Categories
Journal Musings

A Walk in the Neighborhood

Kamiigusa Bar

It has been a month since I moved to Tokyo and settled into this neighborhood. The new apartment, big, bright, with space to stretch and sit alone if I want while sharing it with my partner M., offers the possibilities of moving on with my life and finding some satisfaction with what I want to do and with social interaction with people. The neighborhood itself is green and tranquil, with a strong sense of community that I hope I can eventually tap into. Right outside the apartment there are entirely too many people passing by and right across the street we discovered a metal cutting factory that we hadn’t realize was there, but if we can set up this place with all the plants and artwork and simplicity that we’ve both been seeking to make a big part of our lives, and also invite people over for dinner parties and gatherings, then maybe those drawbacks can be offset by the pluses. I may actually grow to like a place for a change, in spite of being in Tokyo.

Lan Daydreaming

It’s taking some getting used to living with a sick 17 year-old Shi Tzu dog named Lan (from Georgio Casellato Lamberti… as M. named him… a big name for a small dog, who has never barked, let alone sing!) who is also blind and deaf, and has difficulty using his hind legs. He has adopted the habit of crapping all over the apartment, wherever his presence has not yet been felt, his attempt at creative expression in new and untried ways. Other than that he just sleeps and eats and nothing else is very important in his life anymore. I personally don’t care much for getting up in the middle of the night and stepping in his contribution to prosperity, so he and I are taking our time forgiving one another’s shortcomings.

Mika Making Up

In my whole life I had never taken so long to get over someone who hurt me as with Y. Even now, four months later, I occasionally wake up from bad dreams of her or feel my face wet from crying in my sleep. I found out some things recently that altered my point of view of the entire period I spent with her and my respect for her. And for the first time in my life I never again want to see or hear from someone that I loved. Perhaps she is too blind to realize how she affects those she gets into relationships with, but I realize now, viscerally, why her former husbands hate her now and never want to talk with her again. How sad and wasteful. I have never thrown away photographs or letters or items given to me by those I was with, but I guess there is a first time for everything.

Naruto Sad Reeds

Half my belongings are still in boxes, but slowly I am finding places to put things and to start cleaning up and making the place look a little nicer. I’ve taken quite a few walks in the neighborhood, some alone, some with M., and we are both getting to know what the place has to offer. Today I dropped by a small café called Genro, whose owner has actively championed the use of traditional coppicing techniques that this area was once known for. Voicing an interest in putting in some coppiced trees on my balcony and getting involved with community traditions in the neighborhood, the waiter in the coffee shop called the owner, who came the store and sat with me for an hour to talk about both coppicing techniques and ways to get started and about nature education. He invited me to join in community events and get more involved with this new place I am living in. He also kept repeating how happy he was to meet me and that he hoped to get together more often.

Sounds like a good beginning!

Naruto Station at Night
Categories
Chiba Japan: Living Journal Life In Music

Lonesome Bike Boy

Gumyo Beech Roof

Time to take my time.

Open the door and stick out my hand, finger the first bite of winter.

No matter, a morning without a roof makes up for the hours.

I often wonder

about a life spent out beyond the city limits.

Gumyo Lanes

It’s all tied together

in lattices of stories and building frames,

back along the old ways, when and where our tails meet.

Blow on your hands,

see the billowing breath of others who’ve stood here before.

Gumyo Bamboo Fence

Past, past doors and windows.

I can’t wait for a nod or a friendly hello.

The wheels grind crusted dust,

the hub of a possible breakdown.

Sorry, sorry I have to go.

Gumyo Farmer

If you wait long enough

the sprouts separate the asphalt

and conjure up a potpourrie we all remember.

It doesn’t take any sleight of hand

to dig and let loose the straw.

Gumyo Sea Track

When I was a boy

the wind was my friend. I laughed

when the trees swayed and dragonflies

blew west into the setting sun.

Now I clutch my hat, bracing against the cold.

Gumyo Gingko Shrine

Hold on there,

why don’t you pick that up?

Everything has fallen here, but that doesn’t mean

any old tossing of litter

earns its place among the bones.

Gumyo Old House 2

I remember when Mama took me into the garden

and we buried Melanie (the hamster)

among the roots.

Soil dashed across her body,

forever clothed in loam.

Gumyo Roof Leaves

The cat she settled in the stillness,

pricking her ears for

scratching feet. A crow sailed

over, eyeing branches.

She curled up, hidden from view.

Gumyo Boots
Categories
Japan: Living Journal Nature Walking

One Hundred Meters

Two cabbage butterflies
Two cabbage butterflies mating on a leaf beside the Noh River, August 07, 2006

In the heart of a big city like Tokyo the cliche says that nature exists as but an afterthought. For such hulking carbon-units as us humans that may well seem like the case, but all it takes is a slowing of pace and a pair of good eyes to see that the world around us, all of it, IS nature; we just have to learn how to see.

Inchworm

At the start of August, one cloudy day, in the midst of my summer-long hiatus from work, I decided one day to walk to the nearby Noh River and see what I could see. When I reached the banks I found myself slowly down to a crawl, barely moving along. These photographs are the result of nearly four hours stepping through the riverside grasses and bushes along a distance of only about 100 meters. What I actually saw far outnumbered what I captured in the camera. With the wind and light many of the pictures were either impossible to get, or else would have been uninteresting. If I had stayed longer no doubt I would have seen a lot more.

(What you see on-screen may look like washed-out photographs. The actual versions have much greater contrast, tone, and saturation. If you are using an LED screen you may want to tilt it back a little to allow more contrast and a darker image to show. The difference can really make the photos stand out.)

Stinkbug star
Stinkbug balancing atop frond.

Grass Lizard basking
Grass Lizard basking

Lily In Bloom
This is actually a fiery red and yellow lily… I was amazed when I desaturated it and found this almost infrared film-like ghost of an image.

Red dragonfly
Male Red Dragonfly. This photograph took forever to get because the twig quivered at the slightest breeze and the footing at the edge of the river was so covered with dead reeds that I couldn’t see where my feet were.

Fritillery
I love the audaciousness and toughness of Fritillery Butterflies. They always seem to be the first to appear in the cold of mid-spring and the last to go at the end of autumn.

Black ladybird beetle
Black Ladybird Beetle. Call them the alter egos of those regular black-spot-on-red beetles you usually see.

Robberfly
Robberfly. Heavy-flying thugs of the insect world, they’ll go at anything that moves, including us, if they’re not aware that we are stalking them.

Flower heart

Jumping spider
Jumping Spider. I once considered studying field biology so that I could specialize in these spiders. They make no trap webs, but wander about jumping incredible distances and using their single strand of web as lifelines. It’s always delightful to watch their coke-bottle eyes goggling at things even two meters away.

Cobalt butterfly
Barely two centimeters long, this butterfly’s wing color did not become apparent until I was almost standing over the butterfly and it suddenly opened its wings. I wish I knew the name of the species.

Praying mantis in the peppermint
And finally, one of my favorite images. An immature female Praying Mantis among some peppermint.

Categories
Journal Musings

Stone Bit

Damn developers are at it again this time flipping sides so that my bedroom window facing north now sports a new set of blue nylon tarpaulin clad scaffolding just like eight months ago to the south outside my living room window where a new neighbor obstructed my view of the sky with this monstrosity of a house that only now is getting its finishing touches to the driveway via the rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-atat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat of the pneumatic chisel that is making so much noise even the feisty brown-eared-bulbul who comes visiting by perching upon the spine of the aluminum fence every afternoon for tea has deemed it necessary to take his felicitations elsewhere and the yellow leaves decoupling from the skeleton of the zelkova sapling outside my study window feel the ever so suggestive quivering of the air as they fall and I have no where else to go for the time being.

Via Elck for his collection of One Line Posts