Butterflies Trees, and Lots and Lots of Sunshine

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Butterfly Mountain, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden


I have no recollection of the last time I visited Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, but it most be more than 30 years ago .  Its a park that is not very far from where I grew up.  Filled with all kinds of tropical plants spread out on the edge of Old Cutler Highway and Biscayne Bay.  It is where my mother took a portrait of me under a tree when I was about 3 years old.

It was beautiful walking around the park with my niece and my parents; however, I felt disconnected from my memories of the park.  I couldn’t recollect any of the spaces or places.  I don’t know if it was because it had been too long, or if I just have lost those synapses that connect with those specific memories.

At least today I had the chance to create some new memories with my niece as we walked around and took pictures together.  That is a memory to keep.

Tree Trunk with the Fallen Flowers, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden



Amphitheater, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Miami the Sun Filled Flat Green Wonder

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Northside, Flea Market USA, Miami


I can’t remember the last time I had flown in to Miami with the sun still hanging in the sky.  Today was the exception.  The orange globe was just there above the horizon illuminating the 10,000 islands that run from Florida’s west coast scattered like tossed green pebbles around the bottom tip of Florida.  The sun’s warmth reached me though a slight have of my airplane’s plexiglass window.


The open expanse of the Everglades is s sight to see in these ultimate conditions.  Usually looking out the planes window there is just endless darkness, with an occasional light.  Eventually a hard defined edge divides the suburban, which were once wetlands, from the land that still is, the river of grass.


The morning blurs in from the night as my body and mind struggle with the heat, the jet lag, and not knowing wether I should be sleeping or eating.  Hoping aboard the Miami Metrorail I was able to sit and just look out over the city as it sprawls into infinity.


There is a real greenness to Miami.  It may be an urban concrete jungle but interspersed everywhere is greenery.  There are trees, bushes, bromeliads and all sorts of tropical fauna that is sorely missing from Tokyo.


It is one of the parts of Miami’s character that I truly love.  The plant diversity even within the city is just amazing, and the skies stretch into forever.


Rainy, Cold, and Uncrowded in Asakusa

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Sweets, Tree, and Red Wall, Akakusa


I went back to finish up my souvenir shopping is Asakusa on Monday.  I expected it to be a bit uncrowded due to it being Monday and it generally was. The rain also helped keep some of the sightseers away.  There were still streams of tour groups following the triangular flags, and I heard English, Chinese, and German, as I quickly made my way from the main shopping street onto to the backstreets.  I feel at home there.  My pace slows, my eyes sharped, and I can just be.

There are those pockets, tiny little pockets, of what Asakusa must have been like.  It still has got to be the number one destination for foreigners and Japanese travelers to Tokyo, but they more or less stick to the Nakamise (main shopping street) and visit the temple.  I am much more interested in those side streets for the real craftsmen.

The little gardens that thrive in only 15 centimeters of space.  It is what I love about tokyo.  Those intense patches of greening life against the drab of frozen gray concrete.

As I am typing this I gaze out my window to see snowflakes drift on down from the skies.  It is hard to imagine that in a little more than 24 hours time, I will be gazing out my window and hearing the cawing of parrots.



Behind the Temple Garden, Asakusa

Hyper Don Tree Spot, Asakusa

Under the Yamanote Line

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

The Potted Tree and the Chinese Restaurant


The Yamanote Line incircles most of downtown Tokyo.  It pretty much hits the biggest station on its 35 kilometer circular trip around the city.  This is not to say that if you are outside of the line you are in the sticks.  Nope it is pretty much the center of the city.

The wind was blowing in from Siberia as I headed from Akihabara station to Okachimachi station to check out a new group of artisan shops that had been built under the tracks about half way between the two stations.  It is called 2K540.  It was definitely a cool place full of little shops with nice hand crafted goods ranging from leather working, wood carving, and silver smithing.  It is worth the trip if you are looking for some unique gifts that aren’t the usual tourist trash you find in many neighborhoods.

There is no space wasted in Japan’s urban environment.  Here under the tracks they have built an artistically inclined mini shopping mall.  

I love following the tracks and just seeing what there is to be seen.  There is green here and there among the sea of cement.  Just keep that heart open, and the eyes willing.


Dates Announced for the KRS ONE Brooklyn to the Bronx, Documentary at SXSW

Friday, February 15th, 2013

KRS Brooklyn to the Bronx Poster150


The official poster for KRS ONE:  Brooklyn to the Bronx has been released.  In addition, the dates and times of the showings have been released by the SXSW film festival.

The film will screen three times at the festival at the following times, dates, and locations.

Sunday March 10, at 11:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.  location TBA

Tuesday March 12, at 1:15 p.m. 2:35 p.m. at Topfer Theatre at Zach Scott

Thursday March 14, at 2 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. at Vimeo Theater

I am getting pretty excited about this event.  I hope to see some of you out there.  There is also a new website that is dedicated to information about KRS ONE:  Brooklyn to the Bronx  www.krsonebrooklyntothebronx.com

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this dream a reality.

“Open your mental, don’t be afraid to dream!”

Aloe Blooms in the Dead of Winter

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Blooming Aloe Kasai Creekside


Yesterday the temperature took a dive.  The dry crackling air rushed by as I zipped back from Nishi Kasai to my home in Minami Kasai.  It was cold enough that the weather forecast was calling for snow in the early am hours.

I was following a small creek that runs behind some houses where I came to an amazing aloe bush.  It was near freezing weather and this aloe was blooming with some bright red blossoms.  The aloe was so massive that is snake like branches were hovering only centimeters above the waterline.

Just a little nudge that even when I may be freezing and have wrapped my body from head to toe in winter clothing there is still life that manages to bloom.  There are colors that pop forth out of the gray.


Winter Cold Brings Clarity of Thought

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Nagisa New Town Layered Life

The air is so crispy dry these days.  There are hints that spring is not that far off, but it is far enough away to be hopeful of the flowers to come.  The winter isn’t all that horrific.  Yes, my toes, and fingers are constantly cold.  Yes, I have to wear fleece hats to keep warm, but when I step out into that clean air, I can truly see.

Not just the lovely skies, and people that pass me by as I go to and fro in my own neighborhood, but there is a clarity that comes from the breath of fresh air after being cooped up in a toasty room.

My nostrils crack when I flex my nose nostrils.  I pause to take in the air, my surroundings, and my community on the edge of Tokyo, and just be for a moment.  The canyon apartments (danchi) enter my frame, but they quickly pale in comparison to the sky and it’s small band of clouds.

I enjoy moments of clarity.  They don’t happen as frequently as I like, but I am thankful for the ones that I have.



Asakusa, The Backstreets is Where It Happens

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Single Palm and Door, Asakusa


When I first arrived in Tokyo one the first places I visited was the Sensoji Temple and Asakusa shopping district.  I really wasn’t that impressed with the place.  The shops on the main shopping drag were all filled with such kitsch I couldn’t believe that this was the best of what the area had to offer.

Now, so many years later I have some what reconciled my dislike of the neighborhood and have turned it into a love.  The way to really enjoy this neighborhood is to stay away from Nakamise (Shopping Street) and hit the backstreets.  Let yourself get lost among some of the tightest alleys I have seen in Japan.  Also once you get aways from the bustling tour groups and the rickshaw hustlers the streets are rather quiet.  The shops also sell such quality handmade items.

I discovered a traditional Japanese silversmith shop today.  They had amazing silver hammered sake cups and the accoutrements for the tea ceremony.  It was one of the few times I wish I had a greater cash flow to be able to afford such skillful work.  Another shop I found today was a traditional brush maker.  They did sell a few hairbrushes, but most of what they sold was for cleaning.  All made by the shop and most made of renewable materials.  I was thrilled to look at bath scrub brushes, calligraphy pens, and body scrubbers.

I never know quite the path I will walk when I step off from the station.  I let my inner self guide me.  The more wrapped around lost I get the more treasures I will unearth.


Asakusa Feline ( 猫) Sunning and Grooming



Single Palm and Door, Asakusa

KRS ONE: Brooklyn to the Bronx Documentary is Coming to SXSW Film Festival

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

KRS ONE in Studio with Headphones


The world premiere of the short documentary KRS ONE: Brooklyn to the Bronx is coming to the SXSW festival.

I hope to be able to get out to Texas to be a part of the premiere.  I must give a big shout out to my fellow producers and directors Jerry Kolber, and Seth “Brimstone” Schere and co-director/editor Joshua Moïse.

It has been a long time coming, but the first chapter is ready to go.  I love working with my documentary brothers on this project.  A special shout to the teacha KRS ONE and the Temple of Hip Hop!  And special production by PATH.

See you all in Texas!!!

More information to come when SXSW releases the actual dates and times.

Reflecting in Meiji Jingu Shrine Garden

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Sun Gazing Meiji Jingu Shrine Garden


In the heart of Tokyo lies a quiet space uninterrupted by the hustle of Harajuku and the fast paced life that Tokyoites step too.  A space where old man pause, take off their hats, and bow in reverence to the once great Emperor Meiji.

Large wooden Tori (Gates) separate the profane from the scared space of Meiji Jingu Shrine.  I have been several times, and I often bring guests to this space to experience some of the traditional Japanese culture.

My friend and I reasoned on a variety of topics as we wandered the garden.  Pausing here and there to reflect on the beauty of the garden.  Manicured spaces that would lead the eye around from bush to tree, to the pond in the middle of the garden.

Slices of reflections accumulations of all that came before and all that is to come.  The water shone back into myself.  The clear bubbling spring was a moment in which I could allow that water that sprung from the deep earth to enter into my consciousness.  Standing on a few perfectly placed flat stones peering over and into the spring, I was one with my surroundings.

Reflecting, reflected, reflections, moments in a progression of our lives.


Meiji Jingu (Shrine) Clear Spring Well, Self Portrait

White Koi Meiji Jingu Shrine Garden

Fenced in Marsh, Under the Mihama Bridge

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Fenced Sea Marsh, Urayasu Side


Today the sun played hide and seek with the land.

The rays would pop out and reach out touching the earth only to vanish in the next moment.

The bridge was bouncing with the heavy trucks rolling on, and still the sun wanted to play ducking behind some of the strewn clouds.

The thick rich water rippled silently under the Mihama bridge, slowly making their way to Tokyo Bay.

Another moment in a collection of life’s moments.


First and Only Mikan (Satsuma Orange)

Friday, February 1st, 2013

First Mikan [ 温州蜜柑] (Satsuma, Mandarin 无核桔) Orange


My wife alerted to me something that I had completely missed in our garden.  The mikan sapling we had planted in spring had brought forth a single full sized fruit.  It was the only one of the three we planted.

I am not big on winter by any means but the simple pleasure of peeling a mikan and eating it wedge by wedge is one of the most enjoyable activities of a winter in Japan.  I love crushing the skins in my hands and inhaling that lovely citrus fragrance.

Citrus of fragrance has got to be one of the most pleasing scents to my soul.  I am sure there is a connection to mu childhood and having citrus trees in my backyard.  The scent always relaxes me.

I havent peeled this one yet.  I am just enjoying gazing at with my eye.  I will have to post more once i have peeled it and sampled the tender tangy flesh.

Have a beautiful day of rest!



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