Category Archives: Diary

Flower Journal 2024

This is a progressive post: I will post floral portraits throughout the year.

Sakura blossoms in full bloom.
Sakura (Somei Yoshino)Currently full bloom in Pacific Northern Kanto. Pictured is the tree in my yard. If you are planning a cherry visit to Japan, let me recommend Tokyo. Not just well known viewing spots, but literally every street corner / neighborhood park has cherry trees blooming like they mean serious business. Collective energy – of trees and people – during the blooming season I find it to be enlivening. If timing is right, you get to see them fall, usually there is this one day when they – pink petals – fall hard, and the city becomes this ethereal theater, an unforgettable sight to behold. Photographed: 2024.04.11 15:32:54 Edited & Published 2024.04.11

Buds and leaves of a wild flower in spring, Japan.
Hotoke No Za (buds) / Lamium amplexicauleJapanese name literally means, Lotus seat of Hotoke/Buddha, named for the leaves’ likeness to the lotus leaf Buddha sits on. Full bloom as of late. Photographed: 2024.04.11 14:47:25 Edited & Published 2024.04.11

Trumpet daffodil blossoms.
Trumpet Daffodil / Rappa Suisen“Rappa” means trumpet in Japanese. Mediterranean origin. Photographed: 2024.04.08 15:55:08 Edited & published 2024.04.08.

Sakura blossom buds in detail.
Sakura / Cherry Blossoms (buds)The first blossoms spotted on 03.31 (Pacific Northern Kanto Plane). Photographed: 2024.04.02 15:25:19 Edited 2024.04.02, Published 2024.04.04.

Detail of a Camellia blossom fell on the ground.
Camellia (fell)Camellia has a distinctive method of decay: the whole flower drops, instead of petals falling one by one, resulting in the ground carpeted with rouge-fuschia flowerbeds. Photographed: 2024.04.02 14:59:55 Edited & Published 2024.04.03

Van Sion Daffodil blossom, detail.
Van Sion DaffodilPhotographed: 2024.03.31 17:19:22 Edited & Published 2024.03.31

Small spring blossom in Japanese country side.
Ko Hakobe / Stellaria mediaMedicinal. Photographed: 2024.03.22 15:58:03 Edited & Published 2024.03.29

Spring wildflowers of rural Japan.
Hisakaki / Eurya japonicaOriginally “Hime Sakaki”, corrupted into Hisakaki. “Hime”, princess, oft used in names as the “smaller version of”, e.g. smaller version of Sakaki. Scented savory/spicy. Photographed: 2024.03.25 14:46:55 Edited & Published 2024.03.28

Spring wildflowers in Japan.
Hime Odoriko Sou / Lamium purpureumLeaves are edible, high sugar content in nectar. Long side of the flower measures about a centimeter. Photographed: 2024.03.25 15:50:40 Edited & Published 2024.03.25

Pink small wild blossoms in spring time Japan.
Hime Tsuru Soba / Persicaria capitataPhotographed: 2024.03.25 16:00:52 Edited & Published 2024.03.25

Black and white portrait of a Ki Ichigo blossom.
Ki Ichigo /Momiji Ichigo /Rubus palmatusBerries are edible. The first blossoms spotted several days ago. Photographed: 2024.03.22 16:06:11 Edited & Published 2024.03.22

Black and white macro photo of Dandelion blossom.
DandelionThe first blossoms spotted on 03.14. Photographed: 2024.03.16 17:04:39 Edited & Published 2024.03.19

Spring small blossoms in Japan.
Hotoke No Za / Lamium amplexicaulePhotographed: 2024.03.14 16:22:58 Edited & Published 2024.03.14

Black and white macro photo of Narcissus blossoms in rain.
NarcissusScented. Photographed: 2024.03.12 11:43:13 Edited & Published 2024.03.12

Black and white macro photo of a hyacinth blossom in rain.
HyacinthScented. Photographed: 2024.03.12 at11:53:24 Edited & Published 2024.03.12

Black and white portrait of a camellia blossom.
Camellia.Photographed: 2024.02.10 at15:45:54 Edited & Published 2024.03.11

Black and white image of Japanese Apricot blossom.
Ume/Japanese Apricot.Scented. Photographed: 2024.02.10 at15:31:27 Edited & Published 2024.03.11

The Art of Stealing Moments.

Happy New Year, Dear Visitor!!

A sea gull landing on water.
A mug cup and a pair of tennis shoes on beach sand ripples with foot prints.
Rubber stamp prints on the wall.

Pink Cloud Moment:

Zen and the Art of getting comfy for a sec, even if in the eye of the raging storm.

A cloud at sunset.
A large mug cup on sand at sea shore at sunset.

Life is difficult.
– M Scott Peck “The Road Less Traveled”

To steal a moment, to snuggle up comfy in the eye of the storm*, I must not deny that there is a storm.
Paradoxically, I found it true, I escape by not running.
What if then, the storm so severe you almost have to look away, at least partially?
I found it effective then, to not deny my such denial.

To get comfy, as in, tranquil. I found it necessary that I not battle with the reality of my day.
Stolen moments like that, open up a channel where Inspiration flows, giving life a meaning, regardless, despite.

“Needless to say but on internet, playing safe is preferable: This is an analogy. In case of an actual storm, escape to a safe place first.

Photos from top (photographed date month year @ hour:minute:second):
A Water Bird (08Feb18 time recorded inaccurate)
Cafe Footprints (31Dec23 @ 15:43:30)
Dra Gondola (15Jan24 @ 15:55:55)
A Perfect Cloud (01Jan24 @ 16:24:32)
Cafe Perfect (01Jan24 @ 16:21:10)

The print “Dra Gondola” was inspired by a story I read as a child “Tears in the Dragon’s Eyes” (Hirosuke Hamada, 1941, the title translated literally by myself).

Wishing you a year filled with countless Pink Cloud Moments, rain or shine.

Photo A Day, November 2023

This is an experiment with “progressive” style posting: relying completely-clumsily on my hunch and letting the story unfold.
Photos are taken / edited / mostly posted on the day.
Photo title-caption is in image URL / embeds.
You are invited to tag along (and let Your story unfold), also to leave comments.

A bird nest on a bed of yellow ginkgo leaves.
Moon rise over sea horizon captured in bold geometry,
Clouds, sun ray shone through with two gulls in flight.
Surface of a forming wave at dusk.
Ginkgo leaves, a holly blossom, a shell and a sea-worn roof tile,
Ginko leaves in the sun and wind.
A kite eagle in part cloudy blue sky.
Abstract line drawing of a flower petal in detail.
Sea shells, a salt-worn leaf on sand ripples in mid day sun.
Daisy lit up by the mid day sun light.
A white feather, a white shell arranged with a smart phone out of service.
Blue sky, ginkgo leaves and a white cloud.
A pair of worn tennis shoes, a red leaf, a mug cup on beach sand.
Abstract traces of city lights in monochrome.
A mug cup, a fine branch, a person's foot on beach sand.
Preparing a holiday wreath with an origami rabbit and a crane.
A dragon fly perched on a person's hand.
Sea-worn shells, rocks, leaves and a pair of worn-out paint brushes.
Abstract art work lit with filtered lighting in studio.
A dog toy tennis ball and a rusted mini shovel on a large rock.
Japanese Aster blossoms.
Ocean wave with sunlight reflections.
Silver grasses and golden rod blossoms in afternoon sun light.

A driftwood at a sea shore.
Journal books, a sea shell, a cell phone.
Sea surface with sunlight reflections.
A white lily in bloom.
2 birds soaring in blue sky.
A small canvas purse and a broken sea shell on a chair-shaped driftwood on the beach.

Afterword

As noted in the beginning of this post, I spent my month of November 2023 posting one photo a day. While searching for the image I focused only on what feels right within. To the sea or make a tea; each step of the way I consciously consulted with my innermost self.

Inspiration is a whisper and my thoughts oft in doubting of it. The pressure to “get a shot” daily was an exciting challenge I gave myself, also was laced with creative tension.

Throughout the month Creativity wove a continuous tale mostly of personal significance. Images ‘coincided’ over and again in ways I could no way have coordinated*. The tale unfolded guided me to the greater degree of trust in Benevolent Unseen.

Collaborating with The Creativity Itself has been my greatest ambition since long. Spent decades up to this date, clearing from within myself what counters my such aim, I’d like to think now the battle is over in most part. I noticed however, during the month’s experiment the fear, a certain kind of nervousness, was still present. It’s an impulse to hesitate, to recoil from the Dynamic Creative Current, although no longer a paralyzing dread**.

But that is alright, for I’ve come to suspect, it is the tension, in longing for and fearing of Creativity I find what compels me to dare, to make my minuscule version of The Ultimate Beauty.

*I decided against giving examples, for too often what’s awe-striking in this manner is so very personal, and detailing it becomes like explaining a joke. Instead, I will let you, the visiter, experience something if it’s there for you.
**When I talk about “creative block”, basically this is what I am talking about.

History:
Published on 03Nov23 at 09:11
Turned private on 03Nov23 at 13:25
Gone public / published again on 10Nov23
Added “Afterword” on 05Dec23 at 21:27

Present.

A red spider lily blossom in a cupped hand.
A red spider lily bud in close detail.

A red spider lily petals in detail.
A forming wave.

a strange moment
an overpowering stillness
shot through with the scent of the sea

the silence so complete, it had
given up its secret

time and again

Listen

A drift wood and a dried spider lily blossom.

Photos are of red spider lilies 2023, the ocean pic is from 2 yrs ago.

Text: from Kem Nunn “Tapping the Source”.
 A poem constructed with lines from the last page of the story (multiple offenses: I’ve been messing with other people’s work).

I am in the process of writing a follow up post about my take on how to (effortlessly) be present, to find a sanctuary in the moment

This post began its process on September 22, 2023 at 18:51.
A poem written on October 11, 2023 at 14:18 JST.

Desert Sensibility

Day break at California desert.
Rising sun and the photographer reflections on a car window
A black car parked roadside overlooking ocean.
A silver car parked with mountains, clouds and concrete factory in background.

Stirring, white light, the desert sun of California, the sand beneath the asphalt.
I remember how it shone evenly, on beauty, bizarro, and every wound concealed.

Palm trees in the sun.
Classic buildings of Down Town Los Angeles.
Open Field somewhere along Interstate Five, Central California.
A small church with a lit cross at sunrise.

Photos: 2006-2012. Images from different times, new edits. I am not of Christian faith in case you wonder, but I do like the symbol.

Thinking of you California.

Published on March 22, 2023 at 2:23am JST, unpublished 2 minutes later (I had my moments), re-published at 3:22am. Today is New Moon in Aries at 2:23am JST, also the Astrological New Year, the official start of the Spring.

Way Finders

Dear Visitor,
Happy New / Bunny Year!!
Wishing you a truly awesome-to-you 2023,
Yuko the webmaster/artist.

A swan making ripples with its beak.

I woke in the middle of the night and seen, in my mind’s eye a flock of swans, would be perfect for the New Year’s greeting card I was designing in my head for a few days. It was like 3am on winter solstice, 2022. When I woke again it was 8 in the morning, opened the window and saw, a flock of swans flying away heading south, just as I imagined.

An art print of a rabbit and a swan with a blank planner.
Wild swans in afternoon light.

Editions:
09Feb23 – additional text about a flock of swans.

Wild swans at sunset.
Let the Wild Be the Wild.

Untitled.

2022: a year in review.

A gardenia blossom with dew drops.
Rain drops bouncing on sea surface.
A Harujion daisy blossom petals in macro capture.
Room decoration with found objects.

“He put his hand in the air and waved at Preston across the dark expanse. It was a crazy kind of wave – done with the whole arm, his hand swinging at the end of it, full of childish exuberance. And as he watched, Preston raised his own arm and waved back.”

Sea shells, sakura blossoms and sea-worn rocks.
Artist's Studio with Spider Lily Bouquet.

Last December. We had 19 more days left in the year. Short walk to the beach I watched a leaf circling in breeze drawing an endless geometric pattern.

“Leaves generate Energy that way.” Suddenly I was not alone. And everything, surrounded, came alive with wings of its own.

The leaf, the movement, the way I felt that day. Stayed with me the whole year. On my mind. In my heart.

A dress with dyed abstract petal by the shore under the moon.
Abstract Line Drawing of a Spider Lily Petal.
A Swan on river In Movement.
Photo of Ume blossoms layered over sea horizon at sunset.

Images above best represent my 2022, photographed mostly this year, a few in recent years, except for one, forth from top back in 2005.
The hand-written letters in the pic are typed out just beneath, from Kem Nunn “Tapping The Source” (1984, p.77, No Exit Press).

Just how, a snapshot of my then apartment from 17yrs ago, and an unforgettable paragraph from a book a friend shoved in my hand saying, “you read this.” in as early as 1984, like pieces of the puzzle finding their places in the picture of my life, years later.

Sixth and eighth, of a piece Spider Lily Red – Flare 2, in process, as of September 2022. Flare 1 is completed.

I took a grande break from posting Journals for a year to focus on other things. (Except for these ones: link to UPDATES page)

Wishing you Very Happy Holidays…

Compiled: December 12-19, 2022.

Dry branches and moon.
2013.01.20 – So Still.

Because It Rained.

A year in review.

Gardenia Blossom details with a dew drop.

Everything that stood between us

Turned into a Pearl.

Gardenia Young Bud geometry.
Geometrical Gardenia Blossom in rain.

The plant wasn’t doing too well the previous few years. It was down to only one flower in 2020. Gardenia. The tree my height managed to produce one perfect blossom that year.

A year before that, May 2019, I suddenly noticed the power meter looking rather different. Turned out, the power company, TEPCO of Fukushima Plant fame, walked into and across the property I live on, all the way to the other side of the gate and replaced the meter to its ‘smart’ equivalent without ever telling anyone about it. That was in May 2017. No notice, before nor after the switch. The Gardenia plant, situated right next to it, had no choice but to be in the way of, according to TEPCO, “low grade” therefore ”safe” radio transmission every 30 minutes throughout the day since, for two full years until in May ’19 I brought them back in to have them remove the radio part to un-smart the meter.

Every time I thought of that one 2020 blossom, my heart sunk deeper than the bed of Mariana trench. The plant was already under LED street light, which I voted against on basis that, if our phones have “night shift” mode turned on at 10pm default why plants do not deserve the same consideration. My such solitary quest only resulted in forced nightly LED blue beam with a “nut” diagnose on my name assigned by some self-appointed psychiatrists, which I somehow felt deserving of it.

How much beating a plant can take before it loses its chi to bloom but one single belle?
Although there is no way for me to be certain what the causes of its unthriving were, the timeline of the events I felt was rather peculiar and I discovered, there is a special kind of heartache associated with a situation as this one, the ache I didn’t know how to soothe.

Someone else had an idea however.

One day in mid June, 2021, I noticed a bud on a branch of my dear Gardenia. Cream, sculpted, ready to flower. Looked closely I found plenty more green buds on standby, 30 plus then I lost count, full of chi, full of Life.

How overjoyed I was revealed to me how badly I felt for a whole year. About the kind of environmental hazard we had become steamrollering the ones that cannot relocate nor object. The ones that create the oxygen we breathe.

The plant flourished exuberantly this summer. Perfect flowers unfolded one by one like the world’s most elegant fireworks. It was the best year of blossoming since I’ve known the plant, the most abundant, fragrant, spirited.
As if untouched, dear Gardenia sprung back and quietly asserted its Resilience. The tree my height produced easily 100+ flowers this year, their organically interactive, scented like a dream, stirring, sincere perfection sang its song throughout the flowering season and I was there, a teary audience, taking every bit in with all my senses.

Two Gardenia Blossoms in rain.
Dried Gardenia Blossom details.

Quote in decorative letters is from my 2014 poem “Spring Song”.
The photos of the plant, I named her Bella Resiliente, do not do justice to the Aliveness the Bella radiated during this year’s flowering season. She was “lit up” with Life.

Unscientific claim? Perhaps. As little as I know tho, what science can cover is only a small portion of the Whole.

A few “scientific” articles I checked for this post suggested plants are more than alright with LED.
This uneducated nobody thinks the claim is of a narrow scope.
Force tweak one part and something else gets off balanced, may not be right away, may not be what you’re looking at, but the Whole is bigger, more intricate, than us mortals could comprehend.
Lighting up the streets (and the sea, as large fishing boats sailing out at night geared up with those that I had mistaken them more than once for apocalypse) with tons of beaming blue lights we humans are recommended not to gaze at before bedtime, is akin to robbing the natural environment of the night, and the ways to sense the shifting cycle of the moon.
I don’t think we have the right, or the enough wisdom, to do so.

Regarding the claim that possibly, smart meters affecting plants are easy to find online. Example search words: Wireless Smart Meter Kills Plant.

My wish for the coming years is that somehow, someway, we bring our “heart” back to our operation here on Earth, for that is the portal to Creative Flow that leads us to the Wisdom of the Whole, and the Never Ceasing Resiliency we can draw the true strength from.
Until then I will not lose hope, that, like the poppies in California desert after rain, we will find a way to Super Bloom into our fullest potential, both collectively, and individually.

Edits:
February 02, 2022 – simplified to “apocalypse”.
January 01, 2022 – added “the poppies” – hard to gauge how much to say.

Gardenia blossom with a sea surface image layered.
2023.12.31 – Timeless

Here Is Your Scarab – Happy Coincidences in Creativity.

Note:
Scarab reference is from a tale about Carl Jung’s synchronicity bits, about his “psychologically inaccessible” patient (“” by me) not buying any of it until a scarab beetle turned up just as she was telling the doc about a dream she had of the very insect and proven his point to her.

“Don’t tell me what I’m doing, I don’t want to know.

The grand thing is to plunge ahead and see what your passion can reveal.”

One night, season unknown, circa 1998.
I placed a worn vinyl on a turntable, as I’ve done so many times since I found the album over a decade ago at a record store cleverly named Pied Piper. It was getting late, getting ready for another day at work, weary, spent, mildly agitated.

Those days I recall feeling like I was running in a dream, my intent racing while my feet stuck in mud. It was around the time I got hit with a spark of inspiration to paint a dragon with fabric dye on a dress without knowing where to start, seemed like a massive undertaking, unsure if I got what it takes, if it’s worth the trouble.

If I pour all I have into it how far will I go? As an artist, as a person. It was the kind of question that triggered my existential dread, that put me in an instant on a remote island afloat in Galaxy somewhere, lightless, alone. No one had the answer, and that included myself.

Up to that point I spent a good portion of my life being kinda sorta artsy. Limitless Freedom, Creativity in the purest sense entails, frightened me into an uncomfortable standstill, agitated, stuck in mud, as I was that evening.

When it came to the last song of the Side A everything stopped. A moment’s pause between the songs turned eternal, a very loud silence. As if the world froze except me and the song to come, commanding my fullest attention.

“Open wide the hymns you hide
You find renown while people frown
At things that you say
But say what you’ll say.

About the farmers and the fun
Things behind the sun
People around your head
who say everything’s been said
Movements in your brain
sends you out into the rain.”

And I heard the words as if for the first time, written and sung, as the story goes, by a young man died young before he found his audience, addressing my anguish I could not articulate, as if someone, something used the song – because my heart was open to it, so I can reach within, afraid but aided, and find my own answers.

“Who’ll hear what I say” – the young man sung to me for the thousandth time, but that evening I heard it, humbled by the profoundness of the Creativity itself, perfectly timed, the wisdom, the patience, handing me the assurance I did not know I was ready to receive, shone through the impossibility, the cruelty of life in the society we live in.

“Fill this sieve with sand and you’ll get a dime!!”

Fast forward to year 2021. After many more incidents like the one I just told you about, I picked up a book I’ve been meaning to read ‘one day’ for the past few decades. It was perfect really, it was the end of late summer, finally gave myself what I’ve been promising, a gift of luxurious “Book Time on the Beach”, and I picked up the dystopian novel with hopeful ending. Unexpected though, was to find bunch of “scarabs” in it, right from the get go.

It was also right after I posted a journal entry titled “Stir”, in it I mentioned about my 9yr old art project, how I “no longer know what I am doing” but that “is actually a very good sign that you/r art is getting somewhere.” Not knowing of this variety no longer troubles me as it did in 1998, but I be lying if I said it totally doesn’t. The quote at the top, from the book’s introduction, to me was a sign I’m vibing fine with the Creativity, my Invisible Bestie so better rest assured and enjoy the sunlight. But it didnt end there.

Half way into the book, I found a following line, spoken by the main character, on public transport agitated in anguish.

“Consider the lilies of the field.”*

Lilies of the Field, the very wording I’ve used since while back, to call upon the muse of my aforementioned art project, painting in progress, with the method I practiced since 1998, poured as much of myself into it and here I am, in the middle of the year 2 of global confusion trying to paint as fast as humanly possible, while the world methodically closing in on us.

Consider the Lilies of the Field. The line found me, while on the beach with the “tsunami wall” a towering ton of concrete breathing down my back while the Ocean itself reduced, as if, to everyone’s favorite garbage bin with Godzilla lurking somewhere in the deep while waiting, from somewhere down in Mariana trench the answers would emerge, for the questions one can ask only while pushing through the same old mud pit.

Lastly.
By bringing up words and works from the prominent folks in the society, my intention is not to publicly validate my points with them but rather, to use them as a proof that in Creativity, as the Grandest Container in which our society resides, the Spark of Inspiration will permeate through even the faintest hairline cracks, and send its Most Benevolent Beam right into the core of you, piercing the facade of impossibility, rest assured, at your very earliest convenience.

Endnote:

Titles of the book/music are intentionally unmentioned in the main text.

Quotes, except “the lilies” are edited sensibly by myself.

“Open wide…” – Nick Drake (a.k.a. the young man) “ Things Behind the Sun” (1972).

“Don’t tell me…” (p.2), “ Sieve” (p.101) and “Consider…” (p.102) – Ray Bradbury “Fahrenheit 451” (1953)

Re. Tsunami Wall I mentioned – web search “tsunami wall japan” and you’ll find lots of articles and news stories.

My take? I never saw humanity as the land owner of this Planet. According to my book, we are just renting our space in the Very Intelligent Ecosystem. Other lives sharing the place with us. We benefit from them, in fact, can’t keep on without them.

And, I’m saying this with objectivity of a life long cultural outsider with minimum dose of nationalism, Japan is the birth place of the term “Umami” – the delicately vague taste was given a name in this culture. Most often used to describe the flavor of soup stocks from dried fishes / kelps/ mushrooms, Japan has its history deeply rooted in a humble dance with Nature itself. Not to conquer but to dance with. Nature’s lead. Nowadays it’s hard to find food items without a chemical compound labeled as “amino acid (MSG that is)” – the lifeless equivalent of Umami.

Once upon a time our ancestors built their homes on 1000+ islands on fault lines with many active volcanos, the sources of hot springs and tsunamis. Modern day first world comforts, like treats we didn’t earn, have seemingly made too many of us, me included, entitled and somehow, paradoxically, disempowered, disconnected from True Generosity, the Ultimate Free Lunch with no strings attached.

History

Conception:
13Oct21 @20:32 JST
Written: 13Dec21 @19:02JST -19Dec21
Published: 19Dec21 @13:36JST
Editions: 25Dec21 – added “(MSG…)” bit.
*Additional note on May 19, 2023: Just discovered by chance the line (“Conside…”) is from Christian religion textbook. Even with my lack of awareness (look, I’m not even a buddhist) the sentiment vibes, as if…
Creativity has a life of its own, and I am merely a party guest, invited to take mini part in everlasting blossoming of Ultimate Beauty Itself.
12Sep23 – added “a chemical compound labeled as”.