Far Away and Close to Home

January 30, 2014

My Place

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — 1971wolfie @ 5:11 pm

My place, in the big bad world.  Captured on a weekend walk not long ago…




Taken from the road on the other side of the river.  The greenish building sitting on the right third mark is our apartment building. 

It’s a wonderful place.  I’m going to miss it. 

January 22, 2014

Peanut Philosophy

Filed under: Uncategorized — 1971wolfie @ 12:00 pm

One of the teeny, tiny pleasures in life- having a coffee at a Japanese-style coffee house (as opposed to the Western model of Starbucks or Tully’s), where you will not only get to experience the faded glory of ugly, comfortably-worn furniture and smoke stalactites hanging from the ceiling, but also get served a little packet of peanuts and rice crackers with your coffee, like this:



This one had a bonus, a bit of (misspelled, mildly enigmatic) philosophy as well.  

I regret not taking a photo of the exterior of this place, even if the only good way of doing so would have been to expose myself to death by traffic.  It’s on the Chita Peninsula, about halfway down on the western side.  As I paid the bill and left, I got a sudden rush of deja vu.  As I walked to the car I remembered why.  Seeing the place suddenly at a certain angle jogged my memory, and I realized I’d been there, once before, the first time I drove around the Chita Peninsula, fifteen years previously…

January 11, 2014

Roly-Poly Fried Heads

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 1971wolfie @ 3:30 am

At the Numazu Fish Market, we saw this dish on display outside a restaurant:


If you’re a fish shop, and you specialize in sushi and sashimi and fillets, what the heck do you do with all he leftover heads and attached spines?  Waste not, want not!  Let’s batter and deep fry ’em and offer them as a giant party snack! 


January 4, 2014

Fuji with Paraglider

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 1971wolfie @ 1:20 am

Snapped somewhere along Route 11 on the Izu Peninsula, last month…


January 3, 2014

What Love is All About

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 1971wolfie @ 5:05 am



Driving along a long highway, Masako in the co-pilot’s seat, as always.  We’d been simply enjoying the scenery, not saying anything for about an hour.

Then, Masako said,

“I love you because you’re really sweet.  And, sometimes, you are a pumpkin ghost.”

I let that sink in for about a minute.

“What’s a pumpkin ghost?”  I asked.

She shrugged.


And that, folks, is what love is all about.

More From New Year’s Eve

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — 1971wolfie @ 4:55 am

More photos from New Year’s Eve:



The line at the shrine was long…




The roof at the center protects the washing station, basically a fountain and basin with a lot of bamboo or metal scoops.  When you enter the grounds of a shrine, you’re supposed to stop there and wash your hands first.  Technically you’re also supposed to rinse your mouth, but generally speaking no one under 70 does so these days.




We also stopped at a small Buddhist temple.  The big bell under the roof there is traditionally rung 108 times (though counting these days is somewhat inexact at most places) for the 108 sins according to Buddhism. 







January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 1971wolfie @ 1:28 pm

The slightly surreal, but not photoshopped, scene at Nangu Shrine last night:



Going to a shrine and / or temple on New Year’s Eve (and / or New Year’s morning) is one of the more important traditions in the otherwise mostly-secular Japan.  


Folks crowd the shrine steps, tossing their coins in the collection box and making a New Year’s wish. 
Outside, visible in the first photo, various little food stalls sell everything from buttered potatoes to fried chicken to…



…squid on a stick. 

Happy New Year, everyone!




December 11, 2013

Paw Meets Paw

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 1971wolfie @ 11:51 am

At the Nihondaira Zoo in Shizuoka City, in the polar bear exhibit.  This was a quick shot and I got lucky.  The tube was crowded and people were moving along, and I was holding the camera without looking through the viewfinder, so I actually had no idea I’d taken this at just the right moment…




…which sucks, because if I had known, I’d have offered a copy to her parents.  In short, I have no idea who the young human is, but I hope giving a high-five to a bear will be something she’ll always remember.

December 4, 2013

Dear Me. A month has slipped by…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 1971wolfie @ 11:58 am

THIS is what happens when you get really, really busy.  I’ve been thinking that I need to update the blog, but figured only a week or two had gone by.  A month.  A whole month!


Let’s start up again with this really nifty design for a mascot for an egg company.  Found outside a Chinese restaurant in Numazu, a fishing port on the coast at the top of the Izu peninsula.


The big red hiragana says “umitate tamago”.  “Tamago” is egg (remember tamagochi?) and “umitate” means “freshly-laid” (or, as my dear one defined it, “fresh from the butt”.

more to come…

November 4, 2013

Hey, My Mantis! What’s Happening?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — 1971wolfie @ 12:27 pm

Went for a walk today and got eye-to-eye with one of the top predators of the insect kingdom.



Can you imagine how terrifying a praying mantis would look if you were the size of an ant?  I hope these photos are a good start. 




Those black dots in its eyes are not pupils.  They are pseudopupils




These photos were taken with my bottom-of-the-line, stock Canon 18-55 zoom with no macro or other features… just me, the rocks digging into my knees, and a desire to get up close and personal with a cool bug. 

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