japanese

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.

We Won’t Believe the Hype

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Not Hand Power

The dust from the snap election in Japan may be over but that doesn’t mean that all is well. People of all shades and character are pretty fed up with government here in Japan.  I, for one, will never place trust in the hands of politricksters.  They are only bound to disappoint us all with their ego, greed, and money.

I place my faith in higher hands.  I place my love in my heart, I try my hardest to lead a good life.  I will take the nonsense that the politrickters dish out to us, and transform it into beauty spiced with love.

Egotistical, nationalistic posters, transform before my eyes into beautiful works of passion.

 
We No Trust Plastic Smile

 

Word Sound, No Power

The Suburban Mini Garden

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Wild Suburban Aloe, with Bicycle

The garden is alive and well in Japan.  They might not be the perfectly manicured gardens that surround the Emperor’s Palace in the center of Tokyo, but they are no less beautiful.  They also adhere to the principals of wabi-sabi, and the Japanese aesthetic.

This aloe jungle was directly to the right of the guard kitty from yesterday.  This wild bunch of aloe had taken over the side of the house.  Even more unusual was that the aloe plants were in full bloom.  I love the aloe blossoms.  They are unusual and from what I understand they do not bloom very often.

The gardens are often cramped.  Wedge into spaces that would have been abandoned elsewhere.  The Japanese have a knack for using all available space.  There never really seems to be any wasted space.

Keep your eyes open, and you’ll see gardens in the most unusual of places.

Trio pon Shelf Garden

A Japanese Rock Garden Saved from the Bulldozer

Friday, December 30th, 2011

The other day I made my way from the Tokyo side of the Kyoedogawa RIver to the Urayasu side to just wander around in the clear winter air.  I love wandering around the old part of the fisherman town of Urayasu.  The tight alleys and the corrugated metal homes that sit along the river that comes off the main river.

Urayasu for many years was a hub of clam harvesting, fishing, and seaweed gathering.  Urayasu was a town of fisherman.  They were utterly dependent on the sea to provide for them.  Those fisherman days are all but completely over.  There are a few families that make their living from the sea, but most now travel into Tokyo and have company jobs.

I am a bit saddened as Japan looses these pockets of old culture as the mad dash to modernize and compete on the world stage.  As I biked around the neighborhood, I was astonished to see the amount of rebuilding in the old neighborhood.  Everywhere I looked I saw houses being taken down, empty lots being prepped and building going up.  There was so much construction that was dismantling the tight community of Urayasu.

I came upon a large patch of land that had recently been bulldozed and graded relatively flat.  Buried though out the earth were thousands of shells. A reminder of the properties seaside past, or past profession.  They I spotted something unusual next to a cinderblock wall, I spied a Japanese stone lantern, and assorted rocks making up a small zen, meditative garden.  This little patch of tranquility had been sparred the bulldozer, and hopefully will be preserved for the next house that is to come.  It gives me some hope that all might not be lost in the old neighborhood of Urayasu.

Bulldozed Lot with Japanese Lantern and Rock Garden

Japandemic and the Drying Persimmon Garden

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

I came across one of Japandemic’s images in Flickr the other day that just struck me like a thunderbolt.  Japanandemic describes themselves as “smart sexy cool japan what the other guys won’t show you…in bite-size bits, like sushi.”  I like that.  There website is a fresh mash up of the cool, the weird and the beautiful of all things Japan, and Japanese.  Japandemic is based in Kyoto and Osaka in the Kansai area of Honshu.

Japandemic has a way of showing you another side of Japan.  The part of Japan that you might just walk past if you are not looking with an open mind and heart.  They have a great sense of humor and their site should be looked at by anyone who is interested in Japanese culture.

The image that struck me was one of theirs that had been taken in Kyoto.  There are strings of drying kaki (persimmon) hanging in front of a persons home.  And what really drew me into the image was it included a super tight garden.  It was one of those gardens that I have been photographing in Japan recently.  A garden in such a tiny space, yet it was bursting with life.  All and all it is a beautiful images and I am thankful to Japandemic for allowing me to post this beautiful image in Lucid Thoughts.

Please take the time to browse their Flickr page and the Japandemic website.

Enjoy this amazing Japandemic Image.
kaki (persimmon) hanging to dry in front a Kyoto house.

kaki (persimmon) hanging to dry in front a Kyoto house. Copyright Japandemic 2011

Winter: Orange, Blood, and Pride

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

The calendar now tells me it is winter.  Only two days ago the temperature peaked at 20 degrees celsius, however, the Creator must have looked at the calendar too because the temperature dipped down to 4 degrees celsius last night.  I am up and out of my house the earliest on Friday, which is a good thing.  It is like the sooner I can get my day over with, the sooner I can sit back and be thankful for the allotted time of the Sabbath.

I have to journey out to the boonies of Chiba prefecture, which entails using a train and a local bus.  On rainy days, like today, the bus is always jammed pack.  Today it was especially packed with junior high school students.  They are certainly a noisy bunch.  I got on the bus a bit late, but luckily I could find a seat.  Usually, I am in the back of the bus, today I was in the front sitting in the section that is reserved for elderly, moms, injured and the like.  After I took my seat an elderly man and woman also got on the bus.  I got up, tapped the elderly woman on the shoulder, and offered up my seat.  She, being the polite Japanese woman didn’t want to accept the seat, saying that she was going to get off the bus soon.  Eventually after some back and forth pleading, she took the seat.  I was amazed, but not surprised that none of the kids offered up their seats to the the elderly gentleman.  They all absorbed themselves with studying, or staring into their cellphones.  Quite a lack of respect for their elders.  It was me, the gaijin (foreigner) that set the example, that was ignored by the youth.

After taking care of what I needed to do for the day in Chiba I always take a leisurely walk back to the station to unwind, and to begin my mediations on the Sabbath.  It is the time to change those gears that grind away in my mind, and let them start to ease into a mode where I am able to give thanks, and recoup my mind, body and spirit.  The wind was whipping around my scarf as I wandered down the backstreets.  My eyes taking it all in.  I am on the lookout for that next perfect square to shoot.  I am amazed at how many flowers are still in bloom.  I am not sure if it is because of the late warm weather, or it is just that I never really pains close attention to the changing seasons and the changes in the blossoms that it brings.

Since returning to Japan post the March 11th earthquake disasters, I have been much more in tune with the seasons.  I notice how the blossoms hit their peak one week, then the next begin to whiter away, or change into green fruit.  I am thoroughly enjoying watching the seasons change.  I am fascinated in catching those changes with my camera.  The images are a visual diary of the intersection of my world with the the natural world.

As I continued on I came across an elderly man and woman.  The man had fallen down on the slippery slope and the woman, from what I could gather, was trying to help him.  The mans hand had gotten beaten up and was bleeding.  The woman to had blood on her hand from trying to help the gentleman.  I took the man by the arm and helped get him to his feet.  I rummaged though by bag and found a pack of tissues I had been handed at the station sometime before.  The man just kind of stumbled off. He pretty much refused our help.  The last thing the woman said to me was he probably was drunk.

I am thankful for these vignettes in disguise as life’s lessons.  They are the 24 frames per second that make up our lives.  I am thankful to pause and ponder my place in it all.  If I had taken another way back to the station, I would have missed the man that had fallen, yet I was pulled in that direction.

We should all take the time to respect our elders.  They have been here before us.  They have stories etched into the lines on their faces.  It is just one more piece of the life puzzle that I am thankful for.

May you all enjoy a beautiful day of rest.  Enjoy the time given to regenerate the spirit.

Three Triumphant Orange Winter

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

Hanging Garden of Ichikawa and More

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

The light is in a transitional phase now.  As the sun grows more distant, the temperature begins to drop the quality of the light changes.  The light of this early winter in the late afternoon shifts towards yellow.  I really am attracted to that yellowing light.  Even in the full glare of the sun colors are rich.  Hues pop out and speak to me though my senses.  Even as my throat ached I couldn’t help but reach for my Ricoh GR IV and capture some of that light.

The use of space is amazing in Japan.  The Japanese aesthetic manifests itself in sometimes the most unlikely places like small roadside gardens that are wedged into spaces that would just be discarded in other countries.  Here the space, any space, goes to some use.  I am always amazed how the zig zags of a home are often loaded with potted plants in a tightly manicured gardens.  Actually, they might not be so manicured.  Some of them go rather wild and free.  To my eye they represent the to dichotomies of Japanese aesthetics.  The reverence of nature, and the attempt to tame nature.  I see both in the way the Japanese create their personal gardens.  These are not the Japanese gardens that are listed as national treasures. They are the homeowner’s personal treasure.  A tiny space that reflects their love and interest in the natural world even if it may be surrounded by concrete and asphalt.  The flowers rise to greet the sun, and I stop and pause to admire their beauty.

The simple elegance of (your) neighbors friendly garden.

Elevated Row Garden, with Self

Hanging Garden of Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan

Stepping Up Cinderblock Garden

Winter Light has Come

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

That winter light has begun to shine.  There is a special quality to the light here, especially as the haze and smog of summer fade away, and those clear days where I can see Mt Fuji are here.  I love this light, objects just seems to sparkle and come alive and the thermometer starts to dip.

Broom with Winter Light

Urban Banner Nature

Windy Walk Wednesday

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

It is Wednesday.  It is windy and as usual I walked my tired self home.  It seems like the closer I get sometimes the farther away I feel.  This being said, I still am truly thankful for the world that we live in.  I am thankful that I have the time and energy to keep on pursuing my voice, no matter how hoarse it may become.

Bumpy Fan Squared

When a Roof is Not a Roof

Yeah, Ah

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