20 February 2015

Perry Island

Sarushima, an only natural island in Tokyo bay is just ten min away by ferry boat from Yokosuka.  Its Japanese name, "Sarushima," means "island of monkey" although there is none on the island.  The name came from a legend of Nichiren, a famous Buddhist monk, who was led to this island by a white monkey when he was caught in a sudden rainstorm. 

When Matthew Perry came to Japan in 1853 to open the country, he, of course, found this island and wrote about it as "Perry Island."
Located at the narrowest point in Tokyo Bay, it was an important place for defending Tokyo from the sea.  Since the end of Edo era there had been gun batterirs.  

It was a "Cormorant Island" rather!

Pelagic Cormorant (ヒメウ)

Japanese Cormorant (ウミウ)



I thought it was rather a rare opportunity to see both grey and Japanese wagtails at the same place, at a paddy field!

Japanese Green Woodpecker(アオゲラ)

16 February 2015


Our sketching event entered its second year and we had the sixth one at the Shinobazunoike pond in Ueno, the same place we did the first event.  We now seem to have several regular attenders and I am very grateful to them.
Here is the official blog page to find photos and sketches from the day.  


Pintail and other ducks (オナガガモ)
It is always challenging to paint the water reflection but I love it.  

Black-crowned night heron (ゴイサギ)
I used gouache for this piece.  Since I went to the special exhibition on an unfamiliar French artist called Robert Coutelas at Shoto museum in Shibuya, Tokyo, I was in the mood of trying opaque, thick paint.
It takes rather a long time to paint over in layers for field work but it is a brilliant media to catch certain atmosphere.

This time, I was focusing on shadow and light.  

During the crit, we found that several people drew the pattern at the back of the pintail!  It's interesting to know what drew people's attention.  

Common Gull (カモメ)

14 February 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you have a sweet weekend with loved one!

In Japan, valentine's day is when girls give chocolate to someone she loves or boys in her class or club or at work.  And boys have nothing to worry except if he will get any chocolate or not!

13 February 2015


I made some illustrations for this scientific book about barn swallow for children and teenagers by Wataru Kitamura published by Seibundoshinkousya. 


I worked in linocut again for these illustrations.  

The end paper also has my swallow stamps!

ツバメの親はどうやって、お腹をすかせているヒナを見分けているのだろうか? そんな疑問にも答えてくれる。

12 February 2015

Foraging Bar-tailed Godwits

I felt really honored to draw a cover image for Dr. Sjoerd Duijns's thesis on Bar-tailed Godwits.
It was at the International Ornithological Congress that we met each other.  He came to our art show and looked at my portfolio and asked for this!  You can read his wonderful thesis from here.   
夏に立教大で行われた国際鳥学会での展示が縁で、オオソリハシシギの研究者、Dr. Sjoerd Duijns氏の論文集の表紙を描かせていただいた!

ヨーロッパにはオオソリハシシギが2亜種が分布していて、片方はスカンジナビア半島からシベリアにかけての地域で繁殖しアフリカで越冬するL l. lapponica。もう片方は北ヨーロッパで繁殖し、西ヨーロッパで越冬するL l. taymyrensis。その2亜種の渡りの中継地、越冬地となるオランダを中心とした西ヨーロッパでの採食行動の違いなどを調べた研究だ。
オオソリハシシギの雌雄ではくちばしの長さが違うので、オランダのワッデン海などで冬期に餌となるゴカイなどが地中深くに潜ってしまうと、雌は餌が採れても、雄は採りにくくなるのでどこかに行ってしまい、雌の比率が多くなるそうだ。逆に、より暖かく餌となる生物が地表面に残っているイギリスのThe Washではくちばしの短い雄のほうがよほど多く観察されるとか!

11 February 2015


町田市立博物館で開催中の展覧会「博物学の鬼才 小林重三の世界—鳥学と歩んだ画家」に合わせて行われたトークイベントで、「バードウォッチングをはじめてみよう」というお話をさせていただいた。
Today, I had a chance to give a lecture about how to start birdwatching at the Machida City Museum, which is currently having a great exhibition of Shigekazu Kobayashi, a Japanese bird illustrator from early twentieth century.



It was a great opportunity to think again on "what is birdwatching" and" what attracts me about birding." And it is nice, sometimes, to have different job from making illustrations at home, getting nervous in front of people and being sociable.  Since it was a talk event which was held along with the art exhibition, I also talked a little about how to sketch birds in the field.  I hope more people will start sketching birds!  

8 February 2015

Doi Lang

I finally refined and put colour on the rest of my doodles from Thailand.
At Doi Lang, we got to see another rare species, Mrs. Hume's Pheasant. Several times, even!


Spot-breasted Parrotbill(ミミグロダルマエナガ)

Silver-eared Laughingthrush(ハイミミガビチョウ)
近年、鳥類の分類学が進んで、多くの亜種が種に昇格した。この鳥もその一つで、古い図鑑にはChestnut-crowned Laughingthrush/ズアカガビチョウと載っているが、ミャンマーやタイ北部の亜種が独立して種となり、いまはハイミミガビチョウと呼ばれているようだ。ただでさえ名前を覚えるのは苦手なのにややこしい!

Crested Finchbill(カンムリカヤノボリ)
It was a new experience for me to be birding at the country border,feeling the eyes of the army watching us!

Crested Bunting was a bird, which our group member really wanted to see...and on the way back to the hotel in the evening, there was a whole flock of them on the road!

Long-tailed Shrike(タカサゴモズ)
A very popular bird among Japanese birders. It was very interesting to know that many Japanese birdwatchers/bird photographers were sometimes more pleased to see species that are included in Japanese bird list yet are very rare in Japan than colourful tropical birds. I couldn't think of why, at first, but now I realised that they are making their own complete bird guide book of Japan!

4 February 2015

Doi Ang khan

I had a chance to lead a Japanese birdwatching tour to North of Thailand, Doi Angkhan and Doi Lang. It meant so much for me to visit the country and connect with Thai people through a job like this. And it was nice to feel that I could make something of my experience of living in Bangkok for a year when I was a child, and that one year would not be just stored in my memory as a past event.  

Rusty-naped Pitta
What a luck we had there!
今回の一番の目玉、チャガシラヤイロチョウ。現地のバードガイドからは見られる確率は50パーセントくらいと聞いていたが、エリアを訪れたその瞬間から、じっくりと観察することができた。飽きて他の鳥を探しに行く人が出るほどに! とにかく運の良い旅だった。

Pin-tailed Green Pigeons (ハリオアオバト)
初日の低地のお寺で。遠く、遠くの木に止まっていたアオバトの尾に針があった! はじめはあまりに遠すぎて枝の上の饅頭にしか見えなかったけれど、しばらくして鳥が向きを変えたら、姿形がわかるようになった。雄は下尾筒がオレンジ色なのがかろうじてわかった。バードガイド曰く、こうして止まっているところを見る機会は少ない鳥だそうだ。

Blue-bearded Bee-eater(アオムネハチクイ)

I hope you know that this is not a dark Ashy Drongo but a silhouette picture of the bee-eater!

Mountain Bulbul(ミヤマヒヨドリ)

Grey Bushchat
At the Thai-Myanmar border.  Barbed-wires to divide the two countries mean nothing for birds.

White-capped Water Redstart(シロボウシカワビタキ)

At the Angkhan Nature Resort just after the sunset and just before we were heading out to the village to have a delicious pot dish. The stunning pointy mountain and beyond was Myanmar.  Several swifts were chirping in the sky.