Shapes & Shadows

Note the interplay between organic and human-made forms.  Things delicate, and things weighty.  It interests me.  Note also  several photos — interspersed among the collection below — that are angle-driven, where the diagonal is the point — some cutting one way and some cutting the other way.  I’ll leave it to you to spot what I’m referring to.  And, yes, there are several cup photos.  I’ve taken a liking to the form of cups and the way light and shadow play off the roundness and angles in these photos.  If you enjoy this gallery, may I suggest: いろいろ or this one: 元気? My stories provide additional context to the photos, or vice versa…

Shinnyoh-doh. Leaves, Kawara & Wall. Kyoto. 2009.

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In the Westin Miyako Lobby. Kyoto. 2011.

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Zaru Soba. 「つゆ椀」. Kyoto Station. 2011.


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Wall and Shadow. Kyoto. 2008.

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Marutamachi-Okazaki. Kyoto. 2011.

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“Entrance” sign detail. Tokyo Station. 2011.

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Kodaiji Lantern. Kyoto. 2011.

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Sake from Iwate Prefecture. Tokyo Restaurant. 2011.

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Restaurant. Roppongi Hills. Tokyo. 2011.

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Sake & Edamame. Kyoto.  2011.

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Temple Bell. Kurodanidera. Kyoto. 2011.

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On the San-jo Bridge. Kyoto. 2009.

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Umbrellas.  Kyoto.  2008.

Umbrellas. Kyoto. 2008.

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Himeji Castle detail.  Himeji.  2008.

Himeji Castle detail. Himeji. 2008.

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Ryoan-ji Temple Garden. Detail. 2008.

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Sunset on Shoji.  Kyoto.  2008.

Sunset on Shoji. Kyoto. 2008.

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Fans. Along San-jo. Kyoto. 2011.

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Hibiya Matsuri Tents.  Tokyo.  2007.

Hibiya Matsuri Tents. Tokyo. 2007.

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Double take. Gion, Kyoto. 2003.

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Company Sign. Ni-jo Street. Kyoto. 2009.

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Noh Mask.  Toji Temple Market.  Kyoto.  2003.

Noh Mask. Toji Temple Market. Kyoto. 2003.

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Roller Coaster. Tokyo. 2011.

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Looking down from my balcony. Hotel Miyako. Kyoto. 2011.

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Marutamachi & Higashioji Streets. Element. Kyoto.  2007.

Marutamachi & Higashioji Streets. Element. Kyoto. 2007.

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Restaurant Noren.  Miyajima Island.  2008.

Restaurant Noren. Miyajima Island. 2008.

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Gion. Kyoto. July 2004.

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In the lobby: Miyako Hotel. Kyoto. 2011.

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Shinkansen. Himeji Station. 2008.

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Reflections.  Miyajima Island.  2008.

Reflections. Miyajima Island. 2008.

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Stairs. Near Tokyo University. 2011.

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“Unagi.” Eel restaurant banner. Kyoto. 2007.

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The photograph just above, “Unagi“,  lends itself to some explanation for those who do not read Japanese.  Many aficionados of Japanese food are familiar with unagi — grilled eel.  It’s spelled in hiragana  “u”  “na”  “gi”.  For those whose computers will read Japanese text, that ‘s  うなぎ ,  which you can see in the banner.  The “oo” (like in “zoo” or “moo”) sound is the first syllable and, here, being all whimsical, does double duty by taking on the shape of an eel.  Unagi.

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    • lmbelluk
    • August 17th, 2009

    Simply lovely, Rick. I am touched by the clarity and simplicity of the images. Gambatte!

      • letsjapan
      • August 17th, 2009

      Thanks. I like these, too, of course. I like to see how things balance, or don’t. And sometimes it’s not necessarily the subject matter in and of itself that’s important, but the form of what’s in the frame. Sounds hokey when you talk about it, but you know what I mean.

    • Dottie
    • August 18th, 2009

    Richard,

    These new photos are incredibile!

    Warm regards,
    Dottie

    • Michelle
    • September 2nd, 2009

    Especially like the sunset. :)

      • letsjapan
      • September 2nd, 2009

      Thank you, Michelle. Took that on a typical stroll along an frequently trod road that runs right up to the knees of the “East Mountain” (Higashiyama). Around sunset at these little tea houses and restaurants the proprietors come out with either hoses or small buckets of water and wet-down the pavement or flagstones in front of their business to give it that fresh, just-rained-on look. I recall that just before I took that photo the 60-ish lady who ran that restaurant (or at least worked there) had just finished going through that modest and welcoming ritual for the guests she hoped would soon be arriving. . .

    • Karl
    • September 7th, 2009

    Unagi reminds me of an enso, not to mention the ouroboros… the symbol Jung mentions frequently… the self-reflexivity – reflections followed by self-reflection.

    • letsjapan
    • September 7th, 2009

    First and foremost they were definitely going for the double entendre of the “oo” in “unagi” and the shape of the eel, but, on a secondary (perhaps unconscious?) level, an enso is, indeed, reconstructed here. Funny thing you’ve made me think of: the famous (google it), 12th Century “Choju Jinbutsu Giga” emaki/story scroll. In it the frolicking animals (in part) lampoon Buddhist priests, or at least make light of the Serious Ceremony surrounding them.

    Here, a delicious eel (like Napoleon Dynamite’s “delicious bass”?) de- or re-constructs the sacred enso. Oh! The tongue-in-cheek essay that could be written on this! How Zen: to *eat* the enso and turn a mandalic form into something quite natural, but quite vile. I know a Jodo-shu priest (vis a vis Rinzai, Soto or Obaku sects of Japanese Buddhism) in Kyoto whom I think would find this as instructive as he would funny. And I’d like to believe that most Zen-shu priests would find it funny, too. This is all speculative on my part, as I claim no particular expertise in this area — just conversations I’ve had and some other exposure (see, e.g., my story “Enlightenment”. I believe that temple’s Rinzai, but not 100% sure).

    • Karl
    • September 7th, 2009

    instructive and funny go well together in my book. well, if I had a book, they would.

      • letsjapan
      • September 7th, 2009

      Instructive + Funny. Many a good koan is rooted in this principle.

    • Ronnie
    • May 3rd, 2010

    You’re an artist with both camera and pen(or keyboard)

      • letsjapan
      • May 3rd, 2010

      Thank you, Ronnie. That’s very high praise . . . coming from you. Really.

      R

    • Rob Yellin
    • September 24th, 2011

    Great shots Richard, you have a fine eye.

      • letsjapan
      • September 24th, 2011

      Thank you, Robert. That makes my day, coming from someone who sees such things day in and day out, and who has over the years. And, certainly, your eye for and in the Three Dimensional world is rather renowned. Of course, if I can get my other eye working, I’ll really be dangerous.

      All the very best to you,

      R.

  1. Very elegant presentation! And the whole site looks very nice :0

      • letsjapan
      • December 16th, 2011

      Thanks so much, Origa. I appreciate both your visiting and the kind words.

      R.

  1. May 2nd, 2010

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