It was a glorious morning to patrol for spawning salmon on Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby today. Clear and sunny, with the air crisp and clean, the water clear. When you get focused on finding fish, you almost forget you're in the middle of a city.
A huge redd, or nest of eggs, laid by spawning salmon. It may be hard
to imagine, but three older farts in their 50s & 60s stood in awe at this
beautiful sight for a couple of minutes. This represents success-to have
salmon return to the creek against incredible odds, and lay the seed for
a new generation.
OK, I'm finally getting back to posting more photos of our Japan trip in October. I'd left off with shots from Nikko, a World Heritage Site that I'd visited several times when I lived in Japan. It was great to be back, and as I mentioned, my wife Yumi and I arrived on the day of a biannual parade that re-enacts the transfer of the remains of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu to the site hundreds of years ago. While folks in the thousands gathered for the parade, Yumi and I explored remoter parts of the beautiful shrine complex, then trotted back in time to catch the parade.
Late autumn is a visually glorious time. For many runs of Pacific salmon, it's also a time of death, and laying the seeds of rebirth, in a natural cycle.
While I accept death, it upsets me when salmon make it all the way back to where they were born, yet die before they can spawn, and lay the basis for a new generation in "my" creek, the creek that I and dozens of other streamkeepers devote thousands of volunteer hours to.
Today my wife and I saw nine salmon in the creek that flows through our urban watershed--Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby. One chum, spotted with fungus and near death, stolidly guarding her redd, the nest that she'd carved out of the gravel in the creek. Several expired coho, unfortunately most not spawned before death. And five live coho attaining their magnificent spawning colours, and still full of life, though they too, will expire soon.
I've got cans of salmon in my cupboard. I've got a couple of pink salmon in my freezer that I caught while fishing this summer. But I still hold a nearly reverent sense of wonder for these lovely fish that have travelled so far to come back to this struggling, oft polluted little creek in a big city.
Leaves and remnants of snow in Ron McLean Park near the tennis courts
A striking coho male
A coho female. We knew as soon as we pulled her body out of a pool
that she had not spawned. The bulge evident in her belly indicated
she was full of eggs
The stoic chum mum, nearly dead, but still watching over her redd
As always, I NOTE that it is illegal to interfere with spawning salmon,
and that streamkeepers have training, and permission from DFO, to
monitor and collect data on spawners.
I was cruising the web tonight, and a sudden eddy of nostalgia made me search WordPerfect. You, know, WP! You don't know? Why, WordPerfect used to rule the word-processing roost on both PCs and Macs for years before MS Word gradually achieved a near-totalitarian dominance of the market. I cut my word-processing teeth on WP, and XyWrite. . . but that's another story. . .
To my pleasant surprize, WP Office commands 4/5-star reviews from major computer magazines and is way cheaper than MS Office. With holiday pricing in effect, and upgrade pricing allowed from MS products, I was tempted for a moment. But I have enough office suites on my machines, since I also install Open Office on all of them.
Anyway, as I perused the WordPerfect website, I noticed the following. Sure hope it's not indicative of WP's spell check. . .
As I did a patrol for spawning salmon along Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby today, I kept stopping to take shots with my teeny Canon SD780Is pocket camera.
It's so sad to see these lovely fish unable to fulfill their natural life cycle. They have travelled from creek to ocean, and back to creek, over several years and perhaps thousands of kilometers. They have overcome incredible odds - on the order of a thousand to one - to survive from egg to alevin, from alevin to smolt. To move out into the ocean as smolts and survive predation and fishing, and grow from perhaps 10cm to 60cm or more, and make it back to the creek where they originated.
I've been working with Language Lanterns in various capacities for at least 15 years, but it's taken a long time for it to sink in that I have become one of the principals, following the passing of my Mom, Sonia Morris, a few years ago. Big, very big shoes to fill, and my Mom's sister--Roma Franko-- and I, still struggle at times without her. . .
So, Mom, we're going Facebook and Twitter!
I've been FBing and Tweeting for years, personally, but have never used either medium for promoting Language Lanterns or my own business. So this is uncharted territory for me.
Here we go, both works in their infancy, and in progress:
Choco wandered into my office meowing plaintively while I was
editing another Language Lanterns Ukrainian - English translation today.
Hello? Can't hear me? How about I jump on the desk?
I need some attention and affection, eh?
Hah! Can't ignore me now!
A folded towel - how nice of you. I'll catch a few winks while
I supervise from over here.
This next set of photos finds us in Nikko, Japan, a World Heritage Site, and a place were a few of Japan's founding shoguns are enshrined. It's a lovely place, with flamboyantly carved and decorated shrines, lush forests, and, often, crowds of people. Little did we know that we arrived on the day of a biannual recreation of a parade re-enacting the transfer of the remains of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu to the site. That actually proved to be beneficial, as we wandered the further reaches of the lovely grounds in peace while most folks congregated along the parade route. No worries, I'll have parade photos up in my next post.
Me in front of a fabulous gate
The famous monkeys
A lovely little rest area
Yumi getting ready to board the bullet train : -)
Nikko is famous for its water, and there are many public fountains
along the main road between the station and the shrine area
And what's Japan without Hello Kitty?
Mount Fuji from the bullet train as we zoom off back to our hotel
in Utsunomiya. Eerie scene is the result of a tiny pocket camera from
a train doing over 200kph at dusk.
I think this was my third or fourth time in Nikko. I believe my sister and I visited together when we first went to Japan in 1985, and then I went there at least once, if not twice, during the 14 years I lived in Tokyo.
There were gaggles of Japanese high school girls in their short plaid skirts on the local train from Utsunomiya to Nikko the morning Yumi and I went. It occurred to me that the first time I went to Nikko was well before they were born. And I had not a single white hair. Sigh. I whispered to my wife "would you like to be a high school girl again?" No way! The cruel awkwardness of youth is behind, and our best days are yet to come, eh?
As mentioned, I am not giving exact dates to these photo collections. They are from my trip to Japan from Oct. 10-24. These are from Osaka.
Approaching Osaka Castle
Me, by a gate
The canon is a signal piece from a later era
The reconstruction shows the gaudy style preferred by Toyotomi Hideyoshi
There are many massive stones in the moat and base, some weighing
over 100 tons. What's amazing is that often they came by ship from
hundreds of kilometers away, donated by vassal daimyo. Remember,
we're talking late 16th C technology here!
A more modern building with fire/quake practice underway. Must
be quite the slide down one of those chutes!
An electric Nissan Leaf that we passed on the street at a rental car place.
The proprietor was very friendly, giving us a tour of the car inside and out.
It was our first time in Osaka, and in the evening we went to Osaka Station City to look for a place to eat. Took the escalator up ten floors to the restaurants. Each floor was 85% young women out shopping. Everything on the restaurant floor was $25/person and up. Not our style. We took the train one station over to Temma, figuring a smaller station would have cheaper eats. Found an amazingly long shotengai, or shopping street. Ended up eating too much for about $9/person. I had a Nagasaki sara udon set that came with five side dishes, while Yumi had champon noodles.
Yumi near the bottom entrance to Izumo-Taisha, one of the most
revered Shinto shrines in Japan. Unfortunately the main building
was under renovation, but we still enjoyed the trek up the hill, the
huge straw "ropes", and the other buildings.
There is a series these "torii" or gates along the way
The old Taisha train station is wonderfully preserved and evokes
memories of a bygone age.
A fanciful, and somewhat phallic, turtle decoration on the roof tiles.
Turtles symbolize long life.
And on to Matsue to visit the castle. Unfortunately is was raining steadily
but we persevered.
Part of the moat
The lovely keep
View from the top
Just starting to get some autumn colors
Samurai helmet with devil motif. There's an excellent collection of armour
in the keep
Though I've seen lots of samurai armour, I'm always surprized
at how small these fighters were. Few appear to be over 5'4" to 5'6"
or so. And slender - so the armour could weigh nearly half as much
as the man wearing it. No wonder some accounts of battles describe
mass slaughter when exhausted forces encountered fresh opponents.
And one little bird with one big bug on the keep's roof!
We enjoyed Matsue, despite the steady rain. Ironically, the city is known for the wonderful sunset views toward the Sea of Japan. So tourist info centres, kiosks, hotels, etc., have signs showing sunset time, and the probability of clear weather - which was zero percent during our visit. I'm sure the scene below must be lovely during a gorgeous sunset!
Izumo and Matsue are off the beaten tourist path, because it takes a good four to five hours to get there by train from the more populated and well-known Pacific Ocean side of Japan. But it was well worth the trip, and I hope some day we will personally experience a Matsue sunset!
Oh yes, it was also fun recognizing locations in Matsue used for photo shoots of Japan's NHK "Dan Dan" drama series, which we watched some time ago on TV Japan in Canada.
Passing the time on trains is a lot easier when you pick up bento boxes
of delectable food : - ) Most major stations have "eki-ben" or "station
bento boxes," often featuring local delicacies.
There was a ceremony of remembrance, dedication of a park bench, and a potluck gathering to honour Burnaby streamkeeper extraordinaire Jennifer Atchison today. Unfortunately, I and a couple of other folks were at a SEHAB (Salmon Enhancement & Habitat Advisory Board) meeting, and arrived late, but were generously excused, for Jennifer would have understood. She was active on the SEHAB board in her time.
I posted about Jennifer's passion and passing here, just over a year ago.
Here are a couple of shots of the bench overlooking Stoney Creek, which she loved so much.
Here's a screen shot of one of my recent FB posts. It shows a clip of the "targeted" ads that appeared
for me today:
Less Paperwork, Less Waiting, More Action.
Information sharing, transparency, leveraging of social media...
Collaboration, shared resources...
This is not only for business. I know some "Free Radicals" in the NGO sector. We ought to cultivate them at all levels of government, too.