Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hanami - the time to view the Sakura flowers.

A good friend of ours just sent some photos of the current cherry blossom (Sakura) season taking place in various parts of Japan right now. This is the most popular time for overseas tourists to visit Japan to see this most spectacular show of nature's wonder. For the locals it's a time to get together with friends for picnics and barbecues under the Sakura trees along with festivals that include traditional performing arts.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Is it a home built by the owner, a store that sells musical instruments, a coffee shop or a venue for some live music played with some very different instruments..............yeh it's all of those things.

Just off to one side of a narrow winding road that ascends a moderately steep hill in Kamakura sits a nondescript little wooden shop advertising coffee and cakes. Inside it could be mistaken for a coffee shop, with all sorts of props intended to create some atmosphere for the hapless customers who come in to enjoy the coffee and cake. But then the very friendly owner gets across to you that he built the place himslf when he was much younger - the photographs testify to that when he pulls out an album of photos that show the progresss of the house being built, by a man who resembles the man who is showing me the album.
Musical instruments adorn the beautiful timber walls of this rustic shop. The owner tells me he is a member of a four piece band that get together regularly to play at various venues.

The real surprise comes when the man brings out a bamboo flute which he puts one end up to his nose and proceeds to make music. Yes folks this a nose flute!!
I never realised there were Japanese hippies but I think I may have found one here.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The way of the Samurai - removing branches like a professional!!

Using a "Samurai" brand saw with precision ground and impulse hardened teeth that are nickel plated to stop rust, make the first cut 20-30cms out from the trunk, cutting 1/3rd of the way through the branch on the underside. The effort should be put into the pull stroke with only little effort being put into the push stroke. Japanese blades are thinner that western style saws because the blade is under tension on the pull stroke. The blades are also made thicker at the teeth and tapering towards the back of the blade so that as you cut through the branch there is less friction than a western style saw.

 Next make your second cut on the top side of the branch, 20cms out from the first cut.

Keep cutting until the weight of the branch causes the two cuts to join up. This stops any bark from tearing away along the trunk of the tree.

All that is needed is to remove the remaining stub so it looks like this. All proper safety precautions should be applied when using a saw to remove branches. In a year or two the stub will be covered over by the outer layer of bark.