Monday, July 18, 2011

Climbing Nantai san

Both Aki and I climbed the local 'hyakumeizan' mountain yesterday called Mt. Nantai. I thought it was a great day on the mountain, Aki thought otherwise. It doesn't seem that high when you look at it from lake Chuuzenji at the bottom, but the elevation that we climbed was equal to climbing Iwaki (about 1200m) and the altitude was higher (2486m).

The weather was definitely on our side though, and until we reached close to the top there wasn't a single cloud to be seen from the south face of the mountain. At the top there was some cloud coverage, but plenty of blue sky and wicked views of the great lake down below.

Here are the pics:

Aki de-sweating on the way up. By this time she was still enjoying herself, no moaning as yet!

Me, in the same spot.

The first glimpse of things down below. By this time I'd already spotted my first deer (not actually in the picture) way in the distance and I was keen to find more.

The lake from a higher perspective.

A bush and a view.

I often look at clouds from a distance and wish I could bounce around on top of them. This is as close as you can get without and aeroplane I think.

Aki and the mountain God.

Me, the mountain God and Aki's finger.

Aki milling.

The back of the mountain, looking north.

On the way back down we ran into the monkeys, who appeared to be approaching a couple of quiet old boys eating their lunch. One of them explained that the local primates often try to sneak up and snatch food from trekkers in raid-like manner, and perhaps we had startled them in the process. They both ran away fairly quickly. And then, driving back down the Nikko - Chuuzenjiko road we saw a lovely orangey red deer on the side of the road, which gave us both a bit of a buzz at the end of the day.

Also, in season at the minute are our edamame beans from the garden. They've grown really well and we had our first bowl of them with beers on Saturday night - the flavour was pronto, and they were all perfectly sized. More tonight!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Unfamiliar Critters and Garden Progress Report.

Our garden is crawling with insects which I am unfamiliar with. Yesterday I went to get some shots of those creatures but sadly, they were a bit camera shy and all I could manage were the following.

Some sort of ladybug.

The dragonflies are so tame you can literally pick them up and play with them.

No, the third critter in this series is not me, though I'm probably responsible for most of the damage that happens to the plants! You can't see it from here, but the third critter is a tiny mosquito which is sucking the blood from my neck as I pose for the shot. Mosquitos are no threat to the plants, but they are a real nuisance to me and Aki. This why I am wearing full body gear in the 34 degree humid heat. Not the comfiest way to garden, but the safest.

Goya coming on well.

Pumpkins doing fine, despite a recent discovery of powdery mildew!

The crow which overlooks my soy beans.

Tomatoes on the vine.

Pumpkins growing on the compost heap.

Another pumpkin plant, and below, this year's beats. They are looking good, and should be ready for picking in early August.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Tochigi Skies

Here are some photos from the sky above south Tochigi. I apologise for the lack of updates, I am a lot busier than I expected to be. Here are some pics though:

And a few more images from the days when we mess about.

Caught this guy messing about in my salad leaves!

Messing about at Kegon Falls near Chuuzenjiko.

A load of folks messing about on the combo birthday party we had at ours a few weeks back.