Intersection of Natural and Man’s Creations

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Concrete Slab, Drainage Pipe, Hydrangeas Hillside

June is quickly drawing to an end.  The rainy season has come, and without many downpours it has seemed to have already moved on.  There was the unseasonably early typhoon and the heavy Friday rain of last week, but that is about all that has really intensely fallen.

The weather still has been quite odd.  I even had to pull on a sweater on Monday due to the chill.  I am NOT complaining!  I am only observing this oddity. I am thankful for a bit of cool summer weather because, I know that the sticky hot months of July and August will be upon all the city dwellers soon enough.  Those days where the humidity is so high that walking out one’s front door is like getting slapped in the face with a hot wet blanket.

As I stroll around in the spare moments that I have I am more attracted to the way nature and mankind’s creations interact with each other.  Sometimes that interaction one of the two is winning the battle; however,   there is often quiet détente playing out between the uncomfortable neighbors.

The large blooming hydrangeas cast sharp shadows over it’s concrete neighbors.  The concrete prohibits the flowers’ roots from seeking more fertile ground.  There they both exist influencing each other.  No one wins no one truly looses.  In the camera’s mixing palette both gain an non combative posture.  In the lens they acknowledge each others presence.

We must deeply love the natural world.  Without love we will never be able to survive as a species.  Our interactions must be done out of love and respect for nature.  Let some areas be completely wild, while we attempt to tame others.  Let us bring some of that wildness into the spaces that we occupy with our homes, offices, and public spaces.

In the meantime I continue to inhabit this détente between the two dynamic spheres.  My heart sees the two clearly, and I search out those frames where there isn’t a struggle it is only cooperation.

That is the intersection between the leafy green and the poured concrete. The delicately balanced harmonious interactions between those worlds that enter my heart by way of a piece of ground glass.

Life Between Stages

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Life Between Stages

From shadow we come into this world and all will return to the shadows.  The way we choose to live in the sunshine defines us as the person we become.  We have decisions to make along the way.  At times we run towards the shadows and attempt to hide from our true nature, but that is only running away from ourselves.

Once we are in the light all can be revealed if we consciously search for the truth.  We will never to be able to find truth if we look for it in darkness.  It is only in the light that we can begin to comprehend what the word truth means.

What has been framed out of this image.  What lies to the left side?  What can one find if you were permitted to gaze over the edge and into the city?

My photographic frame is my frame of mind.  It is my often feeble attempt to visual record my life’s stages.  In my argument at least I am searching for answers, even if I may never find them.


I am a Cat, Let me Sleep

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Higashi Kasai Feline

It Sunday afternoon and I am napping on the side of my building.  It is pretty cool here in the shade.   I can catch up on all my missed sleep from my running around the neighborhood the night before.

Wait a minute some has stopped his bicycle in front of my mansion.   I lift my ears and then my eyes to figure out what is going on.  Could they be here to give me some tasty tuna bits?  Are they here to try to nab me and bring me off somewhere?  I could hardly be bothered.  I just wanna be here by myself.

I don’t really know.  All I know is it is a bit hot outside and I have the whole afternoon to do nothing but just sit in the shade.  I hear the world go by around me but I barely raise and ear as long as they just leave me alone and let me nap.

Perhaps in a little bit I might stretch my legs and take a stroll around my territory to make sure no one has tried to set up shop in my part of town.  I just couldn’t stand that.

That is a thought for another day.  I am content to just lie on my stomach and dream of tuna, catnip and little furry creatures to chase.

I am a cat, so let me sleep, and dream.


Rainy Days, Wet Days, Still We Wait

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Wet Bustop Waiting, Chiba

The rain came streaming down.  Endless rivulets of water pounded the pavement.  The hydrangeas just smiled as they opened their mouths to catch their liquid gold.  I sat and sat on my bus.  Watching the water condensate on the ceilings and windows.  Droplet by droplet they would slow cast themselves down to the floor, by way of my raincoat.

Soothing tunes piped into my ears as I just stared out the window.  The world was moving by so slowly in the rain.  We would pause at a bus stop and barely anyone would get on or off.  People were just lined up waiting.  They were waiting for something else.  Do we as a people always wait for something else?  Are never satisfied with our journey?

There she was, with her umbrella, waiting for the bus that was not mine.  Rain falling down from the skies.  Standing holding her umbrella and wondering when her bus may come.


Typhoon Lessons Learned

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Typhoon Mushroom Thrive

Coming from Miami, Florida I am one that is pretty accustomed to stormy weather.  As a youth I remember storms that would blow through town, knock out the power, and leave trees upturned.  Many of these storms weren’t even hurricane strength.  They were just storms that packed a lot of punch.

I have now been in Japan for more than a decade.  I have seen typhoons come and go.  I have yet to see one hit Tokyo with as much force as some hardcore Miami thunderstorms.  This is not to say that the Japanese typhoons are weak, they surely aren’t.  I wouldn’t be writing this if I lived in Okinawa, or more southern Japan, where the majority of the gale force storms come ashore.

In some ways I usually look foreword to the storms.  The howling winds and the gushing rains bring me back to those humid day of my youth in Miami.  I keep an eye out for the bustling winds.  I peek out my window to see how the storm is progressing.  This storm I learned some lessons the hard way.

My wife and I decided to start a patio garden this spring.  It had been something that we had talked about but never had put it into action until this year.  We have always had plants, but they were mainly large potted fruit trees that have been on our patio for many years.  Actually, they really aren’t that large.  The are more like giant bonsai, because of being restricted to growing within the boundaries of their white pots.  This garden was different.  We were trying to supplement what we eat with fresh herbs and vegetables from our own garden. We put many hours in to the garden.  My wife in fact had become a bit obsessed with gardening and I could often find her out on our veranda tending to our plants.  We had to fight back infestations of bugs with soap and oil.  Cut off leaves that seemed to catch some mysterious ailment.  We had planted baby carrots, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, all sorts of leafy veggies that made our way into our dinner table.  We even had a little bit of excess that we started to pickle from scratch.

This all changed this typhoon.  Our garden was decimated by the strong winds.  Stems snapped, green tomatoes were thrown about the patio.  The eggplant leaves were so battered that they look as if they had been nibbled on right on down to the spines.  The meter high corn stalks were all laying flat out on the container next to them.  I was a bit upset and at the same time I knew that there was really nothing we could do.  There was no way we could have brought the plants inside.  I had to have faith that they would survive at least some of them would.

On my way in to work the morning after the storm I got to think about most of the world that are subsistence gardeners.  They grow food so that they have something to eat.  I was came to a realization that our garden only supplements our diet and I should be thankful that no one in my family was injured by the storm.  If this had happened in a land of farmers who very live depends on what they are able to reap from the earth they would be facing hunger after this storm.

I am sure that our plants will rebound.  Nature has a way of fighting back against itself.  Already my mint plant has started to sprout some new leaves out of the blackened sufferers. The rain also brought out a field of mushrooms at field on my way to work.  The spores had managed to spring up inspire of the torrential rains and forceful winds.

Somethings have to wither so that others can grow.  I am thankful that I have access to food and I can spend time gardening as a hobby.  My heart goes out to the farmers in Japan that lost crops because of the typhoon.  My heart aches for those that would have gone hungry if a powerful storm had hit their farms.


Typhoon Heading Tokyo’s Way, Hydrangeas Just Know to Bloom

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Hydrangeas with Mailbox and Wall

There may be a typhoon heading towards the Tokyo Kanto area, but the hydrangeas could care less. They are content just being their blooming selfs.  They have no knowledge of the torrential rain that could come.  All that they know is that it is time for all of their tightly closed buds to open up and soak up  the rainfall.

Sometimes I wish I could be a simple celled life form.  No worries to cloud my thought process.  I would only have my instincts and DNA to tell me what to do.

These are just fanciful wishes.  I am glad that I am capable of higher thought, even if that higher thoughts are murky.  It is better to be conscious of our own actions and determine the course that is best for ourselves rather than have our lives decided for us.

Enjoy the rain at least watching it from the comfort of your home or you can go out and prance with the raindrops.  The choice is for each of us to make.


Flowerization in Unlikely Spaces

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Industrial Flowerization Harmony, Urayasu

The skies finally decided to dry out after a sopping wet Saturday.  I took a ride over the bridge into Urayasu to spend some time with friends.  The sun was strong and I was thankful for not wearing my windbreaker.

turned off the main street to pedal down one of the streets in the warehouse section along the water’s edge.  It being Sunday the streets were deserted.  The large aluminum sided building stood silently.  The gate closed till they reopen on Monday.

Door to door asphalt is what I thought I would find, and that was there, but there is an incredible amount of greening in process in the industrial neighborhood.  Small potted gardens lineup up outside the offices.  Gardens had been planted in the entrance ways to break the monotony of factories.

Flowers sprung up from the ground like notes on a musical score.  Reaching for the sunshine as they swayed in the breeze.

Nature given time will grind these factories into compostable dust.  All it takes is time and for the human element to leave them be.  In the meantime, I watch the struggle or the harmony of it all.  It all depend on how you choose to view the world.


The Green Corner

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Trunk Corner Mimomi, Chiba

A corner of green wedged in between asphalt plastic and metallic railing.  Made luscious by Japan’s coming monsoon rains.  The greening of a small bit of paradise.  To the left and to the right is nothing but suburban lands.  Here is home.  This bit of comfort is what I have chosen to receive.

We all make those choices.  Everyday we are presented with countless of choices in how to perceive our surroundings.  How we make those choices reflect how we experience life.

Seeing green or seeing gray, the choice is yours.


Spherical in Nature

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Spherical in Nature

Life turns in on itself.

Never a true beginning

Never an final ending.

Only circular stages.

All life is spherical in nature.

Opened souls see without vision.

Seeds disperse to the winds, settle in the earth, spread the next generation.

Spherical cycles with no beginning and no end.


No Need for the Meteorologist, It’s Rainy Season

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Hydrangea Rainy Season Wall, Higashi Kasai Tokyo

I don’t need a meteorologist to tell me that the rainy season has begun in Tokyo, for the hydrangeas have signaled with their luscious blossoms.  As Tokyo waited and waited for the meteorologists to officially declare the start of the rainy season, the hydrangeas know it in their genes that now is the time for them to dazzle.

The hydrangeas come in all shades from a true white to blues and aubergines.  I adore the way that the large blossoms explode with burst of color over a period of days.  After they are in full bloom, the blossoms do not depart from their parents.  They cling on and show themselves for weeks, if not months. Their hues even can vary on one plant depending on the acidity of the soil.  For me, personally, the hydrangeas are a highlight of the brief rainy season in Japan.

The skies may be full of endless grayness but the rich colors of the buds luminescence in the downpours.  The sopping petals reveal their inner velvet hues.  Hues that awaken soulful memories of a mater painter’s brush.

The rain doesn’t bother my spirit.  All the much needed rain invigorates a greener Tokyo even in the midst of the dull apartment buildings and cramped homes.  I am joyous to wander in the rain with my umbrella and just marvel at the queens of the monsoon. The only bloom once a year, and that happens to be during the June downpours.  It is just perfect to me.

Shackled Love of Youth

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Shackeled Love of Youth

Spring has been quickly morphing into summer, but not before the entire Kanto area will bee drenched during the rainy month of June.  On this early June day I found myself on the narrow backstreets behind Funabashi station.  The dingy streets were lined with the Japanese greasy spoons.  Bars, tontaksu, teishoku (lunch plates or set menu meals), and ramen most busy, while others were empty with the owner sitting on a beer crate outside their establishment.  People of all ages hustled about for lunch in the strong Friday afternoon light.

There was the occasion ultra tight alleyway where signs had been posted that no one under 18 were allowed to pass through because of the sleazy drinking establishments that overflowed these tiny pedestrian walkways.  They are there to trap the thirsty businessman in a web alcoholic persuasion scented with female fantasies.

These are some of the same streets that the teenagers have to travel to get from their homes to crowded Funabashi station.  The young guys in their blazer styled uniforms, and the girls in their sailor uniforms.  The teenagers have to navigate these alleyways so that they can attend classes.  They too needed to pass the streets where I stood.  I stumbled upon evidence that they had too traveled these same streets for they had scribbled their mark on a banged up street sign.

The tradition of the aiaigasa (love love umbrella) where teenagers draw an umbrella and inscribe the the names of the two in love under the protecting the shade of an umbrella.  Sometimes the lovers draw the aiaigasa together, other times a Japanese youth draws one for the love of the one that they desire.  They hope that their love will be eternal as it has been inscribed and placed in the public view.

Does any young love last forever?  Do the chains of the love our youth blur our our vision?  Do we need to break childhood love fantasies in order that we can mature and allow love to flow from our hearts to all?

Unshackling our own unguided desires and focusing our energies on the possible higher love is a needed step towards becoming an adult.  Someone who is able to share love not just for the opposite sex, but love that knows no bounds.  A love that is free and welcoming to all who encounter the the human with love emanating from their heart.

Unshackle our hearts that are bound by earthly desires.  Let our hearts soar to the highest of heights.  Then we can truly come to a full soul reaching understanding of love.


There is a Jungle if Your Framing is Right

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Konodai Jungle View, Ichikawa-shi

A friend once told me a story about the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.  Kurosawa was being questioned about the way he framed a particular shot in a movie and the questioner was reading into the framing to much.  Kurosawa, stopped him and said that he had no choice but to frame the image in this way because to the left and right were industrial factories.

I often think of this statement when I am in the process of framing an image.  Photographers are constantly editing their photographs even before they manifest themselves out of the camera’s body.  Photographers make choices, and those choices reflect the meanings embedded within the frame of the images.

I view each opportunity to compose within my viewfinder as the first step in editing my images.  What I don’t show is often as important as the way in which the objects find themselves arranged in the photograph.

This image appears to be a jungle, but it isn’t a jungle.  It is in fact shot from the third floor of a building on a small university campus.  This is what I saw at that particular time and place, fused with my mental state.

There are jungles out there where there are no wilds.


When the Levee Blooms, Have no Fear

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

When the Levee Blooms

Civilizations spring up along fertile rivers in the middle east and Africa.  The water was the fuel that gave the settles the needed life-force to survive without wandering.  The rivers would overflow their banks once a year and deposit their black gold.  The black gold would be rich with nutrients to maker their cereal crops grow.

As man’s dependence grow on the life giving waters so to did he attempt to regulate them.  To be able to guide where the rivers would overflow, or protect themselves from the ravages of the rivers after man began to live so closely to the edge.

Earthen works were constructed to keep the rising waters at bay.  They thought they had the technology to keep back the rhythmic cycles of nature.  For a time the works were successful, but eventually the levee would fall into disrepair and collapse.

Civilizations still build these levees.  In fact there is a huge earthen one within walking distance from my home.  Do I feel safe with them in place?  I feel only somewhat protected because I know no matter what man builds nature can always take them down with a blink of an eye.  The levees may be overrun in flash or they could crumple under the weight of debt.

Have no fear, it is not the levee that protects I, it is the love that does.  Let the blossoms bloom over the levees let their roots wiggle between the cracks in the cement and cover their surface with purple blossoms.  Have no fear.



Copyright 2007© m2c LucidCommunication - Jacob Schere