Bozugataki (Monk Falls)

September 27, 2018

Last weekend I had planned to drive to Karanno Falls, but I ended up going to Bozu Falls instead, because I misread the kanji and entered it into my car navigation system.  Bozu Falls is quite near Karanno Falls on the map, and that is one reason I thought I was heading to Karanno Falls. Anyway, it turned out to be a good mistake, and an interesting morning.

   I parked the car along a narrow road at the foot of Kaneyama mountain. On the way up, I passed a small temple with a house nearby where the local monk resided. There I found a small signboard that read, ‘ Bozu Waterfall, 400 meters’ and realized I was not where I thought I was. Hmm, this could be interesting I thought.

   When I arrived at the falls, I set up the camera and began shooting. I guess about 5 minutes had passed, when I saw a couple approaching  out of the corner of my eye. It was a monk and a female companion. As they passed by, we greeted each other with good mornings. They made their offerings to the local god(s) by sprinkling salt and lighting a candle. The monk then removed all his clothes from under his robe, and then put on a fundoshi, (a type of loincloth). Then he took of the robe and walked into the pool and stood under the cascading water all the while chanting sutras for maybe about 15 minutes. In the meantime, the woman was filling up  a few plastic jugs with water that was emerging from a small spring next to the falls. After they left, I continued working with the camera. I suspect he was the monk who lived next to the temple down the path.

   I was not so surprised to see the ritual, as a sign near the falls said monks used to perform such rituals in the past. I too, found the water and falls too inviting to resist, and  spent some time beneath the falling water. Invigorated by the cooling water and minus ions, I dressed and headed back down the trail, but not before giving thanks to the local deities. I wonder if I will ever get to Karanno Falls?

Morning atop a mountain

September 18, 2018

    Last weekend, I was up early in order to drive to Karanno Falls in Sawaraku. I had planned to photograph the falls in the early morning, when light is at it’s best. As I was driving through Nakagawa, I noticed that the shapes and shadows of the clouds were quite interesting, so I suddenly turned  left and headed to the top of Kusenbu. Karanno Falls could wait another day, but these clouds would not. (Just the week before, I had been up on Kusenbu to take a cloud time lapse.) I always love it up there because of the peace and solitude, and the sunrises are never the same. I will include the sunrise time lapse in my next post, and maybe some photos of Karanno Falls.

  Now that Autumn is upon us, birds are becoming more vocal and active in anticipation of their migration. I am looking forward to going out in search of my feathered friends, and perhaps, a good photo or two?

   One of the harbingers of Autumn is the red spider lily, or higanbana as it is called here in Japan. It has a slightly sinister reputation here in Japan. It is used for funerals, and should not be given as a gift. It is a very poisonous plant, and can often be seen planted around the borders of rice fields to keep out pests, though I suspect wild boar are too smart to even consider eating it. See if you can spot the spider.

red spider lily

Until the next post then.  Tom