Showing posts from July, 2012


I was deeply saddened to hear yesterday of the death of an old school friend. It must be nearly thirty years since he and I last met, but still there's something quite distressing about hearing of the passing of someone the same age as yourself. It's as if it's an indication of your own inevitable demise, which of course it is; as we get older and the path before us becomes clearer, fixed even, almost everything becomes an indication of that.

Thirty years is a long time, but it's amazing how memories can come rushing back from the past to shock and surprise us. And so vivid too; almost tangible. The places we ran, the crowd we ran with, and the stuff we got up to. In particular, I'm assaulted by memories of that one long, hot summer when we were tight, and we totally owned the local park. But then, as is often the nature of youthful friendship, it passed.

And now you've passed too, and, and... I don't know what to say. Rest in peace, Jez... and wherever you a…

Evening stroll

After I'd cleaned up and changed on my return to the house, I could see that the sky was shaping up to present one of those lovely sunsets I mentioned earlier. I grabbed my camera and headed towards the beach again to catch the last of the day, and hopefully a colourful show to mark its end.
I crossed the railway - difficult to believe this is the express line to Tokyo - went down passed the old school to the northern end of the bay, where these shots were taken. The clouds were fighting hard to block the view, in many cases adding to the atmosphere.

The three shots of the rice paddies and the mountain backdrop radiating pink light, were taken on the way back, after the sun had fallen, and just as the cloud began to dissipate. It was a nice surprise end to a  very relaxing day.

Rest and relaxation (2)

On the second day I wanted to venture a little further afield, so I went by bicycle (an incredibly rickety old  'mama-chari' I found in the shed - where did it come from? I can't imagine who went out and bought that) to the far south of the bay, and used that as a starting point.

I parked up in Koura, an even smaller fishing village than the,one I visited yesterday. Despite the call of the sea, I turned inland and headed for the hills. More precisely, I  headed for the biwa groves that cover the hills in this region. The groves are everywhere, as the biwa trees love the climate and the soil around here. And who wouldn't, especially at this time of the year? The groves start pretty low - just above the rice paddies - and they stretch way up into the hills. Yes, well-drained hillsides, no matter how steep or precarious, are ideal for them. Not so ideal for the farmers of course, but with their networks of paths pulleys and lifts, and their incredible variety and number of…