さくらさくら Sakura Sakura

(English follows Japanese)

結構長年、尺八を吹いています。でも、「さくらさくら」という曲は、あまり吹こうとして来なかった。今回、やってみました。もともと、江戸時代の筝曲ですが、作曲者は不詳。ビデオは2か所から撮影された、うちのソメイヨシノです。鳥の声は聞こえますか?録画はそのままで、編集されていませんです。何種類あるのでしょうかね。

Been playing the Shakuhachi for many moons now, but never really have had much of a motivation to play the well known song ‘Sakura Sakura’. Well, finally, here it is.

This is a traditional song dating back to the Edo period, I think, that was originally written for Koto. The songwriter however, remains unknown.

Accompanying the Shakuhachi performance is a video recording from two viewpoints, of the Somei Yoshino Sakura at our property. Try if you can, to guess how many bird sounds you can hear. These sounds are caught by the camera as they are, unedited.

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大島桜+「どこかで春が」 Oshima sakura + ‘Doko ka de haru ga’

It is raining lightly today and the feeling is good…
Early spring in Japan is such a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors, even with a little bit of rain…
Stayed indoors however, to play the shakuhachi and watch the day go by…

2021年3月21日(日)、少雨、16度、大変気持ちのいい日。
薪割や庭作業はできないが、家の中でゆっくり過ごしています。
今回、雨の中、庭で大島桜の花を撮影しました。
また、「どこかで春が」という曲を尺八で吹いて見ました。

21st March 2021 (Sun), light drizzle, about 16 degrees Celcius, feeling marvellous. Can’t chop wood, can’t do any gardening, so am spending my time indoors, slowly doing things I like. Took videos from the garden of Oshima Sakura flowers. Recorded the song ‘Doko ka de haru ga’ (my translation ‘Somewhere, spring beckons’).

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Potager Y @ Japan, what’s growing in December 2020

The year 2020 marks the 13th year of my ‘Potager Y @ Japan’ gardening hobby.

Each year, I plant and harvest about 50 types of vegetables and herbs.

It has been a very educational yet fulfilling, exciting and beneficial time spent, albeit spiced with some occasional failures.

At this time of the year, where I live, temperature dips down to about 5 degrees and rises up to about 13 or 14 degrees. Pleasant… even lovely and comfortable, I would say.

In the weekends, I tend the plots where winter vegetables (carrots, greens, fava beans, radish, beets, celery, lettuce, etc.) are growing, and harvest the remaining goodies from summer crops (tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, etc.) as they ripen.

I touch and smell the flowers (Raja Ulam, zinnia, marigold) from summer and watch the honey bees collect pollen to bring back to the bee hive placed at the edge of the Potager.

Anyway, here are some of the plants that are thriving in Potager Y at the moment.



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On being a ‘week-end’ farmer…

Note: Woohoo… just discovered that I had left this write-out un-posted. My records say that this is from 2013, sometime around June…  am now posting it 7 years late… 🙂 
See update at the end of this post. 

Being a ‘week-end’ farmer, Saturdays and Sundays are normally filled up with ‘work’ in the potager…

Each weekend, there is like, a thousand and two things to do and there is just so little time…

So one can imagine how ‘precious’ my weekend time is…

Just to give an idea on the thousand and two things… this past weekend, I had the following items noted in my ‘TTD’ (Things to do) list…

Fix chicken play area
Harvest potatoes
Harvest red onions
Transplant pumpkin seedlings
Transplant watermelon seedlings
Sow corn seeds
Chainsaw firewood
Chop fire wood
Transplant okra seedlings
Fertilize cucumber plants
Harvest kale
Harvest garlic
Fix pole for ‘porotan’ chestnut plant
Fix strings on pond
Clear chicken dung
Transplant passion fruit seedling
Harvest biwa fruits
Transplant myoga plant
Transplant moroheya seedlings
Transplant basil seedlings

Wooh, tiring… but definitely fun…

Still, in the midst of carrying out these ‘work’, I do take time off to photograph and smell the flowers…

Update December 5th 2020 
I am still a week-end farmer, and am still if not more busy on weekends as I have taken up more hobbies and commitments. Anyway, life is good and I am having a wonderful time! Happy gardening to all my friends!! 

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Honey bees in the potager!

A bit of a flashback for this post, all the way back to the summer of 2017.
I was super lucky to be introduced to a veteran bee keeper in Kagawa.

Keeping honey bees had always been a dream for me, since my youth.
(The others being, of course, eating fresh veggies from my own garden, and picking fresh flowers off our own property to decorate the table… )

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Requested him to teach me on how to keep bees.
Soon, I found myself in one of his several bee farms…

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He said he would give me some bees to try.
Next thing, he asked his helpers to load six, yes, six bee boxes onto my truck.
Imagine, I would be more than happy to have just one bee box, but six?

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Anyway, I dashed home and rushed to the potager, and immediately cleared some space for the bee boxes.

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Having zero experience, and little knowledge about apiary farming, naturally, I had to learn the hard way.
He gave me some pieces of equipment to start off; most intriguing for me is the ‘smoker’.
But before I realized it, ‘ouch!’, the bee stings!
Anyway, what a ‘joyful pain’ it was, as I was in high heaven…

But, came autumn 2017, ‘tragedy’ struck…
The poor honey bees were attacked and eaten by hornets (yellow jackets?).
I consulted the bee keeper master and he gave me some hornet traps.
Those traps worked, but there were just so many of the hornets.

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Feeding voraciously on my bees, the population of the hornets exploded…
So much so that the hornets even had the nerve to make their home right under my nose, or rather undernearth the roof of my house.

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I would say, the diameter of the nest grew up to about half a meter.
Not knowing what to do, I contacted the veteran bee keeper.
He came with a water pump, and thoroughly tore down the nest.

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Unfortunately, the population of my bees continued to decline.
When winter 2017 came, the bee keeper dropped by to look.
And he said, ‘the bees were very few, let me take them with me, and I shall bring new bees for you again next season’.

Dismayed as I was with my shabby care for the bees, I looked forward to a second chance to learn about bee keeping again.

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