Tag Archives: Sunset

Mount Fuji on a Monday

There are two views from our Yokohama apartment that I love–the big cloudscaped skies and the symmetrical silhouette of the distant Mount Fuji. And sometimes, on certain evenings in certain light, the two come together and the result is spectacular.

Walking with Friends

Yokohama, Japan. May 10, 2014.

Some days are for walking.

It happens that two of my closest friends were born on the same day, a year apart. Seems like a grand coincidence to me, though I’m sure the astrologers would say that it makes perfect sense.

Every year, when their birthday comes around, I try to spend at least part of the day walking, taking pictures of what their birthday would look like if they could spend it with me, since I am so very rarely able to spend it with either of them. This year, their birthdays fell on a Saturday, a day without obligations, a day I could spend as it chose to unfold, the kind of day that is best spent with friends.

Is it odd that thinking of far away friends can make you more present where you are?

Some of the very best things are odd.

Eat The Frog – Production Stills

Yokohama, Japan. March 2014.

I mentioned a while back, that I work with a group of student filmmakers–The Filmeisters–after school. Last year they made one 42 minute zombie epic called Diploma. This year the group almost tripled in size, so we are making more, shorter films.

The first, “The Bureau of Broken Hearts and Faucets” is written and directed by Jun Sekiya, who wrote and directed Diploma last year. It’s the story of young man who wants to sue Love for the five disastrous relationships he’s had in the last year. Another project is a music video, and we have at least three new scripts in development. The last project is this one, “Eat the Frog,” a film about the fragility of those first moments of attraction. The script is here, in an earlier post.

I wrote the film almost seven years ago, as an acting exercise for students who wanted to play something more emotionally sensitive than the big musicals we do as school productions. Then I used it to help new screenwriters understand screenplay formatting. Last year, a couple of students filmed part of it, but lost all of their footage before editing. This year, the students helped me to rewrite the script and bring it up to date a bit. They insist that the fact that characters talk on the phone makes it too implausible, but I stuck with it. You gotta dance with them that brung ya.

It is difficult to teach filmmaking and direct a movie at the same time, and I’m afraid the film will suffer for it in attention to detail, but in the bigger picture, I hope there are some more students now who have fallen in love with the process of filmmaking. And there are still a lot of beautiful moments to savour, in the filming, and in the film.

These are production stills from the footage we shot.

After the Typhoon, Part II

Yokohama, Japan. September 2013.

As is turns out, we slept through typhoon 26 in the safety of our well-engineered apartment tower. We woke in the morning to clear blue skies. On the right, a brilliant rainbow sprouted from the cloud-capped shoulder of Mt. Fuji. On the left, a daunting wall of grey rain and clouds hovered over the bay. I wasn’t sure if we had missed the typhoon or if it was just about to arrive.

Before long, we learned that the worst of the storm passed through a couple of hours earlier, between 5 and 6 am, leaving only the uncommonly clear skies of an atmosphere scrubbed zealously clean.

But elsewhere in Japan, Typhoon 26 caused landslides that killed at least 17 people. It is a strange and heavy thing, to sleep restfully through something others will never awake from.

These are the last photos from after Typhoon 18, the ones that I took with my regular camera. The wake of the storm, the day laid to rest.

After the Typhoon, Part I

Yokohama, Japan. September 2013.

We are expecting a typhoon tomorrow. Typhoon Wipha, number 26. A big one. A once-in-ten-years kind of blow-down throw-down. Apparently the last time a storm of this magnitude came through, they had to pick up the front gate of our school down the street from the parking lot of the gymnasium. School has been cancelled, we bought some groceries and are battened down for the night.

There was another typhoon, number 18, in September. In its wake, the particulates of industry were washed out of the air, nature’s version of high-definition clarity. The windows were covered in dried-in-place drops of salt sea-brine, and as the sun set, the colors lit up a cloud-painted sky.

Skylines

Yokohama, Japan. Fall 2012.

When we started apartment hunting in Yokohama, we had some criteria about space and number of rooms and location – proximity to work, to the metro, to grocery stores. When we rented a place facing away from the bay, we thought we were giving up the view. We were told that we would have a view of Mt.Fuji in the winter, but we couldn’t see it in August. What we didn’t count on is the beauty of Yokohama’s atmospherics. The clouds over Yokohama are exceptional, and the magic-hour twilights imbue even the dreariest of urban landscapes with something near sublime.

These are photographs taken from our balcony. It’s the clouds that get me. They look like they spun up out of a Lawren Harris painting, or else it’s the colors of the sunset, the impossibly dramatic combinations of steely blues and greys with burnt pinks, the glowing embers of a sky on fire somewhere just over the horizon. We can see Mt.Fuji, by the way, but that’s another story.