Tag Archives: travel

Nightfall, in motion, monochrome - street lights, San Francisco.
Nightfall, in motion, monochrome - street lights, San Francisco.

Both were photographed during Fall-Winter 2011, in Oyashirazu, Niigata (top) and San Francisco, California (this one’s my “light calligraphy” practice) using an old model Canon Powershot, and edited today with VSCOX preset X3 and my passion for creative rule breaking which had recently gone thru an upgrade. Yei.
I posted short and sweet photo essays from the trips on my vsco account trying different styles breaking my own rules, so visit when you can.
Thanks for stopping by.

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Dried persimmons from Sado Island made me think of.

Sea gulls chasing a ferry boat at sundown, Sado Island, Japan.

Here’s a joke. Don’t feel offended.
A Turk
goes to see a doctor.
He tells him:
“When I touch my body with my finger, it hurts.
When I touch my head, it hurts,
my legs, it hurts,
my belly, my hand, it hurts.”
The doctor examines him then tells him:
“Your body’s fine
but your finger’s broken!”

    – Abbas Kiarostami, Taste of Cherry (1997)

Sea gulls chasing a ferry boat at sundown, Sado Island, Japan.

I decided December will be a movie month. I’m gonna watch as many Kiarostami films. Maybe not all though, save some for later, ‘cause no more coming from the maestro.

Photos are from my trip to Sado, early August 2003. Shot, with a single use camera I got in a hurry at a kiosk somewhere, from the last ferry boat of the day, my way back to Tokyo. On the isle time passed like a deep sea current, with the kind of depth that does not weigh. I watched for a long time the fading silhouettes, its picturesque rocks and the dark sea widening between us.

Yesterday I closed my eyes and consumed a semi dried persimmon from the island. Sugar in the fruit spoke to me in Sado, and the characters I met there came to life again: silver-scaled sushi fishes in clear teal sea that gets cold at 3pm sharp, a crane with black and red design who had to nearly brush this tourist’s windshield, a coffee at the goldmine that came with a surprise gold flake floating.
Then I thought of the film, words between a man and his third passenger, the depth that doesn’t bind. And the director who passed last July, the way he used time as his medium, and the subtext that does not force meaning.

(The persimmon in question is sold under the name “Anpo”. Melty on the inside, look for the ones from the island.)

To West and Back

Sea surface with ripples and rocks, Kyoto.

This year summer arrived late. Right when it did, I headed west in my little Honda. Along the coast of the Great Channel of Far East (formally known as Japan Sea), until I hit the region called San-in, “in the shadow of mountains”.

I’ve taken city street, cutting through “Japan Alps” at midnight (not the smartest idea), so as to really hear cicadas sing, millions of trillions of them. Each and every mount tall and small buzzed like it is a space craft about to take off, sound that goes well with the blazing summer sun.

Summer hills and clouds, Kyoto.
Clear water shore in subdued emerald, San-in, Japan.
Blooming in sunflower yellow, sunset, Aizu, Japan.
Swimming in the sea at sundown, San-in, Japan.

Beaches of San-in have minimum dose of concrete holding them in. Mounds of thriving woods in sharp angles and rocky little picturesque islands grow out of glassy teal sea. They perch at the edge of water, appearing wild, but also somewhat reserved. Polite yet unrestricted, the harmonious anarchy.

While treading water impressed, ocean decided to rush into my snout, sending an army of microorganisms as plenty as cicadas in summer hills, on a mission to unlock my senses from inside out. Thanks to them the buzzing intensified, and for a few moments I felt I could almost ‘get’ what their song is all about.

From top:

1 and 2 – Tango Peninsula, Kyoto

3 – Yasugi Beach, Hyogo

4 – Aizu South, Fukushima

5 – Kasumi, Hyogo

All photographed earlier this month.
Heartfelt “Thank You!!” to all of you generous souls I encountered during my trip.

コンクリで護岸処理をしてある海岸線を通ると、セーラー服着用を義務づけられた6年間を思い出す。着たとたんに魂の電源が切れるというか、情熱に石棺処理を施されたような息苦しい感覚である。もちろん世の中には正反対の反応をなさる方もたくさんおられるようなのでこれはごく個人的な問題なのだけれども、不自由感を感じていないふりを自分にしないとやってゆけなかったから余計話はややっこしかったのだ。

新潟の海岸線はコンクリ使用量がとても多いようで、もったいない話だが制服トラウマの再燃に追い立てられる様にいつもあわてて通り過ぎてしまう。どこか影のある北陸を過ぎ若狭湾をこえたあたりで突然当方に変化が起きる。肺が勝手に深呼吸をしチョウチョの様にぱたぱたと羽ばたき始めるような胸いっぱいの開放感の発症である。

『山陰』という名前からはほど遠く明るくひらけた京都から兵庫、鳥取あたりのあの一帯には前述の護岸処理はあまり見当たらない。すくなくとも当方はもうそれどころではなくて、叫ぶような蝉たちの鳴き声にのって自らが飛び立っていってしまいそうで、一杯空気を吸い込んで軽くなった肺胞が風船の様に勝手に空を目指してしまいそうで、そんななかば宙に浮いた視界に入ってくるのは、石庭のような波紋を描く水面から生える、みっちりとはち切れそうな緑に覆われた小さな山々や日本画から抜け出たような岩の数々から、発車寸前の宇宙船のように響き渡る蝉の声が太陽光線といっしょになってすべてを震わせ前述の生き埋め感覚を木っ端みじんに粉砕する、そんな一大事な真夏の光景なのである。

上から、
写真1、2 丹後半島 京都府
写真3 安木浜 兵庫県
写真4 南会津 福島県
写真5 香住 兵庫県

写真はすべて今月はじめ頃に撮影。
旅行中こんな当方に親切にして下さった皆様に心から感謝いたします。

Japan is…

(This post is unrelated to nationalism, activism, buddhism or martyrism.)

I study society by asking Google simple questions. One day I felt like finding out what other people think of this country. Well look what I found…

japan-is2

None bothered me except the 3rd. Feeling lucky? You bet! Don’t worry though, ’cause I was just wondering that myself.
In fact I was thinking, maybe that’s the reason why I own a surfboard, although originally the purchase was made for something else.

My neighborhood guys weren’t so happy…

Sinking? What do you mean sinking??
We aren’t sinking, are we sinking?

Japanese Wooden Statue

Calm down fella, your face’s all red. At our age you may want to start winding down, loosen your knuckle and exude the serenity of divine calm…

Japanese Wooden Statue - wrist

Oh quiet you pastel-palmed you, and your fuzzy rosy cloud of calmness you’ve been standing in for last 700yrs. At this point nothing can shock you awake, not even a dip in the salt water…

But why, why do they think we are….sinking?

Don’t tell me we are sinking…don’t sink…

Japanese Wooden Statue - shoulder

-end of dialogue-

As 311 approaches for the second time since the big day, I wanted to clear some air in regard to our living on the edge of the seismic-atomic goings-on.

I heard talks online speculating on Japanese, that we are either in denial, naively misinformed, or staying put due impoverishment. I also noticed some of you are concerned but too polite to come out and ask (thank you for thinking of us). While I surely have no answers to any of the above, why not offer you my humble 5 yen that I think have earned through living on the east half of the island, not too close to get scorched but close enough to feel the fire.

From what I’ve seen and heard in real life, I can safely say everyone’s taking calculated risks, opposed to passively waiting for a direction. They seem to know what they want, what they can handle – emotionally/psychologically, especially – and ways to find the “path of least resistance” , so to speak, in accordance. Without being vocal about what that is, mostly out of consideration for each other – as choices we’re having to make in relation to our new state of being could be highly personal, and often of a delicate variety.

We who live in the nation, may be in this together, but what I keep noticing is the strength, perhaps at deeply hidden core of each, to stand in one’s destiny alone.
And choose the path, suited only for the individual. People know themselves, and we are all so different. Although part so alike, still so different.

Now back to the temple where the above guys reside. The place was built in Heian era, been 900+ years and counting. Sit sturdy on bedrock, built to last. Located in nondescript rural hillside, a nearly secret haven for this gem. Hazard of the hood being wild boars. Edible yes, but often unfriendly and very genki.
The Head Priest, friendly, was the one crafted all the candle holders. They were for the New Year’s eve count down event, the countless candles lighting the temple’s narrow pathways, flickering against the tall black trees in the background.

Bamboo-made Candle HolderRed Eaves, at a temple in Japan.Bamboo-made Candle Holders

So this was my first travel guide post. You will have a hard time finding a place like this one without some helpful guide going on and on about everything that’s inviting. Oh, my pleasure, stay tuned for more.

By the way, I heard Japan is about the size of the state of California, though haven’t found the time to confirm with Google about it.

Edited on January 21, 2015.