Saturday, November 24, 2012

神楽坂 Kagurazaka

Biggest surprises in life come in little packages. Tasty dinner in small and beautiful morsels just the way I like it at Kagurazaka 神楽坂 Tokyo. 

Images: Kagurazaka, November 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How Real Is Reality?

Amongst the tea bushes near his home and set against the clear blue autumn sky, a man basks in the sunshine and contemplates the deeper meaning of life and how real reality actually is.

Image: Somewhere near the town of Hile at an altitude of 2200m (October 2012)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rice, Rice Everywhere!

Like in most Asian countries rice is the most important food crop in Nepal too: from dietary, religious and social points of view. Due to the crop ripening at different times at different altitudes, harvesting is nicely staggered in October and November. 

Unfortunately in the past few decades we seem to have lost the wild varieties that were endemic to Nepal. I hope someday there will be as much of original wild rice as the various hybrid varieties in the market. 

(Top 3) Rice fields of east Nepal as seen from the air (October 2012)
(Bottom 3) Rice fields in the hills leading to Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden (October 2012)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yellow Leaves of Autumn

What might I leave you
as a last gift when my time comes?
Springtime flowers,
the cuckoo singing all summer,
the yellow leaves of autumn.

- Ryōkan Daigu 良寛大愚 (1758-1831)
Ryokan was an eccentric Zen monk who called himself Daigu meaning a Big Fool and is remembered for his poetry and calligraphy.

Autumn in the eastern Himalaya of Nepal always means clear blue skies, bright sunny days and cold nights: Perfect condition for good teas. Many places are also ablaze with yellow mustard fields. Not quite the autumn yellow but still very pretty. 

Unlike Sri Lanka and India tea is grown in small patches rather than big plantations. Here we see a perfect example of that. Mustard field and tea garden. Garden and not plantations!

Image (Ramche, Hile- Dhankuta 2012. Altitude ca. 1650 m above sea level): 
(Top) Looking west from Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden wtih tea bushes in the foreground.
(Middle) Farmer's tea garden and mustard fields
(Bottom) Looking east towards Hile.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

High Mountain In Autumn

Traveling together,
that high mountain in autumn,
was almost impassable.
How can you bravely hope
to make that journey alone?

- Princess Oku 大来皇女 (12 Feb 661 - 29 Jan 702)

Princess Oku was a Japanese princess during the Asuka period 飛鳥時代 and the daughter of Emperor Temmu 天武天皇. Quite a few poems are credited to her in the Man'yoshu, the anthology of the much revered old Japanese poems.

Image: Makalu (8481m) from the road leading to Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden's Ramche Division. October 2012.