Click HERE for today’s photos.
I have a friend who works for NHK producing television programs, and in a classic case of life being all about who you know and not what you know, I was recently asked to be on an NHK television program.
Called Cool Japan, it is a program that explores what, from a foreigners perspective, makes Japan cool. It touches on a wide variety of subjects; fashion, anime, alcohol, etc., as well as other cultural aspects of Japanese society.
The particular episode that I took part in looked into the aspect of “Mottainai” culture in Japan. It will air at the following times:
- March 18th (Wed) 19:00-19:44 on NHK BS Hi-vision
- March 29th (Sun) 0:10-0:54 on NHK BS-1
It was my first time in a television studio, and I’m glad I was able to absorb the experience. It was also a lo of fun. At first I thought I would be a little bit nervous, but I guess I am too old to get nervous about things like that anymore.
Most of today’s photos are from Kamakura, and if all goes as planned when you click on the “map this” button within Smugmug you will see a map showing the location where each photo was taken. More GPS madness.
While I was shooting photos I could not help but notice that of all the other photographers at each of the locations I was stopping at, they all seemed to be shooting the same scenes, usually from the very same vantage point.
It got me thinking about how we all usually see the world.
What I mean by this is that in our haste to digest and understand the world around us with the least amount of effort, we usually rely on those around us to provide clues. I think this is where a lot of prejudice and bias stems from. After all, its a lot less mentally taxing to take what someone else says at face value, rather than cogitate on your own and seek your own truths about the world.
And I’m not saying that is all bad. I can’t image trying to get through event the most mundane of days if I were to have to think everything through on my own, just to make sure I understood what was going on., and that I was doing it in the best manner. Taken to this extreme, even a simple trip to the local combini could end up being a sojourn of epic proportions: What route should I take, and why? What is the most effective mode of transport, and what on earth should I buy once I get there? The choice of say, potato chips alone could cause one to spend eons weighing the merits of one brand versus the other, and lets not even mention serving sizes!
So what am I really blathering about here?
I’m nowhere near arrogant enough to think that I am immune to falling into this trap. But the great thing is that when I am aware of this danger, I do find that I take better pictures. And, I also happen to enjoy the world around me a bit more when I see it through less filtered eyes.
It’s kind of like what I was talking with some of the other people that were on the Cool Japan show with me; when you go to a place for the first time (like when I first came to Japan) there are no bounds. It feels like anything is possible, and you never know what the next day will bring you.
I think this is what usually makes travel so exciting, it’s the thought that something new could happen.
But invariably, the longer you are in one place, the more artificial bounds you place upon your own existence. And while these bounds can serve a very useful purpose, and allow you to make a lot of assumptions so as to more smoothly operate, they also invariably rob you of some of that mystery and wonder that even the most ordinary of circumstances can hold.
Yes, the tightest, most secure prisons are the ones we build for ourselves.
That is why it is so important to remember to not take anything for granted. Not one single moment of the time we are given will ever come again. Moments rush towards us and then are gone in a flash, never to repeat.
So make the most of it by slowing down to really observe what is going on around you. Stop just looking at things; categorizing, tagging, and blindly rushing through life with too many preconceived notions.
It’s amazing what you will find if you instead take the time to really “see”.
I hope I am able to do this more than I currently manage. Life itself is just too interesting and varied for me to want it any other way.