismatic smile.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Hakata Gion Yamakasa, July 11th

The floats are carried to the nagare borough boundary, and neighboring teams pay their respects to each other. 


It had been raining most of the day and there was a torrent at the time we were waiting for the float of Higashi nagare to pay their respect to JR at Hakata Station. Miraculously it STOPPED just a few minutes before the gang arrived and the break lasted as long as the ceremony. The moment they turned the corner it poured again.