Tokyo - Japan - © Claire Blumenfeld

Japanese walkabouts

Chapter 1
The beginnings
Japan | 6 months
November 2015 – April 2016
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.
As promised, here are the articles about my work at the TYK factory in Tajimi. In this first article you are gonna discover about thirty photos of the life of a TYK worker and my vision of the factory during my two months of work, from February to March 2016.
Taking advantage of the fact that Monday, March 21st is a public holiday in Japan, I went for a three-day weekend to visit the regions of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama. Stretching along the Shogawa River in the remote mountains of northern Gifu Prefecture to Toyama Prefecture, the place has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.
Tajimi is an industrial city located in the prefecture of Gifu in central Japan also called Chubu region. Located at the beginning of the mountains of central Japan, Tajimi spreads its outer quarters through the hills while the city center is in a small valley where the Toki River flows. Climbing on the heights we can see the volcanoes Haku and Ontake, two active stratovolcanoes.
Monday, January 18, departure at 8am from Nago for Ôgimi, a small rural town in the north of Okinawa where my new woofing is located, on a dairy farm. I arrive half an hour later at the Konbini (small supermarkets open 24/7 present everywhere) where is the meeting place. I call the farm using a landline and wait almost an hour for my contact to pick me up. A little grandma finally landed. Keiko Kiyuna, the owner of the farm.
Semi-tropical island, the Ryukyu Islands are more like Hawaii, Brazil or Southeast Asian than the rest of Japan. The Ryukyu archipelago of which Okinawa is part, was for centuries independent of Japan. For a long time, the islands were ruled by local chiefs until 1429, when Sho Hashi founded the Ryukyu dynasty.
Tanegashima is a long narrow strip of land 20 km northeast of Yakushima. Not very popular with tourists but popular with surfers, the island has one of Japan's leading space centers, Japan's JAXA or Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Tuesday, January 5, early in the morning, a ferry carries me on the island of Yakushima. Located in the archipelago of Osumi, the island has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Yakushima's environment has inspired Hayao Miyazaki for the achievement of Princess Mononoke.