Weekend Photos

October 22, 2008

It might be late October now, but in Hiroshima the sun still blazes overhead well into the mid afteroon, hotter than any summer day in England. The days peaks are becoming increasingly tempered though; the heat burns for maybe an hour or so now before quickly cooling into evening.
The rapid change leaves pockets of thick coolness in the air; half way between a mugginess and a fog – especially by the coast.

I’m writing this on a train actually, coming back from Onomichi – the train doors just slid open and the crack of fireworks sprayed themselves across the relative silence of the carriage, jerking the heads of those of us who don’t have ear buds in.
It feels quite like Bonfire night, only it’s still too hot and no one seems concerned about Hedgehogs.

And the forests, they’re changing most of all. I’ve had a mild obsession with trying to name the soft, full quality they have here. They cover the sheer mountain sides in sprays of spilt green bubbles. Constant clouds of thick gypsophilium. They aren’t solid exactly, they’re too fluid for that, but they have cool and delicious fullness to them. Each crack and gnarl seems spread out; the spaces between them full and solid. Each fissure, branch, space and break is set out solidly in the air. And the air in return contracts back towards the branches. It looks like the feeling when I’m doing Yoga and trying very hard to align myself – pushing energy and concentration into my muscles and then letting go and trying to hover midway between the two. They look like how that feels.

Maybe that’s why they proved so popular with the Buddhists eh?

So before, in summer, the trees were a thousand variations on the same green. Terribly beautiful but definitely green. Now, the colours are inumerous – each tree is becoming increasingly defined against its twin. Summer is definitely on the wane, even if the mid day sun refuses to agree.
These train lines slip between mountains, flanking the coast, moving south, slow local trains fit between the mountains, in the valleys pooled at their base. Rice Padis are drawn up into dollies, fires burn at intervals – It feels like a harvest festival scene from school. It could be…but the smells are different, burning rice fields smell different front burning corn. But just like at home the alters are covered in sweet potato and apple. They don’t have these little creatures though:

The open and closed mouth Lion Dogs protect the shrines and temples. The open mouthed creatures eat the evil spirits and the closed mouth ones keep the good spirits inside the temple or shrine.

In one temple, men sat together braiding what I think was rice straw into the thick ropes that hang from the torii.
Walking by, I raised my palm in greeting. The perimeter stone slats made their faces flicker like a silent movie. It took 3 frames for their hands to become raised and smile back.
Japan is a very friendly place at times.

I suppose this tree is very old, thats why it had its own little hut in the Temple garden. I got some really good photos of this tree when I was walking about but I ruined them whilst editing them :(
When we headed back towards the harbour the food festival was over and everyone was packing away. I had some tickets left so we tried to swap some for the leftovers. No one would take the cash tickets put they pressed food into our arms, bowls of small pickled fishes, Tamago Yaki, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato, thick white sauce over spring onions with fish and Rice cooked with Red Beans. They wrapped them up in lunch box cloths and gave us chopsticks.


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