Naoshima, light on a rainy day

How to talk about something which is an individual impression and which is forbidden to photograph or draw? Naoshima Chichibu Art Museum. The rains were heaviest when I arrived on the island peaking with several squalls sending rain down the long winding roads as a rivers into the sea. No traffic moved until the intensity lessened to a hard rain. With a dozen others, I waited in the ferry terminal¬†(link to pictures)¬†till about ten a.m. after which we piled into a tiny shuttle bus and were motored twenty minutes up and through… 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

Looking for advice

I would like some advice. In this particular photo I wanted to invert the role of father and mother. Working with children I hear almost exclusively of the women in young peoples lives. Fathers are something like a weekend treat, or depending on the relationship, a Sunday school sermon when all you want to do is play. This couple was sitting outside one of the areas the dancers I mentioned previously pass. The mother in her almost defensive posture, broad hipped, scanning the crowd; the father coddling their child with rugged hands,… 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

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