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.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Floral photo exhibition - Early Summer -

These are from the photos I photographed in May and June.  Some are at their best, some are withering, but each flower stands noble simply enjoying its life at each stage.  Which flower or photo do you like best?   

Exchange of cheerful  smiles 
Rudbeckia, Cone flower

Floral symbol of Japanese rainy season

Spotlight on small starry-petaled fertile flowers 

As soft and tender as can be
    桔梗, Platycodon grandiflorus, Bellflowers
Silvery-blue summer-lover
エリンギウム, Eryngium

Shy smiles
ヒマラヤ山法師, Cornus Capitata, or Himalayan flowering dogwood


A flying flower

Translucent white wings
With Blue Salvia in my garden

One with wind
ナツシロギクTanacetum parthenium, or Feverfew

What time is it now?
時計草 meaning clock-plant, Passion flower

Another "passion" or fire in the fields


Bathed in the sun

Bending low

Promise of posterity
Flat seedpods of ルナリア(ゴウダソウ),  Lunaria Annua

Wish you a lovely July!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tranquility and solitude in the moss garden

Gio-ji Temple, a Shingon Buddhism nunnery, is nestled in deep Sagano, Kyoto. It is a modest thatched hut with a moss garden surrounded by bamboo forests.  The moment you enter the temple, breathtaking moss garden unfolds before your eyes.  Shades of green mosses, ferns, and tall maple trees create Green Paradise.

Tranquility is green here.

The garden was dim after the overnight rainfall which stopped around the noon.
I felt like I was at the bottom of the sea where little light and sound  reach.

People were sparse.
there was silence around me which I broke with my shutter release.

Strolling around or standing still,
breathing in the moist cool breeze,
listening to the sound of tsukubai water,
mind and soul relax.

This patch of moss does not look exactly the same as the next patch.
There are many different species of mosses in the garden. 

Moss thrives in a humid environment,
can survive periods of drought. too.
It will turn brown but  will return to its rich green after watering.

Seasonal flowers bloom not to disturb the green-scape
 but to add a little of color modestly.

"In Heike-monogatari (the Tale of the Heike), there is a story that is related to this temple. A Shirabyoshi dancer Gio was loved by Taira-no-Kiyomori but was jilted when he was enslaved by the beauty of another Shirabyoshi, Hotoke-Gozen. Gio, her sister Ginyo and their mother Toji left Kiyomori and after all they entered a nunnery that was present day Gio-ji. Then, Hotoke-Gozen joined them as she knew that she would be eventually jilted also by heartless Kiyomori. It was when Gio was 21 years old and Hotoke-Gozen was 17. The four women lived here remainder of their life."

At the small thatched hall, wooden statues of Gio, her family, Hotoke-gozen, Taira-no-Kiyomori as well as the principal Buddhist image are enshrined. (Photography is not permitted in the hall.).

Steps to the thatched hut
A round window, Yoshimo-mado(window),  in the next room to the worship hall

"Gio-ji was built in the precinct of Ojo-in temple that was founded by Ryochin who was a disciple of priest Honen, the founder of Jodo-shu sect of Buddhism. The huge temple was dilapidated before long and the present day Gio-ji survived as a tiny nunnery.

In the year 1868, the temple was abandoned and Daikaku-ji took custody of graves and wooden statues of Gio-ji. The head priest of Daikaku-ji lamented over the situation and planned reconstruction of the temple. In the year 1895, Kitagaki Kunimichi, an ex-governor of Kyoto Prefecture, donated one of buildings of his villa that is the present day hall of Gio-ji. Gio-ji is now a sub-temple of Daikaku-ji and belongs to Shingon Buddhism." (Source:here)

The path down from the exit
Going back to the earthly world step by step with peace and serenity...