Sketching Kitty White and my sunflowers while watching CSI reruns: summer is really here
Summer is here and for me this means off-season and that equals time-off!! Time to do the things I should be doing (other web-based projects, video editing, fix-me house projects) and the things I really want to do (tend to my fledgling sunflowers, doodle Kitty and Kogepan while I watch CSI, cook, blog, have a life) when the season is going full-throttle.
I will be getting back to some more obscurely aikido-related Kitties in the following weeks (Shingen Takeda and the 47 Ronin) but to kick off my Kitty-blogging return I thought I'd post on a regional Kitty that best describes my enthusiasm for this time of year.
Karuizawa is in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Once a busy and important stopping point between Edo (old Tokyo) and Kyoto during the shogunate era, Karuizawa has been reborn as a favorite summer retreat for Tokyo-ites looking to escape the heat of summer and the energy of city life.
Canadian missionary Alexander Kroft Shaw is credited with "re-branding" Karuizawa as a resort area. It's said that he found the climate and landscape reminiscent of his own home country, so in 1877 he built a summer villa there for himself and his family. He encouraged fellow missionaries and westerners to do the same and soon Karuizawa's new life as the Hamptons began.
Only and hour train ride away from her home in Tokyo, Kitty will spend most of her summer "weekending" at her villa in Happy Valley, Karuizawa. She likes to hike and play tennis, but her favorite pastime is to ride her bike on tree-lined, flag stone paths. She finds the sounds of nature relaxing and it gives her a chance to reflect on her life and the things she needs to work on when she returns to her city life. She also gets a wicked tan.
Nagano Prefecture is the second largest producer of apples in Japan and some say they are better than the Fujis... guess I'll have to do a taste test, but in the meantime, I'll enjoy looking at these tiny, fuzzy versions.