October 19, 2014

Is This Art Photography Any Good? - Take it or Leave it with Bruce Gilden

October 5, 2014
What Makes a Good Street Photograph? - Take it or Leave it with Bruce Gilden

We need more like Bruce

October 1, 2014
Brutal honesty

"Everybody does “street photography” these days. Go to Tumblr or Flicker and you’ll find reams of it posted day after day. Most of it is not very good, nothing but throwaway looks with no internal dynamic to make you look again. Just.people.on.the.street. Really good street photography somehow rises above the pedestrian view…” From a post about Jorge Fidel Alvarez’s street photography atLeicaphillia.

Inspiring and, with an honest look at one’s own “street” photography, motivating and frustrating. 

July 18, 2014
Well past the use-by-date, another one bites the dust. I’m heading in another direction with photography and more writing, and this tumblr ain’t gonna take the transformation well. So on to yet another new one. Much obliged to all. (My monochrome only Tumblr will continue at Glimpses of Tokyo.)

Well past the use-by-date, another one bites the dust. I’m heading in another direction with photography and more writing, and this tumblr ain’t gonna take the transformation well. So on to yet another new one. Much obliged to all. (My monochrome only Tumblr will continue at Glimpses of Tokyo.)

July 18, 2014
In desperation, loser narcissist* uploads a flower photo, aka same ol’…
*meaning me and me alone

In desperation, loser narcissist* uploads a flower photo, aka same ol’…

*meaning me and me alone

July 17, 2014
Tokyo Duck Walk. Quack Quack.
Ahh, the morning rush hour. Trains packed to twice their capacity, the pleasures of being more intimate with large numbers of perfect strangers than many are with their significant other, and folks wobbling around mindlessly staring at their smartphones.  Alas, there is no longer a rat race in Tokyo, it’s more of a duck walk.
I, myself, have never understood how a phone can be smart, but I figure if we can call the folks who work at Apple retail stores geniuses, then anything is possible. But today, my confusion was cleared up by the BBC.
Folks here have known and complained about the smartphone zombie problem for quite a while. But the BBC, while noting Japan was late when it came to adopting smartphones, without any sense of irony came out with a article on the issue after it was old news.
I could not really get the point of the article, but I did ultimately learn one thing. The reporter designed and carried out a scientific reporter-test to see if walking around blindly while staring at a smartphone was really a problem like so many, including the police and the railroads claim, and accident statistics show. No, he concluded after crossing Shibuya intersection once without being hit, thereby proving that the term “smartphone” often means “smart” only relative to the user.
I now understand how a phone can be smart.

Tokyo Duck Walk. Quack Quack.

Ahh, the morning rush hour. Trains packed to twice their capacity, the pleasures of being more intimate with large numbers of perfect strangers than many are with their significant other, and folks wobbling around mindlessly staring at their smartphones.  Alas, there is no longer a rat race in Tokyo, it’s more of a duck walk.

I, myself, have never understood how a phone can be smart, but I figure if we can call the folks who work at Apple retail stores geniuses, then anything is possible. But today, my confusion was cleared up by the BBC.

Folks here have known and complained about the smartphone zombie problem for quite a while. But the BBC, while noting Japan was late when it came to adopting smartphones, without any sense of irony came out with a article on the issue after it was old news.

I could not really get the point of the article, but I did ultimately learn one thing. The reporter designed and carried out a scientific reporter-test to see if walking around blindly while staring at a smartphone was really a problem like so many, including the police and the railroads claim, and accident statistics show. No, he concluded after crossing Shibuya intersection once without being hit, thereby proving that the term “smartphone” often means “smart” only relative to the user.

I now understand how a phone can be smart.

July 14, 2014
dochuff:

Late Dinner
Saturday night at the ramen shop near Toritsudai station.

Why I love Tokyo. Normal people living normal lives.

dochuff:

Late Dinner

Saturday night at the ramen shop near Toritsudai station.

Why I love Tokyo. Normal people living normal lives.

July 14, 2014

wasurechattan:

Just a taste of Toru Ukai’s photography.

Toru’s work has been exhibited in China, Japan, and Europe as well as published in a number of magazines, and he has just recently opened his own website: toru-ukai.com

I have mentioned Toru’s photography a few times in the past, but have never found words that could adequately describe his photos. The first time I saw of his were nighttime photos of Shanghai, China, as I recall. Later I saw a photo taken in cherry blossom season in Japan, but one which contained few cherry blossoms. Instead he showed the reality of the season, the reality that we all see, but pretend not to in order to preserve our normal human preference for surface beauty. To me, that photo, seemingly very simply composed, described sakura season, human nature, and perhaps much of human history. I find Toru’s photography as perceptive as the man himself.

But rather than me trying to describe his photos with my words, I’ll leave a link so folks can visit his site and look through each category of photos: Japan, China, and Europe.

July 13, 2014

Just a taste of Toru Ukai’s photography.

Toru’s work has been exhibited in China, Japan, and Europe as well as published in a number of magazines, and he has just recently opened his own website: toru-ukai.com

I have mentioned Toru’s photography a few times in the past, but have never found words that could adequately describe his photos. The first time I saw of his were nighttime photos of Shanghai, China, as I recall. Later I saw a photo taken in cherry blossom season in Japan, but one which contained few cherry blossoms. Instead he showed the reality of the season, the reality that we all see, but pretend not to in order to preserve our normal human preference for surface beauty. To me, that photo, seemingly very simply composed, described sakura season, human nature, and perhaps much of human history. I find Toru’s photography as perceptive as the man himself.

But rather than me trying to describe his photos with my words, I’ll leave a link so folks can visit his site and look through each category of photos: Japan, China, and Europe.

July 11, 2014
Across from the Party House next to Odashima’s metal goods shop in Toritsudaigaku, Tokyo.
On Wednesday night, I was well into my second year without a new idea so I took a photo of some random person walking down the street doing nothing interesting and called it “art.” 

Across from the Party House next to Odashima’s metal goods shop in Toritsudaigaku, Tokyo.

On Wednesday night, I was well into my second year without a new idea so I took a photo of some random person walking down the street doing nothing interesting and called it “art.” 

July 9, 2014
Hurry Home
Okusawa,Tokyo
August, 2008

Hurry Home

Okusawa,Tokyo

August, 2008

July 4, 2014
dochuff:

Shibuya 4th Avenue

The Hard Sell: Or, never let anyone know you can read kanji.
It was a nice quiet Friday evening in Ol’ Edo. The fan was humming along, blowing the hot humid air around in an attempt to keep me cool. There was no need however, as I being a total narcissist am naturally cool.
I had left the kitchen door open to provide a bit of cross ventilation—cross ventilation being something the brilliant architect who designed my mansion had never thought of. I heard a cough outside. I ignored it. Then I heard a “Gomen kudasai.” Who could this be I wondered, not having enough sense to figure out that since I did not know the owner of that voice, it was probably bad news. Like the NHK guy, or a salesman.
"Yes?" I said, as I went to the door.
Outside was young longhaired fellow holding a bunch of plastic bags for recycling the Yomiuru newspaper. He was only slightly surprised at seeing me, and recovered very quickly once he figured out I could speak Japanese. He was the type though, who even if I could not speak Japanese, would probably have not been deterred from his sales pitch. 
"I have some vinyl bags for recycling newspapers," he said handing me one. "Do you take a newspaper."
"No, I don’t now," I replied, hoping to get him on his way as soon as possible.
"How long have you been in Japan?"
"About 14 years," I said, falling for first stage of his sales tactics.
"Can you read newspapers…kanji?" he asked while drawing something in the air with his left hand.
Catching on slowly, I tried to start extricating myself. “Well, some,” I said.
This made him very happy but not as happy as when he pointed at 読売新聞 written on the vinyl bag he handed me, and asked “Do you know this?” and I mindlessly read the name. He became so excited with oowws and aahs, that I worried he might start dancing. He gave me another vinyl bag. He started asking about my job. He asked if I had ever taken a newspaper before. He asked all kinds of questions, seemingly getting more excited with each one.
"Do you like beer?" "Do you like music?" The fight or flee reflex began to set in, for I was beginning to fear that he was a bit off and was going to ask me to go drinking with him.
But then he went to stage 2 of his sales pitch. “I am a 3rd year music student. This is my part time job.” “You like beer, don’t you.”
I tried to deflect that question by putting on a “Nah, not especially” face, but the empty Asahi Dry Black can on the kitchen sink sorta foiled that plan.
"Just a minute, I have some beer. Just a minute." He handed me the rest of the Yomiuri vinyl  bags with a laugh and ran for his…whatever vehicle he came on.
I was stuck. Seemed like a nice young kid, or at least a good enough actor that I didn’t wanna be rude and lock the door before he came back.
So I waited. He came running back with stage 3 of his sales plan: An overpriced gift box of standard, nothing special Japanese beer that we can find in department store during gift giving seasons. 
"Here, please take it," he said as I waved it off. "Thanks, but…."
"Please, as a favor to me, please take it." I did not accept it, so he put it on the floor in the entrance. He began to tighten the screws.
"This is my part-time job. If you could take the Yomiuri, for how long would you like it." I did not recall saying anything about taking the Yomiuri, but I replied, "One week." He looked at me a bit confused, but quickly recovered, and said, "If you decide to take it, could you take it for 3 months?" "I’m a student and this is just my part-time job, but could you think about taking it?"
"I’ll think about it," I said, and before I could realize my mistake in saying that he jumped:
"When could you start? Since this is my part time job, I’ll probably be leaving it within this year, so could you think about at least starting from October."
Shit. How did I get into this. “Well, maybe, but I can’t decide now.”
"Please, could you take it? Please?" Lots of salesmanship in Japan includes "please" and repeated bowing I have noticed.
Then I made a lucky mistake. I meant to say that my circumstances right now wouldn’t let me make such a commitment, but he either misunderstood me or I misspoke, and he thought I meant that my physical condition wouldn’t let me decide. Either way, it was b.s. and he knew it, but that sorta b.s. often works in Japan. Better than just saying no.
"OK, could I come back in September and see if you have decided."
"Sure," I said, pleased that I would get rid of him before work started on Monday. 
"Thank you! I will bring this beer back then," he said as he picked up the gift-box he had placed on the floor of the entrance to my mansion.
With a few bows to me, and me reflexively back to him, he left….leaving me with a bunch of far-right Yomiuri newspaper bags with which I would line my garbage cans.
He never came back.
©August 2013 from one of my many deceased tumblrs where I actually attempted to write using 1980s yahoo/tumblr technology.
TL;DR? TB;DC

dochuff:

Shibuya 4th Avenue

The Hard Sell: Or, never let anyone know you can read kanji.

It was a nice quiet Friday evening in Ol’ Edo. The fan was humming along, blowing the hot humid air around in an attempt to keep me cool. There was no need however, as I being a total narcissist am naturally cool.

I had left the kitchen door open to provide a bit of cross ventilation—cross ventilation being something the brilliant architect who designed my mansion had never thought of. I heard a cough outside. I ignored it. Then I heard a “Gomen kudasai.” Who could this be I wondered, not having enough sense to figure out that since I did not know the owner of that voice, it was probably bad news. Like the NHK guy, or a salesman.

"Yes?" I said, as I went to the door.

Outside was young longhaired fellow holding a bunch of plastic bags for recycling the Yomiuru newspaper. He was only slightly surprised at seeing me, and recovered very quickly once he figured out I could speak Japanese. He was the type though, who even if I could not speak Japanese, would probably have not been deterred from his sales pitch. 

"I have some vinyl bags for recycling newspapers," he said handing me one. "Do you take a newspaper."

"No, I don’t now," I replied, hoping to get him on his way as soon as possible.

"How long have you been in Japan?"

"About 14 years," I said, falling for first stage of his sales tactics.

"Can you read newspapers…kanji?" he asked while drawing something in the air with his left hand.

Catching on slowly, I tried to start extricating myself. “Well, some,” I said.

This made him very happy but not as happy as when he pointed at 読売新聞 written on the vinyl bag he handed me, and asked “Do you know this?” and I mindlessly read the name. He became so excited with oowws and aahs, that I worried he might start dancing. He gave me another vinyl bag. He started asking about my job. He asked if I had ever taken a newspaper before. He asked all kinds of questions, seemingly getting more excited with each one.

"Do you like beer?" "Do you like music?" The fight or flee reflex began to set in, for I was beginning to fear that he was a bit off and was going to ask me to go drinking with him.

But then he went to stage 2 of his sales pitch. “I am a 3rd year music student. This is my part time job.” “You like beer, don’t you.”

I tried to deflect that question by putting on a “Nah, not especially” face, but the empty Asahi Dry Black can on the kitchen sink sorta foiled that plan.

"Just a minute, I have some beer. Just a minute." He handed me the rest of the Yomiuri vinyl  bags with a laugh and ran for his…whatever vehicle he came on.

I was stuck. Seemed like a nice young kid, or at least a good enough actor that I didn’t wanna be rude and lock the door before he came back.

So I waited. He came running back with stage 3 of his sales plan: An overpriced gift box of standard, nothing special Japanese beer that we can find in department store during gift giving seasons. 

"Here, please take it," he said as I waved it off. "Thanks, but…."

"Please, as a favor to me, please take it." I did not accept it, so he put it on the floor in the entrance. He began to tighten the screws.

"This is my part-time job. If you could take the Yomiuri, for how long would you like it." I did not recall saying anything about taking the Yomiuri, but I replied, "One week." He looked at me a bit confused, but quickly recovered, and said, "If you decide to take it, could you take it for 3 months?" "I’m a student and this is just my part-time job, but could you think about taking it?"

"I’ll think about it," I said, and before I could realize my mistake in saying that he jumped:

"When could you start? Since this is my part time job, I’ll probably be leaving it within this year, so could you think about at least starting from October."

Shit. How did I get into this. “Well, maybe, but I can’t decide now.”

"Please, could you take it? Please?" Lots of salesmanship in Japan includes "please" and repeated bowing I have noticed.

Then I made a lucky mistake. I meant to say that my circumstances right now wouldn’t let me make such a commitment, but he either misunderstood me or I misspoke, and he thought I meant that my physical condition wouldn’t let me decide. Either way, it was b.s. and he knew it, but that sorta b.s. often works in Japan. Better than just saying no.

"OK, could I come back in September and see if you have decided."

"Sure," I said, pleased that I would get rid of him before work started on Monday. 

"Thank you! I will bring this beer back then," he said as he picked up the gift-box he had placed on the floor of the entrance to my mansion.

With a few bows to me, and me reflexively back to him, he left….leaving me with a bunch of far-right Yomiuri newspaper bags with which I would line my garbage cans.

He never came back.

©August 2013 from one of my many deceased tumblrs where I actually attempted to write using 1980s yahoo/tumblr technology.

TL;DR? TB;DC

June 28, 2014
Red Moon Pork Cutlet Restaurant,
Gaienmae, Tokyo

Red Moon Pork Cutlet Restaurant,

Gaienmae, Tokyo

June 27, 2014
dochuff:

Morning View from Starbucks.

Earlier this year, as I sat drinking a dark unidentifiable beverage with the taste of burnt charcoal and none of the subtle flavors of a good coffee, I thought about my just completed morning commute. Then I became confused. 
Every morning, I—-like many folks in Tokyo—-leave one hour or more earlier than necessary for work in order to avoid rush hour which begins at about 7. Then we hang out in coffee shops or cafes until starting time.
For some reason, we don’t view riding trains packed up to 200% capacity during rush hour to be fun or especially efficient like we read from those who do not have to ride such trains every workday for 10, 20 or 30 years. We don’t get as excited as some visiting politicians who dream of doing something similar for their cities or countries. Perhaps they like it because it would get all the riff-raff off their streets so that their limo could get to the office without interference or delay. Good Lord, a lobbyist might be waiting for them. 
Most don’t think that photos from inside a packed rush hour train are art or even slightly interesting, for we know that if you can get any camera out and take a photo, then you ain’t likely on a crowded train. (I suggest the Denentoshi/Hanzomon line from Kanagawa prefecture during the morning rush hour.)
Of course the trains aren’t the only reason we go early. We go early to avoid the dangerously over-crowded station platforms, most of which have nothing between the platform and the oncoming train, so nearly everyday there are delays due to human/train accidents. Nearly every damned day. *
I thought I’d google for an answer to my conundrum, but I couldn’t connect to Starbuck’s notoriously weak Wi-Fi. So, as I went back to my charcoal water and leather-tough, flavorless donut shaped breakfast thingy, I concluded that it must be another Japan that I so often read about. 
 *A friend who works for the government once told me that nearly every day he reads of someone falling, being pushed, or jumping from platforms. “Never stand close to the edge and always be aware of what’s going on behind you,” he warned. In fact, he won’t even stand at the front of a waiting line. 
TL;DR? TFB;DC

dochuff:

Morning View from Starbucks.

Earlier this year, as I sat drinking a dark unidentifiable beverage with the taste of burnt charcoal and none of the subtle flavors of a good coffee, I thought about my just completed morning commute. Then I became confused. 

Every morning, I—-like many folks in Tokyo—-leave one hour or more earlier than necessary for work in order to avoid rush hour which begins at about 7. Then we hang out in coffee shops or cafes until starting time.

For some reason, we don’t view riding trains packed up to 200% capacity during rush hour to be fun or especially efficient like we read from those who do not have to ride such trains every workday for 10, 20 or 30 years. We don’t get as excited as some visiting politicians who dream of doing something similar for their cities or countries. Perhaps they like it because it would get all the riff-raff off their streets so that their limo could get to the office without interference or delay. Good Lord, a lobbyist might be waiting for them. 

Most don’t think that photos from inside a packed rush hour train are art or even slightly interesting, for we know that if you can get any camera out and take a photo, then you ain’t likely on a crowded train. (I suggest the Denentoshi/Hanzomon line from Kanagawa prefecture during the morning rush hour.)

Of course the trains aren’t the only reason we go early. We go early to avoid the dangerously over-crowded station platforms, most of which have nothing between the platform and the oncoming train, so nearly everyday there are delays due to human/train accidents. Nearly every damned day. *

I thought I’d google for an answer to my conundrum, but I couldn’t connect to Starbuck’s notoriously weak Wi-Fi. So, as I went back to my charcoal water and leather-tough, flavorless donut shaped breakfast thingy, I concluded that it must be another Japan that I so often read about. 

 *A friend who works for the government once told me that nearly every day he reads of someone falling, being pushed, or jumping from platforms. “Never stand close to the edge and always be aware of what’s going on behind you,” he warned. In fact, he won’t even stand at the front of a waiting line. 

TL;DR? TFB;DC

June 25, 2014
A not Upside-down Reflection
Tamagawa River, Tokyo

A not Upside-down Reflection

Tamagawa River, Tokyo

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