fashion statement

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Every now and then I see copies of the newspaper where I work floating around town. Sometimes in the hands of commuters but more often at florist shops, where the English text makes stylish wrapping for flowers.

This dapper old man, however, had one tucked into the pocket of his white linen suit, as an accessory to his other accessory — a handkerchief in the breast pocket.

death of a cat

It’s surprising when the death of cat makes the news. In this case, though, the cat — Chiro — was an famous model. It belonged to photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, who’s now 69. Chiro was 22, which made her about 100 years old in human years.

写真家の「アラーキー」こと荒木経惟氏(69)の愛猫チロ(メス、22)が病死した。人間にたとえると100歳を超す長寿だった。荒木氏の数々の作品に登場。早世した妻、陽子さんの代わりに荒木氏を精神的に支え、ファンの間でも有名だった。

 チロは2月25日に体調が急変。腎不全で今月2日に死んだ。3日のひな祭りに荼毘(だび)に付された。荒木氏は「長い間オレだけのために生きてくれて、ありがとう」と感謝したという。
チロは荒木氏がモデルとして撮り続けた妻の陽子さんが1988年にもらってきたネコで、ネコ嫌いだった荒木氏も魅了。1990年、写真集「愛しのチロ」が平凡社から出版された。

Chiro in “Sentimental Journey”:
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I don’t know much about calligraphy, but I was really struck when I saw this picture of a letter in the newspaper. The letter was made up of one Chinese character、dynamically, fluidly, desperately drawn. It’s meaning is “regret.”

It was the only letter written by a young man to his father in China, just before the young man was executed for the murder of a family of four.

The psychology behind putting off what can be enjoyed

Original NYT article is here.

For once, social scientists have discovered a flaw in the human psyche that will not be tedious to correct. You may not even need a support group. You could try on your own by starting with this simple New Year’s resolution: Have fun … now!

Then you just need the strength to cash in your gift certificates, drink that special bottle of wine, redeem your frequent flier miles and take that vacation you always promised yourself. If your resolve weakens, do not succumb to guilt or shame. Acknowledge what you are: a recovering procrastinator of pleasure.

It sounds odd, but this is actually a widespread form of procrastination — just ask the airlines and other marketers who save billions of dollars annually from gift certificates that expire unredeemed. Or the poets who have kept turning out exhortations to seize the day and gather rosebuds.

But it has taken awhile for psychologists and behavioral economists to analyze this condition. Now they have begun to explore the strange impulse to put off until tomorrow what could be enjoyed today.

Continue reading

a man and his tree

my_kenna-640I’ve been noticing trees recently, which leads me to this. Do you recognize this man? Well then, how about the tree? If you do, then chances are you are a fan of British photographer Michael Kenna, or at least have seen his brand of well-traveled, platinum-rich landscape photography.

He’s pretty big. But I didn’t know that somewhere in Hokkaido there’s a tree named after him. Or at least there was — Kenna’s Tree — which he made famous in his book of photographs “In Japan — Conversation with the Land.”

According to this newspaper article which appeared earlier this autumn, the tree (which Kenna was fond of calling his lover) disappeared some time in August.

There was nothing particularly wrong with the tree, except for the fact that it occupied a camping area. Somewhere an official decided that tree could some day become dangerous, should it continue and to lean and grow. So before nature could take its course, men came into the picture with chainsaws. Fans of Kenna and his tree found out about the removal only after the fact. Here’s the tree as it appeared in Kenna’s photo:

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lucky shot

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This image appeared in the newspaper today. It show the trajectory of a 200-liter capacity drum filled with waste chemicals that suddenly exploded yesterday afternoon at a disposal facility in Kyoto. The drum flew nearly 120 meters, over the Tokaido Shinkansen Line and JR Kyoto Line tracks, landing in the parking lot of a place called “Lucky” on the other side. Trains pass by every couple of minutes. Fortunately, though, nothing big was hit and nobody was hurt.

東京oh! on show

tokyo_ohIn all seriousness, this is probably one the best photo exhibitions in Tokyo this year–and there are lots of them.
It’s a compiliation of the photos that appeared in the evening edition of the newspaper Tokyo Shimbun between July 2008 and July 2009.

The photo editors there has got an eye for quirky things, and the photos they’ve put together paint a portrait of a warm, wondrous Tokyo.

No wonder the series won a prize from the Japanese Newspaper Association. It’s up until the 23rd in the lobby of the Chunichi Shimbun building in Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda Ward, across from Hibiya Park. (Or you can see what the images are, here).