Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Take Two: Yellow

I read about the special dpchallenge, so after leaving school I stopped off at the yellow bridge because the sky was dramatic .... however, it wasn't dramatic in theright place exactly.

The sky was dramatically heavy in other places - it was raining heavily when I got to the East Library, and there were lots of lightning strikes around the prefecture, according to the weather report on TV.

I finally got my own library card. I borrowed a couple of Popular Photography magazines.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Me by Mi

I didn't get around to posting yesterday, but here's a photo taken by Michan. She approached my with an eyebrow pencil and drew thick eyebrows on my eyebrows. Then insisted on taking a photo. She tried with her mobile phone but the result wasn't good. So I said use my camera. Lighting wasn't good (ISO 1600), and because my camera 's autofocus doesn't work, the focus is slightly off - so what better way of hiding that than using various editing effects, such as Mosaic Tiles.

And then she asked me to do an "interesting face". It's a gookie, like Harpo Marx used to do (though my eyes aren't crossed in the photo...). (A bit of high pass filter this time)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

In the company of Naked Men and Children

We went to the Romantic Village onsen today; it's not very far away and we've been to Romantic Village before, but not the onsen. It was raining slightly but it was nice sitting in the outdoor hotpool. There was at least one girl in the men's section; she must have been 3rd or 4th grade. Apparently, there was a boy in the women's section too.

The pine cone figure was in one of the rest rooms; it represents some famous character who was known to study, study, study, reading his books while walking, carrying a bundle of firewood. Most elementary schools have a statue of him somewhere.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Indoor Cyclists

I went into the gym (of the new school) to try out some architectural photos, and a teacher was in there with four students teaching them road rules. There were roads marked out in tape. It just seemed strange to see bicycles being ridden in a gym...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Poppies are Out


A wee bit breezy for nice sharp macros, though. Oh, maybe I should have tried a fater shutter speed...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cherry Dropping

There's one of eleven cherry trees along the school fence that actually produces cherries. I've mentioned before that most cherry trees are sterile. After the emergency evacuation practice, the teacher's aide shook the tree's boughs for the cherries to drop.
I think they're second graders; I don't know them so well.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Kangaroo Paw da Vinci

So, I bought this kangaroo paw last week - it was only 200 yen, and finally got around to taking a photo. Boring enough for you?

The third graders at school were on an excursion today, so I was allowed to leave after third period; I went to the cinema complex to see The Da Vinci Code. I hadn't realised it was Men's Day there, so I got in at the discount price ;-) The film is pretty good; I mean, I don't think it's as bad as the critics have been making it out to be. And I don't know why people say I look like Jean Reno. He has a large hooked nose, for a start, and brown eyes....

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Asakusa Sanja Matsuri

I'd been looking forward to going to the famous Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa. It's one of Tokyo's Big Three festivals. I've been three times - but the last time was 15 years ago. However, it was raining here in the morning and Mi-chan didn't feel well, so I stayed home. A small bit I saw of it on the TV news showed it was sunny in Tokyo - but hot, and this sort of weather brought thunderstorms and heavy rain to that area in the afternoon.

So, I'll have to wait until next year and you have to put up with this gourd balloon that's on display at one of my schools. It's surprisingly close to the floor.

Friday, May 19, 2006

In the Classroom

I don't think I've had any people in my posts for a while; here's a first grade class teacher showing the kids how to draw figures using Japanese writing.

Well, not the standing figure, but the two faces use hiragana and number kanji. I'm not sure about the whale, either, but the were singing a song while drawing it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cattle Egret

It seems to be a cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis. they're usually all white but get the coloured feathers in breeding season/spring. I saw the group of them a few weeks ago, but then didn't see them - I thought they must have migrated on. But there they were today, in rice paddies on the other side of the road where I don't usually look. I thought it was worth stopping and trying to get a few photos of them - even though I knew they'd not stick around if I approached. But I was lucky, as this fellow had just caught a frog - I got two shots before he flew off. Of course, it's a crop of a much larger photo. It was raining very sparsely st the time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


This fellow was down on the creek, hanging on the grass stalk. When I first saw it, I thought it was an immature dragonfly, perhaps just emerged, because it didn't move at all. But it really is some kind of kagerou, of which there are 10 species in Japan, with 109 different kinds. It's a dayfly or ephemera. It has two long thin tails, and may live only 2 or 3 days as an adult, or even only half a day.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Life by the Creek

I went out for a walk in the afternoon, actually hoping to find a frog to put on my lanscap for the lenscap challenge. I didn't find any frogs, but there were some dragonflies and damselflies down by the creek. I guess they were taking advantage of the fine weather, because it's been quite dull lately.

I was quite surprised that I could get so close to these guys as they the type who are usually quite camera-shy. The bottom one is certainly an Ookawa tombo ("big river damselfly") Mnais nawai, the male. I'm pretty sure the top one is the female of the species.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Bee on the landing Strip

I stopped to take some photos of the irises next to a rice paddy. However, it was a bit breezy for any good macro work, but I got a couple of pics of bees. The irises (this kind, at least) really make the bees work for their pollen; they have to enter and go down the chute (the yellow stripes) to get to the pollen. When they've finished, they have to go backwards to get out.
I changed to the white balance for some of the shots - this was "Shadow" - but I didn't change it in the RAW editor to a more natural colour green in the background. (Purple seems ot be a hard colour for my camera to deal with .;;;)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


In a fit of m***ess, I decided to change the Template of this blog. Of course, that means losing any formatting such as that for the the <--- dpc links, now at left. Oh, well, 'tis done now.

Just to show you how boring things are this week, here's a picture of a yellow flowering plant that I presume is related to the lettuce or cabbage family; the leaves certainly look cabbagey. I should find out what it's called some day, then promptly forget what it is. I'd been trying for a few days to think what dogwood is called in Japanese (having posted a picture a while ago of its pink flowers) (and, yes, I could have looked back), but I didn't remember it until I was perusing the Japanese newspaper this morning, which mentioned the Hanamizu Festival somewhere.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I haven't done much photo editing in the last couple of days, so here's another view of the Kirifuri Falls - a wide angle shot, obviously.

I missed seeing my car's odometer turn over to 123456 km this morning, but I saw it at 123465 km. It's back to the commute after Golden Week, where it takes 10 or 15 minutes to get onto the bridge... :-(

Friday, May 05, 2006

Children's Day

It being Children's Day, what better way to spend it than to go to the coin laundry and wash your sneakers in the sneaker-washing washing machine.

Actually, we did spend time with Mi-chan's nieces.

Kirifuri Falls

Another one from Wednesday, which was a public holiday. Today is another public holiday (Children's Day), so this is Golden Week in Japan - most people are on vacation.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sacred Places

We went up to Nikko today, and actually went on the Shinkyo, the Sacred vermillion bridge, which has been open for walking on (a;beit a special platform over the bridge surface) since the renovations finished last year. The open season was supposed to finish in April, but has been extended for a few more months. However, all the pictures I took were 15 to 35 minutes before the dpchallenge rollover, so would be ineligible. ............
I also took some photos of the Kirifuri waterfalls, which were more visible than last time we saw them because the trees aren't in full foliage yet.

Finally, we went further up the mountain to a Japan Post Office affiliated hotel to go to the onsen (spa bath). Not a natural one, because it was on the sixth floor/roof. I also went into the sauna, which had a 12 minute clock. I'd never seen a 12 minute clock before.

Monday, May 01, 2006