General Nature

Kyoto and Shikoku

Taking my parents on a 7day trip south was a special time together - with lots to see, many adventures, great variety and some good laughs.
This a small collection of some of the beautiful sights we saw.
Nijo fortifications, KyotoNijo fortifications, Kyoto Nijo Ninomaru Palace, KyotoNijo Ninomaru Palace, Kyoto Sunset over the Seto-Ohashi bridge that links Shikoku island with the mainlandSunset over the Seto-Ohashi bridge that links Shikoku island with the mainland Abandoned houses in the mountainous regions of ShikokuAbandoned houses in the mountainous regions of Shikoku The swinging vine Kazura-bashi in the deep Iya Valley of ShikokuThe swinging vine Kazura-bashi in the deep Iya Valley of Shikoku Monthly markets at Toji temple, KyotoMonthly markets at Toji temple, Kyoto

Yaeyama and Okinawa Islands

Here are some of pictures from our 9 day trip to the far south of Japan. The culture is really quite different to that of mainland Japan as the Ryukyu Kingdom only became a prefecture of Japan in 1879. Located at the confluence of many trading routes there exists a stronger Chinese influence in food and architecture (than the mainland).

Okinawa Churaumi AquariumOkinawa Churaumi Aquarium Shuri-jo (castle) in NahaShuri-jo (castle) in Naha Kabira bay (Ishigaki) famous black pearlsKabira bay (Ishigaki) famous black pearls Sit still and shells begin to walk!Sit still and shells begin to walk! Amazing blues of the coral beachesAmazing blues of the coral beaches Kayaking out to Senga falls (Iriomote)Kayaking out to Senga falls (Iriomote) Early rice paddies of IriomoteEarly rice paddies of Iriomote Tsukigahama (Iriomote) the with finest sandTsukigahama (Iriomote) the with finest sand Haemida beach (Iriomote) with usual rocksHaemida beach (Iriomote) with usual rocks

Back in Oct - Okutama retreat

It was great to have, the first weekend back, a retreat in the moutains which was a welcomed recoupe after our holidays! The passage for the weekend was "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesian 2:10.

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Autumn colours emergingAutumn colours emerging Weird rocksWeird rocks


Back in Sept - Give me a home among the gum trees....

Ah, I miss the gum trees and the smells of reminds me of a song, are you already singing it? (if you not up on Australia folks songs and would like to join in the chorus see Song: Home Among the Gum Trees)
I hadn't been back to the farm in spring for 5 years so it was magnificent to see it in such a beautiful array of colours. Unfortunately what were bumper crops have frizzled with the lack of late rains leading to yet another "drought" year.

If you'd like to see more, I've compiled a thumbnail view of 40 photos although you'll need to be logged on to view them (see more Australia photos )

Back in Aug - Western Honshu Loop

For 15days at the start of August we travelled a loop around this western part of the main island. It was hot, humid and hectic! But great fun and Caleb was always keeping us amused. We started in Okayama and travel south/west skipping Miyajima, looping up to the north coast right up to Tottori before expressing down to see the fireworks at Miyajima and then stopping at Himeji on the way home. There were many highlights but instead of writting about them I've opted (lazy I know!) to let the pictures tell the story. I've compiled a thumbnail view of 56 photos, you'll need to be logged on to view them (see more Western Honshu photos )
Iwakuni: Kintai-kyo bridge at twilghtIwakuni: Kintai-kyo bridge at twilght Matsue: One of the few original castles remainingMatsue: One of the few original castles remaining Matsue: View over Shinji-ko (lake)Matsue: View over Shinji-ko (lake) Miyajima: Western Japans biggest fireworksMiyajima: Western Japans biggest fireworks

Simons China trip

Simons trip to China.

Huang ShanHuang ShanLovers LocksLovers LocksZhongliu rice terracesZhongliu rice terracesAnd moreAnd moreLi River by GuilinLi River by GuilinOpera performerOpera performerGreat wall of ChinaGreat wall of ChinaTerracotta warriorsTerracotta warriors

Rain storm at Show Kinen Park

The same day we went to the Tachikawa Bosaikan we also visited the Showa Kinen Park with our Japanese class. This is a huge and impressive park which has many natural areas (from swamp to bonsai) and recreational areas (including water playground & mini golf).

Together as a group we got to go on the mini "train" transport (which Caleb didn't want to get off) and have traditional Japanese green tea/sweets, all compliments of the Japanese Class funding. The timing was impeccable as we watched a sudden torrential downpour over this lake from the air-conditioned comfort of the tearooms. This cooled the humid 33 degrees a little, with steamed vapourising from the hot ground.

Spirit is everywhere

You can't avoid religion in Japan, it is indeed everywhere. Go out into nature you might say, and avoid all the shrines and temples. But even as you may, you will most certainly pass under a tori at the start of the mountain path or else come across places to worship the spirit in nature like here at this waterfall.

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