Finally, in mid-afternoon, it was over. The sun came out to dry the streets, I gave Momo her walk, then was off on the bicycle. After my visit to the temple, which you can read about tomorrow, I headed to Lake Kitaura. I never got there, even though it was only a few hundred meters away. The rice paddies next to the lake were so beautiful I spent my time riding along the small roads that lace them together stopping here and there for a picture. The fields are flooded at this time as the planting of rice has begun and the mirror smooth surfaces reflect the surrounding bluffs and sky.
The rains cleaned the dust off of everything and cleansed the air as well, making for excellent visibilty. At the same time, there were still cumulus clouds to catch the sun in their edges and cast shadows on the landscape.
As I headed up the hill to home, I turned out at a workyard overlooking a valley of rice fields. It is just a leveled spot where heavy equipment is sometimes parked and small piles of gravel or soil are stored. In the valley below I could see someone walking a dog.
I could also see the mountain range at Tsukuba City clearly, some 31 kilometers (19 miles) distant. Due to the hill, I could not quite see Mt. Tsukuba itself, which rises 876 meters from the flat Kanto plain. It is shaped like Mt. Fuji, but with a cleft at the top.
I noticed a dirt road leading up and along a finger of the bluff and decided to follow it. It led to a cultivated field and on through a small grove of sugi (Japanese cedars) to a large clearing that looked like it was being prepared as a building site. Around two sides of the clearing were thin stands of sugi marking cliffs. I parked the bike and walked toward the edge of the bluff.
After taking several pictures from different vantage points I headed home once more.
A large cumulus cloud was misting "virga". Virga is a light rain which evaporates before hitting the ground. It looks like wisps of white hair or a veil as it is blown by the wind. When this happens at altitude, novice pilots are sometimes tempted by the thought of a free "plane wash" to fly into it. They do get the plane wet, but also find themselves in a severe downdraft.
My last picture is of a hawk that was soaring with the clouds over the rice paddies. You may need to click on the picture to get the larger version in order to spot the hawk.