Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seascape with buzzard

I went for a bike ride along the seashore and this buzzard was enlivening an already spectacular seascape. In Japanese, buzzards say "pee-hyoro-hyoro-hyoro".

Sundry blossoms

If you're not particularly concerned about the blossoms of the weeping plum, I'm afraid this post will hold little interest for you.

For those who have grown tired of plum blossom, here are some apricot.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Goodbye Jack

C'mon boy, let's go.

Feeling pretty bad

Feeling like I lost the best friend
That I ever had

Jack is dead. Jack was running down the road and got hit by a kei-truck that didn't stop. I wasn't there and don't know the details, but I have a feeling my anger would be uncontrollable if I did.

Jack was a great companion and I feel his loss intensely.


Saturday, January 22, 2011


Recently I spotted a kingfisher fishing in our local river, the Konogawa. It was the biggest kingfisher I've ever seen.

And as an added bonus, here's a regular visitor to the blueberries. I don't know what kind of bird he is, but he's very pretty and quite assiduous in fertilizing the ground under the blueberries.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Various scenes

I got an iPhone a few months ago, and I'm quite impressed with the photos it takes. Here are a few recent ones.

From our balcony. There was some precipitation at sunset.

The temple thingie. November storms tore the doors off and broke the glass,
but the day after I reported the tragedy to the village headman, they were as new again.

Not a bad spot for a house.

The weather has been quite weird of late, with some spectacular skies.
This lopped-off double rainbow with triangular sunbeam was one of the
more spectacular phenomena. It lasted for about 5 minutes and was hard to ignore.

Mikan trees, lakes, sea, islands

What have we here? African dancing girls!
Christmas evening at the African night was a blast.

Crime scene

I went for a walk at lunchtime the other day up the valley where a French fellow and his wife are building a new house (very international we are here), when I came upon this grisly scene.

It's a tanuki with a smallish hole in its rump (it probably felt like a largish hole to the tanuki in question).

The question is, whodunnit? There are certainly hunters around here because I've seen them with their guns, but I don't think they'd shoot a tanuki, nor would they leave it lying dead on a pavement. Would a boar be able to gore a tanuki, and would it have reason to do that? The corpse was gone the following day.

Round pond resurgens

In April last year, I took out my round pond and replaced it with a bath. Having pondered (ha!) where to put it next, I decided that the very place where it has sat since April would be fairly ideal.

So I dug a hole with a remarkably perfect shape for the steel pot, and rolled it in.

A well-dug hole.
Note the long-handled, small-headed spade which I cobbled together myself.

Now I'll just have to avoid falling into it in the dark.

Two ponds now. Boy will the frogs be happy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New nata

A while back, I wrote about my ebinata and kukuri, offering a wealth of false information.

Of the ebinata, I wrote "I've used it savagely, especially when splitting very big culms of bamboo. This involves driving the tool through inch-thick material by hammering alternately on the spine of the blade and on the tang with another stout piece of bamboo. The tool is not harmed in the least by this rough usage."

Five years of this rough usage have unfortunately wrecked the connection between the blade and the handle, and only some very ingenious work will be able to replace it. However, it did serve magnificently during that time.

Of the kukuri, I wrote "The whole thing, sheath included, is a beautiful piece of workmanship, and the two-tone handle is especially attractive. However, a 12" blade is imposing and heavy, something I began to consider carefully only after I had ordered it. It does chop well, although not vastly better than the ebinata. The handle however fits nicely in the hand".

In fact, it isn't a particularly good piece of workmanship. The steel is rather soft and it doesn't hold an edge very well. Also, in an unplanned confrontation between the kukuri and a concrete wall, the kukuri lost part of the edge tore and folded over, and a chunk of the 'hardwood' handle chipped off. (I was splitting bamboo against a wall, and the bamboo gave way suddenly.) The handle is not ergonomic either. It's far too thick where the thumb and forefinger grip it.

To replace the ebinata, I got a straight nata. Oh, but this thing is a beauty. Look at the curves on it! It has chopping written all over it.

It's also remarkably compact, and in its case, it fits snugly against the body. The steel is far superior to that of the kukuri, and the handle is a much better shape.

I think I'll try to refrain from using this one as a hammer, and see if it lasts longer than the ebinata.

Second water butt

I originally built my shed so that I could have another roof for collecting rainwater. But having no tank to put the water in, the water simply ran off without purpose. Now I have my 200 l lorry tank however, things all come together rather nicely.

Gutter on

Hole drilled and fitting attached

Attached with a hose

Now when it's time to take the water tank to the ditch in the summer for some pumpin' action, it's just a matter of pulling the hose off the gutter and sealing the fitting with the little screw cap that came with it.

But there's a persistent little voice in my head that keeps saying "Another 400 l would be nice...". We'll have to see about that.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Summer veg in autumn

This is the summer veg that we were supposed to be getting from July and August that failed to appear due to lack of water. It feels a bit odd to be eating our first homegrown peppers in November. The mini plum tomatoes are very sweet.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ehime EV art

I can't help myself. The photos of the Ehime EV just inspire me to get out my crayons and make pretty pictures.