Samstag, 27. September 2008

observed by nature

each day the japanese nature is revealing some new creatures and features. it is somewhat wilder than i remembered. last year i was almost every day climbing up the nearest mountain but this time i only did it once till now. one of the reasons is that the path is full of spider webs which cross the path in every possible angle. and the spiders are big. big and in various colors and types. their webs are full of victims. this all makes me hesitate. i don't want any physical contact with these spiders. the only way to proceed on the mountain trail, was to have a long stick with which i was breaking the webs in front of me and waiting for the spiders to move aside (which they did very reluctantly.) i made my way till the top of the mountain but i was bathed in sweat and somewhat mesmerized. furthermore, i felt like a coward being afraid of spiders!

there are lots of snakes as well. i respect them. this week we were observing one pretty impressive one with a beautiful ornament on his back. the snake was entering the stone pavement in front of our accomodation building. it coiled around a flower pot and thought himself hidden.

then the insects. we have been told that the end of summer is the high time for the insects. the most loud ones are the various cicadas in different pitches and melodies. some of them sound like garden machines, some like very fine bells. i have been recording their sound day and night. it is a wonder how their small bodies are able to produce such loud and fine sound! you almost never see the cicadas unless one drops dead in front of you. they only live seven days so it is possible. we found one and made a picture of it.
we also made a portrait of an other impressive insect which is the praying mantis. one day a dying mantis was right in front of joerg's dark room door. he picked the insect up and put it into the fridge where it died peacefully. praying mantis (=KAMAKIRI) has huge eyes which can indeed see. furthermore, its head can turn 300 degrees. when one approaches KAMAKIRI, it clearly turns its head towards you and looks. looks straight at you. it is confusing, being observed by an insect.

Donnerstag, 18. September 2008

IKI IKI ladies in concert

Last year i was blogging about my meeting with the legendary IKI IKI ladies, a choir of 40 elder women living in the village near Akiyoshidai. This group of vital women (the oldest being 96 years old) meets up once a month to sing Japanese songs. I have had the honor to be adopted as their grandchild and soulmate in singing. This time we were visiting together a hospital for very old people. This visit was connected with the national holiday for respecting the elderly. IKI IKI ladies had prepared a beautiful singing program which they performed all dressed in soft pink shirts. The last song was about TANUKI (refers to the famous japanese raccoon dog) called SHOO-JOO-JI. This was my moment to sing it first as a solo since TANUKI played a special role in my performance last year. This is a song which everybody knows and all the elderly and IKI IKIs were joining me. i felt old and young in the same time.
IKI IKI ladies will live long.
IKINAGA =longlivety


long time ago, a white wounded fox was wandering around the area which is nowadays known as yamaguchi in the western japan. she was sniffing about the volcanic earth till she found several springs with crystal clear hot water. she put her wounded and tired paws into the steaming spring and relaxed. the water was healing her wounds, making her fur shine and giving the fox new energy. ever since, the hot springs in yamaguchi are dedicated to the SHIROI KITSUNE.

one day not so long time ago, a white dog arrived in yamaguchi. she was worn out after a long trip through the air. following the white fox’s example, she found her way to the hot springs and put her paws to the soothing water. how she was enjoying! the water had lost nothing of its healing powers. and it was for free and just by the street. even a poor dog could plunge her paws into the pool every day if she so wished! thank you KITSUNE!