The Lotus Flower Project


I have always like flowers that float on water, but are they lotus flowers or waterlilies?
Last year before our trip to Japan, I bought 6 Lotus seeds at a farmers market here in Victoria, and I’m going to grown them so thought I’d share my Lotus adventure with you. Not as exiting as Japan but to me just as exiting in its own right.

If you Google “lotus flower” you get to see some of the most amazing flowers, have a look HERE

Now the difference between the 2 is quite obvious once you know it. Lotus flower leaves don’t lay on the water and their petals look more like closed hands, instead of spread out fingers. I found a good picture to illustrate this on another blog (check HERE). Funnily enough the only flowers I took photo’s of seem to be waterlilies, although I cannot find one group of pictures of water flowers.

Anyways, now we know the difference, which difference does that make to us? None really unless you plan on eating your flower, not sure if waterlilies are safe to eat, but Lotus flowers are.

This is the set I bought, a takeaway box, 6 seeds ( I had taken out the 3 I used already before picture), 2 pieces of sanding paper, and instructions.

I’ve decided to start with 3 seeds. if that works I will do the other 3.
Lotus seeds are known to be the oldest surviving and fertile seeds in the world.
While looking for info about the difference between lotus and lily, I read that carbon dating on a seeds indicated it was about 1300 years old, and when planted it germinated and produces a viable plant. Check out THIS article on the Kew Gardens website. By the way, Kew Gardens is one of my favorite botanical gardens. If you ever visit London, it’s worth a trip.

So I found myself a bowl with tepid water, about 5-10 cm deep. I took my 3 seeds and sanded off the flat end of the seeds to facilitate germination.
Then I popped them in the bowl and now we simply wait.

Each day you need to change the water and I will keep you up to date on my process.

Have a nice day


When a ‘Circus’ makes you wonder what goes on in the head of dolls

My friend Marlis introduced me to a lady who designs and gives birth to some very unusual BJDs (ball jointed dolls), Nefer Kane. Gosh to be honest Marlis is a very naughty friend as she introduces me to so many lovely dolls!

There are heaps of BJDs around, 100s of different companies, artists, designers, models, sizes, but Nefer’s dolls are unique. They have a haunting look, they don’t conform to the current standards of beauty physically, they are ‘Nefer’ no other way to describe them.

Nefer and her dolls make me think. I always wondered if her name derived from Nefertiti ( I should ask her one day) and as such is Egyptian in origin. Did some searching on the internet and came across the hieroglyph for Nefer,


Unless you know her dolls you wont see what I noticed staight away. Her dolls look like the Nefer hieroglyph! Seems that they are Nefer in more than one way. 

I added the hieroglyph over a picture of her Iracebeth (see for more pictures of this doll. I did not take the picture I used a blurred one from her site) to show you what I mean.



The tall narrow spine and neck, the slim arms and rounded hip area. Just like the hieroglyph.

Unfortunately Nefer dolls are out of my budget reach, so for me it’s a simple case of eyecandy I look at them and wonder.  I wonder what goes on in their little heads, why the sad look and what they ate to have such a wonderful round bottom and thighs!

Seeing Nefer is based in France (If I recall correctly! Sorry Nefer if I got that wrong) it must be some scrumptious French desert or entree. A piece of baguette with a chunk of brie, a yummy croissant filled with apricot confiture..arghhhhh hungry now.

So do check out her website at WWW.CKDOLLS.COM and blog and judge for yourself. She is an artist.


Boo! Here I am again

Sorry to all those who followed this faithfully for going “poof” in July. I’m back, with a few more things to share about Japan and about my plans for 2013.

Working on a lovely christmas ornament which I will share with you all later this week

Good to be back!


Around the Bōsō Peninsula in a day – The reclining Buddha at Jorakuzan Mantokuji temple

We’ve been back awhile but I still need to update some of our last weeks in Japan. I’ll backdate them so for future reference they still fit into the right order and such)

Leaving Tateyama Castle we made our way south to visit Jorakuzan Mantokuji temple with one of the few reclining buddha’s of Japan.
The temple is rather new, having been made in the mid 1980’s but it’s still worth a visit.


In comparison to many temples and shrines here you can actually get really close to the statue itself and touch it.
It’s said if you walk around the buddha 3 times in clockwise direction, made easy by a walkway which goes around it in a spiral, and then touch the feet of the Buddha your wish will be granted.


I had nothing to wish for, I guess after spending so long in Japan, on a holiday really I feel rather blessed and not in need of anything to wish for (although on departure I sure wished for a ‘beam me up Scotty’ machine to beam our luggage over!). THe Smurg enjoyed the fact that there was no “don’t touch that!” moment and she could roam freely, touch freely and with all the restrictions of being in a city, she loves freedom.

I came away with another ema for her collection and a gorgeous jade prayer bracelet given to me by the other half, some nice pictures and a sense of contentedness (is that an English word?)

If you ever plan to visit this place, it might be handy to know that upon approach from the north the entrance to the temple will be on your left, right before a 7-11. When we visited there was no sign indicating its presence beside the red torii.

We decided to continue driving south and then back north around the other side of the peninsula. Weather still awful, now with a steady drizzle which made it little fun to get out of the car.

This was the southern most point and down that way *points* Australia should be… oh I miss home at times.


Missing home or not our intrepid explorers trod on and slowly start making their way north when lo and behold! One spots a windmill!


Some things are just not expected in Japan, Mt Rushmore, windmills and other oddities. It turned out to be part of the Maruyama district ‘Shakespeare Village’.

Unfortunately at the time they where doing some major maintenance work

Seems many places we went to decided to do just that when we decided to visit, alas, it was a lovely curiosity. I hopped out of the car and peeked inside one of the windows and saw this wonderful miniature reconstruction of ‘The Globe Theatre”


The rest of the journey was rather uneventful, dreary sky, rain, gorgeous rugged coastline, uncooperative cormorants (these are birds the Japanese train to fish for them. More about them on Wiki) who refused to stay put while I focused camera (cheeky ones!) and a lot of hills.
Still love to go about the Japanese countryside and see villages and towns where there is little or no tourism


Around the Bōsō Peninsula in a day – Tateyama Castle

After our visit to the Gake Kannon Temple we set off south again to visit Tateyama castle.
Plans had been to go to Himeij, but as we hope to come back one day, we decided to leave Himeij and Nara for our next visit.

Although Tateyama Castle is new, as in as new as 1982, it is based on Inuyama Castle build in 1440 (and said to be Japan’s oldest castle) so gives a good idea what it would/could have looked like.
Build on top of a hill, the white structure looks stunning against the green treetops it towers above. We took a leisurely stroll up the hill, with a Smurg who kept wanting to go ‘that’ way. That way being a direction not in harmony with the direction The Parents had said. Very funny how quickly they get independent and decide to go their own way, when they so feel.


Nowadays Tateyama Castle is mainly devoted to exhibits pertaining to the epic novel Nanso Satomi Hakkenden, by Edo period author Takizawa Bakin.
Takizawa Bakin was a dedicated writer. Wiki says:
Nansō Satomi Hakkenden (南總里見八犬傳?, or using simplified kanji, 南総里見八犬伝) is a Japanese 106 volume epic novel by Kyokutei Bakin. It was written and published over a period of nearly thirty years (1814 to 1842). Bakin had gone blind before finishing the tale, and he dictated the final parts to his daughter-in-law Michi. It is translated as The Eight Dog Chronicles,[1] Tale of Eight Dogs,[2] or Biographies of Eight Dogs [3]”

I have not read it but I have added it to my ‘to read’ list. Apparently it’s still considered a wonderful piece of literature.
WIKI as more here.

The castle if full of books and drawings about this novel and it’s writer.

I loved the octopus with the banjo


and sumo wrestlers

There is a beautiful view from the castle, and only for that it’s worth visiting.
Unfortunately when we were there the weather was less than cooperative for views (or good pictures)

When you walk down you pass a small peacock garden
I’m not a fan of zoo’s, and this one made my heart cry when I spotted a solitary monkey in a cage with no toys, noting to keep it entertained and looking particularly sad. I broke all rules and fed the poor thing an orange (no flames! there were orange skins in the cage, so he eats them) he sure looked a lot more alert while trying to peel his food.

And yes, that’s the Smurg, quite enthralled by the peacocks.


Around the Bōsō Peninsula in a day – Gake Kannon Temple

After having some lunch at the restaurant next to the Hanto-Kanaya Spa outside Futtsu, we set off to our next destination: the Gake Kannon Temple.

Established around 717 by a priest called Gyoki. Gake Kannon means cliff temple, and I the name is most appropriate. Build against a nearly vertical rock face, you wonder how they ever got it there 1300 ago.


At the foot of the temple there are a few buildings


and a huge cemetery

If you ever visit, take the path on the right side (when facing the temple) it’s a lot less steep than the stairs on the left side!

Walk about half way up and you come to an area with a few more buildings and the office where you can buy your Ema. I’ve been getting The Smurg one at each temple or shrine we visited as a souvenir


Above the cliff face behind one of the buildings someone carved a word and a face

After our visit to Nikko, I spotted more and more sculptures of elephants around temples. This one had a couple too


There is something odd about some of them, maybe its their fierce look. So the on carved on this pedistal looks very realistic.


The interesting thing here was the shrine with the cobra statues. In these 3 months I have not come across any cobra’s at shrines and I cannot seem to find any information about them either.
It was sitting in between a whole lot of smaller shrines to Inari, but no references to Cobra’s in relation to Inari either.CIMG0951

Again an unusual Chōzubachi, this one hewn into the cliff

And then up to the actual Gake Kannon temple. The temple itself was closed but the view, even if the weather was so so, was spectacular!

Then back down again. Anything high up makes me a little nervous. Kids at nearly 2 are like eels, slippery and off before you know it. She likes stairs though, so it was easy to convince her to leave, not an easy feat normally with our little explorer.


One last glance, still wondering how they ever got it build, and feeling sorry for those who dragged all the materials up the cliff,


we set off to our next goal, Tateyama Castle


Around the Bōsō Peninsula in a day – The crevice shrine

Days off again and we’ve decided to check out the Boso Peninsula. The weather is said to be overcast and rainy so a drive might just be the thing.

Narita, where we are staying, is on the Northern tip and the peninsula is east of Tokyo Bay and North & West of the Pacific.

We set off and took the tollway to Chiba and then just drove south along the coast.

Our first stop was between Kimitsu and Futtsu. Along the road we drove past a small Shinto shrine and stopped for a quick look.


This was quite special as the shrine was built inside a natural crevice. The Chōzubachi was rather primitive, but I like it as it’s different from others seen so far

These two are standing next to the stairs up to the shrine

The water seeped down from the back wall, and the whole thing is covered in lichen and ferns. Notice the statue on the right, against the rock? He is quite well camouflaged

To the right, there was a sign, which I think might have explained more of the shrine, but I can’t read it. That’s such a frustrating feeling! I speak/read/write 5 languages and feel totally at loss at times here.

Always love to look for statues and tiny shrines in unusual places

We didn’t go and check the shrine at the top of these stairs, as we weren’t sure (not sure why) if the area was closed off.

Good reason to go back again one day


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