Monday, July 9, 2018

Picture windows at 宝泉院 Hosen-in

Abnormal, extreme weather seems to be happening on global level. Thank you for your concern about the latest devastating torrential rain in wide areas of Japan.  Following the hot and dry rainy season,  a low pressure system and an active rain front brought historic heavy rain. Special weather warnings about the torrential rain that had never experienced before and evacuation orders were issued  many places especially northern Kyushu and some prefectures of western Japan. After the four consecutive rainy days, the sun appeared at last yesterday. The numerous scars left by the disaster are reported one after another. At least 100 are dead and about 60 are missing so far due to the deadly flooding or landslides. (At least 200 are dead. July 12)

Fortunately Nara was not seriously affected because the duration of the torrential rain was relatively short.  But the intense downpour of the night seemed like the end of the world and reminded me of Noah's ark.  Thank you again for your concern.  

Well, let's change the subject to the beneficial aspect of nature.

 I like to stroll around in the relatively cool air of the rainy season,
viewing the scenery drenched in the deep green,
like Gio-ji (Tranquility and Solitude in the Moss Garden) three years ago.
Hōsen-in stands deep inside the rural Ohara, Kyoto.
Around when you pass behind Sanzen-in (Late April at Sanzen-in Gardens), 
calming Buddhist chanting starts to fill the air.
 Do you like tasting the sound of air and water?

On reaching the Hosen-in, you're welcomed by the stone Buddhist statues.

At the Hosen-in, people look at the garden like looking at a picture. 
The garden Bankan-en 盤桓園 is framed  like a painting by the pillars of the tatami-mat room.
The red carpet is for the visitors to sit on.
How about a bowl of green tea and a sweet, which is included in the entrance fee
while looking at the garden?

This pine tree is said to be 700 years old.
So massive and powerful with almost divine aura.

Two bamboos stuck out from the floor is to hear “水琴窟 suikinkutsu”, 
buried earthen jar that makes sound when water drips into it.
Water drips from the nearby "tsukubai."
When you put your ear to the hollow bamboo utensil,  
you enjoy the tone quality of water-dripping that echoes from the underground 

One of two bamboos on the right
Other tsukubai basins  to purify yourself.

A few more of the framed nature.

Another garden, 宝楽園 Horaku-en, is about 300 years old dry landscape Zen garden
featuring a tsukubai water basin with neatly arranged stones around it,
a raked gravel mountain, 
ups and downs with stone steps, a small shrine, etc.

This is the 700-year-old pine tree seen from the outside of the Bankan-en.

Thank you for your visit as always.
I'll have a long summer break in blogging and commenting till September.  
Wish you a pleasant summer, winter, or whatever the season,
 and no disasters both natural and man-made. 

Here's M who turned 7 month today.
Her way of exploring the world;
rolling over, picking up and throwing, sucking toys, chewing on her toes, etc.
See you in September!

Monday, June 18, 2018

岩船寺 Gansen-ji Temple in the various shades of hydrangea

Japan is in the middle of the one-month rainy season. 
Hydrangeas bloom during this season, coloring the streets, parks, temples
 in the shades of pink, purple, and blue.  
As “hydr-” shows, constant moisture is required to keep the flowers 
blooming healthy and happy.

Gansen-ji Temple (729) located in Kizugawa City, Kyoto prefecture,
 is called “Hydrangea Temple” together with Yata-dera Temple.
Three-storied pagoda (1442) standing with the forest of solemn, massive Japanese cypresses in the back
 welcomes visitors with hydrangeas, when they enter the gate. 

Before strolling around, I prayed to a stone image of Jizo,
which Japanese people call "o-jizo-sama" affectionately.
Known as a guardian of children and travellers,
o-jizo-sama's traditional role is to save people from the torments of living hell.

Stone standing statue of “Fudo Myoo” (Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings)
I associate hydrangeas with o-jizo-sama.
Hydrangea's many petals or variety of colors look reflecting o-jizo-sama 
appearing in many different figures to save people.

At the pond edged by hydrangeas, light and wind play around.

Steps leading to the Belfry

"Kaizan-do Hall, a temple hall commemorating its founding or founder beside the pond.

Red lace-cap hydrangeas bloom at the one corner
not to disturb the overall color harmony of the precinct.

Close to the temple gate outside the temple, there is a stone bathtub (Kamakura period: 1192-1333)
in which monks seem to have purified themselves.
This place must have been a bathroom long long time ago
when the temple flourished.

I hope you enjoyed this hydrangea walk at the Gansen-ji.

Linked to Mosaic Monday

“Disaster strikes when you least expect it.”

Barely before 8:00 a.m. today, the next day of my visit to Gansen-ji, I was so scared with the unusually strong quakes. I thought it could be Nankai Trough Earthquake but actually the epicenter is in the northern Osaka prefecture. It is a six-minus on a scale of zero to seven on Japan’s seismic intensity scale. Nara City was five-minus.  As I watch TV, there are numerous kinds of damages like knocked over walls, scattered fires, half or complete collapsed houses, disrupted commute, halted transportation, etc. …..and most sadly victims. As time passes by, more damages are reported and as I write this, I felt three weak tremors as afterschocks, so weak that you don’t notice when you’re in action or in vehicles.  Don't be concerned, dear Friends.  Nara is much less affected that we go on usual  living without any inconvenience.... so far.  Knocking on woods.                                                                                                                                            

Monday, May 28, 2018

Wind fragrant May, 2018

May is going to be over in a couple of days.
May is said 風薫る五月 in Japanese literally meaning "wind fragrant May,"
because of the sweeter, fresher air of it.
May is usually very pleasant; breezy and sunny with occasional rain,
not cold or hot, just right weather.

This May, however, I used either heater or air conditioner some days.
Temperature difference was so big; daytime highs varied from lower 10s to lower 30s Celsius, 
morning lows from single digit to nearly 20s Celsius, like late March or early July respectively.

On the 1st of May, Y turned 5. 
He's an active boy with a gentle, cheerful, and curious heart.
Currently, his most favorite pastime after kindergarten is pedaling around a park 
when weather permits. 

These are the fruits of the June-berry which was planted 
to commemorate his birth five year ago. 

Another event was a ballet recital where F (seven-year-old) 
and another Y (five-year-old) performed.

The right photo is from the last year.

Throughout May, my garden has been colorful; crimson, pink, blue, white, purple, yellow…
The air is all subtle perfume.


Violas and Gymnaderia savatierti

Dahlberg daisies and their reflection on the wet deck

Roses, young and old
Hydrangeas, the floral symbol of Japan's rainy season, have already started blooming much earlier than usual.
Rainy season will set in soon with the parting with May.

Linked to Mosaic Monday