Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An Academy Full of Surprises...

I just never know quite what you're going to find here at ye olde academy. When you work with adolescents, whose minds are in constant flux with their changing bodies and surging hormones, and when you work with other people who work with adolescents, you have to expect the unexpected. I'm also inclined to believe that our school is an extreme case, too, and I've often wondered if our location (right next to Kashima Shrine on grounds that used to be part of its precincts...and were a bronze age village before that) has something to do with that. Just when I think nothing could surprise me, something does. Sometimes, but definitely not very often, it's something pretty disastrous.

Sometimes it's something much quieter. I like it so much better that way.

Take now, for instance. For once, it's actually not raining, so I'm taking my time heading out at the end of the day. No sooner do I make my way out the staff entrance than I notice something I've never seen before. There, next to the service parking area, is a low sign, kind of like a plaque, bearing the famous photo of a smiling Anne Frank. A closer look reveals the title, "Anne Frank Rose" in Japanese.

Anne Frank rose??!?

The sign is clearly oriented in a particular direction, so I look that way, and this is what I see:

I know; this is a terrible photo, but all I have is my cellphone. The "Anne Frank" rose bush is actually pretty good sized, and it has a number of colorful, yellow-and-orange blooms. The interesting thing is that, even though I've walked this way an average of ten times a week for the past ten years, I have never seen this thing before. Curiouser and curiouser...

There's more to come.

I leave the service parking area, winding my way through the ample flowerbeds I've posted before, and go down the stairs, through the dark "mini-forest" into the staff parking lot. As always, I glance up at the row of tall sugi sentinels that form the outer wall of the campus. Now that their withering pollen barrage is over for the year, they seem far more benign. On second glance, I also can't help but notice that they seem far more purple.

What the...?

(*sigh*...I really wish I had my digital camera right now...)

On closer look, several of the sugi appear to be sporting garlands of fuji (climbing wisteria). Wisteria has a lot of traditional significance in Japan. In ancient times, it was the symbol of the powerful Fujiwara clan, which more or less controlled the Imperial family until it was finally tossed out. Since the wisteria is purple, that color was restricted to members of the Imperial family and/or the Fujiwara (who were more or less directly related to the Imperial family anyway).

Well, our sugi are looking quite noble. I've never seen anything like this, though I know all those wisteria couldn't have climbed up those tall trees overnight! Were they hiding before, or did I simply not notice?

I finally get in my BLUE RAV4, start it up, and drive out of the staff parking lot to head for home. There, up ahead in the roundabout, is a sight which is no surprise, for it has welcomed me every year this season for the past ten years, but it is still glorious.

These are bushes of tsutsuji flowers. They are actually all along the various sidewalks in the middle of the campus, too, so everywhere you look you see explosions of violent pink. (Actually, I got a MUCH better picture of tsutsuji elsewhere on campus with my digicam for the class newsletter, of which I am the director, editor, and sole journalist. If I remember, I'll bring home a copy of the file so I can post it.)

Heh heh. Aren't color tags fun?

(All right...I know what SOMEONE is gonna ask...)


  • We have some nice rhodies churning out the colors right now.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 1:46 AM  

  • What color?

    By Blogger DewKid, at 5:06 AM  

  • What color?

    By Anonymous Joel Hammock, at 5:07 AM  

  • What color?

    By Anonymous Colorman, at 5:07 AM  

  • What colour?

    By Anonymous Prime Minister Tony Blair, at 5:08 AM  

  • Beautitful campus. The flowers this time of year are really wonderful. We have tsutsuji (azalea?) in our yard, but just a single bush.

    Thanks for a colorful post.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 7:28 AM  

  • We have some nice rhodies churning out the colors right now.

    Would those be rhododendrites?

    By Anonymous Riley, at 12:08 PM  

  • I wonder who that SOMEONE is...

    By Blogger agus, at 1:49 PM  

  • I wonder too.. the colours of late spring and early summer ..

    And soon it will be hot hot hot..


    By Blogger Robin, at 4:24 PM  

  • How do make those colours in your post?

    By Anonymous colour blind, at 7:25 PM  

  • Color Blind
    Before the color change, add the HTML tag [font color=X]. (Replace the brackets "[]" with the type used for HTML tags and replace "X" with the color of your choice...but there's no orange or pink, apparently...though there is fuchsia...). Afterward, you have to close it with the tag [/font] (again, replacing the brackets with the HTML tag type), which resets it to the previous color.

    Oh, and you have to use all American spelling. "Colour" won't get you very far, nor will "grey".

    Got it?

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 10:54 PM  

  • You can actually make any color by using the format:

    [font color="#RRGGBB"] [/font]

    Where RR, GG, and BB represent Red, Green, and Blue values in HEX format. If you are not familiar with hex, its fairly simple. Instead of counting from 0-9, you count from 0-F. What number comes after F? 10, of course. What comes after 1F? 20, and so on. For a two digit HEX number, the lowest you can make is 00, and the higest is FF.

    Some examples:

    #FFFFFF - white
    #000000 - black
    #FF0000 - red
    #00FF00 - green
    #0000FF - blue
    #000099 - darker blue
    #000022 - very dark blue
    #FF00FF - purple
    #FFCCCC - pink
    #FF9900 - orange
    #F0E0DD - pinkish gray (ewww)

    You have to think about how the colors mix, but mostly it's about experimentation. Want to learn more? Check this out.

    Anyway, the bad news is that you can't add font tags to blogger comments. :( Only the blogger host can add these tags, as Moody did so colorfully.

    By Blogger DewKid, at 6:52 AM  

  • I should add, that there are 16 color names you can use (as Moody mentioned):

    aqua, black, blue, fuchsia, gray, green, lime, maroon, navy, olive, purple, red, silver, teal, white, and yellow

    Okay, I'll go back into my color cave now. Snerp!

    By Blogger DewKid, at 6:56 AM  

  • What color, indeed!

    By Anonymous Joel Hammock, at 6:57 AM  

  • Nice flowers, MM. Thanks for sharing.

    By Blogger Happysurfer, at 12:30 PM  

  • Almost ten times a week, wow, please go back with your digi-cam :p Now seems like everyone is going to get infected with colours...ooopss, I mean color :)))

    By Blogger @ロウ 。LOW@, at 10:30 AM  

  • Wow! I will like to immerse myself in the nice scenery of this campus... =)

    By Blogger Kurakat, at 10:09 PM  

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