Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday Night in the World's biggest city

I guess it ain't really accurate to call Tokyo a city, as it is actually a prefecture made up of numerous---what should I call them?---towns.
Under an almost full moon (this year's "Wolf Moon") Friday night on the Tama River just across from Kanagawa prefecture's Shinmaruko.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Maple Sugar

A rare public display of affection under the autumn maples. Denenchofu, Tokyo, November 29, 2009.

Watching parents and kids interact tends to dispel any remanent, subconscious notion of a "unique uniqueness."

Friday, January 08, 2010

Tamagawa mizubenotori

For the last 2 years getting close enough to the egrets or heron along my part of the Tama River has been getting more and more difficult.

Not only are the birds very wary of both humans and their dogs, the habitat has changed. The river has been high enough that it almost always covers the small basalt island behind the homeless camp where many of both species---along with cormorants---would spend much of the day.

There are a few other "islands" which are slightly isolated from the majority of human/canine interlopers where the birds can get a little peace, but last summer one of those "sanctuaries" disappeared. It disappeared not because of nature, but because of man. I spotted a fellow damming up part of the river and thought perhaps he was doing it to catch fish. I wondered if it was legal to do so, but I suppose that it makes no difference.

The "dam" that he built has now been built up to the point that it has become a bridge to the island, resulting in it becoming a playground for parents, children, and dogs. Frankly, these folks appear to be either unaware of, or have absolutely zero concern for the pitiful remnants of wildlife there. Contrast that with some of the older guys I meet in the early morning who seem to know every species of bird along the river as well as the details---to the point of trivia---about the history of the river itself.

This egret was first one I have gotten within 30 meters of in over a year. Amazingly, it hung around as two families with dogs off-leash came down to where I was photographing and began running, screaming, and throwing rocks in the river. It wasn't until one of the dogs crossed the "bridge" to the island and came up behind the egret and started barking that the bird wisely left. So did I.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A windy New Year on Fujisan

A friend of mine who fancies himself an outdoorsman of sorts often asks what I do when I go to the mountains. I have found that if I have to explain in detail to someone what I do when I hike or spend time outdoors or why I like to do so, they'll never understand anyway.

N-san has climbed Fujisan twice and has been after me to do so too. "Why?" I asked the last time we debated it. "Because everyone is supposed to before they die," he replied. "Why?" I asked again. As much as N-san tried to convince me that climbing Fujisan in the summer with about a gazillion others on the same trail was a wilderness experience, he was unable to do so. I have no desire to ever climb Fuji, unless it were in the closed season. And I can probably live without that. I don't understand N-san's fascination with climbing Mt. Fuji any more than he understands mine with less populated places.

This was taken from Tamagawadaikoen on January 2nd. I avoided the group of 10 or so waiting to photograph it from the quasi-official "view" spot and went further into the park where I knew I could get a clear view and a photo somewhat different than the others of today.

It was windy on old Fuji today, as it always seems to be in the winter.