Monday, October 23, 2017

Cosmos, autumn sky, rain, and a celebration

The day becomes more solemn and serene
         When noon is past; there is a harmony
         In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been! “
 -Percy Bysshe Shelley-

Cool, crisp air of autumn makes up for the exhausting humidity and heat of summer.
Under the high, clear blue sky with fluffy autumn clouds, I strolled around Hannyaji Temple.
Cosmos flowers were playing around the Stone Buddhist Statues
or Thirteen-storied Stone Pagoda,
having the time of their life.

Refreshing breeze floated in the precinct caressing flower to flower.

My heart was filled with hope and love.

It rained the next day as was forecasted by the cirrocumulous mackerel sky
 in the photo below.
The rain brought record hot October like summer for more than a week.

The next to the summer-like week was sudden drop in temperatures
and consecutive dismal cold days with steadily falling rain.
Weather has gotten abnormal. 

Not defeated by the rain, my eldest granddaughter F’s “Shichi-Go-San” 
was celebrated the other day.
Dressed in formal “kimono”, she had a rite at a local shrine accompanied by the families.
 In the heavy rain, she walked holding an umbrella with one hand 
and tucking up the kimono with the other
to protect kimono from rainwater and dirt.

With F's younger sister Y
The rain was not so bad after all
as I could see 6-year-old’s (soon to be 7)  patience and grace at the shrine
and the miraculous show of light and pouring water on my way back to Nara.

Now that a typhoon passed through, blue sky appeared today.

More about Hannya-ji Temple and cosmos; Pastel colored dancers in the autumn breeze (2015)

Linked to Mosaic Monday

Monday, October 9, 2017

Scarecrow Contest at the Rice Terraces

 Scarecrow contest is held every year at Inabuchi district of Asuka village 
when rice paddies are turning gold.
Inabuchi is noted for the grand rice terraces, which are farmed by hand, 
spreading on the rolling hills.


At this time of year, rice terraces are edged by the brilliant red flowers.
They are Lycoris radiate, "higanbana" in Japanese, for they are the flowers (hana) 
which usually bloom around the autumn equinox day (higan).  

Walking along the path between the paddies,
you'll meet many various scarecrows of any nationality, young and old.
Hello, farmers and cat musician!

I hadn't thought I'd encounter a Mexican or Sheriff Woody at such a place.

This guy's eyebrows, eyes, nose, and mouth are drawn with some of Japanese alphabets "へのへのもへ".

These scarecrows remind me of fairytale or children's song.

Charming ladies!
They look more like life-size dolls than scarecrows.

Asuka was the capital of Japan at the end of the sixth century. 
Most of its legacy remains buried underground
while some of the ancient burial mounds and temples, ruins of ancient structures,
mysterious stone objects,  and other historic sites are open to public.

Asuka is one of the places I feel connected to the ancient times.
The exotic flower takes my thoughts to the time
when it was first imported from China.

I hope you enjoyed walking with me in the warm sunshine.
Which scarecrow would you like to vote for?

Incidentally, my youngest grandchild Y enjoyed his first Sports Day at his kindergarten yesterday.
Three-year-olds were simply cute, running or dancing in a fancy costume.
Five-year-olds amazed me with their terrific marching band and coordinated group gymnastics
as I had been so in F’s kindergarten.
The flailing around three-year-olds will change dramatically in a few years.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The changing seasons

Soap bubbles in light and shadow.  Thank you, little ones, for assisting me to photograph.

The ephemeral iridescence of soap bubbles capture the essence of childlike wonder.

In changing seasons, summer things don’t pop out like bubbles
but gradually disappear from sight and memory.
Till mid-September, some summer flowers and insects were hanging in there.

Longhorn Beetle
As autumn draws in, there are some changes under way in the natural world
like falling temperatures, berries, seeds, yellowish grasses, autumn flowers, etc.

Red Berries of Cornus officinalis, or Japanese cornel

Hagi, or Japanese Bush Clover

Having good appetite would be one of the signs of autumn, too.
Would you like to have Chinese course dishes?

Or, how about French cuisine at a little homey restaurant?

Duckling aiguillette on potatoes, Spanish mackerel and vegetables,
petite pieces of sweets, chestnut icecream on chestnut pancake, etc.

In the cool and crisp air, cosmoses have come to bloom one after another.

The fresh air is for sports.
F enjoyed her first Field Day (Undo-kai in Japanese) at the elementary school.
Pupils are divided to two teams, Red and White, 
to compete in relays, ball-toss game, the mock cavalry battle, to name a few.
They also perform dances or coordinated group gymnastics.

Daytime is getting shorter.
The golden sphere sinks into the burnt-orange clouds over the Ikoma mountains.
The contrast of light and darkness is moving,
which somehow reminded me of Halloween about one month later.

Wish you peace and happiness!