Late January, from the 25th to the 29th, is the middle of the traditional Japanese cold season, Daikan (大寒), or Big Cold. This year, 2020, has been quite warm and often gloomy, with heavy clouds and light rain.
I was able to get outdoors only a few days in mid-January. Fortunately, I was able to take a few photos in the last days of the traditional season, 小寒 Shōkan (Lesser cold), and the first first week of 大寒 Daikan (Greater cold).
The beginning of the modern new year in January overlaps two traditional Japanese seasons: 冬至 Tōji (Winter solstice) and 小寒 Shōkan (Lesser cold). In Shiga Prefecture autumn colors have mostly disappeared. Susuki grass and shrubs along rivers have become a darker shade of brown. We can see some flowers, but most large and colorful flowers have been planted. Small winter migrant birds have appeared, adding some activity and color to the countryside and local parks.
The two-week period of February 4-18 marks the beginning of spring, Risshun (立春) in the traditional Japanese calendar of 24 seasons. In southern Shiga Prefecture winter birds are still here, often hiding in bushes and trees as raptors patrol the skies. Sparrows are active in fields, and great cormorants return to local colonies. Pink and […]
Twenty of my favorite 2018 photographs of birds, insects, flowers, and landscapes In 2018 I learned the names of quite a few flowers and insects, and I began to look more carefully at larger scenes such as woodlands and riverbanks. In 2019 I want to learn more about the natural world and improve my vision […]