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TOP > Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar > Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar 2009

Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar 2009

Calendar Introduction

NATURE AND LIFEPhotographer : Junji Takasago

Wrapped around our planet is the atmosphere, which contains water vapor. When we gaze up at the skies, we are not actually looking directly at space, but rather we are seeing space through the filter that our atmosphere and its moisture creates. It is because of this filter that we are daily able to enjoy viewing multifarious scenes ranging from the dynamic to the sublime: romantic sunsets, refreshingly blue skies, and beautiful rainbows. If Mother is the earth, then Father must be the sky, the beautiful heavens where God dwells. Since immemorial time, humans have looked up at the skies in awe and respect. Surely we have always known that by polluting this great gift — that by draining its life-giving moisture — we are in the long run endangering our own existence.

January & February:
The Maldives

The Maldives is made up of 1200 islands, all of them small enough that it only takes between ten and thirty minutes to walk around their perimeters.
The islands lie directly beneath the Equator in the Indian Ocean, and each one is a virtual paradise with swaying palm trees and white sandy beaches. Colorful tropical fish swim among the coral reefs that have developed around the islands, and beyond the reefs the unbelievably deep-blue sea stretches out to the horizon.
Strong ocean currents are always winding between the small islands, continually carrying with them food for the fish and coral. A diver in these waters is presented with a concrete example of the food chain, as the creatures here are engaged in a constantly running drama of either eating or being eaten. After diving here, I found it to be one of the happiest times in my life to enjoy a beer while gazing at the setting sun through the branches of the palm trees.

March & April:
Monument Valley

America's Grand Circle features many national parks, yet Monument Valley stands out as one of the most beautiful and popular. The incredible geographical features that nature has created here create dramatic landscapes, and perhaps stand as arguments for the existence of God. Indeed, Native Americans over the years have continued to regard this area as a holy place, and visitors from any country in the world are always awe-struck at the dazzling beauty on display.
Within the Grand Circle one can find the Arches National Park, home to over 2000 natural sandstone arches, and the famed Grand Canyon, which was carved out of the earth by the Colorado River. There are so many other places of interest in the Grand Circle that I would recommend taking a long vacation and touring the national parks in this area by car.

May & June:
The Island of Maui

Also known as “the Valley Isle,” Maui in Hawaii was created when an isthmus was formed between two volcanoes, one larger than the other. The larger of the mountains soars to over 3000 meters in height, high enough that in the winter its summit becomes covered in snow. If you stand on the peak at night, there are so many stars seemingly surrounding you that it feels as if you have been cast out into space. Though heavy rains might be pouring down below, the crest of the mountain more often than not juts out from the clouds. Rainbows, Brocken specters, and other mysterious natural phenomena can also often be encountered here.
Maui is known for the whales that converge here in winter. Whale watching boats make the roundtrip between the harbor and whale watching vantage points countless times a day, giving tourists the opportunity to see these gigantic creatures of the ocean at close range. People engaged in jogging or yoga can be seen everywhere on the island, and the overall atmosphere is one of peace and calm.

July & August:
The Island of Oahu

The photograph used in this calendar is of Lanikai Beach on Oahu in Hawaii. Lanikai means “heaven of the sea” in Hawaiian. I still clearly recall thinking that it really was a heavenly beach when I first visited Lanikai. The white sand is truly beautiful, and as fine as powder. There are two islets directly off the beach, from either of which the scene of Lanikai appears to be a picture.
Renting a vacation home here and spending all day gazing at the ocean or paddling a canoe in the waves, and then perhaps having a beer in the evening, could perhaps be the most extravagant way to enjoy spending time on Oahu.
When most people hear mention of Oahu, I think they conjure up images of Waikiki and the shopping that it's famous for. But if you go just a little out of the way you can find untouched places where indigenous Hawaiians live, places blessed with the calmness and beauty of the land and the sea. Oahu is a resort island that has something for everyone to enjoy.

September & October:
The Maldives

The Maldive Islands are so small that it's the easiest thing in the world to wake up in the morning and see the sunrise on one side of an island, and then in the evening watch the sun setting on the other side. In the daytime you pace your life with the movement of the sun, and at night you fall to sleep with the sound of rippling waves in your ears. It's difficult to imagine a happier lifestyle. Giving yourself in to the cycles of nature, you can't prevent your body from returning to its fundamental rhythm, and you find your body brimming with vigor and energy.
You wade into the ocean and allow yourself to unwind; you free your mind of all thoughts and simply float in the waves. After a while you can feel your body becoming one with the ocean, and it seems as if you're dissolving into the currents. At such moments you find yourself overcome with an indescribably warm sensation, enveloped, so to speak, in memories of long ago.

November & December:

In Canada there remain many unspoiled places, and you can observe plants, animals, and natural phenomena in landscapes that are the same as they were in ancient times. In particular, the high latitudes of Canada make it possible for you to see polar bears, seals, and polar foxes with your own eyes in winter. The chance to see these beautiful, white creatures that live in a world of snow and ice is but one of Canada's many charms.
Given off by the sun, particles charged with electricity collide with the atmosphere to create the aurora borealis. Canada affords many opportunities to witness this heavenly event, a miraculous happening on a cosmic scale. It's a singular experience to get away from the commonplace and contemplate the mysteries of space in this frozen, pure white land. I used to think that winter in Japan was severely cold, but upon returning home after being in Canada in the winter I'm always struck by how mild the same season is in Japan.

Junji Takasago
Nature photographer, born in 1962 in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. When a university student, he wandered around Australia where he undertook scuba diving and photography. After working exclusively as a photographer for a scuba diving magazine, he started working independently in 1989. With the world as his workplace, he photographs the oceans, the sky, wildlife, and natural scenes and phenomena in an effort to explore the connections within nature and the ways in which humans interact with the natural world.
Exhibits widely and has published numerous photograph collections.