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Native to Australia, this fascinating bird is a master of impersonations.


Lyrebirds are most notable for their superb ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment such as dogs, koalas, dingoes, camera shutters, construction zones, music, phones, ringtones, car alarms and more. If you are walking through a quiet forest, it is the oddest feeling to all of a sudden be startled by a loud car alarm or get the eerier feeling that someone is taking your picture as you hear the camera shutter continuously going off.


A lyrebird is either of two species of ground-dwelling Australian birds that compose the genus Menura, and the family Menuridae. Lyrebirds are relatively sedentary, shy animals. They have limited flight capacity and magnificent tail feathers and the striking beauty of the male bird's huge tail when it is fanned out in courtship display. Their unique plumes of neutral-colored tail feathers make them one of Australia's best-known native birds.


See for Lyrebird in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0ZffIh0-NA



Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, Japan ( 5 hours from Tokyo, if you take the Nozomi high speed train) is where you will find this pastel-colored fairytale tunnel.The garden's most prominent features are two, roughly 100 meter long tunnels made of wisteria trees of differing varieties and colors, ranging from white to dark purple. Furthermore, there is a collection of large wisteria trees that together form an enormous roof of drooping flowers.


The history of Kawachi Wisteria began with a boy's dream that the founder, Masao Higuchi, was impressed by the book he read when he was in elementary school and wanted to leave proof that he lived in this world.


Masao was a man who devoted himself to his work during and after the war, protecting his family, but when his life was settled down, it was a dream he had when he was a boy. When he decided and confessed that he wanted to plant a beautiful wisteria in this mountain of miscellaneous trees and create a wisteria garden that everyone could come to see, his family agreed, and in 1968 (Showa 43), he began cultivating with his eldest son. Masao's dream of leaving a living proof became a family dream from this time.


While the engine sound of the bulldozer echoes in the quiet mountains, the work is difficult due to the hard ground and rocky land. It was a daunting task to collect the stones that came out and carry them out by unicycle. Even so, a few years later, the work to make the slope of the mountain into a pedestal was completed, and the Ofuji shelf and the wisteria tunnel of about 1000 tsubo were completed.


The first tree to be planted at "Kawachi Wisteria Garden" was a wisteria that was transplanted from Kawachi Village, which had sunk to the bottom of the lake when the Kawachi Reservoir was constructed and has been carefully cultivated so far.


It has been 50 years since the land was cleared. The tree that started at "Kawachi Wisteria Garden" has grown to Ofuji, which is over 120 years old, and every year, beautiful flower clusters are fluttering and the visitors are pleased.


From late April to mid-May, 22 kinds of wisteria flowers are in full bloom, an absolute overwhelming view and smell!



Sellin is a resort town on the German island of Rügen, which we actually stumbled upon. And what a find!!! It's known for its Baltic Sea beaches and Seebrücke (pier), with a 1920s-style pavilion. Sellin was first mentioned in the late 1200s and became one of the most important spa towns on the Baltic Sea in the 1800s. Wilhelmstrasse is a street lined with grand, resort-style villas. Dating from the 19th century, the Rügen narrow-gauge railway links Sellin to nearby towns. The Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve has beech forests and sea cliffs and shelters rare species like gray seals.


Much like Binz, a neighboring town, Sellin has undergone a huge transformation since the reunification of Germany. However, it still has its old-time charm and resort architecture. In terms of important residents, Albert Einstein spent a summer living in Sellin!


And Sellin has the longest pier on Rügen: 394 metres, which is spectacular!!! It is absolutely stunning – especially when viewed from high above (there are 100 stairs leading to the pier). Unfortunately, this is not the original pier. The first pier with a restaurant was built in 1906 but subjected to both ice damage and fire damage. It was rebuilt in 1925 but, once again, was badly damaged by ice in the winter of 1941/1942. While the pier wasn’t fully destroyed, over time it was neglected and ignored, causing it to be completely demolished in 1978. In 1991, after German reunified, efforts began to rebuild the pier. It officially opened again in 1998 and was based on the original designs of the 1906 and 1925 pier.


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