Tokyo - Japan - © Claire Blumenfeld

Chapter 1 :
The beginnings

Japanese walkabouts

Blending technology and ancient traditions, Japan is a land of contrasts that has attracted me since my youth. Mid 2015, at the end of several years of studies that leave me with questions for the future, I decided to leave alone on a trip across the country. I wander through Kyushu, Honshu, Okinawa, Shikoku. And faces the difficulties of comprehension and the weight of history.

Japan – 6 months – November 2015 to April 2016

The photographs

Photos – The art of Kimono

I walk in Kyoto, my eyes dazzled by explosions of colors and varied patterns wandering in front of me. The Kimonos are out. Obi (belt) knotted in pretty knots, Zôri and Tabi (traditional sandals and white socks up to the ankles) and elegant chignons.

Photos – Six months in Japan

Familiarity and strangeness. Technology and traditions. Misunderstanding and wonder. Japan is a country of contrasts. A mad, extraordinary, annoying, amazing country. I spent six months there, from November 2014 to April 2015.

The tales

Last days in Japan

After 10 days in the heart of nature, the return to civilization is a shock to me. It’s almost too noisy and lively. But my stay in Japan is coming to an end. I have barely a week left before leaving the land of the rising sun. So I enjoy wandering around and going to the Ghibli Museum.

Wwoofing at Goka farm

After TYK Hanami, I spent next ten days doing wwoofing in Goka Farm, a Japanese family living in a remote mountain valley not far from Mt Fuji. They decided to live in self-sufficiency, trying to depend as little as possible on the government and respecting nature. An experience full of discoveries.

Taking part in TYK Hanami

Back to Tajimi to take part in the TYK hanami. I find the team that I left a few weeks ago for a last evening with everyone. It gives me pleasure to spend time with my “colleagues” again.

The mystical atmosphere of Koya-san

After Osaka and Nara I spent a weekend on Mount Koya-san. It is the center of Shingon Buddhism, an important sect introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi (or Kukai), one of Japan’s most famous priests.

Passage to Osaka and Nara

From April 8 to 11, 2016, I spent a few days in Osaka and Nara. After my week-long intensive visits to Kyoto, having a delay in my articles and a certain fatigue combined with painful neck pain, I finally spent a lot of time at the hostel in Osaka where I had booked four nights. My visits to Osaka and Nara were therefore rather short.

The best of Kyoto

After Takayama Matsuri I headed back to Kyoto and its amazing atmosphere (but full of tourists) for another week to explore the city. I made a photographic selection of the places and things that have struck me most during this week full of wonder.

Takayama matsuri

After TYK, I went back to Takayama to see the famous Takayama Matsuri dedicated to the celebration of spring and good harvests. From 14 to 15 April, on the occasion of the Sannô festival, each Takayama district presents a decorated float or Yatai which parades in a long procession around the Hie-Jinja sanctuary.

Fashion Kyoto

Kyoto and Kimonos. Explosions of color, flower patterned, Obi (belt) tied in pretty knots, Zôri and Tabi (traditional sandals and white socks up to the ankles) and elegant chignons. A blend of tradition and modernity. Fashion costumes.

Kyoto Snapshots

From April 1 to 8, I visited Kyoto. Some pictures to show you a first glimpse of the city.

Spring arrival in Tajimi

March ended a few days ago and with it my work at TYK. This second month in Tajimi was an opportunity to see nature evolve with the arrival of spring and spend a second month TYK more pleasant than the first.

Kyoto Overview (last day in TYK)

For my last day of work, Thursday, March 31, TYK organized for me a day trip in Kyoto! Visiting several temples to go enjoy the cherry blossoms, eating in a high Japanese cuisine restaurant and watching a dance performance by Geishas are on the program! Followed by a meal to celebrate my departure with the leaders of TYK in Tajimi the evening! Excited I join Kaku-san whom accompanying me during this busy day!

Focus TYK : Meet Polina

Discover Polina and her family, a young Russian working at TYK that I met a fortnight before the end of my stay in Tajimi.

Focus TYK : Discoveries with Kanji-san

On my first day in the New Material Team, Kanji-san took me with him to Akechi Ceramics factory. On the way we made many stops and detours and the trip to the factory turned into a discovery of the region!

Focus : Portraits of TYK

Small portrait gallery for you to discover a few people with whom I worked during these two months working at TYK.

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