Bugging Out in the Afternoon

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Insecting Out in the Afternoon


The rainy season comes and goes.  Listening to the weather report is about as accurate if I was on TV making the weather predictions.  They say it will rain and it doesn’t.  The next forecast is for sunny skies and as I can hear the window being pelted with strong rain and wind.

It was yesterday in a break in the rain with some gray clouds overhead that I spotted this wonder from the insect kingdom.  He had lovely zebra striping with antenna that were as large as it’s entire body.  I had never seen one like this before.  He had no fear as I was able to get my lens so close that the antenna actually brushed my fingers.

I just never know what one day will bring.  I spent so much time in Japan, and still little surprises are there for me.  It was a nice end, to be able to bug out in the afternoon with this guy.


Thanks to my friend Tomo, I now know the name of this wonder: Citrus long-horned beetle, ゴマダラカミキリ



The Temple Gate and the Squall

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The Gate, The Temple and the Squall


The weather called for sunny clear skies.  I should have known better.  I shouldn’t have paid attention to the morning report and brought an umbrella.  In the end, I didn’t.  I got caught in a torrential squall.  The rain was coming down so hard that I had to seek some shelter to keep from getting utterly soaked.

I had made it only about 5 minutes from where I started where I sought refuge under a temple’s gate.  I wasn’t alone.  Three Japanese carpenters who had been doing some repairs on the gate were also trying to keep dry under the protection of the jointed and slotted wooden structure.  I couldn’t help feeling a bit like the opening scene in Kuruosawa’s Rashomon.  As strangers seeking protection from a thunderstorm huddled around a small fire.  It does seem a bit cliche, but it was on my mind.

We were joined briefly by a pair of university students who paused for a few minutes before continuing down the stone steps.  I heard them gasp as the peered over the edge of the steps.  I could hear the rushing of the water as it flowed around the gate then down the steps.

After spending about 30 minutes the rain appeared to let up a bit, so I opened up my 100 yen umbrella and walked over the steps.  The edges of the steps had turned into a small raging waterfall.  The roughly hewn stones blurred under the flowing water.  I still was soaked by the time I reached the station.

For the 20 minute train ride home all I could think about was taking a hot shower and changing my squeaking Sauconys.  I was amazed when I stepped out at my home station less than 10 kilometers away from the torrential rain to find it bone dry.  All in all just another day during this year’s unpredictable rainy season.



Stone Steps into Waterfall

All Nature is Sacred

Friday, June 14th, 2013

All Trees are Sacred to Earth


In the indigenous Shinto faith of Japan sacred natural objects are marked by tying a twisted or braided rope around them.  This signifies that they hold a special place in the faith.  They are natural objects that hold the spirits of the land.  They could be trees, rocks, mountains, and even waterfalls.

I appreciate the reverence of nature in the Shinto faith, but I also have some troubles with it.  Nature is worshiped by some practitioners as a god.  I for one do not subscribe to this belief; because, for me there is one and Only one God.  All nature flows and is possible because of the One God.  I am thankful that I live in a country and grew up in another one that allows people to follow and worship as they see.   I know that all nature is scared, and humans should work to protect the nature we have.  We shouldn’t just preserve a tree here and there as a memory for the wilds that once spread over the land.

For without nature we will not be able to nourish our bodies and souls.  If humans allow our land to be ravaged by industry we are doomed to perish.  In genesis 1:28 we are commanded to have dominion over the earth.  I read this in that we have to be it’s caretakers.  We are not to brutally destroy the earth as some have interpreted.  We are the ones responsible for its care.  We must be the ones to call out for justice because the animals cannot.

We must not forget that we came from the earth.  We might be living in a technological bubble and have contact with the earth, but it is never to late to establish those connections.  We are only capable of being fully human when we are caring for our communal world.

Let us be the caretakers of the earth.  We are here for only a short time; therefore, let us strive to make the world a healthy thriving planet.


The Way, Meijijingu Path

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

Bus Stop Umbrella Parade

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Bus Stop Umbrella Parade

The rain just kept on falling.  All day there was nothing but rain.  It varied from misty rainfall to out right pours.  It was just water falling from the heavens.  Little droplets, splattering against my raincoat, and bouncing off my black umbrella.

Rain always makes me think of both Miami, and the San Francisco Bay Area.  Both places it would rain like crazy.  In Miami the rain would suddenly come and jut pour, then the next moment the sun would be out shining.  The rain came as fast as it went away.  Other times the weather would be foul as the winds hurled the rain in vertical and horizontal sheets.

In the Bay Area, the rain would come, and the sun would vanish for days.  There could be several days in a row when there would be rain so constant that I would forget what a sunny day felt like.  The dampness was so cold that it would seep into my bones no matter how many lawyers I might have worn.

Today’s weather is much more like those long winter nights in Martizez, California.  The rain came and it would just stay.  I would stare out into the back yard where a small creak ran, and watch the water level raise and raise, until the little creak was a roaring river of chocolaty water.

Today is somewhere in between.  The rain hasn’t really stopped.  The air is a bit on the cooler side.  I still just stare out my window and watch the rain fall and listen to the sounds of the birds chirping in the late afternoon.

It is only rain.  It will be gone tomorrow. Let me just take out my umbrella and join the parade.


Wet Today, Sunshine Comes Tomorrow

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Arching With Rain Drops

The rain came down in the tiniest of droplets all day on Friday.  It felt like walking out into a misting machine with the steadiness at which the drops fell from the sky.  The droplets layered themselves on top of one another.

Nothing could escape becoming soaked by the rain.  Umbrellas may have kept my head dry put my pants were sopping wet by the time I reached my home.  I only walked from the bus stop to my front door was enough to have me dripping.

I can’t really complain or I shouldn’t really complain even though I may gripe about the weather.  We have planted a patio garden and we are thankful that the garden is being watered for us.  The plants may struggle against the rain.  They may end up face down in the dirt after the rain, but it won’t last forever.  For surely the sun will rise tomorrow and the warmth of the sun spreads out over the earth.

The plants instinctively uplift themselves to catch the sunlight.  Their arching stems instinctively straighten themselves.  The roots, having been soaked the day before, distribute the water to the plants.

I do not worry, I know that the rain is needed.  The rain provides nutrients and nourishment, and will be followed eventually by the warmth of the sun.

Bisho Bisho Wild Poppy

Dragons Don’t Cry on a Cold and Rainy Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Dragons Don't Cry on Rainy Valentine's Day

Dragons don’t cry on a cold and rainy Valentine’s Day in Japan.  There is too much hustle and bustle out in the streets.  The hordes of women in the department stores snatching up box after boxes of chocolate.  In case you don’t already know, Valentine’s Day goes only one way in Japan.  Women give gifts to men.  Not just their lovers, but coworkers, friends, teachers, the list of giri (obligation) chocolate never ends.

Dragons don’t play the Valentine’s game.  They don’t line up around the corner to get that last box of chocolates.  Nope!  They are content to be out in the streets in the rain.  They just are going to be their dragon self.

They have nothing to hide.  They have no one they have to impress.  They will be, and are dragons.


Bathed in Friday’s Waters

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

The rain came down in heavy sheets on Friday.  It continued on into the early afternoon as I made my way back to Mimomi train station.  All of the plants were dripping with water.  Droplets rolled off the leaves and petals and onto the ground below.  It got me thinking about preparing for the sabbath, and the mikvahs, or ritual Jewish/Israelite bathing.  The bath is to wash away spiritual impurities and allow the self to become ritually clean.  The ritual bathing was of upmost importance to the ancient Israelites.  It is still done by many today, but for most reformed Jews it has become a ritual of the past.

I myself like to feel refreshed after the immersion in a bath.  The feeling not only that comes from being physically clean, but that sensation that the impurities that are collected in the world can be washed way too.  I may never have been to an official mikvah, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot become clean.

Consider the flowers in this images.  They can never go to a ritual bath.  They can only become ritual clean by letting the droplets wash over their petals.  For me it is about the spirit of the the law not the semantics of it.

Therefore, allow time to cleanse yourself.  Not only the dirt and grime of daily life, but the negative energies that we accumulate from being part of the world.  Let those droplets wash over your.  Let the immersion in water cleanse your soul.

Bathed Friday's Flowers

Wild Wet Rose, and Nuclear Fuel Rods

Friday, July 29th, 2011

These items are what sandwiched my day today.  I woke up to news that the Chubu Nuclear power plant in Shizouka, Japan, has been unable to remove a melted nuclear rod for over 17 years since an accident occurred at the plant.  For 17 years, the power plant hid the truth that they have been completely unable to remove it for reprocessing.

It is so sad and utterly frustrating, to see the situation here develop, and at times worsen, and they only response is an “Oh, well.”  As an artist I feel really torn.  At times I want to make protest art, but at others, I want to celebrate the beauty and in some ways use art as a soul searching escapism.  I do feel that protest art is an important for artist to become involved in.  It never has been something that I have felt comfortable with; however, I will support artist that choose to protest.  Go ahead!  Please make some noise.  It is unfortunate that here in Japan, the arts are so marginalized that protest music and art gets pretty much zero attention from the press.  I guess my neighbors, much rather watch baseball, or another AKB 48 special.  UGHHHH.

Then there was the other side of my day.  This lovely water droplet covered rose in someone’s garden.  It was so beautiful, it did make me forget the terrible news I read in the paper this morning.  I could loose myself in the twirling petals, and watch the droplets slowly roll down the thorns.

All in one day.  Just another day in Japan post March 11th.  Not sure when it’ll ever end.  Rise up! Celebrate life in all its shapes and forms.  And to all those artist out there that see fit to raise a voice, slap a poster, or paint out your anger!  I salute you!

The Wild Wet Rose of Mimomi

Blue Windy Hydrangea

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

The wind was howling when this one was snapped.  It did come out a bit on the blurred side, but I’m surprised that it wasn’t completely blurred.  There is a beauty in it’s soft edges, and how the blue melts into the greens.

Windy Blue Hydrangea

Through the Fog and the Rain

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

We don’t really get fog here in Tokyo, but the last couple of days here my head has been in a complete fog.  I caught a blasted cold that knocked me out of commission for the past 4 or 5 days.  But, I think, I can see the fog clearing ahead, and things will get more or less back to normal.

It’s gonna be a hot on this week.

Twinkle Weed

The First Fruits of Summer

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

As the spring is slowly giving way to summer.  And along with the coming summer heat we are being treated to an early rainy season.  The rainy season to me is a lot like Miami weather.  It rains everyday for days on end.  At least the temperature stays a bit cooler.

As I was making my way to Mimomi station out in Chiba, I wandered upon a little frontside garden that had a few potted plants.  My eye quickly saw a bright red tiny strawberry.  The first fruits of summer.  Time to give pause and thanks for the fruits that are coming to fruition.

All the flowers on the trees and plants that I have been photographing are beginning to bear fruit.  Some of them will be edible like this deep red strawberry, seeds, of just giving way to the new ultra green leaves.

I strive to maintain my positive attitude. I am reminded daily by the earthquakes that there is much in my life that I have absolutely no control over.  I need to let those issues slide from my spirit so as not to weigh me down with doubt and negativity.

Enjoy the fruits of the season.  Even if those fruits this season will be a bit bitter sweet.

First Fruits:  Strawberry

Forecast is Rain, More Rain, and then a Typhoon

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Rain has been forecasted for the next several days, leading up to a typhoon that will come by Tokyo on Tuesday.  There is no rest for us.  I am thankful at least that it isn’t hot yet.  Sometimes it just seems that there is one disaster after another.  Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, severe thunderstorms, typhoons, hurricanes.  I wonder if it will ever end, or are these signs of the times?

Given all the turbulence in the world, I will spend my sabbath with family and being thankful for the end of another week.  It is a weekly reminder of what is important, and what is not.  It gives me the pause to let that which is not important to just slide off from my soul.

At lest there is a little purple sunshine on a rainy, mist filled afternoon.  I wish all my friends and family a restful and fulfilling sabbath.

Purple Rainy Sunshine

Sometimes it is Just a Struggle

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Today was one of those days.  It poured rain all day, and it is predicted to keep on raining all day tomorrow.  There was one aftershock early this morning that woke me from a deep sleep at around 4 or 5 a.m.  It wasn’t that terrible.  It was just a reminder that the earth here hasn’t settled yet.

The streets of Shin Urayasu are just becoming puddles that fill up with the black sludge that percolated up through the earth in the liquefaction.

I took this image of a flower near the station on my way home, and it just seems to sum up the day.  All wet, struggling to stay upright.  I struggled to get it in focus, but failed.  So in the end sometimes it is just a struggle.

Struggle in the Rain

Keyed in Ichikawa

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Rain was splattering away for most of the night and into the afternoon.  Luckily as I headed back to the station the sun was struggling to poke out from behind the clouds.  It didn’t show us that yellow light for very long, but I was thankful that it wasn’t raining.

We all need to search and find the key to our happiness, and be thankful once we found it.  And once we find what we are suppose to be doing, we must pursue it with our whole heart.


Keyed in Ichikawa

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