Friday, September 16, 2016

Changing floral-scape at the ancient Fujiwara-kyo

Early autumn

Around the remains of the old Yakushi-ji Temple in the Fujiwara-kyo (694-710), 
the ancient Imperial Capital of Japan,
mass blooms of Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth) are seen from mid-August to late September.

The moody weather with heavy rain clouds and strong wind was a perfect setting
to remind me of the mystery
why a great scale of Fujiwara-kyo was abandoned after only sixteen years
and why the all the structures were burnt down to ashes on year later
 the capital was moved to Heijyo-kyo in the current Nara City.

The pastel mauve fairies at the waterfront.

When patches of blue sky appeared, light shimmered both on the flowers and water.

Fujiwara-kyo site is located at the laid-back countryside 
in the circle of three small hill-like mountains of Yamato province, 
Mt. Kagu, Mt. Miminashi, and Mt. Unebi.

Mt. Unebi in the west
Fujiwara-kyo must have been the total grandeur as was revealed by the recent investigation; 
“it covered an area of roughly 5 km and was surrounded by walls roughly 5 m high. 
Each of the four walls had three gates; Suzakumon, the main gate, stood at the center of the south wall. 
The Daigokuden (Emperor's Audience Hall) and other palace buildings were the first palace structures 
in Japan to have a tile roof in the Chinese style.”

Archaeological excavations was started in 1934. 
The remains of various offices as well as nearly 10,000 wooden tablets 
inscribed with Chinese characters have been discovered.

July 21

From July to mid-August, prior to the blooms of water hyacinth, Lotus flowers bloom 
around the remains of the Imperial Audience Hall. 
As the flower of Buddha’s Pure Land, they look consoling the souls 
sleeping underground which turned to the nature.

Both flowers and leaves rise up from the muddy water to the light.

In 1951 Japanese palae-botanist Dr. Oga discovered three lotus seeds during an archaeological dig.
The seeds turned out to be 2000 years old. 
Dr. Oga germinated the remaining seed to flower in 1952. 
The lotus was named after Dr. Oga and is now widespread throughout Japan. 
One of eleven species flowering at this place is Oga lotus, descendents from the ancient time.

Some hundred meters north beyond the Lotus area lies flowering meadow of yellow summer cosmos.

Mt. Miminashi in the north
Different flowers create different atmosphere.
Bright yellows and oranges look able to counter the scorching summer sun.

With a leaf of "Kudzu", or arrowroot.

The contrast of light and shadow

Mornings and evenings have gotten cooler but it's still sultry in the daytime 
with the hottest temperature about 30 degrees.
As the floral carpet changes with the changing seasons,
 the area will be covered with shades of pink of autumn cosmoses soon.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Memories of the summer、2016

Hello, Friends!  Nice to see you again.
How have you been?
I've enjoyed idleness and casualness that summer affords.

By the way, do you know deer look the most beautiful in summer?
Their antlers are the finest and their coat is brighter with clearer white spots.

My part of the world had been gripped by the terrible heat wave 
about a month till the last weekend.
Hot, hot, too hot!
But summer isn't all that bad.

The burning red flowers of Japanese crape myrtle bring coolness 
when swaying on the water surface.

Sunflowers bring delight with their yellow round faces under the scorching sun.

This image of sunflower without ray florets looks like praying
and reminds me of the hard-work of seeding for future.

Winged visitors flit around the small sunflowers in my garden.

When high temperature warning was issued, my three grandchildren stayed at my home.
Their cheerful shouts sounded inside and outside the house.
They especially liked splashing.

They also enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, card games, and fireworks in the evening.
Two three-year-olds simply enjoyed being together with their cousins.
The eldest F braved the heat to practice walking on stilts and served shaved ice.

I went to Tokae Candle Lighting Festival during Obon.
Obon is the time when the spirits of the late people are believed to come back to their home.
The last day falls on the Memorial Day of the WWII which was ended by the two atomic bombings.
I can't help being somber and appreciative for the peace we have now.
I pray for the peace of the world

Kagami-ike Pond, Todai-ji Temple

Sarusawa-ike Pond and Five-storied Pagoda of Kofuku-ji Temple

The dangerous heat still continued for a while after August 23, 処暑 (meaning "limit of heat"), 
the 14th season of 24 divisional seasons of Japanese old calendar.
Now that August is over,  mornings and evenings have gotten cooler
and I sense subtle changes in the color of water or the smell of air.
My favorite season is on its way.

At 5:30 p.m. at the Sansha-ike Pond

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Into the world of Peter Rabbit picture book at Mt. Rokko

Mt. Rokko (931 meters) is the highest peak in the Rokko mountain range, which provides the green backdrop to the city of Kobe. 

An Englishman, Arthur H. Groom pioneered the development of Mt. Rokko as a resort place in the beginning of the 20th century.

Almost at the same time in Britain, 1902, The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published to be greatly
acclaimed. The nature of the English Lake District which the author Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) loved are incorporated into the stories.  In early July, I enjoyed some scenes from the picture book unfolding at Rokko Garden Terrace and Rokko Country House.

At the gate of Rose Walk, Peter Rabbit welcomes you.

British cottage garden is my favorite garden style
for its natural, unpretentious look with various plants close together. 
I know it takes a certain amount of time, thoughts, and efforts to create a garden that looks natural. 

I have been so familiar with Foxgloves in my British blog friend’s posts 
that I came to think a cottage garden is not perfect without Foxgloves in early summer.  
I was so happy to see them in person!

I almost tried to insert my fingers to the glove.

Time for a Dandee cake made of dried fruits and nuts which Squirrel Nutkin collected
and organic Darjeeling tea.

Dear Friends,

I’ve had uncomfortable sensation of floating with slight nausea since last week when I was suddenly caught by a balance disorder.  I took MRI test in case and my brain turned out to be healthy and young for my age.  I think I’m on the way to recovery, but it’d be better for me to stay away from computer for a while.  (This post was already made before I fell into bad health condition.)  And besides, now that rainy season is over, it’s high summer, time to enjoy idleness, to have cozy slow time with family.  I’ll have a summer break on blogging a little earlier than I planned.  

Wish you a lovely summer or winter, and be safe from the dangerous heat or cold. 


Thank you for reading.
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