Another photo walk – 写真散歩、その2

Nezu Shito Shrine 根津神社


“The View” actually has some news to report.  For example, I recently played the last recital in a forty-year career of solo organ performances.  Or the news that the Rikkyo University Chapel Choir and I depart for another tour to England in a week.  But today I am not in the mood to write about those topics.  Instead, I’ll share a few photos from a recent photo walk with several Rikkyo choir members and a recent graduate.

We walked from 12:30 pm until around 7:30, if memory serves.  There were stops for coffee, etc, of course.  But it was a very long walk; from Nezu Jinja through Ueno Park, and on down to the Tokyo Skytree, where we finally warmed up with food and beer.  It is always fun to see the same places taken by different people using different cameras.  At the end of the post I’ll share a few photos of things.  But first, people.  I am finding people a more and more appealing subject of photography.  I’m awfully shy of photographing strangers on the street, so was glad to have four cooperative subjects.  Here are the people shots (black and white first, click to enlarge any photo).

And the color shots:

The Yanasen area of Tokyo is a fascinating place to wander with a camera.  Nezu Jinja provides plenty of photo ops, as do the neighborhoods between the shrine and Ueno Park.  Then at night, Senjo-ji Temple, Sumida River and Tokyo SkyTree are all colorful places for shooting.

Nezu Shrine 根津神社

Nezu Shrine 根津神社

Nezu Shrine 根津神社

Nezu Shrine 根津神社

Sensoji-temple, Asakusa 浅草寺

Sensoji-temple, Asakusa 浅草寺

Tokyo Skytree and yakabune boat reflected in the Sumida River スカイツリー、屋形舟、隅田川


After hours of walking we reached the goal! やっとゴールに到着した

Finally, while taking photos at Nezu Shrine another day I was approached by TV Tokyo.  They were doing a series on foreigners in Japan, and what they find of interest.  So here is my very brief TV appearance.

Posted in Photography ~写真, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

Walking around Miura – 三浦半島ぶらぶら

The other day I made major discovery.  Long distance walking and photography.  I have taken many a long walk in the city while enjoying photography.  But it never crossed my mind to make a several-day walking photography trip.  The area was the Miura Peninsula, just south of Yokohama, and an area I often cycle in.  But cycling, similar to driving, means you ride past so many interesting things without realizing it.  Walking opens up the view on a totally different level.  Here are the maps for my three days of walking.


Day 1.  Train from Tokyo to Misakiguchi Station, and an 11 km walk to the Aburatsubo area, where I was staying.  1日目:電車で池袋から三崎口駅へ、昼から半日の写真散歩。三崎口駅から油壺の宿までは約11キロでした。

As you can see in the map, I headed directly for the beach.  On the way were wonderful views of Mt Fuji and farmers harvesting daikon radish.  And at the beach I discovered a deep and mysterious cave, with steps carved into the stone leading up to…  Even with my iPhone as a flashlight it was too dark to proceed past the point in these photos.  I guess I’ll leave that for another time.


from Misakiguchi Station to Aburatsubo Keikyu Hotel

from Misakiguchi Station to Aburatsubo Keikyu Hotel


from Misakiguchi Station to Aburatsubo Keikyu Hotel

from Misakiguchi Station to Aburatsubo Keikyu Hotel

from Misakiguchi Station to Aburatsubo Keikyu Hotel

The way to my hotel (Aburatsubo Keikyu Hotel) led through a forest called Koajiro no Mori.  Instead of walking on the highway with cars and trucks booming by, I descended into a silent forest with nary a human to be seen.


from Misakiguchi Station to Aburatsubo Keikyu Hotel

Day 2.  I walked from Aburatsubo to Jogashima, an island off the coast.  I have cycled many times in this area, but walking showed how much I’ve missed!  I started by exploring the beach below the hotel, and then walked to Misaki Port, famous for its tuna markets.  Lunch, naturally, consisted of a tuna steak.  The next goal was Jogashima Island.


Before walking around the island, I explored the following the ‘somewhat’ decrepit central area of the island.  島を一周する前に北原白秋の記念館と少し寂しい町(村?)を通りました。

walking around Jogashima

walking around Jogashima

walking around Jogashima

And then found this coffee shop.  What a discovery! The owner is a film buff (and that is putting it mildly!).  Every surface is covered with movie posters and photos of actors/actresses.  And when he discovered I spoke Japanese he started to quiz me on how many movies I have seen.  See his handwritten list below:


the coffee shop exterior

me, pondering the movie list

the quiz – how many of these have you seen?

The light was not fabulous for photography, so I experiment with black and white photos while exploring the back of the island.  I quite like the ‘dreary’ effect.


walking around Jogashima

walking around Jogashima

walking around Jogashima

walking around Jogashima

I was rather tired after walking all day, so checked the bus schedule.  It turns out that walking would put me back at the hotel at the same time as the bus, so I put myself in high gear and walked the hour or so back to the hotel, its hot spring bath, and a cold beer (or two).


Day 3. I decided not to return by the same station (Misakiguchi), so walked across the peninsula to the coast.  On the way I was surrounded by fellow walkers.  All dressed in the same green outfits…


my walking companions for 30 minutes

Once I reached the coast I was again in familiar cycling territory.  But it felt like moving in slow motion.  I found all sorts of places that I normally buzz by on my bike.  Here is a Shinto shrine that caught my eye.


My last stop before catching the train back to Tokyo was a graveyard, actually.  The reason?  On the train down the peninsula on day 1, I saw a very large statue of the Buddha from Nagasawa station.  I decided that I would return and climb up the hill to see what it was.  Considering the size of the statue, it is odd that I couldn’t seem to find it at first.  I wandered the hills above the station, eventually coming across this.  Obviously not a Buddhist image.


But with the help of Google Maps I eventually found the place – atop an extremely steep and long hill.  I never give up when pursuing a photo, but this time I was quite tempted to abandon the quest.  In the end, though, the views of the Buddha at the top and an five-tiered pagoda repaid my efforts many times over.  Here they are.


View from the top 霊園からの景色

The long walks were a pure pleasure.  Time to look at the passing scenery, time to consider how to express things I saw with my photography, and time to feel the freedom of walking wherever my feet led me.  I am sure I will be doing more walks like this in the future.  Here are a few bonus shots from the trip.


local produce

Misaki port fishing boats

Daikon radishes drying on the beach

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End of holidays; life changes – 休みが終わりました、還暦についての思い

I found this little statue in my local Buddhist temple. His expression mirrors my feeling at the end of the Christmas holidays.  But going back to work has its positive side.  I love working with the Rikkyo choir, so the resumption of rehearsals is a positive.  Also, being away from home gets me out from the habit of snacking on Christmas sweets every hour on the hour.  This has to be a good thing.

What did I do during the holiday break, you ask?  I admit I only got on my bike once. On the other hand, I did a lot of long-distance walking with a camera in hand.  So, in addition to spending good times with my family, I was able to work in quite a lot of photography.  A few of the things I saw while out on long walks will appear at the end of today’s post.

Now what is the meaning of this odd photo? What is with the red getup?  Japanese people will immediately understand, but the attire signifies that I turned 60 (late last year). And in Japan, turning 60 is a big event.  Because the Asian zodiac runs in cycles of 12 years, reaching 60 means that you have done 5 cycles and are considered to have completed one life cycle.  The implication is that now that you are done with the old life you are allowed to begin a new one.

I’ll be quite honest here.  Numbers mean very little to me.  Turning 60 was the same as turning 32 or 29 or 12.  Putting the numbers aside, though, I did feel that it was time for a change, and that change coincided with reaching the age of 60.  There have been many things in life that I have felt I “should do” or “should strive to be.”  I many cases, this sense of striving for something better has led to improvement.  Better performing, better teaching, etc. On the other hand, the feeling that one should be something better than one can also gives rise to feelings of inadequacy. I determined that now that I have reached the grand age of 60, and have completed one life cycle, that I would free my self from the curse of “should do, should be.”  How does this determination express itself?  In many cases, it means that I now accept things as they are.  This IS my level of conducting and performing.  This IS my was of dressing.  This IS my way of living life.  Perhaps one does have to reach the grand old age of 60 to be able to indulge in this sensation.  I must admit it is exhilarating!

Something I’ve thought about for a long time in relation to the above was when to stop performing solo organ concerts.  I wanted to get out of the business before I started giving poor performances.  Turning 60 seemed to be the ideal time to make the jump.  So, with next week’s lunchtime concert at St Timothy’s Anglican Church in Tokyo I end my career as a concert organist.  I’ve thought on this a lot over the past few months, and don’t regret it.  It’s time to get out, and I’m ready to do other things.  To make the decision really final I’m selling my house organ (more on that in a later post), and declining recital offers.  I’ll still play for Rikkyo university ceremonies and services as needed, but no more solo concerts.  4o years in the business is enough.

Now to lighter topics.  Here are a few of the things I saw on long (15 km or more per walk) strolls through Tokyo during the winter break.  It doesn’t matter what country I’m in, I am attracted to signs of the spiritual, whatever the religion be.  In Japan that usually means Shinto Shrines or Buddhist Temples.  Here are a few I found while wandering.

I work hard at times to get the shot I want (photo by son Masa, with wife Mariko in the background working the same shot)

The resulting shot:

Of course Japan is not a land of nothing but temple and shrines.  On a recent walk to Shinjuku the winter light suggested black and white photos of city scenes.

And in the miscellaneous category:

Dream houses

Riding in inclement weather

And finally, winter foliage

Posted in Photography ~写真, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

Happy 2018! 明けましておめでとうございます!

(日本語は間も無く追加します)It is officially 2018, and The View wishes all its readers the best of all possible years.  The future is indiscernible and the past a bit frightening, so I suggest we try to live in the moment this year.  Perhaps if we live each day as if it were our last the world would be a better place?  There would be no need to amass indecent amounts of wealth, or to try and climb over our fellow humans in the pursuit of fame, power, or whatever.

It must be admitted that strange things transpired last year.  An old man with a long red necktie and strange hair took up residence in the White House.  He continues to spew electronic missiles that aim to divide rather than unite.  But sudden rises can presage sudden falls.  On this New Year’s Day I hope for better leaders who care for the future of all humanity.  We deserve better.

Following that admittedly unprecedented political outburst, I think it would be wise to turn to less controversial topics.  Photography, anyone?

I can’t seem to get in the mood for cycling lately, but have taken several longish walks with camera during the holidays.  My New Year’s eve was spent rambling through the north side of Tokyo.  Though I’m fairly familiar with this part of the city, I still managed to make new discoveries.  A brief flurry of snow while I visited a small Shinto shrine helped to make the day more memorable. So, to greet the new year, I share images of Japan at the holiday season.  I hope you get a sense of the peacefulness and calm that I found while out walking.

New Year decoration at Johoku Park 城北公園にあった門松

Colors of the season 季節の色

Other colors of the season 冬の美しさ

Suwa Shinto Shrine, Nerima 諏訪神社、練馬区

Suwa Shinto Shrine, Nerima 諏訪神社、練馬区

Suwa Shinto Shrine, Nerima 諏訪神社、練馬区

Myoanji Temple, Nerima-ku 妙安寺、練馬区

Myoanji Temple, Nerima-ku 妙安寺、練馬区

Chomeiji Temple, Itabashi-ku 長命寺、板橋区

Chomeiji Temple, Itabashi-ku 長命寺、板橋区

The staff photographer ブログの写真担当

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The sleeping blog awakes, or Christmas at Rikkyo – 眠っていたブログがよみがえた(クリスマスですの報告)

Merry Christmas!  Another year of music making has come and gone, and once again I am enjoying food, family, and wine.  The stress levels decrease in inverse proportion to the increase of my waistline.  But that is a project for the new year.  For now it is time to forget and celebrate.  I hope you had a good holiday, whatever your religious preference might be.


The editor of the blog apologizes for nearly two months of sloth!  It is time to start posting again – with a vengeance.  Today I will share the Christmas events at Rikkyo University that I had a hand in.  From tomorrow I think I’ll begin changing the focus of this blog more toward photography.  Time will tell.


Lessons and Carols (December 16, 2017) 9つの聖書朗読とクリスマスキャロル礼拝

The Rikkyo University All Saints Mixed and Women’s Choirs sang for the annual service of Lessons and Carols in the Ikebukuro Chapel.  With a 75 voice choir in a 300 seat chapel, the layout of the choirs is critical.  Following last year’s pattern the Women’s Choir sang from the balcony while the Mixed Choir took over the chancel area.  It worked beautifully for double choir music.  I was very pleased with the singing of both choirs.  Luckily for us, choir graduate Uramoto Kohei took excellent photos of the service from the balcony.

2017年12月16日立教学院諸聖徒礼拝堂で Lessons and Carolsという伝統的クリスマス音楽礼拝が行われました。混声聖歌隊と女声聖歌隊が歌いました。チャペルの収容人数が約300人に対して、75名の聖歌隊員の配置が重要な点です。去年の通り、女声聖歌隊はバロコニーに、混声聖歌隊が祭壇で歌い、ダブルクワイアの音楽には最高の配置でした。両聖歌隊の歌のレベルに満足しました。卒業生(と元代表)の浦本康平さんが下の写真を撮ってくれましたので、提供します。

Mixed choir performing 混声聖歌隊の演奏

Carol singing 全員でクリスマスキャロルを歌う場面

The student conductor’s job during this event is critical – she has to direct the Women’s Choir when it sings, as well as to watch my conducting during the double choir works so that the two choirs sing together.  Kitazawa Aoi did a wonderful job!


Student conductor of the Women’s Choir Kitazawa Aoi 女声聖歌隊の学生指揮者の北澤さん

Yet another excellent sermon by choir chaplain Kim Daewon 聖歌隊チャプレンの金先生は相変わらず素晴らしい話をされました

End of service recessional 礼拝最後の退堂

Christmas Eve followed the normal pattern at Rikkyo, with late afternoon services at the Ikebukuro and Niiza campuses.  This year I was in charge of Niiza, playing the organ for parts of the service and conducting the choir.  Student conductor of the Mixed Choir, Nagata Haruna, took charge of the university choir anthems at Ikebukuro (thanks, Haruna!) .  Here are a few photos from the Niiza campus chapel.


The creche at Niiza is a large and elaborate one.  Just the thing for photographers with a bit of time to kill.  I must admit always wonder why the carvers choose to portray Jesus as a blue-eyed blond, though!


After the 5:30 pm Niiza service I took the train back to Ikebukuro for rehearsals and the 11:45 pm Midnight Mass (I am usually the organist for this, so my student conductors do all of the conducting for this elaborate sung service).  The last event for this busy time is the Christmas Day high mass.  It went very well from both a liturgical and musical standpoint.  Both choirs were seated in the chancel, with the handbell choir using the balcony.  For reference, here is a list of the music sung by the two choirs for the above services:



1: Wiant/Shaw: Stars of Ice (a Chinese Christmas carol sung but he Women’s Choir in Chinese)
2: Andrew Carter: O come, o come, Emmanuel (Double Choir)
3: Roger Quilter: The cradle in Bethlemem (Women’s Choir)
4: Howells: A spotless rose (Mixed Choir)
5: Stanford: Magnificat in G (Mixed Choir)
6: Philip Stopford: Lully, Lulla, Lullay (Mixed Choir)
7: 14th Century German, arr. John Rutter: Quem pastores laudavere (Double Choir)
8: MacDowall: Gloria (Women’s Choir)
9: Willcocks: Resonemus laudibus (Double Choir)

Retiring Choir Staff 聖歌隊のスタッフ引退

The end of the Christmas high mass also marks the changing of the guard in the Rikkyo choir.  The third-year students who have managed all aspects of the choir for the year retire, and a group takes the reigns.  I always dislike this part of Christmas.  The wonderful staff on which I have relied totally for the smooth running of the choir melts away, and a new group starts to tests its skills.  I am happy to being work with the enthusiastic new group, but always miss the former staff.  The 2017 was a truly stellar group!  Thank you to all members, but especially the student leader Nagai Hiroshi, and student conductors Nagata Haruna and Kitazawa Aoi.  You made my job a lot easier in 2017!!!


2017 Choir Staff members

My wonderful (former) student conductors (Aoi on the left and Haruna on the right)

The Editor of the (sleeping) View from Tokyo wishes all of you the best of all possible holiday seasons.  Peace and joy to us all!

(the View will resume regular posting from tomorrow!)

Posted in Choral ~ 聖歌隊関係, Church music ~ 教会音楽, Music - general ~ 音楽:一般, Rikkyo ~ 立教, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment