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Mid-morning we took a train and a ferry ride from Hiroshima to Miyajima island where we spent around seven hours before catching the ferry again after sunset.

 

The crowds were out and about again today as this is the last weekend of Golden Week. The queues for Itsukushima Shrine were so long when we arrived at high tide, that we wandered up to the Ropeway for a ride up to the top of the island, and a 1.8 kilometre walk back down.

From the Ropeway there were views of the Inland Sea. On the walk down, there were waterfalls, lots of birds and frogs (mostly unseen) and very keen hikers walking UP to the top. Deer roam freely around the island and aren’t averse to opening doors to rubbish bins or nosing around in handbags where they think food might be found.

 

 

 

 

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The area is famous for its oysters, so what are you to do but taste some of the grilled oysters on offer. During the afternoon, we were also compelled to eat a green ice-cream sandwich. Oh, and there may have been some maple leaf shaped tiny cakes with custard cream centres consumed too.

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The Great Torii near Itsukushima Shrine is one of the most important cultural structures in Japan. The gate (bird abode) marks the transition between earth and the spirit world.

This is the eighth version, rebuilt in 1875. It stands on its own weight of 60 tons or thereabouts if you want to do the conversion to tonnes. It has two large camphor pillars with the four smaller ones being made of cedar.

When the tide is in, the gate appears to float on the water. When the tide is out, people wander out to get a closer look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At this time of year, a trip to Hokkaido is the only way to possibly see sakura or cherry blossoms. They are just starting to come into bloom and we are likely to miss them at their peak. Nevertheless, those early bloomers gave us some pleasure today in Sapporo.

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This word is mono no aware (pronounced mono no ah-wah-reh) and its literal translation is “the pathos of things”.

More fully, it relates to the feeling of gentle wistfulness at the brief and transient nature of beautiful things and an awareness of the sadness of existence.

Hi ka raku you is another beautiful word meaning “blossoms fall and leaves scatter – the impermanence of worldly things”

 

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today’s haiku

the coming of spring

beautiful, fragile, short

the blossom’s lesson

 

They love to spend time making sure that the location of the camp is just right.

Selecting sites

They have a fascination with fire, and a very useful ability to ensure that limited supplies of wood are distributed fairly among all campers at a site to ensure that we get to eat.

Purnululu fire place

My personal favourite. They are VERY good at rigging up a private shower space for use after dusty walks in the Bungle Bungles.

makeshift shower