Summer is here and the temperatures are enough to damage my camera even. It is also difficult to take photos of objects far away as the haze of the heat and water in the air makes everything fuzzy around the ages after a few dozen meters. I noticed this especially when I was looking at these old photos from last winter, taken in Yokohama’s Yamashita Park permanent home to the gorgeous Hikawa Maru ocean liner. In these clear winter afternoons you can see for miles out! Although I love summer, every season has it peculiar ups and downs here in Japan.
If you visit Yokohama don’t miss out on a visit to this park, not only is the Hikawa Maru an interesting museum ship to visit, there is also a nearby tower, and the gorgeous piers around the harbor.
Feeding birds seems to be an almost universal pastime for the elderly of all nations on Earth. Here is a gentleman that I met in Yokohama who was kind enough to allow my photography as he was feeding the local gulls one fine afternoon in the sun. When I get to be his age I hope I can return the favor and do my share of bird feeding as well!
Kamishibai, or 紙芝居 in Japanese is a very old Japanese kind of traditional storytelling involving pictures and a spoken story that was originally meant to teach buddhist principles and moral stories to illiterate people but these days it’s mostly funny or uplifting children’s stories. Kamishibai is one of the many amazing traditions that have survived over the centuries here in Japan, and the other week while walking in Yokohama’s famous Yamashita Park I saw this old man making the best of his electric wheel chair give a volunteer performance for both kids and adults. His voice had to be enhanced by a microphone but he still made full use of his dramatic voice and wooden clappers for special effects. Kamishibai as it looks today is most closely related to the way young men in the 20’s and 30’s would use this simple performance art to travel around the Japanese countryside and earn a small living during the hard economic times of the depression, and that is also when the storytelling turned from moral to entertaining. I can imagine local mothers were happy to have their unruly kids spend an hour or two listening quietly to the storytellers while they took care of the home! This man however, is a local volunteer and is proudly wearing the official Yokohama 150th anniversary t-shirt from 2009, cY150!
Walking through Yamashita Koen (Yamashita Park) in Yokohama’s harbor district last week I saw this lovely young mother playing with her child, who was squealing with laughter. I just had to take a photo before this little moment in time passed. I think I managed to get the shot just between smiles, the boy doesn’t look to happy in the picture! Have to work on my timing more! Yamashita park is one of my favorites in Japan. It is right at the ocean front, easily accessible and big enough to never get crowded. It’s also kept clean by an invisible army of cleaners. At least I have never seen them in person. A must visit!