shin urayasu

Tying Up The Weeds in Urayasu

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Weed Tying in Shin Urayasu

 

The haziness of a summer morning I found myself strangely pulled to a sidewalk patch of weeds.  Someone, or something, had come along and tied the weeds into little standing bundles.  It seemed to be reminiscent of something that would have been done in the rice fields of the deep country, but this is not were I was.  I was smack in the middle of the suburbs of Shin Urayasu.

There were probably more than a half dozen of these tied bundles lined up on a piece of earth lining a sidewalk.  I was intrigued.  Why was this done?  Is it a frustrated artist’s attempt at an environmental work?  Is it the work of a unhinged adult who misses working in the fields of his/her youth?  Do I dare?  Do I dare to say it must be the work of aliens?  I really don’t know.

To have gone from the heights of the tower of Babylon to the lowlands of weed tying.  It is just another day of striving to understand my world, and my place in it.

 

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.

 

This is a Test, a Surreal Test

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

This is a Test

This is a test, a surreal test of your attention.  It was a hot and humid last day of September when, Urayasu city held its annual Emergency Preparedness Drill.  The city in conjunction with Chiba Prefecture, and the National government  organized an event to inform its citizens of the facilities in what to expect in a disaster situation.

This of course takes on even deeper meanings since the March 11, 2011 earthquake that devastated Tohoku region of Japan.  Outside of the Tohoku region, Urayasu suffered the worst damage mainly due to liquefaction.

The police, military, and emergency services all had set up displays, and interactive events to help the people of Urayasu.  I am not sure if i found it comforting or disturbing.  They say (whoever they might actually be) that Japan is does more preparation than any other country in the case of disaster strikes. There are always drills, and mock events to test the readiness of the people, and its emergency services.  This is good; however, one can never fully prepare.  There is always, and most likely the chance that something will go wrong.  I do commend the patience of the Japanese people in response to the March 11th triple disasters.  I think they did a fabulous job of coming together in the hardest hit areas.

That brings me back to this surreal event unfolding before my eyes.  Seeing the water tanks that would be used, and in the case of recent events, were used.  Witnessing Disney-cutesy characters of a soldier, a police officer and an emergency worker, was truthfully made my stomach turn.

In the end I am glad I went.  It was surreal, a surreal test indeed.

 

To Pause, Sit and Watch

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Mt Fuji Mushroom Mature, Homage to Mt Fuji 富士山のオマージュ

Typhoon #18 was heading our way the other day.  The meteorologists were predicting that it would only barely touch the Tokyo area, as it was way out in the Pacific Ocean.  I usually don’t put too much trust in what they say, but  the wind was blowing a bit harder than usual, but other than that there wasn’t much sign that possible stormy weather was on its way.  The clouds had woven themselves into a a patch worked sky.

I did something that I rarely do on my lunch break, I went outside.  I just felt I needed to be alone and in the fresh air.  All the air was drenched in ocean aroma, as I wandered outside and found a single tree in a park near.  I just sat.  I attempted to do nothing.  I just listened to the breeze speak through the rustle of the the trees, and watch the clouds quickly unfurling across the the blue skies.  I seemed to be the only one for 100s of meters.  I know there were other people outside enjoying this wonderfully warm autumn day, but they had completely dropped out of my sphere of acknowledgment.

The colors were ultra vivid.  The sounds crystal clear, I could even see the mushrooms as they sprouted up out of the soil.  I hadn’t sat so still for a long time.  Time folded in on itself as I observed the tree’s shadow ebb and fade with each passing cloud.  My own personal natural cinema vérité flickering there at my feet.

It was a beautiful moment that wove itself directly into my soul.  Tapping in to that higher power of the creator when you allow your heart to syncopate with the world.  Each heartbeat flashed images as the natural celluloid natural cinema vérité continued.

A wonderful collection of moments that made up a fabulous day.  I saw the heavens and the earth, and even a mushroomed Mt.  Fuji.

Never Pausing

When the Levee Blooms, Have no Fear

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

When the Levee Blooms

Civilizations spring up along fertile rivers in the middle east and Africa.  The water was the fuel that gave the settles the needed life-force to survive without wandering.  The rivers would overflow their banks once a year and deposit their black gold.  The black gold would be rich with nutrients to maker their cereal crops grow.

As man’s dependence grow on the life giving waters so to did he attempt to regulate them.  To be able to guide where the rivers would overflow, or protect themselves from the ravages of the rivers after man began to live so closely to the edge.

Earthen works were constructed to keep the rising waters at bay.  They thought they had the technology to keep back the rhythmic cycles of nature.  For a time the works were successful, but eventually the levee would fall into disrepair and collapse.

Civilizations still build these levees.  In fact there is a huge earthen one within walking distance from my home.  Do I feel safe with them in place?  I feel only somewhat protected because I know no matter what man builds nature can always take them down with a blink of an eye.  The levees may be overrun in flash or they could crumple under the weight of debt.

Have no fear, it is not the levee that protects I, it is the love that does.  Let the blossoms bloom over the levees let their roots wiggle between the cracks in the cement and cover their surface with purple blossoms.  Have no fear.

 

 

Cherry Blossom Self and Shadow

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Cherry Blossoms' Self

The beautiful cherry blossoms are out.  They survived the near typhoon force weather that hit Tokyo the day before I returned to Japan.

I really haven’t had the time or energy to go out and enjoy them this season, basically because I have just been in a haze of jet lagged exhaustion.  That all being said, I did get out of the house for a bit of a walk around today.

The sun was beautiful and the temperatures made me feel like it really is spring time.  The previous days all felt pretty cold to me.  Especially after spending such warm days in Miami and Huntsville.

The wind was whipping in over Tokyo Bay as this let the cherry blossoms do their dance for me.  White ones, pink ones all out their boogying to the spring time jam.  People were out enjoying some picnic lunches with friends under the canopy of blossoms.

As I wondered around a bit this afternoon I found myself remembering what it was to walk around last year at this time.  The Tohoku-Kanto tsunami and earthquake were on everyones mind as well as the ongoing nuclear disaster.  So much has happened in the course of one year.  We in Japan had to face every known disaster imaginable at one point over the last 12 months.  It was a year I would not like to repeat again.

It was at this time that my eyes truly opened to the beauty of spring.  The rebirth of all the nature that lays dormant during the cold short winter days.  The flowers were a sign of strength for the future.  A sign that we had made it this far, and that out of the disasters beauty can once again be found.

I have since found myself paying closer attention to the natural world even if they may be confined to terra-cotta pots and curbside gardens.  I make an effort to observe the moon as it goes through its phases.  Which fruits are ripe and hanging from the trees.

Even in this concrete jungle their is nature.  We should all pause to take notice among the neon glow and the endless data byte streams.  Nature is there.  All we have to do is to open our hearts and eyes to fill our hearts with joy.

Cherry Blossoms Have to Deal with Their Shadow Too

Golden Leaf, Will We Have Autumn Leaves?

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

I was talking with a mate today about the glorious weather that we have been having and he remarked that he had taken a stroll the other day and was a bit dismayed.  He said all the Ginko trees, which turn a brilliant yellow in autumn, leaves were dead or dying.  He was worried that there wouldn’t be much in the way of an explosion of colors that we usually get.  The leaves in our collective neighborhoods took a battering in the typhoon 15 (Moke) that rolled through last Wednesday.  The trees for the most part survived.  It was the bashing of the leaves on each other that damaged them.  I hadn’t noticed it too closely, other than my own plants on my patio, until I was walking home from my station today.  A Ginko tree near the station looked as if all the leaves were pretty much been beat into brown submission.

I am going to be positive about this.  I am sure we will get some autumn leaves even if I am unsure of how intense it may or may not be.  It will just sharped my vision.  I will have to hunt out those colors that soothe my soul after the heat of Tokyo’s summer.  The trees that survived with their leaves intact are going to shine.  They will pop out across the urban landscape.  Those yellows, reds, oranges, mixed hues all there inviting the residents to gave up into their autumn hearts.

In the meantime, I was stopped in my tracks yesterday when I snapped this image.  The sun has right behind the leaves and it caused them to go from hunter green to an neon lit yellow.  For now I will have to be content with this hue.  A magical hue, and a magical time of day and year.

Golden Leaf

Mushrooms are Amazing

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

These little ones just sprouted up overnight.  It is amazing that these little ones are just passed by most.  I guess it is my challenge, and to keep my eye open to catch whatever I can.

Sprouting Mushroom, Just in a Night

Things are Coming Along

Monday, April 25th, 2011

I spent the morning helping some friends rebuild their garden that had been covered in a layer of icing like mud after the liquefaction in Shin Urayasu.  The day was a gorgeous spring day.  The sun was shining brightly yet the air was crisp and just a tad cool.  It felt good to both help out and just to be out in the sun.

Sometimes I really miss having a yard with trees, plants, and a garden like I had growing up in Miami.  Here in Tokyo and it’s suburbs there is little space for gardening.  Homeowners get very creative with their use of space, and create elaborate gardens in the most minuscule of areas.

As I wandered a bit around the Shin Urayasu neighborhood, I did notice that it was a lot less dusty than two weeks ago.  More of the silt has been removed, along with a few days of some heavy downpours have helped to clear the air.

People are out and about taking care of their homes and all in all after six weeks things are coming along nicely.

The spring colors keep pushing me forward.  I am compelled to show all the colors that the world has to offer.  The bright spots that standout on a sunny day like yesterday.  With all the worries of the world, I can loose myself within the simple beauty of color.

One Out of a Town

Orange Ones, Drying Ones

Flowershine on a Cloudy Day

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

The purple evening skies of yesterday continued over to today.  The clouds hung low, and the colors were allowed to develop into such rich hues.

I have been wearing a surgical mask when I go into Shin Urayasu for two reasons.  Firstly, my hay fever has been atrocious, a secondly the dust just blows around with no place to go.  I kind of hate when I am wearing the mask, and my glasses fog up, but I guess it is better than being all full of sniffles and sneezes.  However, today the pollen was so strong the mask didn’t make any difference.

I am amazed at some of the pathways and sidewalks in Shin Urayasu.  Because of the liquefaction on some parts they just became piles of bricks, and others, they rhythmically all tilted by 15 degrees.  It was by watching the paths that led me to a Cherry Blossom tree at an entrance to a townhouse like development.  The voluptuous pink blossoms were such a contrast to the dirt filled sidewalk along the main street.  It was so tranquil and seemed so far removed from all the construction going on just meters from this tree.

It again reminded me of the dual nature of the society we are living in.  We are so desperately wanting to return to a stable home life, but the constant aftershocks, the construction, and the Fukusshima nuclear power plant are all there like a fog that wont break up in the morning sun.  Yet, here there was this tree.  It paid no difference to the dust, construction or other worries.  All the tree knew was that it was spring and it was time to bring forth it’s blossoms.

As I continued to make my way home, I caught another flower.  This time it was just a weed.  It was growingly  singularly in some space between a wall and the sidewalk I was on.  The flower just appeared to be shinning.  It was radiating warm light that filled my lens to with warmth.  This images just sandwiched my day.  The tranquil to the mundane.  All full of beauty and full of such promise.

Cherry Blossom and Brick Pathway

Aubergine Tree, Shin Urayasu

Flowershine on a Cloudy Day

Flowering Among the Dust of Shin Urayasu

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

My allergies have been playing hell with me these days.  I am usually not susceptible to the annual abundance of cedar and cypress pollen in the air, but this year it has really gotten to me.  In addition to all the pollen that is flying around, the town of Shin Urayasu that was hard hit by the liquefaction is covered with extremely fine dust that is everywhere.  The dust reminds me of what the astronauts experienced on the moon.  I have taken to wearing a surgical mask to protect myself from the dust and pollen that is everywhere I go.

On my way back to Shin Urayasu today, I paused in front of a blooming Camelia tree that was blowing in the wind.  The beautiful crimson flowers just blurred in my eyes as I stood there staring at the.

Even among the dust and dirt of all that my neighbors from across the river have suffered there are signs of normalcy.  From what I have been hearing most of the water, and most of the sewage in Shin Urayasu has been reconnected.  Many of the pathways and sidewalks have been at least temporarily fixed with a fresh layer of asphalt.

There is still much to do, but we must acknowledge that a lot has been done.  The flowers are a constant reminder to myself that there is change too blowing with the pollen and the dust.

Shin Urayasu Camelia Flower

Ready to Burst

Crystal Balls, Lots of Them

Monday, December 6th, 2010

The trick is is wether or not these spheres can see their owner coming back to claim them.

Crystal Ball on a String

Sitting Pretty in the Rain

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

This lone clear vinyl umbrella was sitting pretty in the cold rain this morning.  As the commuters all shuffled off to work muttering how cold it was under their breath this one umbrella just paused for a rest under a tree.  Never to be forgotten, and not smoking it sat and watched all the people hustle into the station.

No Smoking Umbrella

Trolls and Kittychan

Friday, December 11th, 2009

This little lost glove is so desperately looking for its pair.  There is a one mittened wonder somewhere out there in the cold world of Urayasu. If you have seem it’s mate, please let them know.  Sigh.

Kitty Chan Lost in the Tumble

This troll was stuffed into a pipe near my house.  I felt so bad for the little one.  All alone, with only its bright purple hair peeking above the rim of the cold metal.  again, sigh.

Troll in a Pipe

Sunset at the Station

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

The sun was just setting as I waited in the chilly air at Shin Urayasu Station.  Orange glow was bathing all that waited for the trains.

Seeing Spots at the Station

Hosed by a Snake at the Station

Blurry Look at the Station

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