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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!

 

 

Autumn Acorn Memorial Gate

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Acorn Memorial Gate

It was just another sign of the passing from summer into autumn.  I spotted a few acorns that had been gathered and placed on the wooden gate of an old temple in Ichikawa, Chiba.  It is still early enough in autumn that the acorns were still green.  The green so beautifully contrasted against the centuries of patina on the wooden gates.

It truly seems like one day it was summer and the next day I am pulling a hoodie over my head to keep the chill factor at bay.  The wind was whipping around as gray covered the skies that this little acorn spoke out to me.

“Here I am!” it announced to the world.  I wonder how many had passed under the gate and missed this green gem.  Is the little acorn not speaking loudly enough?  Or is it that it is only there for the people that are operating on the same wave length.  Whoever placed the acorn there was also tuned into his/her surroundings.

As the phases of the moon tick off towards another year, it is always those little reminders that let us know the season, and our place in it.

Be on the watch for those acorns, for the changing leaves soon 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.

 

Today I Found Revolutionary Love

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Today was one of those days that I just didn’t want to get out of bed.  It was 6:30 in the morning and the skies were so overcast that it seemed like it was still night.  Not only was it rather gloomy outside, but it was pretty nippy for my south Floridian blood.  I struggled to get out of bed, and made my way to the kitchen to fix up a bowl of granola.  When I was sick I couldn’t eat any milk so I have been craving cereal over steaming oatmeal the last week or so.  I ate quickly as I caught the morning’s international news.  Waited at the bus stop which was more crowded than the day before.   I guess the people were preparing for the rainy weather that was going to come later in the day.

Even though I was wearing a big fluffy fleece hat, I put my headphones on and pushed play on Sekajipo and the Jungle’s first album Revolution of the Mind-State.  I thought that I needed a bit of a boost on this gray Thursday morning.  Sekajipo definitely delivered the goods and helped to elevate my spirits.

I was walking along the path with the song Revolutionary Love coming though my Sennheiser PX 200 headphones.  The vibrations were coming through so clear even though they had to pass though my fleece hat.  That is when I spotted a tiny heart on the side of the road.  A heart that had been placed there by some one.  It was an amazing synchronous moment.  I’ve got Sekajipo in my mind, singing about Revolutionary Love, and then I spy a heart.  I would have said that it was a lost heart.  One of the many lost and found items that I have taken over the years.  But today I saw this heart in completely new way.

This was not a lost heart.  It was a found heart.  It was part of the Revolutionary Love I have been searching for.  There it was.  The love had manifested itself in front of my lens.  Just another reason to be thankful.  I have found a bit of Revolutionary Love that I am sharing with all of you.

Revolutionary Love Found, Not Lost

The Japanese Maple are Exploding with Color

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The autumn colors have been super late arriving this year in and around where I live.  I has very happy to have found that the Japanese Maple trees around are finally displaying their explosive colors.  These five-pointed leaves are alive rich hues that bound from the deep wine burgundies to multicolored mix and matched colors of yellows and reds.  The hues awaken my senses and I am always amazed at how vibrant these colors can be.

I found these all at a little temple complex on top of a small hill in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan.  There were all amazing hues that teased my Ricoh GR IV out of my pocket and into my hand.  I searched out those hues that pulled me like a magnet towards them.   I wasn’t the only one wandering around this small complex looking at the autumn leaves.  There were several groups of mainly older Japanese looking at the trees.

Just another reason to be thankful.  I am thankful to the Creator for splashing my cold gray day with the explosions of color from the Mimoji trees.

Burgundy Japanese Maple (Momiji 紅葉)

Starbust Japanese Maple Leaf  (Momiji 紅葉 )

Autumn Red Japanese Maple Leaf (Momiji 紅葉)

Violet Vribrant Autumn Beauty

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

This little one, actually, very little one was dancing in color sound vibrations.  All around him the browns, yellows, and earthen reds abound.  This little one was just shinning.  The purple hairs on the small buds that are about to open, to the flaming violet reds that color its petals.

Living and loving the colors that never cease to surprise my soul.  In the midst of all these earthen tones, I stumble upon these colors that light up my soul.

Sit back and let the meditative vibrant colors of this little on wash over your soul.  Let them soothe your troubled spirits, and see the light at the end of that tunnel.

Violet Vribrant Autumn Beauty

Pomegranates and Spiked Headed Pinkness

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The weather continues to be changeable.  I never quite know what to expect from day to day.  The skies in Japan are so clear this time of year that I can often see all the way to Mt. Fuji.  Sometimes it is just a lofty silhouette in the setting sun.  It is a reminder that I am in the land of the rising sun, and not anywhere else on this planet.

Strolling back to the station in the afternoon sun I came across a pomegranate tree with its fruit so ripe that the pomegranates were bursting open and spilling their juicy arils on to the ground.  These succulent red hues were filled with the potential to bring forth another life.  They all have the chance, under the right conditions, to grow into a lovely mature tree.  As I looked up at the fruit still hanging from its branches I wondered what will happen to them.  Will the owner come out and harvest them to feed his family and others?  Or, will they just be left to rot on the branch?  What about the seeds that fell onto the asphalt?  Surely, they won’t be able to sprout into a new tree.  Will the local wildlife in this quite suburb on the outskirts of metropolitan Tokyo come along for a juicy snack.

I find myself thinking about these issues these days and how they relate to my life.  How I try, and many people I know, go out into the world trying to spread goodness.  How much of that goodness will find the fertile soil to be able to grow into a fully formed accomplishment.  Will our labors of love be able to bring forward fruit from the tiny seeds that they came from.  It always feels good to know that the seeds one has planted gathers the water and nutrients to return with fruit.

Just some issues, topics that are wandering around in my lucidly communicating mind.

Pomegranate Arils Bursting

Urban Ledge Cluster Flower

Spreading Pomegranate Seed

Two Sides of the Same Bush

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

The weather peaked at a high of nearly 25 (77) today.  It actually felt a lot hotter than that.  We are back to having that schizo weather that afflicts Japan in its transitional seasons.  The light from the autumn sun was beautiful and hitting at just the right angle as I was making my way back from the station to my home.  The walk back always gives me some time to reflect on my day.  The walk also gives me a challenge by training my eye to seek out something that I had not seen before.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that I haven’t seen today’s focus on a urban bush before, but it is more in the way that all of the photographic elements of light, composition, color and subject all align themselves and move my spirit to photograph the scene.

The combination of these elements have to speak to me as a human being first and then I must be able to communicate what moved me to those that view the images created.  Today was about how the light were hitting these tiny fruit on urban bushes.  These were plain bushes that had been planted as a hedge to hide some of the industrialness of Kasai Rinkai Station.  But here they were; one blue and one red.  The setting sun was just hitting them with that autumn glow and moved my spirit.

The idea of change began to bubble up in me as I observed these two stages of fruit.  One in it blue hue that has yet to mature into its red cousin on the same bush.  How does it feel to change?  Do we, as humans, change as slowly or quickly as these fruit? Or are they (we) just two sides of the same bush?

Blue Fruit, Autumn

Ripe Fruit, Autumn

Tiny Autumn Berries

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

The light is really changing.  That autumn light that streams down that falls somewhere between yellow and orange hues depending on the exact time of the day.

As the world is cooling off my eye is still ever searching for nature that thrives no matter where is might has grown its roots.  Roots that seek out the nutrients in the soil as the leaves catch the rays of sun.

Today these tiny berries caught my eye.  A small bush near the ground that had clumps of these autumn red hued berries.  I have no idea if they are edible or not.  I just stood there amazed by their minute stature.  These little berries spoke of joy to be out in the sunshine.  They are signaling the autumn hues that will fill the parks soon enough.

Tiny Autumn Berries

Pre Autumn Burst of Red

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The temperature may have dropped in Tokyo, but the autumn leaves have yet to arrive.  I am not complaining, I am immensely thankful for the cool weather that I have breezing in through my windows.  I am, however, anticipating the changing leaves.  Those colors that dance on my lens as the long rays of autumn light struggle to reach earth.

Today I kept my eye peeled for any signs of the changing leaves to come.  Have the tips of any leaves started to morph into those autumn hues?  Not yet.  They will come soon enough.  In the meantime I found a bush of these flowers tucked behind a huge hydrangea bush at a small buddhist temple.  They are just a taste of the colors that are to come.  I give thanks for all the bursting colors of summer that are still hanging on into autumn.

Autumn Red Flower Burst

Purple Modular Blur Blossom

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Sometimes it is good to get lost with in the blurred colors of the natural world.  An escape, if only for a moment, from the hustle of my urban lifestyle.

Purple bubbles swirl in the lens.  They relieve my spirit and lift my head.

Purple

Bubble

Blossom

Purple Modular Bubble Blossom

Got Cats, Get a Nekko Jelasi

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

They are here.  And they are everywhere.  They are growing up in between cracks on the side of the pavement.  They are sprouting all over the empty lots in my neighborhood.  In Japanese they are called Nekko Jellasi.

A great natural cat toy.  Pick a fresh one and drive your kitty wild.  When the kitties are through with them they can just be tossed into your compost pile.

Play with your kitties today.

Double Neko Jellasi

Shrooming in the Morning Sun

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

The rains seem to come and go these days.  We are suppose to be having a rainy season now, but it looks like mostly the southern islands of Japan have been getting most of the rain.  We have had some, but nothing like it should be.  However, one of the upsides of the rain, are the proliferation of little mushrooms that just sprout up over night .  I am always amazed at how quickly nature works.  One day there is nothing, the next there is one that is just shrooming in the morning sun.

Shrooming in the Morning Sun

Forecast is Rain, More Rain, and then a Typhoon

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Rain has been forecasted for the next several days, leading up to a typhoon that will come by Tokyo on Tuesday.  There is no rest for us.  I am thankful at least that it isn’t hot yet.  Sometimes it just seems that there is one disaster after another.  Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, severe thunderstorms, typhoons, hurricanes.  I wonder if it will ever end, or are these signs of the times?

Given all the turbulence in the world, I will spend my sabbath with family and being thankful for the end of another week.  It is a weekly reminder of what is important, and what is not.  It gives me the pause to let that which is not important to just slide off from my soul.

At lest there is a little purple sunshine on a rainy, mist filled afternoon.  I wish all my friends and family a restful and fulfilling sabbath.

Purple Rainy Sunshine

Schizo Weather, But I Like It

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

The weather really has been a bit manic depressive the past couple of days.  It is like the weather can’t make up it’s mind whether it should become summer or not.  Today was actually cold enough to warrant a scarf in the morning.  Eventually around 2 in the the afternoon the sun did make an appearance.

At least it isn’t blistering hot yet, and I am thankful for the days I can take the camera out for a stroll.

White Tile, White Flower

About to Unfurl

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