Friday, December 2, 2016

Nara Park cloaked in glorious Autumn

Welcome to Nara Park!
Here are glorious sights of the whole park
 aflame with shades of orange, crimson, and gold leaves.

The road connecting the foot of Mt. Wakakusa and Kasugano Park, 18th of November

Autumn comes from the sky and goes downward from the top elevations. 
Though the time of leaves' changing colors would vary depending on temperatures, 
best viewing time of the autumn foliage in Kansai region including Nara 
is usually early November to early December.
I walked around Nara Park admiring fresh and vibrant palette of the season 
on the 11th, 18th, and 22nd of November.

November 11th
Sansha-iike Pond

Chinese Tallow Trees along the road bridge over Ara-ike Pond

Kangaku-in of Todai-ji Temple

Kasugano Park

Daibutsu-ike Pond

November 18th

In a week, the entire Nara Park was glowing in an explosion of bright colors.

Sagi-ike Pond

Trellis of Wisteria

Tangerine-colored Chinese Tallow leaves at Ukigumo Park

The Yoshiki River ablaze with Japanese maple leaves

Reflections like an Impressionist Art, my Favorite

Japanese maple trees on the water canvas

The steps leading up to the Belfry under the canopy of Japanese maples

The view from the top of the steps

"鴟尾  Shibi" framed by the maple leaves

Shadow-shot white earthen walls

Roof tiles on the top of the wall

November 22nd

At the top of the Mt. Wakakusa, autumn foliage was almost over,
reds of fallen leaves turning to rust and yellows to sienna.

Bare cherry tree and its fallen leaves

Embers of life

Chill winds, freezing rain or snow came suddenly one week ago.
The traces of the brilliance of mild autumn are getting distant memories
and are mingling with the cosmic air above blowing from the time immemorial.

Todai-ji Buddha Hall and Kofuku-ji Five-storied Pagoda in the distance, 22nd of November

Linked to 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kindergarten Art Exhibition, 2016

The coloration of autumn has been getting fabulous day by day. 
I hear the cheerful shouts of the children in the painting above.

Inspired by the painting, I went to the nearby park to photograph children
playing under the autumn foliage.
Unfortunately no child voices echoed when I was at the park,
but I was absorbed in the beauty and freshness of the season.

By the way, don't you feel like going on a trip,
searching for fantastic autumn colors?
On the roads, you may see autumn-colored cars or cars with autumn reflections running
like the fleeting autumn.

Weekend Reflections

The end of the day, how about staying at the Lavender Hotel?
The cute hotel workers (five-year-olds of the Lavender Class) will welcome you 
with big smiles and sincere hospitality. 

The wheeled suitcases are ready to be carried to your room.

Chandeliers made of pet bottles are on the ceiling.

The walls are decorated with the famous paintings by Laseen, Gogh, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Not only painting but also framing are children's work.

At this hotel, breads, pizzas, salads are buffet style.

To bake breads, children did it from the scratch;
they started by making "newspaper clay" first of all.
 "Newspaper clay" is made mixing newspapers torn to pieces, water, 
and some amount of starch glue.

These dishes are made of woolen yarn using "Hariko" technique
and are decorated with paper or fabric ribbons or flowers.
The mixture of bond dissolved by water and yarn are stuck to a balloon.
When the bond is dried, the balloon is taken off.

What a feast!  Let's eat!

Where shall we go next?

Y's Dandelion Class (three-year-olds) was transformed into a Fire Station.
Fire engines are made of tissue boxes and milk cartons.

This is Y's.

Certificates and Fire-extinguishers

Fire fighter's helmets are made of instant noodles cups.

The Color Guard Flags march ahead of ..... what?

A marching band!

At the Koshienguchi Kindergarten Art Exhibition,  
there were Airport, Post Office, Hospital,  Magic House, and Photo Studio
other than the Hotel and the Fire Station.
I'll pick up some other works.

These rental clothes at the Photo Studio by Margaret Class (five-year-olds)
are free of charge.
Choose the clothes you like...

.... and a bag.

The memorial photo of the Entrance Ceremony was taken under the full-blooming Sakura in April.
Every child is amazing how he/she has grown since then.

Injectors at the Hospital made by Pansy Class (three-year-olds) will be effective to
what you really wish
like "running faster ", "more friends", "overcoming food dislikes", and anything.

Lastly these are magician's hats at the Magic House by Lily Class (four-year-olds).

Your dreams will come true by sitting on this Magic chair once
if only you never give up and make efforts.

Joint-work of all the Lily Class members

Good job, all the Kindergartners!
I'm sorry I can't cover all the wonderful works.

Thank you, teachers, for giving little children confidence
through creating these art with your support and guidance.
Thank you for giving little children big dreams
with your love, patience, and enthusiasm.

Kindergarten Art Exhibition, 2015, is here.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Earth laughs in cosmos flowers at Ikaruga

The Three-Storied Pagoda (National Treasure), the only original remaining structure of Hoki-ji, from the 8th century
About twenty minutes’ drive from my home takes me to Hoki-ji Temple in Ikaruga.
Ikaruga has been a focal point of Japanese Buddhism since its entry to Japan in the 6th century.

On a sunny, crisp mid-October last year, I went to see cosmos flowers in mass 
around the Three-Storied Pagoda of Hoki-ji Temple. 
Farmers have utilized their fallow fields for cosmos for the tourists
 who stroll around the town of Ikaruga.

I borrowed the popular quote “Earth laughs in flowers.” by Ralph Waldo Emerson to this post.
 When I learned the full lines of the poem later, the message sounded serious
and different from the simply happy, peaceful image of the one-sentence-quote.

Japanese word '自然 (shizen, or jinen in ancient times)' is translated to 'Nature' in English, 
but the connotation  is different in a strict sense.
 "The basic, etymological meaning of the Japanese 'shizen/jinen' is
 'the power of  spontaneous self-development and what results from the power'. 
It is rather a mode of being than a natural order. "
We humans are not opposed or superior to the nature but part of it.

We enjoyed being there immersed in cosmoses in all the directions.

This year at the end of October, I went there again with the same family members .
 Shades of pink cosmos were swaying in breeze like last year 
though it was a hot day with summer clouds unlike last year. 

The little boy has grown to be more confident and independent physically and emotionally.

The lovely pink or red cosmos flower reminds me of a little girl dressed in kimono
 for Shichi-Go-San, which literally means "Seven-Five-Three." 
It is a traditional ritual and celebration of passage of life in Japan 
for three and seven-year-old girls and three and five-year-old boys.
It is held annually on November 15. 
As it is not a national holiday, it is generally observed on the near weekend.
My son celebrated her second daughter Y in late October 
before the winter chills of November.

It’s a hard and busy day for the little children to get dressed in kimono, dress, or suits and tie, 
be photographed, walk to the shrine to have a rite, and have dinner at the restaurant. 
The photo below was taken at my son’s favorite photo studio,
where five-year-old F accompanied her younger sister.
I’m amazed with the cameraman who always capture the moment
when all people are smiling naturally no matter how many the number is.

The three-year-old boy Y also had his memorial Shichi-Go-San photos taken already
and will visit shrine soon in November.  
Recently the studios that capture natural expression of children have gotten popular. 
Unposed expressions and gestures are captured in many different combinations.

Children are not only ours but also Earth's.
Children will grow to bloom nurtured by Earth.
Wish all the children of the world their healthy growth and bright future.