Over 30 years ago, when he was a relatively young buck in his early 40s, the fella below opened his own bar. Yet despite his age, and all those years doing pretty much the same thing every day, his enjoyment and commitment to carry on remains completely undimmed.
Ageing residents, a rather ramshackle home, and seemingly quite distinct, old fashioned gender roles. A fairly accurate sense of Japan in a single frame?
Over the last six months or so I’ve spent a lot of time at the hospital in the background below; my wife, sadly, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in the year. She’s staying there now actually, having just had her first chemotherapy session. Waiting, anxiously, to see how bad the side effects will be. More waiting. There has been so much of it already.
All of which has been incredibly difficult, not to mention stressful beyond belief. And now chemotherapy is underway, things are presumably only going to get worse. So with this in mind, it’s possible that posts here may become a little sporadic now and again.
To be honest though, I’m pretty sure posts will continue to appear as frequently as they do now, because along with the incredible support of friends and family, the one other thing that has got me through this so far is photography. When I’m out with the camera, it’s one of the very rare times I can switch off. Worries briefly recede, and the process of trying to capture something worthwhile takes over. This won’t change. I know that for a fact. It’s a cathartic element I’ve enjoyed for years. The only thing that may change is the time to actually get out. That is another thing I can’t be certain of anymore. We shall just have to see.
And the goats? What their significance is I don’t know. Nothing whatsoever I imagine. But they have been a constant. From the hospital window we have watched them. Initially a surprise, they have since become lives to look at. Lives to look out for. And from inside a hospital, simple lives to simply enjoy. Undoubtedly we’ll continue to enjoy looking at them, but hopefully not from those windows in the background.
Surprisingly, amidst the rice fields and farmhouses, what appeared to be a rather nice chapel slowly came into view.
And, as we got a little closer, our expectations were confirmed — it was indeed lovely.
There’s perhaps only one thing worse than wasting time waiting for lunch, and that’s wasting time waiting for lunch when some unwanted person is also watching you.
With Japan being relatively homogeneous and also fond of conformity, it’s all too easy to be different. But it must be terribly hard to be seen as different when you are in fact the same.