May 26th, 2013 by Jacob
The day was cool. Much cooler than it should have been for a late May day, but we should enjoy the break from the heat and enjoy the coolness before it is gone till autumn.
It was late in the afternoon as the sun stayed hidden behind the clouds. The Okachimachi streets I wandered around were quiet, all the offices were closed. The homes stood empty.
Looking for me as much I was looking for them. They are out there waiting to be seen framed shuttered and admired.
Just the streets, the gardens, the people, and how they all intersect.
May 25th, 2013 by Jacob
I really don’t want to say it, but I was actually a little chilly this morning. I awoke this sabbath under graying skies with cool breezes blowing in across Tokyo Bay. It was a day that just called on me to go out and explore the neighborhood and completely FULLjoy shabbat being outside.
I needed to throw on a light windbreaker to keep me comfy. I wasn’t the only one out enjoying this lovely break in the quickly warming temperatures. The weeds were blowing up the embankment into the concrete canyons made up by the danchi of Nagisa New Town.
I was in my element. Being one with the wind, the concrete, and the water. I hope you all get to enjoy the rest and be out in Creation.
May 23rd, 2013 by Jacob
The weather was gorgeous. As usual some were complaining that it was hot, but to this south Florida native it was the perfect kind of weather. It is the kind where the sun shines bright and warms all of the body down to the soul. Yet, there is more. The breeze was cool, and if I stepped into the shade it was more than pleasant.
I decided to take the long way home and cut through the light industrial. This is the side of Urayasu no one really talks about. It isn’t the glitzy rising towers of New Urayasu (ShinUrayaysu), nor is it the quickly fading narrow streets of the original fishing village. It is miles away from the safe fantasy zone of Tokyo Disney Land.
This is the light industrial and shipping wharfs of Urayasu. Trucks rumble down large streets. Machines clank and crunch as plasma torches slice through sheets of metal. It is a gritty wonderland for me. There is also a green side. Most of the factories have small gardens, fruit trees, and potted flowers.
A continuing quest to find the truth in my surroundings. A never ending search to see what the world in its ugly beauty has to show me.
May 21st, 2013 by Jacob
Today was one of those days that never really went anywhere other than a bit of frustration. I did let myself down and the stress got to me. However, I resolved that I wouldn’t let me down for long.
On Tuesdays I usually walk through an old Buddhist temple on my way to the station. I enjoy those few moments away from the rush of people, and just the quiet serenity of the area. I rounded on the outside of the large gate and stood at the top of a stone stairway and just breathed. The sun was out stronger than ever today but this little spot in the shade atop a hill was ultra pleasant. I just stood there looking at the shadows, taking in the scents, letting go of whatever stress had got of me.
After a few moments I walked down the steps. There was a man halfway down the steps in front of me taking pictures, and and elderly gentleman on his way up as part of an exercise routine.
Once I reached the bottom and was out in the sun again, it hit me how intense the sun was. I wandered around on my way to the station. Just taking my time, and pausing now and then to snap a photograph.
A patch of red caught my eye, and I entered into a small urban park turned around and saw this clump of red flowers. Never had really noticed them before. That is the challenge. To walk the same streets, and still be amazed daily.
There is nothing more therapeutic to my soul as framing a photograph, pressing the shutter, and now writing an accompaniment.
May 18th, 2013 by Jacob
Yesterday and Today have been gorgeous days. The weather is warm without being hot. The strong cool breeze keeping all happy. I took a cycle trip around my neighborhood yesterday in preparation for the coming shabbath. The sun kept me warm just as the winds kept me cool. I couldn’t have asked for more gorgeous day.
All at once some fragrance hit me. It was honey-like in its aroma that caused me to stop. Then there is was, a trellis of rosebushes in full bloom. It was the back entrance to a danchi (large apartment building) in Nishi Kasai. As I was eyeing the flowers and enjoying the fragrance the building was eyeing me back. Posted on the gate was a sign stating that I was on security camera.
Nothing is perfect, is it? It still was a great day out.
May 13th, 2013 by Jacob
It was another of those days when world’s weather doesn’t know if it is spring or summer. In the sun the weather was warm, bordering of perfection. In the shade there was a bit of a dry chill. The breeze was starting to stiffen up as it rolled in from the bay.
All in all a good day to be out in the streets and enjoying the simple beauty of my Kasai neighborhood. Compacted suburban gardens, a father and a son tossing a baseball back and forth, and then their was this soldier.
Perched on a lookout post in fron of it’s owner’s gates. There he sat in the warm sunlight. His eyes followed me as I stood in front of the gates. He never took his eyes off me. There was no malice. It was quite simple, he was letting me know that this was his space, and I had entered into it.
Just another soldier in the neighborhood. The feline variety with a bobtail.
May 12th, 2013 by Jacob
Flowers for all the mothers in the world. Those mothers that know and and those that I don’t. I especially want to thank my own mother Madelyn for being there for me. Much love to all.
May 11th, 2013 by Jacob
There she was on a windy Friday afternoon. She is always in the same spot. She is there no matter the weather. Sitting quietly on a small polished podium surrounded by flowers. She waits patiently at the head of a small creak.
Her skin is youthfully smooth, polished and glistens in the sunshine. Although she speaks of eternal youth, her skin has a burnished patina. She is my girl. She has been ever since I moved into my neighborhood.
It doesn’t matter that she may be made of bronze, I still adore her. Her hands are outstretched in anticipation of the gifts she will receive from the neighborhood’s children. Today I spotted her sporting a beautiful crystalized white stone.
I look forward to crossing paths with her soon.
May 9th, 2013 by Jacob
Garden Zen Moment in the Neighborhood
A day is as long as the muscles are sore.
The breeze blows over the rippling bay.
The sweat on one’s brow is about to break as the weather
lays wedged between spring and summer.
Rubber skids slides along the pebbly asphalt.
A home passed a thousand times beckons the eye.
Pupils dilate and follows the rubber to a halt.
Concrete blocks, plastic planters, metallic hooks, are one with sculpted branches.
A mind rests, the eyes are dazzled.
All is a silent moment in the hood.
May 7th, 2013 by Jacob
There is a saying out in old California that when the Santa Ana winds blow, all bets are off. It appears to have happened here in Tokyo. Those unpredictable winds seem have swept their way clear across the Pacific Ocean pulsate over Tokyo.
The skies in the morning were spotless. It was nothing but an endless skyscape of blue. By the afternoon the winds had pushed a collection of fast moving clouds as they raced over the land.
I stepped off the bus and just stared out at the sky. There was one tiny wisp of cloud over my neighborhood. I knew it was only a moment. I knew that it would vanish before I finished my walk home.
It was time to be in the moment. The time to push the shutter, and capture that slice of moment in way that only photography can.
It was my Windy Blown Answer.
May 6th, 2013 by Jacob
This home is on my way to the bus stop in Okubo, Chiba. It has been there for years. I noticed on my most recent passing that the storefront and the home has been abandoned. The building is so decrepit that the owner has draped netting and has roped off most of the home to attempt to keep it from further crumbling.
I really doubt if it will do any good. The next large shaker that hits the Chiba area will demolish this home. It is shame because this home has so much character, but it has out lived its ability to stand on its own.
Just a sweet object to gaze at on my way home.
May 5th, 2013 by Jacob
On my stroll through Monzenakascho I skirted the outer wall of the Fukagawa Fudōson Temple (深川不動尊). There was a time when I photographed nothing but the urban fragments of my Tokyo environment. Since the disasters of March 11th, I have become fascinated by the fragments of nature in the confinement of the city.
This wall was an exception. In the several dozen images taken on my wandering this was the only one that had no plant life in it. Well, there is a little. There are some molds and lichens making their home on the old stone wall. It just captivated my attention and caused me to push the shutter.
A bit of revisiting where I have been so that I know where I shall go.
May 1st, 2013 by Jacob
It took me quite a lot to get motivated today. I’m not sure why. It just seemed like quite a pain to get myself to leave the comfiness of my home. It was partially due to the weather that had turned a bit cooler in the last 12 hours that I needed to throw on a hoody to keep warm.
I finally gulped down a glass of my homemade espresso and jumped on my bicycle to the station. I really had no destination in mind. I just knew I didn’t want to go anywhere crowded. I just wanted to be on the street with my camera. I decided to keep to the Tozai line and I got off at Monzennakacho Station. An area known for it’s large shrine and temple and back alley restaurants.
My wandering started off slowly. I went left where everyone else went right. It took a while to get into the rhythm of the wandering and the clicking, but it all began to sync up. I lost track of time. I lost track of where I was. All I had to choose, was straight, left, or right.
The clicking became easy. Homes angles, potted plants all lined up for my enjoyment. The streets were for the most part empty except for the occasional housewife, and school children.
Sometimes the hardest part of a journey is just getting started; however, once started the journey is never completed.
April 30th, 2013 by Jacob
The sun was blazing brightly as I headed to my local supermarket. Nothing special, just on my way to pick up some fruit and milk. Tucked away in front of a small local office was a quaint urban garden. A few planted trees, a couple of plastic planter bins, and some well placed rocks.
Just another simple day in my Kasai neighborhood.
April 26th, 2013 by Jacob
The Japanese do love a long line up or queue as my British friends would say. The Japanese will line up for whatever time it takes to get a bowl of ramen, or in this case that last creamy scoop of ice cream. Yesterday, April 25, 2013 the last Häagen-Dazs scoop shop in Shin Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture would forever close its doors by 9 p.m. local Tokyo time. The line was seriously ridiculous as it stretched out the department store around past the Vie De France bakery and all the way down to the dry cleaners. I guess everyone wanted that last scoop even if it was a cold and slightly dreary afternoon.
There was a time when Häagen-Dazs scoop shops occupied the poshest of neighborhoods across the land, but those days are long behind. New brands have opened their doors and just the economy itself isn’t what it used to be. I guess people here don’t really want to go out for a scoop, they rather just drop in at their local supermarket and bring home a pint.
Sayonara Häagen-Dazs! It was good till it all melted away.