towards the end of this year

In the northern area must have snow cover worldwide, yet in this region we have not seen the first snow despite of the coldness in the morning with temperature below zero.

After the cold rain some rain drops are shining on some fruits of nandina(ナンテン).

Rest of them were already eaten by some birds.

I often see some white- eyes ,ox-eyes, bulbuls in my garden, besides sparrows which are common birds in Japan are seldom observed recently.

I've read that sparrows have decreased sharply in this two decades because of rice-reduction and fewer suitable space for making nest under the eaves.

My husband made a small table for a plate with water and I sometimes put a few of grains of rice on it.

It was effective to invite some sparrows in our garden. This couple (maybe the same ones)is frequent visitor.

On a yuzu( sort of lime) tree in our garden yuzu fruits have grown in abundance.

I gathered some of them for making some acidic sauce which is needed for winter cuisine called nabemono.

Making it I look forward the day of new year when my sons will come back.


I will have a break time after some preparation for Christmas and new year.

To bake bread became to my husband's brother's hobby these couple years, and he sent us home made Stollen from Tokyo.

I've heard that in Germany people enjoy thin Stollen slice by slice waiting for coming Holy night, and the slices become tasty day by day.

a corner for Christmas. the tapestry and the small white tree are my hand made.

神もたぬわれにも聖夜近づきぬ ショーウインドウに降る紙の雪 haricot

Holy Night is getting up close

even for me who is infidel.

I stopped for a moment

to look at fake snow fall

in a store window

It is going through a period of grief in Japan by triple disaster, earthquake , Tsunami and leak of radio activity, and the end of the year is approaching.

I hope the new year will have a positive sign.

Let me wish you all the best in it.


One day trip

My husband and I have not done any stay-over trip this year.

He brought up the idea of going to Hiroshima, while I wanted to postpone it because I have many things to do at home in December.
He said to me," Next year is another year and I don't know what will wait for me." So, I decided to do the one day trip together.

Although Hiroshima evokes the tragedy of atomic bomb, where he wanted to visit was an island called Miya-jima, where an old shrine, Itsukushma-shrine, is located on.

Once I took on a train I forgot the bustle month of preparing for coming new year,and started to enjoy the scenery through the train window.

From the nearest station we got on a small ferry and soon a great Torii ( gate of shrine) became to be seen.

Generally there is a place in front of the shrine to wash the hands and rinse the mouth for purification.

In the case of this shrine the place is just next to sea water.

Itsukushima shrine was built by a powerful Heike clan on the day, about 1,400 years ago. In Japan there is no other structure of shrine like it. Walking through the corridor I felt as if I was moving on the sea.

It is said that when the tides has gone out people can pass through the Trii- gate on foot.

And when some big typhoon comes the corridor becomes to be beneath of the sea level, and such condition is sometimes released on TV.

Near the shrine, there is a valley called Momiji-dani(Valley of maple trees), and we walked viewing the coloured leaves for a while.

We also saw several deer on the small island.

There are hundreds of deer in Nara park near of my residence area, though we never see deer by the sea, because Nara prefecture is a basin.

Now we have to return to Nara.

Bye bye Hiroshima, and thank you the Sun for shining through the clouds sometimes.

突如そこに生まれしごとき大鳥居 夢にてもわが眺めておりぬ  haricot

It just looks like

it was born all of a sudden there,

Such a huge Torii-gate

I give it a long look

in my dream as well


At a temple and a grave

Recent sudden cold temperature must be effect on autumnal leaves.

As I looked forward to see red maple leaves from before, I decided to visit Jyojakko-ji, (常寂光寺), a temple which is located in north west of Kyoto prefecture.

It took about twenty minutes walk from JR Arashiyama station, and then an old house, Rakushi-sha(落柿舎) where one of pupils of Basho lived in, came to be seen near the temple I addressed for.

In the gate of Jyojyakko-ji, many maple trees greet visitors.

The leaves stand out against autumn sky, sometimes shining sometimes shimmering with subtle change of sunlight .


This temple was built in 1595 as a hermitage for a priest, Nisshin(日禛) who loved tanka poet、and later the temple was rearranged partly.
The garden of the temple has slope inclination, and some steep stone steps lead us at the very peak of the garden.

From there we can make a sweep of town in Kyoto that is surrounded by layers of small mountains like Nara where I live in.

Another reason that invited me here is to visit a grave of James Kirkup (1918~2009). It is on the grave yard next to this temple.

One of my tanka friends gave me an information that says James Kirkup passed away in Andorra, and later his secretary brought a part of his remains to bury it in Japan where James loved and worked for translation of Japanese poetry.

I did not dare to take a photo of his tomb that was made of natural brown stones and his name for another world were curved in kanji ( on a pole beside the tomb his real name was written), instead I'd like to offer this maple leaves for his soul.

And let me introduce one of his translations which is found in a book, "Fumi Saito in Thickets of Memory ".


                               斎藤 史(1909~2002)

This is the moment

when flowers and water start

trembling at once.

---- Come, start singing of those things

that cannot be seen with eyes.


Walking on an autumn afternoon

The new town where I live now used to be vast hilly area that had many up and down. The nearest station was only for students of University, and then land development was proceeded widely that ended up to make it a big bed town.

Even now, some wild weed and flowers are seen along the railroad or on some vacant small land. Some wild flowers started their puffs to be blown away.

Thus lives are handed down to the next generation.

Polygonum longisetum(イヌタデ)are also seen by the road. When I was child I called this wild flowers as " Aka- manma" that literally means red-rice which refers the rice cooked with red beans especially for celebrations.
Seeing the flowers I thought of a tanka poet who passed away in last August, at age 63, Yuko Kawano. She often sang some wild flowers like Akamanma, bindweed(ヒルガオ)and wild cosmos as her favourite.

In 1980s, some ideas of feminism came to the forefront.

In the genre of tanka poem, as well as other genres, some discussions on feminism were held sometimes loudly sometimes intriguingly.

Some wrote tanka poems from the situation of unmarried cohabitation and some did as former student movement activists.

Among them Kawano's writing was always down to the earth. Her voice was not loud but powerful so that readers heard hers of bottom of her heart and felt the importance of daily life.( You can read some of them via here)
Her voice was also definitely one of representatives of feminism.

Thinking of her I walked by an elementary school. There pupils rose their cheerful voice. I stole a glance into the world of younger generation between a fence.

 I came to a park after about twenty minutes' walking.

I found a Magnolia kobus (コブシ), which has many white flowers in spring ,bears some red fruits.

magnolia kobus via Flickr
Between the branches a large cobweb is hanging and a tiny spider is sitting on it.

立体にウェッブ張りている蜘蛛を若き虚業家おもいて見あぐ  haricot

Seeing a spider

on a web of three dimension

I pictured to myself

a young entrepreneur

who dreams World Wide Web

Through the foliage I saw three naked women who were supporting a fountain tower without water sprout.
I named them, " Three Graces in Autumn".(Three Graces in Primavera(Spring)


Had lived in an old town

I visited Tobihino field in Nara Park last weekend.
Many visitors were in the park, but on the field there were few.

This man was focusing his camera on a tall wax tree on the field.

飛火野をひとりゆくときしむしむと草食む音と鹿と近づく haricot

I saw a deer approaching me

with some grazing sound,

"shim shim shim ...."

Walking along on the Tobihino field

all alone

This stag is maybe still young, but I can't speculate his age by his antlers because they were cut in early autumn for security and protection of woods.

This hut is on the next field of Tobihino, and surrounded many Japanese apricot trees.
 I started to live in Nara, central quarter in the city of the oldest capital,when I got married. The residence was about 20mitunes on foot far from the park.
And then I heard such story that the earlier we rise in the morning the more convenient.

Because when we would find any dead deer we can let it move to the next door.

This round window is for viewing Japanese apricot flowers,but no bad to see the wax tree.

 Deer are messengers of God by Legend, so it was thought that to kill some deer ( even let them die accidentally) was not only evil omen but culpable act here.

 "The early bird catches the worm", but what a worm!

 I think that it was an old story. But I was young enough to be frightened to hear that and other experiences regarding to traditional or conservative customs of the old town made me almost neighbour phobic.


After ten years later I moved to a new town in the same prefecture, and many many years have passed.

The atmosphere and circumstance are different from those of central old town; I think that blend of privacy and community is better balanced and much less conservative here in new town.

Strolling in the park I saw many people who enjoy making some sketch.

When I took a photo of a couple of them, the man said to me "Hey, my face is so funny?" Sorry for surprising you.

This road that leads to the North octagonal hall called Hokuen-do(北円堂)
is quite close to my family's old residence.

My husband sometimes says, looking back his childhood, that this area was wild without fence and good playground for kids.

On this day I strolled about the park with a tourist's eye.
It made me amuse a lot and I looked across the sweep of the town one more time.

It was a warm day. Autumn that seemed to approach at a gallop is supposed to be run in place.


Pond for migrant birds

I noticed some starlings on an electric wire this evening. It is said that they prefer winter in a warm climate, so I wonder that they came from colder districts even in the same country.

I had a sudden notion to go to a pond for migrant birds before very long.

The weather report said it was going to be cloudy today, but luckily it is fine.

Elementary school kids are taking their field trip to this place.
This pond is surrounded by a path and many trees.

Many foliage have not yet turned yellow nor red, but some started to change their colour.

This is the pond that I posted before (here), which is called Koya(昆陽)pond in Itami city.

In fact the pond, that was formed more than 1,200 years ago,have been a famous place sung in Waka(old tanka poem), as a place for maple leaves being blown from a mountain in Minou city.

Minou city is next to Itami city, but how they could imagine the maple leaves travelled more than 10km?
I'm amazed by the imagination of ancient people.

This year I came here three month earlier than I did at the previous time.

I see fewer sort of ducks, fewer number of cormorants, and no gulls.

These three swans,

moved onto the bank one after another,

and they got in a line.


                                    大西 民子

What got down from heaven

fluttering its wings

is a mosaic dove in a wall,

and I came back to life

being astonished

Tamiko Ohnishi(1924~1994)

Maybe I almost fell asleep on a bench.

Phoenix like cloud is floating across a blue autumn sky.