I had my first collecting trip of the summer over the weekend. Unfortunately there was very little in the way of entomopathogens, but the forest and weather were nice just the same. It was also fun to be out with a group of people as dorky as I am that know all the plants, birds, fungi etc. Looking for Cordyceps can be a challenge, because they are often very small and blend in with the background. This is only compounded by being in a new setting, such as I find myself in here. There are all kinds of things lying around on the forest floor that I am not used to seeing, so it takes an effort to not notice them so much and try to see the fungi I am looking for. Like I said, not too much of what I was looking for, but cool stuff never the less.
Here we are starting out hike.
Some of the fungi we did see.
Here is Sassegawa-san. She works in my lab and has a unique way of keeping mosquitoes at bay. What she has in her hand is a mosquito coil burning in an incense burner attached to her belt. I had never seen this before, but I guess that it works.
The place that we were collecting is on the mountain just outside of town. I use the word "mountain" loosely here, since it is only about 867 m (right around 2500 feet for those of you that don't know metric). Still it's very pretty forest and you can take a bus there and go for a hike.
The mountain also sports a Shinto shrine. Shinto is the indigenous religion to Japan, and the adherents revere prominent aspects of nature, such as Tsukuba-san, as sacred. The temple here is a representation of that reverence. That is also why there is a gate at the beginning of the trail in that first picture.
Here I am with one of the workers at the temple, a friend of Sassegawa-san, which is why we were able to get our pictures taken. The woman on the left is a researcher from Thailand.
Coming soon: Tales of Tokyo