やっと

Finally, we can see the sky from our apartment. Scaffolding and net for painting are gone.

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やっと、マンションから空が見えます。再塗装のための足場もネットもなくなりました。

Finally the mini-sunflowers bloomed, when I was away from Tokyo

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やっとミニヒマワリが咲きましたが、残念ながら、東京に居ないときでした。シュー、写真を撮ってくれてありがとう。

Thanks, Shu, for taking this photo of the mini sunflowers, which I grew from seeds sent by Hiyoko from Europe.

Finally on land, in Chichijima, after 25 hour boat trip

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やっと、小笠原の父島に着きました。東京の中で、一番遠い場所です。「遠隔地」と呼ばれています。火山で作られた島は大陸につながっていませんでした。だから、自生する動物と植物がたくさんあります。タコノキという植物がタコみたいです。

A large crowd meets the ferry in Chichijima. Small hotels meet their guests, locals welcome their returning family and friends. There was even a steel drum band. Once on solid ground, in an island with a full-time population of about 2,000, you feel that you are in the most remote part of Japan. Well, certainly, it’s the most remote part of Tokyo.

What makes Ogaswara islands a world heritage site is that these volcanic islands have never been attached to a continent. Many of the plants and animals are unique to the islands. There’s been a lot of effort recently on Chichijima to control feral populations of goats, cats, and rats that are disturbing the  local habitat.

Local nature guides showed us around the island by day and by night. We learned about some unusual plants and even saw giant bats with “tanuki” faces. There are many beautiful coves with clear water, and steep hillside walks. Below is the takonoki tree, or octopus tree, named because of the shape of its aerial roots and branches. It also creates giant, nubby fruit.

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