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Showing posts from November, 2013

Nagai Shuzo: Mizubasho

In 2009 I did a write-up on my top sake choices for Gunma Prefecture, so if you want to follow-up you can click here.   The significance for this post is to re-introduce another great Japanese sake from one of the best breweries in the industry.   Nagai Shuzo.     I shot most of the trip in film from a Pentax K1000 at 400 iso Fujifilm.   No filters.  35mm.   No better time to be up in these parts of Japan than in autumn.    The lush vegetation this prefecture is known for having is now toasty brown and amber, especially when viewed along the highway.   The preferred mode of travel is via “ The Drink Bus.”   A group of old men get together and rent a driver and a large bus for the whole day.  At the back of the bus is a round table replete with sake, beers, and cocktails.   This was actually the reunion bus from last year, so it was nice seeing some of the same people I saw last year.  

Our itinerary was to meet up in Tokyo first.  7a.m. and from there to Kawaba in Gunma Prefecture, a…

Random Acts of Kindness

The holidays are upon us in reds and yellows.  The skies are thin and shy, spread across a vast expanse of blueness.   It’s still officially autumn in Japan and yet you can see Christmas decor going up all around you, if you’re in Japan.   When  I officially post this, it will be November 25th, the day Mishima Yukio committed  ritual suicide atop the Japan Self Defense building.   But of course, no one remembers him.   We rarely remember the symbolism of such an act in our day and age.   On this day I try to reflect on Japanese people and what they have meant to me.   I try to post some nice experiences to share. 

Random Acts of Kindness

So I'm at my favorite watering hole.   I ask the bartender for his recommendation.   He brings out three bottles of the good stuff.  You know, the seasonal stuff that’s fresh from the sake brewer and is usually in limited quantity...   I order all of them at once.    So I'm sitting there and imbibing with the locals when this 80 year old Japane…

American Trophies

During the 19th century foreign nationals had lived in the best parts of Yokohama, up  in the hills of Uchikoshi and Yamato, away from common Japanese folks.   The soul of the nation was ruptured during this period in Japanese history because of it.    

Foreigners brought with them their religion, their education, their national identity, and their language, and for no other reason but to colonize the minds of ignorant Japanese people.   The  idea of Christmas and Christian values are deeply intrenched within the mindset of the Japanese, more so than what they actually admit.  The most exciting place on earth for Halloween is Shibuya in downtown Tokyo.   

A century after Yokohama opened its  ports, the cultural landscape of the nation has undergone immense change.    The city of Yokohama has its vibrancy, but its roots are  somehow lost in the gulag of the soul.   War guilt, shame, ignorance, and self loathing just to name a few. Then there's the denial of the past which destroys t…