My Street Japan. Day 8. {Photography Project}

My Street Japan. DAY 8. Tammy T. Stone

My Street Japan. DAY 8. Tammy T. Stone

This morning, as the lunar eclipse had us contemplating shadow and light, hiding and emergence, and the vast magnitude of our cosmos, I stepped outside looking for magic. When nothing instantly appeared, I turned my mind’s eye and my heart in another direction, knowing that magic appears everywhere, when we are ready and willing for its manifestation.

Green isn’t the first thing you notice when you step onto this street. In this photo, however, we are gifted with the resplendence of the natural world. In a tiny patch of cultivated garden (I’ve never seen who is taking care of this property, and does it belong to the city, or the apartment?), I can take my imagination and dive in, and remember that I live on an island. I think of all the uncultivated islands, or parts of islands I’ve seen, where nature is left to her own devices, and sings, and tumbles around, and soars.

It’s not that the singing here is more quiet. It’s that often, I’m forgetting to listen. One leaf, like one person, contains the world. A community of them – of us – is a dizzy dance of joy.  I’m humbled the ability of a photograph to cue me to dive back in and dance with the green-magic Life is always offering us.

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My Street Japan. Day 7. {Photography Project)

My Street Japan. DAY 7. Tammy T. Stone

My Street Japan. DAY 7. Tammy T. Stone

There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing you can think that is not the moon.

  • Matsuo Basho

I usually take my daily photo in the morning, but anticipating the full moon, and having tracked the moon’s course many times, I was lucky enough to step outside to this view tonight! While I find night photography tantalizing and ethereal, I usually photography by day, so this was a lot of fun for me, to see the street coming alive through my lens in a different way.

For us here in Japan, the full moon (and lunar eclipse!) happen tomorrow morning, but for tonight, we have the stunning bright, nearly full moon lending us her glow, so that we may sit in it, and reflect on cycles, and the nature of transience, and feel inspired to know and love ourselves just a little bit better, so that the world as a whole can shine ever brighter.

May we all bask under the magic of this full supermoon, rest easy, and bathe in wisdom, love and compassion!

Who knows if the moon’s / a balloon, coming out of a keen city / in the sky – filled with pretty people?

  • E. E. Cummings

My Street Japan. Day 6. {Photography Project}

My Street Japan. DAY 6. Tammy T. Stone

My Street Japan. DAY 6. Tammy T. Stone

This is what I see looking up and to the right from in front of my apartment. Except in colour. I can read one of the words up there, and it says “home” …

Isn’t it interesting that we rarely like to see a grey, hazy day, but are so attracted to the stark world of hue-less black-and-white? Does the scene come alive in monochrome, or make one nostalgic? It’s a mysterious effect, black-and-white …

My Street Japan. Day 5. {Photography Project}

My Street Japan. DAY 5. Tammy T. Stone

My Street Japan. DAY 5. Tammy T. Stone

September is typhoon season in Japan, and the weather is wildly unpredictable, and also rather rain-heavy. Nagoya is a fairly moderate place to live, climate-wise, so our rain is usually a steady drizzle – my heart always goes out to those affected by the eye of the storms …

I was honing my lens in on the beautiful raindrops on this nearby tree (as the tree begins to withdraw into itself, this autumn …) when my peripheral vision caught the woman walking into my frame. I love that we can see her figure, and that of the umbrella, as she ambles down the street with her shopping carriage.

My Street Japan. Day 4. {Photography Project}

My Street Japan. DAY 4. Tammy T. Stone

My Street Japan. DAY 4. Tammy T. Stone

A bike riding country indeed! I had a bike as a kid, and then another one when I lived in Toronto – it was stolen months after I got it (after hardly being used), and I never replaced it. I’ve had my current bike in Japan for a little over a year and have come to love it. It’s become almost meditative for me to cruise along the streets, weaving in and out of small alleys and wider lanes, seeing the world faster than I do while walking, and slower than when I’m in cars or trains, sharing the sidewalks (where we’re supposed to be biking) with the city’s many bike-riding denizens. Incidentally, I realized soon after getting it that it’s the same colour as my childhood bike (blue). Have I come full circle. Can one come full circle and be on the other side of the world?

My Street Japan. Day 3. {Photography Project}

My Street Japan. DAY 3. Tammy T. Stone

My Street Japan. DAY 3. Tammy T. Stone

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Japan is celebrating “Silver Week” this week, a five-day holiday consisting of a weekend, two actual holidays, and a “bridge” day to enable a five-day vacation. The way the dates work out, the Japanese only get a “Silver Week” every five years.

The first of the two holidays translates into “Respect for the Aged Day”, and indeed, there are many, many “aged” in Japan to celebrate and pay respects to: 25% of the country, or almost 32 million people, is composed of the elderly, aged 65 and over. By 2060, they estimate that the elderly will make up 40% of the population, partly due to the fact that Japanese people live to a relative old age, and the birthrate has been steadily declining. Another interesting fact – for every 100,000 people in Japan, nearly 43 people are over 100 years old! Currently, there is a custom of giving centenarians an expensive bottle of sake on their birthday, but they’re considering stopping this tradition, due to the sheer number of people “accomplishing” this old age!

The second holiday, which falls today this year, is “Ohigan”, which translates directly as “the other or that shore of the Sanzu River”, which in Buddhism, is a poetic way of referring to reaching enlightenment. On the other side of ignorance and suffering, the peace that comes with “Satori”, empty mind, bliss. There is also a reference to the Heart Sutra here, where on passage translates as:

                               Gone, gone, gone beyond, everyone gone beyond [to the Other Shore].

“Ohigan”, then, has traditionally been a day to take the time to reflect on past action and renew one’s aspirations to practice the Buddhist Six Perfections and reach enlightenment.

The Six Perfections (or Paramitas) are:

Dana Paramita – Perfection of Generosity

Sila Paramita – Perfection of Morality

Ksanti Paramita – Perfection of Patience

Dhyana Paramita – Perfection of Meditation

Prajna Paramita – Perfection of Wisdom

Today’s photo is my modest tribute to the beautiful history of this country that I definitely do not know that much about yet, but that also sings to me through the living present. I’ve rendered this photo “historical”, partly to obscure the face of the bike rider, to respect his privacy, and also to pay homage to history living through the now. I’m always amazed to see the elderly handling their bikes like (sometimes fairly slow) pros!