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. The look in his eyes when he saw me, I was like a new toy.
Cut, cut, thin, think, thin, cut, step back and come back to it. He’s an artist and works mainly with magazine models — and that ladies and gentlemen, along with all the support staff, is why I pay about 150USD to get my haircut.
The last pic is me this weekend.
On long strips of brightly colored paper couples, parents, children write their wishes then tie them to long bamboo poles which hang in the breeze over several days or weeks, totaling in the hundreds of thousands. Imagine all the wishes in the world made visible. Walk along the long city blocks and stop to read them as you please. I feel quite blessed to live in a place and at a time that almost every wish I read is for the happiness of another.
I got back the other evening on a late shinkansen. I walked into my home, immaculately clean, lay fresh sheets on the bed, took and shower and slept for sixteen hours uninterruptedly.
I had set 15 posts to upload here automatically during my holiday, expecting to chime in from time to time with “cellphoneography”, but they stopped self-posting. I apologize for that. Once I started island hopping keeping a charge in my i-devices became a battle, so I shut down all mail and anything push; used the cell camera when the taking out the Nikon was impossible; and used the remaining charge to find accommodation. As I was planning each day as it came, and traveling during peak season, finding a place to stay ended up more of a challenge than I anticipated. The point being I was frustrated to log back in today and see all these posts in a queue.
I have thousands of photos to sift through from my holiday. A large part of this trip was learning how to work my camera, to see what I can do with it. I do have some exceptional shots I’ll eventually get around to sharing but for now I’ll leave you with a post that should have uploaded a while ago.
This is a photo I took during a Tanobata celebration. Ultimately, crowds can be isolating. Being different within the crowd is an opportunity.
I’m exhausted but my day was just too good. I wanted to share a little of the beauty with you.
I was in Tanegashima, regrettably just for the day. The island is pristine. The people among the kindest I’ve ever met. It’s a perfect balance between modern and untouched. It’s remote location has prevented it from becoming spoiled by tourism — and if you see the beaches and get in the water you’ll wonder, like me, why it’s it’s relatively untouched.
Oh, it also houses the Japanese space program.
I am a man. I rarely ask for directions, I nod assent even when I don’t fully understand, and I endeavor to not show pain. (Imagine Hulk pose.)
I went hiking today in the wettest part of Japan in shoes one size too small, without proper gear. How did that happen? See one and two above.
Pain? The hike up was HARD. Eventually it rained and I was soaked to the skin, which made the rocks slippery on the way DOWN. My toes jammed into the front of the shoes and practically brought tears to my eyes with each step . I made friends I walked with on the way down, slipped and fell FOUR times. But I’m a guy: Skinned knees, aching feet and a twisted ankle and not a single complaint.
I’m also an online guy and I need to say #%#%%%#%#%#%##%%%#% ouch!
(The dessert is bate and switch. Would you have clicked on a post with my feet? It’s a Japanese snow cone called kakigori, btw. My next accommodation should have wifi. I’m going to try and read blogs and answer comments then.)
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 a minute a faucet opened over the city. If I could see it, I would have seen a river running down the road into the moats or down into the sea. The news said FIFTY centimeters fell that day.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m enjoying my vacation. Wet surfaces photograph beautifully; the sky has texture; and the people wear a different countenance.
Yesterday a new typhoon approached Japan and this morning it hit. Trains were shut down in this coastal onsen town, Ibusuki, with almost all business shuttered. My hotel had emptied the pool and sandbagged the perimeter. I decided to go out, making my way to the coast snapping pics of the clouds, of buildings, of boats bobbing in the harbor. When I sensed the rain was coming I made my way quickly to a covered arcade which leads to the train station. The full length as boarded up with branches flung about. The sky nearing black. And then the sirens sounded throughout the city. There was no message within the sound. Loud: It drowned the sound of the wind. But it wouldn’t stop — and then I knew.
This was the moment 69 years ago the bomb fell on Nagasaki.
The typhoon missed my area. The rains did fall. I did make it back to be under the station roof, but they stopped shortly after and I continued my walk up and down the streets. I arrived back at my hotel in time to photograph hawks circling over the ocean, of families walking the beach, and a fantastical sunset you’ll have to wait to see.
Tomorrow going to be sunny and I’m island hopping down to Okinawa.
One of the great cultural points in Japan is the onsen. The onsen is often translated as “hot spring”, but that is incomplete. The onsen is a place where your parents or grandparents take you as children to bond. It might be just a bath during a road trip, or part of a resort experience but the image you should hold in your mind is of people from two years old to one hundred plus relaxing together in the nude.
Think of how your individual perceptions on youth and beauty might differ if you grew up seeing, and were regularly around, the whole aging experience.
There is a culture of youth here, of creams and spas, but more than most places I’ve been there is an acceptance that one ages with grace and beauty and accepts what, in my hometown of Los Angeles, would be a cause for cosmetic intervention.
If your seeing this and it’s August and I’m on holiday, most likely onsen hopping. Enjoy these pictures of youth and beauty.
These were taken in Odaiba around midnight. The only illumination is artificial. The moon was full, but it was hidden. Two and three minute exposures pull out details that are lost in the light, or with the crowds. Think of them as a reminder of the details seemingly hidden in the dark. 😉
If you’re seeing this and it’s August I’m still on holiday and this is pre-written. 🙂 I may not be able to reply to your comments quickly, or come to your blogs soon, but I will.
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?
One typhoon averted, another approaches.
Since WWII the Japanese have shunned all things marshal, yet policies have been set in motion to reintroduce the military back to several generations who do not know what it means.
Welcome to Nagasaki Peace Park.
In two days Hiroshima will commemorate the first atomic bomb blast. Shortly after Nagasaki will honor the anniversary of the last atomic bomb blast. Preparations are under way — a huge dome is being erected and to either side of the monument to peace, the workers are setting up two abstract images of the paper cranes you’ll find heaped and piled all over the park. Made by children all over the world, they symbolize the hope that peace is eternal.
Greetings from my iPhone!
In the spirit of breaking out from routine I thought I’d share the apple with you, so to speak. Behold Okayama!
(I have no idea how these will appear on your computers. Let me know.)
I decided to go past Kyoto to spend some time on some islands in the Seto Sea. I alighted in Okayama when, by chance, they were gearing up for their big festival and fireworks celebration, the Momotaro Matsuri and Hanabi Taikai. (You’ll have to Google Momotaro for the full details on what this is about). Long story short, I stayed here and tomorrow I’ll most likely start off for Naoshima and Inujima.
In Tokyo people are used to people like me. Tall people. Not white, but white peoplele. Outside Kanto people stare — a lot. Your choices are to be uncomfortable, get mad, or roll with it. Let’s just say I made lots of new friend todays. 🙂
Oh, and I found proof that the creationists were right, after all. I think of it as The Annunciation of the King After The Fall. I’m going to work on it in Lightroom when I get back. 🙂
Hope you’re all enjoying your weekends. Why don’t you share the same vibe and break out from your routine this weekend?