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|WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)|
Superman's product of the century (so far):
A mad rush all the way from Kyoto to Narita airport for return to home sweet home Seattle today.
Road the Shinkansen to/from Kyoto - amazing - like flying a turboprop at ground level - will have more and with photos on the pump-you-up train.
Kyoto was amazing! Many temples visited - have some fantastic photos to share. Wish I could give a sample, but I'm on an internet terminal with no way to transfer a pic. (Does that qualify as a tease?)
Also just got news from James that he's returning to Iraq for another tour - I'll put up a post if he doesn't get one in before he ships out.
Gotta go catch the jet - see everyone soon!
For photographers, there are at least two times in a day when we think there is a chance to take a good picture. Sometimes I think we while away most of the rest of the day (a photography day) between the early light of dawn and, especially, the evening gloaming - when the sun is fading in the west.
If you've looked at some of the photographs on this site, you know that I'm particularly fond of the light of the setting sun. There is an intense pressure during the dawn of the day and the dusk - because there are only 10 or 15 minutes in either case to capture the light at its finest moment. I love the sense of working in those few moments and hoping that somehow I can capture the magic when it happens.
It's very difficuly to define when that 15 minutes is going to be - especially in the evening. It depends on the locale - it depends on the weather, it depends on where the horizon is. But, you can always sense it when it's about to happen - everything suddenly begins to glow and it seems that every living thing has heightened senses.
I have learned, when this begins to happen - wherever I am - to chase the rays of the sun......Continue reading "Koishikawa Botanical Garden: Sun magic"
(In the US right now we are mindful of the terrible Katrina hurricane natural disaster that has taken many lives.)
There was a devastating earthquake in Tokyo in 1923.
100,000 people are esitmated to have been killed immediately by the 8.3 Richter Scale 'quake. Another 40,000 people were missing.
And then there were the fires. Tokyo was built mostly of wood and paper and went up like a tinderbox.
The fires raged for days.
At least 33,000 people were trapped by the fires and burned to death. These are their ashes.
(Photos so far, courtesy J. B. Macelwane Archives, Saint Louis University)......Continue reading "Koishikawa Botanical Garden: 1923 Tokyo Earthquake"
I've mentioned in some of the previous posts about this fascinating park that there are areas that seem very like the kinds of arboretums associated with University campuses in the States.
There's at least one place here that assures you, that it is NOT.
Soon after coming down the hill to the lower part of the park - I saw this on the hillside:
It looked interesting so I approached it......Continue reading "Koishikawa Botanical Garden: Not your Dad's arboretum"
In the Edo period, most likely a much larger garden than this entire area existed. Through the ages, as the Shogunates' power waned, and resources became more scarce, the families were unable to maintain the vast garden properties. Eventually, most of the gardens have been given over to private interests, the government, or, in this case, a University for safe keeping.
This, then, is a glimpse at the original glory of this garden.
Coming down the hill, large ponds and groomed plants come into greater view...
I look back up the hill to the place I started from and I can see an architecture - a transition - between this section of garden that is cared for incessantly by man and the hill above where nature runs its course...
(Whoa! 24 pictures in the extended post...)...Continue reading "Koishikawa Botanical Garden: The Ancient Garden"
The upper portion of the park (both in elevation and orientation on the map) is devoted largely to tree species. I left off the last post at the beginning of the area in which cherry trees and other flowering fruit trees are in prominent display.
These cherry (Sakura) trees are not the huge ancient trees that I've seen in other parts of Japan, but they have a great deal of character and are beautifully spread...
(Warning: 18 beautiful pictures follow...)...Continue reading "Koishikawa Botanical Garden: The Trees on the Hill..."
I pretty much decried the recent Israeli withdrawal from Gaza by myself. Most everyone, it seems, thought that perhaps appeasement would work in the Holy Land, perhaps because it's just a special place.
Special place it is. Immune from the hard fought truth of history? No.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israeli aircraft blasted suspected Palestinian weapons facilities in Gaza on Sunday and authorities arrested hundreds of militants in the West Bank, launching an offensive against the Islamic group Hamas after it bombarded Israeli towns with rockets.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned Sunday “all means” would be used to end attacks on Israel. Security officials said the military was preparing for possible artillery attacks and a ground invasion unless the Palestinian Authority or Hamas itself halts the rocket attacks.
Oh, I suppose the trolls will trot out "Well, those shifty eyed Jews knew this was going to happen all along - they just wanted to get those Hamas guys all in one place so they could arrest them."
Yeah, sure - that's why Sharon is going to lose to Netanyahu - he planned it that way.
After being socked in by the weather yesterday, I ventured out today (Sunday) to find a place to take some pictures.
I was completely on my own today - so I pulled out my English Tokyo map and looked around on it for gardens - I picked the Koishikawa Botanical Garden - because it looked like it was a pretty good size and I thought it might have some indoor greenhouses in case the weather turned ugly.
I rode the train from the western suburbs of Kichijoji to Sugamo and took a cab to the gardens.
The cab dropped me off here - and the cabby explained that I could buy a ticket across the street - which I did. About $3......Continue reading "Koishikawa Botanical Garden: Introduction"
Japan's Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi just won the Berlin marathon - her first marathon competition since winning Olympic gold in Athens.
She also lowered the Asian women's record by 27 seconds by running in two hours, nineteen minutes and twelve seconds. She was never challenged by another woman in the race.
For most of the race she was flanked by a cordon of men of different nationalities - they all passed water bottles around and worked at keeping each other cool on what looked like a very hot day. Japan television broadcast her entire effort live.
The Japanese people are ecstatic - and they should be. This lady might have a world record in her yet ...
The Divine Wind didn't work in World War II - but it still must be protecting Japan from things like typhoons.
Tropical Cyclone Saola pretty much took the right angle turn predicted by the Japanese forecasters, has reduced to a Category 1, and is heading NE back into the Pacific.
After pretty miserable weather yesterday, I ventured out today - caught a few 50 mph gusts in the eastern part of Tokyo, but no precip.
From looking at the news, it appears that though Rita slammed hard into the Texas coast, everyone is thankful that it wasn't worse.
I still think it would be a good idea to hire Japanese forecasters at the US National Weather Service.