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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.

 

6-6 Garden Front

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

6-6 Garden Front Door

On the backstreets we wander.  Looking for a place to call home.  A place that we can call our own.  Lost in the greenery as it overtakes the asphalt.

Backstreets is where I roam.

 

A Whole Lot of Morning Glory Going On

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Morning Glory Mansion

The summer’s cicadas are singing their song as I was making my way to Nishi Kasai.  The sun was high and clouds fluttered across the road, making it a bit cooler than it should have been.  I found a couple of MOZE tags that must have been pretty old, but nothing out of this world.

I pedaled past a small street and a huge patch of green caught my eye.  I circled back around and stood in front of a two story apartment building that was covered from top to bottom in morning glory vines.  At first I thought that the building had been abandoned, but one of the doors was clear from vines because of use.   There also was a small line up of bicycles in front too.

The flowers had only begun to bloom, but the entire building had been engulfed by the creeping vines.

Just another summer day spent pedaling through my neighborhood.

 

Tonal Conversation between a Mailbox and Ivy

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Mailbox and Ivy Tonal Conversation

The rain was falling at just a slight patter as I passed this lovely house for an untold time.  It has caught my lens many times before.  I love the way in which the ivy has become a part of the house.  The ivy is not a separate entity that can simply be divided from the house.  It is part of its soul.

The ivy has creeped its way onto all the surfaces of the house.  It has finally met its match when it encountered the mailbox.  There the mailbox has been hung.  It waits for the mail that may or may not come.  The seeking vines of the ivy have found the red hued box to be quite a guilty little pleasure.

Hmmm, what shall they converse about?  I think they are holding a conversation on tones.  The music of the street.  The rhythm of the neighborhood pulses and pushes them into a lucid meeting on their northern facing wall.

Just a daily conversation.  They will decide how deep they will delve.  For I am just an observer, a note taker, with a camera.

 

A Heart Full Day in Rainy Harajuku

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Heart Full Door, Harajuku

Harajuku is one of those places in Tokyo that I have a real love hate relationship with.  For most wether they are visitors from other countries or the Japanese themselves, Harajuku they love is full of teenage girls and boys playing dress up in and around Takeshita Street. Or the ultra brands like Gucci, Prada, and Luis Vuitton.  Often it is described as the gauge for what is happening in Japan’s fashion world.  For me, this is the part of Harajuku that just gives me the creeps and leaves me feeling empty.

It is too obvious.  Japan, crazy people, wearing lots of crazy clothes.  Being fiercely independent by all dressing alike.  Ok so there are a bunch of overly fashion obsessed kids around here, so now what?

What I actually dig about Harajuku are the little side streets that wind between Harajuku and Shibuya.  This is where cool little houses mingle with the most esoteric boutiques.  On this rainy day I was not disappointed.  I am always amazed that people live within a rock throw of the great teenage hordes.

On this rainy day in May, I still found some love to warm my heart.  A door to someone’s home had been tagged up with hearts.  Many many hearts.  Most of the hearts where smiling at me, so I smiled back at them.

Anyone who has spent a lot of time in Tokyo know that the real Tokyo lies hidden under the gloss of the tour books, and what the Japanese celebrate in their culture too.  The real Tokyo that captivates me is in these little backstreets that no one pays any attention to.  It is here on these wet backstreets that I found a door of hearts.  A door into my own heart.

Flower Full Door, Harajuku

 

Gated Jungle Home, Harajuku

 

Geometric Homecoming in Chiba

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I love geometry.  Now you might think that to be a little crazy.  Even if you are thinking about the geometry that we all have to study in school, but honestly out of all the math that I studied in school geometry was the only one that made any sense to me.  My reasoning behind that is I am without any doubt am a visual person.  I think visually.  I approach the world and how I relate back to the world though how I visually experience the world.  Now, I would never really go back and study geometry again.  I’m pretty sure the boat has sailed on that part of my life, but the lines, tangents, and bisecting lines have become part of my visual vocabulary.

The cubists did it the best.  They oversimplified the world that they were apart of into line, shapes, and tone.  A world that is visually experienced through shapes.  I have learned to see the world very mush though these same lenses.  I cannot help but look out into Tokyo, where I live, and see the world sometimes reduced to nothing more than lines and cubes.  I, however, know in my heart that the world is far more complicated than that.  There are shapes that cannot so easy be reduced to just a square.  The natural world, even though, it is full of repeating fractal patterns they are never quite as straight as a line of hewn stone.

This is where my lens comes in to help me navigate my way through the visual world.  Trying to bridge the two ways to seeing the world together.  That world of the straight hard edge lines that follow the rules of geometry and composition.  Then there are the rulers of the plant and natural kingdom.  The ways in which a branch grows divides and multiplies as it reached out to the sun.  I am a part of both worlds.  My physical form comes from nature.  There are now straight lines to be found on my person.  Yet I love to see a rectangular door, meeting a window at just the right moment in space and forming can conforming to our geometric rules.

The door in todays group of images is a geometric homecoming.  There are no plants visible.  There is only the hint of the natural world by the shadows that are being cast on the image.  A piece of my inner mind has left its imprint on this image.

Welcome home.  Welcome to lucid communication with myself.

Split Shadow Geometic Homecoming

Trio One Life, Potted Garden

Keeping it Geometrically Shady

Stepping up the Gardens

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

We still seem to be in the yo-yo throws of the weather.  Cold, wet, and rainy is followed by cool and sunny.  I really don’t mind so much because it allows me to still enjoy the cool clean air without having to be all bundled up.  Not only being reminded of the complete changeability of the the weather, at 5:59 a.m. on Saturday morning a 5.2 earthquake shook us awake.  It wasn’t that powerful of a quake, but its epicenter was not far from where we lay our heads to rest.  As a friend mentioned this morning that with all the shaking it must be like living in a war zone, when you never know when the enemy is going to strike.

I try my hardest to put all of these things into perspective and not let them to disrupt my mediations and focus.  They are more reminders of the delicate nature of life that we have been granted here on the earth.  We need to make the most of it and devote our energies to what really matters.  Reaching out our hands to help others in needs.  Using our time to explore ourselves and the world that we all inhabit.  Looking for those vibrations that speak to our souls.

Sometimes the language being spoken to us is confusing and needs to be translated.  In my case it is my camera that helps me to interpret the world around me.  The lens acts as a mechanism to filter the world, and allows me to see the positivity in the world.  Those positive vibrations might be hidden in plain view, but with my mediation and focus I am blessed to be able to see that beauty.  Those concrete steps, which for some are just concrete steps, take on new meaning to me.  They are an integral part of my worldview.  The plants and life that inhabit the tiny spaces, sometime being taken care of with tenderness, and others being left to the elements to thrive on their own.

These are the images an objects that merge in my lens and allow me to approach the world.  I am open to change.  I look forward to seeing the world through a unique perspective.  These are the gardens of life that are sowed in the streets of my soul.

Steps Umbrella Trio of Pots Garden

Porch Front Garden with Plastic Chair, Mimomi, Chiba Japan

Potted Aloe Plants with Bicycle Garden Ornament

It is All Available in a Square

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Everybody has heard how tightly packed everything is here in Japan.  No room at times to even stretch ones legs.  For the most part this is true, and to show and this image shows it in a visual exploration of urban Japan.  It is all so neatly packed and full of the essentials, stamps, drinks, smokes, a door, and an izakaya (drinking place).

Get Stamps, Chu Hi Can, Pole, Door, Nobori

One Night the Darkness Came Early

Monday, February 7th, 2011

I had gathered my coat, scarf, and bag before stumbling out into the cold Chiba night.  It was only 6:30 but the haze of the early party swirled in my head.  The air felt so refreshing after inhaling other peoples smoke for the last 2 hours.  I walked the familiar streets back to the station, pausing a few times to see some lights that caught my eye.

The lights just come alive at night.  Even though at times so much light pours onto the streets that becomes a artificial fluorescent day.

I kind of like it a bit when the darkness comes so early, but I look forward to those long summer days that aren’t to far away.

Balloon, Balloons, Bicycle, Bicycle

Follow the Light, Urayasu Night Urabanscape

Backside Alley Shinagawa

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

I was lucky to have to visit immigration to pick up my visa today.  Ok, so I wasn’t really lucky, the immigration building in tokyo is a 15 minute walk from a little known station, and a good nearly 30 minute walk from Shinagawa station.  At least on the way back to Shinagawa station, the sun was high and the weather was cool without being cold.

I found a little back alley that pulled me to walk down as I was making my way to the gleaming Shinagawa station.  There were the back of stores, the entrances to offices, and even a tiny fish market.  They were all wedged in there between the narrowest of alley ways.  They were just there waiting for me.  Lovely winding Tokyo.

Backdoor Mailbox Meter

Office Door, Offiice Mailbox

Rectangular, Nothing but Rectangles

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Recently, I have just been to busy to leave the house. I spent the whole say in front of my computer screen writing.  I was going over some images I captured the last time I was wondering around downtown.  This one just popped out at me.  As I gazed into the image, I saw nothing but rectangles.  Aged, dirtied, and beautiful urban fragment under the JR Line in Shimbashi.  I got lost in the shapes.  I just couldn’t help it.

Rectangular Wabi Sabi, Shimbash 新橋

Blue, Blue Harajuku

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

On a beautiful winter day I hopped on the train and headed for the happening spot of Harajuku.  It was a great day to be out.  The sun shone brightly as the crisp air blew around the back alleys and streets of Harajuku.  I am always amazed at how the Japanese have managed to fit so many people, stores, and streets in such chaotic order.  There is no wasted space.  Every bit of useable, and livable space has been built on.  All the pieces fit together with no margin or error just like a jigsaw puzzle.  Sometimes is seems to me that if one house was taken out of the picture, the whole neighborhood would collapse like dominoes.

Harajuku Geometrical Living

Blue Bump Square

Somewhere Between Shinagawa and Ginza

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

I am not sure exactly where these were taken the other day. The reason being that I urban hiked on the pavement between Shinagawa and Ginza.  Getting lost a bit on the way.  Getting lost in Tokyo is never that bad, because no matter how lost you get you are never really that far from a subway station.

I really dig these two images.  They are complete constructions.  Built brick by brick and tile by tile to form a fully constructed lucid communication view of my adopted home of Tokyo.

brick

by

brick

tile

by

tile

Green Tiled International Reflection

Glass Brick Wall, Potted Plants, Concrete Step and Red Tiles

Gardens and Winks

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

A garden in the simplest of ways.

A window winked at me on my way home.

Striped Wink

Izakaya Garden

Saturday Blue

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

It is Saturday.

The images are blue.

Uplift!!!

Corrugated Postbox Wall, with Doorbell

Potted Plants Blue Door

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