Tag Archives: farming

Closeup of old waterwheel, water pouring down to left from low tower onto large wheel. paddles

Sounds of Notogawa Suisha

Notogawa Suisha is a very large old waterwheel that continues to turn slowly in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. The site includes a small park and a boat rental facility. Recorded with a Sony M10 on August 13, 2014.

The recording is also available on radio aporee ::: maps.

The map below shows the location of the field recording.

Biwako, Rice Fields, and an ELVIS License Plate

August 1, 2014, was a hot but overcast day here in Shiga Prefecture. I took a short mid-day bike ride down along Yasugawa to Biwako, rode north along the lake for a few kilometers, and then returned to Yasugawa and rode home. I carried some camera gear, including a new tripod that I wanted to try.

Trek 520 touring bike and photo gear at Biwako, north of Yasugawa.

Trek 520 touring bike and photo gear at Biwako, north of Yasugawa.

The overcast sky was nice for cycling, but it made Biwako look a bit gloomy.


A little north of Chuzu Ohashi, the bridge that crosses Yasugawa, a stand of large trees serves as a windbreak. Their trunks have been bent by the prevailing northwesterly wind from the lake.

Trees along Biwako

A few kilometers north along the lake I turned back and took a narrow road toward the Tsutsumi intersection and Japan Route 477. This is farm country, mostly rice fields.

Rice Fields with Mikamiyama in the background

Rice Fields with Mikamiyama in the background

Near the Tsutsumi intersection there is a small machine shop. The rear half of a car (an old Suzuki Jimny) is mounted high on the wall that faces the road.

Car rear half on a Wall with ELVIS fake license plate near Tsutsumi.

Car rear half on a Wall with ELVIS fake license plate near Tsutsumi.

I’ve passed that spot dozens of times, but until today I hadn’t noticed the fake license plate on the car.

ELVIS fake license plate on car rear half mounted to a wall.

ELVIS fake license plate on car rear half mounted to a wall.

So, I spotted ELVIS in Moriyama today.

Small world.

Closeup of golden brown barley, with three stalks are in focus.

Barley in Late Spring

The barley fields here in Ritto have turned from green to golden brown.

Golden brown barley on left, cultivated but bare dirt field on right, tree and mountains in background.

Barley field in Hayashi, Ritto City, facing southeast toward Ishibe. May 31, 2014.

It seems a little early this year, but we have had mid-summer temperatures of over 30 degrees. It is only the end of May, but outdoors and indoors it feels like the end of July.

Barley field on the right, greenery on the left, a stand of trees in middle ground, and a mountain in the background.

Barley field in Ritto City, facing northeast toward Mikamiyama. May 31, 2014.

Sunset with reflections in flooded rice fields.

May Evening in Moriyama

As it passes through Moriyama to Lake Biwa, Yasugawa nourishes fields or barley and rice, separated from the river by a high embankment. Although it’s only a short walk from the river to the fields, the embankment makes a border between two worlds: wild on one side and pastoral on the other.

These scenes were taken just below Shiga Route 48 in Shinjocho, Moriyama City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. Every day thousands of people cross the river here or on Japan Route 477 and other roads nearby, but both sides of the embankment are relatively quiet and peaceful.

Technical note: Video of the black kite soaring was shot with a 300mm lens on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 micro four-thirds camera with the digital teleconverter. Other video clips and stills were shot held-held with a 12-42mm zoom lens. Audio of frogs was recorded separately with an Audio-Technica BP4025 stereo microphone and Olympus LS-100 recorder just after sunset.

Canal Fish

Little fish, about 10-15cm long, are swimming in an irrigation and flood control canal at the southeast corner of the Hayashi Kita intersection in Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan.

This location is about 120 meters from my house. The canal is covered from the camera position and runs under the sidewalk along the north side of my neighborhood. A larger open canal runs through the neighborhood on the south side. Once or twice a year we clean that canal and trim the hedges along it. In July we took about 1.2 tons of cuttings to the Ritto City incinerator. (I drove one of the trucks.)

The audio is mostly traffic on the bypass between Japan Routes 1 (right) and 8 (left). The engine idling in the second half of the recording was in a ten-ton dump truck about three meters behind and to the left of the camera.

Video scenes were shot with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera and two lenses: a 25mm f1.4 Panasonic/Leica DG SUMMILUX and mostly an old Zuiko OM System 35-105mm manual zoom and manual focus lens. To reduce glare from the water I used circular polarizing filters and shot at midday when the sun was highest in the shy.