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.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Summer in Kuju / Aso part 3

The last part for you guys who like volcanic activity. Many foreign visitors head straight for Mt Aso, to see bits of smoke coming out of the crater and maybe get a glimpse of the caldera. But there are hot water springs that look like mini volcanoes erupting right in front of you. Usually we go there for our hot onsen bath after a hike and dive straight in, but some have a park-like setting that is worth seeing. We found one at Sujiyu Hot Spring.

A place to cook your eggs - if you happen to have some with you.

Summer in Kuju / Aso part 2

The sunrise was not what I had hoped, but the raindrops made up for it :-)

While Jaap climbed up to skirt the summits I wandered around to the other side of Mt Kuju. I had never been here and the famous Hana Koen (Flower Park) was unknown territory. I'm not a fan of those cultivated gardens and that kind of landscaping, but....

.... I was most impressed. The enormous flowerbeds that create that picture of colorful mountain slopes are well maintained and pleasing to the eye. There were no annoying crowds on August 14th, though at the entrance I'd seen several bus loads. The place is huge. A big part consists of natural woods, small streams and wild flowers and to my surprise I some cuckoos there - birds that are usually quite shy.

Wild flowers included small Kitsunekamisori, キツネカミソリ and hototogisu ヤマホトトギス (a kind of Toad lily) with a kamemushi, カメムシ

Higotai,  ヒゴタイ

Whatever your taste in gardens, the views the mountains, Mt Kuju on one side and the Aso range on the other side are magnificent.

Hosta Sieboldii, コバギボウシ and ???

Japanese brown frog, ニホンアカガエル

Blue berries ready to eat and very early Red Spider Lilies, 彼岸花

Sunflowers. How can you not like sunflowers (ひまわり)

Summer in Kuju / Aso part 1

Mid August we did a tour of the Aso Kuju region, found the Blue Bees in Minami Aso as reported in a previous post - (click here)

The weather was good, the sky summery blue. We frequently left the main road to try the smaller gravel roads and frequently had to back-track, but the scenery was stunning.

The midday sun was searing hot. Several cows were grazing in the fields. One had left the heard and approached us. What did she want? Just a bit of water probably/

In a wooded patch we found a large group of stray cats that were looked after in a way. But their hungry cries made us think their caretaker had not been there for a while. It was around Obon after all, time to visit family.

No hungry beasts this time, just a funny scene of cattle watching...

Recognize anybody?

At night we camped at one of our regular spots, watched the moon and the stars...

...and woke the next day up at first daylight

Friday, 28 September 2018

Summer in Saga

This place has become a favorite with us for over-nighters when we need to get away. The first wildlife adventure in August was soon followed up. A few degrees cooler than the city, pretty landscape, you name it. We love it.

Terraced ricefields and old stone walls dominate the landscape

Asian Swallowtail, アゲハ

Pockets of flowers and insects are a bonus. Purple Loosestrife, ミソハギ

The locals attend to the fields every day and often have to walk many miles uphill to get there. Some are in their 80s! They lead a healthy life it seems. 

Taking a rest I focus on the dragonflies around me.

Night critters

Left: ウバタマムシ uba tamamushi        Right: beetle コクワガタ kokuwagata