happy thanksgiving to everybody. this year for me its particularly important to give thanks because ive been so lucky to have been able to come here… (oh and i have an apartment now… so im staying for a while longer!)
big ups to my family for supporting me, watching my pup and helping me come out to japan!
big ups to my friends in the states for staying in touch and stuff…
big ups to my new friends too
big ups to everyone else… im going to subway (kinda gross) to see if they have turkey subs… then maybe to an international market to see if i cant get a turkey sandwich there instead
i miss you all, thanksgiving is really the only holiday i celebrate, so its somewhat of a drag not to be at home. its the best day of the year… family and too much food. solid combo.
oh gosh you guys am i stoked on how this is turning out…. my photo final.. bear suit portraits matched up with yet-to-be-taken landscapes of japan.. well the greater tokyo area! yah! and the best part is that i just smacked down the silly epson printer and now im printing gorgeous prints to turn in! so stoked! compare these to part one… i think they are definately a step forward (even though i think the bear suit photo project has ended… its a technical progression).
check this out!
this is totally my favorite one, but it doesn’t really go with the whole semi-uniform approach
well, i think i definately have been progressing as a photographer these last few months… this series certainly isnt perfect, but i think it is closer to what i wanted the first one to be… had i had more control over the room and the lighting (its the painting room, so sometimes there were people painting in there and i couldnt turn out the lights and fiddle like i would have liked to)… and had paid a bit more attention to the placement of the people in the frame, it could have been a bit more together… all in all im stoked, the prints are turning out fabulously… i also had a tripod, which made things pretty much better all around… oh and i learned how to focus my camera.. that helps too.
obviously im not turning all of these in, i think it got a bit better as you go down the page and stuff like that… its at least some amount of progress… im stoked.
dear japan, stop hating gaijin (foreigners) and just give me a 6-8 month, month to month (paid in advance), apartment for 6-8 months… at the price of less than hachi-mon… (80,000 yen… $700)
please. alls i wanna do is one more semester and one 8 week, 6 credit intensive photo course in the summer… (plus maybe another year until i graduate…) pleaaaaase….
This shrine was one of the most interesting things I’ve seen in Japan!!! I really wish my dad was here, he’d get a huge kick out of it. This fascinating shrine was first created in 1869, during the Meiji era. This is about the time that the US (courtesy of Matthew Perry) landed in Japan. Up until that time, Japan had been in voluntary isolation from most of the world for quite some time. There was a big conflict during the Meiji Restoration that led to this shrine for Japanese war heroes. There are over 2,460,000 people, mostly soldiers, enshrined here as Shinto gods. This is a very controversial shrine because there are soldiers from the Russia-Japan and China-Japan wars, and WWII. There are at least 14 Class A War Criminals enshrined here, and many big political figures in Japan visit here annually. It is also widely regarded outside of Japan to be a very biased, revisionist retelling of the last 130 years of war history. There is a big right-wing presence here, but apparently they don’t really have much control over the running of the shrine. It is a privately funded religious shrine though, not a government funded one. There are usually these big black vans outside of it that blast right-wing nationalist propaganda through a loudspeaker. These vans, SUVs and buses also drive past my school on a pretty regular basis blasting fascist propaganda, sometimes it sounds like Wagner opera.. very Nazi-ish… but they are non-violent and generally regarded as nutjobs.
I got to the shrine pretty late, so I didn’t have time to survey the grounds entirely… I went into the museum, which was really interesting. In the beginning theres a lot of cool Samurai swords and uniforms, then it just gets into the more recent wars, up to WWII. Most of the captions were in Japanese, except for these time lines explaining their view of the course of these wars. The whole museum only dealt with the military events, there was only one sentence (in English at least) mentioning Pearl Harbor, and no mention of the Atomic bomb. All the captions for the various uniforms, will and testaments and artifacts are in Japanese. I don’t remember seeing very much about the Japanese actions in Okinawa during the second World War as well, other than the mention of people “valiantly” committing suicide for the cause. Definately no mentions of WWII Comfort Women either… I’m definately going back again, earlier in the day, so I can go slower and explore the whole compound. Here are some pictures though:
This is a REAL Zero Fighter (Model 52.. the second model)
By the way, these were built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the same people who make cars and electronics. Pretty odd, but history has shown that war is pretty profitable for some industries (list unnamed defense contractors and manufacturers here)
I thought this was pretty cool to see in person, there were some other planes too, but you couldnt take photos. I couldn’t imagine flying one of these, or an American plane.. They are pretty small, and seem pretty sketchy.
that tree is blocking the ominous clouds
this is a 150 year old bronze cannon
this is the shrine
this is a lion… someone told me that when the Buddhist Vedas were brought from India to China to Japan… no one in Japan actually knew what a lion looked like, they had just read it in the Vedas and kind of make one up. I don’t know if the lion is in the Shinto religion, or its just one of those Buddhist/Shinto mixes…
Anyways, it was very interesting to see this place, I definately want to go back… particularly when its cherry blossom season. There are tons of cherry blossoms here. I felt kind of weird about the attitude towards their wars here, but every country is going to skew the experience to make themselves look a little better.
Just to make you feel a little better, heres a picture of a baby polar bear that i didnt take
so about 2 weekends ago i got to be a checkpoint at a halloween alleycat race… unfortunately, on the saturday it was originally set for there was a typhoon storm, so it got pushed to sunday, which greatly diminished the turnout. supposedly a whole bunch of crazy fixie riders were going to be there, but i guess the word didn’t get out that it had been moved to the next day. sunday was a totally beautiful sunny day! i’d heard a bunch about setagaya park before, and how tons of good riders go out there to hang out and tear it up, but i’d never been there so i was thrilled at the opportunity to go check it out! since it was a halloween race, there were costumes! as a checkpoint i had to stand on a street corner with a bag of candy in my bear suit, and wait for people to ride up to me and say “trick or treat”, then i’d give them a piece of candy.
for those of you who don’t know, at this type of race, when it starts you get a list of points to go to and collect something. you can go in any order, you just want to hit the most places and collect the most stuff in the shortest amount of time. it is mostly a bike messenger scavenger hunt thing because they know the streets really well. i could never run a race like that in tokyo because this town has no logical street layout or urban planning. ever since edo, tokyo just keeps burning down and they randomly build on top of it.
lets see photos!
this guy had the right idea… all you need is a toy gun, a gas mask, a sweet camera/lens/flash setup and a bike! thats a good halloween race
this is pissumo (pista+sumo), also called footdown, basically everyone stands in a circle, with 2 people in the center trying to trackstand the longest. (you can also try to knock the opponent off the bike as well).. pretty entertaining
there were these crazy talented bmx riders at the park too
greasing that chain
bunny hop/wheelie… wild!
all in all it was super fun! i hope that i can be a checkpoint again!
man, i haven’t written on this thing since october 20… sorry! so to make up for it, im going to post 3 posts today, with lots of photos… here are some photos from my last photo critique… they all have to do with finding light sources and also manipulating light in photos… some of it was fun.
writing with light is fun!
im a wizard!
five hands and 3 heads!
im a ghost!
eli has a nice bike
train tracks at night
self portrait 5
water bottle reflections
bright shiny days
this is the only remotely good photo from halloween..and its not even in focus.. the gaijin train. this was seriously the dumbest thing ive taken part of in japan! hundreds of gaijin just take over 2 or 3 cars on the yamanote line and just get rowdy and drunk… i wasn’t in a costume, i just wanted to witness it… it was too crowded, i couldnt take photos, my lens wouldnt stop fogging up, i wasn’t drinking… just stupid. im never doing that again
self portrait 6
manbuku.. i think its a ramen shop まんぶく
well. thats post 1 of 3. next up… bike race!