Sky Tree, another view

Same day as the previous post, but I was shooting to impose a different mood. Tell me what you think, or which of the two you like best. Comments and critique help me learn.


I’ve been on spring holiday. The cherry blossoms, sakura, have been blooming. People gather wherever they are. They mediate on their meaning, have picnics under them, takes trips to see them. Sakura remind us to pay attention to the temporal nature of life. Their season is, at longest, a week. Because their bloom is short, Japanese people celebrate them, drink under them with family or with friends because our lives, too, are short and, like the sakura, we each grow and change. First, the petals fall — a soft pink snow — the… Read More

Karma! — and a poll

Have you ever been accosted by a Japanese person with a flash or snap, snap? Armed with my Nikon, I am Karma. This what I kept telling myself winding down the small streets near Yokohama Station. I took 1300 pictures today. I’m trying to get a feel for shutter speed vs f/stop. My goal was to practice composition while flipping through the controls. Today was the first time I went out just to shoot and the second time I shot people. I picked out a couple I liked and did a little… Read More

The Doll Festival

Last week was Hina Matsuri, aka Girl’s Day. The major department stores all had huge displays featuring dolls representing Heian Period court life and freshly cut branches of plum blossoms.  My babies have graduated. I’m never really sad, which is odd because I’m sentimental. I’ve been cooking constantly. Along with the camera I also purchased a Sous Vide. So far I’ve made excellent custards, soups, and steaks with it. I’m using it to candy fruit at the moment.  I’m still not sure what I’m doing with the camera. I’m getting used to… Read More

The Nikon Bong

My camera arrived the other day: Nikon D7100, Nikor 105mm lens, and 50mm lens. I’ve think I’ve found a lighting set up and I’m leaning towards a particular tripod, all geared for microphotography — mine is a personality that doesn’t take baby steps. Friday’s I’m off early. I spent some time with my camera walking around town, getting used to the feel of using it. Way back in the 90’s I had a Canon film camera. I enjoyed it, but I was limited by the ISO. The digital is fast. The lenses… Read More


These guys are everywhere today. People bring a mask home, someone puts it on, and the rest of the house chases him out.

February the 4th is the first day of Spring. February 3rd is the last day of winter — time to clean out any demons who may be about. It’s easy enough, just throw beans at them. No devils about? Demonise your husband, boyfriend, father and shout at him to get out — Oni wa soto! (Which helps explain why men stay at work so late.)

It’s January 11th, it must Kagami Mochi

How are you doing with your new year resolutions? The year is already moving a breakneck speed and here to remind us is kagami mochi. In the old Japanese calendar each variation of the season lasted ten days. According to that old calendar we’ve already finished one season and to mark the transition we eat kagami mochi. Kagami means mirror, but here refers to a celebratory day. Kagami motchi is a cake of rice said to house the spirit of the rice harvest, which traditionally took place around the harvest moon. Where… Read More

Seven Herbs: Seven Days: Nanakusagayu

Seven days after the new year Japanese people eat okayu, a kind of rice porridge, flavoured with seven herbs. The dish is called nanakusagayu, or Seven Herbs Okayu. It’s not delicious. It’s traditional. It’s a way to count the progression of the year — one week has already passed. Like Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, onwards and forewords we travel through the year until we’re back where we started one year further on. Nanakusagayu. It’s that time again. To make okayu you’ll need a ratio of 1:5 rice:water, though some families add… Read More

New Year’s Eve and soba

Though I’m from southern California, Japan is my home now. Since this blog starts just after the New Year I’ve been thinking to show you what a year in the life is like here through food. This is toshikoshi soba. Soba, a noodle made from buckwheat, is rolled very long and eaten in a simple soup just before midnight on new year’s eve to symbolise long life, luck and prosperity. There are lots of add-ins. (I like thinly sliced leeks and tempura.) This year we went with jumbo shrimp. Personally, I prefer… Read More