Hello to all of our loyal readers near and far!
Weather-wise, it’s been a strange week in Nagano Prefecture. Virtually every day has been overcast and the usually warm June temperatures have turned decidedly cool. The signs of rainy season 2022 are unmistakable.
Longtime readers might recall how, in years past, I have extolled the virtues of the soggy season as a unique time of year with an appeal all its own. As it turns out though, this is no one’s favorite time in Kamikochi. The silver linings are at best a murky grey. The clouds which lend “unearthly ambiance” to Taisho `Pond also blot out the mountains scenery. And as I grow older, the “silence and placidity” just make my tinnitus more noticeable.
But rainy spells are after all a part of the yearly cycle and they nurture a variety of seasonal blooms. Most noticeable, perhaps, is the stately rhododendron:
Anyone who like me, remembers Roxy Music in ’72, will agree that it’s a nice flower.
As Five Sense blogger Hiro points out, there are also some intriguingly-shaped leaves lining the footpaths these days. We begin with the Rodgersia Podophylla a species of saxifrage with distinctive leaves. The plant’s Japanese name, yagurumasou (矢車草), suggests a “wheel of arrows”-a pleasingly evocative characterization of the leaf pattern.
The next plant is formally called parasenacio in English. In Japanese, it’s known as koumorisou (コウモリソウ, literally “bat grass”) for its putative resemblance to a bat’s wings.
Next, we look at the Maianthemum dilatatum:
In yet another interesting case of creative naming, this plant is known informally as “snakeberry” in the English-speaking world and maizurusou (舞鶴層 ) or “dancing crane grass” in Japanese. The more you know, huh?
Well, that’s just about all for this week’s entry. If you do venture into the park in the near future, please dress appropriately. Daytime temperatures currently range from around 12 to 18 degrees Celsius, making for cool mornings. Above all, be sure to protect yourself from the damp and wet weather which can really ruin your day if you aren’t adequately shielded from the rain. Full body rain gear can be acquired quite cheaply at an activewear or workwear store, if you don’t feel like throwing down for a pricey North Face set.
Be sure to join us next time. Till then, stay safe and dry!
Sources of Information:
Nature Guide Five Sense, Kamikochi blog: https://fivesense.guide/blog/today/48984/