Friday, September 8, 2017

Goodbye Summertime, 2017

It feels that time passes faster as I age.
Summer is the time for me to slow down.

Do you like summer?
To be honest, summer isn't really my favorite season.
When temperature is high with oppressive humidity, my spirit is low.
This summer was especially so.

In the scorching sun, many sunflowers look tired
with their heads bending low.

In the stillness, only cicadas sing vigorously.
Their untiring singing pierces the sultry air and seeps into the pond.

Daibutsu-ike Pond, 4 p.m.
As a child, however, I would like summer.
I recall the free, comfortable, and carefree days with nostalgia.

On July 23 every year, Jizo-bon Festival is held at Y’s kindergarten.
Jizo (we call Ojizo-sama) is a guardian for children.
I think this is one of the good opportunities for the little ones
to learn about their roots.
In the morning, kindergartners gather wearing traditional summer kimono yukata or jinbe
and dedicate a concert to Ojizo-sama.
The evening session includes, games, hands-on experiences, foods and snacks, and Bon-Odori dance.
Not only kindergarteners but also those who left enjoys the festival 
on the first day of their summer holiday,
wishing for healthy and fun summer break to Ojizo-sama.

Center: 3-year-old, 4-year-old, and 5-year-old classes from the top

Mid-August is the time to think about peace.
The 15th of August is the memorial day of the end of WWII.
The people who experienced the war have taught us 
how miserable and devastating a war can be.
Have the people of my generation sown the seeds of peace to the future generation
so that they can harvest it? 

Sagi-ike Pond, 5:30 p.m.
The end of WWII falls on the last day of Obon, the period 
when the soul of ancestors are supposed to come back home.
The whole country comes into somber but peaceful mood
thinking about the late loved ones and ancestors
thanking for why we are here now.
At the Tokae Candle Lighting Festival in Nara Park, candles are lit 
one by one to pray for the repose of the soul.

Sagi-ike Pond, 8:00 p.m.
 After Obon, usually mornings and evenings get cooler day by day
but heat wave was more powerful this year.
Being outside, I felt like that I was in sauna.

Now that the air has become cooler and crisp,
I think it's time for me to face the blog world again.
Hope you had a wonderful summer or winter.

Linked to Weekend Reflections
Mosaic Monday

Monday, July 17, 2017

The life of the Sacred Lotus flowers

Sacred Lotus, or Nelumbo nucifera, is one of the oldest plants on the earth.
It is said to have adopted water as a habitat about 140-million years ago.

Hokongo-in Temple, of which history starts in 742,
is famous for the lotus flowers in summer.

From the muddy water, Lotuses stretch upward to the sunlight, 
and bloom flowers untainted by the mud.

The flower is ephemeral. Its longevity is only four days.
 Flower bud is very tight and pointy at first .

The first day,
a bud unfurls 3-4 centimeters and then closes maintaining upward pointing bud.

The second day,
the flower bud begins to mature, unfurling into a chalice-like multi-petaled blossom 
with a central head pod.

The third day,
the flower opens to its maximum.

The fourth day,
 the fully opened blossom falls downward, away from the central cupule. 
All the petals drop till noon.
When the petals drop, the central pod enlarges and ripens.

Petals on the verge of falling apart
The leaves are also attractive.
The veins are radiating out from the center to the margins.
The shape  has similar look to the flowers' chalice-like form.
The cylindrical stalks stretching from the bottom of the water high into the air
make aqua forest.

At the Water Garden, there are light, ripples, reflections, shadows, and carps.

Carps look shading themselves from the scorching sun under a water lily pad.

This is a roof-tile displayed in the garden.
The character , swastika, is a symbol of a temple in Japan. 
It is an ancient religious symbol, a sacred and auspicious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, 
dating back to before the 2nd century BC.

There are so many to see in this temple;
hydrangeas, lilies, mushrooms, and moss...., to name a few.

Though there is no official report of the end of the rainy season,
it has been sizzling, scorching, and sweltering hot.
Today high temperature warning is issued in some regions.
I'll have a summer break in blogging and commenting
after I visit around you.
Wish you a nice, healthy, and fruitful summer.
See you in September.

During the Golden Week in May

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday

Monday, July 3, 2017

Nice things during the rainy season, 2017

Since the start of the rainy season ("tsuyu" in Japanese meaning "apricot rains) in early June,
it has rained little unusually here in Kansai region.
However torrential rains could cause flooding and landslide along the Sea of Japan
and a typhoon is approaching.

Rain is so important for the cultivation of rice which is staple food of Japan.  

From the car window
I like to see the paddies filled with water right after the planting of rice seedlings.

Asuka Village
Sometimes rain can be gentle enough to nourish your soul as well as plants
and sometimes so violent to shutter the roots.

Wild flowers

Chicks of Swallow
During the rainy season, moss becomes lush and beautiful more and more
with other vegetation.

The stone children would be singing in the rain.

The Garden of Sanzen-in Temple

In the lull of the rains, sunshine feels dazzling.
I am reminded of the blueness of the sky.

Birds enjoy puddles.

When no rains, it’s this little boy who makes my garden wet.

He likes to blow soap bubbles.   

Roses gave way to hydrangeas in mid-June in my garden.

All the hydrangeas have gone withered by now.

A hydrangea on blooming
I like the refreshing feel of a rainy day
including the smell of the wet garden, the sound of rain,
and jewels-like raindrops.

Linked to Mosaic Monday