The Saitama Side of Life

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Monolitic Saitama Riverside


I visited the border town of Misato yesterday.  Thats right a border town, for it is just over the border from both Chiba Prefecture, and Tokyo.  The sun was pretty harsh as I made my way over to the river.  The levees are huge cutting off all view of the river.  I had to climb a series of concrete steps to stand atop the levee.

The weeds were thick and coming right up to the edge of the steps.  It was like how I imagined finding an ancient Mayan pyramid that had been swallowed by the jungle.

The flood plain that stretched out between the Saitma and Chiba sides of the river were low and wide.  A small island of trees had even taken root in the middle of the flood plain.  I gazed out over the grass and river as my eyes focused on the far side that was Chiba prefecture.

I wondered what this area must have been like 50 years ago.  When there was little out this way that had been constructed.  Or even to go farther back in time to the Edo period when this area might have been largely un populated.

Times change, bridges are build the old is knocked down and the so-called modern replace it.  Somewhere between the sky, river and asphalt lies the truth.

Sky, Chiba Prefecture, River, Saitama Prefecture, Road

On the Edge of Urban Foreverness

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Urban Skies Forever and Ever


No matter where I turn the skies are as endless as the rivers of concrete.  It is a realization of where I live.  I have the bay over my shoulder, and the sky over my head, but the urban landscape fill my field of vision.  This is no reason to let the urban weight hold us down.

It is only a matter of changing how we perceive our world.  If we choose to only see the stacks of gray and the endless kilometers of wire than that is how you see it.  If you only see the open skies and the blooming flowers that is how your heart will develop.

In many ways I have chosen to do both.  I need to embrace my neighborhood as it is.  I also need to search out the beauty amongst that overbearing gray.

I will always be on the edge of foreverness with my soul in the clouds.


Sometimes You Just Have to Pause

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Dusk Along the River

There are times to rush about, and then there are times to be still, and just be.  Yesterday was one of those times to just be.  Biking back home these crisp winter days the skies light up as if to be a private display of awe.  Rich honey soaked oranges meld into shades of pink from the brightest patches of our imaginations.

I find that I have to be careful and pay attention to my biking skills as I am often distracted by the golden displays.  The road is still quite bumpy as Shin Uryayasu is still in the process of repairing all the damage caused by the earthquake on March 11, 2011.

There is one bridge, that is currently under reconstruction, that spans a river that let out into Tokyo Bay.  The construction crews have built a temporary ramp made of scaffolding and plywood.  They have laid cubist strips along the way so that those crossing the bridge can do it without slipping.  It does make for a bumpy ride.  Yesterday as I turned the corner and came to a flat landing I just had to pause.  The light, the reflection, the moment of silence was so beautiful.  I had to allow myself the moment to just be one with the dusk. Let the radiating liquid honey warm my soul.

You just got to do it.  Just stop everything and just be.  It is really quite that simple.


Fishing the Ichikawa Autumn Dream Bridge

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Fishing the Ichikawa Autumn Dream Bridge

The autumn has finally come.  Each morning is dryer and cooler than the day before it.  A bridge spans the distance between to place, two ideas, two sides.  As a vision we sit with hook and line slightly drifting attempting to hook the dreams, the dreams we envisioned in our youth.

I stand on one bridge looking out over another thinking back to those dreams of two bridges side by side.  One that was rusted and flat reaching far into the horizon, the other arching up into the sky.  Two ways to cross from here to there, which one I would choose would determine a course in my life.

Here I am thousands of miles away thinking back to the flicker of my mind images as a stranger in a strange land.  Fishing for those dreams, casting the soul into the current. Sharpening the hook to catch the spirit.


Those Natural Moments, Make Our Days

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Living Sentinels and the Watchtower

Today I was talking to a good friend of mine who has been going though some tribulations.  There are times in our lives no matter what we seem to do that the events in our have a way of dragging us down.  My friend commented that what actually lifted him up and over the much of everyday life was some poetry.  They were in fact a collection of haiku.  It was art that lifted up his soul and refreshed his spirit.

I too find that art has the power to lift me out of depression.  Art has the power to wipe the stains of life clean as I search out inspiration from the world around me.  I am surrounded by concrete; therefore, sometimes the only nature I am exposed to are confined to terra-cotta pots.  The largest recent inspiration comes from the skies above.

Today it came in a garden at a Buddhist temple.  I find it so relaxing that after a day of work to wander through this temple on my way back to the station.  Today a pair of large trees, with gnarly roots captures my soul.  I, of course, had passed them hundreds of times, but today was different.  I stood and watched them.

Some goldenrod also caught my eye as it was jetting out from the edge of a canal.  The earthy yellow pollen may be aggravating my allergies, but the colors are so soothing to gaze upon.

It is these little encounters with nature in an urban world that make my day.  I hope that others out there can reap the benefits of being in tune with the natural world around them.

Goldenrod Canal Riverside Embankment

Kyo Edogawa Riverside Gardens in Kasai

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

One Red One in Kasai

Been on the computer too much the past couple of days catching up on some archiving I have been meaning to do for a long time.  The time was ripe to get out in my neighborhood today.

It was suppose to be a blistering hot day, but my 3 in the afternoon it had cooled off a bit and it was time to hop on  my bicycle and see what I can find in my neighborhood.   I live on the southern edge of Tokyo right between two branches of the Edogawa River.

My years ago most of my neighbors would have made their living harvesting seaweed, catching fish, and digging for clams.  There are still little reminders of the nautical past.  Many of the old fishermen now make a living running yukatabune (party boats).  Taking parties out into the bay for an evening of eating, drinking and catching the skyline from the water.

There are plenty of little gardens in my neighborhood.  It never ceases to amaze me how little space is needed, or how tiny a garden may be.  They are all gorgeous in their own way.  Down by the riverside, down the narrow alley ways that have been home for decades.

All in all a good day out in the Kasai.

Corner Roof Top Garden


Steping Up Aloe

Hidden Rainbow Over Urayasu

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Hidden Rainbow Over Urayasu

Today was a beautiful sabbath day.  The thunder came early in the day and threatened to rain for the longest time before the drops fell.  The clouds scattered and the sun came out once again.  In the late afternoon I noticed some dark clouds heading in from Chiba, so I hopped ob my bicycle to se what there is to see.

Sometimes it is just the act of picking up a camera that will get me out of the house.  I wanted to see the clouds.  Not only did I want to see them, I wanted to photograph them as well.  Clouds are a subject that I would have rejected in my youth but if they were good enough for Alfred Stieglitz, then I might as well be able to enjoy their mystical shapes too.

I even got caught in a little misting as I rode along the rivers edge.  In a completely urban setting I am never utterly removed from nature.  Looking up is sometimes all that it takes.

There is a little pot of golden pixels out there somewhere, for us all.  You just have to have an open heart to find it.


Winter Weeds in Ichikawa

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Winter is here with a vengeance.  Even though as I type this blog, my window is slightly ajar to let in some fresh air and that amazing yellow light.  I know the light will not last to much longer as the days are short.  The cold air comes quickly and I will be bundled up and headed for my homemade kotatsu (heated table).

These weeds on the concrete embankment of a small river is Ichikawa caught my eye the other day.  Their roots had managed to edge themselves into the cracks in the cement and had been able to grow strong and powerful.  They were reaching for that winter sunlight that makes me marvel.  They are survivors.  They have managed to eek out an existence in the inhospitable of places.  Actually they aren’t really struggling, they are thriving in this urban environment.

To be a weed.  To grow strong in the sunshine and make its home where ever its seed shall land.

Winter Weed, Riverside, Ichikawa

Big Skies Over Urayasu

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I was on my bicycle yesterday heading over to Gyotoku in Chiba.  It had been a while since I had ridden over the Urayasu bridge.  The Urayasu bridge connects my town Kasai in Tokyo to the town of Uryasu in Chiba prefecture.  There was a time that I would have ridden over that bridge on a weekly basis, but lives change and I no longer find myself  peddling up and over the bridge.

Today was the exception.  The weather was so crisp and clear.  It was as if one day was summer, and the next day it was autumn, was basically how it felt.  As I cycled my pedals up the slopping incline I was just enjoying the clean air.  Once the bridge leveled off I caught a glimpse of that autumn late afternoon light.  The kind of yellow light that sparkles on the surfaces it reaches.  That was coupled with the big sky that stretched from the bridge into the heavens.  I had to pull over and snap an image of one of my favorite clicking grounds.

I have never been one for landscape photography.  This all is changing post the March 11th earthquake that ignited my interest in photographing nature, has also gotten me exploring the land where I dwell in Tokyo in more detail.  The way that man creates the environment in which to live, and how the natural world melds, contrasts, and harmonizes to form the land that we all inhabit.  The concrete and wood of our creation lives in competitive harmony with the world of the Creator.

Seeing the details is beautiful.  Seeing the big picture is just as beautiful too.

Miyajima Island with Big Sky, Urayasu

Pitstops on the Riverside

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

I have committed myself to cycling as often as I can.  Lets just say it is about time for me to be more active as the years roll by. I been cycling pretty hard and fast with no time to take pictures, but today on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I grabbed my Ricoh as I headed out the door.

The river emptying into Tokyo Bay looked like chocolate milk after yesterdays downpour.  I stopped a few times for some clicks, but I didn’t take that much.  Hopefully more time will come up in August as I get the chance to roam around Tokyo a click away to my hearts content.

Bowing Dandelion

Violet Floats on Sea of Green

Yoshino, No Relation

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

A Yoshino family of fishermen, not far from my home.  No relation to the Yoshino I am married into, but a beautifully worn metal kanji.

Yoshino, No Relation

Riverside or Liverside?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

I guess it all depends on your point of view.  The sun is baking the small boat rental, and fishing boats that line part of the river on the Kasai, or Urayasu side of the Kyoedogawa River.  It is a little piece of the local culture that I love to investigate.  Old signs that are faded to perfection.  The algae green water that flows out to Tokyo Bay, along with that ocean smell that wafts over the neighborhood.

Window Patch

Riverside Pylon and Bob

Get on the Boat

7 a.m Stroll in Minami Kasai, Snowscapes

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The snow came down last night.  I know it is nothing like what my people in the midwest or east coast of America have experienced but for Tokyo this is a lot of snowfall.  You all have to keep in mind I am a Miami boy at heart.  Snow has and alway be like magic to me, so that is why I set my alarm to get me up and out of bed early to take the stroll.  I was worried if I slept in, all the snow would have melted into the gutters before I could get off some nice clicks.

Grab my camera, pulled on my snow boots that I get to use once a year, and trooped around my neighborhood for about an hour.  It wasn’t that cold, and the sun was shining and the ice was melting fast.  Down by the riverside I noticed I was not the only photographer up and about this February morning.

I love the sound of the icy snow crunching under my rubber boots.  Its such a pleasing sound to hear, and no I did not fall on my ass.

More to Come

If the Levee Breaks

Snow Kings of Minami Kasai

Snow Slide

Cobble Snow

Ice Puddles Walker

Picture of a Man Taking a Picture of a boy Sledding

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