I. Japanese walkabouts
Between traditions and modernity
Mix of technology and ancient traditions, Japan is a land of contrasts that has attracted me since my youth. In mid 2015, at the end of several years of study which left me full of questions about the future, I decid to go alone on a journey across the country. I wander for six months through Kyûshû, Honshû, Okinawa, Shikoku. I discover traditions, food and some very specific aspects of Japanese culture. And faces the language barrier and the weight of history. I also do several volunteer work, in a small family inn, on a very small dairy farm and on a tiny, almost self-contained farm. I discover the country on foot and by public transport. I even work in a refractory factory. A great chance to discover how Japanese work. I also take the opportunity to marvel at the beauty of the last temples and shrines and visit the Ghibli museum. A special journey. I left the country in a hurry but I plan to return in the near future.
Keywords: discovery, temples and shrines, onigiri, Buddhism, volcanoes, wwoofing, onsen, hiking, islands, studio Ghibli, mythology and yokais, geishas, nuclear bomb, cultural identity, misunderstanding.
My stay in Japan is coming to an end and I take this opportunity to stroll around Tokyo and visit the Ghibli museum.
Volunteering within a Japanese family living in quasi-autonomy not far from Mount Fuji.
Discovery of Osaka and Nara then weekend on Mount Koya-san before returning to TYK to celebrate hanami.
Stars in my eyes at the superb Takayama Matsuri dedicated to the celebration of spring and good harvests.
Photographic exploration of Kyoto during a week full of wonder.
For my last day of work at TYK, I was treated to an organized day trip to Kyoto.
Meet Polina and her family, a young Russian woman working at TYK whom I met a fortnight before the end of my stay in Tajimi.
Second month of work in Tajimi more pleasant than the first and return of the buds and flowers in the trees.
Portraits of some of the people I met during my two months of work at TYK.
Exploring the region with Kanji-san on the way to the Akechi Ceramics factory.
Three days visiting the regions of Shirakawa-gô and Gokayama, UNESCO World Heritage.
A day with the TC Sleeve team from the Research and Development department of TYK factory.
Being employed at TYK and experiencing working in a Japanese refractory plant.
Touristy visits in Nagoya between Ghibli universe, castle and Toyota museum.
Tajimi, an industrial city located in the prefecture of Gifu is renowned for its ceramics. I am working here since the beginning of February.
Last visits on Okinawa and return to Honshu to settle in Tajimi.
Volunteering in very rustic conditions in a small dairy farm near Ôgimi.
Three days of peaceful strolls, magnificent landscapes and failed activities within the tiny archipelago.
I land on the Ryukyu archipelago of which Okinawa is a part in increasingly bad weather.
On Tanegashima Island is located one of Japan’s main space centers as well as great beaches.
Visit the island of Yakushima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and source of inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki.
I continue my discovery of the island of Kyushu going towards south on the traces of the volcanoes.
At the end of 2015, I hit the road again, exploring the volcanic activity of the region.
A month of volunteering in the middle of the onsen smokes in the small Youth Hostel Country Road.
Arrival on Kyûshû, cradle of Japanese civilization, where I will spend the month of December.
Visit of the island of Miyajima and its superb sanctuary accompanied by Doris.
Hiroshima and the atomic bomb. Mandatory stop in the painful history of the country.
Return of the sun and quiet strolls in the coastal city of Kôchi.
Discovery of the Iya valley in the heart of the remote mountain ranges of Shikoku.
On the south coast of Shikoku, the small town of Minami exudes tranquility and a maritime atmosphere.
Arrival in Tokushima on the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four big islands of Japan.
Second week in Tokyo where I continue to discover the capital and meet a few people.
Peregrinations in the various districts of Tokyo metropolis.
Six months in Japan. Six months of familiarity and strangeness. Misunderstanding and wonder. Contrasts.
I walk in Kyoto, my eyes dazzled by explosions of colors and varied patterns wandering in front of me. The Kimonos are out.
Through twenty photographs, a stroll to discover the factory and its graphic aspect.