I know baseball is huge in Japan and in a few other countries around the world but I have never gotten the hang of it. It’s mostly a mystery to me and the few games I have attended haven’t made me much wiser, but it’s a totally different thing when you walk past a junior league game and see the kids really giving all they’ve got in a game! I saw this match in progress (I think they were only training, since there were no dads in the audience, mostly moms) and had to take a few snapshots. I took these with my 135mm lens but most apart from the first photo the others are very much cropped so it looks like I had a 300mm lens at least. Typically I never crop photos in post production or editing. I try to compose as best as I can before I take the picture but sometimes I use cropping anyway, even though it goes against my own artistic principles, as far as a mere blogger is allowed artistic pretentions! Still, if you’re interested in Japanese baseball, stop by a junior team practice the next time you pass one in progress, and enjoy. It’s far more exciting, and totally free!
The last of my posts about my visit to Korakuen park last Sunday. Actually, the first of these photos is taken just a second after this photo from the second post, all I did was shift the focus from the leaves in the foreground to the leaves in the background (ie. the leaves close to and then the leaves far from me, I was pointing the camera straight up towards the sky), hence the “soft glow” effect by the unfocused red leaves in the foreground. Taking pictures of red leaves was something I resisted a long time, mainly because it is such a cliche, just like the photos of cherry blossoms that you see every year in the spring, but hey, cliches can be good to and I thought I really should share the beauty of Japan in the autumn. I hope you enjoy them!
Here’s a few more photos from last weeks trip to Tokyo’s oldest park, the Korakuen. Did you notice the bound woven mat around the tree trunk in some of the photos from the last post and also in the fourth photo of this post? They are traditionally called Komomaki (菰巻き) in Japanese and is a traditional method of pest control! The main target of these traps are the common Pine Moth (Dendrolimus spectabilis – here’s some very interesting but probably fatal photos if you have phobia of caterpillars or bugs) who lives in the branches of the pine trees during summer and autumn. In November the komomki is placed on the tree trunk at about 2m (lower trees have the komomaki placed lower) and when the insects migrate downwards to seek shelter from the coming winter cold they find snug and warm hiding places in the komomaki. It is stuck in place by two ropes, the lower of which is wound very tightly around the trunk while the upper rope is very loose to allow the insects ample crawling space. In the early spring these komomaki are removed from the trees and burned, getting rid of the pine beetles at the same time. The only snag is that another beetle that forest managers usually want to save, the Velinus nodipes or Resin Assassin Bug who preys on Pine Moth larvae also nests in the komomaki. However, controversy around the effectiveness abounds and a study in 2002 showed that at least the modern method of applying these komomaki cannot be proved to have any effect on pest control, leading to some public gardens giving up on the idea and stopping it. The research was carried out in a single park and in order to get a proper understanding you’d probably need to carry out the experiment in two physically similar parks, one with a history of komomaki and one without, as it is possible that by employing these komomaki for hundreds of years the pine moth problem has been kept under control in a manner that is hard to understand from a study in one single location in just a handful of years. It would be great if these komomaki were proved to work though, because they really are attractive.
Tokyo might not have a lot of greenery per capita, but we do have quite a few parks, just smaller and more intensive than most other capitals around the world. I have blogged before about the oldest public park in Tokyo and here is the oldest private park, the Korakuen (actually the full name is 小石川後楽園, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, but most people know it by the shorter name adopted by the nearby station and fair ground). Construction of the park was begun in 1629 as the private garden of the lord Tokugawa and his clan and is very clearly influenced on the gardens of Hangzhou in China, due to the Tokugawa patronage of a Chinese scholar, Zhu Shun Shui, who had escaped China to seek refuge in Japan. The park was opened to the public in the 1930′s but was severely damaged by the fire bombings of March 1945. Due to old age of many of the trees in the park the autumn leaves display of color gets pretty spectacular and it is a favorite spot of Tokyo people to view the changing of the seasons. Here’s a few photos I took, but I will post more during the week. I hope you enjoy!