Rural Kitakyushu: I Hope You Like Frogs

Here’s the third installment of photos from my April 30th bike trip. I spent a long time taking pictures at a very old-seeming shrine called Nishi Ono Hachimangu (西大野八幡宮—West Big Field Hachiman Shrine) in the Takazuo (高津尾) area of Kokura Minami Ward. While I have lots of photos of the building, today I’m going to limit myself to the local fauna.

If you’ve missed the other posts in this series you can read them by following these links: Introduction, Part 1: Snakes and Part 2: Not A Temple.

I’ll be writing a post about the shrine itself once I figure out which of the hundred-or-so photos are worth showing. So today’s slogan is onward and frogward. At one point I was walking behind one of the shrine buildings in order to take some detail shots of its ornate woodwork when I noticed a frog trying desperately to escape my notice. If it hadn’t moved, I probably wouldn’t have realized it was there. I took a few blurry photos of it sitting in some grass, then went in search of reinforcements to get my tripod. The area was quite shaded by the surrounding trees and I didn’t trust my low blood sugar-induced shaky hands to keep the camera steady during the necessary longer exposures.

The area behind the shrine seemed to be something of a frog’s paradise: sun, shade, a nearby spring and small pond, dense undergrowth, lots of bugs, and very little traffic. When I returned, besides the original one I had seen, I discovered many frogs relaxing in the indirect sunlight. Here’s a photo of one of them sitting on a plant. The frog is at most four centimetres long, and probably closer to half that.

a small frog sitting on a plant

Below is a closeup of the same frog pictured above. If you’re not interested in photographic technical details, skip the rest of this paragraph and most of the next one. Except for the one that’s noted below, all of the following photos are full-frame images. The originals are 3.2 megapixels. I haven’t done any cropping except for the previous image, in which I cropped out some leaves in the top right corner, and the big eye that follows the next image.

closeup of a small frog sitting on a leaf

Here’s a cropped detail of the above closeup. There’s a bit of blurriness induced by multiple iterations of jpeg compression, plus I don’t think the subject was absolutely in focus. One of the other images would probably have made a better technology demonstration. Yeah, I’m lazy.

crop of frog closeup, at actual size, 72 dpi

This frog is a little more rounded than the others. I think it’s a younger one.

young frog sitting on a leaf

Here’s another closeup, this time of a different frog sitting in some moss.

closeup of a frog sitting in moss

Yet another frog, sitting on yet another leaf.

closeup of another frog sitting on another leaf

A grey frog sitting on some moss.

closeup of a grey frog sitting in moss

And finally, a frog that turned its back on me in order to stay anonymous. Probably a frogette avoiding the male gaze. Or perhaps it’s hinting that I should move on.

frog facing away from the camera

I think all of these frogs are the same species. As I mentioned above, the rounded ones looked like they were very young. There were a few grey ones and many of the “sharper-edged” green ones, as well as some of the latter ones with patches of grey. This area must be a staging point for recruits into the Amphibian Peace Corps.

Can a frog save the world?

[The next post in this series is Rural Kitakyushu: An Old Ladies’ Farming Club]

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