Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer trip to Aomori

We went back to Hirosaki at the weekend. Though it reached at least 30 degrees each day, it was a cool contrast to the weather we have here now in Tochigi - 36 degs yesterday, and as sweaty as you could ever imagine. The humidity is through the roof, though we're starting to get used to it now.

Aki is ready to jump on the train to Aomori city for some rasera!
青森市へ行こう!! ラセラ ラセラ!!

Shea is modeling this season's jinbe range. It was funny, Aki's three year old niece was calling him Shea chan!!

Pretty scary looking construction here. Devil, maybe?

A typical, yet really impressive looking Nebuta float.

It was great to see everybody up there enjoying themselves this summer, even though it's been a really challenging year for the whole of Japan. Setsuden 節電 (electricity conservation measures) are in full effect, and it's a real scorcher this year, which means we've all got to put up with it and get on with things. A damn good lesson is being learnt over here right now, where people learn about the vulnerability of energy supply and what it's like without it. Hats off to the Japanese for the way they've risen to the challenge.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Nikko - Shirane san

The tallest mountain in Tochigi prefecture, at 2,578m. I won't bore you with the details, here are some pics I took though:

The dodgy hand as proof I was there!

A sound support strategy!

Garden Update - Alive with Creepy Crawlies

This is creepy...

and this is crawly!

Not really, I actually do have some pictures of insects. If you're into that sort of thing, that is. The pic above is a night shot of a regular cricket who appears to be enjoying the eggplant leaves that I've prepared for him and his friends.

This, I think, is one of the Bell Crickets which send me to sleep at night with their gentle clicking sounds. The Japanese call them Suzumushi, because the sound they make is a bit like 'su zu su zu su zu'. Either way, they sound a lot more relaxing than the crazy cicadas that crackle away all day long. Thank god they sleep at night like the rest of us!

This one is an enemy, or at least he is when the pumpkins are little. He attacks soft pumpkin leaves and won't give in until they are dead. He's not a pest now though, since all the pumpkins have grown up and their leaves are too tough for him.

This one, I have no idea. Don't get many in the garden, but he seemed pretty tame so I took a shot.

This is my buddy the Preying Mantis who inhabits the top right hand corner of my Goya plant. He is a real character, and he engages with me if I wave a stick around in front of him. He soon gets tired of my games though and creeps back under the leaf where I can't see him.

This one is another pumpkin basher. Like the rest of the insects which used to attack my baby plants, his teeth just aren't sharp enough to get through the big heavy leaves now.

Quite interestingly, I went to see an old bloke down the road the other day who I chat to from time to time, and he had a snake in his garden right there, right then. Apparently it's really rare to find them in your garden, but this one was about a metre long and it looked really scared. His friend Kimura san said it wasn't a dangerous variety, but still, a snake is a snake. Don't like those teeth!!