I did not post much in 2019, but I took quite a few photos that I would like to share.

Winter

From January to March I took many photos of birds and flowers.

Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus, エナガ)
Japanese plum blossom (Prunus mume, 梅) in Hayashi, Ritto City

My wife and I often visited the Kusatsu City Aquatic Botanical Gardens (草津市立水生植物公園みずの森)

Erica canaliculata flowers (black-eyed heath, Janome Erika, ジャノメエリカ)
Geraniums (ゼラニウム ‘ムーンライト ウィオリーノ’)
Damselfly on yellow water lily (Nymphaea, スイレン)

I began to experiment with macro photos of moss and lichens before insects appeared.

Moss (苔) on a tree trunk in Takano Park, Ritto City

Early Spring

In April and early May I spent less time with telephoto shots of birds and more time looking at both the environment and details of flowers and bugs. Content varied quite a bit.

Child crossing sign at Hayama Higashi Primary School in Ritto City
Cicindela japonica (Japanese tiger beetle, ハンミョウ) at Ritto Nature Center (栗東市自然観察の森)
Yasugawa (野洲川) in Mikami, Yasu City, Bodaijisan (菩提寺山) in the background
Grey heron (Ardea cinerea, アオサギ) at Oyamakawa (大山川)
Cherry blossoms and Trek 520 bicycle along Omoigawa (思川) in Iwane, Konan City
Tetralonia nipponensis bee (ニッポンヒゲナガハナバチ) on Vicia sativa (common vetch, カラスノエンドウ, ヤハズエンドウ)
Small spider in Tsuji, Ritto City
Astragalus sinicus flowers (Chinese milkvetch, レンゲソウ, ゲンゲ)
Garden behind Hyozu Shrine (兵主大社) in Gojo, Yasu City

Health issues

In early May I become ill with severe abdominal pain and jaundice. A long and trying journey began on May 10th, when I first became an inpatient at Saiseikai Shigaken Hospital (済生会滋賀県病院). Eventually I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (膵臓がん), and I had resection surgery, a nine-hour Whipple procedure, on July 24, 2019.

I have created a set of pages in a directory, Cancer.

The Shiga Rivers blog will continue its focus on nature and culture in rural Japan as I update my Cancer pages. I try to get outdoors as much as possible between hospital stays, and I will continue to post photos, field recordings, and video clips as long as I can.

Late Spring

Between May 24 and June 18 I was able to get outdoors seven days as flowers were blooming and insects were becoming increasingly active.

Great egrets (Ardea alba, ダイサギ)
Great egret (Ardea alba, ダイサギ)
Nigella damascena flower (love-in-a-mist, クロタネソウ)
Lower Water Lily Pond at the Kusatsu City Aquatic Botanical Gardens (草津市立水生植物公園みずの森)
White-tailed skimmer dragonfly (Orthetrum albistylum speciosum, シオカラトンボ)
Marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus, ホソヒラタアブ) on rose ‘Lavender Dream’
Japanese tree frog tadpole (Hyla japonica, ニホンアマガエルのおたまじゃくし)
Japanese tree frog (Hyla japonica, ニホンアマガエル)
Grey heron (Ardea cinerea, アオサギ)

Early Summer

From June 21 until July 21 I spent 11 days outdoors. In order to prepare for major surgery on July 24 (see Cancer), I tried to build body strength and stamina by cycling and taking long walks.

Old World swallowtail butterfly (Papilio machaon, キアゲハ)
Trek 520 touring bike at Biwako in Sazukawacho, Moriyama City
Scarlet skimmer dragonfly female (Crocothemis servilia, ショウジョウトンボ)
Hasu (three lips, Opsariichthys uncirostris, 鰣, ハス, ケタバス)
Trek 520 touring bike at the Yamagagawa (山賀川) bridge on Shiga Route 146 in Hoshika-cho, Moriyama City.
Japanese skylark (Alauda japonica, ヒバリ)
Zinnia flower (Zinnia elegans, ヒャクニチソウ, 百日草)
Holly blue butterflies (Celastrina argiolus, ルリシジミ)
Lotus flowers in 花影の池 (hanakagenoike) at the Kusatsu City Aquatic Botanical Gardens (草津市立水生植物公園みずの森)
Mycalesis gotama butterfly (Chinese bushbrown, ヒメジャノメ)
Dragonfly at the Omifuji Botanical Gardens
Cherry sage (Salvia microphylla, チェリーセージ)
Tiger lilies in Kawata-cho, Moriyama, Mikamiyama in the background
Nadeshiko flower (Dianthus superbus, 撫子)

Late Summer

From July 22 until August 14 I was in Saiseikai Shigakan Hospital (済生会滋賀県病院) for major surgery (see Cancer). After I was released on August 14, I was very weak but determined to enjoy the remaining days of summer.

Wild lily
Limenitis glorifica butterfly (Honshu white admiral, アサマイチモンジ)
Pseudozizeeria maha butterfly (pale grass blue, ヤマトシジミ)
Abraxas miranda moth (ユウマダラエダシャク)
Oriental turtle-dove (Streptopelia orientalis, キジバト)
Upper lily pond at the Kusatsu City Aquatic Botanical Gardens (草津市立水生植物公園みずの森)
Great Mormon butterfly (Papilio memnon thunbergii, ナガサキアゲハ) on Physostegia virginiana flowers (obedience, ハナトラノオ)
Humble hummingbird hawkmoth (Macroglossum bombylans, ヒメクロホウジャク)
Vanessa indica butterfly (Indian red admiral, アカタテハ) on Barnardia japonica flowers (Japanese jacinth, ツルボ)
Barnardia japonica flowers (Japanese jacinth, ツルボ)
Honey bee on Barnardia japonica flowers (Japanese jacinth, ツルボ)

Early Fall

From late September until early November foliage began to change colors and some trees and bushes dropped their leaves. Butterflies, bees, moths, hoverflies, and other insects became harder to find. Several species of flowers came and went as the days became cooler and shorter.

Rice field in Hayashi, Ritto City, with Mikamiyama (三上山) in the background
Shield bug (カメムシ) on red spider lilies (lycoris radiata, 彼岸花)
Small lizard in Takano, Ritto City
Common bluebottle butterfly (Graphium sarpedon nipponum, アオスジアゲハ) on shiso (シソ)
Great egret (ダイサギ)
Cosmos flowers
Pink lotus flowers at the Kusatsu City Aquatic Botanical Gardens (草津市立水生植物公園みずの森)
Blue water lily in the Atrium at the Kusatsu City Aquatic Botanical Gardens (草津市立水生植物公園みずの森)
Short-tailed blue butterfly (Everes argiades, tailed cupid, ツバメシジミ)
Notogawa Suisha (能登川水車) in Higashiomi City
Pale pink rose at the Omifuji Botanical Gardens
Large grasshopper
Dragonflies mating
Blue shieldbug (Zicrona caerulea, ルリクチブトカメムシ)
Seven-spotted ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata, ナナホシテントウ)

Late Fall

As autumn progresses, days become shorter, foliage turns yellow and brown and red, and the sky is often a rich shade of blue.

Giant dahlias (Dahlia imperialis, 皇帝ダリア)
Giant dahlias (Dahlia imperialis, 皇帝ダリア)
Great egrets (ダイサギ) at Yasugawa above the weir in Yasu City, Mikamiyama in the background
Fall colors at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)
Japanese pied wagtail (Motacilla alba lugens, ハクセキレイ)
Lunch preparation and Trek 520 bicyle at a picnic table beside Seseragi-no-Ike Pond on Yabasekihanto in Kusatsu City
Arhopala japonica butterfly (Japanese oakblue, ムラサキシジミ)
Eastern spot-billed duck (Anas zonorhyncha, カルガモ)
Daurian redstart female (Phoenicurus auroreus, ジョウビタキ)
Japanese pied wagtail (Motacilla alba lugens, ハクセキレイ) in Takano, Ritto City
Grey heron (Ardea cinerea, アオサギ) at Oyamakawa in Omifuji, Yasu City
Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans, サルビア・エレガンス)
Fall colors at the Omifuji Botanical Gardens in Kitazakura, Yasu City
Henbit dead-nettle wildflowers (Lamium amplexicaule, ホトケノザ)
Dusky thrush (Turdus eunomus, ツグミ)
Fall colors in Deba, Ritto City, Bodaijisan in the background
Soybean field in late afternoon light in Hayashi, Ritto City, Bodaijisan in the background
Kubon Falls (九品の滝) in Inoue, Ritto City
Upper part of middle falls at Kubon Falls (九品の滝) in Inoue, Ritto City
Eastern spot-billed (Anas zonorhyncha, カルガモ) ducks at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)
Eastern spot-billed (Anas zonorhyncha, カルガモ) ducks at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)
Japanese black kite (Milvus migrans, トビ) along Biwako at Shina-cho, Kusatsu City (湖岸緑地 志那1)
Late fall colors along Biwako at Shina-cho, Kusatsu City (湖岸緑地 志那1)

A tough but good year

By any standard 2019 was a tough year for me. I became seriously ill in late April, spend a lot of time in hospital beds, underwent a 9-hour operation and subsequent recovery, and lost nearly 20 kilograms. With all of the medical issues I faced, however, I was able to get outdoors with a camera quite a few days.

As a part-time college professor, I missed only three face-to-face lectures, which I was able to convert to virtual classes. I shared my medical issues with students, speaking frankly but with hope. I hope my words and my positive attitude will inspire the young people I taught in 2019.

An uncertain future

At the beginning of 2020 cancer has spread to my liver. On January 13, 2020, I will enter the hospital and stay about a week as I begin a course of strong chemotherapy. Hopefully, the medicine will save me or at least extend my life, but there is no way to predict the outcome.

As I remain acutely aware of my mortality, I strive to live a rich life each day. I try to eat and sleep well, enjoy talking with my wife, friends, and neighbors, and I try to get outdoors and enjoy nature as often as possible. I hope to continue sharing my experiences on Shiga Rivers for a long time to come.

Published by Greg Peterson

Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Notre Dame University (1977-2020). Since 1980 I have lived in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, where I enjoy outdoor activities, especially photography, hiking, and cycling.

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: