Chopping wood in January 2017

p1071281a

Winter is the season to ‘hibernate’, even for trees…
The cold makes the trees less active, and subsequently, there is less need to draw up water to feed their trunks…
Less water equals less weight, which means, this is right time to fell the trees…

dsc_0236a

On this occasion, we were very fortunate to be asked by a lady living nearby, to help her cut the trees in her property…
I looked at the trees, and mumbled ‘oh my, these are oak’…
They are super solid, heavy to carry, and they are one of the best wood for the stove…

p1161367a

Come evening, my sweeto-haato lights up the wood stove…
She uses the stove-top for cooking as well…
And wooh, the ambiance… and the warmth emitting from the stove… heavenly…

Shakuhachi sessions 2016…

Besides gardening, the other activity that brings me immense joy is playing the Shakuhachi… (for more Shakuhachi episodes, see these links:  https://kedahanmalaysian.wordpress.com/tag/shakuhachi/).
The year 2016 saw me performing in four events, all solo…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was at the Welcome Banquet of an international seminar we had at Gadja Mada University at Jogjakarta in September 2016…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The hall was really nice and I could hear the echo of the Shakuhachi as I played…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bengawan Solo, of course, was one of the songs I played, in addition to another Indonesian song and Japanese song…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Meanwhile, a bunch of international students at our university wanted to try their hand at playing the flute…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We meet up once a week during lunch time to play at the main square of the campus… many students and staff members come by to look and stare…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I teach them the foundations of blowing… and the basics of the doremi scale…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is not an easy instrument to play… not easy to get the sound out…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But I think they are enjoying the experience…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At home, I enjoy playing the Shakuhachi almost every night before I hit the sack…
It soothes the mind, nourishes the soul… and hopefully, not too much of a torture for our neighbors… 😉

A walk in the rain through three hamlets

September is a lovely month, more so because of its rain…
One weekend, I decided to see what is in store for my photo shoots…

p7090229a

The above shot is the hamlet where I live…
My house is actually more to the right side of the shot, and out of range…
The island in the back is reputed to be owned by some famous personality…

p7090258a

I source most of my bamboo, including the edible bamboo shoots from this bush…
Many bamboo-bush owners are too happy to see people cutting their bamboo as these plants are getting to be rather invasive…

p7090261a

A little short of one kilometer away lies this picturesque hamlet…
I pass by this place each time I commute to work…
The islands at the back are uninhabited, and are favored fishing grounds for sport fishermen…

p7090343a

Biologically, these are banana trees…
But not the kind found in Malaysia (my home country)…
Their fruits are really tiny, much like the size of the little finger of adults…
In Okinawa, I think the fiber is used to make clothes…

p7090373a

Further deeper into the hills, the air is fresh…
Where wild animals and birds roam quite freely…

p7090381a

Roads are well paved…
And up we go…

p7090388a

On the downturn, was greeted by this misty scene…
This spot is about two kilometers from our place…

p7090390a

A few steps forward, the view opened up to the Japan Inland Sea, shrouded in mist…

p7090391a

And the house with the red roof comes into perspective…
This is the hamlet where I stay, shot from the hills above…

p7090416a

There is one segment of the journey where fallen leaves are aplenty…

p7090425a

And the Guardian Gods provide safety and comfort…

p7090443a

Further down the path, Sumiyoshi Shrine awaits…

p7090462a

The third hamlet comes into view, with patches of pumpkin and sunflowers…

Yangshou in March 2016

Had this urge to visit China in March 2016…
The aims were to look around, and to perhaps enroll in a language school to study Mandarin…
Decided on Yangshou, a small city nearby Guilin…
Ended up spending about two weeks there…
Mornings were for learning the basics of Tai Chi…
While in the afternoons, the language school beckoned…

p2271223a

Rented a bicycle throughout the time there…
Cycled around the vicinity during much of my free time…
And was constantly awed by the beauty of the scenery…

p2271192a

Was lucky to come across this man walking along the road…
Could only wonder what he was carrying as my Mandarin was and is still bad…

p2271154a

I stayed at the Tai Chi School and had a room with a view of the village…
Jima Village is a small community with old houses inhibited by mainly farming families…

p2271107a

Cycling along the Li River was a real joy…
Was able to see the villagers going about their daily lives…

p2271135a

Took this shot of neighboring village…
The backdrop hills are a reason enough for me to think of a return trip in the future…

The man chops wood, and cooks too…

Once in a while, the lady of the house takes a few days off to travel…
Leaving the man of the house to fend for himself…

DSC_0277a

Winter is quite a lovely season in Japan, except for the cold… 🙂
Being a Malaysian born in the warm waters, my systems have yet to fully adapt to the cold…
Even after all these years of continuous residence…

DSC_0026a

Anyway, winter season almost always equals ‘chopping wood’ season…
An activity that I cherish doing, as it ‘makes me feel like a man’ to be able to handle the chain saw and the chopping axe… 🙂

DSC_0280a

Can you believe it?
I set the camera, pushed the shutter, ran over, picked up the axe, and clicked it went…

PA180112a

And yes, the man cooks too… albeit sometimes…
Here, I have used some vegetables from my garden…
Winged beans, pumpkin, tomato… on top of some conger eel and tofu…

PA180138a

For seasoning, I had the opportunity to use the Thai sweet and mildly hot sauce given to me as a gift from a friend at Chiang Mai…
The taste? Not too bad…

The first Shakuhachi solo performance ever…

RIMG0122a

I suppose some of you folks, my dear readers, may realize by now, how much I love playing the Shakuhachi flute…
Each night, after dinner, and before hitting the futon, I play the Shakuhachi for about 30 minutes to one hour…

RIMG0126a

Fate had it that, one of my colleagues made me a proposal that I could not refuse or escape from…
He requested that I play the Shakuhachi, and introduce ‘Japanese culture’ to a group of professors from three Indonesian universities who came to our university for a seminar last September…

RIMG0121a

I was really not sure if I was the right person to ‘introduce Japanese culture’ to others…
Surely, there must be a Japanese person who can do the job better than me, I thought…
And, of course, in the first place, I was not even sure if I could pull through the solo performance…
There will be over 80 people in the audience, and they included university presidents, professors, colleagues, and graduate students, etc…
I have played Shakuhachi on stage a few times before, but it was always with other players…

RIMG0129a

On that fateful mid September evening, I managed to churn out three numbers, two Japanese autumn songs (Momiji and Sato no aki), and Bengawan Solo…
The party took off from that performance of mine…
First, a President of a Japanese university came to sit with me after my performance…
It turned out that he is also a Shakuhachi player, but had not touched the instrument for the last 20 years…

RIMG0131a

The next minute, the MC announced that this university president was going up on stage, with my Shakuhachi on hand, to play a song…
And before we realized it, the president of an Indonesian university joined in to sing along on stage…
Shortly afterwards, a group of Indonesian students came to me to ask permission to go up on stage to sing Bengawan Solo ‘a cappella’…

RIMG0121aa

What an experience it turned out to be…
Technique-wise, perhaps 50 to 60 points out of 100?
But satisfaction-wise, may I say, close to 100%?

PS: All photos taken by my colleagues…
I thank them very much as these are the only photos we have of the performance…

Underwater life at Pulau Weh, Indonesia…

Made a trip to Pulau Weh (off Sumatra Island) many moons ago, with my ‘sweeto-haato’ aka dive buddy…
This location is known for the tsunami that happened in December 2015…
Incidentally, we were there during the 10th anniversary of the disaster..
Locals refer to Pulau Weh as ‘Sabang’, which is actually the name of the biggest town in the island…
PC210111a

The weather was horrendous throughout the whole time we were there…
Strong gales, heavy rains, choppy seas, huge surges, you name it…
Still, we tried our best to enjoy the trip although I almost threw out in one of the outings…
My missus was smiling away while I agonized…

This anemone fish is a lovely specimen no doubt, but I was more attracted to those ‘nipples’ that house the fish…

PC210118a

This rose-like specimen is the egg of the nudibranch…
I have seen this on numerous occasions and I still marvel at how pretty some eggs can look like…

PC230561a
A very friendly Emperor Angelfish… Size was about 40 centimeters…

PC230571a
Could this be a Golden Damselfish?
They are small but are quite aggressive towards ‘intruders’ coming into their territory…

PC230613aThis Coral Grouper caught my eye as it was moving about, looking for some crevice to hide…
This is a very popular table fish in seafood restaurants in Asia…

PC230626a
Am not so sure, but I think this is a Squat Lobster…
It was hiding comfortably in some kind of barrel coral…
Not too big… perhaps twenty centimeters?

PC240831a
Collared Butterfly-fish are often seen in pairs, and sometimes in large groups…
They feed on coral polyps…

PC240836a
This starfish looked like a stuffed pillow to me…
Not too often that I came across such a specimen…

PC240852a
Arc-eyed Hawkfish perched on top of a coral head…
They like to dart around, but I think they are very photogenic subjects…

PC240870a
Freckled Hawkfish looking very pretty…
They feed on small fishes or shrimps…

PC240872a
I believe this might be a Red-cheek Anthias…
They congregate in large schools, swimming against the current…
They are one of my favorite fishes to photograph…

Kumquat, Sugar and Pixels

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Mrs. N's Ordinary Life

The diary of a foreign wife living a simple life in the countryside of Japan

Sho' Nuff Sistuh's Guide to Organic Gardening

Where organic gardening, sub/urban ecology and food independence meet

Keats The Sunshine Girl

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Visit Malaysia

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

books@me

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Wandering Thought

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Life in Kawagoe

Japanese daily sight

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

My Nice Garden

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

My Little Potted Garden

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

High Desert Garden

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Suburban Tomato

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

இBaŋaŋazஇ

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

STEPH'S GREEN SPACE | My Green Stories | My Garden

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Andrea's Plants, Photos and Travels

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Baking Diary

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

MY LITTLE GARDEN

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Photos by Senior Hiker

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Elephant's Eye

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

S T i l e T To

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Desert Colors

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

No techno stuff allowed!

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

MyJourney

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Kebun Malay-Kadazan girls

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Urutora No Hi

This photo-blog documents the ‘experiments in life’ (borrowing from Mahatma K. Gandhi) of a Malaysian national who has been residing in Japan since 1987.

Palm Rae Urban Potager-A Modern Day Kitchen Garden where Organic Living is our daily goal

A Modern Day Kitchen Garden where Organic Living is our daily goal

Garden to Wok

Fresh and tasty!

Out Of My Mind Images

living life with a camera in one hand and a pencil in the other :)