Observing nature is a common past time in Japan. There are, of course, the spring cherry blossoms. There's also insect listening parties, watching snow falling parties and appreciating fall colors. In honor of being in Japan, the first enrichment I organized as Relief Society President was to go see the momiji, the red maple leaves of fall. I decided we'd go to a park famous for momiji, Minoo Park. The day we decided to go was Nov. 19th and it poured rain all day. Three adventurous ladies decided to go with me and we swam up the trail to a 90ft water fall. I tried taking pictures but they're all spotty because of rain drops falling through the pictures. One good picture I took was of Rachel holding up momiji tempura - a specialty of the park and it is exactly what it sounds like, battered and fried maple leaves.
Some of you know I don't like monkeys, so this story is especially funny. Two days before our trip I had my one-on-one Japanese lesson with Sakamoto-sensei. She told me that two years ago there was a story on the news about the monkeys of Minoo Park. "The monkeys!" I exclaimed since in everything I read about how beautiful the park is there was NO mention of monkeys. She told me that two years ago the monkeys had gotten so aggressive that it made the news and said we shouldn't have a picnic because the monkeys would probably try to take our food. I was not pleased. I was actually glad it was raining since I had a big umbrella that not only protected me from the rain but could easily be used to bat monkeys away. Luckily there were no monkeys and just sings everywhere telling people it was a (translated from yen) $100 fine for feeding monkeys.
Because of the rain Craig and I went back to the park the next weekend. It was beautiful weather and shoulder to shoulder crowds. Craig also agreed to be my 'monkey repeller" but there were no monkeys to repel. Perhaps they culled the Minoo Park monkey herd.
Can you see all the other photographers?
I found it crazy that there was a pink flower blooming bush next to the trees turning red and yellow.
The first day I noticed that leaves were falling was Nov 30th. I can certainly get used to a long fall and, hopefully, a short winter. This is the view from our front door on Dec. 1st.