Monday, April 17, 2017

In Praise of Sakura, 2017

 My first photos of this year's Sakura (cherry blossoms) season in Nara Park 
were single-petaled weeping cherry tree blossoms.
Their graceful cascading branches are covered with soft pink flowers.

On a chilly, cloudy day after the rain, I walked around Nara Park.
This is 紅豊 Beniyutaka at the Japanese Garden of the New Public Hall of Nara.

April 9th
八重紅枝垂れ Yae-Benishidare, multiple-petaled weeping cherry tree, 
was just starting to flower.

One week later on a warm, sunny day, the Yae-Benishidare was at its best.

Back to the chilly, cloudy day,
under the pearly grey sky, 染井吉野 Somei-yoshino were blooming
 in all their glory at Kasugano Field.

April 9th

The view of the Five-storied Pagoda of Kofuku-ji from Ara-ike Pond
on my way back to Nara Station.

Blooms of Somei-yoshino indicates full arrival of spring,
because their buds open when temperature reaches 15 degrees
and burst into bloom at 18 degrees.

However, winter-like chilly weather has made the bloom time longer as well as 
delayed it by several days to a week this year.
 On the day of the entrance ceremony to her elementary school,
F was happy walking proudly with her brand-new raspberry pink "randosel"
under the canopy of cherry blossoms.

April 10th
The youngest Y has entered kindergarten.
He is a member of the youngest Sunflower Class.
Since Somei-yoshino is the most widely planted flowering cherry in Japan,
you can see the blossoms almost everywhere during Sakura season.

At the park in my neighborhood
 Swing, swing, up to the sky ...♬

At the park called "Sakura Park" in Y's neighborhood

This week, Sakura is going to be over at last in my part of the world.

Sakura has the most beautiful way of saying farewell.
A soft breeze stirs pale-pink snow of petals from the branches.

Along the Saho River, April 15th
In the photo below, most of the flowers have gone and leaves appeared
while flowers are seen on the thick branch.
I love falling petals as much as fresh blooms.

Pale pink confetti on the green carpet.

 April 16th

Thank you, Sakura, for spreading beauty, elegance, grace, and courage.
See you next year!

Linked to Our World Tuesday

Thursday, March 30, 2017

This and that recently

In spite of the saying "Neither heat nor cold lasts beyond the equinox.",
weather has been weird and unstable with windy cold air in the strong sunlight.
 Colors of water, however, have changed for sure.
What do you see in the photo above?
Water lily pads, reflected bare cherry trees, of which blossoms will start blooming in a week,
blue skies, and soft yellow Sanshuu, or Cornus officinalis Sieb. et Zucc.

I heard from my daughter H who had a trip to Miyama-cho, northern part of Kyoto.
Miyama-cho is famous for more than 200 traditional, thatched roof farmhouses
where people still live and work.
(My post of the year 2011 about the hamlet, here.)
H's lodging was one of the old traditional houses.
Her family experienced simple and slow life.

i-Phone photo taken by my son-in-law
H's family monopolized three rooms (totally 50-jyo, or 100 tatami-mats),
a kitchen, and a bathroom.
The old but not dirty, uncluttered house has been well cared for throughout the years.
The dinner was “hot pot dish” of vegetables picked in the neighboring fields and chickens.

Photos sent to me by my daughter

These two dolls made of Japanese papers or straws were created
by my husband's late grandmother.
They became in bad condition after about 40 years.

As they get older, they've come to radiate more and more mysterious aura.

Meticulously-made bouquet

This plant has an attractive soft shine before crumbling away soon.

One day, I tidied the storeroom.
On finding some of the paintings by my son S in his lower grades,
memories came back instantly
though I had been completely forgetting about the paintings.

At the age of 8
In a few years, S's eldest daughter will become the age 
when he painted these paintings.

From seven to nine

About three-week spring break before new academic school year 
is time to be spent with grandchildren.
It's time to be realized their personal growth.
It's an eventful period including graduation of kindergarten and a concert in March,
entrance to elementary school or kindergarten and ballet performance in April.

I am not a minimalist but in some years I’d like to pare down my possessions
until only things that are necessary for their utility or beauty alone are left.

A container made of milk carton and Japanese papers by H

After enough interaction with grandchildren 
or works of cleaning and tidying up,
there's nothing more like a relaxing coffee time with a cake.

My next post will be Sakura (cherry blossoms) in mid-April.
Keep tuned!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ume blossoms viewing at Osaka Castle Park, 2017

Temperature has fallen and then risen quickly and frequently like yoyo.  
It feels springtime is still in name only when fluffy snowflakes flutter in the piercing cold,
and then again
it feels springtime has come when you see sprouts and a little brightened up landscape.
During the very short warm spell, I went to Ume Grove at Osaka Castle Park.

Ume, or Japanese apricot, is a floral harbinger of spring
and symbol of perseverance and hope.

You remember Ume Grove is in the middle of a big city 
when the surrounding skyscrapers are visible.

Different species of Ume come in different colors.

Honkobai (本黄梅) is unique yellow one with too long stamens 
which could make you miss to see the tiny petals.


When I heard pleasant chirping above and looked up, 
Japanese White-eyes were calling and foraging for nectar together. 
The olive green plumage goes well with the colors of the blossoms. 

My camera was busy clicking on spotting out quick-moving birds.
Their playful, acrobatic poses are so cute.

White-eyes are rarely found on the ground not like this Dusky thrush.

Gnarled branches, one of charms of Ume, look like dragons freely swimming among the flowers.

The Next day temperature dropped ten degrees,
but spring was at the Ume grove for sure when I was there.

Past post, Ume Blossoms Viewing at Osaka Castle Park, 2013, here.
Can't believe four years have passed. Time is fleeting.

Linked up to Our World Tuesday