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crazy sexy cool japan Lived on the Inside.  Seen from the Outside.  



a can in the can, as it were.


a hornet nest...housing project built by the deadly suzumebachi すずめばち giant asian hornet. these are big badass hornets the size of a human finger, with 0 sense of humor or irony. they regularly kill a few old people a year in the rural prefectures like nagano and gunma, mad swarming like in that Wu-Tang Clan video from back in tha day!  

shizznits fuh real!  

judge    nothing

swell bike...got the wrong thing in autofocus here.  stickers advertising nice girls for naughty men. dont see these around so much anymore, since they started cleaning up and compartmentalizing the vice around kiyamachi--the stickers, I mean.  I used to take some and include them as souvenirs, back when I wrote pen & paper letters home.


evening descends upon the kamogawa river (true kawa/gawa itself means river but it gets doubled to make it clear, even on official English signage).  5 storeys of fun (and that's just in the frame, this building reaches higher). some kamogawa kouples are visible paired and placed in foreground. a remarkable show of self-organizing systems, until midnight (actually 11:57 last train) couples will dot the entire river bank, each at precise intervals of 3 tatami mats (end to end). as they drink and linger longer, suspicious hand placement and activity may be noted.


skillz to pay da billz.

a little male modeling...bcuz I'm that good looking.

some fish's daddy ain't coming home tonight.  a chef at a fine sushi & seafood restaurant in kyoto scoops around among fugu, shark, hamachi, pacific rock lobster & saury for a customer's special request. this is outside in the alley; the tank is visible from within the restaurant as well, behind the counter. some food may be served alive...fresher than fresh!


a palm reader...she has been here for years that I know of. always in this spot across from a playground overlooking the river, regardless of weather. I wonder if when she looked at her own palm years back she saw this.

attracting unwanted attention, and not much else, at the Lancome cosmetics counter. I was mild-manneredly taking a few shots, practicing my art & craft, when Personality Plus in the BG there came up and asked me a bunch of questions about could she help me, until I told her I was looking for something nice for her, but I wanted it to be a surprise, so could she give me her address and I would deliver it later. at which point she walked off.

Natura Urbanus: (1) the contented homeless of the kamogawa river, living admirably under her bridges. here they are drinking chu-hi highballs & asahi beer from cans, then flattening them: use, recycle, reuse. (1.a) the figure in shadow next to bridge piling left BG is also homeless, from the east side, but I never pick up on any of that hip-hop East Side/West Side tension. They all seem to get along, and never hassle or harass the good people who use this waterway daily. Again with the Live & Let Live.
(2) the big white wader in the left foreground is a snowy egret, just behind some kind of a pintail duck. a large flock of white water birds is visible in upper left of frame, at base of the river's green & grassy east bank. 
N.B.:  one point Japanese lesson: kamo in kamogawa translates to duck...I present The Duck River.

it aint where you from its where you at!










* You Are Here ...somewhere.
Godspeed getting There.

Street addresses as we know them are nonexistent & irrelevant in Japan. Places are known by area, neighborhood & proximity to natural & manmade phenomena. This is a map kindly hung on a fence outside Kyoto City Hall across from a bus stop, and serves best as a windscreen against the Yellow Sand the Chinese are always blasting over here (more about that later).


didn't need a map to get me here.

mo' maps mo' problems

central Kyoto, I think. the DANGER sticker, while appropriate, is not part of the map itself but rather some aftermarket tagging by a local promoter. there is a URL printed along the bottom, but not this one.  yet.

while many people in many fields have clearly stolen from The Matrix, this image shows that The Matrix has clearly stolen from my people, The Japanese. 



all that cool computer code of The Matrix network in the movie is mainly katakana (see right); flipped, bastardized, reversed & mirrored.  

the above insert in the Japanese DVD shows both this famous green code waterfalling down, overlaid with much of the original source characters in white,  detailing various tracks, chapters and bonus material on the disc.

note: all three lines above sound the same (but make no sense, as Japanese readers will note).

Japanese very cleverly has 3 systems of written communication.

the top one hiragana is a syllabary--you can sound out any word in the language with these 46 rounded characters. kids learn to read this very early on, as do more motivated gaijin foreigners.

#2 katakana, by contrast angular & sharp, is the exact same sounds. also a syllabary of 46, but is used to represent the sounds of words adopted from foreign languages, like english, of which there are thousands. this is an extremely helpful system.  when you see katakana you start to sound out permutations of english and can often guess the meaning.  (also see The Matrix sidebar left)

#3 Kanji means Chinese characters. these are the myriad complicated Asian hieroglyph type markings that NBA ballers get tattooed on their necks. once you get the hang of some though they are massively useful, as one pictograph symbol conveys a paragraph of meaning.

I think I'm learning Japanese I think I'm learning Japanese I really think so...

a blown out long exposure of shijo dori, a major kyoto thoroughfare, at night. taken surreptitiously from 10th floor roof of bldg where I worked once upon a time. might see about working there again so I can take another crack at this shot.

as much as we all love the freedom of end of term, it's still bittersweet to see some of them fly the nest...

from a quality senior student at the college, added to the last page of her final exam. a real sweetheart...

p.s. if you're reading this, you're very welcome.




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omgsfcih!!! *

everything imaginable has some cute kawaii! かわいい!anime mascotification from air conditioner companies [e.g. the DAIKIN water drop (sic)] to cell phone service providers [the NTT docomo mushroom (sic)]to the train and bus system. this poster hanging in a subway car shows the Kyoto bus and trains crying because they are so sad that some rude riders (L to R) throw trash into them, jabber mindlessly into cell phones in them, and selfishly hog the seats. nothing a swift sharp stick from a NY Transit cop wouldn't fix, mind you.


* ohmygodsofckngcuteithurts!!!

as awesome as Japanese communication ability is, what impresses locals even more than writing a book in Japanese (let alone just reading one) is being able to do this:


feed oneself with sticks.


you'd be surprised the props & praise you get for this...makes me want to practice w/ them 3 times a day.


fellow readers: if you like this site please spread the word like human manure over an Edo Period rice field.  thanks.  doumo arigatou!!!

posting a link to this site also much appreciated and good karma for you. 

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