Friday, June 24, 2016

A walk through 花菖蒲, Japanese water irises

Hana-shobu Iris (Japanese water iris, or Iris ensata var. ensata) starts to bloom
 with the arrival of the rainy season. 
At the Iris Garden of the Shiro-kita Park (since 1934), Osaka, irises bloomed 
 much earlier than usual perhaps due to long warmer spring. 

I like to visit Iris Garden on a rainy day because Irises look the most enchanting to me 
in the softly falling rain. 
Sunny day is not bad at all, however, if your visit is in the morning. 

The blooms shimmered in the light, so did the reflections.

I wandered around the garden while admiring the "rainbows on earth
in hues of blue, purple, pink, yellow, and white.
This Iris Garden has about 13000 irises of  250 different cultivars

Hanashobu irises you see in Japanese gardens around the country 
are the result of careful selection and hybridizationwith other Japanese and Eurasian irises 
since Edo period (1603-1867) when horticulture flourished.
Breeders and growers have created better and more colorful irises.
Each cultivar was given noble name fitting to its appearance when it was cross-bred.

Usually I don't remember the name, but these white is "夕鶴 Yu-zuru/Female Crane".
Do you see a flock of fluttering crane?

A walk through Hanashobu irises is one of the summer joys.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Meeting the new fawns

From mid-May through June is delivery season of deer.  
I went out to meet newly born fawn at Roku-en (Deer Shelter) in Nara Park. 
The place is within the grove of the Kasuga Grand Shrine.

At this den, a part of Roku-en, some of pregnant deer, mothers and fawns 
are open to the public throughout June from 11:00 to 14:00.

The gate under the stand leads to more spacious Roku-en including Fawn Shelter.

Pregnant deer, mothers, and fawns are sheltered temporarily at the Fawn Shelter 
to avoid troubles between people and deer.  
Mother deer can become quite aggressive to protect their babies and could attack people 
while if their babies are touched by people, mothers tend to neglect or reject babies due to human scent.  
(Injured deer and deer with poor health are also sheltered at the Roku-en. 
When they recover, they go back to Nara Park.)

About 200 does will give birth this season.

A newly born fawn stands on its own in 15 minutes to an hour after birth 
and suckles mother’s milk for the first time. 
Mothers feed babies a few times a day. 
Generally mothers can recognize their babies by scent and voice but babies hardly can.

Right after birth, fawns spend their most of their time hiding themselves in the bushes 
or behind objects to avoid being seen by predators. 
In the den, several blocks are placed for them to hide themselves. 
The fawns come out a few times of a day to drink their mother’s milk. 

This block is so packed.  Whose mother are you?
When the baby below came to rest here, the place was in the shade, but not now.  
Some mothers put their babies into the block right after giving birth 
but his/her mother doesn't seem to have done so.  

Isn't it hot there?
Stand up and walk several steps, and you'll be in the shade.

This baby's hiding place is here.

Mothers and fawns will be released to Nara Park in July, from when babies’ wild life start. 
In November last year, I found this fawn seemingly hiding in the bush.

Deer in Nara Park are wild animals.
People have responsibility for the warning to avoid troubles.

135 traffic accidents of deer in 2014 is alarming.
Most of the reasons is being chased by people or dogs or jumping into the road 
when deer see people with food on the other roadside.
I feel bitter when people are forgetting dogs are natural enemies to deer.

I'm so grateful to all the staffs of Shika Aigo Kyokai (Foundation for the Protection of Deer in Nara), 
who spare no efforts for the coexistence of people and deer.

On my way back from the den, I met a herd of deer devouring fresh leaves from the cut branches. 

Deer eat grass, leaves, nuts, flower petals, and the likes.
 You can buy and give them Deer crackers as their snacks.
Deer crackers are healthy food made of rice bran.
Don't give them something spicy, sweet, or fatty, please.

Rainy season set in the other day.
The floral symbols of Japanese rainy season, hydrangeas and irises,
are already in bloom much earlier than usual.
Viewing these flowers or meeting adorable fawns would be one of the refreshing pastime
during the rainy season.

See you!

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Our World Tuesday

Monday, May 30, 2016

A rose garden in the middle of a big city

Nakanoshima Park is Osaka’s first public park established in 1891
and is an urban oasis full of greenery.
It features the Rose Garden which is located at the eastern tip of the park.
(Osaka is the second largest city in Japan.)

A walk through the shady street between the City Hall and the Tosabori River

In the photo above, can you find out an architecture lower than the surrounding buildings 
behind the clock? 
It is one of the Nakanoshima landmarks, Osaka City Central Public Hall
built in 1918 and restored in 2002.
It is a neo-Rennaisance architecture with red brick walls and dome-shaped bronze roofs. 
The hall’s interior design and fixtures are a preservation from the Taisho era (1912-1926)

As its name shows, Nakano-shima (shima is “island”) is in fact an island 
between the Dojima and the Tosabori rivers in the middle of the city of Osaka. 

My walking route: "START" →1 → 2 → 3
image via website
Roses are displayed along the Dojima River

When Osaka was called “Kitchen of Japan” from 17th through 19th centuries,
Nakanoshima was the center of commerce.
It was once a city of river traffic and the matrix of waterways still remains
thoroughly connected with the rest of Osaka by wide bridges, 
multi-lane roads with sidewalks.

When roses are not in season, how about viewing buildings?
There are many historical classic architecture of unique design from the last century
as well as modern skyscrapers.

Clockwise from the upper right:
 Tosabori River with Nakanoshima Park on the left side
 Yodoya-bashi Bridge
Barazono Bridge
Osaka Prefectural Library, built in 1904, restored in 1922 and 1974
The side of Osaka City Central Public Hall built in 1918 and restored in 2002
and its facade

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