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Plum Festival

March 6th, 2007

On Sunday, Sachi and I went to the Ume (Plum Blossom) Festival, which is being celebrated in many places around the Tokyo area. Good thing we did it then–the weather was beautiful on Sunday, warm and sunny–and Monday we got violent winds and rain, which probably have destroyed most of what’s on the tree right now.

We went to Mogusa-en, a park in Hino City, one station down from Seiseki-Sakuragaoka. It’s a really steep climb up San Francisco-grade roads (grade-wise), a half kilometer from the station. But it’s a nice park once you get there. Tons of people were there to enjoy the flowers, food, and music. There were even some interesting birds to be seen. A Black Kite was constantly circling, while in the brush and the trees there were Great and Varied Tits, Nightingales, Japanese White-Eyes, Black-faced Buntings, and Japanese Pygmy Woodpeckers, along with the more normal complement of Bulbuls, Starlings, Crows, Turtledoves, and Sparrows. There were some birds we never got to see but heard, and one bird which was scratching in the brush behind a fence which I could only see had green-brown coloring.

Here are some images from the day. The ones with an asterisk on the right side can be blown up to 1200×800 size by clicking on them.

A view from the heights of the park.

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The Black Kite circling.


A cat with striking black face markings enjoying the weather in the park.

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A tree on the Mogusa-en grounds.







Various blossoms from around the park.

A neat-looking old guy we saw throughout the day, who Sachi dubbed “the Japanese Santa Claus.”

Trees in bondage…

And then there were the birds in the park:

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A Black-Faced Bunting

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A Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker

One of the Mejiro, quickly glimpsed

And then, a better catch:

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A Varied Tit, not commonly seen.

We tried to get a nightingale, as it was popping around in a tree, visible for brief instances–but none of the shots came out.

Later, however, I got the full moon rising–not the eclipse, though; the redness was because it was still low in the sky. The eclipse was not visible from Japan.


Not a bad day at all.

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  1. March 7th, 2007 at 09:18 | #1

    fantastic pictures Luis! I especially like the mossy tree, beautiful ume blossoms and the cool bird shots. I showed my wife (japanese) the shots and she was most impressed by the cat. heh. but the first thing she said was “female”. I asked how she knew this and, according to her, all mixed color cats are female due to the xy combination of genes. true or no, I dunno. but interesting just the same.

  2. Luis
    March 7th, 2007 at 12:24 | #2

    Chris: Thanks! Yes, the cat was very striking–that black coloring on her face looked like a permenent shadow. Interesting about the genetic stuff; I recall having heard something about that a long time ago, but I never would had remembered without being prodded.

  3. Amy
    March 9th, 2007 at 11:19 | #3

    Beautiful pictures, I especially like the cat’s pose.
    It’s true: most calico cats are female, most orange cats are male, and most blue-eyed white cats are deaf. You can tell a lot about a cat by its colouring.

    So is it true that the eclipse wasn’t visable in Japan? Some English-language news reports said it would be partly visable, although I could find nothing in Japanese. I was going to wake up early to see it but I ended up sleeping through the alarm…

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