Seeing with more than just my eyes
This past Wednesday, being Veterans day, was a day off for me.
I had planned to go out taking photos. But when I woke up to torrential rains, I checked the weather to see what the rest of the would hold: 100% chance of rain.
But, not to be deterred I decided to make the best of it and head up to Nakano to check out a favorite used cameras shop and take some photos.
Since photos taking was secondary on the agenda to camera shopping, I only packed the Olympus E-P1 with 20/1.7, 25/1.4 (C mount), and Zuiko 50/1.2.
I caught the train first from Yokosuka Chuo station to catch the Yamanote line in Shinagawa. From there I would make the necessary transfer in Shinjuku to get to my destination in Nakano.
It’s about 80 minutes in total on the train, so I sank into my seat and settled in for the ride. The swaying and creaking of the train as is slid up the tracks started to lull me into a short nap. I was listening to the sounds around me; The rustle of someone turning a newspaper page, a muted cough from someone further back in the train car, the hum of the trains electric motors, and the periodic announcement from the train driver about what stations were coming up next.
It was during this time that I heard a little kid pointing out to his father all of the things he saw as the train made its way along the tracks. That reminded me that there is always something to see. You just need to open your eyes and mind to it.
In this case I had been “looking” with just my ears, and after hearing that small kid I was reminded that there is never any dead time. Something interesting is always presenting itself.
I think that most people around me are probably wondering what I am taking so many pictures of all the time, and I am happy to let them assume that I am a tourist. In all truth, after living here for nearly ten years now, I still do feel like a tourist. I mean this in the sense that it still feels like a vacation to me. There is still wonder in what lies around the next corner, or what there is to see at the next train station.
The wonder of this place has yet to wear off for me. This is a testament to how fascinating I find Japan. There is always something new for me to see. Some times it is a an altogether new place that I exploring, other times it may be something I have seen many times before but I happen to find a new way to look at it.
There is something “subarashii” (wonderful) locked up in most everything we see. The key is being able to to find it. But it is there. Trust me. All you have to do is change your point of view, or frame of mind, and open yourself to what surrounds you.
Let it all in. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the feelings.
Don’t have too many expectations about a place before you see it. While it is good to listen to those that may have been there before you, don’t take their views as gospel. Let your own personal experience shape your view and you will be surprised by what you see once you stop looking with just your eyes…