Jim Friesen - Photography

Return to My Blog

     I woke up at four in the morning to the sound of two men speaking Japanese in the alley outside our window. It wasn't loud and the streets were otherwise quiet. A crow was offering some comments from a nearby rooftop. The crows there are larger than the ones in Vancouver but smaller than ravens. I was told later they were called 'Jungle Crows' and could be aggresive. There was always one or two of them keeping us company as we travelled the city and the country. I started thinking of them as informal escorts. 


     We got our breakfast at a 7-Eleven that morning (it wasn't bad: a little box of sliced fruit, and rice with a mysterty filling - tuna, I think - wrapped in seaweed, and a bottle of water. This became my morning staple) and decided we were going to visit the Senso-ji Temple; Tokyo's oldest temple.

     We passed a nearby landmark that we had noticed the night before.

     Yes, the bar in which penguins are present. The next day we walked past it in the late morning when the door was open and we looked inside and there was, in fact, an unhappy looking penguin in a fenced off fake landscape near the back wall. Nothing sadder than a penguin in a bar at 10:30 on a Saturday morning. If I get back I'm definitely thinking of busting him out (note for future movie plot). 

     Anyway, we got to Senso-ji Temple and it brightened up a cloudy morning.


     Photographers everywhere. When it's like that I just take pictures of the people taking pictures


     For many people the visit was a serious pilgrimage. I don't judge people on their beliefs but on their actions. And who am I to pretend to know the true nature of existence? In Wim Wenders' beautiful movie, "Wings Of Desire", angels wander the streets of Berlin whispering words of comfort to the broken-hearted citizens. Watching people in prayer or meditation can sometimes be as close as I come to capturing that sense of comfort, even if they may only be praying to nonexistant angels.


     Angela and I pulled our fortune sticks. Her's was the worst fortune possible but, in true Buddhist tradition, could be changed to the best outcome with good thought, deed and action. Mine was the best fortune but could be lost, like enlightenment, if not nurtured. We had to tie them to metal rods.



     A busy place ...




     ... and afterwards, lunch in the Daikokuya Cafe; famous for its tempura. It was delicious.



my . artist run website