Monday, August 17, 2015

At Shin-Nishinomiya Yacht Harbor

"Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Numerous yachts are docked at the Shin-Nishinomiya Yacht Harbor 
located between Kobe and Osaka along the Osaka Bay. 

I’ve never being sailing on a yacht. 
I imagine what it would be like in the interaction of fair wind and water under the blue sky. 
Sailing would be healing, exhilarating, and frightening, too.

I feel nostalgia for the sea. 
There would be more to it than the fact that I was born and raised in a harbor city Kobe.  
Whether it is to sail, to swim, or to watch the sea,  we are going back to the place from where we came.

In a sense, we are all salty boy or girl.  
The percentage of salt in human body fluids is said to provide evidence that life first started in the sea.  
(In human body fluids, salt percentage is 0.9 percent, while in the present sea 3.1-3.9 percent
which became thicker in the course of the history.)

When the setting sun started painting the sky rose, I thought about this summer.
My days had been revolving around my three little grandchildren
who kept me not only entertained with their innocent behaviors but also busy.
During the Obon holiday, I could catch my breath and got a second wind to sail onward.

your life sailing consists of further exploring, dreaming, and discovering.

"Shin Nishinomiya Yacht Harbor is one of the largest yacht harbors in western Japan. For visitors with yachts, the harbor holds some visitor shipping spaces. There are rental yachts for visitors missing their yacht lifestyle, and yachting classes for beginners." I like to stop by for walking the boardwalk and/or resting at a cafe with a relaxing view of the harbor when I visit my son living in Nishinomiya City. 

Thank you, Mersad, for hosting.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The amusement park at the mountain top

Have have you been, my dear Friends?  While I was almost away from my laptop for about three weeks, spending with my two two-year-olds and a four-year-old, not at the same time but one after another, the rainy season ended and the summer came with its full force. When it was sizzling hot, I went to Ikoma Mountaintop Amusement Park at an elevation of 642 to feel cool in the evening.  When my children were young, there were three amusement parks in Nara: Dreamland, Ayame-ike, and this one.  After the collapse of bubble economy (1991), the former two stopped operation; now the Dreamland is ruins, while a private school took over the site of Ayame-ike. Thanks to the benefit as one of the group companies of Kintetsu Railway, this amusement park has somehow thrived. 

It was opened in 1929 following the opening of Ayame-ike Amusement Park of 1926.  As one of the oldest amusement parks in Japan, it is home to the oldest (1929) but continuously operational ride, the 30 meters high airplane tower. The tower has an elevator to the top.  During the WWII, almost all the metals were reused for building war airplanes but the Navy took this site as a vantage point to look over the sea, the tower was not demolished for metals and survived.

Since the amusement park strides on Osaka and Nara prefectures, people can have spectacular panoramic views of Nara basin and Osaka plains and as far as Awaji Island and Akashikaikyo Bridge.

There were energetic kids accompanied by their parents in the steamy summer evening.  

There were also people with household pets and the elderly. I think it is a nice place for the elderly to avoid the heat of the city and to feel relaxed to see innocent children having fun because entrance fee is free to this amusement park.  The owl below is not a runaway pet.

As the sun set, the cool breeze slowly caressed my face. I was absorbed in the soft hues of the pinks and purples taking over the evening sky.

The funiculars  "Bull (Puppy)" and "Mike (Kitty)" take people up and down between Mountain-foot Station and Hozan-ji Station respectively and then hand over to "Sweet" and "Do Re Mi"to and from the Mountaintop Station.  At the same year of the opening of the amusement park, Ikoma Funicular Railway started its operation. It is the oldest funicular railway in Japan.

Funicular "Do Re Mi" to the Hozanji Station

Monday, July 13, 2015

Damp stillness before the burst of summer at Kurondo Pond

Hello, Friends! How have you been enjoying or surviving your summer or winter?  Extreme heatwaves and heavy rain storms seem to be happening with increasing regularity worldwide.  I've learned about the record-breaking heat wave in India and Pakistan, Europe, and northwestern America so far.  Take care of yourself to avoid heatstroke or dehydration, and stay cool.

Here in Japan, the rainy season has been cooler than usual from June to early July but weather turned to steamy hot a couple of days ago.  It feels like being in a sauna.  I hope the long-term weather-forecast is right that after the rainy season, we'll have cooler summer due to El Nino.

Kurondo Pond is located on the rolling hills in the north of Ikoma City, Nara pref. The Area around Kurondo Pond is a popular campground in summer, and is often used for hiking and family excursions in the spring and fall. People enjoy B-B-Q in the camping site and/or rowing a rental boat in the pond.

“Kurondo” seems to have derived from the theory that the pond was made as part of the villa garden by the powerful family who worked as a “kurodo”, or a chamberlain, under Saga Emperor (786-842). His Reign was 809-823.

It was a muggy cloudy weekday during the rainy season.  
Irises, one of floral symbols of the rainy season, were almost withered except a few of late bloomers.

Nature looked immersed in the lethargic air of that season.

People were sparse and some people were leisurely dropping their lines.

I felt a little sleepy in the damp stillness, maybe like this cat.

The mountains surrounding Kurond Pond are part of “Kongo-Ikoma” quasi national park.  You can enjoy walking, bird watching on the hiking trails, while basking in the lush green of the forest.

The pond is waiting for the bright summer to come.

Thank you for your visit.
With almost no computer time for the time being from tomorrow,
I'd like to catch up in August.