My (Extended) Backyard

You really have to remind yourself that sometimes you need only step out your door to find something worth a few minutes out of every busy day. We’re not getting any older, but that’s certainly no excuse to rush through life; missing the forest for the trees if you will. Nothing has taught me that more than living here in Taki for 4 years. Some people say there’s “nothing here”; some people swear that you have to get out somewhere to get a decent photo; some people just pick up and go to the cities and never look back. I find that every day I’ve counted my blessings that I was chosen to be the CIR in Taki. I really do enjoy the normalcy of life here. Somehow time seems to pass slower on the weekends – when you sit with your feet dangling out the back door of your house, listening to the children play in the streets or the occasional PA announcement, the sun bathing you in warmth (south-facing house!), the smell of grass and earth wafting on the breeze.

I sometimes forget how beautiful the area around where I live is until I go out and photograph it. It’s not that I think it’s drab or uninteresting; there’s beautiful light every evening as the sun sets, and it seems like the whole universe turns green during rice planting season. But something about it seems almost…normal. I suppose, as I’ve driven by the fields leading to my house, on average, twice a day, seven days a week (yes I go out most weekends), 52 weeks a year – that’s almost 3000 times in 4 years – I’ve gotten to feel like it’s my “turf”. My extended backyard šŸ™‚ I will surely miss this when I’m gone, the green replaced with the grey concrete of city blocks and skyscrapers, the sound of cars rushing by, the vacant silence at night where the cicadas and the frogs once were. It’s just another stage of my life coming to an end, but the beauty of it is surely not lost on me, and for that I AM thankful every day.

I went bird hunting in the fields the other week, and here are the results. Tough work, but very fun. I got a bit dirty crawling around the fields and what not, but no pain no gain!

Fields of Taki
This is what the fields look like after they’ve just been planted. By now, they are an ocean of green, almost like a grass field!

Blowing in the breezeShoots
The breeze was blowing, and the afternoon light was casting beautiful shadows.

In flight 2
This is the first guy I tried to stalk. I was bellying up across the road from him but he saw me and took off, and I only managed to grab some in-flight pictures, cropped in heavily.

In flight
The stork again.

Blue
I saw this blue flower by one of the fields and thought it went well with the green background.

A "Couple" of ducks
Finally, I overheard some ducks “conversing” (though about what is beyond me…quack quack quack!) and followed the sounds until I spotted this cute couple. I was downwind but still only managed to get about 10 meters from them before they picked me up. Hard work, birding!

More Ducks
It was my first try at trying to sneak up on animals and I realized it takes a whole lot more time and patience than I had ever imagined! A longer lens also wouldn’t hurt; my 70-200mm was just not cutting it.

Thanks for reading, more pics to come soon! Moving into the final two months of my life in Japan!

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