Bottle Brush Scape, Reminder

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Bottle Brush Tree Scape

crimson bustling bristles

bursting forth

spreading misty powdered love

remind me of home in a time and a place that

maybe never really was.

perhaps never was.

i climbed it’s branches in my youth,

i now only scamper with my thoughts and memories.

bustling bursts of hue.


There is Always A Bright Patch, A Lavender One

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Lavender Bright Patch, Ichikawa

Thoughts keep bouncing around my thick-headed cranium.  I am not sure where they emanating from.  Well, I know that in actuality they of course are coming from my own consciousness.  Sometimes it seems like I have no control over my own thought process.  The thoughts rattle around keeping me awake at night.

It can be difficult to break the bonds of negative thoughts.  We have all been there.  It appears that no matter what we do these thoughts come hauntingly back into our consciousness.  How do I rid myself of these thoughts?  The only way is to confront them and to own up to the fact that they are part of myself.  I wrestle with how to define my place in the world as a human being.

I know I am not the artist that uses his/her art to achieve political means.  I respect artists that choose that path, for it is essential for communication in our saturated society.  I am sure that I am not the artist that uses shock and sexuality.  If that is what an artist chooses the way to walk, then so be it.  I rather elevate thought than wallow in the shadows.  We must acknowledge our own shadows as part of ourselves in order to be of complete consciousness.

This brings me back to my question of what kind of art do I want to reveal to myself and the world.  Let us just say that it is a “work in progress.”  I am in daily therapy with my camera to work that one out.

There is always some color somewhere in my life.  Even as negative thoughts bounce around and cloud my path.  I am aware that within my soul lies the solution.  It is up to me to clear the way to allow that positivity to enter my thoughts process.

Today I found it in the light in the shape of a plastic pot with blooming lavender.  It wasn’t much, but it did shine some light on some clouded thoughts.  If you look for those bright paths you can find them.


Minute Possibilities Are Still Possible

Friday, May 25th, 2012

One Petal Till Poppy Seeding

I never noticed the wild poppies that grow everywhere in Japan before the earthquake on March 11, 2011.  They bloom in the early spring.  Their tiny orange hued petals cover a small seedpod.  It is about this time of year now that the petals slowly fall off leaving only the seedpod behind.  The pods quickly dry themselves out.

Out of curiosity the other day I plucked a dried seedpod from the curbside.  I gently rubbed the sides of the pod between my thumb and index finger and let the minuscule black seeds cascaded into the palm of my hand.  There must have been more than a hundred specs of black gathering in my palm’s lines.  I imagined this multiplied by the millions of wild poppies that are scattered throughout Japan, which would be billions of seeds.

All this possibilities in the tiniest of seeds.  They will be cast off to the winds and find the warmth of the earth to bloom again next spring.  All of possibilities are there.  This one wild poppy’s seedpod could father a hundred youth.  Most likely that will never happen.  Some seeds will be gobbled up by the neighborhood birds, some washed out to see, in actuality on a select few will make it to be next years beauties to be admired.

They might not have much of a chance, but there is still a chance.  Given the love and karma they will be there swaying in the breeze come spring 2013.


Banging Against That Wall, Hoping for the Breakthrough

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Knocking Heads Against a Brick Wall

Bang! and again, and again.  Sometimes that is exactly how we feel.  No matter what we do, or the approach we take it running smack into a brick layered wall.  Bang, head slamming into the wall. Over and over again, until we become numb to it all.  Why is it so rough?  What are we hopping we will accomplish.

We can’t help it at certain points in our lives.  We have all been there.  When I find myself smacking against that wall.  I find it absolutely necessary to pause, breathe in so deeply that the oxygen reinvigorates my soul.  I focus in on that air circulating within my body, looking for that negativity, and then release all of those obstacles in my exhale.

It is easier said then done, but with focused practice, It will become second nature to us all.

Bang away, just don’t let it get to you.  Release those energies that are causing you to hit the wall, and the universe will intervene if you calm your spirit.

Breakthroughs wouldn’t be called break-through if it there wasn’t a wall that needs to be surpassed.


Wandering Higashi Ginza, Tokyo

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Higashi Ginza Tilting Lantern

I had to take my Ricoh GR IV in to the repair shop located in Ginza on Monday.  I had been meaning to stop by the Ricoh Camera Service Center for a while but just haven’t been able to make the time.  There was a bit of dust on the sensor and I knew the only way to get rid of the dust was to have the experts take a look.

I dropped the camera off and took out my GRII as a backup camera.  It was only about 2 hours after the eclipse and the sun had finally chased all the colds away.  It was perfect weather for getting lost in the backstreets of Ginza.

For most people Ginza means all those super brand stores and large department stores like Mitsukoshi, of course, Ginza has all of that, but I am not really attracted to all that glitz.  I prefer those neighborhoods that are on the fringes.  On Monday I spent most of my time walking the streets between Ginza, Higashi Ginza, and  not quite as far as Tsukiji.

There is a wonderful mixture of eateries, homes, and businesses that I have no idea what they do.  It doesn’t really matter.  It is the journey that really counts.  I had plenty of time to walk about with my old trusty camera as my GR IV wouldn’t be ready to about 3 p.m.

Sometimes the best way to find your way is to get totally lost.  That pretty much happened to me.  I turned a corner to discover that the Kabukiza (Kabuki Theater) that had been torn down about 2 years ago, was nearing completion.

Turning another corner, sliding down between the narrowest of alleys.  For me that is the honest Ginza.  Not the flashy stores or the bright lights.  Its the quiet streets that people call home.

Higashi Ginza 81-106


Higashi Ginza Cone Guarded Garden

The Cloudy Ring of Fire Eclipse Over Minami Kasai Tokyo

Monday, May 21st, 2012

RIng of Fire Eclipse Over Minami Kasai Tokyo

Beep Beep Beep, went the alarm this morning at 6:30 a.m. to get my wife and I up early.  Today was the day of the eclipse, and we didn’t want to miss it.  The astronomers said that the next ring of fire eclipse visible from the Kanto (Tokyo) area would not happen for another 300 years.  It was definitely one of those once in a life time chances.

We scrambled out of bed my wife grabbed the special eclipse watching shades and I grabbed my cameras.  I had made no special preparations as far as equipment.  I am of the mind that whatever I am able to capture with my lens than that is the way it is to be.

The sun was actually higher in the sky than I had imagined that it would be.  It had cleared the Nagisa New Town Danchi complex down by the river side and was being a bit shy as the sun hid behind puffs of clouds.  It was a bit frustrating not being able to see the sun clearly though the clouds.

We donned our special shades and tried to have a look.  At first we really couldn’t see anything through the shades, then suddenly we could start to see the moon passing over the sun.  It would only last a few seconds before the clouds would chase it away.

I remember back in Leewood Elementary School in Miami we once tried to observe the eclipse by using the pinhole technique.  It wasn’t that exciting but it was better than going blind by the sunlight.

Now with the new materials available we were actually able to watch it happen.  The sky grew dark.  We weren’t alone either.  Our neighbors could be seen hanging from their windows too.  We were all up early to catch this celestial spectacle.  It will be be as an afterimage in the collective mind of all those that witness this wonder.

The pictures I got weren’t the greatest.  That isn’t a problem for me, because getting to witness this event with my wife, my heart and all of our neighbors was golden.


There is a Palm Tree Just Over the Wall

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

There is a Palm Tree at the End of a Wall

We may all have those days where your emotions turn yourself on your head.  One minute everything is just cooling, and the next you’ve got a brain cloud.  This happens to everyone.  It is part of adapting to our life through the experiences that we have incorporated as part of who we are.

It may feel like we have run head on smack into a wall.  Blam! You may have hit that wall so hard that it knocks you down to the ground and the lights grow dim.  Eventually we all come to again.  As we lay there flat on the earth our eyelids will slowly flicker back to life.  Our perspective has changed.  We are looking off into the infinite sky.  There is no longer any wall to be seen.  There is just the cobalt blue sky filled with dreamy puffs.

We might shake the dust from our clothes as we stand back up again, to be confronted with that wall that lies directly in our sightline.  What happened to that endless sky of a moment ago?  Where did it go?  Why is this wall still in my way?  There is nothing to worry about.  We have all the knowledge we need to overcome this obstacle.  These wall are never as in our way as we think they are.  The walls are there for us to climb.  We need to be able to hit that wall and scramble our way to the top and jump down to the other side.

We never quite know what is waiting for us on the other side.  We could be confronted immediately with another wall, we may land ourselves in our own garden of eden.  Or in my case, there may just be a palm tree on the other side.  It’s not gold.  It is just a tree, in a plastic pot, cared by someone who loves that plant with all their heart.



Spring, Lovely Spring, Come Stay Awhile

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Backside Garden with Corrugated Plastic

The windows are open and a dry cool breeze is rustling my curtains.  Today is absolutely gorgeous.  It is sunny without being hot.  Cool with out being cold.  Dry without it being biting. It is just perfect weather.

Last night I spent some time in my own patio garden watching the plants grow.  It really is calming to be out amongst the plants that we are raising and just chill.  Just to sit there and soak up the ambience with my heart knowing that we are doing a little part to make our world, the world we share, better for all.

On this day I am free to relax my body and spirit.  To catch up on much needed spiritual nourishment that provided me with the energy needed to do my works.  I am so thankful for the sabbath.  It allows me to put trivial troubles in perspective and refocus my thoughts on matters that are truly of importance.

As I look are the sunshine as it fills my patio.  I am hopeful for a better tomorrow.  I am hopeful that this gorgeous weather that we have been blessed with hangs for a bit before the beginning of the true summer season.

In the meantime you can find out on my patio watching my plants thrive.

Stepping Up Garden with Communists

Hanging Tough, Hanging Rough

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Chalked Man, Hang On

Yeah, it was that kind of day.  The day where I had to just hold on with all my hight, because if I would have let go I would have just tumbled thudingly to the earth.

So I hung in there.  I took a moment to sketch out the feeling with a piece of chalk.  I really hadn’t made any drawing for a while, but this one just spoke to me.  It was there just hanging off the letter T on the chalkboard.

Hold on, don’t let go.  Keep the focus, for in time all will be shown, if you are seeking answers.


Going to Seed

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Seeding on the Bridge Up

The heat rose and in the late afternoon the winds came.  Winds swept across the road as I was walking back from the station to my house.  This dandelion that had gone to seed caught my eye.

The wind was pushing it this and that way but it didn’t let go of its sees.  It just bent in the wind and held onto it’s offspring.  People kept coming and going over the pedestrian bridge.  I was squatting there watching the dandelion dance.

So delicate, yet so strong.

Blowing in the wind, without letting go.

Bus Stop Umbrella Parade

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Bus Stop Umbrella Parade

The rain just kept on falling.  All day there was nothing but rain.  It varied from misty rainfall to out right pours.  It was just water falling from the heavens.  Little droplets, splattering against my raincoat, and bouncing off my black umbrella.

Rain always makes me think of both Miami, and the San Francisco Bay Area.  Both places it would rain like crazy.  In Miami the rain would suddenly come and jut pour, then the next moment the sun would be out shining.  The rain came as fast as it went away.  Other times the weather would be foul as the winds hurled the rain in vertical and horizontal sheets.

In the Bay Area, the rain would come, and the sun would vanish for days.  There could be several days in a row when there would be rain so constant that I would forget what a sunny day felt like.  The dampness was so cold that it would seep into my bones no matter how many lawyers I might have worn.

Today’s weather is much more like those long winter nights in Martizez, California.  The rain came and it would just stay.  I would stare out into the back yard where a small creak ran, and watch the water level raise and raise, until the little creak was a roaring river of chocolaty water.

Today is somewhere in between.  The rain hasn’t really stopped.  The air is a bit on the cooler side.  I still just stare out my window and watch the rain fall and listen to the sounds of the birds chirping in the late afternoon.

It is only rain.  It will be gone tomorrow. Let me just take out my umbrella and join the parade.


Gardening in the Neighborhood

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Flower Burst Wall Window

The weather today has been gorgeous.  It might seem strange but after a few days of some weather that just confused me, it is nice to have awoken to clear skies and coolish air.

The weather on the stroll around this Narashino neighborhood on Friday was perfect.  The small plots of land are always stuffed to the bursting point with plants.  The Japanese had a great knack when it comes to using space efficiently.  Most people who are into gardening will have plants lined up on walls, in front of the home, and even planting some in the earth if they have the space.

I love look at how beautiful and compacted these gardens are.  There is so much concrete we are surrounded by everywhere we turn, it is a pleasure to see some green leaves reaching towards the sunshine.

I too have tried to use my space efficiently by planting a container vegetable garden this year on my patio.  I will keep you posted on it’s progress.

Keep on sowing seeds!

Bush Wall Taped Up Mailbox

First Spotted in 2012

Friday, May 11th, 2012

First Spotted in 2012

It may be that spring is just about over, even though in Japan we have been having extremely odd weather.  It hailed yesterday.  There were a rash of tornados about a week ago, and the mercury keeps yo-yoing up and down.  All of this may be coming quickly to an end.  Today on my stroll around I spotted my first ladybug.  There he/she was just glistening in the sunshine.

Ladybugs are my friend.  And seeing this one reminded me that I need to plant some marigolds in and around my patio garden so that the ladybugs want to come over to my house and have a party.  Then they will be welcomed to feast on the little aphids that follow in the hot humid weather.

May you all have a beautiful day of rest.  Be on your watch for the ladybugs in your own neighborhood.


Street Corner Prose and the Lost Art of Letter Writing

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Street Corner Lyrical Prose

I paused at a corner I have passed many times.  Actually I have taken a picture of this corner in the autumn when the Japanese Maple was flaring red.  But today was different.  I noticed a small metal plaque that had attached to it a wooden plank.  Written on the wood was some Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy).

The brushwork is very hard for me to discover what exactly was written.  I can stare into the lines and appreciate the care, and the beauty of each ink filled stroke.  Each stroke then works in with the street corner.  All the elements are working in a harmony within the frame of my lens.  The Japanese maple, the wooden planter box, the advertisement behind the poetry are all synced.  I love Japan when all these elements stack up on one another within my viewfinder.

Shodo is becoming a lost art in Japan.  The youth have all taken to texting, tweeting, and blogging.  The computer tools allow the youth to write Kanji without know the step by step process to write them on paper.  This lost art was reinforced when I opened my mailbox.  Among the bills, catalogs and flyers was an actual letter.  This was not a form letter.  It was not an email.  It was a letter addressed to me written in a beautiful cursive script.  A dear friend took the time to write his thoughts out for my benefit on paper.  The letter’s words looped across the page, as I read my friends thoughts.  An art of lettering writing that I myself had been loosing, if I haven’t already lost.

It was a synchronous moment.  Seeing and photographing the calligraphy on the street corner and then receiving the beautifully written letter.  Sometimes we have days like these and sometimes we don’t.  We need to look for those signs that we are given.  We need to pay attention to those hints that the Creator is dropping us.  If we don’t we will forever be wandering aimlessly in the dessert.





Sunny Side of the River

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Runner, Bicycles, Apartments Riverside

Sometimes we just feel out it.  It is hard to know why or where it comes from, but there it is.  It is right before us, sometimes seeping way down into our soul.  The important fact is what do what we do?  Do we stay paralyzed and afraid to do anything?

I say, NO!  I know it might be hard, but it is that struggle through the rough patches in our lives that make those vibrant days that much sweeter.    We have to make that conscious decision to seek the light.  To seek out the sunny side of the river if the side that we are traveling on is in darkness.

For me that is the only way to live.  It is easy to say, but to put it into practice take effort.  We need to discipline ourselves to focus on that light that shines into our lives.  If there is no light then it is time for us to go out and find that light.

For me this past Sunday I found that light on the sunny side of the river in a place called Minami Kasai.  It is nothing special.  It is just my daily stomping ground.  The light was there, in a way it was always there, I just had to open my heart to feel it.


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