green

Thankful as a Bunch of Snap Peas

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Snap Peas Thankful Harvest

 

There was a serious hankering for some tacos for this shabbat meal.  You know how craving just come out of know where.  This was no different.  I prepared the meal, and as sun was setting I wandered out onto my patio to be in awe of the abundance of snap peas.  As if the rains of the other day had made them all pop out with the true SNAP, in the snap peas.

I am truly thankful that my wife had sowed these seed while it was still winter.  We have been just about supplementing our meals and salads with a few snap peas.  There is really nothing quite as satisfying as bringing in something that you had grown and being able to say a shabbat grace over that food.

I wish you all a fabulous day of rest.

Be thankful for all that we sow.  For what we sow will come back to us.  Make sure we so the seeds of love and compassion and a few sweet snap peas for good health.

 

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

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.

 

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.

 

Wandering Higashi Ginza, Tokyo

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Higashi Ginza Tilting Lantern

I had to take my Ricoh GR IV in to the repair shop located in Ginza on Monday.  I had been meaning to stop by the Ricoh Camera Service Center for a while but just haven’t been able to make the time.  There was a bit of dust on the sensor and I knew the only way to get rid of the dust was to have the experts take a look.

I dropped the camera off and took out my GRII as a backup camera.  It was only about 2 hours after the eclipse and the sun had finally chased all the colds away.  It was perfect weather for getting lost in the backstreets of Ginza.

For most people Ginza means all those super brand stores and large department stores like Mitsukoshi, of course, Ginza has all of that, but I am not really attracted to all that glitz.  I prefer those neighborhoods that are on the fringes.  On Monday I spent most of my time walking the streets between Ginza, Higashi Ginza, and  not quite as far as Tsukiji.

There is a wonderful mixture of eateries, homes, and businesses that I have no idea what they do.  It doesn’t really matter.  It is the journey that really counts.  I had plenty of time to walk about with my old trusty camera as my GR IV wouldn’t be ready to about 3 p.m.

Sometimes the best way to find your way is to get totally lost.  That pretty much happened to me.  I turned a corner to discover that the Kabukiza (Kabuki Theater) that had been torn down about 2 years ago, was nearing completion.

Turning another corner, sliding down between the narrowest of alleys.  For me that is the honest Ginza.  Not the flashy stores or the bright lights.  Its the quiet streets that people call home.

Higashi Ginza 81-106

 

Higashi Ginza Cone Guarded Garden

I Wanna Be in an Industrial Garden

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Industrial Garden Line Up

There is something so beautiful and so sad about the industrial gardens I came across on the other side of Urayasu yesterday.  Here I was with the noise of pounding, grinding, and torching which could be beard just above the nearly typhoon strength wind.  Concrete to my left, and steel to my right.

But wait, there was more.  Each factory had a small garden.  Some where quite small and only consisted of a few potted plants.  Others were lavishly landscaped yards.  My own aesthetic tastes sides on the more haphazardly designed gardens.  Those gardens where no thought was really given to the organization to placement of the plants.

All the plants somehow work together in this land of disharmony in order to create a more perfect patch of living greenery.

The Japanese have a desire to beautify their drab surroundings even among the industrial backroads of society.  Sometimes these gardens even have vegetables and fruit being grown.  It always amazes me the connection that many try to make back to their agricultural roots.

So, this is where I want to be.  I want to be in a garden.  I want to be among the green, the fruit, the veggies. Those spaces within the urban environment where I can feel at home.  Where I can gaze out onto green patches even if there are sparse and are smack in the middle of concrete and iron.

Industrial Entrance Garden

 

Industrial Roped Off Garden

 

Limited Green in Akihabara, Electric Town

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

I needed to head into Akihabara to pick up a few things at Yodobashi Camera. One thing I have got to say is that any electrical goods store, can’t even be compared with the selection at Yodobashi Camera. And the customer service is outstanding. A big shout out to Uehara, who allowed me to charge my Ricoh battery so that I could keep shooting.

I am not to big on Akihabara. It attracts some of the craziest otaku (geeks) in all of Japan. Some of the backstreets are amazing. They are lined with tiny shops that sell just about anything that requires an electrical current. These little junk shops are amazing.

But, what I spied today was how little greenery there was in this part of town. All of the space had been gobbled up by the energy hungry shops and Donner Kebab fast food joints. There were a few oases of green here and there. Sometimes confined to small rows of potted plants in front of a store. Other’s were bound in on all sides by concrete and iron.

There among all the neon sings and concrete there was my green. There were the otaku are allowed to roam freely the green pops its head. FInd, the green I will. It reminds me of our delicate connection to nature.  I is the beginning of the Limited Green series.

Limited Green in Akihabara with Door anf_

Limited Green in Akihabara with AKB 48 and Tree

Limited Green in Akihabara with Plant

It Starts with One Weed to Take Down the Wall

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

We humans like to build walls.  Walls to keep something out.  Walls to keep something in.  Walls to separate the known from the unknown.  Walls of all sizes shapes and materials.  We humans are wall builders.  Some of the walls we construct are purely mental.  We put that wall up in order to block off something that displeases us.  There is something to this wall building that I haven’t quite figured out yet.

However, it doesn’t take much to cause those walls to come tumbling down.  Whether it is the faith of the Israelites as they blew their shofars as they marched around the walled city of Jericho or the walls that have been constructed in our subconscious.  It takes only a few cracks in the wall to begin the process of bringing it crashing to the ground.  It might not happen quickly, it might take eons to deconstruct what we humans have constructed.  But given enough time, and any wall will crack crumble and fall to the earth.

It can start with a lowly weed atop a wall in Ichikawa, Japan.

Tearing Down the Wall, One Weed at a Time

The Stray Jungle Cat of Chiba

Monday, November 28th, 2011

He is out there in the wilds of Chiba prefecture.  Ok, so the wilds aren’t that wild, but he is there lurking in the shadows.  Darting under the bushes.  Trying his hardest to stay out of sight.  The Stray Jungle Cat of Chiba is there.  Somewhere among the long bladed grasses he stalks its prey.  The Stray Jungle Cat of Chiba is there.

If you are lucky you might be able to catch a glimpse of the cat as he slinks around through the countryside. Will it be able to catch the mouse that he has been stalking?  I am not sure.  But  I do know that the being a stray is a hard life.  They are the ultimate strugglers out there.  Scavenging for their next meal.  They are opportunist that need to make the best of a sometimes desperate situation.

Hopefully the Stray Jungle Cat of Chiba will survive another day among in the semi-wilds of Chiba prefecture.

Stray Jungle Cat of Mimomi, Chiba Japan

Obsessive Gardening in Chiba

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

I seem to be a bit obsessed myself these days.  I am be drawn into the highly packed world of the Japanese home gardens.  These are not the elegant gardens that can be found in Tokyo like Rikugien Gardens in the center of Tokyo.  No, these are the tightly packed neighborhood gardens that I find on my wanderings.

These gardens sometimes occupy the smallest spaces imaginable.  The might feature a row of potted plants sitting atop a cinderblock wall.  They could also be found in the tiniest of spaces that most foreigners wouldn’t even recognize as a backyard.  However, this is where the Japanese show amazing skill in how they use what ever space they have in order to be able to bring some greenery into their lives and in those that pass by on the street.  I would argue that there is more greenery, and green spaces to be found here in Tokyo that that of New York City’s green spaces.

There is so little space, and at times the concrete, glass, and steel seem oppressive, but all I have to do is to turn a corner and find a small contemplative oasis of green.  It might only be some herbs that occupy a windowsill, but that green is better than no green at all.

Spider Planter Mailbox

No Trash Here Garden

Potted Plant Row and Fire Extinguisher

Awakening Dream in Ichikawa

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Im a bit under the weather with all the yo-yo like temperatures we have been having in Tokyo. I guess my body fought the germs off for as long as it could.

Therefore, I will keep this posting short. Walking back to the station took a lot longer than usual, and seemed like a dream. I noticed this Bird of Paradise communicating with its soba shop noren (a Japanese entryway curtain).

I feel like a haiku.

flower talking blue
lucidly communicating
awakening dream

Birds of Paradise and Soba Shop Noren

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

Urban Greeny Green of Ebisu

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The other day I went out to visit my mate in Ebisu.  I love Ebisu.  It is a vibing area between the hustling trendy Shibuya and  Meguro and the exclusive Daikanyama.  Around the station the movement of people can be mind boggling.  It isn’t the bustle of the Shibuya crossing, but the station is busy enough that if you enjoy people watching it is a heights spot.

For me, I’m not to into the busy scene.  I prefer the quiet side of things.  Even though Ebisu sits in the heart of urban Tokyo, I prefer to get lost on the backstreets and and the residential rows of house and apartments.  Now when I get lost, I am never really that lost because, no matter how lost you might think that you are in Tokyo, you are never that far from a train station.  Just to wander those streets.  Looking for where the greeny green of Ebisu interacts with the asphalt and concrete of its human dwellers.

A year ago my lens would have been attracted to the concrete, steel, and wood of the living spaces but, since the March 11th earthquake my lens has been all about nature.  How does nature overcome adversity. How nature brings beauty even if it is confined to a tiny curbside garden.  The lovely green patches of Ebisu were a delight after a couple hours of reasoning with my friend.  There is, if one looks for it, a green heart to Tokyo.

Angel's Trumpet No Entry Corner, Ebisu

Vine Sign Climb, Ebisu

Urban Bush Building, Ebisu

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

The Little Things at Nokogiriyama

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

The fog and mist enveloped just about everything at the abandoned stone quarry, Nokogiriyama.  The fog rolled over the mountain and just drenched all the surfaces.  The stone appeared to soak up the water until it couldn’t anymore then the rocks just shone.  They were glossy and covered with moss, lichens, water, and all sorts of things in between.

The little things all add up to the big picture.  They build and accent each other.  All harmonizing together to become what I experienced in the jungle at Nokogiyama, in the wilds of Chiba prefecture.

Lichens, Nokogiri Yama

Up Through the Stones, Nokogiri Yama

Wild Chestnut, Nokogiri Yama

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