Thanks so much for visiting even though I've been largely absent over the past few months. I've been dealing with many changes in my life - some difficult and painful, others welcomed and exhilarating, and others still ongoing. It will take time to settle into this new "normal" but I'm looking forward to what lies ahead. (In short, I've retired! \(^.^)/)
One thing that has become clear is that while I love sharing my photos, I need to rethink how I have organized this website. There is lots to consider and no matter what I do it will be a lot of work! However, it's one of the tasks I've given myself over the next year so expect some changes ahead!
Wish me luck! (^.~)/
Asian fawnlily ("katakuri" in Japanese) is a woodland plant and is rated vulnerable-endangered in parts of Japan. The bulb produces "katakuriko" which is used as a thickener in Japanese cooking but since quantities are so small, potato starch is now more commonly used. This patch was growing in a local botanical research garden.
Despite good intentions, yet another month has passed since my last post. I blame a busy work season, a garden in desperate need of care after a wicked hot summer, and a temperamental tooth. Oh, and a camera that is getting crankier by the minute. I dread having to replace it but...
I'm a bit overwhelmed with photos at the moment. I love to take them but finding the time to cull and edit is a real challenge. However, I have managed to edit some from a short trip we took to Obama, a small city in Fukui Prefecture. We weren't expecting much, to be honest, but our visit was fantastic! Although it may be a small city it felt much more like a village - and a very friendly village at that. My kind of place! We certainly plan to return!
(These are best viewed on a desktop computer. This is the only option for posting multiple images that can be viewed on a mobile devise but, unfortunately, the images are awfully small.)
A combination of rain, humidity, and a heavy work load has meant that I haven't had much of a chance to be out and about. However, there are always photos waiting to be edited and so I've been going through my photos when I have time. Let's see...
This one is from a local Shinto shrine dedicated to Inari, a Shinto god or spirit. In ancient times foxes ("kitsune" in Japanese) and humans lived in close contact with each other and this gave rise to various legends, many of which originated in China.The fox was thought to be very intelligent and to possess supernatural abilities including shapeshifting into human form. In Japan, they are closely associated with Inari and serve as the spirit's messengers. As a result, if you visit an Shinto shrine that is dedicated to Inari (apparently more than 1/3 of all the Shinto shrines in Japan), you will inevitably see statues and images of foxes and the more you look, the more you will find. Some people even offer sacrifices to the "kitsune" messengers as deity because of their potential power and influence.
Me? I just love the varying shapes, sizes and designs that can be found when comparing various "kitsune" and the colour contrasts with the reddish-orange of Shinto shrines. "Kitsune" can range from very small to very large and from very detailed to almost abstract. This particular arrangement was a first as I had never seen so many all lined up in a row - and each was different from the other. There must have been more than 10 lined up on each side. Next time I'll count!
TITLE: Utsukushigahara Morning
Some time ago my husband and I started spending part of our summers up in the Kiso Fukushima area of Japan. Not far away is the city of Matsumoto and so, on occasion, we would take a day trip to the city and do some exploring. One mid-afternoon, after a lovely day bicycling about, we sat in a coffee shop and discussed what to do next. I mentioned a place I had heard of, Utsukushigahara, but I didn't know much about it other than it was up in the mountains somewhere near Matsumoto and very beautiful. The lady at the next table interrupted us at this point. Yes, she said, you must go! She then proceeded to tell us how to get there and off we went. It took over an hour of driving on very windy, narrow roads up, up and up and we finally arrived at Utsukushigahara, the highest plateau in the Japanese alps. I was completely overwhelmed! The views were spectacular and I felt I was on top of the world - which, in a manner of speaking, I guess I was! We only had about 40 minutes to explore since we wanted to be off the mountain before it got completely dark and I got a little teary when we had to leave.
All this to say, we returned a year later and stayed overnight. We were blessed with fantastic weather and woke up at 4:30 am to catch the sunrise and go for a walk. This was when this photo was taken. It remains one of the most memorable mornings of my life - the glorious feeling of beginning a new day surrounded by mountains and a sky that goes on forever...
By the way, that faded mountain to the right of the main mountain range you see?
That's Mt. Fuji.
WHAT I WAS THINKING:
I'll be honest. My camera was on auto. I had no idea what I was doing at the time and maybe that's a good thing. Here are the camera settings regardless.
Plum Blossoms at Kitano Tenmangu Temple, Kyoto
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto holds a monthly temple sale on the 25th of each month. I had wanted to visit for many years and finally everything aligned so we could go. On the drive there my husband told me that the shrine was famous for plum blossoms and that we would probably be able to see some. I didn't believe him. It was the end of February, after all, and my Canadian brain could not conceive of anything blooming that time of year. Well, as you can see, I was mistaken. The plum blossoms were spectacular! I was still struggling with my camera at that time and so I fumbled with the settings and muttered under my breath as I tried my best. To my great surprise, once I got home and looked at the images on my computer, I discovered I had some that were worth keeping. I'm very happy with the photos from this day but I always see them as a bit of a fluke.
WHAT I WAS THINKING
I'm a photographer based in Osaka, Japan. I love to take photographs. I like to share.