The Willingness of Others


You know what would be awesome. Is if someone wanted to do a project then actually enthusiastically participated. I get tired of people who say yeah let’s do it, then they do nothing to move it forward.

What World is This?


The Difference Between the US and Less Developed Countries

We feel so superior to others. We disdain them as less sophisticated than us, or call them “backwards” or “peasants” when we read their stories. We shake our heads knowingly and feel a superior pity towards them.

And we think how awful for those people.

We see a post on Facebook or a segment on the evening news in which nutters from (insert country in strife here) are shouting hateful epithets and beliefs so foreign in concept, we believe them absurd. They wave homemade signs, and they look crazy.

And we think how awful for those people.

Someone sends us a blog post profiling some folks in a faraway land who can’t get a fair shake because their government is so corrupt, so hopelessly broken that it has ground to a halt. Perhaps there’s even a picture of their leader, some grinning despot with eyes lacking humanity.

And we think how awful for those people.

We slide past posts of their environmental disasters as fast as we can because we just can’t read one….single….more story, our guts contracting, and a pervasive sense of futility and helplessness washing over us.

And we think how awful for those people.

We Haven’t Come As Far As We Thought

After spending a Saturday morning perusing the News app on my iPhone, I encountered each scenario above and others that were once-in-a-blue-moon news reports, and I came to the conclusion I don’t understand this world anymore.

Hell, I don’t even recognize it.

They (whomever they are) changed it. They chipped away at it, eroded it bit by bit, these tiny bites not even registering. This pale imitator doesn’t even look like the one I grew up in. I’m not talking about romanticizing your childhood. I’m talking about it’s allllll fucking changed, a world lacking in integrity, compassion, decorum, and some goddamn common courtesy.

We used to do what was right not because we had to but because it was how we were built. We were fair. We respected and upheld the laws. We believed in things.

Not Some Third World Country

I read the news.
I read the stories.
They were sad.
They were infuriating.
They were relentless in their numbers.

And they weren’t about some backwards, easily dismissed country, they were about America.

  • We’ve held prisoners in jail for decades without ever charging them with a crime. They are treated roughly receiving broken bones, concussions, etc. and they’ve NEVER even been charged with a crime much less convicted of one. I hate bad guys too, believe me I do, but I believe in the tenets of our laws and justice system more. You don’t get to keep people in jail forever.
  • Pedophiles and sexual harassers are put up for or are elected to office with impunity. Worse yet is that persons of faith, especially prominent celebrity ministers, publicly excuse or ludicrously explain away this behavior.
  • Our government is in complete disarray with opposite sides warring with each other.
  • The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. The middle class pays for it all.
  • Anger crazed, wide-eyed hate protestors make the news regularly. Our children watch these reports on tv.
  • There is another mass shooting every week.
  • Our environment is an ecological nightmare, a fact hastened along with current federal government roll backs of our hard fought for protections.

And I think how awful for us.

Brad Pitt, Fight Club & Gritty Philosophy 


Find Peace in this Life


Stop Buying Bullshit


Find a Fucking Purpose

Philosophy by Margaret Thatcher


“One of the great problems of our age is we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do thoughts and ideas. “How are you feeling?” “Oh, I don’t feel comfortable.” “I feel like…” ” I don’t feel like…”

“Now thoughts and ideas, that interests me. Ask me what I’m thinking. Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Candy Aisle in Japanese Grocery Store


Colorful. Crazy. Delicious candy from Japan.

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And then there is this depressed fucker…..

Although, in retrospect, I think this picture could be from the feet section and might be for inserts you put in your shoes to keep them from smelling bad.
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The Neighborhood Cemetary in Japan


You’re apt to see them anywhere. A little plat of land that serves as the local cemetary jammed full of headstones all crammed together. Space is such a premium on an island that literally every square inch is accounted for. This particular one was tiny and sat in the corner of the street where I was staying.

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Tasty Clam Snack


If you find yourself in the Aomori, Japan airport and you’re feeling a mite peckish, hit up the convenience shop and have some fresh clams. I watched the guy replenish the tank. Grab a bag. Grab some clams, and voila, you too could sit in front of gate and crack’em open for a tasty delight.

Here’s the guy loading up the tank.

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Here is a side shot of the tank.

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Here they are from the top.

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Faded Memories of Japan


Hanayashiki Amusement Park, Aksakusa, Tokyo, Japan

Photo by themeparkreview.com

Hanayashiki is the name of the amusement park I visited with my roommate, Jo when I lived in Japan. It was a tiny little place in the northeast part of Tokyo in the old downtown district called Aksakusa, and had maybe 4 rides in total. It played loud, blaring infantilized music, and came with requisite cutesy poo Japanese girl dressed like a kitty to greet you with a kind irasshiae (welcome). We rode only one ride and sat inside an enclosed pod which did a quick tour around the park about 15' up. Jo, who was afraid of heights, sat on the floor the entire time and refused to open her eyes. Laughing, I asked her why she even agreed to go on it given her phobia. She gave me a goofy grin and shrugged her shoulders then went back to clutching the center post of our table.

It made me a bit sad that, aside from the odd guest here and there, the park was largely devoid of customers. A saccharine wonderland that never truly achieved it's promised glory, and despite the fact it is only a few short blocks from the endless tide of tourists washing over the Aksakusa Temple, or, Sensoji as it is called, the pull of cleansing and purifying the spirit remained greater than the simple amusements the park offered.

I've since learned it has been abandoned and shuttered up, a victim of the previous ten years economic meltdown. Grass grows between the cracks in the concrete and the ticket windows smudged and opaque from neglect. The sky ride that I enjoyed so much with my friend locked motionless forever, watching over a city that cares nothing for it.

A strange feeling comes over me as I close my eyes and remember the sound of our laughter knowing that both it and this place will never be heard again.

Rachel, January 2014

 

My Kickstarter Project


Ok so I recently went to the world’s first crowdsourcing festival and have been thinking about some little fun project I could be a part of. The festival was called OneSpark and I was sorely tempted to sponsor this project below.

OneSpark Crowdsourcing - Afro

“I am a human male who is attempting the world record for the largest afro. Apparently this costs money, so I’m looking to raise some!”

Read About His and Other OneSpark Projects Here.

I wasn’t quite convinced though so later that night I wondered where I might go to see other projects. Natch, it made sense to head over to Kickstarter and see what they had “kicking” around. There was sooooo much….lots of great lofty do-good things. Ultimately though it came down to cats…..especially cats in hats. I was the first backer for this highly humanitarian project below which I am proud to say hit the goal.

Funny Cat in Hat

Hats for Cats Kickstarter Campaign

 

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan


This oughtta blow your mind. Tokyo, Japan has a Statue of Liberty just like France and the United States do. Located in Odaiba on Tokyo Bay is Lady Liberty. Apparently back in the 50s or so, France lent theirs to Japan. It became such an awesome tourist attraction that when Japan had to return the borrowed statue back to France, they commissioned one of their very own.

You can get right up next to her so it’s basically a photographer’s wet dream. Now I’m not a very good photographer. In fact, I’m still learning (and have been for a reallllly long time now) but here’s my best recommendations for photography for Japan’s Statue of Liberty. During the day, you’ll most likely need just your camera because you can get right up next to her so your shots should come out tack sharp (unless you’re doing HDR or something like that then you’ll have to mount your camera on a tripod – see tripod notes below.)

If you’re shooting her at night obviously you’ll be on a tripod since you’re working with longer exposures. Do not set up on the walkway right next to her. You can feel every footfall as folks walk up to look at her resulting in ugly camera shake. Off to either side of her and still very very close, you can set up there to shoot Lady Liberty or swing around 90 degrees and shoot the Bay with Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower and all the colorful tourist boats that come out at night (see yesterday’s post to view these pics.)

So here she is below, in all her glory….Tokyo, Japan’s Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

The blog owner with her two best friends ever.

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

The blog owner….always looking for that perfect shot.

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Statue of Liberty with Rainbow Bridge and Tower Tower in the background

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

The blog owner – basically this is how she spends her life when she isn’t working…with a camera held up to her melon.

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Statue of Liberty, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan