Lawson, the convenience store across the street, is one of the Big 4 (7 Eleven, Circle K and Family Mart are the other three). What’s great is that Lawson has a “hyaku yen” (100 yen, or about a buck Canadian) version, and what’s even better, I can walk over there in 20 seconds in my pajamas for anything from the pen that ran out mid-poem, a “melon pan” (sweet bread shaped like a melon, very popular here), tweezers, a new coffee mug made of pretty fine ceramic, socks if it’s extra cold, canned coffee, real coffee, coffee in cartons, lattes in cartons … I got distracted. They have healthy stuff like “mikan” (oranges, now in season), eggs, all kinds of veg … it’s a party every time!
This series is turning into a bit of a mystery, or choose your own adventure!
I was captivated by this tree, and how totally green it is, despite many other trees on the street turning the deep, rich colours of autumn.
Then this man, pictured above, walked up, and started poking at the tree. I’m sure there was no cat up there, because if there was, there would have been a huge commotion. There were no cat sounds. There was just a quiet street, and a man forking around up in the tree – which seems to have no flowers, no fruit – with a pole.
What’s that all about?
What we can learn from this photo is that I live across from one convenience store (Lawson), and right next to another – Circle K, pictured here. We an also learn that Japan loves Halloween. They don’t trick or treat, per se, but Halloween decorations and mock, gory costumes and bloodied pumpkins and the like, have been dotting the urban landscape for weeks already, to say nothing of the cute mini-fake pumpkins flung across doors like Christmas lights. Here, we seem to be looking at ads for Halloween-themed … fried chicken? I can make out the purple script in the posters: “Fried Chicken” (the “chicken” is cut off), and “Happy Halloween.” ?? This alphabet is “katakana”, the one used for transliterating foreign words.
However, the real intrigue of this photo is the child’s tricycle parked in front of the store. There are no cars and no bikes – the place is usually littered with both – but there is a lone vehicle for a child – a child I waited a while to see, but never did. Who is the child? Did he or she come convenience store shopping alone, and what did this adorable human (all kids are adorable, really, so I’m presuming) need so badly that he or she made a little tricycle sojourn by him or herself?
I’m itching with curiosity, as I’ve never seen this vehicle in all my months living here …
What are your thoughts?
I’m back after a couple days’ absence – my husband and I went to a hot springs (“onsen”) in Gifu, which is one prefecture over. What a difference a half-hour train ride makes! From the urban jungle to bodies of water, mountains and clear air. Heaven. As was the library they had at our hotel, which had, amid shelves of books and magazines, an unattended-to bar counter, and old-world style couches and chairs … two English books! Harry Potter 3 and 4. I’ll never get tired of finding new worlds carved out of the English stuff I find here in Japan.
Coming back to sunny days is another little slice of heaven. I just love how the door/gate is slightly open – it’s usually not – and how it looks like a doorway, or invitation. I also love how this lady looks like she might just pop into the doorway and find herself in some kind of Alice-in-Wonderland adventure – who knows?
One tree, two trees …
I’m not sure exactly what lies on the right of this photo, but it’s always there. As I framed the photo of this curios object, I noticed how tree-like it looks, standing there in all its spindly glory, next to its tree friend. I’m so glad these two little treasures have companions in one another!
“Mother Nature is always speaking. She speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer. Leopards, cobras, monkeys, rivers and trees; they all served as my teachers when I lived as a wanderer in the Himalayan foothills.” – Radhanath Swami
The pylons only offset the stunning beauty of a natural green …
My street is not a hive of bright lights and a constant stream of advertising. I think it was, at one time, but those days have passed.
I think these two posters have been here, tucked into a tiny space between two buildings (actually, this is a rather large space – you can often barely squeeze a fist between two houses or stores), since I moved in over a year ago. I certainly remember the bottom one, because his is a face I know well from my days working in the film industry.
It’s Japan’s beloved cultural export, Takeshi Kitano, or “Beat Takeshi”, as many of his fans know him by! His credentials are many: film director, comedian, TV show host (oh, how many celebrities become TV show hosts of the most bizarre kind here), on-air presenter, writer, poet, and even video-game designer. He’s really a household name, and now has own talent agency, production company, and he is a professor at Tokyo University’s Graduate School of the Arts.
He also lends his lovable mug to many a product for sale – here, I can make out ECC, a popular foreign-language school in Japan.
Since I’m a poet and was interested, I did a small search of Kitano’s poetry, and came up with this, a testament to his humour, no doubt:
If you have any Beat Takeshi favorite movies, I’d love to hear them! I’m just glad that this poster, like him, has truly survived the test of time :).