Monday, January 19, 2015

Camellia Sasanquas and Deer

At the north end of the garden of Nara New Public Hall, many Camellia Sasanquas are planted
 lining up along the bamboo hedges.

On a snow day in February last year, I took pictures of Sasanqua flowers peeping through the bamboo hedges
 or looking up at the overhanging branches because the garden was closed.

Last week, the garden was open to the public. 
I opened the back gate to enter. 

Flowers were abundant on the branches while petals covered the ground. 
I was so happy: I was in the right place at the right time .

Deer are not grazing petals but grasses. 
Though they eat the petals of cheery blossoms, they don’t eat those of Camellias.

Sasanquas start flowering when autumn foliage is almost over and last till February,
giving lovely colors and radiance in the shivering cold.

Deer can roam freely in Nara Park. 
They appear in the residential area or even in downtown.  
But deer are kept off Japanese Gardens.

So I included double exposure images, which I tried for the first time, 
from my wishful thinking to take pictures of deer with blooming Camellia Sasanquas.

Two species of camellias are popular in Japan; one is Camellia Sasanqua and the other is Camellia Japonica. 
The former is autumn-blooming (late autumn to winter), the latter spring-blooming (late winter to spring).  

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The quiet beauty of January

It feels to me that time passes slowly in January. 
I enjoy the stillness of the house and the unhurried pace of life when the holiday season is over.

Do you see loneliness in the bone structure?
Leafless trees show unrestrained beauty stretching into the sky.

  The earth's blue eye is laughing in the sun.

Ducks swim very calm or don't move at all as if frozen.

Withered roses
Withered plants are clad with metallic radiance.

Tranquility is palpable in the cold.

While mostly quiet in colors, 
still there are leaves and berries that have survived from the last autumn.

Though it is in the middle of winter, the shortest day passed and the days are getting longer.  
There's no such time like winter when I long for sunlight of which warmth infuses itself
 into my heart and body.

Pond reflection with dead water lily pads in the freezing morning

Last but not least,
may we live in peace with hope, courage, good health, and lots of smiles, throughout the year.
Look forward to seeing/reading the lovely stories of your own in your new pages of 2015 blog, 
my dear Friends.

- This post is linked to Our World Tuesday. -

Monday, December 22, 2014

Season's greetings from Nara

Nara is a laid-back city where glamorous winter illuminations are rarely seen but one place I like to stop by at this time of the year is 日本聖公会奈良基督教会, the Nara Episcopal Church, standing along the Higashimuki shopping mall close to the Kintetsu Nara Station. It might be better known for the Shin-ai (faith-love) Kindergarten attached to the church.  My last post this year is Christmas Light Pageant of the church.

Blues have been added to the typical reds and greens these years.
Right inside the gate, awaiting for the singers and organ player in the blue LED light.

Twinkle, twinkle,......

The long stairs leading to the chapel is adorned with not only usual winter camellias but also twinkling lights.

In front of the entrance to the chapel
The chapel (1930) is a National Cultural Property as a purely Japanese style of Christian church building. It is well fitted to the neighbouring Kofukuji Temple and the surroundings of Nara Park.

The chapel  would be mistaken for Buddhism Temple if there were no cross on the roof or the statue of Mother Maria in front.

In the chapel, there is a magnificent Pipe Organ which was built by the German organ builder Werner Bosch in 1987. The organ contains parallel pedal 18 stops and 1200 pipes.  Since a service was being held, I refrained from entering for photography.  The two photos below are from the website.

In the mild light through the paper sliding doors of the windows, people could pray and contemplate composedly.

Image via here

Openair Christmas concert
Christmas is not a holiday in Japan and the number of Christian is very small.  Some people celebrate the Christmas while many people enjoy secular Christmas as one of the important seasonal events.  Lots of commercialism, but good will toward each other, the warmth of family and friends together, these can be good for everyone regardless of religion and culture. By exchanging gifts, even a greedy child learns the joy of not only receiving but also sharing and giving.  I look forward to the reaction of my 4-year-old granddaughter  when she finds a present from Santa in the morning.

Feeling the excitement in the air with sparkling colors, twinkling lights, and ribons, various memories of the year conjured up in my mind .... and I thought "It's been a fast year."  As for blogging, I’ve enjoyed interaction with you all.  Thank you for your constant kindness, inspiration, and encouragement throughout the year.  See you in the year 2015!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Kobe Harborland illuminations and reflections

Kobe Harborland brightens up the long, bleak winter night of Kobe
with illuminations and shadow pictures till March 31st, 2015.

Twilight is my favorite time all the year round when it is not too dark and the world is enveloped in the mellow air tinted with purplish hue.

This is a red brick building on the Harbor-walk in one corner of the Harborland. It was built in 1898 and had been used as a warehouse to store cargoes from around the world. When the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck Kobe and northern Awaji Island in 1995, the port facilities were paralyzed mainly by liquefaction but this brick building survived. Now it is renovated into Italian restaurant, Old Spaghetti Factory, and other fancy stores.

At night the brick buildings are illuminated and shadow pictures are displayed on the boardwalk.

The symbol of City of Kobe on the Rokko Mountains
Yatagarasu (mythical raven who aided Emperor Jimmu on his eastern expedition)...

The old Kobe Harbor Signal Tower is at the edge of the Harbor-Walk. The 46.3-meter-high tower had guided ships to and from the harbor from 1921 to March, 1990, as the top signal tower in  Asia.  Two years later, it was moved to the current location from the No. 4 pier. It flies flags representing Kobe and praying for a safe voyage.

Let's cross the traffic road to the more brilliant opposite side where Mosaic is located.

The opposite side of Mosaic over the bay is the Meriken Park.  It is home to the Meriken pier, some of the city's iconic contemporary architectures including red Kobe Port Tower, Kobe Maritime Museum, and Oriental Hotel.  

Meriken Port Oriental Hotel
Meriken Park seen from Takahama Pier

Takahama Pier seen from Meriken Pier
A giant Ferris Wheel is one of the landmarks of the Kobe harbor along with the other impressive architectures.

It welcomes and sees you off when you are at the nearby station.
I turned back before entering the station building.

This post is linked to Friday My Town Shoot Out