Mamiya Milk Moustache

Kaika, shot with Mamiya (Feb. 21, 2006): click for gallery

It felt good, and the results are pleasing. I dug out the Mamiya 645 camera earlier this week, half expecting to find fungus or something, not having used it in over a year. No fungus apparent, just a dead battery, which didn’t affect metering as there is none with the prism finder I have, but did necessitate being limited to a 1/60 shutter speed (with a dead battery, the shutter will only fire at 1/60). With my trusty analog Sekonic meter in hand, Kaika and I went for a walk around the neighborhood.

All of a sudden felt the tug of a big(ger) negative, and while I certainly have a much more solid 35mm camera than the Mamiya, probably due to size and the loud clang of the shutter, it somehow felt substantial, felt like an old friend (indeed, of all my current cameras, I’ve had it the longest). Getting the negs back tonight, more of the same. Tactile is a word that comes to mind.

Someone suggested family as a way to work through “photographer’s block.” Sally Mann or Friedlander I am not, but we’ll try not to get too hung up on the whys and wherefores for now. Didn’t realize until we were already outside that the wiping off of Kaika’s milk moustache from breakfast had been neglected. In lieu of a makeup artist, I left it as-is. It’s only really apparent in one photo.

Asian bloggers all look the same, apparently

Here’s a variation on that “they all look alike” phenomenon that seems to afflict the vision of many who look towards the inscrutable East: Linkology – How the Most-Linked-To Blogs Relate.

In connection with a “Blog Establishment” cover feature piece, New York Magazine has assembled a list of the 50 most linked-to blogs and mapped their connections in one of those pretty graphics (pdf here). What’s interesting are the number of Asian sites listed in among the 50, sites the magazine has to admit “donít have any links from the others shown here,” which takes more than a slight bite out of their “blog establishment” angle.

Particularly interesting to me was this: out of nine blogs listed as “Japanese”, only three of them are in fact Japanese; the other six are actually Chinese. (There are a further six “Chinese” or “in Chinese” blogs listed — all correctly so). Of course this is just sloppiness on the magazine’s part, but it makes you wonder how much the magazine cares about these “Asian” blogs (a full 17 out of the 50 listed).

No doubt because they never bothered to find anyone who could read or understand them, most of these blogs are simply tagged “in Japanese” or “in Chinese.” But perhaps more troubling, there’s no acknowledgement of their place vis-a-vis this so-called “blog establishment.” In the magazine’s cover story, there isn’t a single mention of these or any Asian bloggers, perpetuating their own “A-list” bias as it were (“A” in this case most definitely not standing for Asia). They can crash the Top 50 party based on their Technorati data, but the A-list (or B- and C-listers for that matter) won’t even acknowlege their existence.

It could also be that many of the “foreign” blogs in this Top 50 (12 altogether) are hosted on MSN’s My Space blogging platform, which the article refers to, not surprisingly, as a “rather lame network of blog sites.” Granted these “community” sites tend to link and comment with each other, thereby pushing up their “linked to” status, but shouldn’t this phenomenon be part of the story, rather than relegated to the asterisked margins of lameness?

A first taste of snow

Kaika and snow, January 21, 2006: click for gallery

Today we got our first, and perhaps only, snowfall of the winter in the Tokyo area. This was really Kaika’s first time out in the snow (he had a cold when it snowed last year). At first he couldn’t deal with the flakes landing on his tongue and on his eyelashes, but he quickly warmed up to the whole idea once I showed him you could throw the stuff. Not surprisingly, 30 minutes later it was hard to get him to go back into the house.