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Archive for May, 2009

Omens?

May 28, 2009 11 comments

Click HERE for today’s photos.  Its a small set of images that I took during my most reent trip to Kyoto (November 2008).

I REALLY didn’t need to read this news story today.

I’ll be flying to Chicago for a business meeting next week, and could very likely be flying on that same plane.  In all likelihood that Air Force Sgt saved the lives of everyone on board.  The flight crew might have diverted based on the fact that they did recognize that they seemed to be loosing fuel, but then again they might have chalked it up to a gauge malfunction and pressed on.  We might have all ended up watching this on an episode of “Air Crash Investigation”.

I shudder to think how it could have worked out differently had it been a plane full of Japanese people, with no gaijins around.  I’m not bashing Japanese people,  and it is a very gross generalization, but I am also thinking that it just might have turned out very differently.

After more than nine years in Japan I can’t remember how many times I have seen Japanese people do their best to ignore a situation that they either did not want to get involved with, or thought that someone else would or should handle.  Granted, any person does who is riding an airplane has a vested interest to make sure that plane continues to fly, and not drop out of the sky like a stone.  But Japanese people, more than any other culture I have seen, are extremely good at ignoring things.

Those of you who have experienced the culture know exactly what I am talking about.  Especially when it comes to people in positions of power or prestige.  Doctors for example are treated as all-knowing gods.  A second opinion is basically unheard of in Japan, with patients taking their doctors word as gospel.    I don’t know about you, but it does not instill a great amount of confidence in me when, no matter how long a doctor has been working, you still refer to it as “Practicing” medicine.  The same thing holds true for lawyers.

Again, I know I am making some gross generalizations.  I guess that’s just the kind of mood I am in today.

Categories: others, Uncategorized

Castaway

May 16, 2009 3 comments

Click HERE for today’s photos

Since I have been so busy lately, I have not been able to make it to the past two meetups of the Tokyo Cameras Photo Club.  That’s why I decided to organize a small get together  in Kamakura last weekend for some of the members.

Weather-wise, we could not have had a better day, and we capped the afternoon off with a stop-off at n Izakaya near Kamakura station.   It was exactly what I needed, and even though Kamakura is a very well beaten path for me, I still enjoyed myself.  Same place, but different light.  That’s what makes photography such a continued passion for me.

Currently I am in Diego Garcia.  If you don’t know where that is, then draw a line between Madagascar and Sri Lanka, and at the point directly South of the Seychelles you will find Diego Garcia.  I arrived here last Tuesday and will be staying through next Thursday before flying back to Japan.

And while the work is keeping me very busy, I do have this weekend to relax and explore.  Today I took a long bike ride down one arm of the atoll and spent the better part of the day on a deserted beach, all by myself.  It has been a long time since I last experienced solitude like that, and it was an entirely cleansing experience.

I found a great spot, just up from the high tide mark that is shaded by palm trees leaning out over the beach.  Looking out over the lagoon I could neither see nor hear any indication of human presence.  No power lines, no roads, nothing.  Not one single thing to make the place appear to be inhabited.  The only indication of human activity was my own footprints on the beach.

It was there that I smoothed out the seashells and sand to form a bed where I could take a nap, for how long, I have no idea.  You see, I did not take a watch, as that would have been totally counter productive to the reason I was there.  I drifted off to sleep with the waves softly lapping at the shore, and the rustle of the palm fronds in the sea breeze as my only company.

Upon waking I noticed that the water had ridden the incoming tide and had crept up a bit closer to my own private paradise.  I then proceeded to have a light snack and packed up my impromptu camp so I could wander my way down the coastline, taking in the sea birds, crabs, sea turtles, and the occasional black tipped reef shark or stingray as they cruised the shoreline in pursuit of schools of fish who were in turn looking for their own next meal.

It is a complete privilege to experience a place like this.  There are not too many truly unspoiled places remaining on this earth, I feel very lucky o be able to experience one of them.

I love my job.

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