Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two South Island Photographs

Driving through the Nelson Lakes area is very pleasant as these lovely Beech Forests always seem so restful. We do not have them in this part of the North Island. The road across the Southern Alps via Arthur's Pass was improved a few years ago with this spectacular viaduct through the Otira George. It is a wonderful feat of engineering.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


These are a couple of my drawings used occasionally when decorating pots. The houses were drawn originally when Estelle and I were travelling on an over-night train to Niigata in Japan. I awoke early and saw this scene passing by and quickly sketched the image before it was too late.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Winter and Spring Pictures

A couple of winter and spring photographs from around my garden. I love seeing stacked wood and after it is properly dry a little rain does no harm.
On my last blog I showed an image of "Grass Orchids" My friend, Phillip Smith, a landscape gardener from Auckland, suggests that they are not orchids - but are probably members of the Iris family. He reckons that they're a species of Romulea, a South African bulb that is naturalised in grass in parts of NZ.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spring Days

Our days are starting with hard frosts which give some lovely images like these camellia leaves rimmed with white. Later in the day it warms up enough for the little grass orchids to appear. They are quite tiny being only about 10mm. across. I was told they were grass orchids but they do not have the usual shape of an orchard so I do wonder about the name.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lovely Kenzan Plate

I recently found a translation of the poem on this square dish by Kenzan. It was decorated with the heron by his brother Korin. I thought I would share it with you.

“Raising its head, it does not aspire to pierce the heavens with its shrill cry,

but only to startle people into enlightenment.”

Friday, August 19, 2011

Early Spring Blossoms

This pink blossom called "Geisha" was out at the end of May - before the middle of our winter. It is slightly perfumed and makes a wonderful show when there is very little else. The brush drawing I did some time ago but is a little like a reflection of the photograph.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

White Flowers.

Estelle loved white flowers - they were always her favourite. I do not know the name of this camellia but photographed it in someone else's garden. The white Japonica grows well here and looks good in the Japanese basket. We bought the basket in Japan many years ago and I use it regularly for flower arrangements.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Snow on Hills Close to Home

Most winters we get a light dusting of snow on these hills but yesterday it was quite heavy. These photographs were taken from behind my house looking across the buildings and runway of the aerodrome. Today it is sunny and somewhat warmer.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


A couple of photographs you may enjoy. The packaging was in Kanji-san's workroom and I have no idea what it may have contained - I wish I had asked. The graphics are so clear and simple that I could not resist photographing the box. The picture of Mount Fuji was taken on a previous trip as last time it was too cloudy to see the mountain. It is mostly luck that gives a photograph like this, which was taken from the shinkanzen travelling at 300 km. per hour, without also getting a very blurred image of a power pole.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Last Days of My Trip

Although it was very wet Harumi-san and I were able to get to see the Bizen Gallery Aoyama which is a 'MUST VISIT' if you are in Tokyo. Also please visit their web site http://www.bizenpottery.com and a related blog "Shizen to Bizen" at http://japanesepottery.blog74.fc2.com/ They are lovely people and Taijiro Ito-san's photography is just wonderful.
The yukka flowers were near the Folk Craft Museum and made a lovely display. My friends made sure I was on the right train to the airport in plenty of time for my flight home - total waiting time was five hours but, fortunately I had a good book. I always find it sad leaving Japan and, every time, would like to stay longer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eating Places in Tokyo

My friend, Kanji-san, claims that the best noodle restaurants are in the Ebisu area of Tokyo. We had lunch at this one and took this photograph of the flower arrangement behind the reception desk. The luncheon consisted of three separate noodle dishes - first fine "somen" noodles, then a quite different tasting, medium sized noodle dish, and lastly, a dish of udon (buckwheat) noodles. Any one of the dishes would have made a satisfactory lunch. The evening before we all went to another restaurant for a fish meal. This meal was also large but so delicious that nothing remained when I had finished.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Looking Up and Looking Down in Tokyo

This partially built communications tower was already huge but, when finished, will be the tallest communications tower in the world - or so I was lead to believe. I could not resist photographing yet another enamelled man-hole cover on the street near-by.

Friday, August 5, 2011

In Response to Gaijin

The response of students to foreigners (gaijin, which means "barbarians") always amuses me for they always seem to be happy and polite. Especially to ones like myself with a beard. I think they may be given credits for the number of foreign people they speak to but, as always, they are much bolder when with their peers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In the Grounds of Senso-ji

In Autumn in Japan there are often lovely floral displays. How it was possible to make this display and have all the flowers in full bloom at the same time I do not know. The Five Storied Pagoda was built in 942 but has, of course, been rebuilt since then. First in 1648 and then in 1973 as it had been burnt to the ground during the war in 1945.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Large Lanterns at Senso-ji

These very large lanterns are symbolic of the Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo. They really are magnificient.