When time goes bye

As I get older there seems to be little reason to go “shopping for anything beside food.” I have enough clothes for the rest of my life, well maybe not underwear, one more six pack should do it.

A few images from San Francisco

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When I was in my first year of college living in the dorm there used to be a perpetual poker game going  in one fo the “relaxing rooms.”  On popular game was known as “man or mouse,” which had a one penny ante, winner took the pot and losers doubled the  pot. and the game would go until there was only a winner.  If you dropped out out of a hand and there were losers who doubled the pot and if you had made the initial one penny ante you would still be in the game until there someone  cleared the  pot with no one to accept the challenge.

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Even with a one penny ante  these pots could get up to $30 or $50 pretty rapidly and$100 + pots were not unusual . In the 1069s this was a good idea of money for a college student, well maybe not at at the “famous schools where legacy  admissions are prevalent but at most universities.

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I was mostly a by stander,  although I liked playing poker for small stakes when I was young, a few days before going on a family vacation I lost all my “vacation savings” in a card game and since then I have never allowed the hopeful temptations  of gambling to guide my judgement.

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This game, “man or mouse,” could move very fast  and some kids very “into it” and for college kids  too much money changed hands very quickly. It lead to stealing, first some would steal from store, mostly clothes,  towel in the dorm and then  things  started missing from student’s dorm rooms,

The United Nations Plaza in San Francisco, there are interesting quotes written into the walk way  and maybe some truth is written on the wall.

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Students became more suspecting, more wary  of each other , still the games went on  until one day one student was caught cheating in a game.

Saints Peter and PaulChurch  inSan Francisco one afternoon

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Some  broke into the student’s room, he did not share, but  dormed alone, and as they began searching,  they discovered all missing stolen property.

But they also found —this student had attended a Big Ten school at one time but dropped out—a Rose Bowl sheepskin, one given to a football player in recognition of their participation in the Rose Bowl. This student never been a football player, and as the discussion “got heated up ” it  because obvious, and then known for sure, that this student had stolen this sheepskin  from a football player who had earned it.

When I was young , maybe 6th grade, 7th grade, there were a few times I did steal stupid , inexpensive things  from  stores, I got caught  once, my father and I had to  meet with the store manager, it was a lesson. I think honesty and integrity are important, and there were  times as an adult when have regrets about things I did, as there were times when I have pride  as to my behaviour  in a situations where there were “temptations.” The thing is,  it seems easier for people to remember  the negative things  no matter how few than to remember the positive things no matter how many, which in itself is a good reason to try to maintain some level of integrity. But then again maybe some of the negative things I have done were just so bad that they overshadowed all the positive thingsI did.

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Last weekend there was a  Tohoku festival  at a local Japanese food store where they offered this excellent sake, and while  I am not knowledgable on grading sake  I do enjoy good sake,  I prefer it chilled, I got one of the big bottles and almost drank the whole thing while eating sushi over a period of about about  two hours of time.

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There are many good sakes, This one called Suijin, a junmai ‘“super dry” sake with is  a ki-seto guimoni by Kagami Masakane, son of Kagami Shugai.

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For my birthday I usually buy this one, Okunomatsu Ginjo, another favorite if only because of the beautiful  label with the daruma looking kanji. I usually use my bizen guinomi and tokkuri   by Nakamura Makoto, son of Nakamura Rokuro. Bizen is ash glazed  in the kiln and is wonderful for drinking sake or beer. this style tokkuri was made both Makotoa and his father, they were known as the Kings of Shuki.

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An added treat at the Tohoku festival were these two shiokaras which go good GREAT  with sake, if you like shiokara  though for many its like natto, an acquired taste.

When I visit San Francisco  I often walk by a specific building. its always there, in the same place, though often the rest of the visual  is different.  Now of course with  the Sales Force building its no longer the  only  site in the sky.  Here are some different views  from different places in the city.

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There are different angles from which to see this building, I think this is coming down Russian  Hill approaching  Chinatown

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Framed off by tress somewhere on  Telegraph Hill, this may be the street where in the beginning of the Monk tv show he is walking along, touches the stop sign and  walks across the street or maybe its the next street over.

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The parrots  were in force  in this small park  on Russian Hill one  afternoon, hundreds of them eating little fruits in the trees and  aggressively  chasing away the robins. A winter day, though not like Boston, still the winter is nice time for late afternoon sun, Salesforce had not yet appeared  when I made this image.

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A view from Telegraph Hill

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Reflection in the windows  of the  Maritime building

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San Francisco is a visually interesting place to walk,  I like to take BART  somewhere  and then get off and walk around, Its very accessible though I am not  sure about the safety of all neighborhoods, its not like Tokyo  which is safe  for tourists to  freely explore.transAm0092_800

And unfortunately there are many homeless people. I have no solution, no answer, I  am fortunate to have a house and a little money to pay my way, but sill no solution. Perhaps  there will always be some  people  who cannot get it together  to find a way to get  the basics, and yet so many who do find a way  have so much hate  against those who do not . I cannot forget the uncontrollable  gleeful and joyful  expressions displayed on the faces of Republicans when they removed 24 million low income people from health care.

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Phake photo but  imagine what an adventure to be driving a green Mustang at high speed  and come upon this spot . . . would you shoot out like a bullet from hell?

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A garden on top of a parking lot, the Comedy Club is on the left out of site!

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The  windows of the building across the street  reflects the afternoon light

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Exploring San Francisco you may encounter noir moments patiently waiting for something to happen,   just around a corner or down a small alleyway street in San Francisco.

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Along Alameda Creek between Beard Staging and Isherwood Bridge

I am fortunate to live near Alameda Creek  in Fremont. Maybe 50 or so years ago it used to be a creek with water originating in the Sierra s somewhere  flowing down   to the bay, running through rich farmland here in Fremont  and what is now called Union City.

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It used to flood every year, and as the population increased more houses were built and the floods became a “social liability” so the engineers dug it out and built a levee on both sides and made it into a Regional Park, You can walk , or jog, or ride your bike,  or have a family outing with kids in carriages for about 10 miles  going all the way from Niles canyon to the Coyote Hills on the Bay.

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Winter skies but  it can be overcast in the summer also, the constant  pressure interaction between the mountains and the ocean  in the SF bay area creates a wide range of weather all around the bay.  But  here in Fremont   by noon its usually cleared up.

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I try to “walk” everyday. I moved my office home in 2007  when  I used to do four miles in 50 minutes, which is a good pace, but now at 73, if there are no reasons to stop,  it  takes about  one hour.

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I listen to podcasts, usually The Archers, Bloomberg Surveillance and P&L , BBC’s In our Time, TIPs (The investor’s Podcast) The Serial, This American Life , . . .

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Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,  of course  Click and Clack —I still enjoy hearing them over and over —and Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn on The Sinica podcast.

Fremont’s claim to height,  Mission Peak

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Over the years I have met many people on the path, had many conversations, learned many things,

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There are plenty of wild life,

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and feral  carts

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For the past two years goats have visited to   eat the growth,

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and they sometimes get into arguments.

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I enjoy the shapes of the buildings

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And all sorts of people use this

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Young people too find stuff to do , young men impressing young women

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Saturday is usually when the ‘bike troops”  are out

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as well as the loneliness of the long distance runner.

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That’s Alameda Creek between Beard Staging and Isherwood.

Tarrets tearing around, Addio the old

This past month the famous Tsukiji market on Tokyo  has been moved. First time I went was visiting my parent in 1976, you get into the market then,  if you woke up very early,  and walk around inside, It got too busy, too many tourists and inside became less accessible.  But the outside was  fun too, deliveries were ongoing all the time, which is true of Tokyo in general where there tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of little businesses requiring  daily if not multi daily deliveries.

And one thing about business in Tokyo is that is highly competitive,  freshness and style are desired qualities and space is always at a premium.

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These little delivery vehicles, called “tarrets”  tear around the market moving fish from one place to another.

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Here is a  link  to a Youtube 30 minute video  ( Women Do Sushi Too, NHK, Inside Lens Series, May 2018) made by my sister (Deborah DeSnoo)  on Japanese women itamae (sushi chefs) which includes  footage of a visit to the old Tsukiji fishmarket accompanying a woman itamae buying the daily fish.

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Following are some memories I had last May.

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Not everyone uses the powered vehicle, some do it the old fashioned way

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I have not been to the new market, but I hope these  are not left behind.

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If know won came

In 1979 I got in my car, drove from Boston to Santa  Cruz, worked in Sunnyvale and finding a place for my “studio” started a graphic design business in Fremont. California.$35.00 per month.My work included working  with businesses   in Silicon Valley area,  designing, executing  art work, and printing, When I began  my career as a graphic designer it was pre-computer—marker sketches, camera-ready mechanicals  and press checks and computers changed the whole process.

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Post computer , design is done as  a computer file and  for high quality printing it may be “output” directly  to a  high quality  printing device, or it may be output as film and the film is exposed to a metal plate (much like a piece of photographic paper which is used to put the ink on  on the  offset press which is then transferred to the paper.

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Pre computer, the process was more susceptible to foreign matter, usually small particles such as dust and dirt, which could be on the negative, the plate  and/or the blanket resulting in preventing the ink being transferred properly to the paper,  resulting in  lower quality  printing  by white spots in photographs and “broken type.”

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So before the plate is exposed to the negative,  a contact proof would be made on paper, paper being much less expensive  than the plate and the designer  and print production manager would examine the contact print for problems, Once it was ok’d then the plate would be exposed and developed , put on the  press , a proof would be made, the print production manager would inspect it, and  then the designer would inspect it, generally fixes would be made and then the press would run. This process was called doing a press check.

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These  things occurred less after computers were involved  because it removed some of the steps  which exposed the process to dust and foreign matter.  But  either  way the designer would come to the printer for  the press check to spend  time looking for small  spots  where the ink was not best  printed on the paper.

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There were other things such as color balance and more , but that is not important here, What is important is I  would go to a press check and be responsible for , and be paid, to examine the printing to see if there little pieces of dust or broken type, sometimes even using a magnifying glass, point them out to the printer and get them fixed.

Most of these imperfections would never be noticed by most of the readers,  because they do not have the training nor are they interested,  basically hey are interested in reading the information.

Sometimes I would be at the press check, totally focused on finding these small imperfections  and then , I would flash  on remembering somewhere in this world there are people, families,  children, human beings who are starving, sick with no access to medical care, cold and freezing  because they have no access to heat  and here I am being paid to look for  minor imperfections in printing a corporate brochure, or a package or magazine.

Imagine there’s no hunger , its not hard if you try.

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Below is a view from Sengakuji, a temple in Tokyo  associated with the historical  story of The 47 Ronin, aka The Ako Vendetta or Chushingura, a famous samurai story about loyalty,  revenge and seppuku that  touches something deep in the heart of Japanese culture. Here are the graves of the 47 ronin, Lord Asano and his wife, hardly any visitors

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A man cleaning the graves of the 47 ronin

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scene from the front gate, no one in sight. I have been here before as well as read the story,  seen movies and plays and watched  a couple of the year long NHK history dramas  When I entered to pay the fee, there was a group of Americans wondering what there was to see  here, and whether it was worth the ¥500, they read the brochure and left with out going in.

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And below is Sensoji which is packed to overflowing  most every day, but to my knowledge no dead samurai, no story of revenge, though it is well guarded  by the one open and one closed mouth defender.

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And the universe goes on, with little regard for whatever  trump says.

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