potted plants

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

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

Another Week, Time to Give Thanks

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Another week has come to a close here in Tokyo.  The week that was filled with dust, dirt, and pollen.  The air was playing hell with my allergies.  I tried to do the Japanese way of wearing a surgical mask, but that helped just a bit.

I am thankful for making it to another shabbat.  The time that has been set aside for reflection and rest.  To look back on the week, and be thankful for what we have.  And I am truly thankful.  I am thankful for my friends and family being safe and in good health.  I am thankful for all the beauty that surrounds my lens.  The flowers are a constant reminder of the change that is brewing here in japan.  The change that needs to happen for this society to overcome all of their difficulties.  I hope that they too will stop to take heed of this beauty, and let the colors inspire them to reach higher than they have ever before.

It is time to put away petty differences.  It is time to see the good in the world and time to put away childish selfish ways.  The glory bubble times are long gone.  It is time to sober up and put forth conversation, and real inclusive unity rather than just for show.

So to all of you, I ask that you in your works, take time to pause, and reflect.  Stop and look up high into the sky and watch the clouds dance across.  Stop, and look at your feet and see the little blooms that are scattered at your feet.

The earth will shake, the rain will fall, and we will be here, being thankful for the life that we are given.

Peace from Tokyo.

Junglefied Front Garden

Wisteria in the Neighborhood

Potted Step Up

One Orange Wonder

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Other than the 4 a.m. aftershock this morning the day went by pretty smoothly.  The air was damp and it rained on and off all night.  The skies were gray when I hopped on the train to make my way into Chiba.  The lights are still off on the trains in a massive effort to save electricity.

On my way back to the station the air was chilled, but the sun was out.  I paused in front of a house to stare at this enormous orange flower.  It was there reaching up towards the warm sun.  Strong in spirit.  Bending little in the breeze.  It is my orange wonder.  A strong warrior among the concrete, and potted plants of Ichikawa.

One Orange Wonder

Spring is Popping Up in Tokyo

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

As the earth still continues to shake, and TEPCO struggles to contain the the nuclear power plant, the colorful blossoms of spring are popping up in my neighborhood.  The Cherry Blossom trees are covered with buds that should burst forth any day now.

As all these issues that I have absolutely no control over swirl around me I can take some comfort in knowing that mother nature will continue through its cycles.  The flowers will continue to bloom.  The children who have been bundled up during the winter months will head to the parks to play.  All the signs that spring is coming.

Still I feel this uneasiness this spring.  I am sure that there will be little partying under the cherry blossoms.  People’s hearts are heavy with uncertainty about the future.  I have no choice but to be optimistic that a better future will come.

Disasters are a part of human kind, and they challenge us to rise above and overcome them.  My prayers go out to those on the front lines of disasters here in Japan and throughout the world.

For all my family and friends out there, keep us all in prayers.

First Bloom Spotted

Fluffy Pollenating Tree, Minami Kasai

Trio of Spring with Mailbox and Wall

Step Up to Spring with a Pair of Addidas Sneakers

Perming in the Urban Garden

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Seated in front of a hair salon in Nishi Kasai, were all these potted Aloe plants.  They were just there adding some green to their concrete surroundings.  Step inside, get a perm, pick a leaf of Aloe to soothe your burns, or dry skin.  All at the Lets Perm Salon.

Perming the Air Conditioner

Tokyo Sky Tree is Freakin Tall!

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

I have been to the top of Tokyo Tower and the Mori Building in Roppongi to get some amazing views of this mega-city Tokyo, but both of these will pale to Tokyo Sky Tree when it opens to the public in 2012.  Walking around Oshiage trying to get a view of Tokyo Sky tree I would get dizzy staring up at the structure.

The neighborhood of Oshiage was a quiet little town, not known for very much, but that will all change with the Sky Tree.  The sleepy neighborhood is already filled with a throngs of photo seekers.

Sky Tree Burst, 東京スカイツリー

Sky Tree Fence, 東京スカイツリー

Ladder House

Cool Storage Wall

Microwave Aloe]

Ueno: Deconstructed Constructions

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

The world in which we live is full of rectangles, squares, angles, triangles, and so on.  Most everything can be reduced to these simple shapes.  Even the organic nature of plants lends themselves to be studies as shapes.

Here in the back streets of Ueno, all of the shapes come colliding together.  The round leaves, contrasting with the angular structures.  They all work together to form an interesting picture of Tokyo that I love.

Striped Awning Front Garden

Window VIne Suit

Ping Pong No Here

Under the Portection

Dusty Jewels

Geometric Friday Afternoon

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

These are the other images taken on my bicycle ride through Kasai on Friday afternoon.  Lots of windows, shadows and angles.  All intensifying under the heat of the sun.  Keep hydrated, seek the shade and enjoy.

Wall Pon Wall Blank

Garden Pon Wall

Living Small

Tanks Tricks and a Postman

Dancing Shade

The Tussle between Nature & Culture: From John Walford’s Blog

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I am honored to have had one of my images critiqued by the art historian John Walford.  He wrote an interesting critique of my image Window Squared Garden Door.  I will repost the the text and the image below.  Be sure to go and take a wander though his writing and his flick image stream.

Window Squared Garden Door

Window Squared Garden Door

“The Tussle between Nature & Culture”

What man makes is straight and sheer,
Submits to measure, 3-3-1, lines full clear.
Manu-facture now means machines,
That press, and cut – it’s all so Schere.

A Creator-God does differently:
All lines have curve, none quite the same,
Species more than man can name,
In orange, purple, blue, and red.

Held up on stems, all twisty, bend;
Throw out sun-panels to catch
The rays and rains send down. –
But time and frost, He too does send.

From birth to grave, there is this dance,
Like plants that twine around man’s struts.
Interdependent, they lunge and lance,
As Jacob, with the angel, bends and butts.

–John Walford, for Jacob Schere/twisty331, July 8, 2010,
a salute for your scrupulous eye.

Originally published on Only Connect Blog, by John Walford

July 8, 2010

Geometrical State of Mind

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

These days I seem to be tipping my hat to the old masters with my obsession with shape and forms in my photographs.  The geometrical shapes are popping out at me from all sides of the road.  It is almost if i see the shapes first and then what they actually represent second.

I do not mind this obsession.  Only by working on the obsession can I figure out why I have become fixated on shapes.  The more I photograph and construct the images in this way, the closer I can begin to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together.

I hope I didn’t go off on too much of a tangent.

Air Conditioned Construction

Window Squared Garden Door

Six Strikes

A House Divided

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