Sunday, 22 April 2012


While his wife managed the family hotel in Utsunomiya, Fukuda-san travelled the world as a professional wildlife photographer. We first met him when he came to Winnipeg in order to go to Churchill to photograph polar bears. Yayoi accompanied him on one of these trips, but he may have gone to Churchill about ten times. At one point he ordered a caribou skin outfit from the natives in Nunavut. This was delivered to our place in Winnipeg until he could pick it up. His favourite place is Russia and more particularly certain areas of eastern Siberia. At one point as he was hiding behind a snow blind, waiting for an opportunity to photograph a mother bear and two cubs, when the mother sneakily moved closer and pounced on him. He was able to scare her off, but it may have been the caribou skin coat that both saved him and possibly also acted as an attractant.
Next he targeted the Siberian or Amur tiger. He has recently taken some very remarkable photographs of this magnificent creature. In order to do so he lived in a very small snow hut for many weeks until the tiger sauntered by just where he wanted it to.
He also enjoys carving wooden birds as depicted below. These are found throughout their condominium and the ducklings are found in a room that appears to be dedicated to John Wayne.
And as mentioned he is very fond of Russia and the Russian people. He speaks what appears to be fluent Russian and has been translating a Russian document to Japanese during the past four years. And of course you can guess who has been double checking the Japanese translation.
One evening an elderly man showed up with a container containing a caterpillar that is destined to become a beautiful butterfly. If left free very likely birds would have devoured it. Did I mention that Fukuda-san also has two glass cases of preserved butterflies?
This friend is a character as well. He is a heavy equipment operator and is always in demand. But he would rather travel Japan to see where the butterflies are or whatever else Mother Nature fascinates him with. Apparently he has done this all his life. Even a fall from a thirty meter cliff has not deterred him. He comes from the Nikko area which has very heavy snowfalls, providing work for him when the butterflies are less active.
The photographs of food are from a Viking (buffet) shabu-shabu restaurant. Incredibly good food and rather more food than we would normally eat. We cooked very thinly sliced meats, tofu and various vegetables in two broths sitting on an induction heater which is much more common in Japan than Canada.
More photographs can be seen on Picasa at Fukuda-San.

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