Sunday, May 23, 2010

Greenery at Komyozenji (and some food)

I have been to Dazaifu (city just south of Fukuoka) a grand total of 5 times in the last 10 months, and every time except one, it was PERFECT weather. Dazaifu seems to be one of those Magical Places where the sky is just a little bit closer to the earth. Well, I went again in April and experienced yet another breathtaking day. I went to the Tenmangu Shrine again, as well as Komyozenji (a zen temple), which I took lovely photos of back in THIS POST. This time was very different, as it was the perfect time of year to witness the 新緑 (shinryoku, "new verdure"). The garden was the same, but the scene was completely different. My favorite shade of green!Everyone in Japan who owns a home has some kind of flowering/fruit-bearing tree growing in their yard. Jealous! Though I think I am most jealous of T from Hawai'i, who says she has an avocado tree in her yard that bears more fruit each year than her family can eat themselves. WHAT.
Ever a beautiful sky over Dazaifu.
So green!
I don't really have anything to say except, I love this garden and I love this green!
Green green green.
A "National Geographic" shot from inside the temple, in case you weren't convinced how green the garden was.
Dazaifu is famous for it's plums. This is an umegayamochi (I think I've written about them? famous piping-hot red bean-filled mochi cake in Dazaifu...) and homemade plum juice.
The tiny, amazingly constructed garden behind the restaurant.
Katsudon. Enlarge this picture and you will be very, very jealous that I live in Japan.
Saw this salon walking back to the station. I'm not sure I want my hair to be cut/styled somewhere called "Medusa," if you know what I mean...

Perfect day on Nokonoshima

I know I should post my farming-adventure pictures, but I would like to keep this blog somewhat chronological, so I will update with a series of catch-up posts starting from several months back (beginning of April, I think).

I went to Nokonoshima, the island in the middle of Hakata Bay, when a foreign student came to visit and it was my responsibility to show him around the city. I had never been to Nokonoshima, so it was nice to have an excuse to go (during work hours especially, haha). The island is especially famous for "Island Park," a Wonderland of landscaped gardens and seasonal flower displays. We happened to have a gorgeous day when we went! The whole place felt very Dr. Suess-esque, in many ways.View of Fukuoka City from Nokonoshima. The ferry only takes ten minutes! From left to right: Yahoo! Dome, Sea Hawks Hotel, Fukuoka Tower... and then way to the right is one of the biggest ferris wheels in all of Asia that is being disassembled and shipped to Taiwan :(
Funky little cafe right near the ferry landing on Nokonoshima.
Take no ko, also known as bamboo shoots, which look terrifying but are secretly delicious.
View from the entrance to Island Park. See why I used the Wonderland/Dr. Suess analogy?
So much color! It was actually really chilly that day, hard to believe so many flowers were already in bloom.
Weird knobbly trees. Awesome!
Beautifully planted flower beds. I have zero interest in planting flowers, but I like to admire the hard work of others.
Another weird, otherworldly scene.
The PINKEST, most densely grown azaleas I've ever seen in my entire life. Barbie approves!
Six Jizo figures. Jizo is the bodhisattva I studied for my senior thesis. (LINK)
This stunning flower field overlooks Umi no Naka Michi ("The Road in the Middle of the Sea"), the thin strip of land that connects Shikanoshima (once an island) to the rest of Kyushu. This is a field of rape blossoms, called na no hana in Japanese. They are such a cheerful bright yellow and have a lovely fragrance. I was grateful to not have pollen allergies, because otherwise I probably would have died. We were COVERED in yellow pollen after walking around/through this field.
Late-blooming cherry trees and na no hana. I really like this shot.
You can eat the dark leafy green bottom part of this plant. It tastes like spinach and is super healthy and delicious, of course. I like it in udon!
One can never have too many pictures including cherry trees in Japan.
A really beautiful trip! I will try to go back for the sunflowers in the summer and the late-blooming cosmos light-up in October/November!

Friday, May 14, 2010

What you can expect

So I'm back from my not-so-relaxing-yet-fun belated Golden Week break. I have loads of things to post about and upload, some of which I will get to this weekend. This post is more a personal reminder of how lazy I am, and what I need to just GET DONE:

* Trip around Fukuoka City with the visiting kid from Oakland (Dazaifu, Nokonoshima, Rakusuien, etc.)
* Dontaku Parade
* Minami Aso Village farm experience

Hey, that's actually a really short list (though I know there are a lot of pictures involved). I guess I will have to check my iPhoto to see what other unposted gems are lurking around...

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