Thursday, July 8, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
A short video taken before coming to Hawai'i of sakura (cherry blossoms) falling at Hara-dani-en (原谷苑) near Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) temple in Kyoto.
For those who haven't been to Haradanien is worth checking out during sakura season. . .guess you have to wait a year now.
Haradanien website (Japanese only)
Friday, April 30, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Yesterday Aki and I visited Shintaki (新滝) waterfall with a friend. Last winter the waterfall froze for only a brief period and we didn't have a chance to see. I'm very glad we've taken the time to see it this winter.
Recently, Otaki has spent more time on the negative side of the thermometer than it has on the positive side, so the ice on Shintaki has continued to grow and grow.
The color of the ice are difficult to capture through the lens (at least for someone as unskilled in the art of photography as I). However, the phantasmal shapes that stand up from the ground and hang down from cliffs overhead are alluring to say the least. Rippled flows of ice spread out in deep shades of blue. One can walk, with caution, over the still movements of the water.
A couple of weeks ago I saw a car with out of town plates parked above Shintaki for about a week. I'm guessing this was a religious practitioner, probably staying a small wooden hut that flanks the waterfall. I've heard that some of the stronger practitioners are able to perform taki-shu-gyou (滝修行)--standing beneath the falling water--even in the winter; though I have not seen this.
Shintaki is a sacred place.
Anyone can walk on water here.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Evening walk in Kuzo hamlet. One of my favorite places in Otaki. The road we walked on, my wife and I, was covered in many spots in a good 5 centimeters of ice. From the forest above us we heard the "chi chi chi" of macaques calling to their comrades that there are bigger primates about.
A bit further on and we caught sight of a Japanese serow and his (her?) mate. They stood silent and unmoving on patches of grass occupying the center of concrete squares arrayed to form a larger lattice-work that covered a steep road-cut to ensure stability. I was amazed at how well the serow's coats fit the altered environment. My wife had great difficulty spotting the beasts. Serows are said to have bad eyes, so the four of us stood gazing upon (or failing to gaze upon) each other for quite some time. The sound of a car engine (at leastI presume it was the sound; I myself couldn't hear it) sent the serows scrambling across the slope and into the woods. The car came past us a bit later, "their eyes may be bad, but they sure have good ears," I concluded.
Stars were appearing in the dusk as we turned around and said good night to Mt. Ontake.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Throughout the day I've marveled at the winter light as it plays across the landscape. The low and flat rays of the sun slink through deep gorges of the Otaki Valley, and leap out from ridgelines in the most amusing ways. This interplay of light and earth casts deep blue shadows down the valley, creating a landscape of interloping framents of light and dark. It's a landscape made whole by being broken apart.