Old school – NEW world

Bridging the gap . . .


day of the hump (part 2) . . .

Here are some pics taken with the iPod Touch 5G cam . . . PuddingCam app using the Panorama setting and noir film.


Location: Manzanar National Historic Site, Block 34 Mess Hall garden . . . “san-shi-en” . . . just translates as 34 garden . . . san-shi (34) en (garden) . . . as with the photos posted earlier on the hump, I did a bit of exposure adjustment with PhotoForge 2, that’s all.






All but six or seven rocks used in this garden are “meta-volcanic” . . . gathered from the Inyo Mountain Range east of Manzanar . . . those not from the Inyo range are granitic and probably came from the boulder field west of Manzanar.


day of the hump . . .


went out to MNHS . . . MANZ . . . to check out the damage caused by the recent flood . . . not as bad as I expected.

While there I decided to test the PuddingCam app . . . up to this point in time I hadn’t been using the app very much . . . but as I’ve been finding out over the passed few days there are a lot of “film” and camera options . . . I had updated the app without checking the changes.

Here are some images from the Mess Hall (45mm/f3.2) building using the PuddingCam app with the noir “film”, and the Snap and Panorama (37mm/f16.9) camera settings . . . The Panorama cam setting gives a great depth of field . . . you can actually see a lot of definition from 3-4 feet to infinity.



I did a bit of cropping and exposure adjustment with PhotoForge 2, that’s it.



Manzanar . . . the song


Well, looks like the Manzanar internment “experience” has hit Kickstarter . . . nothing against people telling their story . . . BUT . . . keep it real.

Yeh, people lost a lot . . . if not everything when they were interned, but they persevered . . .

What bothers me is the fact that the War Relocation Authority HAD to remove the buildings from the site is overlooked . . . the land lease agreement between the WRA and the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power stipulated that the structures were to be removed when the camp was closed, they weren’t removed out of “shame” as stated in a comment by a Kickstarter project backer:

I live 1.5 hours away from Manzanar, and when my family an I went to visit the camp we where (sic) struck by how little was left there… Like the government had stripped everything away in shame.

The barracks and mess halls were sold to returning military personnel and private citizens, and were “relocated” to towns in Owens Valley and farms in the San Joaquin Valley. Some structures were reassembled in different configurations using the lumber of dismantled barracks.

I sat on the Manzanar Advisory Commission for 8 years and participated in many of the meetings conducted by the National Park Service regarding the development of Manzanar National Historic Site (MNHS) in addition to conducting guided interpretive walking tours of the site for 3 years BEFORE there were NPS interpretive personnel on-site.

p.s. I was on-site with NPS Superintendent Ross Hopkins (retired) when the faux stumps were retuned to their original location(s) next to the Military Police sentry building – they had been at a residence driveway in the nearby town of Independence. See the above photo.

Oh, FYI . . . my name (Richard Stewart) is on the plaque on the west side of the Auditorium (Interpretive Center) with the other Manzanar Advisory Commission members.

wabi sabi mofo . . .

. . . drove out to Manzanar (MNHS) this a.m. looking for justice . . .
personal solitude . . .


found out that the Nikon Coolpix suffered some internal injuries when it slid off the top of a garbage bin and fell about 4 feet onto some concrete pavers . . . broke the latch that secured the batteries and SD card but I fixed that with some duct tape, however the magic lens cap doesn’t retract 100% and the focus is a bit off on occasion as well. WTF !! . . . if I fell on my head my vision would be screwed up too.

So what . . .

Well the NPS is always sanitizing something . . . the cemetery monument has been painted and all the coins etc have been removed . . . and the pear orchards are so F-U-C-K-I-N-G CLEAN !!!


But they can’t mess with everything . . .


Like I said . . . I was looking for solitude, just me and the wind . . . the occasional NPS employee in a vehicle . . . on a backhoe.


Photos shot with the Nikon Coolpix and the iPod Touch 4G

My Adventures at Manzanar


Thought I would “Google” “mess hall gardens at Manzanar” , , ,

I was just curious about what would pop up . . . anyway there was this post titled “Manzanar” by Karen Piper and since I liked the format, I decided to read on . . . there was this thing about Tom Gustie, a Bishop Paiute . . . interesting . . . said he worked at the Manzanar War Relocation Center while it was in operation, and that he had been stopped by the MP’s when he was going home because they thought he was one of the internees and was attempting to “escape” . . . one of the former internees commented about “escaping” from Manzanar, he said, “What was I supposed to do, SWIM to Japan? Besides, I lived in Gardena CA before I was sent to camp. . . LOL . . . when I was leading the interpretive tours at Manzanar National Historic Site (1997 – 2000) there were a number of people who thought I was of Japanese ancestry . . . even better, when I was out at MNHS recently (posted some photos of the “trip”) an NPS ranger asked if I had been in camp as a child . . . WHAA ?? . . . or maybe I was the former internee who STILL lived in Owens Valley . . . uh . . . PROFILED !! . . . I don’t think I look TOO Japanese, but I guess dark skin and “squinchty” eyes could give that impression . . .
But as I read more . . . I thought I should correct a few “errors” in the article . . .

1. There was only 2500 USD ($$$) in the initial grant from the Eastern California Museum . . . AND,
2. I didn’t hold court in either the MP guard post or the smaller internal police koban . . . was locked and besides, there were too many black widow spiders for my liking . . . Oh yeh, AND . . .
Drei . . . the land never “belonged to” my tribe . . . I b’long the Big Pine Band of Owens Valley Paiute, and my traditional “stomping grounds” are 35 miles or so to the north of Manzanar . . . yep, also “stomped” around New Mexico, San Francisco, and the Los Angeles metropolitan area before my stint at Manzanar . . . and,
IV. I didn’t, as was stated in the article, ” . . . became interested in Japanese history after studying Japanese pottery” . . . my affiliation with things Japanese is best explained by what a Japanese painter (artist) living in Boyle Heights L.A. said to me: “You are old Japanese come back as Paiute Indian . . .


Well Karen, you got to Manzanar a bit late for the “show” . . . I stopped “doing” the tours in July of 2000 . . . after the NPS “interpretive” staff came to “show” me how interpretive tours were “supposed” to be conducted . . . uh hunh, uh hunh . . . these days you will have a very difficult time finding a “ranger” outside of the air conditioned Auditorium . . .


NO . . . s’not me . . . this is John Slaughter, former Facility Manager at MNHS . . . one of the unsung heroes during the formative years of the NPS site. John is sitting in the Block 9 Mess Hall garden that has since been excavated . . .

. . . yeh, was just me and Ross Hopkins (Park Superintendent and Marine) out at MANZ for a couple of years . . . HOO-RAH . . .


Thursday at Manzanar

MANZANAR 2010.17.06

Went out to Manzanar National Historic Site (MNHS) today . . . an unscheduled search for information . . . What did I find? Barrack replicas under construction . . .


. . . exterior doorway in progress . . .


. . . interior shot . . . I’m submitting my application for one of these apartments . . N-I-C-E !!


Headed out to “Merritt” Park to meet-up with the rangers and . . .
Looking SE at “Merritt” Park . . . met-up with NPS personnel and Nishi-san . . .


Mr. Nishi . . . and his wifu . . . they were at MNHS to look over the location of a planned reconstruction of one of the bridges in Rose Park (“Merritt” Park). The Nishi family is going to fund the reconstruction of the bridge near the old “turtle” at the firebreak garden site. I use quotation marks with the word Merritt because the park or garden site was originally called Rose Park . . . wasn’t til later that the site was named “Merritt” Park for Ralph Merritt who was the director of Manzanar War Relocation Center.

Checking the structural integrity of Jeff’s bridge . . .


“The Turtle” . . . the stone turtle is visible in Ansel Adams’ “Merritt Park” photo taken in 1943 – the turtle was uncovered during the recent excavation of the water course in “Merritt” Park.


Saw my friend Jeff Burton (archaeologist) and Potashin (partner in crime) . . . seems I had stumbled into an NPS planning session . . . so I began snapping photos of the site, people, etc. . . .

Some pics of “Merritt” Park . . . Cantilever stone bridge . . .


MNHS Superintendent Les Inufuku checking for trolls . . .


Potashin and Nishi-san telling Les that it’s just Barry under the bridge . . .


A bit later I went to Block 15 (drove the “wrong” way on the one-way tour road) and walked over to where the excavation of another buried pond and some stone features was in progress.

Looking SE toward the Block 15 pond site,


. . . tools of the “trade” . . .


There is a small pond that has been dug out and two stone “lanterns” were recovered from the pond area and returned to their original locations at or near the edge of pond.

Historic photo used for reference during excavation and reconstruction of pond and stone architectural features (lanterns, walkways, etc.).


Overview looking NE showing both ishidoroyukimi on the right and a misaki type near the left margin of the photo.


Earlier, while I was at Rose Park, Mrs. Nishi had commented on the three-legged stone lantern in Block 15, saying that it might be “yukimi” or stone snow lantern. I did a bit of research after I got back to the electronic couch and found some interesting information about the stone lantern artifacts that I had photographed in Block 15 at MNHS.

Ishidoro 石灯籠 or 石燈篭 (stone lanterns) are traditionally used to light temple, shrine and tea garden areas. Ishidoro were introduced to Japan via Korea and China in the Asuka Period (6th century AD)

The Yukimi or “Snow Viewing Lantern” is a style created especially for Japanese Gardens. Developed in the Ashikaga Period (16th century), all Yukimi lanterns have the same general form. They consist of a large roof, a light compartment and a base with three or four legs.

They can be rustic, made simply of suitably shaped stones, “or carved with an ornate lattice work light compartment, elegantly formed roof and supporting legs. A deep layer of snow can settle on the large overhanging roof adding to the charm of these lanterns.

Block 15 yukimi with Mt. Williamson in the background . . . reminds me of Jomon anthropomorphic ceramic figure . . .


Yukimi lanterns are very popular used near water elements and the roofs are found both in hexagon and round in shape.”

The Yukimi lantern in Block 15 is approximately 1 meter in height and stylistically “rustic”, made from unfinished metamorphic stones similar to those found in the nearby Inyo Mountains. The “roof” of the lantern seems to be missing a portion of its west side.


The smaller “lantern” is a Misaki lantern replica – it doesn’t have a hollow place for a light, but conceptually and aesthetically it “is” a Misaki lantern and its reflection was probably visible on the surface of the water in the small pond.


Its (the Misaki lantern) simple form is another design made particularly for garden use. The simplicity of form and workmanship is an important aspect of aesthetics of Japanese gardens. Used in this location, the lantern acts as a beacon shining its light across the lake.” The Block 15 Misaki lantern is constructed of granitic stones held together with concrete mortar.


More information can be found at this Hakone website.

. . . uh . . . WTF . . . ??


Went up to the cemetery to pay my respects . . . clapping of the hands (twice) with solemn serious thoughts about what I had seen today and when I was leading tours at the site . . .

Paper cranes and braided cloth offerings . . .


. . . prayer flags, first time I’ve seen these here . . .