A strong foundation and open doors

Okayama castle courtyard

Japan has different classes of accommodation. There are elite hotels for the super rich (and weddings), 1-5 star hotels for traveling, business hotels, capsule hotels. For futons and home cooked meals there are Japanese inns and pensions. And if your traveling on a budget there are hostels, manga or Internet cafes (you get a partitioned space), and all night onsen (which come with reclining arm chairs for you to sleep in till morning) — and there are even more options, which is all to say that I knew I’d find someplace even though… Read More

Five stories and a twist

  Friday morning I woke up, did some house cleaning (before I passed my key on), and finished up the last of my summer work. It was three before I started looking for a hotel — and they were all over priced in Kyoto. I scanned the route in my mind. Okayama. I could stay the night there then catch the ferry over to Naoshima. It was five by the time I left with Hiro’s backpack and two pairs of each: shorts, t-shirt, over shirt, socks, Calvins. I packed one outfit for… Read More

Selfies and haircuts

This is the before and after for my hair cut. I loved having long hair but when it dries I can’t do much with it, so before my holiday began I visited my カリスマ美容師 (they call top stylists Charisma Stylists) in Aoyama. I love my hairstylist and the salon: There are only two women working in the whole place — and 50 stylists. My stylist is awesome. His name is Fuyuki and I’ve been seeing him for a few years, but I stopped coming for about 10 months to grow my hair…. Read More

Cellphoneography: Typhoon hits, and misses

I have yet to see one day of sunshine this trip. I left late on Friday. As I walked to my hotel in Okayama drizzle fell which built up in intensity (as typhoons approached but never made landfall) culminating in a new kind of weather event in Japan. There is no translation. They are bands of heavy rain which dump inches in minutes causing mudslides and flash floods. That was Thursday and it was surreal. I was touring a castle in Nagasaki-ken when a city wide siren announced it was coming. Within… Read More

How often are we ever where we plan to be?

As I write this I expect to be leaving Kyoto, or possibly Shikoku, en route to Kyushyu. I wonder where I’ll actually be. Alone, a couple, or a group? About and out, or in? And how will the weather be? These plants took root far, far, far afield from where their seeds fell. How often are we really where we plan to be and how do we feel once we realize we’re there?

Hing: A story ending in divorce

pigeon funny story

This is a story about a spice widely used in the near East, a bird, and a divorce. One day many summers ago I was sitting in the courtyard of my neighborhood department store. Frantically going nowhere was a pigeon. People were busying by, which should have made this bird fly the coop, but it stuck close to a tree round and round and round. Curious, I went up to it. It ran away — it couldn’t fly! I reached down to pick it up and saw that something had taken a… Read More


The amazing thing about this series of pics is the ISO. I shot these in very low light under a train track on an overcast day. The ISO 256,000. I usually set my camera between ISO 100 – 400, to give you an idea just how high that is. It’s rare to see monks out to collect alms. I leaned into the shade of a building and watched the people busy by him for several minutes. Everyone has their work. No one has much time for each other. It’s less obvious in… Read More

The texture of life

Friday Godzilla opened here in Japan. I went to see the IMAX version yesterday — I loved it. The storytelling and visual effects were superlative. The visual details in the boss fight were stunning. The view of Fuji caused a loud laugh in the theater and protagonists backstory was unnecessarily drawn out, but as a whole it was a lot of fun to watch. I’ve been working on these to understand black and white, which brings out the hidden details in the leaves. Tell me what you think. More importantly, tell me… Read More

Advice from fellow bloggers, please

I’m 90% done with my blog re-do. I need to adjust the tags and add featured photos and I’m done, though I might add a page of my personal favorite posts. At the top of the right sidebar are two pics. Click either and you go to a page which lists all of my posts with clickable links (further broken down by subject on that page) and a page of just my photographic posts. (When I start writing recipes again I’ll add a third clickable box for just recipes.) Questions: 1) In… Read More

Simian capture

On my first date with Hiro he took me to the Osaka Zoo. He had no money, so the zoo was an inexpensive entertainment. Having not been to a zoo since I was in grade school, I was moderately interested — but I never would have gone on my own. Yesterday I decided to go to the Ueno Zoo to take photos. It’s the first time since that date that I’ve been. Going with Hiro we focused on each other. Going with a camera I focused on the animals. Generally speaking, most of… Read More

On divinity

Walking through Asakusa Temple yesterday evening I happened upon an area cut off by shrubbery. A monk was earnestly talking to two drunkards about overindulgence within earshot. Around them various groups of young men, lounging in a awning overhung with wisteria, were in silhouette. Here within site of her children is a statue dedicated to motherhood. Behind her are two large Buddha (the one to the left pictured below). One creates life. The other reminds us how to live it. The statues are adorned with bibs and robes. One reason, I am… Read More

Warmth and passion

Let’s not speak of love, but of warmth and passion; of a crowded city and the young looking for private space to be together. The nights are humid and hot. Pocket parks. The water. And here and there pairs. I was in the Sakuragicho area yesterday evening with camera and tripod to take those long exposures I enjoy. You can’t see it with the unaided eye, but in the distance the red haze from Tokyo ricochets through the clouds casting a heated backdrop for these young couples. Looking back towards Sakuragicho there… Read More