We found this shield bug on a flower at lakeside of the Kumoba pond in Karuizawa. Japanese name of this insect is Akaashi kasumi game. Its scientific name is Onomaus lautus. The pattern on its back was very beautiful.
軽井沢で野鳥の森を散策中、葉っぱの葉脈に実が付いている不思議な植物を見かけました。最初虫が作る「虫こぶ」かと思いましたが、虫こぶはもっとランダムに葉っぱに出来るはず。ウェブサーチをしていたら、ハナイカダ（花筏）という植物が、これにそっくりな事を見つけました。コチラのサイトによると、「ハナイカダは葉の中央に花を咲かせ、実を付けるおもしろい植物である。葉を筏に見立て、その上に乗る花や実を筏の上に乗る人に見立てたもので、花や実を付けている姿を見れば、忘れがたい植物の１つである。日本各地の水分条件のよい場所に生育し、樹高は数ｍになる灌木である。雌雄異株であり、雄株では葉の上に多数の雄花ができるが、雌株では多くは１つの花しか付かない。花弁数は４が普通であるが、３枚の事もある。」との事です。学名は、Helwingia japonica var. japonica。ちなみにHelwingia（ヘルウィンジア）は、18世紀のドイツの牧師「Helwing さん」の名前にちなんでいるそうです。
When we were walking in the wild bird forest at Karuizawa, we saw very strange leaves. The leaves have their fruit on them. This plant is called Helwingia. Scientific name of this particular one is Helwingia japonica var. japonica. Helwing is a name of German priest. According to this web site, this plant is native to the Himalayas and eastern Asia, all of the species in the genus have simple leaves and an unusual manner of flower growth. The plants are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants), and the flowers appear to arise directly from the leaves, the stems of the flowers being joined to the midribs of the leaves. The male flowers are clustered in a group; the female flowers are solitary or few.
When I went back from work, I found a flower chafer at front door of my house. Japanese name of this insect is probably Shiroten Hanamuguri (scientific name is Protaetia orientalis submarumorea). But there is another very similar flower chafer named Shirahoshi hanamuguri (scientific name is Protaetia brevitarsis brevutarsis). I compared photos of the two flower chafer posted on web sites. But it's very difficult to distinguish.
旧軽井沢の雑踏を逃れ、一本奥の道に逃げ込むと、とても静かな諏訪神社がありました。神社によくあるように狛犬が二匹。そこでアメリカ人の友達が、「狛犬って一方が"あ"って言ってて、もう一方が"うん"って言ってるって知ってる？"あ"で始まって"ん"で終わるからだよっと。」と教えてくれました。昔参加したツアーで聞いたそうです。私は全く知りませんでした。少し気になって調べた所、仏教用語で阿吽（あうん）と言う時は、サンスクリット語のマントラが元になっており、自然に口を開いたときの発生がa、閉じたときの発生がm、なので、始まりから終わり、そこから宇宙の始まりから終わりのひとつのまとまりをさす語として「オーム」と呼び神聖な言葉とされているんだそうです。そのオームが中国にわたり、阿吽と漢字表記されるようになったそうです。日本の狛犬はこの阿形（口を開いて"あ"と言っている右の犬)、吽形（口を開いて"ん"と言っている左の犬)を表しているのですね。今まで気がつかなかったので何か大発見した気分です。今後狛犬を見かけたら注意してみます。ちなみに英語のwikipediaには狛犬は雌雄のペアで、雄は玉（flower of life) に足を載せており、雌は子供 (cycle of life) に足を載せているとの記述がありました。写真を見てみると、なるほど一匹が玉に足を載せていて、もう一匹の足の下には子供がいるようです。
We visited the Suwa shrine in Karuizawa. There were two Komainus (Chinese guardian lions) in the shrine. My American friend told me that right dog (lion) is saying "阿 (a)" and another one is saying "吽 (un)". It means beginning to the end. I did web search later, and he was right. In Mantra written by Sanskrit, the pair of "a" and "un (m)" means "from beginning to the end", indicating "om", which means universe. Chinese imported this concept and described it as 阿吽 (a-un). Then Japanese imported it and made these lions. I found another interesting description in English Wikipedia. According to the Wikipedia, the lions are always presented in pairs of a female and male. The male lion has his right paw on a ball, which represents the "Flower of life" The female is essentially identical, but has a single cub under her left paw, representing the cycle of life. I did not know these facts. Next time, I'll check it carefully.
This is the White dragon shrine (白龍神社: Haku ryu jinjya) in Hakone. You can walk from the nine headed shrine to this shrine. It was about 10 min walk. The small path connecting the two shrine was pretty nice. There were lots of cute birds singing and flying.
After we were back from Oowakudani to the Tougendau station, we walked from the station to nine headed dragon shirine (九頭竜神社: Kuzuryu jinjya) in Hakone. The way was very nice, but the shrine was little far from the station. My guide book said that the shrine is famous and popular. But actually there was no one there. I was bit surprised. I checked the shrine information later by web search, and found that only every 13th in each month, people visit the shrine by a ship and pray. Oh, that's why there was no one there. If you don't like clouded places, please visit there any days except 13th.
We walked from the Oowakudani station to the Abiko station. These two stations are connected by Ubako nature trail, which is good for hiking. Because of the rain before the day we went there, there was a big puddle at the entrance of the trail. So there was no one walking there except us. We were in the green forest listening to birds twittering, and insects and frogs singing. It was not so hot in the forest. During the way, we saw a mark saying "弘法の硯石 (Koubou no suzuri ishi)". 「硯 (suzuri)」means ink stone. 「弘法 (Koubou)」 was a famous Japanese monk, who was born in 774. Somehow I thought that it says "弘法の覗石 (Koubou no nozoki ishi)". 「覗 (nozoki)」means "to peep". You know, 「硯」 and 「覗」 looks very similar, even for Japanese (My Japanese friends may say "No." though). So I said to my American friend, "please look from here!", and we saw beautiful scenery, green trees and white river from Oowakudani (right photo). The river was already cooled down there. We were satisfied by the beautiful scenery. Now I did web-search and know there should be a ink stone-like stone there. Oops! We missed it. Anyway, the nature trail was very nice.
This is an earwig that we found in Hakone. Japanese name of this earwig is Kibane hasamimushi, which means a insect with scissors and with yellow wings. Its scientific name is Forficula mikado. Earwigs mainly eat meat, but they also eat plants. I wonder what this insect was eating on flowers.
I had been wanting to introduce the Mount Fuji one day, since my blog aims to introduce Japanese nature, and the Mount Fuji is like a symbol of Japan. I took this picture from Onshi-Hakone-Koen Park in Hakone. There was a Hakone Rikyu, which was a vacation palace in Hakone for emperors, in this park. The Hakone Rikyu was built in 1885. The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake destroyed the building. So now there is a new building for tourists there. The view from here is great. We had stayed in Hakone for three days. The first two days were cloudy, although I like clouds and enjoyed it though (clouds in the sky can be spice of photos). The last day in Hakone, we had a clear sky and was able to see the Mount Fuji. It was beautiful, although the image was little different from the ordinary image: the image of the Mount Fuji, which almost all Japanese has, is with snow on its top, since it is the biggest mountain in Japan at 3,776 m (12,388 ft).
Black eggs are very famous in Oowakudani. They use hot water there including hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and Sulfur dioxide (SO2), and boil eggs. Since egg shell includes small amount of Fe, iron sulfide is generated and makes its shell black, I think. Egg white was white, and its taste was very normal. We ate these eggs with little salt. Mmm...delicious, as it is.
We went to Oowakudani, which is also called Great Boiling Valley, in Hakone. Oowakudani is an explosion crater created by a large-scale phreatic explosion about 3100 years ago. The crater still discharges fumarolic gas containing poisonous hydrogen sulfide and sulfur duoxide. The bedrock in the area is very fragile due to this fumarolic activity having caused numerous landslides past. In 1910 there was an extensive landslide by heavy rain, sediment runoff attacking the banks of Hayakawa River causing a major disaster with many casualties. This side of the mountain continues to have frequent landslides and collapses since. To prevent further land slide disasters, Kanagawa prefectural government has ben undertaking contingency planning including elosion-control works and lining of mountainsides with stones, boring and anchoring. As the name, Great Boiling Valley, indicates, hot water was boiling there (80 oC!). River from the mountain was white, and all riverside plants were dead. This valley was called "Jigoku-dani", which means hell valley. I think that the name was well describing the scenery.
In Hakone, we went to Oowakudani, which I'll introduce later. During the way back from the place, we went through a small path in the mountain and saw a small reddish frog. I'm not so familiar with frogs, but I think that this frog probably belongs to "true frog". "True frogs" belong to family Ranidae. I don't know why this family is called "true frog". Anyway, this frog can be Yama aka gaeru (mountain red frog), Chousen yama aka gaeru (Korean Mountain red frog), or Tago gaeru (Frog that Mr. Tago found).
We saw millipede when we were walking along the Lake Ashi. We were so impressed by its legs synchronizing perfectly, and making beautiful waves. We were talking about a robot of millipedes. Probably, the program for moving hundreds of legs perfectly will be very complicated, and the robot will move very very slowly if we are allowed to pack only a small computer in it. So again, life is amazing. This small millipede can run without thinking using its small "brain", which probably has very complicated neuron networks.
箱根で印象的だったのは、大きな綺麗なユリが、そこらじゅうに咲き乱れていた事です。このユリはヤマユリという種類のもので、別名ハコネユリとも言うそうです。英語の common name は Gold-banded lily。学名は Lilium auratum。日本原産のユリです。
We saw many flowers of gold-banded lily in Hakone. Japanese name of this lily is Yama-yuri, which means mountain lily in Japanese. Its alternative name is Hakone yuri (Hakone lily). Its scientific name is Lilium auratum. It is native to Japan.
We saw this locust at lakeside of the Lake Ashi in Hakone. Japanese name of this insect is Yabuliri. Its scientific name is Tettigonia orientalis. This locust is very fierce. According Japanese Wikipedia, it eats even live cicadas. I remember that it bit me when I was a kid and trying to catch it. It hurt.
We saw this beautiful big butterfly at lakeside of the Lake Ashi in Hakone. We can see this butterfly in Tokyo too. Actually, I was feeding caterpillars of this butterfly, when I was a kid. If you don't like caterpillar, please don't hate them, because they will become such beautiful butterfly. Japanese name of this butterfly is Kuro-Ageha. Its scientific name is Papilio protenor. It distributes in Japan, Taiwan, China, and Himalaya.
職場のクヌギの木は、昼は主にスズメバチと、サトキマダラヒカゲで賑わっています。たくさんのサトキマダラヒカゲが飛び交う中、ふととまった蝶が羽を開いたら、鮮やかな青色の帯が目に飛び込んで来ました。びっくりしました。ルリタテハです！羽を開いたところは残念ながらとれませんでしたが、羽を閉じている写真は撮れました。ルリタテハの英語の common name はBlue Admira。学名はNymphalis canaceと言うそうです。東京もまだまだ捨てたもんじゃありませんね。
A Sawtooth Oak tree in my work place attracts many insects. Today, I saw a butterfly with blue line inside of its wings. It was a Blue Admira! Although I was not able to take a picture of the blue line, I took a photo of the butterfly. Japanese name of this butterfly is Ruri tateha. Its scientific name is Nymphalis canace. I think that Tokyo has still a lot of nature.
We saw this insect at the Tougendai station in Hakone. Japanese name of this insect is Kimawari. Its scientific name is Plesiophthalmus nigrocyaneus. This insect and its nymph eat decaying log. Actually this insect is not well known in Japan, although the population is not so small. I also did not know this insect, until my collegue told me.
We walked from the Tougendai station to the Hakuryu (white dragon)-shrine, through the Kuzuryu (nine headed dragon)-shrine in Hakone. During the way, we saw a small insect attacking an earthworm. I was surprised and took a video. This insect is Shizuoka-samushi in Japanese. Its scientific name is Carabus esakii Csiki. This insect is pretty fierce. It cut the earthworm and run away. The earthworm was still alive and hid soon though.
旅行記を中断して、ちょっと職場で見つけた虫を御紹介。私の職場は東京のど真ん中にありながら、トンボが群れをなして飛んでいたりして意外に緑豊かです。同僚がそんな職場でクヌギの木を発見。コクワガタがいたと教えてくれました。早速現場へ急行。いました！コクワガタです！東京で見つけると感激もひとしおです。クワガタはやっぱりカッコいいですね。コクワガタの学名は、Dorcus (Macrodorcus) rectus。英語の common name はなさそうです。コクワガタは日本以外にも東アジアに広く分布しているそうです。
Today, I found a Kokuwagata, which means small stag beetle in Japanese, in my work place. My work place is located middle of Tokyo. But it has lots of greens. One of my colleagues found a Sawtooth Oak, that the beetle prefers, in the place. He took me there and showed me his big finding, the beetles! Although the beetle is small, I think that it looks very cool. Its scientific name is Dorcus (Macrodorcus) rectus. It seems that there is no English common name. It widely distributes through the east Asia including Japan.
We stayed the Hakone hotel, which is located in front of the Lake Ashi. Our room was cheap, but we saw great scenery from our window, enjoyed Onsen (hot spring), and our room was really huge and relaxing (ceiling was about 3 m high!). We saw beautiful sunset from the hotel's garden drinking beer (see above photo). The lake is a crater lake that lies along the southwest wall of the caldera of Mount Hakone, a complex volcano.
We went to Hakone and stayed there two nights and moved to Karuizawa and stayed there for three nights. Since I introduced nature of Karuizawa, I'd like to introduce nature of Hakone too. Japanese name of this shield bug is Esaki-mon-ki-tsuno-kamemushi. Its scientific name is Sastragala esakii. It has a distinctive yellow heart mark on its back.
We saw this insect during the way from the Nakakaruizawa station to the Karuizawa station. Japanese name of this insect is Oo hirata shide musi, which means big flat insect often appears from dead bodies. As you can imagine from the name, this insect is a scavenger. Its scientific name is Eusilpha japonica. This insect is not beautiful at all, but it is helping life circles of the nature. Two bottom photos are nymphs of this bug. Actually, we went to Hakone, before we visited Karuizawa. I saw this strange nymph there, and had been wondering what this strange insect was. When I was studying this scavenger, which saw at Karuizawa, my question was suddenly solved.
We found this shield bug at the Yagasaki park close to the Karuizawa station. Japanese name of this insect is Ezo ao kamemushi. "Ezo" means "Hokkaido" in old Japanese, "ao" means blue, and "kamemushi" means shield bug. Even though the name has ezo, it distributes all over Japan.
We found a big long-horned beetle, when we were walking from the Nakakaruizawa station to the Karuizawa station. Its Japanese name is Nokogiri-kamikiri, which means a long-horned beetle with a saw, because its antennas look like saws. Its scientific name is Prionus insularis.
We saw this butterfly at the Karuizawa wild bird forest. Japanese name of this butterfly is Ichi monji cho, which means a butterfly with "1 " of Chinese Character on its wings. Its scientific name is Limenitis camilla.
This is a beetle that we found when we were walking a street named sasayaki no komichi, which means whispering small path in Japanese, in Karuizawa. Japanese name of this beetle is Oosuji kogane. Its scientific name is Mimela costata.
We saw this butterfly near by the Karuizawa station. It has three white lines. Japanese name of this butterfly is misuji-chou. "mi" means three, "suji' means lines, and "chou"means butterfly. So the name describes its feature very well. Scientific name of this butterfly is Neptis philyra.
I saw a skipper during the way back from Karuizawa wild bird forest to Nakakaruizawa station. There is a skipper in Tokyo too (A skipper named "Ichimonji seseri" is very common in Tokyo). But the pattern on its wings was different from Tokyo's one; it has beautiful patterns on its wings. I did web search and found that the skipper is Hime ki madara seseri in Japanese. I did not find any English common name. Its scientific name is Ochlodes ochracea.