Monster mazes, empty spaces, pretty faces and more!


Nature – Bats in Shiga

For the second year running, I was lucky enough to be invited to join, and help out with, an annual research project that monitors a local colony of rare tube nosed bats.

Catching, tagging, weighing and recording data is the order of the day. I mostly helped out with putting tagged bats back in safe places where they could get over the trauma of being ‘researched’.

Here’s a selection of photo collages from the day. A full album can be found here.



Haikyo – Haisen and Onsen

More haikyo for you today, in fact a double bill of  two significantly different types of  haikyo .

The first is a well-known, and very public, old rail line near Takarazuka.

The second is a Japanese style hotel about three hours train ride away from where I live.

So let’s start with the train line.


The Yokai Files – Tanuki – The myth and the reality

These ceramic Tanukis (Racoon Dogs), often seen outside Japanese cafes and bars thanks to some odd word association, are probably the most recognised images of these creatures.

Don’t worry I’ll explain the word association later!

However, in Japan there is a rich folklaw tradition built up around the image of the Tanuki which means he pops up in some unusual places and surprising contexts.


Fifteen Froggies of my Own

In honour of getting a comment from Michael (aka: Gakuranman, who has some fantastic hikyo posts on his site) on my recent Haikyo – Starting Small entry I’ve decided to do a tribute to his latest blog post Fifteen Fantastic Froggie Fotos and post fifteen frog fotos of my own.

15 froggy points if you can guess which picture wasn’t taken in Japan! (more…)

Satoyama – The Basics

What is satoyama?

Satoyama is a term used to describe the land between the mountains and the arable farming land.

Typically satoyama landscapes are a balanced mix of  forested areas and terraced rice fields irrigated by water running off the mountains on the lower slopes of the mountains. Satoyama ideally see man and nature working together, with forestry and agriculture managed to encourage a wide range of biodiversity.