There is What You Know, and There is What You See

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

The Other Side of Akihabara 11-1


Akihabara has never been my favorite neighborhood in Tokyo, in fact, it is a neighborhood I only venture to when I need some specific camera or electronic goods.  When I am there I do like wandering a few blocks off the main Showa Avenue.

There hidden among the Maid Cafes and the stores that have plastic bins labeled “junk” are bits of a Tokyo that no longer exists.  It does exist.

I know that this is the neighborhood that draws geekism from all over the globe, but there nestled in little pockets is what “we” choose to see.  A potted tree, an old neighborhood sign, an office specializing in some obscurity.

I choose to see.


The Saitama Side of Life

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Monolitic Saitama Riverside


I visited the border town of Misato yesterday.  Thats right a border town, for it is just over the border from both Chiba Prefecture, and Tokyo.  The sun was pretty harsh as I made my way over to the river.  The levees are huge cutting off all view of the river.  I had to climb a series of concrete steps to stand atop the levee.

The weeds were thick and coming right up to the edge of the steps.  It was like how I imagined finding an ancient Mayan pyramid that had been swallowed by the jungle.

The flood plain that stretched out between the Saitma and Chiba sides of the river were low and wide.  A small island of trees had even taken root in the middle of the flood plain.  I gazed out over the grass and river as my eyes focused on the far side that was Chiba prefecture.

I wondered what this area must have been like 50 years ago.  When there was little out this way that had been constructed.  Or even to go farther back in time to the Edo period when this area might have been largely un populated.

Times change, bridges are build the old is knocked down and the so-called modern replace it.  Somewhere between the sky, river and asphalt lies the truth.

Sky, Chiba Prefecture, River, Saitama Prefecture, Road

Kicking Back at the Local Liquor Shop, Feline Style

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Kicking Back at the Sake Shop, Feline Style


It is time to say goodbye to Ichikawa till September.  I will miss the relaxing walks back to the station, but I know it is only for a short time, and I will be challenged by what has changed over the summer heat.

I pass this liquor shop on my way to the station.  I have seen this kitty waiting outside in the cooler months, but I think this one knows how to keep cool.  This one has kicked back on top of some boxes of wine.  He’s got a first rate view of all the action on the street outside.  I’m sure it is much cooler on the inside than the plus 30 degrees temperature outside.

I think that all this one is missing is the feline Mojito.  What is a feline Mojito, it is pretty much the same as what I like to partake in except instead of spearmint, I crush up a bit of catnip.

Now that would be chilling feline style.


Life on a Hot Cement Wall

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Step Up Window Wall with Tree


The sun is high.  The cicadas are out and about singing their ode to the summer heat.  The sun bakes what has already been set in stone.  Still the heat rises.  The walls expand at an imperceptible to our sun drenched eyes.

Still the heat rises.  The cracks spread.

It is just life on a hot concrete wall.


Found Japanese Booty of the Copper Kind

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Antique Japanese Copper Coin with Embedded Grain of Sand


While combing the beach in Okitsu for broken bits of celadon and bits of pottery with blue glazes I came across a rather odd little circular object.  When I first spied it the disk in the sand I thought it was a washer from one of the fishing boats that dock on both ends of the beach.

I reached over and picked it up, to next think that I had found a modern 5 yen coin that someone had dropped in the water and had tarnished.  Part of the disk was missing, and the hole in the middle was square.  I thought that was a bit odd because modern five yen coins have a round hole, and have the look more off brass rather than copper.

I showed it to some of my mates back at are BBQ area and they said I had found a bit of Japanese treasure.  After doing a little digging around on the internet, I can determine that the coin is at least pre-Meiji era (1868).  it is most likely from Edo era (1603-1868).

I have beach combed in Florida for years always dreaming of finding a little piece of pirate booty, only to travel halfway around the world to find a piece of Japanese treasure.

Reflection at Le Mer in Okitsu Beach, Chiba

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Fog, Praustian View of California in Okitsu


Three out of the last four years I have made a pilgrimage to gaze out onto the pacific ocean from rural Okitsu Beach in Chiba.  It is not the most beautiful beach.  It is not the sandiest.  It does have its own quiet charm.

Having grown up in Florida I was surrounded by water, but I never fully appreciated how important the ocean was in my life.  I was always near the water, but I never enjoyed the surf and sand.  Now, having been so far from the land of my birth I truly know that part of my soul is made up of sand and salty water.

This time was rather interesting day.  We arrived about 9 in the morning after a 2 hour drive from Tokyo.  The sun was hot and blazing when I took a little walk as there was time before other friends arrived.  This sleepy little port has a safe harbor that lets out into the ocean.  About 10 minutes into the walk the shoreline was engulfed in fog.  I had never seen fog in Japan before, and I was instantly transported back to my days on the California coast when there were more days with fog than without.

I climbed up a set of stone steps to a small fisherman shinto shrine and couldn’t make out the shore across the small stretch of water.  This is when something caught my eye.  At first glance I thought it was a small dog out in the morning air, but it didn’t move like a dog.  In fact when it turned to scamper up the side of the hill I realized that it was a fawn with a small bushy white tail.  We had out moment together on the hillside overlooking Okitsu beach.

The ocean calms my spirit.  Just to be able to lookout over the rippling waves allows for my heart to be cleansed.  Even with the petrol gurgling of the jet skis I was able to let go of much of the worries that would come back to haunt me that evening.

Even more cleansing than just sitting on the concrete steps gazing out to the horizon, was to be able to submerse myself in the salt water.  The small lapping waves of the sandy section of the beach and the cold under currents of the pacific refreshed my soul as much as it did my sun soaked flesh.

The beach isn’t very long and can be walked at my island pace in matter of 20 or 30 minutes.  My eyes peeled to the heavy grains of sand searching for bits of broken ceramics.  I am still not really sure why there are so many pieces of pottery on this beach but from their smooth edges they have been tumbling in the water for quite some time.  I even found what I first took to be a five yen coin.  On closer inspection it was a bit of Japanese copper treasure.  Most of the writing has been washed away, but just guessing that the coin is probably from the Edo Period ( 19th century).

I felt so cleansed by the time we left the beach.  My soul was floating my body fatigued from being out in the sun, even though we were mainly under clouds and fog.  Then I heard about the Trayvon Zimmerman case.  I wasn’t actually surprised, but I was disheartened by some people calling for violence because of the verdict.  On the other side Zimmerman was being idolized as a hero for killing an African teenaged American.

I started to spiral.  Negative thoughts were entering into a space that I had just cleansed.  I wonder why so many choose hate over love.  Why are Americans so predisposed to accepting violence as a problem solving escapes my grasp.  The feelings were growing I realized that it wasn’t only Zimmerman being found not guilty that was troubling.  It was how Americans as a people are coming to a point were we cannot relate of empathize with each other.  It is like waling backwards into the 1950s all over again.

There is so much trouble in the world, and I did let those troubled spirits into my soul.  It is a constant battle to keep on the positive.  To let go of the hate, the guilt, the pettiness that overwhelms so many of us.  I am thankful that the most high has given me a way of dealing with my introspection.  I am so thankful that I can express myself though the visual arts, and I challenge myself to put my heart out there for others.  If anyone can relate to what I am struggling with, then I know the act of being introspective is proper.

I am thankful to all my friends and family who take the time to reach out to me.  I appreciate the exchange of warmth and ideas.  Even though we may feel alone I know that none of us truly are.

Listen to the sound of the sea.  Let the salty air and water cleanse you.  Make the time to be reflective, and together we can overpower the hate with love.




Okitsu Beach Tidal Canal

Stairway to Jungle

Fisherman with Boat, Rope and Trap, Okitsu, Chiba, Japan

Concrete Beach Wave, Okitsu, Chiba, Japan

Summer Heat, Sun Shower with a Prize

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Double Rainbow with Pot of Apartment, Kasai, Tokyo, Japan


The sun blazed the tops of my feet till they tingled.

Wind blew, and blew across the low lying Kasai hood.

Skies were full of golden sun.

The skies roared from the cloudless heavens.

Splat, splat, splat the cooling relief came down.

The Apartment of Gold was anointed with a double colored spectrum.

All on a hot summer dusk.

<a href=”” title=”Double Rainbow Summer Dreaming by jacob schere [in the 03 strategically planning], on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Double Rainbow Summer Dreaming”></a>


Bugging Out in the Afternoon

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Insecting Out in the Afternoon


The rainy season comes and goes.  Listening to the weather report is about as accurate if I was on TV making the weather predictions.  They say it will rain and it doesn’t.  The next forecast is for sunny skies and as I can hear the window being pelted with strong rain and wind.

It was yesterday in a break in the rain with some gray clouds overhead that I spotted this wonder from the insect kingdom.  He had lovely zebra striping with antenna that were as large as it’s entire body.  I had never seen one like this before.  He had no fear as I was able to get my lens so close that the antenna actually brushed my fingers.

I just never know what one day will bring.  I spent so much time in Japan, and still little surprises are there for me.  It was a nice end, to be able to bug out in the afternoon with this guy.


Thanks to my friend Tomo, I now know the name of this wonder: Citrus long-horned beetle, ゴマダラカミキリ



Red Temple Fungus of Ichikawa

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Red Temple Fungus Returns


I had spotted this fungus a little more than a year ago growing on the lowest part of the trunk and roots on a tree in a temples courtyard.  It’s brightly colored orange ears creating a patchwork, families, against the dark tree bark.

I was captivated by the hues.  I had to get in for a closer look.  I wanted to know what shapes it had taken.  What makes it grow?  Why does it only grow on one of the trees in the temple’s yard?

I don’t know.  These little fungus blossoms help me to focus, to be on my watch. For no one knows when the return will come.


On the Edge of Urban Foreverness

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Urban Skies Forever and Ever


No matter where I turn the skies are as endless as the rivers of concrete.  It is a realization of where I live.  I have the bay over my shoulder, and the sky over my head, but the urban landscape fill my field of vision.  This is no reason to let the urban weight hold us down.

It is only a matter of changing how we perceive our world.  If we choose to only see the stacks of gray and the endless kilometers of wire than that is how you see it.  If you only see the open skies and the blooming flowers that is how your heart will develop.

In many ways I have chosen to do both.  I need to embrace my neighborhood as it is.  I also need to search out the beauty amongst that overbearing gray.

I will always be on the edge of foreverness with my soul in the clouds.


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