Whilst there are plenty of signs that spring has arrived early in Yamakoshi, winter certainly isn’t going away quietly.
The snow has melted almost in it’s entirety, just a few small pockets remain in sheltered spots in the mountains. This winter’s snowfall has been pretty small compared to usual which may present a problem for mudponds later in the summer when fresh running water supplies dry up, only time will tell how they are replenished by rain.
In the week since I’ve been in Japan the weather has really been a mixed bag, lovely warm calm spring days back to back with fresh snow fall, rain, hail and biting gale force winds as we have had today, although the car thermometer read in excess of 21C.
As you can see in this video taken on 16th April, the landscape is changing colour rapidly, the trees are getting their new green leaves which glow in the early morning sunlight, and newly revealed pond sides are getting a new covering of fresh green growth. The mudponds themselves are crystal clear, filled now with just snow melt.
It is interesting to note that some breeders are taking a possible advantage of releasing their Koi early to the mudponds, many however will stick with their original routines, considering the possible cold evenings and days as a potential negative. Spawning, and indeed the release of tosai, it seems will not take place any earlier than normal.
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It would seem that rice farmers have a much more rigid routine and timescale as there is no sign of anything happening with rice fields, either in the mountains or on the flat lands around Ojiya and Nagaoka.
Below a few spring pictures taken around the mountains.
Whilst it may look sunny and warm, notice the surface ripples on the mud ponds above, positively icy gale force winds were whipping across the surface whilst I took the pictures.
Spring is certainly here, but winter hasn’t gone away just yet….