Thursday, October 20, 2011

Of butterflies, dragonflies, birds and more in Japan


Spotted at Rikugien Garden: a moth (or is it a butterfly?)
that one could easily walk pass by without noticing --
but which I think it would have been a shame to do so

Also spotted in the Japanese stroll garden:
a colorful dragonfly perched atop a rope barrier

Taken too at Rikugien Garden: Photo of
a crow perched nonchalantly atop a tree branch


As the weekend nears here in Hong Kong this week, my thoughts can't help but turn to the prospect of hiking out in the countryside once again this Sunday. And for those who wonder: I did go on one (easy) hike when I was in Japan.

Ironically enough though, I actually saw more wildlife when I was in urban Tokyo than when I was on that hike -- which admittedly largely took me through residential sections of Kamakura (along a trail that started meters away from the Daibutsu and led me to a couple of relatively off-the-beaten-path shrines).

More specifically, I encountered interesting butterflies and dragonflies (and spiders far smaller than those I've come across and photographed in recent months in Hong Kong) in the grounds of the Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum and connected Koganei Koen along with the Rikuguen and Kiyosumi Gardens.

But far more prevalent -- or at least noticeable -- than those beautiful small creature in Tokyo were the crows. Be it in super built-up Shinjuku or the (supposed) idyllic Rikuguen, these black birds abounded -- so much so that even if you failed to see them, you couldn't help but hear their loud cawing.

A quick internet search brings up articles in such as the New York Times and blog entries about the crow menace in Tokyo and Japan in general. Frankly, I'm surprised to discover that the crow population is as large as it is in Tokyo and Japan; this not least since one tends to associate crows with areas where garbage disposal and sanitation is in a less advanced state than one would assume is the case in the land of the rising sun.

Fortunately, I never did see crows attacking humans or some such dramatic incident during my recent Japan trip. Indeed, the examples of those cawing birds that I did see and hear while on vacation didn't strike me as particularly menacing -- and the only warning signs I saw with regards to wildlife were ones at Hase Temple warning about kites that were prone to dive down and steal food and other items at a viewing platform there!

Nonetheless, I could see how people in Japan can be bothered by the crows. And it's true enough that I was much happier to catch sight of a butterfly or dragonfly than those large black birds whose rise the Japanese have sought to battle in recent years seemingly to little effect!

3 comments:

sbk said...

hi ytsl,

Great photo of the moth/butterfly. Such an understated but beautiful color.

Also like the pensive crow. Perhaps he's the leader watching as his minion crows swoop down and take food from garbage cans that aren't covered with a net.

Ann said...

I never like crows. My mum hated them, and she used to shew them from her laundry in Australia.

Thanks for your comment about the video hunt. It makes me think of the old days when we were students and our teachers would give a zero and write OUT OF POINT. I have gone back and added two photos of the Sky Tower.

Do you watch rugby? Tonight is the night. New Zealanders will either be very happy or very disappointed.

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Glad you like the photos of the moth/butterfly and crow -- but isn't there any love for the dragonfly photo? ;)

Re the crow: actually, it seemed more of a solitary type -- seemingly content to make Rikugien Garden his realm and leave other parts of Tokyo to other birds!

Hi Ann --

The crows I've encountered in Penang can be a bit scary -- as in some places, there are so many of them. And annoying too for their destruction of garbage bags and strewing garbage about the place.

In Tokyo, there were a presence but not as annoying somehow -- I guess when one is holiday, one feels more benign towards everything!

Re the video hunt comment: teehee re yours in turn... especially in view of you being a teacher yourself!

And no, sorry, am not planning on watching the rugby. Have a feeling that my rugby fan brother will be watching though. :)