Saturday, May 29, 2010


What th' hell?

As I have observed ad nauseum, there ain't a lot of nature---nature by US, Canada, Australian, and other Western countries standards*---in Tokyo, but there are still places where one can experience the outdoors. Sometimes it takes a little imagination, and you may have to ignore some inconvenient realities, but that shouldn't stop anyone.

On Thursday, I went down to the river and found a group of college-age kayakers, whom I'd guess belong to a kayak "circle" at their university. These sorts of clubs/circles are one of the most important parts of university life in Japan since it's said to be more about learning relationships and positions in society than actually studying academic subjects. I've friends who consider their university years as a four-year vacation. Folks need some time off after years of memorizing for the entrance exams for college.

Goth girls kayak too.

Heading toward the river for well-organized pre-kayaking stretching and running.

Don't tell anyone, but the girl was going faster with less apparent effort...

In the direction of Kawasaki.

*Japanese seem to tolerate and accept a lot more direct human involvement in nature and alteration of nature for improved aesthetics than Americans (US & Canada) and perhaps other westerners do. This is not only my observation, but something I have read or deduced from several sources.

Monday, May 24, 2010

River Dance

With apologies to the musical...

There are certain times that folks don't want to see reality. One might be walking along the Tamagawa for instance and want to ignore the fact that what appears to be nature or natural---if you use a very selective focus---isn't really. It's all man-made, or at the very least, man-altered.

We can't expect much more many thousand years since mankind arrived on the planet, and we certainly cannot expect much more in Japan, let alone the huge metropolis of Tokyo where man-altered nature is considered more natural than virgin nature---is there such a thing in 2010 anywhere anyway?

The reluctance to see reality is a natural human tendency; I think it is a form of self-defense, for if one were to take a strictly logical, realistic view of the world and life, we'd all be in a constant state of depression, habitually intoxicated, or both.

What does this have to do with anything? Not much, I suppose, but when out running around with a camera and trying to capture what is my view of a real Tokyo, I never seem to capture it. Such a thing is impossible no matter how many words a photo is supposedly worth.

This was taken last December on a walk along the Tama River. There are stands of small trees along the river around Tamagawadaikoen/Tamagawa Station areas. I was playing around trying to find something that I could look at and sorta become lost in a fantasy that it was something more than what really existed. It ain't perfect by far, there are flaws that cannot be fixed with Lightroom, it doesn't look right on blogger or Firefox, and the technique is said to be overdone nowadays, but I don't care. I can look at it and pretend that what is not is something that is. That sort of thing seems to have become much more important...


Friday, May 14, 2010

An afternoon walk along the Tamagawa

I don't know how to describe the weather in Tokyo this year, but I would call it unusual to say the least.

The sky was beautiful yesterday after 2-3 days of wind and some rain which made for some interesting light and conditions. So I took a walk along the now intimate-to-me Tamagawa near my home.Lovers near Shinmaruko bridge.

This young fellow and I kept running into each other---literally.

"I can ride it myself, ma" he decided a little further up the river.

As he continued to ride, I went back to looking for photos in the amazing light.

And as I did, the young fellow with the unjustified-self-confidence circled around to where I was. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him approach and then topple off his bicycle-with-training-wheels at my feet.

"Excuse me," I said. He got up and said nothing while looking at me with a bit of concern in his eyes.

"Are you OK?" I asked as I handed him his mother's hat which had dropped out of the basket on the front of his bike.

"I'm OK," he said, relieved that I would not eat him. As I handed him another bag that he had dropped, his mother ran over and said "Thank you" in English.

I didn't know exactly what she was thanking me for, but since such events are never simple matters in Tokyo, I replied, "You're welcome." Thus ended this encounter between the young guy and his ma and the forever-foreigner.

Jogging along the river.

I got back to Denenchofu station a little earlier than planned, and the light was still excellent. In a month or so, there will be one main type of weather. Rain.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Liar, liar,

Every time I post or tell someone that kimono-wearing is not common in Tokyo, I start seeing people wearing them everywhere I look. Getting dressed in a real kimono is neither a simple nor inexpensive task. Most nowadays---from what I am told---go to specialized shops to be dressed in one. Sorta like Tom Cruise in the hilarious comedy, The Last Samurai. Don't think ol' Tom dressed himself do you?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Opposites attract

Small things fascinate small minds, but I find these nets which are placed over garbage and recyclables to be quite attractive. If nothing else, I learned that some fellow with the last name of Honda, at one time at least, loved a girl name Erika.