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.
In early January, 2019, I visited several of my favorite places to see wild birds. All of these locations have been heavily altered by human activity. Here in Ritto City farmers have been preparing fields for spring planting. Often we can see birds in freshly cultivated fields. Tree sparrows feed in and around fields and […]