Tokyo

10 Years After, Grapefruit Blossoms

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

10 Years After, Grapefruit Flower 2015

 

More than 10 years ago I was slicing a grapefruit it half with a kitchen knife.  I don’t recall exactly when.  It may well be more than 10 years.  There was really nothing unusual about it until i looked inside one of the halves.  There, imbedded in the grapefruit’s flesh was a seed that had already sprouted.  I had never come across a seed that had sprouted inside a citrus fruit.

I took this as a good sign, and I planted in a small pot.

The plant grew and grew over the years.  I gradually transferred it to bigger and bigger pots in a nice sunny place on my Tokyo patio. For years, there was only growth.  No flowers.  No fruit.  Just some oddly shaped grapefruit leaves.  Perhaps two years ago three blossoms appeared on the tree only to be swept away by the strong bay winds.  I was ready to give up on the tree and chop it down.  I thought that after all these years perhaps this tree was just infertile and would never bear fruit.

This all changed this spring.  When the nights began to warm and the new green shoots were sprouting forth, that is when I noticed the little white bulbs.  Not just in one section of the tree as they had been a few years ago, but they cover the tree. The white flower’s sweet scent filling the air as I water the garden.

As spring will quickly become summer I pray that some of these flowers will hold on with all their might and transform themselves into fleshy grapefruit but that is greatly out of my hands.  I only tend the garden.  There is only One who can do that.

I am truly thankful that I waited and waited.  Now I can enjoy the sprouted seed from all those years ago from that halved grapefruit.

Tokyo Blizzard of February 8, 2014

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Edge of Tokyo in February 08 2014 Blizzard

 

I have been looking at my phone all week.  There had been a snow mark for saturday since about Monday.  I usually don’t think much about it.  Being from Miami, I do find snow quite intriguing.  So, there we go.  We are suppose to get snow.

As the day moved closer reports started to come in that this is going to be the heaviest snow to hit Tokyo in more than 20 years.  I thought that the snow that hit last year pretty bad, but what was coming out in the news was saying that this was going to be a once in a generation storm.

My kitty woke my at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning cause he was hungry.  I gave hime a bit of food and took a look out the window.  My mid Shabbat the show was beginning to fall.  It was crazy cold out and i jumped back in bed.

By morning the snow was pilling up.  I was worried about my patio greenhouses, and I kept on sweeping the accumulating snow off.

Finally I suited up to go on my arctic expedition around the neighborhood.  It was a ghost town.  Almost no one was out.  A few kids were playing in the snow or trying to sled down some small hills.  It was pretty much just me, my camera, and a warm cap.

Snow has a way of beautifying the city.  Everything becomes the same tonality.  Objects take on new shapes as the bleed into one another.  I was out for more than an hour.  The wind would pick up at times, and the snow being so dry this year blew like a leaf blower across my cheeks.

We, the wife and I, were suppose to go out to celebrate her earth day, that wasn’t going to happen.  I made her a cup of amazake  which is a  a thick drink made with the left over mash from nihonshu (sake) and is usually sweetened and sometimes sake is added to it.

Suddenly she is lets go to Seiyu.  We suit up to make the several block trek to the supermarket.  Her  clear vinyl umbrella blew inside out. We walked down the middle of the street.  Some cars had been abandoned on the side of the road.  The only cars we sway were delivery trucks.  Nothing seems to stop the special  deliveries.    Even saw one guy help push another one’s truck out of the snow.

We made it to the store and back.  Caught some olympics and went to sleep.  The snow was still falling even after midnight.

By morning the snow had begun to melt.  I had trekked to the home center to buy a shovel yesterday which came in handy today.  I cleared a small path on the sidewalk adjacent to my home and cleared off the step.

After breakfast my wife asked me to clear off the driveway.  I did.  I soon noticed all of my neighbors were out to with shovels in hand.  Not just the men, but the women too.  They weren’t clearing their driveways, they were clearing the street.  I was shocked.

I couldn’t give in so I too joined in the effort to clear the street.  After about 2 hours I was beat like i went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.  But, I wasn’t done yet.  I retuned with a small spade and joined my wife as we cleared the last bit of road that connected up with the one the busses went down.

Before going back inside.  I just stared at the road cleared of snow and marveled.  We did this!  Not a snow plow but a bunch of housewives cleared out streets and sidewalks so we, as the community, could be safe.  That was beautiful.

All and all a very memorable day.  So much snow.  The teamwork to clean the now.  The astonishing amount of snow that came down from the sky.  I don’t know how my people in the colder climates can cope.

Now rest, for tomorrow shall bring muscle aches.
Nagisa New Town Canyons with Yellow Umbrellas

 

 

Frosted Pruned Trees, Kasai, February 08 2014 Blizzard

 

 

Snow Slide, Kasai, February 08 2014 Blizzard

 

 

Riverside Kasai, February 08 2014 Blizzard

 

Summer Heat, Sun Shower with a Prize

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Double Rainbow with Pot of Apartment, Kasai, Tokyo, Japan

 

The sun blazed the tops of my feet till they tingled.

Wind blew, and blew across the low lying Kasai hood.

Skies were full of golden sun.

The skies roared from the cloudless heavens.

Splat, splat, splat the cooling relief came down.

The Apartment of Gold was anointed with a double colored spectrum.

All on a hot summer dusk.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucidcommunication/9230528940/” title=”Double Rainbow Summer Dreaming by jacob schere [in the 03 strategically planning], on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5479/9230528940_ffe0d5624f.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Double Rainbow Summer Dreaming”></a>

 

Tokyo Time Machine Revisited

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Trio of Seagulls, Tokyo Time Machine Revisted

 

Sometimes I return to where I had photographed before.  It may be for the challenge of finding something interesting in a place I have often visited.  This time I wanted to see how much the area had deteriorated since I had last photographed along the wall.

My first visit to the small industrial island that lays in the river between Kasai and Urayasu was for a multi sensory project for DONT Magazine six years ago.  It has been one of the most expressive experiences with a web based magazine.  I was interviewed, and DONT mashed up the interview and put it with a slide show of the images.

I have passed near the island for years, and I have kept wondering what has happened to those crumbling images.  Today in the bright and shinning sun I decided to go over and check them out.

Some of the images had complete crumbled into nothingness.  Some were still there but struggling to adhere to the wall.  While  I was taking the pics an elderly guard man with a grill of missing teeth came over to me and asked me what I was doing.  I told him plainly, “I am taking pictures.”  “Of what?” I pointed at the pictures on the wall and just shrugged his shoulders like I was a completely crazed foreigner for wanting to take pictures of a wall.  He then told me it was dangerous and I shouldn’t be doing any crazy business.

I finished up my pictures and left.

Sometimes I need to return to somewhere I have been in order to know where I need to go.  Lives change, cameras are swapped out, and my vision as an artist continues to grow.

 

Two Children, Tokyo Time Machine Revisted

One Boy, One Shadow, Tokyo Time Machine Revisted

Fabrication, Power, Politricks

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Lying Craving Power Eye

 

The Tokyo prefectural elections have six days to go.  The loudspeakers blare throughout my neighborhood, as well, and every nook of massive tokyo.  The promises come.  The lies are spoken.  The picture perfect images are created.  Nothing is as it seems.

Look closely.  Inspect our leaders to the point where the ben day dots break down into their pigmented hues.  There is no truth to be found here.  Only carefully constructed  illusions that will crumble when held up to real scrutiny.

Just another day, another lie, and it is all just politricks.

 

Tokyo, Babylon, 2013 CE

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Tokyo, Babylon, June 6, 2013 CE

 

As the sun quickly faded from the sky I found myself gazing down upon Tokyo from 55 stories up.  It is mind boggling how Tokyo spreads from horizon to horizon.  The blinking red lights warning low flying aircraft hypnotized me.

Masses of concrete and steel reaching ever higher and higher.  One day will they all crumble onto themselves?

The wind whipped my face as we continued to look out over Babylon.  It all of its beautiful glitzy horror, I couldn’t turn away.

All of these life stories stacked one on top of another.  Marginalized, segmented, separate yet utterly together.

Tokyo is the land where I have pitched my tent.  I am the stranger in a strange land.

What You See Doesn’t Always Define Me

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Barbershop Family Crest Self Portrain

 

Who am I?  This is a question that has had philosophers’ heads swirling for millenniums.  I am positive that our ancestor sat around the campfire looking up into the limitless heavens and thought about their own answers to this question of all questions.  Tales have been written on velum and papyrus to attest to their search.

A friend not to long ago asked that of myself, and I was only able to answer by saying what I am not.  It was a start but it was not the end of the tale.  Is it important to know what you are not before you can answer with what you are?  I am not my clothes and flesh.  For these covering are only temporal and will rot.

I am not a tightly constructed object that can be described in a historical text.  There is more.  There is much more to all of us, if we want to know the answers.

I am searching answers to the question.  I seek truth that heals my soul.  The truth that brings love into my heart, and those who surround me.  There are many false paths along the way, and only though proper guidance from the Most High, may I avoid these pitfalls.

I become frustrated with myself when other do not share the love and respect as the foundation of human interaction.  Much of these troubles come from most people never take the steps to really reflect on who they are and what is their purpose.

I continue to search for truth, and my camera lens will be the opener, my communicator of that journey.

 

 

 

Time Tripping from Tokyo to Miami by Way of Africa

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Time Tripping Miami, Africa, Tokyo

 

 

The mood has been set.  The last images have been burned into the mind the the power of celluloid story weaving.  Sprockets pull the images into a flickering pace as the melodies ring fantastic.  The time tripping has begun.

Sandy beaches ran through my mental fingers that called out to distant shores. It originates from where we all came from.  There is no denying the time trip fantasia spectacular has snatched me up and taken me for a magic futon ride.

Smooth oceans rocked me a lullaby in off beat steady timing.  My thoughts synched with the rhythms as there is no jet lag on this journey.  Here in my room, my roots shoot up from my unconscious soul and look back at me though the grains of sand washed up on the beach.

The time tripping journey has only just begun.  Drawn though the magnetospheres of space and time leaving only traces visual DNA on my heart.

Let it ride…

Looking Searching Seeking Finding in Okachimachi

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Looking at Okachimachi with Corrugated Wall and Tree

 

The day was cool.  Much cooler than it should have been for a late May day, but we should enjoy the break from the heat and enjoy the coolness before it is gone till autumn.

It was late in the afternoon as the sun stayed hidden behind the clouds.  The Okachimachi streets I wandered around were quiet, all the offices were closed.  The homes stood empty.

Looking for me as much I was looking for them. They are out there waiting to be seen framed shuttered and admired.

Just the streets, the gardens, the people, and how they all intersect.

 
Lined Up Street Garden with Tags and Text

Mother’s Day in the Neighborhood

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Concrete Flower Wall Mother's Day

Flowers for all the mothers in the world.  Those mothers that  know and and those that I don’t.  I especially want to thank my own mother Madelyn for being there for me.  Much love to all.

 

Zen Garden Moment in my Hood

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Zen Garden Hood in the Afternoon

 

Garden Zen Moment in the Neighborhood 

A day is as long as the muscles are sore.

The breeze blows over the rippling bay.

The sweat on one’s brow is about to break as the weather

lays wedged between spring and summer.

Rubber skids slides along the pebbly asphalt.

A home passed a thousand times beckons the eye.

Pupils dilate and  follows the rubber to a halt.

Concrete blocks, plastic planters, metallic hooks, are one with sculpted branches.

A mind rests, the eyes are dazzled.

All is a silent moment in the hood.

 

Avoiding the Crowds in Monzenakacho

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Sub Door with Potted Plants, Monzennakacho

 

It took me quite a lot to get motivated today.  I’m not sure why.  It just seemed like quite a pain to get myself to leave the comfiness of my home.  It was partially due to the weather that had turned a bit cooler in the last 12 hours that I needed to throw on a hoody to keep warm.

I finally gulped down a glass of my homemade espresso and jumped on my bicycle to the station.  I really had no destination in mind.  I just knew I didn’t want to go anywhere crowded.  I just wanted to be on the street with my camera.  I decided to keep to the Tozai line and I got off at Monzennakacho Station.  An area known for it’s large shrine and temple and back alley restaurants.

My wandering started off slowly.  I went left where everyone else went right.  It took a while to get into the rhythm of the wandering and the clicking, but it all began to sync up.  I lost track of time.  I lost track of where I was.  All I had to choose, was straight, left, or right.

The clicking became easy.  Homes angles, potted plants all lined up for my enjoyment.  The streets were for the most part empty except for the occasional housewife, and school children.

Sometimes the hardest part of a journey is just getting started; however, once started the journey is never completed.

 

Door with Ferns and Bicycle, Monzennakacho

 

 

Green Potted Plant with Sliding Door, Monzennakacho

 

 

Ledge with Potted Plants, and Potted Plants Door, Monzennakacho

Reflecting in Meiji Jingu Shrine Garden

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Sun Gazing Meiji Jingu Shrine Garden

 

In the heart of Tokyo lies a quiet space uninterrupted by the hustle of Harajuku and the fast paced life that Tokyoites step too.  A space where old man pause, take off their hats, and bow in reverence to the once great Emperor Meiji.

Large wooden Tori (Gates) separate the profane from the scared space of Meiji Jingu Shrine.  I have been several times, and I often bring guests to this space to experience some of the traditional Japanese culture.

My friend and I reasoned on a variety of topics as we wandered the garden.  Pausing here and there to reflect on the beauty of the garden.  Manicured spaces that would lead the eye around from bush to tree, to the pond in the middle of the garden.

Slices of reflections accumulations of all that came before and all that is to come.  The water shone back into myself.  The clear bubbling spring was a moment in which I could allow that water that sprung from the deep earth to enter into my consciousness.  Standing on a few perfectly placed flat stones peering over and into the spring, I was one with my surroundings.

Reflecting, reflected, reflections, moments in a progression of our lives.

 

Meiji Jingu (Shrine) Clear Spring Well, Self Portrait

White Koi Meiji Jingu Shrine Garden

Its a Snowy Day in the Neighborhood, Minami Kasai Tokyo

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Minami Kasai Tokyo, Playground in Snow

The forecast originally called for only rain, but that quickly turned to sleet, and within 1o minutes of the sleet it was just snow.  This was around 11:30 am.  It still hasn’t stopped yet.

This Miami raised boy had to do something that he had never done before.  I shoveled snow with a short spade.  It is not an experience that I would like to repeat anytime soon.

I needed something from the grocery store, so I put on the snow boots that I get to wear once a season, my waterproof jacket and headed towards my local Seiyu supermarket.  The Snow I had shoveled 2 hours earlier had been replaced with more freshly fallen snow.  The streets were relatively quite except for the occasional rumbling of a car or bus with snow chains on.

Luckily for the children today was a holiday and many of them were out in the streets throwing snowballs, sledding, and making yuki daruma (snowman).

The wind had really begun to pick up and the snowflakes.  The wind was striking my in the eyes and some managed a sneak attack and hit me square in my eyeball.

Tokyo does not get a lot of snow, and the amount we are getting today is going to be enough to shut down trains and services.  I will keep all out there in the streets in my heart that you may travel home safely.

Bundle up Tokyo!  Its only going to get colder.

Today’s post is livicated to my father on his 70th birthday.  I love you dad!
Minami Kasai Tokyo, My Street in Snow

Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomadachi, Republished Book from 1991

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Christopher Ruff, 1991, Tampa, Florida from the Book Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomodachi

This the last of my archiving projects for a little while.  It all started with the finding of my color analog prints that I made after hurricane Andrew and published on the 20th anniversary of that terrible storm.  It led me to redux my Broken Windows book.  Now I decided to take a new look at the project that I completed before Broken Window, and was only published as an artist’s proof.  I have decided to call it Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomodachi (tomodachi means friends).

These images were all taken in 1991 with a Nikon FG mostly with a heavy flash.  I was photographing what was around me, my friends.  I spent so much time with all of them that I wanted to capture those moments.  It was my way or participating in life as both an observer and participant.

The book is split into two halves.  The first half is filled with my Tampa family of Jahn, Christopher, and Elizabeth.  We spent all of our free time together exploring life and the land around Tampa.  The second half of the book comes from two different trips to Tokyo and the time I spent with Tetsuya, Yoshinori, and Masami.  The two halves show a version of my life as it was in 1991.  A time when my friends were my family.

By 1991, I rediscovered my love of photography after having a passion ignited in my soul from cinema.  I wanted to go one step further and enrolled in a photography class.  A whole new world opened up before me.  I learned about photographers I never knew before.  I was eager to discuss the deeper meanings of photography, and that passion that was reignited by my teacher Beth Shields never has diminished.

I wanted to look at these old photographs of mine to see where I have been as an artist.  I wanted to know if the images that I were producing in my youth were still valid to my critical eye 20 years later.  The answer, for the most part, is yes.  It has been a process of learning and self discovery with my camera as my means of expression.

The PDF file can be downloaded here for free. Tampa Friends Tokyo Tomodachi PDF

the book can also be purchased online via Blurb.

 

Lastly I want to give a extra special shout out of love to all those whose images are contained within the book Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomodachi.  All of you made my time as a young man some of the most interesting and heartfelt years of my life.

Copyright 2007© m2c LucidCommunication - Jacob Schere