Feb 6, 2010

Winter Ends and Spring Starts

February 3, 2010, I went for a walk in the Ikuta Green Space in Tama Ward of Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. There are good walking trails in the woods.

I found paw-prints here and there on the left snow that had fallen several days before, and was hit by the thought that those animal were walking barefoot on the snow and must have been feeling cold! Walking along the snow trail in the wood while having such a silly idea was fun for me.

Beside the wood of this green space, a disused train and steam locomotive were being displayed, and we can enter the train, be seated, and rest inside.

I got a cup of coffee from a vending machine and entered the train so that I could have a rest. To my surprise, there was a very unusual earlier visitor.

Look at this! It is sitting on the backrest of a seat.

A crow, it was a crow.

It came close to me and it looked big! It did not look to feel fear of the human at all. It did even seem to feel superior to the human rather than to be tamed. Suddenly, it came down to my foot and started picking my boot with its big pointed beak! "Ouch!" I felt its strength even from the inside of the instep of the boot.

"Oh, this is dangerous," I thought, if this crow attacks a toddler with its thick strong beak.

At least on that day, the train was not a good place to rest. It seemed I'd better keep a distance from that bruiser and go out of the train.

By the way, February 3, 2010 falls on the day of bean-throwing events (in which people throw beans to repel devils). Shrines and temples hold bean-throwing events February 3. It is said that the day marks the end of the winter and the spring starts on the next day. When I came home, I found an ornamental exorcism made of holly leaves and sardine heads beside the front door.

The exorcism is displayed as a message to devils. The message means "To all devils, if you enter this house, you will be treated just the same way these sardines were treated."

Anyway, a close-up shot of this ornament looks quite cruel.

And, in Japan, the spring starts February 4. Of course, it is still cold, but the nation considers the day to be the beginning of the spring in anticipation.

Ozawa Syuzou, one of the sake breweries in Tokyo, ships bottles of special sake, "Risshun Asashibori," on February 4, every year. The production of this sake has been planned meticulously so that it can be pressed in the early morning of February 4 and be shipped on the same day.

One of my friends, who is working for this brewery, gave me a bottle of this sake yesterday. So, I opened and enjoyed this sake in the yesterday's evening, and nearly emptied the bottle.

This is a junmai ginjo nama genshu sake with a sweet bouquet and briskness. The this-year version seems a bit drier than the last-year version of the same sake.

At the end of this post, I paste the video I took yesterday. This is prettier than the crow.

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