This time of year always makes me a bit stir crazy. The days are short, it tends to be cold, and opportunities to go out are few and far between. Thankfully there is a huge park nearby so when an opportunity does arrive, we can be surrounded by greenery in as little as 20 minutes. These photos are from our last visit. It had just stopped raining and was threatening to do so again, and it was rather cold and windy. No worries! That didn't dampen our enthusiasm at all and the upside was having the park almost all to ourselves. Ah, it's one of my favourite places...
I've been feeling a little blue. Okay, maybe grumpy is a more appropriate word. I enjoyed the holidays but they weren't exactly restful and January has been pretty demanding. My computer is also playing with me and although now would be a perfect time to be editing photos from the past, it's not cooperating. Grrrr... Computer, your days are numbered!
Thankfully, in the midst of a cranky January my garden still manages to cheer me up. I have little time to give it these days, and it's cold out there besides, but despite the gloom of winter, things still continue to grow. Every morning, as I leave for work, I take a quick peek at my garden. Currently I have a few pansies and snapdragons blooming, and several camellia bushes and a jade plant that should start any day now.
However, what cheered me up most this week was this - the first plum blossom of the year. There is no real need to get excited since this is what plum trees usually do this time of year. Regardless, it is a harbinger of spring and although that may still be some time off, January, your days are numbered too!
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, that 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.
Our Christmas present to ourselves was a few days visiting Awaji Shima, a small island not too far away. Ah, bliss! Several days of Japanese hot springs and delicious food was such a treat! We've both been exceptionally busy these past few months so the chance to relax and unwind was most welcome. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't all that cooperative - mostly cold winds and overcast skies - but still there's something about the open expanse of sky and sea that is good for one's soul. And, well, hot springs certainly help too...
Despite several days of heavy clouds and light rain I did manage to take a few photographs. Here are some from our very last day.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the coming year.
Thank you so much for your visits. The number of visitors has been steadily growing and I'm so encouraged! Unfortunately, I don't have as much time as I like to be active here but I will continue to post when I can. (Less demanding days are coming but they're not here yet...) Thanks again for your support. I feel blessed.
(This ornament was on the Christmas tree at my workplace.)
I'm a photographer based in Osaka, Japan. I love to take photographs. I like to share.