My Street Japan: Day 19 {Photography project}

My Street Japan. DAY 19. Tammy T. Stone

My Street Japan. DAY 19. Tammy T. Stone

Sunny day = laundry day!

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Japan has a national obsession with laundry, but I wouldn’t go so far in the opposite direction, either. The vast majority of Japanese homes contain a washer but no dryer, so people are really dependent on the elements to get their laundry done. Often, too – the washing machines here are really small in comparison to what we might be used to in the West, and laundry gets done often.

I lament often that houses here don’t have large, spacious balconies – to say nothing of lawns, or much space around the building at all – but there is always room for laundry, so that balconies are more often than not an outside room to hang clothes, rather than a place for leisure. Now that I’ve been here awhile, I’ve become quite the pro of harnessing the laundry pole to bring inside when it suddenly storms, and making the most of a small space to get the clothes dry.

I also never noticed that this sign says “fire hydrant” on it – now I must find the hydrant itself!

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My Street Japan. Day 11.

My Street Japan. DAY 11. Tammy T. Stone

My Street Japan. DAY 11. Tammy T. Stone

There’s a tiny bike repair shop next door, run by an older couple who live in the back of the long, narrow space. Everyday, you can find a few bikes in various states of disrepair lined up in front of the shop-that-almost-isn’t-a-shop – it’s as inconspicuous a place as you can find. The shop owner has probably been here for decades; those who know him, know how to find him. He works hard, everyday. This rainy morning, I found this motorbike in the fray. I particularly love the reflection of the shops amber awning in the mirror.

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 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!