My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Friday, June 14, 2013

SkyWatch Friday: Skies for Jiroemon Kimura

On Wednesday, the world's oldest man in recorded history, Jiroemon Kimura, died of natural causes in Japan at age 116 years and two months. What does this have to do with SkyWatch? According to the article linked to above, "on his 115th birthday, Kimura told reporters he attributed his longevity to getting out in the sunlight." 

"I am always looking up towards the sky. That is how I am," Kimura said then.

So I dedicate this post and its variety of skies from this week to the long life and SkyWatching spirit of Jiroemon Kimura, and to all of us who make it a habit to look up towards the sky. :-)

But first, some perfect musical accompaniment as you view this week's photos: Kyu Sakamoto's hit song "Sukiyaki," whose first line (and Japanese title),"Ue o muite arukou" means "I look up when I walk"  and which hit #1 on Billboard's pop charts in the United States on June 15, 1963 ~ yup, 50 years ago tomorrow! (Told you it was perfect!) :-)


Given that Japan is known as "Land of the Rising Sun" (its name's Japanese characters translate to "sun origin"), I thought we'd start out with Tuesday's sunrise...





Lupine on a hillside blends with Sunday's cloudless Wyoming sky...


Can you see the wee bee in the upper right? :-)
(Click on the photo to see a larger version)

Some not-so-cloudless skies during this week of turbulent (and sometimes violent) weather...



Sunrise-lit storm clouds clear out after a night of wild weather...


Only to start gathering again each afternoon...


This cloud reminds me a bit of Underdog! LOL

Though beautiful, this is definitely not a cloud you want to see looming over your house, as this was over ours last evening...

This storm hurled ping-pong sized hail and did great damage to nearby parts of town ~ 
we were very lucky to only be grazed by the edge of it!

A striped sunset sky with an eerie red glow on the horizon...



And finally, a "cresting wave" cloud...



Seriously, this cloud looked just like a cresting wave when I first saw it, but by the time I grabbed my camera and shot this picture, its shape had shifted and blurred and a lot of its wave resemblance was lost. Still, I wanted to include it because its original shape reminded me of this famous painting by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" (aka, "The Breaking Wave"), and I thought it was especially appropriate to include in a post dedicated to Jiroemon Kimura-san...



Look towards the world's skies at SkyWatch Friday, and live long and prosper!


Our saddened hearts and concerned thoughts are with the people of Colorado Springs, where I know at least two regular SkyWatchers live (as does my sister-in-law and her family). As they continue to grapple with dangerous, devastating wildfires there (for the second year in a row!), we fervently wish for everyone's safety and the end of further loss of life and property!

40 comments:

  1. Outstanding photo set. Very nicely captured images. Have a blessed week-end.

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    1. Thank you, Driller, glad you enjoyed them - you have a lovely weekend too!

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  2. loved your set of photos - and especially with the dedication and quote of the wonderful gent with a skywatching spirit. :)

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    1. Thanks, Tex! When I saw that quote from him, I knew he had to play a prominent part in my SkyWatch post this week, even before I remembered the "cresting wave" photo I was planning to share (I got lucky on the anniversary of Sukiyaki hitting #1 on the Billboard charts!)

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  3. Stunning photos! I like Kimura's theory that it was getting out in the sunlight that kept him young. The sky, like the ocean, has a way of making us recognize our place in the world. We're a breathtakingly small part in this gorgeous universe.

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    1. Thank you, Cadry! And, as usual, I agree with your beautifully-stated observations. (And would like to add that his diet of rice, sweet potato and pumpkins probably didn't hurt, either!) :-)

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  4. Nature's beauty and your beautiful shots of her ~ thanks ^_^

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    1. My pleasure, Carol! Thanks for stopping by (and your little dog, too!) :-)

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  5. What a lovely post and superb tribute to the oldest man! Fabulous.

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    1. Thank you, Fiona, I'm very glad you enjoyed it! (Your SkyWatch post was truly sublime!)

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  6. Hi! Reading your post,I thout it was a miracle.Your articles are splendid across my imagination.
    Did you come from Japan? Your sky shots are very beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Awww, Minoru, you are so kind! I love what you wrote, it really warmed my heart. :-)

      No, I'm not from Japan - in fact, the closest I've ever been to Japan is California! But I always love the photos of the Japanese countryside, and would love to see it in person during cherry blossom time! So, so beautiful. I am delighted to be following your blog, your photos are so pretty - and to have you following mine! ようこそ! (I hope that's right!) :-)

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  7. Beautiful Wyoming Skies. We are headed up that direction this weekend to visit my in-laws. Happy swf.

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    1. Thanks - enjoy your visit! (I'm glad you're not having to drive through C. Springs!)

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  8. Beautiful sky shots. The storm cloud is awesome! Thanks for sharing, happy skywatching!

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    1. Thank you! It was even more awesome in person - it was HUGE! (I could only fit about half of it in the frame!) Happy weekend and happy skywatching to you, too!

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  9. Wow...a post with well-done research, interesting info, excellent photos and a great song...what more could you want. I clearly remember the song and still like it. :-)

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    1. Well thank you, veganelder! It was amazing how quickly and easily - and dare I say magically - it came together! I was only about 18 months old when that song hit #1, but I still remember hearing it (most recently on an episode of "Mad Men," but I recognized it from before). It's a real brain worm, but I don't mind - it's such a pretty, cheerful tune (in spite of the sad lyrics!)

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    2. One of the things that made the song so remarkable was that it was from Japan. This was less than 18 years after the end of WWII and there were (and probably still are) feelings of animosity toward that country and those people from some of the US population. I would suspect that that song served to bring positive attention to Japan from a post WWII generation that would have been difficult to achieve any other way.

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    3. That's a great point, and I agree that music is a powerful force for healing and bringing people together!

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  10. Blew it right out of the water awesome shots!
    Happy Shooting

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    1. Thank you, Saun! I'm so pleased you enjoyed them, and appreciate your visit and comment!

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  11. More beautiful skies from your neck of the woods! I just love to sky gaze and believe that it played a part in his longevity. 116 years!? That's incredible!

    I haven't heard of Underdog for so long. What a blast from the past! I used to adore that cartoon. :)

    Such a shame about the wildfires in Colorado again. I was very sad to learn about them and hope that they don't become as bad as they did last year.

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    1. They've been very busy lately, these photogenic skies of ours, and have kept me busy as a result! We've had crazy weather this week. I know it, that's a very impressive age, and he looked a lot younger than that! (Did you get a gander at his diet?) :-)

      I had a crush on Underdog (my favorite cartoon, along with MIghty Mouse - another crush) when I was a wee thing. LOL When BW read this post he asked me, "Do you still have a crush on Underdog?" I told him that no, in fact I really can't imagine what I ever saw in him, other than the fact he was a dog and a really good guy. Maybe it was the cape. :-)

      I know, it's really awful. I wish something could have been done to stop those pine beetles from killing all those trees in the first place! Whenever I see this sort of thing on the news, I vividly remember what it was like to go through that and count my lucky stars that we suffered so little loss (and I can't get those two people out of my mind who died trying to pack up their car and evacuate and never made it out of their garage...)

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  12. Yes, I'm still jealous of your perfect skies. I guess I find them so perfect because they're so changing and diverse....never a dull moment! And our little "eye to the sky" is always there to capture the moments...or most of them anyway ;-).

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    1. Quite right, Spudly, there is seldom a celestial dull moment here! And you're also correct that there are plenty of photographic skies I don't even photograph - yesterday morning's, for example, had some huge and beautiful "mare's tails" across it! I couldn't have captured them in a photo, they spanned the entire sky. Sometimes I wonder what visitors to the American West who come from places surrounded by big trees or buildings, think when they first see our vast skies. I imagine it might be a bit overwhelming for many! (I had a friend born and raised in NYC who was made terribly uncomfortable just seeing my photos of all the space and all the sky - it made her feel small and vulnerable to not have skyscrapers surrounding her on all sides!)

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  13. That storm cloud is scary-beautiful! Glad you were spared from most of the damaging hail.

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    1. It sure was, though its beauty dimmed for me when I found out about all the damage it did, especially to the beautiful, effort-intensive landscaping at the homes of a couple of our friends who live in its path (it did damage to their houses and vehicles, too!) Thank you for being glad we were spared from that ~ we were extremely fortunate, though we didn't realize it at the time. Things like this can be so terribly random!

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  14. Thank you for another post full of beauty and caring. You warm the cockles of my heart.

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    1. You are most welcome, and I'm very happy to hear that your cardiac cockles are warmer because of this post! (Especially as you're about to enter Winter there!) :-)

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  15. Such gorgeous skies...thank you so much for posting and sharing!

    And thank you for connecting such a beautiful story with it. I knew Mr. Kimura had passed away, and I couldn't help but feel a little connection to Mr. Kimura and his story. (My Grandpa('Oji-chan' おじいちゃん)'s name is Jiro!) How lucky for us that Mr. Kimura shared some of his wisdom with us...looking to the sun. AND, I own a crank style music box that plays 'Ue o Muite Arukou'!! I keep it by my kitchen sink :)

    I have goosebumps now :) which, by the way, I used to call 'bird skin'. Because, in Japanese we call it, 'Torihada'. 'Tori'-bird, 'hada'-skin. The only way I could communicate it was by literal translation, so I would say "chicken skin"! ...Until I learned people call it 'goose bumps' here ;) sorry, a little side story there!

    Thank you for this beautiful post. You've completed my Friday, once again :) Big hugs to you~~~*

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    1. Awww, you are so welcome, Maya! I was hoping you'd see this post, as I thought of you a lot while I worked on it! :-)

      I have to say, Mr. Kimura's story pretty much connected itself with this SkyWatch post! All it took was reading that quote of his and I knew the perfect place to share his story, and the song and wave painting fell so easily and perfectly into place. In fact, I felt like I was on such a Japan-themed roll that day that when two Asian teenage boys on bikes stopped as my neighbor Carol and I were visiting out front to for directions to Main Street in heavily accented English, and Carol asked them where they were from (and a lot of other questions - Carol is VERY extroverted, lol), I just KNEW they were going to answer, "Japan!" BZZZZZT! Wrong. Imagine my surprise when they said, "Russia!" (They are newly arrived here as high school exchange students for the upcoming school year - what an adventure that must be!) Anyway, I loved your little side-stories (well, clearly - I always welcome side-stories in the comments section since I so often post them here myself, lol!) about your Grandpa, music box and "Torihada!" Does "Oji-chan" mean "grandfather?" Your music box sounds like such a treasure - Ue o Muite Arukou would be a perfect music box tune, it's so cheerful! (The sadness of the lyrics were such a surprise to me the first time I saw them translated!)

      I love that this post gave you Torihada (I must remember that word next time I get them myself!), and am happy that this added some delight to your Friday! Big hugs back to you {{{{{Maya!}}}}} ~ hope you're enjoying the weekend! xoxo

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  16. simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

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    1. Thank you! I'm happy you enjoyed them!

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  17. Love the song... Never knew the lyrics but now I like it better associating it with your lovely photos as well. Spectacular skies --- Shazam!

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    1. Aw, thanks! It is a fun song (bit of a brain worm, but I don't mind!) and I'm glad you enjoy the song more associating it with these sky photos - I think Mr. Kimura would have liked that too. :-)

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  18. As is usual with me, I am not current on news until someone brings it to my attention. I had not known about the Colorado Springs fire and am grateful to you for providing the link. How devastating. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have suffered this great loss in this fire.

    These two posts today have provided a lot of reading and side-reading and great photos so I'm out of time for my reply. But I'll quickly mention that my favorite photo by far was the second sunrise you took on Tuesday. My goodness, it looks like that beautiful golden light could have blinded you if you had looked directly at it. What a pretty color!

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    1. I am always astounded when there's a big news story you're unaware of, because even though I know you actively avoid reading or watching the news, I would think you wouldn't be able to help overhearing conversations about it! Does your office not have a water cooler? :-) (If not, better not get one - Creed would spend his days researching the best water to put in it!) Anyway, glad this post was so informative. That was one horrible fire, and it's hardly the only one. Looks like we're in for a very bad fire season. Of course I hope we're spared - our temps right now are cool after a very hot day yesterday, but these strong, desiccating winds have really got to stop blowing!

      I've been waiting to reply thinking you'd be back to comment further, but for now I'll just quickly mention that I almost didn't include that photo you like best for the very reason it was so blinding! :-) It's hard to point a camera right at the sun and not have it turn out funky. Thought I could get away with it since the sun was wedged between two distant trees, but clearly the camera pretty much saw the sun and ONLY the sun! Anyway, glad I posted it and glad you liked it!

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  19. I hadn't necessarily intended to come back since I'd read the whole post - was only explaining why my reply was short compared to the size of the post!! But since you mentioned it, I thought I'd come back and share a few more thoughts and read the comments from Maya and Minoru which were indeed very sweet and fun to read. I'm glad that your message about Mr. Kimura was touching for them and the chicken skin was funny! I suppose Goose bumps is pretty funny to - come to think of it.

    The music video I thought was very interesting in that the tune seemed happy and uplifting yet the lyrics to me were somber and a bit sad. The title and the tune were great so it's a positive impression they've left me with. I myself never look up when I walk. People actually comment on that. I suppose it's because I was an uncoordinated child and would have fell flat on my face all the time had I had my eyes in the air.

    And I certainly don't have your imagination! I see underdogs fist in that cloud now that you mention it but I'd have never seen it. But then again - I am left brained!! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

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    1. Thanks for coming back anyway, I enjoyed your additional commentary!

      I've made that observation about Sukiyaki too - such a cheery tune accompanying such sorrowful lyrics! That song really burrows into my brain. If I listen to it much more, I'll be able to say a lot more in Japanese than "yes," "good morning" and "good bye!" And now thanks to Maya, "bird" and "skin!" :-)

      Yes, I remember that you never look up when you walk - that's why I had to grab the back of your shirt a few times to prevent you from walking in front of an oncoming car!! :-) I'm uncoordinated as well, but either I've figured out a way to multi-task with my vision or I just decided all my faceplants were worth the view. LOL

      You are TOTALLY left-brained. If you ever have a brain MRI your doctors may be shocked to discover you're missing your right hemisphere entirely! ;-) (Seriously, when I was reading the book "The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Modern World" by Dr. Ian McGilchrist, I thought of you constantly! Only made it through chapter one, though, before I had to return it - very dense material, but fascinating!) Anyway, you may also be having trouble seeing Underdog in my cloud because in the cloud his ears and cape are floating upward, while in the picture they're pointing downward. But it was the closest picture I could find to illustrate my point without having to draw one myself. :-)

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"