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.
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Published on March 22, 2023 at 2:23am JST, unpublished 2 minutes later (I had my moments), re-published at 3:22am.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.
Morro Bay, 1995, further north of where the soon-to-be-fully-contained fire is at the moment. Bottom photo was taken by a friend of mine who also did the driving throughout our care-free road trip along the coast line. As you can see, she caught me in the perfect Kodak moment tilting the famous Morro rock.
Images were photographed with a single-use, most probably water resistant camera I used a lot in those days, and casually handed over for processing at local Target. Back then I didn’t think much of my creative inclinations, in fact I thought of them as the source of all my troubles and in most part I treated them accordingly.
Many years later in 2012, I decided to pamper my creativity with a high-end film scanner (rented), and discovered the negatives in progressed decay. Lines, scratches and uneven colors, they hinted at everything that happens only once.
Now, in December 2017, as California finds itself in flames again, I dug up the photos and gave them the suitable “vintage postcard” edit, then messed them up a bit, to near the creative disaster. Why, it’s a play, to be slightly off balance so your foot no choice lands forward. Well I was thinking of California I know, the foreign land always felt like a well worn pair, appreciating every minute I spent, submerged in the air of adventurousness and experimentation the land so eagerly, and effortlessly permits.
Here’s a joke. Don’t feel offended.
goes to see a doctor.
He tells him:
“When I touch my body with my finger, it hurts.
When I touch my head, it hurts,
my legs, it hurts,
my belly, my hand, it hurts.”
The doctor examines him then tells him:
“Your body’s fine
but your finger’s broken!”
– Abbas Kiarostami, Taste of Cherry (1997)
I decided December will be a movie month. I’m gonna watch as many Kiarostami films. Maybe not all though, save some for later, ‘cause no more coming from the maestro.
Photos are from my trip to Sado, early August 2003. Shot, with a single use camera I got in a hurry at a kiosk somewhere, from the last ferry boat of the day, my way back to Tokyo. On the isle time passed like a deep sea current, with the kind of depth that does not weigh. I watched for a long time the fading silhouettes, its picturesque rocks and the dark sea widening between us.
Yesterday I closed my eyes and consumed a semi dried persimmon from the island. Sugar in the fruit spoke to me in Sado, and the characters I met there came to life again: silver-scaled sushi fishes in clear teal sea that gets cold at 3pm sharp, a crane with black and red design who had to nearly brush this tourist’s windshield, a coffee at the goldmine that came with a surprise gold flake floating.
Then I thought of the film, words between a man and his third passenger, the depth that doesn’t bind. And the director who passed last July, the way he used time as his medium, and the subtext that does not force meaning.
(The persimmon in question is sold under the name “Anpo”. Melty on the inside, look for the ones from the island.)
Photographed and uploaded to Flickr on January 28, 2015, revised edit made on February 14, 2021.
The purse itself was created circa 2004, out of vintage futon fabric I found during my visit to the island in early August 2003. The peak season with very few tourists, I was often alone, the only car on the road.
The place has a unique history as an island of exile, “…was a place of banishment for those who had fallen out of favor with the rulers of the day. More than 70 people—notably aristocrats and artists—were exiled here” (within “” from Smithsonian magazine).
On my way to apple store, London UK somewhere, fully lit and ready for Holidays (top), and macro shots of vintage pheasant, preserved perfectly, a gift given to me earlier this year (thank you).
Best Wishes for the last bit of 2013 and beyond.
This year summer arrived late. Right when it did, I headed west in my little Honda. Along the coast of the Great Channel of Far East (formally known as Japan Sea), until I hit the region called San-in, “in the shadow of mountains”.
I’ve taken city street, cutting through “Japan Alps” at midnight (not the smartest idea), so as to really hear cicadas sing, millions of trillions of them. Each and every mount tall and small buzzed like it is a space craft about to take off, sound that goes well with the blazing summer sun.
Beaches of San-in have minimum dose of concrete holding them in. Mounds of thriving woods in sharp angles and rocky little picturesque islands grow out of glassy teal sea. They perch at the edge of water, appearing wild, but also somewhat reserved. Polite yet unrestricted, the harmonious anarchy.
While treading water impressed, ocean decided to rush into my snout, sending an army of microorganisms as plenty as cicadas in summer hills, on a mission to unlock my senses from inside out. Thanks to them the buzzing intensified, and for a few moments I felt I could almost ‘get’ what their song is all about.
1 and 2 – Tango Peninsula, Kyoto
3 – Yasugi Beach, Hyogo
4 – Aizu South, Fukushima
5 – Kasumi, Hyogo
All photographed earlier this month.
Heartfelt “Thank You!!” to all of you generous souls I encountered during my trip.
(This post is unrelated to nationalism, activism, buddhism or martyrism.)
I study society by asking Google simple questions. One day I felt like finding out what other people think of this country. Well look what I found…
None bothered me except the 3rd. Feeling lucky? You bet! Don’t worry though, ’cause I was just wondering that myself.
In fact I was thinking, maybe that’s the reason why I own a surfboard, although originally the purchase was made for something else.
My neighborhood guys weren’t so happy…
Sinking? What do you mean sinking??
We aren’t sinking, are we sinking?
Calm down fella, your face’s all red. At our age you may want to start winding down, loosen your knuckle and exude the serenity of divine calm…
Oh quiet you pastel-palmed you, and your fuzzy rosy cloud of calmness you’ve been standing in for last 700yrs. At this point nothing can shock you awake, not even a dip in the salt water…
But why, why do they think we are….sinking?
Don’t tell me we are sinking…don’t sink…
-end of dialogue-
As 311 approaches for the second time since the big day, I wanted to clear some air in regard to our living on the edge of the seismic-atomic goings-on.
I heard talks online speculating on Japanese, that we are either in denial, naively misinformed, or staying put due impoverishment. I also noticed some of you are concerned but too polite to come out and ask (thank you for thinking of us). While I surely have no answers to any of the above, why not offer you my humble 5 yen that I think have earned through living on the east half of the island, not too close to get scorched but close enough to feel the fire.
From what I’ve seen and heard in real life, I can safely say everyone’s taking calculated risks, opposed to passively waiting for a direction. They seem to know what they want, what they can handle – emotionally/psychologically, especially – and ways to find the “path of least resistance” , so to speak, in accordance. Without being vocal about what that is, mostly out of consideration for each other – as choices we’re having to make in relation to our new state of being could be highly personal, and often of a delicate variety.
We who live in the nation, may be in this together, but what I keep noticing is the strength, perhaps at deeply hidden core of each, to stand in one’s destiny alone.
And choose the path, suited only for the individual. People know themselves, and we are all so different. Although part so alike, still so different.
Now back to the temple where the above guys reside. The place was built in Heian era, been 900+ years and counting. Sit sturdy on bedrock, built to last. Located in nondescript rural hillside, a nearly secret haven for this gem. Hazard of the hood being wild boars. Edible yes, but often unfriendly and very genki.
The Head Priest, friendly, was the one crafted all the candle holders. They were for the New Year’s eve count down event, the countless candles lighting the temple’s narrow pathways, flickering against the tall black trees in the background.
So this was my first travel guide post. You will have a hard time finding a place like this one without some helpful guide going on and on about everything that’s inviting. Oh, my pleasure, stay tuned for more.
By the way, I heard Japan is about the size of the state of California, though haven’t found the time to confirm with Google about it.
Last time I was in California, I took a long lone ride across the southern half of the state. Came alive in the open land where no one knows what I am. Beneath the desert sun the earth and the ether met at right where I stood.
Photos from my too few/far between visits, from top:
P1 – The first time in San Francisco, Christmas 2011, practicing my “light calligraphy” technique near Union Square. Posted the monochrome version on my then Tumblr around 2017.
P2 – The car was not moving but my camera was; the early incarnation of the above-mentioned “Light Calligraphy” thing. Northridge California, September 2006. Posted the diptych version of this photo titled “Miss LA” on my website, Flickr, and MySpace shortly after I returned.
P3 – Don’t try this at home: holding a camera on a freeway riding back from Half Moon Bay, into SF city, also 2011. Never posted this one anywhere simply because I don’t think it’s that good, but “the feel” is there; the California night, going places.
A quote in decorative letters from a conversation I had earlier in the day, as the other party, noticing the change in my tone as I spoke fondly of Calif. good-natured jokingly said, “Is that it, the ‘you can take a girl out of California but you can’t take California out of the girl’ thing?” And I laughed with her remembering that girl I once was, the girl who fought a long, lonesome battle against Creativity Itself.
1. Somewhere above Pacific, chasing the sunrise.
2. SF, near Ocean Beach.
3 and 4. “Mavericks”, Half Moon Bay.
5. China Town, SF.
6. Midland somewhere between SF and LA along Interstate 5.
7. Museum of Natural History, LA.
8. Agua Dulce.
9. San Simeon.
Photographed during my visit to California in late 2011 – early 2012,
Originally posted on my previous “Photo Journal” diary.
In Noto Peninsula, almost all houses are roofed with matching black tiles. Being a starry-eyed tourist, I thought the community did it for the sake of aesthetics. Turned out it was for the particular type of moisture-resistant coating, resulting in the rows of semi-mat black chicness.
The kind of black that glistens softly in light drizzle.
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