Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hints of spring in the north wind

February is the coldest month of the year in Japan.
Different from the warm last Saturday, yesterday was the coldest of the season
with the highest temperature barely 4 degrees Celsius or less in Kansai region.
In some parts of Japan, it has been snowing to heavy amounts, but not here in Nara.
Though I'm chilled to the bone in the raged north wind or in the chilling rain, 
I sense hint of spring here and there.  

Rice straw in Asuka Village
Buds of magnolia are constantly swelling to burst.

Some winter flowers have brightened up pale wintry day.

January 3
The buds of winter-flowering Chimonanthus praecox form. Concolor, or Soshin-robai, 
 flowered and are going to be withered. 

January 31
One day in early February, desolate but simple beauty was seen along the edge of the pond.....

.....while the ducks looked swimming merrily on the green water in the warm sunshine.
The next day, weather turned to the chill again.
"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. "

Hamamelis japonica (Japanese Witch Hazel in English, Mansaku in Japanese) 
bloom about four weeks from February to March.

Prunus mume (Japanese apricot in English, Ume in Japanese) starts to flower in mid-winter, 
typically around mid-February until early-March.
They will be at their best in two weeks.  
Fragrant scent makes you forget the cold air and fills you with the promise of spring. 

At Nagai Botanical Garden on Feb. 7

F likes to play outdoors.
She braved the cold and tried to catch the wind under the wintry sky before the fluttering of snowflakes.

A crow was perching on a branch with full of buds as if saying.....

Relax, spring is around the corner.

- This post is linked to Our World Tuesday. -

(In response to Barb's comment)
F's kite is here, Barb.
She enjoyed kite-flying after she climbed down the hill.


  1. beautiful photos! touch of winter and spring together

  2. What magical shots - it looks very much like spring. That last shot is very creative!

  3. Wonderful pictures. I have Japanese Witch Hazel too.

  4. Hello Yoko,

    What a delightful set of photographs you charm us with here. Yes, the small signs of Spring are everywhere if you look hard.

    We always feel a mixture of excitement and sadness at this point. One just knows that some of these buds will burst open, tempted by the first warm day only to be cruelly frosted by a cold snap. Magnolias seem particularly susceptible to this and look so desolate when their flowers are browned with frost.

    Hamamelis are so cheerful and the colours in such variety.

  5. Dear Yoko - I have noticed that our Magnolia buds are looking fluffy and fattening up ready to burst forth. February seems to be a difficult month that doesn't resonate well with many of us, we are filled with anticipation, but may be too soon. However, you have shown some lovely little glimpses of what is to come.
    What a little sweetie F is - she looks full of the joy of spring.

  6. So beautiful. And the last picture just blew me away!

  7. So beautiful. The picuteres look like you got it not so cold. I love hamamelis... it smells so enchanting.

  8. Vilken härlig vårresa du bjuder på idag jag njuter i fulla drag och längtar ännu mer till våran vår. Vi hade ´7 grader igår och sol så det är på gång även här. Det är fortfarande ganska mycket snö på kolonin.Du har en söt dotter
    Önskar dig sköna dagar till våren är kommen på riktigt
    Kram Meta

  9. Such delightful pictures! For us, the taste of hot summer is already there:(

  10. Beautiful pictures !!! We don't have any hint of spring here yet...
    Enjoy your day !

  11. the rice straws look so intriguing. Loved the flowers too. Beautiful set of pictures.

    Wollongong Harbour

  12. Surely you have seen in, despite the cold and nasty wind, spring from you. Spring is actually is looking at the buds and flowering shrubs and trees. Regards.

  13. Oh wow! What fantastic photographs. And the one with the reflection in the cup is very special. Are you sure you're not a professional? :) If not, you should be! Looks like spring is busting out all over Nara. And so many gorgeous trees and other flora. I'm glad you braved the chill to get outside and share some of the beauty of your community!

    Hope that all is well with you. We're off to Moffitt for some tests - just to make sure everything is still OK.

    Best wishes as always to you and your family!

  14. It 's always a pleasure to come and see you.
    Your photos are full of poetry, I think you're a wonderful person.

  15. lovely blooms and trees and ducks. love your sweet ladybug. :)

  16. Beautiful photos and words to match. Thank you for this beauty. And I think that you too must be a beautiful person to see this and send it out to us. Thank you.

  17. Wonderful world of Nature!!! I love all your photos and your beautiful words! Magnolia buds are absolutely stunning! We have very cold weather and Spring still is hidden!
    Hope you have a Lovely week!
    Hugs and love from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

  18. Hello Yoko, You are so lucky to have blooms to brighten the chilly days of winter. I just love that rice straw photo - the straw looks like an upside-down popsicle. What joy your little lady bug exhibits! Where is her kite? It's snowing softly in Breckenridge. We are not even close to spring, though we've had several mild days. PS Don't drink the tree!

    1. How did you know we flew a kite? I inserted the photo of the kite at the end.

    2. No wonder little kitty cat is so joyful! Enjoy her show.

  19. Oh, my goodness … it looks as if the entire planet is reflected inside the teacup and small enough to be fully grasped into the wide outstretched arms of the little girl. I would frame that shot of her standing on the hill and be glad that the ladybug symbolizes love and luck. :)

  20. 蠟梅に梅。 青空を背景に美しいです。 
    寒さの中にも春の芽生えが感じられます。 どんなに寒くても必ず春はやってきますね。


  21. あいかわらず、センスがあって、きれーな写真たち。 その寒さの中で芽を吹く梅の可憐さが、詩になりますね。お孫さん? 可愛くておしゃれさんだこと。 オレゴンは暖冬です。雨も良く降りますが、快適です。


  22. Hello,
    Very spectacular post and nice to see such beautiful colours in this winter season. Unfortunately winter is quite grey and rainy in Hungary till now without any snowing :( Very liked your photo about rice straw as we have different cocks for wheat.
    Greetings, Miklos

  23. Dear Yoko, my husband and I marveled together in your magnificent photos. They are always so crisp and clear and taken from a perfect angle. You Japanese people have such exquisite taste for beauty and excellence, it astounds and pleases me again and again. Will I be able to visit one day and see? Maybe...

  24. こんばんは。シェリーの詩を思いおこさせて呉れます。清々しい気分にさせていただきました。

  25. Love the shot of the coffee cup!


  26. I admire your beautiful photos.
    I marvel at flowering bushes.
    I love spring and its charms.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. I love spring and your lovely photos !

  29. Dear Yoko,

    Thank you so much for the beautiful comments today. They are much appreciated. We are dong well. We both went through some testing this week and all the results were negative for the big C! What a relief that was.

    Re the bear: I was playing another prank. I Photoshopped the bear into the picture. But it fooled a lot of people. I'm a bad person! :)

  30. Lovely photos. Your photos make me long to visit your beautiful country. Wish you a nice day. /Gudrun

  31. I like the kite addition to your post, stardust. I dropped by again to say my nephew and his family are having a great time in Japan … they are loving their adventure and the food and discovering all sorts of wonderful changing weather to enjoy. :)

  32. Hi, Yoko, haven't read you for quite a while. Lovely landscapes and absorbing material, I love it all!
    A glimpse of interculture communication: the tree which you call magnolia, has the Russian name "верба" - pussy willow. It gives the name for a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter - Palm Sunday in English and Вербное Воскресение in Russian.
    With best wishes,

  33. The landscape looks breathtaking in your pictures, dear Yoko! But looks like it's very cold to my liking - I would freeze in that temperature. I like how the various elements in nature are bringing the joyous message of spring in their own way - the crow is my favorite. And nothing beats that expression on F's face - priceless!

    Hope you are having a wonderful time - missed my blog hops in between... but catching up soon!

  34. ⋰˚هჱ⊱
    A Natureza é surpreendente e bela em todas as estações do ano.
    Belos clicks!

    Muita paz, muita saúde e muita harmonia nesse fim de semana!!!!
    Beijinhos do Brasil

  35. Oh, what a lovely blog you have! I love the quote by James Irwin you have on the side of your blog. Thank you for sharing that.

  36. Harbingers of spring? Currently not in Germany so far!
    Hi Yoko! We are fed of the winter time here at Germany as well and we are desperately waiting for the first hints of spring. With the exception of some crocuses looking out of the ground a few millimeters we are still waiting for the first harbingers of spring. But I'm sure we have to wait another month - you never know how long the German winter will stay.
    In the meanwhile I enjoy your photographs with the first hints of Japanese springtime!
    All the best from winter in Germany - with a short break enjoying summer temperatures end of January in S.......e! ;-)

  37. The photos here are so pretty! I am just excited to have spring coming again! It's going to be a new lively year!

  38. it is such a joy to see your beautiful world
    to see the glimpses that catch your heart and eyes
    to see flowers in winter is amazing to me
    snowflakes being our only flowers
    thank you

  39. هჱ⊱
    Ótima quarta-feira!
    Beijinhos do Brasil.


  40. いつも優しいコメントを私のブログに書いてくださって、ありがたいです。この場を借りてお礼申し上げます。 

  41. I have been looking through your photos and they are just gorgeous. Captivating, colourful and serene. Thank you so much for sharing, I love your photography.


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