Wednesday, October 30, 2013

blue skies weather magic

It has been the wettest October in Yokohama since 2004 with a series of typhoons trundling by (394mm so far - footling British storms take note). Even when they don't really hit, the typhoons disturb the weather forecast, leading us to think that the typhoon forecast and weather forecast are not that well integrated. But the Japanese Met. Agency fixed it for everyone to enjoy the October public holiday that is specially set aside for exercise. A week in advance, the forecast was set fair, and so it proved to be! We headed for Yatsugatake.

Yatsugatake
Leaves were turning around 1500m.
Yatsugatake-2
Fuji-san
Yatsugatake-4
Kita alps in the distance.
Yatsugatake-5
The plan had been for a quick up and down from the west, with an overnight on the top, but, for the first time ever when taking a trip to the mountains, we got on the wrong train, and so missed the bus. The plan was quickly changed to involve a longer walk from the south.
This was the first peak we got to, with more of Yatsugatake (it means 8 peaks!), behind James. Last time we came here, all we could see was cloud.
Yatsugatake view!
More Yatsugatake, and note some examples of the distinctive windily shaped trees. Not much wind this time though.
Yatsugatake-3

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Typhoons

After the hornet plague came the typhoon plague. Two at once yesterday.

Two typhoons
The morning after the typhoon, everyone is busy repairing their houses.
spidies-2
The finished home is certainly worth all the work. I wonder if we computer modellers could learn something from this intricate grid system. There seems to be a row of knots every 5 or 6 rows.
spidies

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Battle of the predators

It was starting to cool a little in early September and I braved a run to work. To wile away the time I decided to count hornets and, in about 45 minutes, got to 29. In the weeks that followed the numbers dwindled. It was the year of the plague of hornets, but now it is almost all over. New predators have arisen!

Hornets like to use the human-made paths in the thick forest vegetation. They are kind of like hornet motorways. A couple of weeks ago, suspended over such a path at Jufukuji temple were a series of webs of which this was one.

Jufukuji - spider eats hornet
Yes - it is a spider sucking out the insides of a neatly wrapped hornet. Now we know why the thread in their webs is so ridiculously tough - it's to make the most of the once-in-a-decade hornet bonanza!

Elsewhere smaller spiders were just posing attractively over gravestones, eager to attract boyfriends for supper.
Jufukuji - spider

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sasuke Inari

Red for Shinto. Sasuke Inari Shrine is all about a man who saw a fox...

Sasuke Inari
And here are some of the foxes.
sasuke inari
Sasuke Inari

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Zeniaraibenten - the church of mammon

Zeniaraibenten is one of the most visited shrines in Kamakura.

Zeniaraibenten
The reason is that if you wash your money in the stream in the cave, you are sure to get very rich. The origami cranes hanging down from the roof of the cave presumably add to the likelihood of increased wealth and happiness.
zeniaraibenten
In a similar vein, it can surely do no harm to worship in clothing emblazoned with the emblem by a large and prosperous company.
Zeniaraibenten
The fish in the ponds are suitably golden.
Zeniaraibenten

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lost in translation? No guns in 'bux, Kamakura stylee.

A while ago it was in the news that Starbucks in the USA is encouraging people to not bring guns into their shops. But is the intention that the weapons are left propped up by the door while their owner relaxes over a cuppa inside? Behind the sign asking us to please not lean our tandem against the wall are Japanese Archery bow and arrows, owner nowhere in sight.

Starbux

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kamakura characters

James and the god of happiness:

Jochiji
James and Amida Buddha:
Daibutsu

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Yellow flowers

yellow flowers, Jomyoji
Jomyoji, Kamakura (September)

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Temple drinks

Jomyoji is #5 of the top 5 Zen temples in Kamkaura, but the English garden and cafe in the temple grounds are the bits we, in common with some other inhabitants of Kamakura, enjoy the most.

Jomyoji English tea house

This is a hummingbird moth coming in for a drink.
humming bird moth
Butterflies enjoy the drinks too..
butterfly
As do Jameses...
James and purin and clafoutis
The dragonflies come not for the nectar, but to pose by the pond.
dragonfly
They also chase dragonflies of a different colour and have sex with ones of the same colour but both those activities are more difficult to photograph...

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Templing

We have travelled so much this year that the templing has been a bit neglected. Recently, however, we have put in some effort, in between dodging hornets while trying to run for too long.
First, Hokokuji. Apparently it lapsed almost into nonexistence before tourism became popular (around end of 19th century), but there is a good chance that the bell that hangs in this little building dates from well before then.

Bell tower
These days Hokokuji is famous for its grove of giant bamboo.
Bamboo garden
At the back of which you can enjoy matcha (frothy green tea-ceremony tea).
tea house
It is also not impossible that these caves may contain some old tombstones of the priests of the olden days.
Hokokuji
Not sure if it is a sign of insanity in the chief priest, or just a gardener doing some experimentation, but someone has planted red triffids in the Zen dry garden, and encouraged clumps of little blue weed-flowers to grow. Very odd.
Hokokuji

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