For a cloudy day in January, it is strikingly warm in Matsuyama city. Matsuyama is the largest city on Shikoku, Japan’s smallest main island. Usually the coldest month of the year, Matsuyama is today enjoying a very mild 14 degrees C.
The warmer winter days are only one sign of the increasing grasp of climate change in south Japan. Regional typhoon patterns are also changing, and the combination of rising temperatures and increasing typhoon damage poses new threats to the region.
The following is a brief guide to the assorted stars, planets and other things that can be seen in the skies above Ehime during the coming month. It will also provide some basic advice on how to see them. Almost all can be spotted without any equipment or expertise whatsoever. All you need is a cloudless night. Many events will be observable on multiple nights while some are more brief – you’ll have to rely on the benevolence of the weather for the latter!
If you’re interested in a guided tour of the night sky, albeit in Japanese, consider taking a trip to Ishizuchi this month. See the Mt. Ishizuchi website for more: Ishizuchi Star Night Tour.
At the start of fall, dark blue puts my mind at ease
–Iyo kasuri – Natsume Soseki 夏目礎石
The famous author and poet Natsume Soseki dedicated one of his renowned haiku to the calming beauty of dark blue Iyo kasuri, a fabric export carrying the name of Iyo Province, modern day Ehime Prefecture. But what is Iyo kasuri exactly?
Anyone in Ehime knows that there is no shortage of nature here, and no shortage of things to find off the beaten path. From the big to the small, the famous and the unknown, after spending the greater part of the last year performing jinja-meguri (神社巡り, “shrine pilgrimage”) I’m proud to announce what I consider to be the top ten shrines in all of the Chuyo region.