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tears of the drainsthe floating signifierconnectedpawprintsdusker

(All photographs taken with an Asus ZenFone 3.)


bridge of clouds skyroadspan

The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge runs between the city of Akashi* and the island of Awaji and has the “longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world.” (Wikipedia) It’s an engineering marvel and a beautiful bridge. I took these shots from Maiko Park, which is situated just below the point where the bridge leaves the land and leaps out over the ocean. It’s a nice park to walk around, watching people fish or rollerskate while you stand there trying to figure out why exactly it is that the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall has ended in this location. If you get tired of the wind you can head over to the bridge museum to meet Wataru-kun, the bridge mascot.

All photographs taken with a Voigtlander Bessa-L loaded with Kodak Portra 800 film and fitted with a 15mm Heliar lens.

*Technically, the bridge actually runs between the southernmost tip of the city of Kobe and the island of Awaji, but the end that touches down in Kobe is so close to the border with the city of Akashi that’s it’s essentially touching down in Akashi. Hence the name.


IMG_20170227_231725_352.jpgI’ve got no idea why the lettuce I buy comes wrapped in plastic adorned with the image of Rantarō Ninja Boy, the star of the anime Nintama Rantarō (忍たま乱太郎). To tell the truth, I initially mistook him for a very healthy country aunty wearing traditionally patterned monpe (もんぺ), the old-style workpants of Japan.

img_20170204_172327_835img_20170208_174714_231img_20170304_144442_040img_20170304_151406_575img_20170304_171103_894img_20170304_153217_289img_20170304_154240_149img_20170304_154459_403img_20170304_170910_348March 4th was my birthday, and a completely perfect spring day for a walk. I decided to walk to two local shrines – Toyonaka Inari-jinja and Harada-jinja – mostly on a route that I had never taken before.

The first part of my walk was quite familiar and took me past the building that I always think of as Dr. Strange’s secret Toyonaka headquarters, and down a street that features one of my favorite older style Japanese houses. At Toyonaka Inari-jinja I met a friendly stone komainu (狛犬), who barked a birthday greeting at me.

On the way to Okamachi, where Harada-jinja is located, I stumbled across a sign advertising what clearly must be a tanuki hospital. Arriving at Harada-shrine I looked up into the beautiful canopy of leaves formed by the small bower of camphor trees that abuts the main shrine building. And then I looked down to find a magnificent utility cover featuring a fireman from the local department looking like nothing so much as an incombustible samurai.

Up the street from the shrine is a local park featuring a wonderful blue concrete elephant slide, with a mural on the nearby fence that depicts flower children and fairies. And then back home, through the maze of de Chirico water tower landscapes that somehow defines Japanese suburbia for me.

(All photos taken with an Asus ZenFone 3, Instagram filters in full effect.)

IMG_20170303_121956_508.jpgMy birthday was on March the 4th, and I received this beautiful collage in the mail from my mother, Cecily Axt. The stamps that accompanied it were pretty super as well.

As if that weren’t enough, a wonderful colleague of mine surprised me by popping into my office with his mandolin and singing a spirited version of Lead Belly’s “Cotton Fields” in honor of my special day.

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flamencolate afternoon hokora rainy day camelianight spotcloudy bodhisattva

All photos taken with an Asus ZenFone 3.

throwing beans


IMG_20170203_170455_108.jpgIt’s Setsubun today, which means it’s time to throw beans and drive the demons out. And while the soybean savior is driving the demons out, would it be too much to ask for a couple of handfuls to be tossed in the direction of the White House as well?