art

Autumn in July by the Kyoedogawa River Side

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Autumn in July, Urayasu Bridge and Boats

My friend Z, was lamenting the other day how much she missed the ocean.  She, like me, grew up in Miami and was always surrounded by water.  Z now lives in New Mexico which is an amazingly beautiful locale, but the closest body of ocean water is more the ten hours by car.

It triggered something in my soul that caused me to ponder about my own relationship that I have to water.  I was really attracted to New Mexico’s energy in my youth and even contemplated a move there but the lack of ocean water was upsetting to my spirit.

I have always made my home very close to water.  In Miami one side was the Atlantic Ocean, on the other side was the Gulf of Mexico, and my neighbor was the vast sawgrass of the Everglades.  After University I crossed the lower 48 and settled in Martinez, California.  Martinez sits on the Sacramento River which let out into San Francisco Bay.  Only a 45 minute drive was the Pacific Ocean.  It was always to cold for me to swim in, but it was a marvel just to gaze out over the cold water.  I really had no inkling that one day I would cross that ocean making my home on the other great bay, Tokyo Bay.  I now look across the Pacific Ocean across it’s vastness from the other side.

Why have I always made my home near the water?  Is it because of where I grew up?  I never appreciated the ocean till I moved to California and the ocean became too cold to swim in.  As a youth I was always bothered by the salty air, the sand getting into my bathing suit and the blasting furnace of sunshine.   Now, I find myself on the edge of Tokyo Bay.  My home is wedged in between the Kyoedogawa River and the Bay.  The high levee walls are only a five-minute walk from my home.

I can peer over the river into the city of Urayasu.  Both Kasai, where I live in Tokyo, and Urayasu have long pasts as fishing villages.  On this unusually cool day in July, I watched fishing boat leaving their berthings to go out into the bay.  The traditional Japanese party boats or yukatabune were also venturing out into the bay.

Even though man has changed the land by adding concrete peers and bridges to span the gaps between the land, the ocean itself remains constant.  I think back to my sandal clad ancestors that stood on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea and wondered where the currents would take them.  Here I am now watching the concrete and steel bridge that connected my part of Tokyo to Chiba, thinking the same question.

The sea is part of my soul.  It is part of the very essence of how I define myself in this modern world.  It is a way of connecting with my ancient roots.  All we have to do is listen to the waves.  Watch the brave fisherman leaving in the twilight light to fetch bounty from the sea.  The sea, La Mer, in all continual awesome beauty.

La Mer, The Ocean, Okitsu Beach

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Okitsu Beach Wave Sound Power

We were up at 5 am.  That is what you have to do here in Japan if you want to go to the beach and avoid the killer traffic.  It wasn’t that bad because at least I knew I would be able to soak up the salt and sun for a whole day.

Being from Miami, Florida I really have yet to see any beach in Japan that really can compare to back home.  The beaches here are a bit like that in Northern Cali.  The sand party are small.  The rocks and hills lead directly into the water.  The water’s temperature is on the cold side for me.  I had to get pretty heated up by the blasting sun in order to take a cool plunge into the Pacific.

It was amazing watching the colors of both the sky and the sea change all day long.  It all depended on the clouds and the tide.  At times the hue was the bluest blue I had seen since Florida.  Other times it was dull green.

I just wanted to be by the seaside.  The sun singed my Teva sandaled feet.  The salty air whipped through our little tarp.  I just wanted to be by the pounding surf that rolled in with high tide.  It is another pace for life.  The ebb and flow of the water.  The fisherman going out into the cold water in search of golden fish.

Just being me by the sea.  It doesn’t really matter that most of the beach has been covered in concrete.  I can imagine a time when it wasn’t.  The shore side may have changed but the ocean is true to who it always has been.

Okitsu Stepped Beach, Low Tide

 

Sea Hawks, Okitsu Beach

 

Le Jette, Okitsu Beach

 

Returning from the Pacific, Okitsu Beach

Indian Culture Day in Urayasu

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Tabla and Indian Harmonium

On Saturday the intercultural group UFRA (Urayasu Foreign Resident’s Association) organized an event to celebrate the 60th year anniversary of relations between India and Japan.  The event included a short presentation on some of the cultural awareness concerning India by Dr. Rabinder Malik, Odissi a form of classical Indian Dance by Sachiko Ito and a tabla drum explanation and performance by Dr. Sudarshan Ram.

The sounds of India echoed though out the hall as many of the audience members became as entranced as I was listening to the rhythms of ancient Indian culture.  The dance by Sachiko Ito captivated many of the young members of the audience as they leaned on their elbows and watched every swish of the hips and clinking of her chained outfit.

Dr. Sudarshan Ram gave an interesting and humorous explanation on the tabla Indian drum.  He followed it up by giving a tabla solo that was accompanied by one of his Japanese students on the Indian harmonium.  Dr. Ram is a music teacher at the Indian Cultural Center in Tokyo.

I really enjoyed the dance and the music. I wish the program had allowed for more music because just as I was really getting into the music the time was up on us.

A big shout out to Meme Ise the new chairperson of UFRA, Sawmi the co-vice chair, and Patrizia the other co-chair.  It was a great event to start of the new UFRA in a very positive direction.

If you are interested in learning more about UFRA please join our Facebook page.  Even if you don’t live in Urayasu we welcome foreigners from all over Japan, and Japanese that are interested in intercultural exchanges.

Classical Indian Odissi Dance Dip Pose

 

Classical Indian Odissi Dance Steps

 

Classical Indian Odissi Dance Dip

Meet the Hitlers with Jerry Kolber

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Meet the Hitlers, Cast in Dressing Room During Intermission 2,NYC

Actors in costume during intermission at Meet the Hitlers.

 

On a cold spring evening in March a group of close friends, colleagues and family gathered in a little theater in the East Village, NYC to all Meet the Hitlers.  Yeah, I know I said Meet the Hitlers.  You all must be wondering what is going on in Lucid Communication’s mind.  That is the most absurd title  for a play in the history of absurd titles, but I assure you it fits this fabulously written satire by Jerry Kolber.

I have known Jerry almost as long as I have known my own brother.  I first read a draft of this a few years ago, and it made me laugh till I cried.  Forward to 2012, Jerry had a few read throughs of the play with the help of Josh Adler as director and he began to polish up the script.  When I heard that they were going to do a public read through of the play I knew that I had to be there to document and to just Meet the Hitlers for myself.

This read through wasn’t your ordinary read through.  In a typical read through the actors sit around a large table and read their parts aloud as the writer, producer, and director watch, and give the actors some feedback.  It is a way for the producers to start to get a feel of how it is to hear the written words spoken out loud.  This read through was more of a semi-staged production thanks to some staging by Josh Adler.

I watched and photographed a marathon rehearsal on the same day as the evening performance.  Josh and Jerry were on hand and they went through the play step by step with all the actors.  In fact, that rehearsal was one one of three that had been done before the curtain was raised.

I enjoyed watching the process of the play unfold before my eyes.  Even though all the actors kept the script in hand, they took on the their roles and I could see them transform before my lens.  Jerry has always showed me slices of New York culture that I never would have seen if it wasn’t for him.  This was another experience to add to that list.  Watching the inner working theater being on stage with the excitement.

At one point in the rehearsal Jerry pulled me aside and asked me to go over to the local synagogue to find a yarmulke for one of the characters.  Now this was a Saturday afternoon in New York City, I thought out loud on the Sabbath.  Who would be open?  I wandered over to the East Village Jewish Community Center to find the doors locked.  I Stop in over at Ricky’s on First Avenue seeing if I could find anything in their costume section.  Finally I remembered that there is the weekend Flea Market on Avenue A.  Rushed over had a look around, and talked to a lady asking if she had any yarmulkes.  She actually said that she did, but she didn’t bring any of them today.  A bit defeated, I headed back to the theater.  Right next to the theater there was a children’s used clothing shop.  I wandered in think might as well try.  I found a great knit cap. I bought it and showed it to Jerry, and he thought it looked to Muslim, and not Jewish enough.  Ah HA!  Why don’t we just cut a bit off the bottom, and it was perfect!  You have just got to love the theater.  There is just something electric about doing everything live and on the go.

This play tackles all the big issues:  race, sexuality, youth, getting old, revenge, destiny.  The list goes on and on.  I feel so fortunate to have witnessed this event with Jerry and a room full of friends.  I think it would be best to let Jerry tell Lucid Communication about his work and himself as a creative individual.

I sat down with Jerry the other day to find out more about the play and what it means to him, and the audience.  I want to thank him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to Lucid Communication.

Meet the Hitlers, Jerry, Josh and SelfNYC

The technical side before the show.

 

Jerry please take a min introduce yourself to the Lucid Communication community. 

Hello Lucid Communication. I’m Jerry Kolber, a New York City based playwright, television show creator and executive producer, and novelist.  Basically I consider myself a storyteller whose job it is to make my audience feel like they are in confident hands. Jacob Schere is one of my oldest, best friends. We met as a result of fighting in a pre-school playground at Temple Beth Am in Miami in 1976; our parents were called in to discuss our bad behavior, and both they – and we – became best friends.

 

The setting for play all happens over the course of a one-night dinner party.  Can please you tell us a little about each of the characters?

Meet the Hitlers is an ensemble piece where each character has a specific need that is met (or unmet) during the course of a dinner, and their needs are spoken (or unspoken) at some point in the play. I would say the characters represent the spectrum of my own needs and how vocal I am – or am not – about them; in another sense you could say they broadly represent, through character specificity, the spectrum of how people approach transitional moments in their lives.

Meet the Hitlers, Ben and Billy NYC

Ben and Billy

Billy, the gay vegan punk futurist teenage grandson of Adolf Hitler, seems to telegraph a need for attention and to be a leader, but really he just wants to be loved for who he is. Ben, the Rabbi’s son from next door, seems like the sweet closeted “other side” of Billy in his khaki pants and good manners, but secretly he wants to change the world – a desire he got from his repressed mother Sheila, who has turned to new age philosophy and self-empowerment seminars as a potential escape hatch from her stilted marriage to Rabbi Weinberg.

But really, Sheila needs a fresh perspective, a geographical and point-of-view refresh, which is provided by Carol, the black daughter-in-law of Adolph whose creative freedom Sheila admires and wants to emulate.  Carol wants to return to her studies of African history – and is also trapped in a respectful, but passionless marriage – and in the immediate sense wants to solve the mystery of why Adolph won’t die; her husband Robert seems like a headstrong authority figure, but all he really wants is for the tyranny of Adolph to end – but has no sense of who he is beyond that “want”, so he perpetually plays out the same pattern of want/don’t want to avoid the abyss of egoless identity.

Adolph himself is a gothic figure of darkness and mirth, feeding and growing off hate, withering under the presence of love, essentially an emotional thermometer.

Meet the Hitlers, Carol and Sheila, NYC

Sheila the Rabbi’s wife and Carol

What was your inspiration behind the need to write the play, Meet the Hitlers?

I believe the world can be divided perfectly into three kinds of people.  Those who believe (as a result of naiveté or denial) that everything is just fine.  Those who believe (as a result of direct experience, or early exposure) that the world is filled with evil just about to erupt. And those – a smaller handful – who see 19-degrees behind the stage curtain to what is really happening, a much more gray and less black-and-white version of reality – those are generally called artists, or visionaries, and it is their responsibility to help the other two groups of people communicate with each other and avoid killing each other.  I’m in that group, and take my responsibility as a translator seriously.

Meet the Hitlers specifically was inspired by my own direct experience of visiting Holocaust death camps, and realizing how much more complicated the moral and logistical situation was than the neat version we were taught in school.  It’s both incredibly easy – and incredibly hard – for a Holocaust to happen.  When I read an article in the New York Times a few years ago about the only living relatives of Adolph Hitler – the sons of his Irish nephew – living in Long Island, the play popped fully formed into my mind as a hilarious venue in which to explore racism, religious tolerance, apathy, futurism, hypocrisy, and the ever-present specter of Adolph.

 

Who did you model the characters come from? 

All the characters are some version of myself, with other specific models.  Sheila is a very exaggerated and lovable version of my mother, while Billy is modeled on a kid I went to high school in Israel with – who was very much Billy to my khaki-Ben-ish self.  Anyone who knows me knows that Ben couldn’t possibly be the high school version of me. cough-cough.

Meet the Hitlers, Robert, Carol, Ben and Billy, NYC

Robert, Carol, Ben and Billy

 

How do you envision the staging of Meet the Hitlers?

It will be staged in a dark, scary, over-the-top version of a German beer hall- one that just might have been an officers club for the Nazis.

 

What did you learn from the read through of the play?

I learned that most of what I write is even funnier to an audience than I hoped, and that as expected a small chunk of the audience found the play repulsive and insane (I actually got hate mail from friends of mine after, a first); a bigger section found it thought-provoking and kept talking about it for days after; and most everyone found it entertaining. I also learned that one section of the play in particular that deals extensively with the N-word went over much better than I feared it might.  I was actually biting my nails when that part started.

Meet the Hitlers, Josh Adler Directing Rehearsal, NYC

Josh Adler directs the actors during rehearsal

 

 

At one point in the play Billy says he wants to run of to Germany and “make art and start an intentional community” Ben replies, “I don’t even know what that is”, and Billy says “Neither does anyone else! But let’s go do it, together.”  I loved this moment in the play.  As a young Jerry did you want to run off and create a commune in Germany?  If so, why?

I had no interest in running off to start a commune in Germany in my mis-spent youth, but I did want to start some sort of art colony and still do.  In a sense, Jacob, you and I are already in that colony together – how many projects and ideas and how much support have we exchanged over the years in person and online, and ultimately what is an art community but a group of artists who support each other in whatever way they can. I did take 20 theater friends to Prague in 1992 to spend a summer making art there, and it was as exciting, inspiring, and difficult as I could imagine.  Would I say no to another summer with a bunch of 20-something creative people, making theater, drinking beer, and coming up with plans to change the world (which disappeared when my backpack was stolen) – no, I would not say no.   Please address proposals and invitations to me at Jerry’s Twitter Feed.

Meet the Hitlers, Ben Reads While Josh Directs

Ben reading the script while Josh Adler Directs

 

How do you describe your self as a creative person?

I am constantly growing more confident in my writing, my producing, and my creative leadership by example; while at the same time constantly berating myself for not creating enough.  It’s a vicious cycle of “I love you know matter what” vs. “You can do better than this and I’m only saying this because I love you”. Basically, my internalized creative persona is a tiny (well, tinier) version of my Jewish mother..  Hi Mom! But truly, my mother was and is an inspiring creative person who encouraged my sister and I, as well as many young people in the school where she taught, to pursue our own pathways. She has a great deal of clarity and is very vocal about injustice, both qualities I admire and emulate and that others frequently find annoying in me.

Meet the Hitlers, Sheila and Billy, NYC

Sheila and Billy

 

What visual artists inspire you?

Jacob, your work always inspires me, not only because you are so prolific and generous in the sharing of your work, but also because over the years you’ve developed an ability to capture a story in a frame. I always imagine you like a photography superhero, towering over everyone else in random Japanese neighborhoods, flicking your wrists and capturing these intensely personal narrative images. Your work taken as a whole has a quality of memory, like we are floating along in the conscious/subconscious of your experience as an outsider in Tokyo, seeing what you see with the meaning you ascribe to your vision also imprinted in the photos, but with enough space that we can either have the same “Outsider in Tokyo” experience as you – or bring our own myth and meaning to the image.

My father (Cliff Kolber Photography) inspires me because he embraced photography late in life, as a way of engaging others in his activism around the protection of the Everglades. He’s an environmentalist who uses his beautiful photographs of the outdoors and his essays to inspire others to care as much about the planet as he taught my sister and I to. Come to think of it, it was your dad Uncle Les who gave me that copy of Monkey Wrench Gang, that actually changed the way I thought about activism – and has a hand in the inspiration for the character of Billy in Meet the Hitlers!   Never underestimate the power of giving a kid a book.  Printed words are powerful.

I’m also into ancient Tibetan mandalas right now and have been incorporating them into my meditations and spiritual practice.

 

How has working in television helped you as a creative individual?

Television has taught me three things:

1. You have 30 seconds to get your audience invested in the character.  Just like real life.  If you don’t hook them then, you never will.  Give them a reason to love or hate the character – no slow burn, no blah characters – nobody paid good time (or money) to watch you take your time or hang out with people they could have hung out with anywhere.

2. Don’t be precious. If it’s not working, throw it out.  There’s 50 good ideas behind 100 bad ones, and the faster you can toss out stuff that isn’t working the faster you can get to what is working.   You’re not getting paid to pontificate.  And if you’re an artist who says, “I’m not worried about getting paid”, what that actually means is that you don’t care if you have an audience (or, you have a trust fund).  That said, when an idea resonates with you, own it and be confident in your instincts.

3. Tell a good story. Characters FIRST – story second.  No one cares about a good story that happened to a boring guy. But a great character can take a nothing story and make it special.  No matter how good your characters are, something has to happen to them. There’s a pattern to good story: A character you love or hate wants something; some obstacle prevents them from getting that thing they want; they overcome or fail to overcome the obstacle; the world is different as a result of their journey.  Blake Snyder’s book “Save the Cat” is the only book you ever need to read about storytelling.

Meet the Hitlers, Ben, NYC

Ben

 

If you could change the way television is made what would you be able to create?

I would create even more programs that are both entertaining but also make the viewer go “huh, I never thought of it that way”.  And a lot more boundary -pushing scripted work.

 

What projects do you currently have in development?

I’m Executive Producing a new series for National Geographic that delves into extreme manifestations of certain kinds of psychology.  I’ve also got a very new twist on a game show in the works, as well as a few other very exciting series projects for big channels that technically I cannot discuss just yet.

Meet the Hitlers, Rabbi Weinberg and Wife Shelia, NYC

Rabbi Weinberg and wife Sheila

 

Where on the web can we find out more about you and your work?

The best thing is to like my Miami the Novel facebook fan page, and follow me on Twitter. My personal page is ww.JerryKolber.com which just redirects to Twitter for now. If you want to get up close and personal, friend me on Facebook and tell me “Jacob sent me”.

 

Thank you Jerry Kolber for taking the time to explore your creativity with Lucid Communication.  I know I am looking forward to seeing Meet the Hitlers in full production in the near future.  It is always a pleasure talking to you about creativity.

Meet the Hitlers, Whole Cast in Costume Live Performance,NYC

Live and in full costume, Rabbi Weinberg, Billy, Robert, Carol, Sheila, Ben, and Adolf

 

Meet the Hitlers, Cast in Dressing Room During Intermission 2,NYC

Actors in costume during intermission, Part I.

Meet the Hitlers, The Cast's Dressing Room in Intermission, NYC

Actors in costume during intermission Part II.

 

 

 

Life Echoes Still Movement

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Life Echoes Still Movement

One of the major differences between painting and photography is that painters have to deliberately paint images onto a surface in order to create their work.  Nothing is in a painting that an artist doesn’t want to be there.  Photography behaves differently.  Of course there are photographers that consciously place everything with in their frame, hire models to pose, and rigorously control the scene, and in post editing they can erase others.  There is nothing wrong with this approach.  I personally gravitate to another direction. I embrace the unknown accidents of photography.  Those accidents that often go unnoticed until I get into the dry darkroom.

Those are the elements that enter into a frame that I either didn’t know or didn’t intend for it to be there.  There are also camera malfunctions that add an element to an image that could never have been consciously created.  By embracing these happy accidents I fall more madly in love with the art and science of photography.

This image was a complete accident.  I had set the camera on manual in order to get a long exposure; however, somehow I accidentally set the exposure to 30 seconds, and I am pretty sure the shutter stayed open for longer than that.  I did want to capture some of the blurs in the aquarium but I got much more than I intended to catch. I only got slight glimpse of there long silvery fish.  They are only a still echo of the swimming I had witnessed with my own eye.

I took the image home and I have kept looking at it over the past week.  What is this image communicating?  What am I communicating to the image?  When the title came to me I understood what the image meant to me.  Those traces of life are there even though most  life is not visible unless one looks below the surface.  The life that is there when there is seemingly none.

Life

Echoes

Still

Movement

 

Constructed Pond, Natural Sky

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Constructed Pond, Natural Sky

I inhabit a world were the constructed and the natural interact with each other.  They often don’t even know that they are intersecting one another.  It is only through the photographic medium of fixing pixels on a sensor that these universes meet each other.

I am attracted to discover the truth in this meeting.  I am exploring how human beings craft environments both on a personal home based level or in our public spaces.

Architects make decisions based on how their structure will be perceived by the viewer.  Other times their decisions are only a consequence of some cost benefit analysis.  In either case the manmade structure will impact the view on the natural world.

As society has attempted to isolate themselves from nature we are only a thin plate of glass away.  We only need to look up to see a piece of sky, if we are lucky enough to not be blocked my smog or buildings.  Our eyes can shift to the ground to see the weeds sprouting up in cracks in the pavement.  These precious pieces of sky and green are there.

It is in the greenery we plant to remind us of the natural world.  I am guilty of this too. For I have planted a garden in my own concrete suburb  to create a connection with nature.  I want to bee reminded of a time when we needed a garden for our survival.

The two worlds must be in harmony with each other.   Mankind needs to take steps to respectfully preserve nature.  We need to live in a world that utilizes nature to stimulate our lives through.  Let the sunshine wash our homes in natural light through UV energy efficient window.  Let us make homes that use simple green technology.  We want to create shared spaces where nature is free.

Let us not view the world in US versus NATURE, but be in harmony with nature.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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