Today I went to the swap meet with Ashley and Pops. Ash wanted to shop for clothes for our upcoming trip to Madagascar and I wanted to people-watch. My dad comes almost every Sunday to look around. Just last weekend he brought home the pieces of a dollhouse and through the week he built a four-floor hotel for the guinea pigs. He's a pretty handy guy.
Early in the morning is the best time to come to the swap meet because you get dibs on all the good stuff. That, and it starts to get pretty hot toward the afternoon, even now in late November. I saw lots of people with umbrellas today shielding themselves from the sun.
The swap meet is much more energetic, colorful and busy than I remember. It's chaotic and as a street photographer I love it because so much is happening. Unlike New York City or Tokyo, San Diego can get quiet and a little boring to shoot at times.
But not here. There were tasers and knives here, people selling stuff out of their trunks like a Quentin Tarantino movie, and a guy dancing next to the trash cans.
I wasn't planning on buying anything today, but after seeing this lot I had to have the Daruma (you can see half of his red head on the bottom center of this shot).
The man asked me how I knew what they were called and told him my dad was stationed in Japan. He said he was too but in the 60's during the Vietnam War. I later found out we stayed on the same base, but during his time there wasn't much family housing yet. Something interesting he told me was the soldiers that were injured in the war were first sent to NAF Atsugi (where I was raised) and later Naval Hospital Yokosuka (where I was born). I couldn't stop thinking about what a small world this is.
Anyways, Ashley convinced me to buy two Darumas because she thought they looked cuter as a pair. I bought a medium sized red one with the kanji symbol for 'wealth' inscripted on the body, this is the more traditional daruma. The second one was a little smaller but white with the kanji for 'happiness.'
These Japanese wishing dolls, or sometimes called goal dolls, are modeled after Bodhidharma, the monk who established the Zen branch of Mahayana Buddhism. The doll embodies the popular Japanese proverb, "nanakorobi yaoki." Translated to "fall down seven times, stand up eight." How they are used is by filling in one eye when you set a goal, promise or wish, and filling the second eye only when the goal is reached. They serve as constant reminders of our goals despite life's difficulties, and that's what I like about them.
Remember slapping "kick me" sticky notes on your friends' backs in middle school? That's what was happening here and it seems they've stepped it up a notch. Luckily I was able to snap a photo while the lady in blue prevented Lupita from ripping the sign off. They were laughing a lot, especially after they saw me take photos.
I asked the vendor how to tell which pomegranates were ripe and he said the firmer and darker, the better. He showed us the one next to his scale as a good example. We asked to buy that one.
By the end, Ash had purchased hiking boots, shorts, and a dress for $10 and I got the Darumas for $7. I really enjoyed coming here today and may come back again next week to shoot.
This was a good way to end the Thanksgiving Holiday.