In the greenhouse of the “Wakayama Botanical Garden Greenery Center” in Iwade City, Wakayama Prefecture, there is Kin-Shachi (Golden barrel cactus) with a diameter of 70 cm, which surprises visitors. Native species of Kin-Shachi are found only in limited areas of Mexico and Latin America and are listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. It is worthy of being called the king of cactus, with a maximum height of 1 m, a circumference of 7 m, and a maximum lifespan of about 30 years. The flower language is “transient dream” because the flowers only bloom after 20 years. Cultivated varieties are very popular, with a diameter of about 10 cm for 10,000 yen, and a high one for nearly 200,000 yen.
In Chihayaakasaka Village, Kawachinagano City, Osaka, there is a small basin surrounded by low mountains, and well-maintained rice terraces spread out. There are traces of paddy burning around the rice terraces after harvesting rice, and the fragrant scent still floats around. A crow is spinning in a gentle arc over the groves where the sun begins to tilt west. It may be looking for today’s roost. Then, another crow cawed from a distance. I felt relieved and arrived home.
“Mutsu” planted in a vegetable garden in Yoichi, Hokkaido are dyed pink and are heavy with them. Apples were brought in from China and have been found in aristocratic diaries since the Heian period, but they became widely known from the Muromachi and Warring States periods, and became popular with the common people during the Edo period. Until this time, apples were called “Japanese apples”, and the apples we eat now are “Western apples” brought from the United States at the end of the Edo period. Since then, breeding has progressed, and there are 85 varieties of apples cultivated now. Among them, “Fuji” has spread not only in Japan but all over the world, and more varieties have been created by breeding. Apples are nutritious, and there is a saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
北海道余市の家庭菜園に植えた「陸奥」がピンク色に染まり鈴なりです。りんごは中国から持ち込まれ、平安時代頃から貴族の日記にも散見されますが、広く知られるようになったのは室町・戦国時代頃からで、江戸時代には庶民にも親しまれるようになりました。この頃までのりんごは「和りんご」と言う種類で、今我々が口にするりんごは江戸時代末期、アメリカから持ち込まれた「西洋りんご」です。その後品種改良が進み、今栽培されているりんごは85品種です。中でも「ふじ」は日本ではもちろん、世界に広まり、品種改良が加えられて、更に多くの品種が生まれています。りんごは栄養豊富で、「1日1個のリンゴは医者を遠ざける」(An apple a day keeps the doctor away.) という諺がある程です。
Crows have long been disliked as harmful birds that damage crops, and as ominous birds, as it is said that people die if the crows squeal badly. It has a bad reputation even in the city. However, like sparrows, no bird is as closely associated with humans as a crow. It is said to be the most intelligent of all birds. For example, in Aesop’s Fables, the story of “the crow’s jug”, which raises the water level by sinking stones to take out food that floats in the water in the bottle, has been handed down. Recently, the children’s song “Caw-caw Karasu no Kansaburo”, which sang an Edokko crow who lives freely despite annoying everyone, became a big hit. Some middle-aged and older people may miss Hachiro Kasuga’s “Karasu Kanzaburo”.
The white flowers of Kusagi that bloomed all over in the summer became lapis lazuli fruits wrapped in red calyx when I visit again. White flowers and lapis lazuli fruits are beautiful plants that make you wonder why they got this name. Personally, I don’t like the redness of the calyx. If the color is a little more chic, this lapis lazuli fruit must look even more beautiful. This fruit does not take as much effort as indigo dyeing, and it dyes the cloth in a soft blue color. The pure white muffler I bought to dye with this Kusagi a long time ago is still stored deep inside the box.
The snowfall on Mt Fuji, which had just reached its first snowfall on September 28, has fall down to the foot of the mountain. Along with that, Kochia on the shores of Lake Kawaguchi is completely dyed in deep red. In spring, summer, autumn and winter, the seasonal flowers that bloom as if they are competing while looking up at Mt Fuji look more beautiful than the flowers that bloom on any places. It is the beauty just because Mt Fuji is in the background. Kochia also beautifully transitions from summer green to deep red, and eventually sheds its leaves. Kochia, which has lost its leaves, is also called Broom-tree, and it becomes a broom that sweeps the dust and even evil spirits of the year, and cleanses the entire country of Japan that spreads to the foot of Mt Fuji.
When I enter the mountain, the mountain chestnuts are popping and falling here and there. I put on the prepared work gloves and pick up chestnuts, but I can’t pick them up very well. At first, I’m worried about it, but after a while, I’m absorbed in picking chestnuts and forget about the pain. Even so, I sometimes feel a tingling sensation, but it is a strange and pleasant pain. Unlike the large chestnuts sold at the store, Yamaguri has a unique sweetness and is very sweet. Yamaguri is a little sweet even if it is a small-an expression at best. Returning to my childhood, I went home with a bag full of chestnuts.
This year, it feels like autumn suddenly from a hot day, and the surrounding flowers are also blooming with a mixture of summer and autumn flowers. Even if you go out into the city, some people are dressed in summer and some are dressed in autumn, so there is no sense of the season.However, most people wear masks, and this is the only thing that is unified. From an objective point of view, it must be a strange sight. Speaking of which, the autumn festivals are usually held here and there in the town at this time of year, but it is quite quiet without it. Two months left to leave this year. I wonder what will happen in the future. It will be recorded in history that the world has changed dramatically in 2020 due to the coronavirus.
Joruri-ji Temple is located in Kizugawa City, the southern part of Kyoto, which has been called Tohno-no-Sato. Geographically, it is close to Heijokyo and Todaiji Temple in Nara, and I often would walk while visiting the stone towers and stone Buddha statues dating back to the Kamakura period. From ancient times, it is said that the monks who were strongly influenced by Nanto Buddhism and who were reluctant to secularize Nara Buddhism built Soan as a place of tranquility and devoted themselves to Nembutsu. It is said that Soan eventually transformed into a temple, and the tower heads lined up to form a “tower ridge,” which eventually became known as “Tohno.” Nine Amida Nyorai statues enshrined in the main hall of Joruri-ji Temple and the three-storied pagoda at the end of the Heian period remain, which conveys the atmosphere of the Heian period temple.
Coral Flower is a good name. The dark green leaves are seaweed and the flowers that sway on them are just coral. It is surprising that it is native to Brazil and is said to have already come to Japan during the Edo period. You can see how Japanese people like flowers. Come to think it, I wondr what “Oyoge Taiyaki-kun” is doing by now. Though the official sales of 4,536,000 records are officially certified by the Guinness World Records, he only got a contract of 50,000 yen, and a reward of 1 million yen and a white guitar. I’m sure that Masato Shimon, also known as “Oyoge Taiyaki-kun” had disliked the real world. Apart from that, I always sing this song at karaoke.