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Thursday Snapshot: Ajisai and the Rainy Season

This  year's ajisai (hydrangea) bloom.
June is rainy season, and it is also when ajisai (hydrangea) make themselves known. I cannot help but mention them each year at about this time. They are remarkable to me for a variety of reasons, not least because Japan is the place where I came to appreciate them.

It was hiking in Hokkaido, deep in the heart of Daisetsuzan Koen, that I spotted my first wild hydrangea. Hiking down a steep valley to a wild onsen recommended by a friend, I paused to catch my breath. I looked up and saw among the various plants and flowers clinging to the rocky walls a lone hydrangea. It's blue purple blossom waved with the wind that moved down the valley with the stream we were following. It was one of the loveliest things I'd ever seen, so unlike the giant white basketball blooms I'd seen and disdained back home.

Since then, I look for them and look forward to this native plant's show each year. And take my annual round of photos, marveling at their colors and shapes, happy for the chance to see them again. And if you're hiking in the mountains this summer, keep an eye out for this lovely blooms.

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