overcast

Getting Comfortably Lost in the Chiba Countryside

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Rice Paddy with Twist, Yorokeikoku, Chiba, Japan

I am fortunate to have a friend like Tomo.  He and I take a photographic journey every summer.  Each year we go someplace different and wander around with our cameras chatting away as we go.  This broiling summer Tomo suggested that we head to Chiba Prefecture’s country side.  A place called Yorokeikoku Valley.  We were blessed by some cloudy weather, so it wasn’t as hot as it could have been.  We even got caught in some rain, but it didn’t dampen our mood one bit.

It was a bit of a challenge to just get to, but the journey is what makes it so magical.  I met up with Tomo at Shin Urayasu station and boarded the Keiyo Rapid train out to Soga.  At Soga, we transferred to the Uchibo Line until we reached the little station commuter station of Goi.  There the real journey began.  We bought an all day pass to ride the Kominato line.  It is known for its one or two car trains.  The train otakus (geeks) love to ride and photograph this line.  There was even an old fashioned train girl who would sell, inspect, and punch the traveler’s tickets.

We got off about 3 stations before the last one and started to walk some of the old country roads.  It was a great feeling to be out of the heat of the city, and be surrounded by farms, cicadas, and trees.  We passed though some tunnels which here in Japan have the reputation for being haunted on our way to the next station.  We had to wait a good 45 minutes since the Kominato line comes only about once or at the most twice an hour.

Being out in the country I am reminded how much more there is to Japanese society than the city.  In fact, most of Japan was an agricultural society up until very recently.  Most of the society were subsistence farmers  just a few notches above.  The rural life was the Japanese life.  Walking along the old roads and coming to a rice paddy that tucked into one corner is the family cemetery.  The hillsides were dotted with tiny Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.

In an odd way I was reminded of the parks between the hills Berkeley and Contra Costa County.  They are very country, even though you are only 45 minutes from San Francisco  there are reminders that the city isn’t that far away.  There were still signs of Japan’s industrialization at just about every turn we took.

All that is true, but the country is the country.  The loud tranquility was a beautiful excursion from the hustle of Tokyo Life.

I look forward with an open heart to wander Japan’s rural side with camera in hand.

Rice Paddy with Cloud Hole, Yorokeikoku, Chiba, Japan

 

Cedar Forrest, Yorokeikoku, Chiba, Japan

 

Country Road, Yorokeikoku, Chiba, Japan

 

Le Petit Rapids, Yorokeikoku, Chiba, Japan

 

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

Overcast, Humid with some Explosive Colors

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

I made my way back to the station in a light drizzle.  I was lucky because as soon as I got to the station the rain just started coming down.  The one amazing thing about rainy, or overcast days as a photographer is the the way the colors come out so saturated.  I guess I should get used to this more because rainy season is just around the corner.

It also seems like the aftershocks have been calming down in the last  two weeks or so.  The was one last night right before going to bed at about 11 p.m.  I’m still worried about the prospect for a large earthquake that could hit much closer to Tokyo, but in the scheme of things I haven’t been loosing sleep over that.

I will continue to take comfort in the flowers that surround my daily comings and goings, and keep my faith that the big one won’t come.  And if it does come, then so be it.  I will be spiritually, mentally, and physically prepared the best I can.

Pachi Pachi Pachi with Wire

18-5 Wall Flowers

Lots of Yellow on a Friday Afternoon

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

The skies were overcast and the winds were blowing out in the somewhat countryside of Narashino, Chiba.  The pollen was flowing as freely as the the cherry blossom petals drifted though the air.  As I walked along the road with rows of vegetables to my right I was overcome with the flowers.  There were yellow buds all over.  They were on the trees, on weeds, and ever so low to the ground.

Yellow is color that has never really appealed to me.  I have always gravitated to the cooler hues of blues, purples, and greens.  However, on this day, I was so drawn in to yellow.  From the weedy dandelions that were having a picnic on a hill to a tree that was full of yellow blooms so bright that they glowed under the overcast skies.

After being back in Japan for nearly one month, I just can’t help myself to enough flowers.  To celebrate this beautiful world even down to the overlooked weeds.

So today, on this rainy, cloudy Saturday I livicate this blog to the wonderful hue of yellow.

Yellow Blossom Mimomi

Yellow Weed Bush with Tracks

Mini Ones next to the Tracks

Dandelion Spring Party on a Hill with One that Has Gone to Seed

The Return of the Spiderellas

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

The rain returned with destruction on it’s wings.  The rain fell hard like stones.  The wind whipped up the leaves and debris, and the Spiderellas came out as the rain lightened up.  It seems like whenever the storms hit the streets are covered with the Spiderellas.  It is much in the same way as in my home town of Miami that earthworms litter the the sidewalks after a a downpour.  Catch the Spiderellas as you can, for they will be gone in the bright sunlight.

Splat Goes the Spiderella

Discarded Spiderella

Nothing But Them Bones

Spiderella at Rest

Overcast in Katsuura Beach

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I was fortunate to head out of Tokyo on Sunday and out to the Pacific side of Chiba.  Beaches and little seaside villages line to coast, as sun bathers, surfers, and families head down to the cooling Pacific waters.  Luckily the day was a bit overcast which kept the overall temperatures down.

In typical Japanese fashion the beaches were not that clean, and were rather rocky.  The rockiness always reminds me of Japan’s twin on the other side of the Pacific, California.  Both have been battered by strong waves and the land has been shaped by even stronger earthquakes.

This first group represent the coast.  The point where the land melts into the sea.

More to come from the little seaside towns later.

Rocky Seaside

One Fisherman, Two Fishermen

Purple Rope in a Wavebreaker Landscape

Where Rock Meets the Pacific

Under Overcast Skies

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

It has been threatening to rain all day today.  The skies remained grey and full of the temptation to let forth and dump water upon the land, but the rain has yet to fall.  The air is cool with a hint of humidity.  The skies left no shadows on the ground.  All the colors were true to themselves.  The cool hues of the concrete, the muted rust interplaying with it’s blue brothers.  All beauty, all the time.

Just another day in the city.

Watching the colors, the doors, all interacting with one another.

Just another day in Tokyo, or I should say Chiba.

What Happened to My Reflection?

Cracked Corner Nail

Hooked and Signed

Just Concrete, Please

Friday, January 29th, 2010

After a bit of a scare with a potential cold, I felt good enough to run a couple errands today.  The day started off nice and sunny, but by the time I got outside the skies had turned as gray as the concrete.  I might as well add that it was as cold as the concrete too.

Scraping the Wall

Arrow Circle

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