Saturday, December 31, 2016


Last year here in the part of Vermont where we live we had almost no snow. A bit here and there that could be brushed off our steps, driveway and sidewalk with a broom.  Lame, lame, lame for those of us who look forward to winter weather. And, yes, complaining about the weather is also a favorite pastime. Though complaining about last year's lack of snow was depressing. This past two weeks winter, real winter, with snow and ice and freezing rain, has returned. Hooray for and freezing rain no, but they are part of winter weather.  Below are some photos of winter.  Click on them to enlarge them.

Friday, December 16, 2016


My daughter lives in a section of Tokyo that is a mix of old and new housing. I love to take photos in her neighborhood as I never know what styles of houses are around the next corner.  The physical area isn't very big and living quarters are close together both sideways and upwards.  However there are still older traditional Japanese homes that have yards with greenery. Usually lived in by older people. However since I first visited eight years ago the number has decreased. I was told that inheritance taxes are very very high so these homes are sold to developers who subdivide the properties.

A few years ago I attended a lecture on Architecture Behaviorology given by the Japanese architect, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, founder of Atelier Bow-Wow. One topic he discussed was the evolution of homes in Tokyo from the 1920's to the present day. First generation home owners didn't own cars so their detached traditional Japanese style homes had yards with greenery. By the third generation developers had entered the picture. The gardens had disappeared and the shapes of the properties had changed. On my recent visit I thought about Tsukamoto's lecture as I walked around my daughter's neighborhood.

The above photo is of third generation homes. The three story houses are build on long narrow plots, very close together. Notice the garages on ground level which aren't deep enough for the cars to fit in all the way.  Tsukamoto used phrases like "losing the generosity of house",  "disappointing house" to describe these single family homes which I felt given the high cost of land, etc in Tokyo wasn't quite fair. Many had pots of plants and flowers decorating the fronts of the homes. On my first few visits there was what I considered a not too large vacant lot where these houses are now.

                                        An older concrete home of a very elderly woman.   

                                          An older home surrounded by lots of greenery.                                

                                         Apartments across the street from an older home.

                                                A second hand bookstore on a side street.

   A first generation home still with some greenery in their yard.  Notice the apartments
   very close on all sides. Interesting too that some of these older homes survived the bombings
   during World War II.

                  A high rise apartment building overlooks a newer traditional Japanese style house.

    The concrete in front of this corner house always has lots of plants. Every fall I visit one or
    sometimes two eggplants are still on the vine. I always stop and take a few photos. The next
    day when I walk by the eggplants are gone. I wonder if the older man who lives here sees a
    foreigner taking photos of his last eggplants and thinks, "I'd better pick them before she 
    comes back!".

Friday, December 9, 2016


More photos of every day life in Tokyo.

                                   I'd never seen a vending machine being restocked.

                                            Ubiquitous Neighborhood Vending Machine.

                                                     Truck for Botanical Fuga.

                                                              Side street parking.

                                            Neighborhood trash day.  Gone by evening.


                                                     Sign near Elementary School.


                                  Empty plastic produce crates behind Olympic Food Market.


Monday, November 28, 2016


My younger daughter has lived in Tokyo, Japan, for several years and now my visits are very low key in terms of not running around visiting famous sites.  I spent the first week of my recent visit taking "slice of life" photos.  Below are some local photos.

                                          Local main street in Kita-Shinjuku, Tokyo

                                    Boss Vending Machines being to delivered to local area.

                                                 Sunny day. Time to air family futons.

                                 School girl holding bag strap in her mouth on a rainy day.

                                 Greasers at Yoyogi Park in Harajuku on a Sunday afternoon.

                                          Rock'n out. Notice the extensions on shoes.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Was it the lack of a real winter this past year with almost no snow, or too little rain or the light or the warmer temperatures that made some of this years colors unusual, almost pastel. ???  Below are some photos I took. Another day I'll put up some traditional looking fall colors.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Vermont - Small Town Living -September 2016

Today was the fall Chili Cook-Off presented by the Poultney Rotary Club.  While I am not a fan of chili I do like to walk up town and snap photos of the different types of vendors who set up for the day. It was a clear sunny day with more than a hint of fall in the air. Also the sun isn't rising as high in the sky so there were what I call fall shadows.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Orwell Glass at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vermont

A good friend and I have birthdays a week apart. She called and emailed me that this year we had to celebrate our birthdays at a glass blowing workshop. Usually we go out to lunch or dinner.  Orwell Glass is at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in July and August she told me.  So let's go the last week in August. Okay, I said.  And on a sunny Monday off we went.   What neither of us (or maybe just me) realized was that after a demonstration we would actually blow a bulb and stamp two sun catchers. Ourselves.  My friend taught K-8th grade for 30 years so was much more comfortable with this do-it-yourself than I was. I told her she had to go first. And good friend that she is she did.

                                  My friend watches and listens to our instructor.

                                 My friend blowing her bulb. Notice our instructor is helping
                                 form the bulb. My friend got it in one try. I however took
                                 three tries. First try I blew too hard and the bulb exploded.
                                 Second try I blew too slowly but got it on the third try.

                                         My bulb. I am very happy with it.

                                 Next we made sun catchers.  The instructor puts a blob of
                                 molten glass on the table. My friend, notice the design press
                                 in her hand which she will press onto the glass blob.

                                The instructor finishes the sun catcher with a hole to hang my
                                friend's fish sun catcher with.

                                 My crane sun catcher.

                                   My  off center dragon fly sun catcher.  I hope it looks like
                                   it's flying.

                                 Numerous pieces of colored glass.

                                 A youtube video of the  Orwell Glass workshop.