Nagasaki and my first Photoshop

The guardians of the temple: Teachers.

Nagasaki is is one of the two southernmost places in the four islands which make up Japan. It’s blisteringly hot in the summer with unrelenting humidity, unless you went last month. Some of the perks to traveling in the rain are the mild temperature, no sunburn, and perspiration-free. I’ve been to Nagasaki in the summer and I was grateful for the overcast. Nagasaki was rebut after the war. The city is a mix of the remainders of the rushed post-war architecture, historical buildings which survived the bomb, and The New, all laid… Read More

I need an intervention! Nagasaki and Photoshop

boy in heart shaped glasses

I bought instant coffee. I remember that first hit off my Nikon bong. I thought I could handle it — I really did, but before long I was in for a major headtrip in Lightroom. Before these addictions started eating away my life I was just a normal man engaged in average things: Molecular gastronomy, Marvel Comics and the New 52, Japanese pop music, yoga and free weights. And dinner parties. I loved throwing weekend dinner parties. This year I got into blogging and got into the routine each morning of making… Read More

An American festival in Tokyo

odaiba american festival japan

Odaiba, which I’ve posted on before, held an “American Festival”. I needed to know. If Japan is sushi, samurai, manga in the US, what is America in Japan? Oh, you don’t want to know. I was going to take photos but I knew I’d be taking them to jab and jeer. I will briefly outline the people and venue: Every worker was dressed in denim shirts AND jeans with HUGE cowboy hats. Over that women wore white homestead aprons and/or Aunt Jemima-esq headscarves. The shops were cooking up huge steaks on BBQ’s… Read More

How to make a rainy day okay

I didn’t want it to rain during my vacation. I didn’t plan for it. I didn’t expect it, but it rained every single day. That first day, in my white linen shorts and black underpants (never again), I knew whether I enjoyed myself was entirely up to me. So when things don’t go the way you plan, the sky seems — or is — gray, do as I did with this series of photos: Lighten the mood; find the beauty; be grateful for what is, not unhappy about what isn’t. There’s nothing… Read More

See through me

My last evening in Okayama ended with a huge fireworks display. The next morning I woke at 5:00 a.m. to catch the earliest train to the pier for a ferry ride over to Naoshima. What you’ll need to remember for length of the series is that I had three pairs of short pants for a one-month trip: One bright white linen pair (from last years trip to Spain), black workout shorts, and plaid Abercrombie; I packed three tank tops and matching overs shirts; and I only had the crocs on my feet…. Read More

Short people

Many people like the words ‘I’m blessed’, for me it’s more like I’ve made some really good decisions. I used to think I wanted children, then my friends started producing them, I stated babysitting, and all my paternal feeling went down the commode. I am so grateful to be gay. I will never, ever come home to Hiro knitting baby booties. Don’t misunderstand, I enjoy being around children. I’ve two jobs in which I get to work with young people (whom I call short people): One a high school and the other… Read More

The Bunkasai

Education is not just book learning. Japanese schools hold several team building events throughout the year which are viewed on par with academic performance. The teachers are only superficially involved in an administrative role. Depending on the event young people will be grouped by age, by class, by club, or randomly, but never by ability. From the chaos a leader rises, the group coalesces, and the events are held — sometimes for the public, as in this event, Bunkasai, or the Culture Festival. Several days before the Bunkasai all classes stop to… Read More

Colors, costumes, calibrators

Over the weekend I purchased a color calibrator, the X-Rite i1. Color calibrators put all the color variables (hue, saturation, luminance) back into proper alignment. I’m not sure how monitor colors get knocked out of alignment, but after running the program it is clear to me they do: It’s like I have a new computer: The colors are fresh, the edges crisp and clean. Putting your monitors colors back into alignment means that blue is blue, and not shown as one of the (seemingly) infinite variations, which is important when editing photos…. Read More

Lost time and the dancer

I sat down at my computer around three this afternoon intending to leave at 3:30. I looked up and it was 10:30 — Damn you Lightroom! The short version (I will flesh out later) is I went to a school function yesterday and today and went nuts with my camera. I prefer to bracket my shots, sift through and find the ones which communicate my intention. It’s a lot of work. Nothing difficult, but looking, rating, comparing, reviewing the selections and doing it again take time. Next I start editing. To teach… Read More

And A River Runs Through It

  Okayama city is bisected by the small river you see, a footpath on either side and small bridges every block. Along the paths in either direction are statues. Some are of Greek gods, other abstracts, still others and then more on top of that. Around the city are memorials to artist, athletes, (respected) politicians, businessmen and notable people from the city. The dance done, people went out for supper and this very large metropolis was still for about an hour. The rain had turned to occasional drizzle. The clouds broke —… Read More

The country under the mask

okayama momotaro matsuri

And so there was a festival in Okayama where groups of friends, community groups, alumni and students — any assemblage of any kind is welcome — form a kind of dance troupe between 30 – 100 members and perform to given theme to one of a dozen specific tunes. They follow behind a small truck blasting their tune down kilometer long shopping arcades, or city streets closed off. For hours and hours they dance before moving to the next venue. To keep relevant cities take whatever celebrity happens their way and find… Read More

Foreign: Thoughts on traveling alone

I think any county with a sizable population becomes a shell containing different countries. What do I mean? Back in the states we have New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta which draw people from all over the world who, in finding equilibrium, create a culture different from those smaller cities, towns, parishes which house what we can call “Americana”. Said differently, Paris is not France and neither is Tokyo, Japan. I woke up to a dark overcast on Saturday which got heavier and denser until, by 9:00 a.m., the rains fell in… Read More