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Posts tagged ‘autumn’

Autumn in Tokyo

A couple of weeks ago, I went to one of my favorite parks in Tokyo – Mizumoto park. It is really big and amazingly beautiful in every season. Me and my husband had a picnic there and then took a long stroll in the forest along the pond. These are the last photos I took with my Lumix GF1 before selling it. I decided to try new Sony Nex-5R instead. ^-^

This little creature kept jumping on my husband. He either took liking in him or considered him to be hostile. I couldn’t find its exact name but I am thinking it is some kind of cricket? It made similar sounds. ^-^

From here are the pictures I took with my new Sony Nex-5R. I went to Shinjuku Gyoen park the other day to test it.

The display can turn 180 degrees so now I can see myself when taking pictures. My friend Laura is really good at such self-portraits. Me? I look like a tourist no matter what… I seriously can’t figure out my good angles even when I look at myself… ^-^

With Sony I can control the level of  blur on the background which is good because I sometimes want both myself and the background to look sharp. Here I tried to take a closeup of leaves and it blurred the background behind them beautifully. I am very happy about this particular function.

Ginkgo tree is considered to be the symbol of Tokyo. It is literally everywhere and the smell from it’s seeds is sometimes overwhelming but I so got used to associate it with autumn in Japan that I don’t really mind anymore.

The weather has been quite warm this autumn so the leaves are just turning yellow and red. Some of the trees are still as green as they were in summer. I just love the contrast.

It was the first time for me to visit Shinjuku Gyoen’s green house. I usually just go straight to my usual spot by the water to read book or have a picnic. I almost never explore the rest of the park. The other day I had a lot of spare time so I decided to finally check the green house.

Little tip for those who suddenly gets cold in the park – green house is an ideal refuge from freezing weather. It was so warm and moist and it smelled like orchids. A great place to warm up and enjoy exotic flowers.

Overall I think I am happy with my new camera. I obviously need  to practice taking more than mediocre pictures but the quick snaps are quite stunning as well. I am hoping to go take evening pictures today. This camera is advertised as the one being particularly good at it. Let’s see!

Hiking to Takao san

On my birthday, instead of throwing yet another drunken party, me and my girls decided to do something healthy instead, like..hiking! We chose Takao san which is the nearest, nicest and easiest hike around Tokyo to enjoy it thoroughly and yet still burn some calories. ^-^

It’s only about 600 meters high so it took us no more than 2 hours to get to the top and that is with all the stops we did on our way there.

We had “goma dango” – sesame oil rice pudding at the first viewing spot in the foothills of the Buddhist temple Yakuōin Yūkiji and then tried our luck at drawing omikuji (Japanese fortune telling). Then, we walked around the temple, took some pictures at different spots and then in the forest and finally arrived at the top.

Usually, Takao san is quite crowded during the Koyo “red leaf” season. Fortunately, the forest was still green so there were still places at the top to sit down and have a picnic.

On our way back, we got lost a bit getting on a trail that was closed due to the recent typhoon. But because it is Japan, the park had like a gazillion different signs, maps and direction posts so we got back onto the main road in no time.

It was a lot of fun to spend the day outside. It got us all inspired to go out more often. Now, we are planning to go to an onsen trip to Nikko in December. This week, me and Gow were planning to go to a yoga class in Shinjuku park but because of rain it was canceled. Oh well, next week then! ^-^

A walk in the park

Last Saturday, Laura took me to Showa memorial park in Nishi Tachikawa. It’s a huge space with 11 km bicycle trail and many themed gardens. It is also famous for autumn flowers like cosmos and red lilies. We couldn’t see much of them though because of the horrible typhoon that destroyed the cosmos fields almost entirely the previous week. But nevertheless, there was still a lot to see! We took a couple of pictures there and had a picnic. Then, she gave me a very nice birthday present – these beautiful Chanel glasses that I so admired on her. She actually asked me to hold them for her while she went to the bathroom and when she came back she was wearing hers!!!! Such a surprise and so very Laura! ^-^

These are a couple of pictures she took of me in the park. ^-^

Takayama fudou hiking

On Sunday, I went for a hike through Takayama fudou area together with my husband and friends from work.

The weather was great, a kind you would experience in Karelia in the middle of September – neither cold nor warm with the perfect stillness in the air and the rich smell of moss and while berries. Old leaves crunch under your feet as you walk and you can see them falling down all around you like a silent rain. There was a morning fog hiding among the thick pine trees and the distant whisper of water echoing on the background – a true native element for a girl born into the Northern autumn. Needless to say, I do tend to embellish everything that is autumn because to me it is the perfect season that sharpens my sensitivity to its absolute nakedness and above all gives me the perfect environment to re-connect with my spirituality.

It’s about an hour hike to the beautiful Ootake waterfall and then another one and a half to the top of Takayama mountain.

We have discovered several long necked cranes and small fresh water crabs along the way but unfortunately without zoom lens I couldn’t take any nice pictures except for this one of a tiny little crab hiding under the rock next to the waterfall.

Middle of November is usually a “kouyou” (red leaf) season in Japan but because the summer ended so late this year, the leaves were just starting to turn red with the yellow color still in majority.

I particularly liked this tiny sunlit glade in the footsteps of the highest viewpoint hill. It somehow reminded me of my pioneer camping years when we used to play “zarniza” (a military inspired field game) making strategic bases in the similar tiny glades in the middle of the forest.

Our destination was “Kanhassyuu miharashidai” a 770m high viewpoint from which you can observe all 8 counties of old Kanto region. We stopped there for a little picnic on the grass.

My friend brought a bento for all of us that was so delicious it made me want to challenge the whole thing myself. Today, I went to a supermarket and bought a bright pink box that I later filled with rice and fried chicken and salad and fruits for my tomorrow lunch at work. Look at me – I am becoming a typical Japanese office lady! It’ll probably last for a day though as it is really tough to make such lunchbox every day unless you are into cooking or saving money. Unfortunately I exuberate neither one of those wonderful qualities.. ^-^

The seaweed that she brought for onigiri was sprinkled with salt. I have never seen such type before – it was absolutely delicious. Today, I bought it thinking it was the same kind but it wasn’t..

Our way back took 2 hours of constant downhill that at times was so steep I had to find a stick just to keep me in balance. Such descent is so bad on the knees – I am still recovering. There is a phrase in Japanese that refers to them as “laughing knees” because of the..no I don’t have an explanation for such term unless it has something to do with the natural desire of Japanese to put a positive spin on everything! ^-^

My next hiking is going to be to Ooyama so stay tuned for a brief description of a Japanese landscape with a lot of unnecessary but rather detailed references to my overly romanticized childhood in Russia which in most cases have nothing to do with the subject of interest whatsoever! ^-^

Birthdays!

Autumn is the birthday season for me and the majority of my friends, we are all surprisingly born between the middle of August and the middle of December so this particular time of year, we get to party every few weeks.

After my brother’s, my husband’s, my father’s, Zhenya’s, Dalrae’s, Sergey’s and a couple of other friends’ birthdays, Gow’s was next on the line. ^-^ We chose a nice terrace restaurant “Denrokuen-tei” at the top floor of Parco in Shibuya. It served really tasty Japanese food and a great variety of cocktails.

In Tokyo, there aren’t many open space restaurants so you really have to try hard to get a table there but luckily this time we could easily make reservations and get the best possible table right in the middle of the roof, surrounded by small water pools.

Every year, I get Gow a new “Birthday” accessory and every year she absolutely hates it! It’s so much fun to torture her like that! ^-^

After Parco, we moved to a Spanish bar called “Casa del Bueno” which served an amazing carpaccio. We had a couple of bottles of wine and ate like ten plates of meat. ^-^ The atmosphere of the restaurant was great, my recommendation to anyone who is looking for a cozy place in the chaotic Shibuya!

Next birthday was mine. After having so much fun during my birthday week, I didn’t have the energy for a big party so this time it was just me and my girls.  At first I wanted to celebrate it at the Opening ceremony’s potluck cafe but the place looked too huge and too cold for a small company so I settled on the good old Demode queen terrace cafe.

Mia’s birthday was the next day after mine so we celebrated it together. ^-^

Plus, I finally got to meet Lucy – my new friend from Scotland who speaks perfect Russian and I mean perfect! I met her at an audition and for the first 10 minutes we talked, I was sure she was some chick from Moscow. ^-^ Then, she told me she was Scottish – I couldn’t believe my ears. Shame on me for wasting my life writing blogs when I could use the time to study harder..

After getting drank with tons of really bad mojito we finished the evening at the S bar, my recently favorite hangout! Where else would you get 500 yen lemon beer at a terrace bar that has its own DJ?

Then, there was Jiye’s birthday which we celebrated at my place. She came together with her husband and I also invited Dalrae to introduce my two best Korean friends to each other.

I cooked a nice Russian dinner – cutlets with mushroom sauce, baked potato and green salad with sour cream. We drank crazy Japanese cocktails from cans and talked about all things Korea. It was a lot of fun.

Who is next? The rest of my friends! ^-^

Kinchakuda paradise

flowers

Back in September me and my boyfriend went to Kinchakuda to see cosmos and red spider lilies. It was a season of blooming and it was absolutely beautiful. Endless fields of bright colors, rocky river banks, mountains on background of blinding blue sky – that’s the thing you don’t want to miss if you are in Japan around beginning of autumn. It was still pretty hot and as always lots of people but you could walk around in cosmos fields, even make yourself a bouquet and stay there as long as you want!

Red tiger lilly field

The only turn down is crowd. You can’t snap a decent picture without people on the background doing the same thing. In Japan it’s all about taking a good picture. Photography is on the top list of  Japanese favorite hobbies – everyone and I mean everyone carries a digital camera on themselves at all times. I am no different of course. When I go back to Russia and take out my tiny canon to snap a picture of a lunch or flower growing by the pavement I look odd to others. It’s one of those things that shows I’ve been in Japan for too long.. ^-^

Cosmos field