These are a series of photos all taken from the few blocks that are around my house. I live in a beautiful area and am constantly wandering down new streets to see what I will find.
Tanabata is a holiday where everyone makes a wish and hangs it on a special tree.
This tree was placed outside my home, so I felt obligated to hang a wish on it.
My neighborhood produce vendor. Everything is fresh and local, and I constantly find different vegetables and fruits that I've never seen before.
The park at my neighborhood shrine.
Senbay (rice cracker) handmade cookies at a neighborhood shop, with messages written in frosting.
A neighborhood coffee and tea shop.
This is the street that runs parallel to my street. It's named Nakamachi- dori, and is a street lined with old buildings that has been preserved for many generations in the Edo Style of architecture. The white walls are a characteristic of the old merchant districts of Japan.
Fresh water wells located around town to drink from.
Bicycles and big leaves.
Giving new meaning to the term hole in the wall.
Local cemetery. Unlike in San Diego, there are cemeteries and shrines to the deceased all over town. You can't ride your bike for more than five minutes without passing one. There is a constant presence of those who have come before and of those who are to be remembered. I feel that the Japanese have a stronger respect for their ancestors than we do as Westerners. I don't know whether to attribute this to the fact that they are a people who have always come from the same country, with lineages that are traceable for thousands of years, or if it's just a cultural difference? Either way they are stunning, and remind me that even in death there is beauty.
It's me in Japan!
Water water everywhere.
Their obsession with umbrellas, rain or shine.
On every street and on every corner you will find a vending machine. I have yet to see any with some of the weird stuff people have told me I will find, such as dirty panties.
The confusion of signs.
The izakaya I got to for the best 500 yen beers I've had in the city.
Everywhere you look here you find beauty. Their ability to balance the man made with the natural world never fails to amaze me. You see the combination of both in everywhere you look.
The street leading up to mine. My street, Nawate, intersects with this one where those people are standing.
Sneaky little alley ways.
Nawate Street is also known as frog street, and the entire street I live on is filled with frog souvenirs and frog artwork.
From another shrine I wandered through.
The common Japanese gateway to the shrine is known as a torii, and it marks the transition between the profane world to that of the sacred.
This fox statue is called a kitsune, and it is holding a symbolic item in its mouth. Foxes are common in Japanese folklore, and are known to be intelligent and are said to also possess magical abilities. The foxes talent is also thought to increase with their age and wisdom. In ancient Japan, foxes and humans lived together as close companions and as time has passed they have become closely tied to religion. They serve as messengers to the gods, and it is believed that the more tails a kitsune has, the more powerful and intelligent it is. Many people in Japan honor the kitsune and leave offerings for them.
Nawate street as the sun begins to set for the evening.
These photos were taken from a bike shop that has been in a man's family for over 80 years. The shop was exploding with vintage bikes that were literally pouring out the front door and into the street. There were more bike parts and tools in one tiny space than I have ever seen in my life. The man who owned it had to be at least a 100 years old, and he was rockin' a pony tail. Everything about him and his shop was incredible.