The speaker was member Desiree Heald, who presented photographs from a recent trip to Japan. Her trip was to the northern regions of Honshu, and she visited areas hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

The trip got off to a good start with a clear view of Mt Fuji as the plane approached Tokyo. The timing of the trip was the school holidays during April and coincided with the mid-season for the cherry blossoms around Tokyo. Desiree’s photos showed the blossoms on the trees plus others of the roadside gutters full of fallen petals.

In Tokyo Desiree took the opportunity to visit a museum of stag beetles, mostly mounted specimens—though there were also two live exhibits. From Tokyo she took the bullet train to Sendai, a coastal city in Tohoku Region, north east of Tokyo. Here she spotted a Japanese Crow, a large bird about twice the size of our Australian Ravens. While in Sendai, Desiree took a trip out to Tashirojima (Tashiro Island, a small island about 11.5km around), which is also known as Cat Island due to the several hundred cats that live there. The cats are cared for and worshipped by the island’s human residents.

Desiree showed us photos of some flowers, bamboo, trees in bud, a dead Japanese Hornet, unidentified birds and ferns. She visited a fishing village that had sustained serious damage during the tsunami, with the high water mark at 3 metres, some 50 metres from the ocean. At a cherry blossom festival she photographed a pretty Japanese Sparrow; they are attracted to the festivals because of the bits of food dropped by the attendees. From Sendai she caught the train to Akita on the west coast of northern Honshu. Here some snow was still to be found, as spring comes later in the north. Desiree took a sightseeing train ride from Akita and showed many of the photos she took of views from the train. She finished the presentation with some photos taken at a museum for the volcanic glass mineral obsidian, where specimens included some from Hokkaido, Ngano and Aomori.

Colin Prickett