August 31, 2020

Summer sunset: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

Summer sunset: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)


The evening sun of late summer is slowly sinking behind the darkened cape. 

The brilliant flush of the setting sun is lighting up the deep blue sky and is making the surrounding clouds glare in bright golden color to crown the end of this hot summer day.

People on the beach are quietly gazing into the transient evening sky which is subtly darkening moment by moment as if they were bidding farewell to the sea and sun before the fall of night.


Summer sunset: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

Summer sunset: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)


The fierce heat of the hot daytime is slowly cooling down. Just before the arrival of the deepening night, the sun is about to sink beyond the distant peninsula. The dazzling afterglow is painting the western sky brilliantly with its color of raging flames.
 
The shining clouds are swiftly drifting in the evening sky, appearing and fading fleetingly. The surface of the sea, softly illuminated by the afterglow, keeps constantly waving. The brightness of the sky is growing weaker from moment to moment without lingering.

In the midst of the ceaseless changing of the light and color that fill this sky, people on the shore are quietly staring at the transitoriness of the universe without knowing it.


The evening moon: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The evening moon: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)


The sun has just set beneath the distant horizon. In the swiftly fading twilight sky, the first quarter moon is shining brightly in silver above a series of low clouds.

The serene moon is reflecting the lucid light of the sun which has already disappeared from sight.

The gray fleecy clouds are gently drifting away on the soft sea breeze while changing their figures successively.

The moon is silently gazing at the people standing still at this seaside, like the eye which can see through all things wisely.



Summer evening sky: Yuigahama-beach

Summer evening sky: Yuigahama-beach


The darkness of night has just begun dominating the evening sky moment by moment. The golden flare of the setting sun is making the high cumulus clouds glow brightly in the west.

People are standing still on the edge of the sea silently as if to be enchanted by the magic spell of the ever-changing seascape under the twilight sky.


The blue of summer sky: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The blue of summer sky: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

 

Summer evening seascape: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

Summer evening: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

 

Summer sunset: Yuigahama-beach

Summer sunset: Yuigahama-beach

 

The setting sun: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The setting sun: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

 

The blue of summer sky: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

the blue of summer sky: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

 

Summer evening sky: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

Summer evening sky: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

 

Summer evening: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The blue of summer sky: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura) 

 

The blue of summer sky: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura)

The blue of summer sky: Yuigahama-beach (Kamakura) 

 

July 30, 2020

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji


Without being discouraged by the shortage of sunshine due to the inordinately long spell of rainy weather in this summer, lotus flowers are beginning to bloom nobly with all their might this year too. 

For a plant, its flowering and pollination must be the most important rituals of life, for which it must have spent the whole year to prepare diligently.

The life span of a lotus flower is about only four days, and once the pollination is completed, its silky petals silently fall off in rapid succession without any hesitation.

The noble beauty of this snowy flower makes me sense the innermost delight of this plant which was able to accomplish its blooming finally.


Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji


The lotus is an ancient and primitive plant that has survived on the earth so long that its fossils have been found in many places. 

The species of plant ancestral to modern lotus plants is said to have appeared on the earth in the Cretaceous Period, about 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs were ruling over this planet earth. 

It is characteristic of primitive flowers that they have a very large number of petals, stamens, and pistils. 

During the evolution of the lotus flower, the stigma of this flower had been flattened to make it easier for scarab beetles to move around on it, as they are the leading insects responsible for the pollination of this mystic ancient flower.


Sacred lotus flowers: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flowers: Kencho-ji


The white flowers and deep green leaves of sacred lotus are tranquilly rising from the lotus bowls beside the black lacquered Chokusi-mon (imperial envoy gate) decorated with the gilded auspicious ornaments.

In Buddhist culture, the sacred lotus flower, which emerges beautifully from the midst of dark mud, is said to symbolize the great enlightenment of Buddha. 

According to the Kegon-kyo (the Flower Garland Sutra), Rushana-butsu (the central deity coming from the sun) sits atop the stigma of a lotus flower and keeps illuminating the whole universe with the pure light of his great wisdom and compassion.



Sacred lotus flower: Komyo-ji (Zushi)

Sacred lotus flower: Komyo-ji (Zushi)

Sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Yama-yuri (Lilium auratum) flowers: Kencho-ji

Yama-yuri (Lilium auratum) flowers: Kencho-ji

Kanoko-yuri (Lilium speciosum) flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Kanoko-yuri (Lilium speciosum) flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Nouzen-kazura (Campsis grandiflora) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Nouzen-kazura (Campsis grandiflora) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sacred lotus flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Water lily flowers: Kaizo-ji

Water lily flowers: Kaizo-ji

June 30, 2020

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kaizo-ji


Beyond the small bell tower, colorful flowers are blooming splendidly among the dense green leaves in the variable sun of June.

This scene of exquisite colors reminds me of an impressionist painting of a summer garden mounted in a wooden frame.

Ajisai flowers constantly change their colors due to the hidden chemistry between pigments, sunlight, rain, and soil. Such hurried transition of colors is called ”Shichi-henge (seven changes)" after the Kabuki dance in which a leading actor quickly changes his clothes seven times.

Though I never know the reasons why Ajisai flowers need to change their colors so quickly, this rapid color variation makes me feel the wonders of nature and the swift passage of time under the rainy sky.


Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kencho-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kencho-ji


By the side of the stone monument on which "Kanzan Jittoku-zu" (the picture of Kanzan and Jittoku) is engraved, the magenta and blue flowers of Ajisai were quietly blooming in the shade of trees, waiting for the next rain.

This stone monument was given to Kencho-ji temple by Kanzan-ji Temple (Han-shan-si, Suzhou, China) as a token of the cultural exchange of Rinzai Zen Sect between China and Japan and is a replica of the original monument of Kanzan-ji temple of China.

Kanzan and Jittoku are legendary Chinese Zen-monks who are often drawn as a subject of Zenga (Zen Buddhist paintings) in China and Japan.

Standing alone in the silent grove behind the temple, I felt like I was hearing the roars of laughter from these eccentric Zen-monks, which were vibrating through eternity.


Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Engaku-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Engaku-ji


Together with the vivid green leaves of summer, the sky-blue and pale purple flowers of hydrangea are catching the dazzling sunlight that comes from the precious sunny sky in the gray rainy season.

At a distance from these graceful flowers, there is the Chinese-styled gable of the imperial envoy gate in sight.


Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Chojyu-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Chojyu-ji


A colorful assortment of Ajisai flowers is blooming along the quiet hill road.

The freshness and splendor of these flowers are reaching their best just now thanks to the blessings of nature from this wet season.

As summer deepens and the bright blue sky appears dominantly, these moist flowers gradually dry out, subtly losing their delicate pastel colors.


Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Jyochi-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Jyochi-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Engaku-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Engaku-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Engaku-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Engaku-ji

Iwa-tabako (Conandron ramondioides) flowers: Tokei-ji

Iwa-tabako (Conandron ramondioides) flowers: Tokei-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Hana-shobu (Iris ensata var. ensata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Hana-shobu (Iris ensata var. ensata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Hana-shobu (Iris ensata var. ensata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Hana-shobu (Iris ensata var. ensata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Chojyu-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Chojyu-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kencho-ji


Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kencho-ji


Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kencho-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kencho-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kencho-ji

June 8, 2020

Satsuki (Rhododendron indicum) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Satsuki (Rhododendron indicum) flowers: Kaizo-ji


In the bright garden at the beginning of summer, the innumerable brightly-colored flowers of Satsuki are embracing the small stone image of Sho-kannon (Holy Avalokitesvara) as if to show their deep devotion to this deity of infinite compassion.

Plants and trees must tell us their secret stories of life by the various exquisite colors, forms, and scents of their flowers.

Soon the long rainy season will start and the sky will be filled with heavy rain clouds.

Without finding it bothersome, these flowers are cheerfully blooming and voicelessly chanting the praises of the remaining days of this sunny early summer.



Kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) flowers: Kaizo-ji


The vivid violet flowers and blue-green leaves of Kakitsubata (rabbit-ear iris) were clearly reflected in the quiet water of the pond.

All of a sudden, a scarlet carp broke the calm water and made a loud splash in the deep stillness like a thundering shout of an old Zen master.




Suiren (water lily) flower: Kita-kamakura

Suiren (water lily) flower: Kita-kamakura


The long-awaited flowers of waterlily are finally beginning to bloom above the calm water one after another in the bright sunlight of early summer.

A Japanese honey bee is delightedly getting into this small graceful flower to receive the pollen and nectar presented by the flower in reward for pollination.

All living things are mutually interdependent and subtlely cooperating with each other to share and sustain the biosphere of the planet earth.

In the mysterious ways that only humans never know, they must be talking with each other privately about the precious blessings which this planet gives them.


Baika-utsugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Baika-utsugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shiran (Bletilla striata Reichb. fil.) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shiran (Bletilla striata Reichb. fil.) flowers: Engaku-ji

Baika-utsugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Baika-utsugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Satsuki (Rhododendron indicum) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Satsuki (Rhododendron indicum) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Komisuji (Neptis sappho) butterfly: Engaku-ji

Komisuji (Neptis sappho) butterfly: Engakuji

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Rose garden: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)

Rose garden: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)

Kishobu (Iris pseudacorus L.) flowers: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)

Kishobu (Iris pseudacorus L.) flowers: Ofuna Botanical Garden (Kamakura)