Monday, March 19, 2018

Ume blossoms at Tsukigase Ume Valley and Hillside

Tsukigase Ume Valley is historically famous for its scenic beauty.
There are about 10000 Ume (Prunus mume) trees on the hillsides
and along the V-shaped valley where the Nabari River runs.
It was designated one of the first scenic beauties in 1922 
together with Nara Park and Kenroku-en, Kanazawa.

In February when most trees are still bare without leaves or buds,
the buds of early-blooming come out enduring the shivering cold.

The pale wintry landscape looks to be brightened up soon with the flowers.

When it warms up a little, they start to bloom in mass.
In March, they are at their best as if to say “Winter's over”.

"Little Plum Blossom of Hill Garden" (山園小梅) by Lin bu  (林逋

When everything has faded they alone shine forth,
encroaching on the charms of smaller gardens.
Their scattered shadows fall lightly on clear water,
their subtle scent pervades the moonlit dusk.
Snowbirds look again before they land,
butterflies would faint if they but knew.
Thankfully I can flirt in whispered verse,
I don't need a sounding board or wine cup.

The impression of the hillside with bursting flowers, however, is quite different from 
the solitary hill of the poem.

After the record cold winter, temperatures quickened to warm up 
like late April last week.
Three cold days and four warm days are taking turns,
which is the typical weather at this time of year.

Having lunch or tea at the balconies over the cliff is the time of bliss.

But the colors and fragrance of Ume in the bracing cold air and warmer sunshine
is the best of all. 

Ume blossoms and White Eye

School year ends with Ume blossoms in Japan.
The boy Y (4-year-10-month) is going to be in the second year of the kindergarten in April. 
Like the origami paper boy he made with his mother,
he'll be smiling in the full arrival of spring soon.

Y and the origami-paper boy look alike. Don't they?

Linked to Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday

Monday, February 26, 2018

Warmth and joy in the coldest winter in half a century

Hello, dear my Friends!  
It’s been a long time since I posted the last post. 
Then again it also feels like only yesterday as I write now. 
Time is a magical thing. 
So belated, but I hope you welcomed in a happy New Year 2018.

In my part of the world, this winter season has been the coldest in a long time.
When the cold loosened its grip a little, I went to Hannyaji Temple, 
where Narcissus were blooming around Stone Buddhist Statues 
clean and fragrant.  
They flower as winter turns into spring.  

As you might know, the disruption in the Polar Jet Stream brought snowfall
even into Florida and to Japanese southern parts.
Outrageous 4 meters high snow was recorded in a region along the coast of the Sea of Japan.
What matters to me is not how cold but how "long" the cold has lasted
with temperatures hovering between -3 to 4 degrees C.
There were many days when my garden was covered with frost in the morning
 since mid-December which is like late autumn usually.

As I have written every year, it rarely snows in Nara no matter how cold it is.
However the city was blanketed in snow a couple of times.
These photos are the first snowfall of the season which soon melted into rain.

February 1st

More wonder of nature due to the unusual cold wave.

Feb. 12th
My fourth grandchild, M, was born in such a record cold winter. 
About one month later her birth, we celebrated her “Omiyamairi” at Kasuga Grand Shrine, 
the first visit to shrine to pray for the baby’s healthy growth and prosperous future.  
We were so fortunate that the day was one of the few warmer days.

Mid-December to late January

As it is nearing to March, temperatures have come to rise over 10 from time to time.
Ume blossoms, the floral harbinger of spring, started blooming one after another.

Happy with the fresh feel of the bracing cold air in sunshine.

Narcissus in the sunshine with the backdrop of early-blooming pink Ume blossoms.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Fleeting artistic season

November is over. 
Looking back, it was the busiest month this year so far for me.
As a leaf watcher, it was like racing with the speed of turning colors of leaves.
And besides, there were art events and a jazz concert where I enjoyed myself a lot.

The 12th of November was Art Exhibition of Y’s kindergarten.
The theme of Y’s class was “Four Seasons."

Snow sculptures made of clay, Bamboo shoot, Memory of Sport Day;Paraballoon,
Fireworks, Birthday is April
“Opening the door to the magic land” was created by the members of 
the eldest Lavender Class.

The coloring speed of the foliage accelerated next week.
Feast of autumn colors everywhere.
In my neighborhood, I was marveled at the transforming landscape 
to dazzling array of yellow, orange, gold, red and purple.

I walk this road almost every day.
The two photos below are scenes from the nearby park
where another Y likes to play around.

On the 18th, I went to another Y’s first art exhibition at his kindergarten.

4-year-old boy Y's works

From other classes, I will pick up "Animal Land” created by one of  
the eldest classes.

Drawings and papier maches of animals

Incidentally, when it comes to the illustrations of animals,
I’m a fan of the works of Brian Wildsmith.

From the picture books by Brian Wildsmith

The joint work of all the kindergartners was The Rolling Rice Ball,
one of Japanese folk tales.

The next day, I was at the jazz concert of my friend.
Some of her songs were my favorites and the place was swinging.

♪Swinging and dancing leaves ♬

The following week, it got colder with each rain.
I found subtle artistic autumn leaves on the wet wood-deck from my living room.

Another art on the water surface.

The 23rd of November, I went to Art Exhibition of F's elementary school.
This year’s theme was “Our town, Exciting Shopping Mall.”
The sixth graders created their favorite shops; 
the first graders created people who are strolling around or shopping.

All the works by the students were displayed at the gymnasium.

November was not only for art but also for sports.
My son, F's father, completed Osaka Full Marathon last Sunday.
The runners ran through the Osaka City tinted with autumn colors
starting from the Osaka Castle Park to finish at INTEX OSAKA.

Photos of TV screen
November passed that way.
The work of raking fallen leaves will continue for a while.

This is my last post this year.
My daughter will stay at my home with her son and the newborn baby
after she gives life to a baby in early December.
I won't have enough time for blogging and commenting after she has a baby.
See you in February next year.

Thank you for your visits and kind, encouraging, or inspiring comments throughout the year.
Wish you a joyful Holiday Season and a peaceful New Year.

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