Cleaning time

Cleaning time by nifwlseirff
Cleaning time, a photo by nifwlseirff on Flickr.

Just like my kitties at home, this gorgeous big cat is intent on cleaning, and ignoring me!

I’m convinced my cats at home think they are also tigers!

Dresden Opera

Dresden Opera by nifwlseirff
Dresden Opera, a photo by nifwlseirff on Flickr.

The modern annex on the Semperoper in Dresden for rehearsal rooms and administration.

Sleepy

Sleepy by nifwlseirff
Sleepy, a photo by nifwlseirff on Flickr.

A barn owl sleeps in a log at Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne.

Duck walk

Duck walk by nifwlseirff
Duck walk, a photo by nifwlseirff on Flickr.

A rather wet day, this duck has not even shaken the water from his chest!

Who me?

Who me? by nifwlseirff
Who me?, a photo by nifwlseirff on Flickr.

If I could have any bird for a pet, I’d have an owl.

Turtle dreams

Visitor by nifwlseirff
Visitor, a photo by nifwlseirff on Flickr.

I hadn’t visited the Melbourne Aquarium since it opened, many years ago.

Although it seemed half of the exhibits were closed for renovation, these rescued turtles were wonderfully active and curious.

Visiting Kakunodate

Samurai armor in Kakunodate, JapanEver wondered what a samurai village in Japan was like?

What type of houses they lived in?

What they wore when they weren’t wearing samurai armor?

Kakunodate, in north-central Honshu, Japan, is a gorgeous samurai town, established in the Warring States period, before Tokugawa Ieyasu became Shogun in 1600.

With many original samurai houses and villas, cherry tree carving and craft workshops, art and literature galleries, plus a good share of Edo-period warehouses and merchant lodgings, it’s a great place to spend a day or two.

If you go in spring, you are treated to a 2km stretch of the amazing cherry blossomed lined Hinokinai river, and the weeping sakura (cherry blossom) around the samurai quarter is absolutely stunning! No wonder this town is known as Little Kyoto.

In autumn, the surround hills are a patchwork of colours, and the waterfall and onsen (hot springs) in the nearby Dakigaeri valley are certainly worth a visit.

In winter, the town is transformed into a snow-covered wonderland (as you can see in my photo). In summer, it’s cooled by the breezes from the rivers running next to the town.

Kakunodate, samurai quarter, in winter

Kakunodate, samurai quarter, in winter

Supporting people around the world

Kiva - microlending to alleviate povertyI’ve been an active lender on Kiva for several years now, after a friend suggested he wanted Kiva gift vouchers for his birthday in lieu of traditional presents.

It’s rewarding to see borrowers return after successfully repaying one loan, and write continued  updates about their improved conditions and businesses.

Only two loans short of my 50th, I have a policy of supporting women, with priorities on education, health, and green projects. As there are few loans that fit these criteria most of the time, I often fall back to funding food and manufacturing loans.

If you aren’t currently a lender, why not join Kiva now?

Each Kiva microloan is $25, and you can make a difference in someone’s life and work, pulling people out of poverty around the world.

If you are on Kiva, what are your lending policies?

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