Noilly Prattle: Equinox - お彼岸 [O-HIGAN]

Monday, September 21, 2015

Equinox - お彼岸 [O-HIGAN]

ripening rice grain

     It's been a more eventful summer than we either anticipated or would have wished for. I mean who would look forward to a collision in the middle of a road trip? It's just that kind of thing that stands out in your travel memories, though. Anyway, seasons come and seasons go and our summer of discombobulation is starting to pass quietly into Autumn. We also expect the return of our repaired automobile by the end of the month—hopefully a good omen for the upcoming Fall season.
       With the coming of Fall the high heat and humidity of summer changes into drier air and more clear blue skies that entice you into the countryside for walking and immersing yourself in a landscape that while still summery is showing early signs of summer's end: the bright red Amaryllis known in Japan as the Equinox Flower お彼岸花 borders ripening rice paddies with their golden grain; early maples are tinged with orange and crimson; bush clover line the walking path around a clear spring-fed reservoir; pampas grass is still the color of ochre before it dries up and blows away like dandelion puffs.

bush clover
pampas grass

spring fed reservoir

wind spinners made from aluminum cans
main temple of Ryusenji in early fall
       We decided to revisit the Temple of the Dragon Waterfall 龍泉寺where I had a singular experience recently standing under the fall accompanied by two younger guys and a Buddhist monk in a Buddhist ceremony. Today there weren't any people on the path around the reservoir and the waterfall grotto was quiet, except for the splashing of the fall, so we pretty much had the temple grounds to enjoy all to ourselves.

the dragon waterfall

Muscat Matsuri (festival)
walking path near airport park
       O-higan signals the beginning of the rice harvesting season and harvest festivals. Our area is renowned for Muscat grapes and the local agricultural cooperative held its annual Muscat Matsuri (Muscat Grape Festival. The festival was held in a large park near Okayama Airport about a 20-minute drive from our home. The area has many walking and hiking paths that we often use for exercise, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and attended the festival for an hour or so.

Okayama Airport runway
I wanna be a policeman when I grow up

the little drummer girl

on the midway

       We've been busy driving to our favorite haunts while we still have a rented car. After tomorrow and until our Mazda is shipped from the repair shop in Hokkaido we will be without wheels. We had leased the rented car out of our own pocket because the insurance company wouldn't pay for it. Since we hope to have our own car by the end of the month, we decided not to pay any additional money for a rental car. So we are going cold turkey until our car is shipped back. If you have an accident in your home area, the repair shop will loan you a replacement car, as long as you return it to the same shop. Since our accident occurred 1300 miles from home and we obviously couldn't return the replacement car to the same shop (unless we wanted to drive [at considerable expense for tolls and ferry boats] the1300 miles to Hokkaido [again!] and drive our own car back), the insurance company wouldn't pay for it. I guess you have to plan your accidents so that they happen in a location convenient to your home!

we should have planned our accident in the parking lot of the supermarket downhill from our home

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