Yesterday, something I read on Social Media made me remember the excitement that you can find from exploring the world via Google Maps. I’d cleaned the snow from the sidewalks and was just hanging out indoors for a while, so I decided to look at some streets in Japan. Why Japan? well, why not! I decided that Tokyo would be much like any city, so moved north along the island state to somewhere called Kaminoyama in Yamagata Prefecture. I was just “walking” the streets, and came across this random view of a suburban house and its front yard.
This yard is pretty amazing to western eyes, and yet it does not appear to be an exceptional or grand house, just someone who takes pride in their property. The placement of the stones and the way the trees have been cultivated is simple wonderful, and one can see that a pathway meanders between and around the planting. It is clearly man-made, but also brings with it a feeling of the wild and natural.
Only after looking at the picture for some minutes did I realize that the picture had captured a some people in the yard, and this close up image shows three men sitting, surrounded by construction materials. This throws the whole scene into a different perspective. Does the pile of gravel and the spade mean that the yard here has just been completed, and these men are the workers, taking a break from their labours? One of them may be pouring a drink, but why are the two workers sitting, apparently in conversation, whilst the other is at some distance, looking the other way?
I will never know just what that moment in time captured, but that glimpse into the live of real people in a far away land is itself interesting.