Golden Leaf, Will We Have Autumn Leaves?

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

I was talking with a mate today about the glorious weather that we have been having and he remarked that he had taken a stroll the other day and was a bit dismayed.  He said all the Ginko trees, which turn a brilliant yellow in autumn, leaves were dead or dying.  He was worried that there wouldn’t be much in the way of an explosion of colors that we usually get.  The leaves in our collective neighborhoods took a battering in the typhoon 15 (Moke) that rolled through last Wednesday.  The trees for the most part survived.  It was the bashing of the leaves on each other that damaged them.  I hadn’t noticed it too closely, other than my own plants on my patio, until I was walking home from my station today.  A Ginko tree near the station looked as if all the leaves were pretty much been beat into brown submission.

I am going to be positive about this.  I am sure we will get some autumn leaves even if I am unsure of how intense it may or may not be.  It will just sharped my vision.  I will have to hunt out those colors that soothe my soul after the heat of Tokyo’s summer.  The trees that survived with their leaves intact are going to shine.  They will pop out across the urban landscape.  Those yellows, reds, oranges, mixed hues all there inviting the residents to gave up into their autumn hearts.

In the meantime, I was stopped in my tracks yesterday when I snapped this image.  The sun has right behind the leaves and it caused them to go from hunter green to an neon lit yellow.  For now I will have to be content with this hue.  A magical hue, and a magical time of day and year.

Golden Leaf

Tiny Autumn Berries

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

The light is really changing.  That autumn light that streams down that falls somewhere between yellow and orange hues depending on the exact time of the day.

As the world is cooling off my eye is still ever searching for nature that thrives no matter where is might has grown its roots.  Roots that seek out the nutrients in the soil as the leaves catch the rays of sun.

Today these tiny berries caught my eye.  A small bush near the ground that had clumps of these autumn red hued berries.  I have no idea if they are edible or not.  I just stood there amazed by their minute stature.  These little berries spoke of joy to be out in the sunshine.  They are signaling the autumn hues that will fill the parks soon enough.

Tiny Autumn Berries

Pre Autumn Burst of Red

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The temperature may have dropped in Tokyo, but the autumn leaves have yet to arrive.  I am not complaining, I am immensely thankful for the cool weather that I have breezing in through my windows.  I am, however, anticipating the changing leaves.  Those colors that dance on my lens as the long rays of autumn light struggle to reach earth.

Today I kept my eye peeled for any signs of the changing leaves to come.  Have the tips of any leaves started to morph into those autumn hues?  Not yet.  They will come soon enough.  In the meantime I found a bush of these flowers tucked behind a huge hydrangea bush at a small buddhist temple.  They are just a taste of the colors that are to come.  I give thanks for all the bursting colors of summer that are still hanging on into autumn.

Autumn Red Flower Burst

Big Skies Over Urayasu

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I was on my bicycle yesterday heading over to Gyotoku in Chiba.  It had been a while since I had ridden over the Urayasu bridge.  The Urayasu bridge connects my town Kasai in Tokyo to the town of Uryasu in Chiba prefecture.  There was a time that I would have ridden over that bridge on a weekly basis, but lives change and I no longer find myself  peddling up and over the bridge.

Today was the exception.  The weather was so crisp and clear.  It was as if one day was summer, and the next day it was autumn, was basically how it felt.  As I cycled my pedals up the slopping incline I was just enjoying the clean air.  Once the bridge leveled off I caught a glimpse of that autumn late afternoon light.  The kind of yellow light that sparkles on the surfaces it reaches.  That was coupled with the big sky that stretched from the bridge into the heavens.  I had to pull over and snap an image of one of my favorite clicking grounds.

I have never been one for landscape photography.  This all is changing post the March 11th earthquake that ignited my interest in photographing nature, has also gotten me exploring the land where I dwell in Tokyo in more detail.  The way that man creates the environment in which to live, and how the natural world melds, contrasts, and harmonizes to form the land that we all inhabit.  The concrete and wood of our creation lives in competitive harmony with the world of the Creator.

Seeing the details is beautiful.  Seeing the big picture is just as beautiful too.

Miyajima Island with Big Sky, Urayasu

8 String Bass Guitar Rebirth of the Soul

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Time is a curious subject.  The older I get the more I loose any sense of time.  Time moves quickly, and I often measure time from when I saw a movie, or when I took a trip somewhere.  These are the markers of the years.  I have been thinking about where I want to lead my life from this point forward.  I had a deep conversation with my dearest friend Jerry Kolber who has agreed to help assist me in my search.  He is going to help me focus in on my subconscious and conscious mind.  The conversation definitely set off something in my subconscious because, that night I had an extremely vivid dream.  It was one of those dreams that I knew it was my subconscious trying to communicate with my woken mind.  I woke up and wrote down all the details that I could remember.

Objects from the dream include:

8 string bass guitar

triangular room


exotic beer

emotional content:






artistic/creative world

regular world

I am still in the process of unscrambling the images of the dream, but it already has had an impact on my life.  I took my acoustic guitar out of storage.  I took the old rusty strings off, and restrung it with some shiny brand new metallic strings.  Once I finally was able to get the guitar in tune, thanks to some online tuners, I proceeded to play for the next couple of hours.  I was just having fun.  Playing along with some music, looking up some notations online.  In other words, just vibing out.  It was just me and my guitar.

The weather has really turned to fall and I have the window in our place opened with a cool dry breeze blowing in.  I started to think about the dream again.  This time I took out a blank book I had bought, and I filled its first page with some of the dream images.  It was amazing.  I had tried to paint over the summer, but I couldn’t get anywhere.  Here, a dream led to one of my first drawings in a few year.

I am blessed.  I thank the Creator for stirring up my soul to help get my creative juices flowing.  I am looking forward to the rebirth of my soul.  I am open.  I am trying to be open is better way to look at it.  I am going to keep on searching for truth.

8 String Soul Rebirth

The Flower Dial Reads the End of Summer is Near

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

It seems like only yesterday that the heat and the humidity were oppressing my body.  Now, wait a minute, it was only yesterday.  Today the clouds and some misty rain have rolled in and the mercury has taken a refreshing dip.  On of my truly last days of summer, I have my windows open listening to the a unusual quietness drifting into my room.  The cicadas screeching has been silenced.  There is only the occasional street noise coming in from my neighborhood.

This summer’s heat has been long and hard.  Even though we didn’t get any days over 40 in my part of Tokyo, we still had day after day of hot humid weather.  The weather just wouldn’t quit except for a few freakishly cool days end of August.  Today it is the stillness.  It is as if the entire neighborhood knows that the heat is gone and that the cold is not that far away.

I am thankful for being able to see the four seasons here in Japan.  The four seasons were something that I never really experienced growing up in the two season weather of South Florida:  hot and not so hot.  To be able to experience the gradual changes with my senses is a blessing.  The cool feeling of cold as it hits the side of my face.  The bright colors of autumn leaves as they float down from the trees.  The smell of fresh flowers in spring.  And the tastes of those wonderful summer blueberries from my patio.  The seasons are in tune with the world.  Now we need to be in tune with them.

So in this season as summer is quickly fading into autumn, let those short sleeves soak up those last rays of sunshine.  Let the last of the summer blossoms fill our senses.  Don’t worry what time the sundial flower says, for there will be another one is only nine months away.

End of Summer Sun Dial Flower

It Only Takes Roots

Monday, September 19th, 2011

A concrete wall has been constructed.  It was constructed to hold back the earth from sliding.  However, all it takes are some roots to wiggle their way into a small fissure to bring down what was built by man.

The overall power and beauty of nature never ceases to arouse my curiosity.  There is a place in my soul that drives me to explore the connections between myself and the world that ww all inhabit.  This tiny fern has been able to burrow its roots deep into the fissure dividing two slabs of weathered concrete.  It has adapted to be able to grown on a completely vertical surface.

On one of the slabs of poured cement some children have left their marks.  Taking rocks and scratching the surface of the blackened gray leaving behind a physical memory.  A moment from their childhood when they picked up a stone to express themselves.  The children’s scribblings are coexisting with the strong roots of the fern.

For me it is just another amazing day out in the world.  A world where humans compete and coexist with the nature that surrounds us all.

Fern Sprout Scratching Graffiti

Urban Greeny Green of Ebisu

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The other day I went out to visit my mate in Ebisu.  I love Ebisu.  It is a vibing area between the hustling trendy Shibuya and  Meguro and the exclusive Daikanyama.  Around the station the movement of people can be mind boggling.  It isn’t the bustle of the Shibuya crossing, but the station is busy enough that if you enjoy people watching it is a heights spot.

For me, I’m not to into the busy scene.  I prefer the quiet side of things.  Even though Ebisu sits in the heart of urban Tokyo, I prefer to get lost on the backstreets and and the residential rows of house and apartments.  Now when I get lost, I am never really that lost because, no matter how lost you might think that you are in Tokyo, you are never that far from a train station.  Just to wander those streets.  Looking for where the greeny green of Ebisu interacts with the asphalt and concrete of its human dwellers.

A year ago my lens would have been attracted to the concrete, steel, and wood of the living spaces but, since the March 11th earthquake my lens has been all about nature.  How does nature overcome adversity. How nature brings beauty even if it is confined to a tiny curbside garden.  The lovely green patches of Ebisu were a delight after a couple hours of reasoning with my friend.  There is, if one looks for it, a green heart to Tokyo.

Angel's Trumpet No Entry Corner, Ebisu

Vine Sign Climb, Ebisu

Urban Bush Building, Ebisu

Angel’s Trumpets and Tie Dyed Flowers

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

The heat is still on in my neighborhood.  The temperature hit 33 degrees (92) yesterday as the steamy summer has been continuing into fall.  I really don’t mean to complain, because before we know it the weather will be reversed.  We will be bundling up and mumbling to ourselves how cold it is.  So, for know I will embrace the warm weather.

On my walk back to the station, I took a long cut through the suburbs.  I do love to wander the backroads and see where people live.  It is thrilling to my lens to see how they care for the patches of land that make up their gardens.  The bright flowers are still contrasting against bitumen of the streets.  The heat rising of the streets was a constant reminder that the summer has yet to finish baking.

I have come across the Angel’s Trumpet flowers in my walks recently.  These long elegant flowers that have a reputation for causing visions if ingested.  It seems like these days that everywhere I turn I see these drooping yellowish orange flowers.  I wonder if anyone in Japan eats them and sees angels or demons.  It visual imprints that nature can be bountiful or, in this case, can cause hallucinations.

I need to get out more and see what there is to see in nature.  Even if that nature is confined to plastic garden pots.  Beauty is out there, somewhere.  All we have to do is to keep and open heart to see it.

Angel's Trumpet Flower

Livng Color Violet

Purple Modular Blur Blossom

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Sometimes it is good to get lost with in the blurred colors of the natural world.  An escape, if only for a moment, from the hustle of my urban lifestyle.

Purple bubbles swirl in the lens.  They relieve my spirit and lift my head.




Purple Modular Bubble Blossom

God Bless the World, 10 Years after September 11th, 2001

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

God Bless the World at Ground Zero, New York 2001

The day is here.  The day that seemed so far away from me.  It has now been 10 years since the September 11th attacks.  A day that forever change my life along with countless others in America and the world.  I remember thinking during my visit to New York City in November, 2001, and again on September 11th in 2002 that I wanted to be in New York City on the 10 year anniversary.  Ten years is a good whole number.  It is a decade.  It seemed to be a fitting time frame to come to some conclusions on what happened that day and the events that have happened since September 11th.  As things have happened I was not able to make a physical appearance in New York; therefore, I will have to explore these concepts in absentia.

In my trip to New York in 2001 the city was gripped in fear and many were clinging to nationalism as a means to escape the pain.  The collapsed twin towers fell upon the hearts and shoulders of my fellow Americans.  I wandered the city in a daze.  I really did not have time to react with my consciousness.  I was just able to point my camera and push the shutter.  Everywhere I turned my lens I saw the red white and blue of the American flag.  Around every concrete corner I stepped there were reminders of the city had been changed.  The twin towers stood no more.  What does that mean to me?  What does that mean to my fellow Americans?  How would this event change myself as an artist?  More importantly how will it change my view as a member of the human race?

I have never been overly patriotic.  I truly believe in the relishing of  cultural differences make a people stronger.  I do not want to single out people who are not like me and label them as other.  It allows too much room for hate.  If we relate to each other as “other” it becomes an escape to having to interact with people who may be very different from ourselves.  As I walked the streets of NYC, I saw the fear in peoples’ eyes.  I saw the middle eastern men in their kebab carts displaying the flag as readily as the old immigrants.  I thought to myself when will America grow up and accept all immigrants as Americans.

All Americans, except for the Native Americans, have come from the farthest reaches of the world.  We all came in order to have a better life in the United States.  I am amazed at how quickly my fellow Americans have forgotten that at one point in their family’s history that they too were the outsider.  They were oppressed.  They were not allowed to seek certain employment opportunities. The Private clubs were closed to them as well.  The were despised by the Americans who had immigrated at an early time.

Now we fast forward to 2011.  There is an African American in the oval office.  Something in my short life I thought that I would never see.  Yet, still people question his loyalty to his country.  The fact is that America’s racial and cultural composition has drastically been altered by immigration patterns over the last 50 years.  The day is fast approaching where white skinned Americans will be the minority and dark skinned Americans will be the majority.  Unfortunately instead of embracing our various cultural identities some of my fellow Americans are running scared from what the coming future.

When will Americans, regardless of cultural, release their hate from their lives and fill that void with love?  To love one another.  To seek truth over lies and deceit.  To venture forth and find real change.  Not the fleeting change that comes from politics, but the real change that lifts up humans hearts as we grow closer to one another through the Creator.  Like the hand written piece of fabric left at St. Paul’s Chapel that read, “God Bless the World.”  The world needs to be blessed by the Creator.  Not hate, but to allow love to flourish.

This 10 year anniversary should be a time to reflect as a people where have we journeyed over the past years.  For I, as an artist, the experience of September 11th has forever changed how I communicate to the world.  Our time here on earth is so limited.  I do not want to fill what little time I have been allotted with hate.  I want to go out to the world with an open heart with camera, brush, or word to bring more light into the world.  September 11th taught me to embrace by voice.  To go out into the world and use expression as my weapon to reveal slices of my soul.  It taught me not to be afraid of the unknown.  I am able to step with confidence out into a troubled world with the knowledge of love in my heart, and righteousness in my works.

Take the time this September 11th to take stock in yourself.  How do you want to spend the valuable life force we have been granted.  Let us take these energies to seek out good, justice, and beauty.  Do not let the hate and fear control your life.  Life is short to be filled with negative emotions.  Go out and livicate yourselves to each other.  Make the conscious choice to live in the light.


Flowers Crying Blood at Ground Zero, New York 2001

Firefighter American Flag Closed, New York 2001

below follow some previously published images from 2001 and 2002 in New York City

ny alarm

america is not for sale

talibanamerica, 2001 NYC


the other side, NYC 2001

no more hate

The Beautiful Diversity of Flowers

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Flowers are an amazing gift of the Creator.  They come in all shapes, sizes, and hues.  I am always amazed at their diversity.  For me as an artist I can enjoy the flowers where ever they might pop up.  As I am walking around my neighborhood and I discover some beautiful flowers in terracotta pots in a tiny frontside garden.  Or I can be biking along and break upon seeing some lovely weeds that are in bloom in an abandoned distresses lot.  You see, the beauty is found everywhere.

Then there are the gardens.  Gardens are where man and the Creator come together in harmony.  Man takes what the Creator has given us in the beautiful diversity of flora and fauna and creates a hyper-real environment for humans to enjoy.  Man tenderly cares for the garden by watering, pruning and taking care of those plants that catch a cold.  The garden and grounds of Kawamura DIC Memorial Museum is one of those places.

The land has been catered to by the hands of human gardeners.  Some areas have been left in a rather raw state so that the visitor can appreciate what the area must have been like in the sticks of Chiba Prefecture 100 years ago.  Other areas have water gardens where lilies and lotuses thrive.

As we wandered around the gardens and grounds, I became attracted to the most minute of the flora in the park.  For all I know that may actually been unintentional weeds that had yet to be pulled by the gardeners hand.  But they are so beautiful, that I had to get down to the grounds level in order to fully appreciate them.  There tiny elephant shaped ears that were translucent in the noon day sun.  Or the spiked purple headed wonder that had sprung up on a corner of the path.  And finally to the wonderful white lilies that floated so effortlessly on the surface of the pond.

I am thankful for all the species of flowers in the world, in the same way that I a grateful for all the humans in the world.  Who would want to live in a world with only one kind of flower?  Therefore, we should celebrate our diversity.  See the beauty in what is different.  See humans as the beautiful creations as the the flowers in the garden.

Purple Headed Spiked Flower

Water Lilly Pond Blossom

Elephant Eared Blue Flower

A Day in the Country at Kawamura Museum

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

I love my adopted home of Tokyo, but I love heading out of it every now and then.  I sometimes forget that there is a world out there in Japan that isn’t an urban jungle of concrete and iron.  We decided, at the suggestion of a close friend, to visit the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in the sticks of Chiba prefecture.  My peeps in Japan that have never been there it is definitely a place to explore.

I was pleased to see a world class collection that included Rembrant, Chagal, and a room filled with maroon colored Rothkos.  Unfortunately half the museum was closed as they were prepping for a László Moholy-Nagy show that opens in a few days.  I was a little miffed, but it is a good reason to go back to the museum to see the other half of the collection that I missed.

The highlight of the museum, for my artistic soul, was the painting David’s Dream by Marc Chagall, and the room filled with Mark Rothko paintings.  The Chagall was luscious in its colors, filled with spirited shapes that just floated in the space.  The movement with in the image was amazing.  I just sat and watched the painting as if it were a movie being told in 24 frames a second.  Those blue hues are just amazing.

The Mark Rothko Seagram paintings in a low lit room as they are suppose to be viewed was an exploration in the power of color.  Color that just seeps in through the eyes, and rolls around inside your spirit.  The muted colors fill the entire field of vision.  There is nothing to do but to surrender to the colors and let them flow through your veins.

There is a connection between these two artist.  They both use color to tell stories.  In the case of Chagall the stories come from his roots as a Jewish artist.  Telling stories through the color dances and the floating figures.  Rothko was stripped his paintings down to their pure color elements.  Color its self is the theme.  The colors dance and play with in our vision.  Striving for that mystical connection with the Creator.

After the museum we wandered around the large gardens.  A stroll trough a small cedar forrest.  A walk around a lotus and a lilly pond.  The skies were large and filled with a blue of the Chagall paintings, as cotton wisps of clouds speckled the color field.

A lovely day among art and nature. A perfect combination as the summer is quickly drawing to a close.  A mystical trip to the sticks of Chiba for art, skies, and mushrooms.

Sky Trees Henry Moore Sculpture Grass

Lillies Abstract

Sky Whisp Forrest Field Fence

Sunflower Shadow Dance

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

The sun played a game of hide and seek with the clouds today.  The bright sun shone down upon the earth for a while, then darted behind the clouds as if it were a shy Japanese child.  The temperatures were on the cooler side today. A sign that this long summer is going through a transition.  According to the Japanese way of counting the seasons we have already moved into autumn.

This sunflower was deciding whether or not to bloom.  It felt as if it were holding something back.  Could it be aware that the long days have shortened, and that the leaves will soon be turning into autumn hues?

I don’t know.  But I sure enjoyed watching the dance.

Sunflower Dancing in the Shadows

Thinking Like the Weeds from Otemachi to Ginza

Monday, September 5th, 2011

It was really hard to get motivated to leave the house this morning.  It was so hard that I didn’t leave the house to it was actually afternoon.  I am not sure why it was so hard to get moving.  Sometimes I feel like going nowhere at lightning speed.  The only thing that eventually got me to back up my gear and go was that I could pick up my macbook that has been at the Apple store in Ginza for the past week.

The grayish skies didn’t really help motivate me either.  The skies eventually poured some rain before I headed to Ginza.  It was all just delaying my activity.  The rain, just made me want to stay indoors even more.

I got to the bus stop to catch my ride to the station.  I popped on some tunes and just watched the world roll by my window.  I almost never really feel comfy on the bus.  I usually have to sit at a bit of an angle to get my long legs to fit.  This occasionally brings on some stares from the other riders.

Decided to try to hunt down a copy of the Errol Morris’ new book on photography.  I didn’t have any luck finding it but I picked up the latest Carl Hiassen novel.  I think I really need something slightly escapist to read.  I made my way from Otemachi station over to Ginza.  I love to follow the tracks in this part of town, because there is no wasted space.  All of the alcoves under the old brick layered tracks are filled with shops and places to catch a bite to eat.

Today I was taken in by the weeds in under the tracks at Yurakcho station.  These weeds were thriving in a world of bricks and concrete.  Some have made their homes in the tiniest of cracks.  Their green hues adding a layer of beauty to the urban tones.

Maybe i couldn’t search out the gardens and flowers today because of my brain cloud like Tom Hanks was diagnosed with in Joe Versus the Volcano.  Perhaps I could relate to these out of placed weeds.  Here they were in a field of concrete and they were thriving.

I too want to thrive and not just survive.  It seems like I’m in survival mode.  I know I shouldn’t worry but I do.  I will have to think like the weeds.  Be strong.  Be flexible. And most importantly thrive under adverse conditions.

Ferns out of Brick

Nekojelasi under Yurakcho Tracks

Clump of Weeds in Alcove

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