What a wonderful place Japan can be for a nature loving foreigner who is living in the Japanese countryside. Worlds apart from the high tech cities, although even in rural areas one can see touches of Techno that one is much less likely to see in Europe or even my native England and Nottinghamshire..
Nottinghamshire seems not so far away if one thinks of Sherwood Forest and the Grand Old Major Oak, similarities with this part of Japan I'm inhabitting are well,,, forests of course and bloody Big Trees, in this case as the picture to the left reveals (400 year old Giant Japanese Redwoods).
There I think the similarities must stop.
Nottinghamshire does'nt have 2000m mountains covered in Ski slopes like Togakushi does here. Nor does it have Mosquitoes or Butterflies that are as big as small birds and tend to fly like them too nor does it have dragonflies the size of other species of small birds that crash into walls and take the render off due to the force and speed at which they impact! Nor does it have public toilets with toilet seats that warm your ass for you when you sit down for a number two! Nor do bears roam around Sherwood forest and Cicadas don't sing their high pitched song all through the english summer!
Silver Birches or the Similar Japanese White Birches are very common though along with Oaks and of course heaps of Bamboo too keep the bears happy and with full stomach so they don't go mauling any unsuspecting ramblers, still most people do (myself included) carry little cow bells just to let the bears know, if they happen to be around, that someone is passing through.
Here's a surprise too, I don't know how common this really is in Britain but i could always remember when i was young back in the 70's hearing about Posion Ivy. It began to seem like a myth when one never came across it but in the forests of Togakushi it is rife, in abundance along with the Poison Sumac or Urushy as the Japanese call it which is quite an apt name as the toxic ingredient contained within the plant that causes a nasty blistering rash in some people is Urushiol. And yes I happened to be one of those people, at least the rash from hell only lasted for 3 weeks! Lovely looking climbing vine though nevertheless. We have also got some really beautiful butterflies in this neck of the woods.
Old World Swallowtail - Papilio machaon
Ideopsis similis - Asagimadara Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly - Papilio spp.
Labels: Asia, Butterflies, Japan, Japanese redwoods, Okusha, Plants, Togakushi