For Simon Rodia, another man’s trash is another man’s tower. Watts Towers are handmade constructions diligently and passionately built by Simon Rodia, a native of Ribottoli, Italy, during his time off work over the course of 33 years. The decoration materials … used and collected glasses, shells, pottery shards, bottles and tiles.
“I had in my mind I’m gonna do something, something big.”
The tower reaches a height of 99 1/2, only stopping there because of the city limit.
I like all the details of it. Such cool thing just seeing the different shards and pieces scattered all over the place. It seemed like he wanted to spread the love of this tower.
When Simon Rodia stopped construction of the towers in 1954 because of controversies after WWII, vandalism and some abuse, he called it “Nuestro Pueblo” which is Spanish for “Our Town”. Today, the city continues to preserve his works. Its community respect it highly. The Center of Watts District in LA, just few blocks from Watts Towers, feautres other Simon Rodia-inspired arts that were made from junks.
By the way, this really is not the usual art installation. It is right smack in a dead-end street.
I also saw this by their office … For my followers ….
It truly is a magnificent one of a kind LA sight especially given its location, its history, its underlying message to people, and the passion of Simon Rodia.
Come up to meet you.
Tell you I’m sorry.
You don’t know how lovely you are.
I had to find you.
Tell you I need you.
Tell you I set you apart.
Running in circles, coming up tails.
Heads on a silence apart.
Tell me your secrets and ask me your questions.
Oh let’s go back to the start.
Nobody said it’d be easy.
No one ever said it would be this hard.
Oh take me back to the start.
I was just guessing at numbers and figures.
Pulling the, puzzles apart.
Questions of science, science and progress.
Do not speak as loud as heart.
Tell me you love me.
Come back and haunt me.
Oh and I rush back to the start.
Running in circles, chasing our tails.
Coming back as we are.
Nobody said it was easy.
Oh it’s such a shame for us to part.
Nobody said it was easy.
No one ever said it would be this hard.
I’m going back to the start.
A song lyrics by Coldplay. All images are taken with my Samsung S3.
Here is Deborah of Container Chronicles and her selections of Seven Deadly Sins soundtracks.
You anticipate your return or departure. You already asked someone to meet you at the airport. You ate a tiny packet of peanuts on the plane. You bottle your thoughts and emotions inside you. And …. BAM! A lay-over.
My best lay-over was in Singapore dating back in 2006. We got to spend two days and one night there. I do not have pictures to show, but I remember my quick stay there so well.
My worst was in Narita, Japan. I was flying with Northwest Airline on my way to Philippines. The airline provided us a night a hotel room, but we couldn’t get outside to wander around. People were so pissed that the flight got delayed. Their connection flights are screwed. Meeting their families was put on hold. Layovers can just really be frustrating.
Our company flight from Okinawa to California was a painful one as well. We had a lot of stops, and we had to wait for good hours during those stops. However, one of our stops was in Waikiki, Hawaii where got to stay in a fancy hotel paid by my company including our food!
All images are taken with Samsung S3.
We only had 8 hours there so our gander was very minimal. We just walked around the coconut-y streets …
Took a quick glance of the beach …
Ate at a restaurant where I ordered me a plate of Hawaiian fried rice.
Entered a souvenir shop where I bought a shot glass for me and a globe for my sister. Leis and Hawaiian shirts (duh!) are all over the place.
Our quick stay there was even cut shorter when it rained that afternoon. With no more change of clothes and the night was nearing, we just stayed at our hotel.
I never really planned nor thought of being in Hawaii so it was a very neat thing that I get to see it even just for a very short time. Another cool thing is that I have a good friend that’s from Waikiki, Hawaii. It’s just nice to actually see it after all the stories he’s told me.
After a little more refreshments and hours to kill, we continued our journey back to sunny California…
So, what is your best and/or worst lay-over/airport stop?
FEATURED BLOG HIGHLIGHTS
Three of my previous Featured Bloggers have other blogs. Take a look…
Allan of Modes of Flight actually has a main site called Hammer Home Street Photography.
Sylvia or Adin created her “Hammock Lady” blog, Another Day in Paradise.
Eloquent writer, Free Penny Press, is now shooting incredibly amazing images at Six Degrees Photography.
I’m just going to mumble and jumble around on my reflections out of my stay in Okinawa.
1. It’s a small world after all.
The world is big. There I was, landed in Okinawa, a very small part of Japan. And Japan, not in the slightest, has a very unique culture. One of their great attributes is really the fact that their traditions are still in tact. It’s incredible. Even I cannot compare that to my own motherland. It makes me realize though that if you take a moment, even just a minute, to know someone who is far different from you, you will eventually find similarity, a common ground. That despite differences, we are all the same. That’s a contradictory statement but that’s what I got when I talked to this two friendly Japanese girls.
They were the one who approached me. I tried my best to understand what they were saying. They were scribbling down their notebooks. They have a lot of drawings, and poems written on it, both Japanese and English. I saw that they drew minions of the movie Despicable Me. I pulled out cellphone and showed them that I play the apps Minion Rush. They smiled and showed that they too play the same cell phone apps.
I’m not just talking about culture from culture. If you take a minute to communicate with someone maybe you don’t get along, someone you feel awkward to talk to, or someone you even hate, you can find a commonality between each other. And then you can work on that common ground, explore it, expand it or dispose it. Either way, you find something and you define yourself among the others around you. If we can just listen, amidst barriers, difficulties and differences, you’ll quickly realize there’s a connection amongst us all.
2. Lost in Translation
It’s sometimes frustrating not understanding signs or other people with different language other than yours. I, myself, even got mad at a taxi driver before. It was so difficult to communicate with him, he was smiling at our questions and I really felt like he was stalling us. It’s awful to see the meter going up without an insurance that we would get to our destination so I really showed my frustration to that taxi driver. I really felt bad afterwards. You can find yourself easily lost when you approach a restaurant menu, a vending machine, an arcade game or looking at signs on the road. In the end, it made me realize how awesome it is to experience that. When you buy something or order at a restaurant, there’s a lot of body movements and hand gestures that go on first before you get to your point. And that’s amazing! I definitely extended my patience from being there.
One of my Featured Bloggers, Johanez Jonas, advised it best – Go to places where people don’t know your language.
3. Live while we’re young.
It happened during our first night out in Okinawa. There’s this group of kids that were dancing to the tune of this pop song that in chorus it goes “Tonight, let’s get some and live while we’re young.” All the kids were smiling, looking so happy as they dance and jump around, and they really just look so jaunty. It was so memorable. That moment was so infectious, I carried the message of the song and the smiles on their faces all throughout my stay in Okinawa. It added more on my zest for life, go-getter attitude.
[I don't have the picture of that particular group but I will upload it and edit this post when I can.]
4. May Peace Prevail on Earth
Japanese people are the nicest group of people I know. Coming here on the island, we were warned not to worry about our belongings if we left it inside a taxi. They will go out of their way to bring it back. I experienced and proved that when someone chased me up to when I was going down the stairs just to return back the money I overpaid. And they really are just very well-mannered people. These are things I just don’t expect in other countries or areas I’ve ever been to. It’s even more exponentially admirable, amenable to think that they had a horrible part in history. Today, Japanese will tell you that the bombing of Pearl Harbor is the most humilitating part of history they wish to never happen again.
I guess, we all can really learn from them.
Some more of Okinawa …
Although Linda Arthur Tejera of Living With My Ancestors just recently bought a fancy camera, my favorite post from this prolofic photo challenge machine is this set of iPhone pics.
I’m not kidding you. With conviction, Okinawa is excessive!
But before anything else, I’d like to announce a little something…
The Sophomore Slump is a candidate to a Best Photo Blog poll. You can find the link on the widget, or here-> munchow.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/best-photo-blogs-round-5/. I’m definitely included there as an underdog. The competition is fierce as the others are real legit photographers. With that being said, if you don’t vote for me it’s understandable. For those who already voted for me, thank you. For those who didn’t, I will hold you accountable.
Done with your vote? Moving on …
This is not just for my summary post of Okinawa. From my observation I can seriously say that Okinawa is excessive. Ridiculously excessive, I should say. It has been my observation ever since and it proved continually the entire 6 months of my stay here. But it is over-the-top all in a good way.
All I mention here has its own post. If you see something you like and want to find more about it, go to search tab and type the necessary words. I’m tired of linking my posts.
- 277,000! people participated in pulling this giant rope that weighs over 40 tons and extends over 650 feet! It’s the largest tug of war in the world starting in 1997.
The rope which is made from rice straw was recorded in Guinness Book of Records as the longest rope made from natural material.
- Churaumi Aquarium is what once the largest aquarium in the world for quite a while until others caught up. It still raising the bar being the third largest, and its tank, Kuroshio, now ranks the second. It houses 3 of the largest fish in the world, the great whale shark.
Japan has ridiculously so many festivals and other observations, and Okinawans are real festival people. Okinawa hosts most matsuri during summer and the periods of Obon. Even the Tug of War event is considered “festival”.
- I loved going to festivals myself as it really showcases a lot of their culture and tradition. Shishi-mai (Lion Dance) ”Festival” is actually a cultural show more than a festival. This festival, though an impressive one to witness, took too long for their audience to sit on. A lot of people stood up before it finished.
Just like the mainland Japan, vending machine in Okinawa is ridiculously everywhere. You can see in places you wouldn’t think no one would use.
- Shisa in Okinawa is everywhere as well. Shisa are displayed in the entrance of houses and establishments to ward off bad evil and keep good evil in.
To see more and find out what Shisa is all about, do so yourself and go to the Search tab.
- There are a little over a million (a million!) of staglamites/staglatites in Gyokusendo Cave in Okinawa World.
- Cherry Blossoms (for lack of a better word) blossom here in Okinawa as early as the second week of January while the rests of Japan have to wait til March or April. Ridiculous, but oh so neat.
- Sorry folks, I didn’t get to the Sunflower “Festival”. The weather just didn’t cooperate. The sunflowers are incredibly tall and plenty. It would have been an awesome sight.
- During Christmas time, there are plenty of places to witness light illuminations. Just one area usually equals the number of lights with the Okinawan population. How many? Only about 1.1 - 1.4 Million lights, that’s all. I got to see the light illumination in Southeast Botanical Garden.
- In most of the events and places I’ve been to while exploring Okinawa, they love showcasing parts of their culture. Sanshin and taiko drums are overly used, and I am not at all complaining. Eisa is my most favorite thing in Okinawa. They hosts the 10,000 Eisa Dancers Festival.
Rain or shine, the festival must go on.
See I told you. The numbers are there to prove it. For such a tiny island, Okinawa is ridiculously excessive!
One of my most favorite bloggers who do photo journal very very well is restlessjo. You know what you get from a blogger named restlessjo right? The blog does not disappoint. Restlessjo is a prolific yet still remains to be outstanding all the time.
I always hear the traditional Okinawan folk music some place nearby when I’m at work. It sounds peaceful, solemn, oracular. I know somewhere in this island, some of the locals are either kneeling or bowing down their heads to honor spirits. When the new year starts, the rests of the world light fireworks while Japan welcomes it with quiet worships to shrines, temples, or even domestic. The poets are writing haikus as another New Year tradition. Cities of Okinawa may be flourishing with modernity, exposed with American influences, or bustling with their daily work, but there is a definite serenity in the air. There’s an old woman sitting down on a bench, looking at trees or the green grass at the park. There’s a kid rolling his bike’s wheels down the streets. There’s noodles boiling on the stove waiting to be served in just a few minutes. A Japanese girl is giggling, barely laughing. They’re conservative, reserved, and polite. It is considered rude to play loud music in public. Except during festivals, or when thundering taiko drums are booming by its beats and the performers yell out “Ha ii yah”. Even then, it’s something of a ritual. Okinawan traditions are still in tact, and continues in a routine basis. The true Okinawa lifestyle can never stripped from it. The slippers are left on the doorsteps, bare feet touching the wooden floors. The old will remain. The leaves of the trees in the jungle areas will continually sing with the wind. That sound of Okinawan instrument, sanshin, plays fluidly with the nature’s sounds. There really is a certain tranquility feel enveloping this island.
Naha and Nago are in opposite ends of Okinawa. There are definite comparisons to both, but they are not completely opposite. One can experience both sides of the spectrum in each end.
Nago (North) is much closer to nature while Naha (South) is more concreted.
This is much to what Japan is about. It’s a land of juxtaposition, a country of great contrasts.
After having so much fun during our spontaneous joyride adventure to Cape Hedo, the northernmost end, it was only a matter time that I explored a planned trip to Cape Kyan, the southernmost tip of Okinawa. The irony couldn’t be any funnier. Our serendipitous exploration to Cape Hedo was smooth while our planned trip to Cape Kyan turned out to be a series of disastrous mistakes. To cut the story short, we had a map but we just couldn’t find make our way there. It was an adventure nonetheless. Although, it really worried me that we may not find it in time. The sun was starting to set. The cloud was getting gloomier. Luck did find us and we rolled to a stop before everything gotten dark.
Even though it was planned, none of us really knew what we were going to expect to see when we got there. Due to time constriction, we didn’t get to the lighthouse. The lighthouse was within our sight. So close! We particularly got to Gushikawa Castle Ruins. Instead of the lighthouse, we saw small caves.
Last Calls …
This side of a more tranquil Naha shares a grim historical part of the Battle of Okinawa. Some of the final bouts of Battle of Okinawa took place here, and where many Japanese soldiers and civilian jumped off the cliff committing suicide.
- Cape Kyan -
- Taken from Battle of Okinawa Memorial Site -
I can almost hear quietude screaming its lungs out.
Care to read?
Here’s an eloquent writer and a bookworm who reviews movies and books, features interviews, exhibits illustration covers, complains about post-college life (not my words), records travel and adventures and writes random “vittles”. Literary Vittles is a blog with substance full of well-educated musings, honest assestments, and interesting as well as entertaining subjects.
It started with a series of Flashback Friday posts where, while I was in California, I get to turn back the time and revisit some of my travel destinations in Europe and Philippines. Then it now continues with Throwback Thursday where, while I’m here in Japan, I get to turn back the time and revisit some of my travel destinations in California. And now that my time here is coming to an end, this will be the last of my Throwback Thursday post. In February, for now, I will be revisiting my time here in Japan, and even older travel destiantions, when I get to California, and I will call it Memory Monday.
Remember Europe in California? Well here is the Asia version…
California is arguably the most racially diverse state in the nation. You get in a place, look around, and you’ll never find just one racial group. Here, it isn’t difficult to cross-culture. I have a pleasure of knowing that I have plenty of options to satisfy wherever my desire and imagination decide to go or be. I can walk to the end of my street, and I can choose what kind of cuisine to eat. On the way, I can come across people of different backgrounds. I can travel further a mile or two, and it’s as if I can get transported somewhere else in the world.
The above image is taken from Chinatown in LA. Perhaps the easily recognizable place to go to experience Asian culture in California are Chinatowns in both LA and San Francisco.
Let’s go to Japan in California…
Out of the 16 museums in Balboa Park in San Diego, my personal favorite is Mingei International Museum. They have a really nice display portion for Japan culture.
California has Chinatown, Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, and even Little Italy.
Karaoke singing at the center stage, Habachi dining, Hello Kitty/Sanrio shops, and wish paper are some of the things you can experience in Little Tokyo.
This next one is from Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Arts…
Moving on. My most favorite Asian places in California happens to be my first travel destination when I got back to California in 2011….
…Hsi Lai Temple.It’s so amazing that this hidden Asian gem is sitting atop a hill amongst the modernized, bustling city of LA.
You see, it’s very easy to cross-culture in California. It may not be the same, but it’s just an awesome thing to know that you can go to and experience an entirely different environment without crossing over seas.
So do you know where the Asian places in your area? If not, I think it’s time for you to do some research.
Cross-culture in SoCAL?
Suebee and Kat is an instant pro-blog in a matter of days. You can see Korean Friendship Bell, Japanese Pavilion in LACMA, Noodle Soup restaurant, Irish Dance Costumes, Brazilian Dance, Vietnamese Exhibit in Pico House Gallery, Dia De Los Muertos Gallery and Pacific Asia Museum, just some of their cross-culture sightings. My favorite, however, is a post that shows pictures of Kat’s grandma.
How much is food a part of your travel? What’s your most notable food exploration amongst all your travels?
I love this next featured blog. Learn so much more about Japan culture and traditions from an English-learning Japanese blogger, milukiriu. Read fascinating information and stories, myths and histories. Watch some festival videos. Experience their Japanese holiday tradition and celebration style, and its differences from other culture. Milu’s Dream Traveler is one of my few favorite Japanese blogs.
Some people would say, “What is travel without food”. I say it’s still a travel. My blog shows evidences that food is not a big part of my travels. Being a very spontaneous, shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy I just let the chips fall where they may. I don’t plan on what I was going to eat when I travel. I’m actually stingy with food when I travel. I sometimes just bring a lunch box before I head out. I am no epicurean. I even buy those taquitos, hotdog or small burger at gas stations because they’re filling for such small price. If you eat near your travel destination, you expect the cost to be higher than regular. I sure can sacrifice food in replacement to other travel expenses.
There’s an exception to every rule, of course. That means, there must also be an exception to the rule that every rule has an exception. Unless the food exploration is the travel destination itself, then I’m all for it!
Itadakimasu! (Let’s eat!) This is Food and Travel, Japanese version.
One of the most well-known festival food here in Okinawa is takoyaki or octopus balls. Don’t get excited. These are not actually “crown jewels”. They are just octopus meat in a shape of a ball. These balls don’t dribble either. However, these balls do come in a very satisfying package. Not my liking, but definitely worth the try when in Okinawa. The takoyaki, that is.
Most festival stalls also sell churros (better believe it, although it’s more like a snack junk food) grilled meat on a stick, fries, corn, and this delicious noodles …
One of the biggest surprises for me coming here in Japan is their sushi. Apparently, I don’t pay too much attention to details when I watch Japanese movies or movies set in Japan. When I first ordered sushi here in Okinawa, I was expecting the typical traditional sushi roll. Instead, they served me this…
… A nigiri-zushi. To me that is sashimi (raw meat), which I didn’t really eat, up to that point. The only thing that separates sashimi and sushi is that sushi has rice with it. One thing you must know about me is that my biggest pet peeves is wasting food, so it was a big challenge for me to eat that plate. It even has wasabi in between the raw fish and the rice.
I shamefully didn’t finish that set because of the raw fish. Although, after a few more sushi places I’ve grown to love this kind of sushi.
That’s my shrimp sushi on a boat. When one sushi jumped out, I called out “Sushi Overboard!”.
I love sushi but they are expensive in the US. Over here, it’s cheaper, and they offer more combinations in one order.
Mochi! (Rice Balls!) It’s a traditional food usually served during New Year. The first time I tried it, we actually made it from scratch. It was so much fun. We pounded it, dipped it in kinako (grains of soy beans), formed it into balls, stuffed it with anko (sweet beans), and then we served it to Japanese school children. I took home some for me…
That day, some Japanese men also offered me to eat sweet azuki bean soup with mochi balls in it. It’s a familiar warming soup for the winter breeze. I rubbed my belly to show how I’m loving the food and how full I was, but they immediately freaked a little and pointed me the direction to the restroom.
Just my girly dessert from a buffet…
All images are taken with Samsung S3.
I started doing this two days ago thinking it’s going to be easy peasy. This is to respond to Paula’s B&W photo challenge. One attempt after another, I kept on experimenting. As it turns out, it’s not as simple as just tipping down the scale to zero saturation level. There’s a lot more to explore and a lot more room to play with. I can just imagine for those who improve their images using HDR and how time-consuming they do their magic. Turning your images into monochromatic or achromatic palette can be laborious if you really want to achieve the best results. Although, exploration for your options and trying out what kind images work for this setting is such a fun process.
There are obvious reasons with turning images into Black and White. Fair to middling images can suddenly become very usable.
One of the definite benefits of dis-colorizing an image is minimizing distractions. When there’s a lot into one picture, you can shift the focus on your main subject, making it pop, when you turn it to B&W.
I think stage performances blend well when taking away colors.
It’s easy to take a liking to B&W images. The bottom line though is that you are stripping away the colors, and by doing so, it sucks the life out of it.
Especially with flowers and other colorful objects.
A delicious meal doesn’t appeal much to taste anymore as much as it appears more to be an art form. I can assure you though, that meal is art you can deliciously eat.
You put a colored one beside a non-colored image. Intentionally or unintentionally, B&W images can evoke emotions of being bland, unstimulating and desolating.
If your image is already sad, then you’re golden!
That is not to say that an image can’t remain lively even after modifying it into B&W per se.
The hardest part for me are the ones with extreme light.
The suprising results for me during my own experiments are actually cloud and landscape images.
Lastly, of course, inanimate and mundane, rural and urban scenes, and images with vintage feel and presence are always good with pictures turned into monochromatic to achromatic photography.
Sorry for the photo overload. Here’s more…
I think there’s a higher level of decision-making, if there such thing, whether you want to initially introduce an image with color or B&W. Photo editing, and how you approach your image, gives a much different impact or effect, esp. with B&W. Not to “put light out” of B&W but even the images here, the results may look good, but really, I feel hesitant to remove colors from these images. Well, it also relies heavily on the right picture to do B&W effect with. Given the right picture and the right touch (or play), B&W can certainly turn regular pictures into obscure, eye-catching, artful, actual photography.
Previous Featured Bloggers Linkage:
Don’t take my word for all I just said. I am no expert photographer, I just mumbling my thoughts trying to have taking points for this blog post.
Learn from the best. Here is the real photography instructor, Leanne Cole Photography. She even provides video lessons!
In Loving Memory of my Grandma…