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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.)


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October 21, 2005
Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 7)
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

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Going past the gate is a little like climbing the bamboo. The elevation change attracts my view to higher planes...

...Continue reading "Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 7)"

Pulled by Emcee on October 21, 2005 at 04:11 PM
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Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 6)
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

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I continue along the path and stands of bamboo become visible - bathed in sunlight...

...Continue reading "Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 6)"

Pulled by Emcee on October 21, 2005 at 01:01 AM
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October 20, 2005
Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 5)
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

This is one of the best photographs that I've ever taken.

It's not due to any skill on my part though - it was just there.

Have you ever seen a more perfect little boat?

...Continue reading "Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 5)"

Pulled by Emcee on October 20, 2005 at 11:01 AM
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Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 4)
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

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What strikes me as I move to the opposite side from where I first saw the island is some kind of difference in projection - where the island seems to me to be emanating when viewed from the other side - here it seems to me to have a pathway to it - kind of beckoning...

...Continue reading "Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 4)"

Pulled by Emcee on October 20, 2005 at 01:01 AM
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October 19, 2005
Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 3)
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

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There is a small island in the center of the pond. On that island is a trained Crepe Myrtle and another flowering tree. The light of the sun is fixed on the island. It is heart wrenchingly beautiful...

...Continue reading "Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 3)"

Pulled by Emcee on October 19, 2005 at 11:00 AM
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Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 2)
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

As I walked toward the garden entrance the priest caught up with me. "You may take pictures of the garden" he said, "But you may not use your tripod." I asked "Do you want me to leave my tripod here?" and he said "No. But it is not permitted to be used in the garden." I said "OK, No problem." He turned and walked away.

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As you emerge from the portico, there is a paved path that leads past a stand of bamboo...

...Continue reading "Kyoto: Kokedera (Part 2)"

Pulled by Emcee on October 19, 2005 at 05:00 AM
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October 18, 2005
On the road again ...
Filed in: Current Affairs

I have to go to California tomorrow for a few days. Have some of my last Kyoto posts set up to publish while I'm a roady. I'll check in when I can. See you!


Pulled by Emcee on October 18, 2005 at 11:03 PM
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Kyoto: Kokedera - I saved the best for last (Intro)
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

When my friend and business associate said, "Well, you must go to Kokedera - we'll just have to get you an invitation.", I didn't think too much of it. I thought it was like ordering tickets or something.

At the time I didn't realize that a letter had to be submitted - via snail mail - to Temple Saihoji - and that an invitation had to be received back from the temple. Thankfully, my friends knew everything that was required, so when I checked in to my hotel in Kyoto - they reverently handed me my invitation to Saihoji (my friends had asked them to reply with the invite to my hotel) that hotel personnel had translated from Japanese to English. I believe that some of the hotels in Kyoto are versed in making the invitation request, but of course they must be asked, and the lead time is a week.

This means that I am in a group of a comparatively few westerners that have been able to visit this place (and I don't mean a complete rarity - but these folks limit visitors to less than 100 a day and aren't open every day and the visitors are approximately 99% Asian). It also means that I was almost completely unprepared for what was to transpire. My translated invitation basically says "Please visit Saiho-ji (which is popularly called Kokedera) at 1 o'clock pm on the 29th of September with this card. Please pay 3,000 yen on that day. We are sorry that your applied date of 30th of September for visitng here is not acceptable because of special Buddhist service." There was a lot more Japanese on the post card than that - but they gave me the essentials: I knew what day, what time, and how much it was going to cost. So far so good.

I didn't know how far it was to Saihoji so I left pretty early - it was about a $60 cab fare so pretty far to the north and west of the city. The cabbie dropped me off at the gate.

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It was all locked up and not a soul around. Well, I was a half-hour early...

...Continue reading "Kyoto: Kokedera - I saved the best for last (Intro)"

Pulled by Emcee on October 18, 2005 at 09:47 PM
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October 17, 2005
Kyoto: Chasing the sun into night
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

As the sun began to fade in the west - I continued walking - looking for picture opportunities - and making my way back to my hotel.

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I have no idea what the names of most of these places are - I could find my way back to them - given a start at Kiyomizu-dera. This temple complex was not accessible (in terms of going into the grounds) and featured a very different pagoda than I have ever seen before...

...Continue reading "Kyoto: Chasing the sun into night"

Pulled by Emcee on October 17, 2005 at 10:31 AM
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Kyoto: The long walk...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

So, I decided to walk from Kiyomizu-dera back to my hotel. I remembered seeing the the Kyoto tower from the Hon-do veranda and the cab ride didn't seem that long. It couldn't be too far could it?

My business associate had drawn a line on the whiteboard the other day explaining that there was a 'shopping street' called Sonnenzaka that was near Kiyomizu and that it proceeded south west - which I thought would be toward Kyoto tower.

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I found Sonnenzaka shopping street just south of the main Kiyomizu entrance. It's very narrow and begins with a set of stairs going down...

...Continue reading "Kyoto: The long walk..."

Pulled by Emcee on October 17, 2005 at 12:12 AM
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