January 2, 2011
This is the first diary entry this year. The last year we
sadly experienced a number of deaths around us: Dr. Marsden, the "grand
old man" of the Smithsonian's Minor Planet Center, Mr. Masaki Morimoto,
a well-known retired astronomer, and closer home, Mr. Kenji Muraoka. As
for Mr. Morimoto, I just saw him in July last year at Himeji Science Museum.
As the new year has started, I have resolved that, grateful for the contributions
to astronomy made by these people, I shall work hard with a renewed enthusiasm
overcoming the sadness.
Since the end of the year, I have often been forced to rest
because of the winter cold and less-than-perfect physical conditions, but
today I got myself "psyched up" to take a leisurely stroll in
the neighborhood. The photograph shows Kagamigawa River, which is renowned
for its pristine water, second only to Shimantogawa and Niyodogawa rivers.
Ryoma Sakamoto living not far from the river is said to have walked from
home to Kagamigawa to swim wearing only his loincloth. When I was a child,
my father took me to the river and taught me how to swim. During the physical
education classes at elementary school, we often went to the river for
swimming lessons. There was no public swimming pools in those days. Past
famous Olympic swimmers such as Kusuo Kitamura and Hideko Maehata are said
to have practiced in rivers even in winter.
Today the skies over the distant mountains appear bluish
and bright because of transparent. The mountain seen right above the river
(slightly off the center of the photo) is Hitsuzan mountain famous for
"the moon over Hitsuzan". The scene with the rising full moon
over this mountain is reminiscent of the moon over Lushan in China depicted
in paintings. I enjoyed a walk for about 5 kilometers in a warm afternoon,
which was in sharp contrast with a cold day yesterday.