Tuesday, August 06, 2013

My love/hate relationship with lotus continues...

Lotus and I just can't seem to get along. Known as renkon in Japan, lotus root grows all over Iwakuni and the area is famous for its variety of the crop. Those of you who follow this blog may remember my less-than-delightful cultural trip in February when I went lotus root digging. For those of you who missed this personal calamity of mine, here is the link to my blog post "I fought the renkon and the renkon won" so you can be entertained at my expense.

But Jessica/renkon saga continues. The spouse left for his vacation in Illinois today (he will return in two weeks with our two sons in tow, just in time for them to start school) and while I love my husband, I refused to drive an hour and a half to the Hiroshima airport so he could be there at 6:30 a.m. for his flight. I am not a morning person, and I definitely would not have been able to ingest enough iced tea before we headed off to be able to drive on the Japanese tollway system safely. So, I did the next best thing: I dropped him off at the mall on base so he could catch the base shuttle to the airport.

As I mentioned, I am not a morning person. I need at least 24 ounces of iced tea before anyone can talk to me. Not kidding. So, about a week ago, people started asking me if I had seen the lotus fields blooming yet. I was told that they bloom best just after sunrise, apparently. It was also implied that any photographer worth her salt would get out there and take some pictures. No one actually said this, but I could feel it in the air, swimming through the August humidity. So, in each of the three instances where lotus flowers were specifically brought to my attention, I tried to hide my wince and said, "No, I haven't checked them out yet, but I'd like to." Which is totally true. I really did want to shoot lotus flowers. They are gorgeous and native to Japan and are a "bucket list" item. However, early mornings are not my thing. I am a night owl by nature, so I'm usually awake about three hours after sunrise, or 9:30 a.m., whichever happens later.

But since I had to be a "good wife" and take my husband to the shuttle at 5 a.m., I figured I was already up, so to avoid this inconvenience later, I planned to grab my camera and head out to the lotus fields outside the back gate of the base once my spouse was on his way to Hiroshima. I was killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. Fortunately, the weather cooperated. However, my allergies did not.

About two days ago, I started getting a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezes, the works. This is nothing new for me, but whatever my nasal passages didn't appreciate was stronger than my Allegra. Bummer. I've stayed indoors for the most part, because my allergies seem to be better when I am surrounded by central air conditioning. But, a trip out to the lotus fields was on the agenda and I am not one to back down from an agenda.

Within 15 minutes of entering the lotus fields, I felt my eyes start to itch, my nose began to run and at minute 18 I was in a full sneeze attack. I couldn't see well, I kept having to turn away from my camera so I didn't sneeze all over it, and I had to run back to my car for Kleenex. The renkon was beating me once again. Renkon 2, Jessica 0. At that point I cut my losses, gave the lotus fields "the finger" and figured I did the best I could. There are a few shots I liked that weren't obscured by flying mucus. You can see more of my favorites on my photography blog. Enjoy them. I doubt I will be adding any more to the lotus collection anytime soon.

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