The fruits (and vegetables) of one’s labour

I harvested the first of my vegetables last weekend while watching Die Hard. The radishes did a lot better this year than last, thanks to a lot of direct sunlight. I also got some sound advice regarding sprout management and the hard truth about survival of the fittest.

They were hella spicy. Ridiculously spicy. It was awesome.

In a week’s time, we’ll have pickles. VERY good for one’s digestion.

Life is such a wonderful thing.

The perfect weekend

Last weekend I was hurting from a three-day assault on a GPU hang, and in need of some rest and wholesome fun. I got the latter, foregoing the former. Though the wisdom of such a decision is questionable, it’s definitely good fodder for reminiscing.

The sky was blue and the air was fresh from the steady rain that had ended the night before. Right before leaving work I read the weather report and immediately after got a sudden mail from my friend, Nakai-san. The dubious plans to hang out on Saturday were given the green light, and my weekend was set.

Feverishly, I hurried out the door and onto the train, shaking in anticipation of that great annual summer occurence– the first sojourn to the beach. I stopped at the dollar food store and bought a motley assortment of sandwich supplies, and then picked up a six pack of beer from the friendly neighborhood liquor store owner next door. Ham, salami, spicy leaf, tabasco, mustard, bread, pickles, beer. Yes, I was ready.

I woke for the first train at 4:30, grateful that I packed my bag the night before. I was barely able to set the lock on my bicycle before scrambling over the tracks. Bleary-eyed, I boarded the early morning local to Hakone, and soon realized that the first train would not be a peaceful car all to myself. It was Saturday, and since I live stumbling distance to one of the brightest entertainment districts in Japan, the train was packed with all sorts of students and salarymen on their way home to bed after a long night. Luckily, I got a rare seat before Shimo-kitazawa, and was able to cat nap all the way to Fujisawa before changing to the Enoshima line.

The brisk sea air was invigorating. All of the doubt and bloodshot regret I had festered in during the chatty ride down was swept away with the gentle salt breeze. During summer in Japan the sun comes up just after half past four, so it more or less looked like mid-morning, if not for the fact that I was the only bare chest on the beach. Surfers in Japan thrive when the casual beachgoer isn’t present, so lessons and group sessions abound in the early morning and evening hours. Cracking open my first Asahi at 7:05, I exchanged smiles with several burly zealots, and received a smattering of barks from an obediently waiting dog as I started into my first sandwich.

Along with the shrinking tide, the layer of funk I’d developed over the hard week ebbed away, and my mood soared listening to the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet: a frozen buzz melting in the warming sun. From time to time I took a trip to the surprisingly tepid water, and in an ocean to myself performed handstands, triple somersaults, and other elementary school ocean tricks, announcing proudly my increasingly complicated stunts with bombast for the nonexistent crowd. I didn’t get to read any of my Dalai Lama book; sleeplessness caught up with me around eight thirty and I fell into a nice hour-long nap under my rusted rain umbrella.

As I mentioned earlier, my friend Nakai-san and his wife, Mari, had invited me to their house for a lunch party, hence me taking the first train to the beach to get my kicks in before meeting up with them. Enoshima is far west of Tokyo, about fifty miles. Nakai-san lives in eastern Tokyo, in old town. My route along the ocean to get to their house takes about eighty minutes. So just before eleven, I entered the public restroom (all of the shower houses were closed for renovation), and performed a four-star Sutler sink shower, executing such maneuvers as body lathering, shampooing, conditioning, and shaving, all without the aid of a mirror. A change of clothes and I was all fresh; not a bad job actually, aside from nicking the extruding cartilage of my ear and sending a stream of blood down my face and onto my freshly Brut-anointed oxford (unbeknownst to me and much to my chagrin when Mari asked me if I’d gotten into a fight).

It was a good trip back, though. I got a seat on the Yokosuka line fairly quickly and had a nice, long ride along the bay, percolating with the buzz of quixotic summer intoxication.

All These Things That I’ve Done

When there’s nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son
One more son
If you can hold on
If you can hold on, hold on
I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
You know, you know – no you don’t, you don’t
I wanna shine on in the hearts of men
I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand

Another head aches, another heart breaks
I am so much older than I can take
And my affection, well it comes and goes
I need direction to perfection, no no no no

Help me out
Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out

And when there’s nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son
These changes ain’t changing me
The cold-hearted boy I used to be

Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out
You’re gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you’re gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you’re gonna bring yourself down

I got soul, but I’m not a soldier
I got soul, but I’m not a soldier

Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out
You’re gonna bring yourself down
You’re gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner
Yeah, you’re gonna bring yourself down

Over and in, last call for sin
While everyone’s lost, the battle is won
With all these things that I’ve done
All these things that I’ve done
If you can hold on
If you can hold on

–The Killers

I believe

I believe in the sunset, in quiet walks through the park and community.
I believe in public water fountains, in picking up trash, in giving my seat to others.
I believe in the confidence of a good haircut, in the beauty of shadows, of living outside the comfortable spaces of routine and custom.
I believe in smiles for strangers, and speaking like a child.

I believe that there is a reason, a purpose, and a faith; the evolution of all things and the welcoming of change.
I believe that life is short, and every moment is worth savoring, for it is a wondrous gift to simply be.
I believe that I can become a better person, and I have the potential to live more for others and less for ego.
I believe that I have everything I need to be happy.

I believe I am flawed, but not fatally so, and that I can overcome my weaknesses, growing into a loving person.
I believe in the power of now.
I believe in myself.

Summerland

I don’t care if the water is cold, or the sky is dotted with clouds.
It may be cool and dry, but tomorrow is Saturday, and it’s summer.
Soaking up the sweet, gummy romance of life, I’m going to the beach.

Let’s just drive your car
We could drive all day
Let’s just get the hell away from here
For I am sick again — just plain sick to death
Of the sound of my own voice
We could leave behind another wasted year
Get some cheap red wine
And just go flying

We could do the things,
All the things you wanted to
No one cares about us anyway

I think I lost my smile
I think you lost yours too
We have lost the power to make each other laugh
Let’s just leave this place
And go to Summerland
Just a name on the map
Sounds like heaven to me

We could find a town — be just how we want to be
No one here really cares about us anyway
We could find a place — make it what we want it to be
No one really gives a fuck about us anyway
We could live — live just how we want to live
No one here really cares about us anyway
We could be — everything we want to be
We could get lost in the Fall Glimmer Sparkle and Fade
The Sparkle and Fade
Fall Glimmer Sparkle and Fade

Forget about our jobs at the record store
Forget about all the losers that we know
Forget about all the memories that keep you down
Forget about them
We could lose them in the Sparkle and Fade
We could leave them behind in the Sparkle and Fade
Yeah Sparkle and Fade
Fall Glimmer Sparkle and Fade

In between gears

cold heart piston beat hot blood stupid youth beautiful dying skin and so many times swearing I would never act that way again

lost remember burning broken want to break to shatter to crawl to slide, to hide to suffocate myself and then emerge the me that I love a twisted reality something charming at first but tiring with time to loathe to cut out, ostracize left unrequited.

passion swelter love that talented hopeless a loss underachieving overstressed street-fused contrary self-defeating illicit wrecked bottled bleeded gummed sex

Rainy day cats

Design Festaから二週間が過ごしました。ちょっと落ち着いたけど、頭の中で通常よりも雑念を払われません。ボケーッと出来ないから、ずっと忙しく暮らすしかない。

先週末では以前に書いたと思いますけど(英語を頑張って読んでいる?)、新規な撮影器具を購入しまして、それと遊んでいました。土曜日泉岳寺に行って赤穂浪士について勉強する予定でしたが、土砂降りだったから、諦めて猫袋に訪問しました。東京にもう四年間に住んでいましたから、幾つかの鎮静効果な場所が見つかりました。緊張している時か、落ち込んでいる時に、その大切な場所に行けば、トラブルを忘れて、安心できます。サンシャインシティー東急ハンズの猫袋は一つです。

実は元々に猫が嫌いだった。ある程度アレルギーがありますから、猫は僕のライバルを想像しました。でも、年月が経つにつれてアレルギーの影響が減少されて、猫の可愛さを好き出来るようになりました。恐らく、性格的に猫と私は多くの共通点がある理由です。僕らは衛生状態を気になったり、たまに気まぐれだったり、孤独感を好きです。それ以上、勿論静かで柔らかい物を触りたいでしょう。

猫袋の猫たちは毎日幅広い種類の客さんと会いますから、非常に大変な仕事と思います。皆は触りたい。皆は抱こうしたい。猫は性格的に独立心ですので、抱こう出来たら、猫が抱こうして欲しいですからさ。今回もよくそう言う感じでした。でも、5Dを持っていたから、1~2個の面白い写真を取れました

こんな話しってるか?

あるトラ猫がいた。その猫は好きでもないいろんな飼い主たちに飼われながら,百万回死に,生き返って百万回生きた。猫は死ぬのが恐くなかった。

ある時,猫は自由なノラ猫だった。そいつは白いメス猫に会い,2匹は一緒に幸せに暮らした。やがて月日がたち,白い猫は年を取って死んじまった。

とら猫は百万回泣いてそして死んだ。もう2度と生きかえらなかった。

–COWBOY BEBOP Session#26 ザ・リアル・フォークブルース

More EOS 5D goodness

Last weekend, on the way home from the Ueno Zoo.

Above. It’s quite common to see colorful crates of red, yellow, green, and blue in front of wooden and stuccoed bars all over Tokyo holding the previous night’s glossy brown sake bottles. I’ve lived here for five years and I’m still struck, pausing every time that I pass them.

Below. These papers are the Japanese equivalent of parking ticket warnings. Cars are not left without drivers very long, but bicycles, on the other hand, are as numerous as the scattered autumn leaves and senior citizens pass the time with civil service reminding everyone of the farce of municipal traffic regulation. The fact that these warnings are bound with wire and not self-adhesive tape speaks to the timeless and unchanging ways of shitamachi (old town) Bunkyo Ward, and furthermore that there are three tags indicates this bicycle hasn’t been moved for at least a week. The writing when translated is laden with the austere courtesy of Japan, where even if you are a public nuisance, you are informed of it through a veneer of specious eloquence.

Warning. This is not a bicycle parking area. Your one bicycle causes trouble for the elderly and disabled, a large number of people. If you leave it here, it will be considered unneeded and disposed of as such. Please exercise self-discipline when using bicycles in the neighborhood. -Bunkyo Ward

A mess, but moving forward

In the wake of Design Festa, I’ve been spinning my wheels lately with a very long short list, and a lot of things have been falling to the floor, or getting worse rather than anywhere at all.

I had an idea to put the poems for the shots of last month’s exposition in the frame alongside the pictures, but I can’t get it to look the way I want right now, so rather than make you wait, I put the shots up in Gallery tonight. I will do something like list the poems under the shots here in a long post in the future, perhaps. I’m also thinking about adding borders and URLs to all images in the site, but that’s not something I can handle after a thirteen hour workday.

I also decided to break apart the postcard sets I put out for each show and make them a separate album. As I develop stronger and stronger themes in my shows, this just makes sense because the postcard sets are kind of just all over the place at this point, though they do look rather attractive when all collected in a little paper album I bought at Yodobashi over the weekend.

In any case, the postcards from Geisai 10 are now in a new album, along with the second set from Design Festa 25.

Also, I’ve made you wait long enough to hear some Pango, so I’ve encoded an MP3 for you to listen to. It’s a remix of a track from the Broadcasting Andy EP I made for Geisai last autumn; not very sophisticated but peppered with environmental samples to help connect the atmosphere of my wandering around Tokyo with my more ethereal mood. More or less this is another representation of the sort state of mind I’m often in when on my little trips across the city. It’s a very crude implementation, but everyone who listened to it at the show said it really helped and greatly augmented their ability to connect with the photographs.

Someday this will happen with Flash and things will play automatically while you’re viewing, but I can’t even keep up with basic CSS right now, so we’ll have to keep it lo-fi like this. The full version is a a sizeable MP3, so again, please be patient while it downloads. If you’re having trouble, check out the preview first.

Pango – Leonid’s Crater (Design Festa 25 Mix)
[full version (high bandwidth)] [preview (lighter)]

Out of sight, out of mind

This is a short post just so the two or three of you still subscribing to the RSS feed and using IE can read the page on the site again. As pitiful as it is, I have not made major progress in revising the theme for the five months I’ve been on WordPress. I’m very, very, sorry. This is a stopgap measure, for who knows how long. But at least my mother can read my writing again.

Very sorry. Please let me know if something like this ever happens again, ok? Thanks. ^^;;

The difference between men and boys…


Yeah, I did it.

This is my new camera, the full frame, 35mm digital Canon EOS 5D, with a EF24-105mm F4L IS USM zoom lens with image stabilization.

This camera was so expensive, it costs nine months’ worth of my food budget. This camera was so expensive, I could have bought two of my first car (1987 Dodge Charger) with the money I spent on it. This camera was so expensive, I had to get written consent from the World Bank so that the currency that changed hands today would not disrupt the global economy. This camera was so expensive, after I bought it A-Rod called me and said thanks because now the media would have some other astronomical investment to criticize the rationality of. This camera is so expensive, my first three children will be legally owned by Canon Incorporated of Japan and named IXY, CanonScan, and Bubble Jet.

Suffice it to say that aside from college, this is the most expensive thing I’ve ever put money into.

Yes, well, I don’t know what else to write. Here’s a picture I took on the way home. If you feel like something’s missing, it’s the complete lack of CCD noise in the smooth-toned 4368×2912 exposure.


Clicking the above image is not for the faint of heart. It leads to a 2.8mb JPEG.