Monthly Archives: April 2014

Snap / Shot


I stand in a wide space.

An empty cavern, where scrolls and paintings 5 times my size can be hung with ease. The air outside was chilly, but in here it is cloying. My stomach is empty and my throat is dry. I remove my coat and roll up the sleeves of my sweater. In front of me is a four paneled canvas filled with dark hills defined by darker lines. Shadows cast by shades of paint all recede behind one silver bough. The only sound filling the space is that of my heartbeat and breath, the slight shift of the gallery attendant, my feet shuffling on to the next image.


In the winter time of 2011(?), I had placed all of my belongings into heated storage. I took a flight to New York City. “Go to a museum,” my professor had ordered, “Recharge your creative energy.” I emerged from a sea of clouds and questions into a place where I suddenly did not fear catching pneumonia. My poetry in NY, was offered radio slots, where in Seattle it garnered cold shoulders.

I strolled through the Noguchi museum and let the statues and carvings clean my mind. Imagine the work of the sculptor, to stand before a block of stone and feel what it will become. Noguchi liked to collaborate with dancers, and so I imagined them traipsing about the sculptures.


The art museum of Fukushima is at the base of Shinobu Mountain. In between the galleries, there are small rooms where one can refresh their mind by gazing into the full life of traditional houses, soaring birds, and cherry blossoms.

ImageI back away from an image of a waterfall pouring over a mountainside until I’m sitting in the middle of the gallery and gazing up like the artist might have when they were inspired. A whisp of white paint on it’s own is flat, but now, I am watching the fog roll in over a jagged and balding summit set. A painting captures motion like writing might. When gazing, one perceives not only the moment that the artist has frozen, but the actions that occur before and after.


Today, I went out to dinner on my own. It’s been about three weeks now since I arrived, and I haven’t really gone out to eat in my town. It means a lot more trouble than I’m willing to put … Continue reading

Learning the Land

imageI didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, but I don’t regret doing so. I’m living life for small victories right now.

Today’s small victory was a test drive to the city office I have to visit tomorrow for work. My

reward, after reaching my threshold and returning home, was an adventure into Fukushima-city. Here, I assured myself, I would be able to get coffee in a cafe rather than from a vending machine and see real live humans that were not directly involved with the act of grocery shopping or driving

Of course, who only wants to go to a cafe? There was, in fact, radiant sun and a gentle breeze to enjoy. I walked through the city and gained some elevation in shinobuyama park. And once I was climbing shinobuyama, I began to understand that some cities have mountains that look after them. Shinobuyama is a sacred place that has become the resting place of many over the years, and it has sweeping views over the entire city of fukushima. As I climbed higher and higher the sound of sirens yielded to the call of crows and other birds. Power cables gave way to plum and early cherry blossoms. And all of this park was filled with the spirits of the ones who watch the city. I thought, those who grew up here truly are blessed with great luck. At one peak of the mountain, there is a temple bell devoted to prayer for world peace and eternal bliss.

I told myself, that when I could read the Japanese signs, that maybe then I could go and ring the bell if that’s really OK. Everywhere I go, I am scared of breaking unspoken rules. This is not something exclusive to my living in Japan.