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

The tales

Focus : Another vision of TYK

Through a gallery of about twenty photographs in black and white and color, take a different look on TYK environment.

Focus: In the shoes of a TYK worker

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.

Ride through the Gasshō-zukuri

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.

Glimpse : Cuties codrivers collection

Protectors? Codrivers? Placed here because there is space? Behind the windshield of one of TYK dormitory cars, watching me go every morning, is a cute collection of small plush characters. Icons from different eras on display behind the glass.

A weekend in Nagoya

Nagoya being an hour away by train from Tajimi, I took a weekend to visit it. First stop: Aichi Park in Nagakute Commune in the eastern hills of Nagoya.

February in Tajimi

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.

Glimpse : Back to work

Already three weeks of work at the TYK factory in Tajimi. Manufacturer of refractory and fine ceramics for the industry. Uniforms and helmets for all. Group stretching every morning.

Glimpse : Kawaii ceramic deities

Bad weather in Tajimi. The city looks sad. Discovered by chance a few streets dedicated to ceramics. Explosion of shapes and colors. Houses with traditional architecture. Charm from the past. Feeling of wonder.

Glimpse : Taste of old times

First weeks in Tajimi. Mixture of antiquity and modernity in a jumble full of charm. Mountain environment, fresh breeze and sunshine warming the landscape.

Meeting with the sea creatures of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Thursday January 28 I leave Kiyuna Farm early to visit the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, located on the Motobu Peninsula northwest of the city of Nago. Located within the Ocean Expo Park, the aquarium houses the world’s largest pool of 7500m3, featuring species (including whale sharks and giant manta rays) found in Okinawa waters.

Two weeks in the vicinity of Ôgimi

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.

Gray weather in Okinawa

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.

Head to the stars in Tanegashima

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.

Yakushima, in the footsteps of Miyazaki

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.

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