Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Three poppies

Three poppies (C) Lrong Lim

Poppies are normally the first flowers to pop out in early spring. These orange poppies are 'semi-wild' as they are found all over the place. Don't think we can get any opium from them, but may try to harvest the poppy seeds, sprinkle them over my breakfast yogurt, and check out its taste. Olympus C5050, aperture priority, F2 at 400, ISO64

Got up at five this morning.

These days, the air is so dry that I wear a surgical mask to sleep.

Still, I wake up with my nose and mouth feeling 'super-dry'.

Took my usual morning stroll in the mini plot of flowers and vegetables down from my apartment.

It is so refreshing to look at the flowers, especially when the morning sun is shining at a low angle.

This morning, I could not help running up the stairs to grab my camera for some shots.

There are 17 blocks of apartment inhabited by government officials, but almost none, besides me (ahem...) took the 'trouble' to use the empty plot of land that lies in front of every block.

Three times a year, we congregate to cut the grass in our respective plots.

It is a pain in the butt, actually.

Been cultivating the flowers and veggies on a portion of the plot for a while now.

Last Sunday, decided to extend the size of the plot.

The other guys in my block must be secretly cheering me on, for the simple reason that there is now less grass for them to cut.

Am planning to plant a bunch of carrots and white turnips there.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sakura in full bloom

Somei-yoshino sakura in full glory (C) Lrong Lim

As usual, the Japanese are going nuts over the sakuras.

Each year, the whole country seems to be gripped in high suspense as to when the first flower will bloom.

Predictions of the first bloom are generously made in the mass media and when the first petal opens, pundits will deliberate the 'sakura front', detailing the wave of blooms from prefectures in the south to the north.

As if on cue, the Japanese would dash to the parks, jostling to secure the best spot to place their ground mats to party deep into the evening.

It normally takes about a week to reach full bloom after the opening of the first petals.

This year however, due to the somewhat unusual rise in temperature, it took just about three or four days to full bloom.

My favorite lunch spot in town is a Japanese restaurant that specializes in seafood from the Japan Inland Sea.

The shop refers to lady customers as 'sakuras', to differentiate them from greedy men like me who are normally served larger portions of rice.

Initially, I was curious.

Sakuras are pretty flowers.

So, I expected to see some sweet looking, petite office ladies, sitting demurely at the tables, waiting to be served quaint little dishes on mickey mouse trays.

But more often than not, I was disappointed.

Many of those 'sakuras' actually look more like 'dry flowers', or some, even, 'wilted flowers'.

The weatherman says the rains are coming late today.

Come tomorrow, sakuras will be no more.

What's left at the park will be a carpet of pinkish-white petals of wilted flowers...