On the path of a meaningful life

Texts, photographs and videos by Claire B.

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10 April 2016

Portraits of TYK

Portraits of some of the people I met during my two months of work at TYK.
TYK, Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld
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Noriko Andô. 37 years old, originally from Mizanami. She has worked at TYK for nineteen years in the Sensor Team. Andô-san knows how to cook curry rice in the shape of Olaf (character from the movie "Frozen") and very much likes the Ghibli movies. (With Kanji-san in the photo on the right).

Kanji Katô. 49 years. Originally from Toki, a town just outside Tajimi. He has worked at TYK for thirty years in the New Material Team. He is someone very friendly and open with whom I shared a lot.

Daisuke Satô. 28, from Sapporo on Hokkaido Island. He has worked at TYK for a year with the New Material Team. Satô-san is Aikido's second dan black belt. He likes to ski and snowboard. Her father works in a sushi restaurant.

Hiroyuki Andô. 36 years. He has worked at TYK for ten years, currently in the Analysis Team. Andô-san works with a scanning electron microscope (or SEM in English). An SEM is capable of producing high resolution images of the surface of a very small sample. The process is impressive but not very fast.

Mikiko Kawasaki. 44 years old, originally from Nagoya. She has worked at TYK for ten years in the Analysis Team. She considers herself 44 years of physical age but 20 years of heart. Kawasaki-san has a house painted green and yellow by his family. At first she didn't like the color but now she's used to it.

Ichiro Tomatsu. 65 years. He has worked at TYK for forty-eight years. Tomatsu-san is the leader of the Analysis Team. He's a man who smiles all the time.

Keisuke Ogihara. 26, originally from Kôchi on Shikoku Island. He has been working at TYK for a year in the Analysis Team. Ogihara-san is passionate about climbing. He goes there almost every evening and on weekends. His favorite Ghibli movie is "Kiki the Little Witch".

Takahiro Kamiya. 43 years. He has worked at TYK for ten years in the New Material Team. Before TYK, Kamiya-san worked in a Chinese restaurant. He has eaten bear paws and shark fins. His family name "Kamiya" means "Valley of the Gods".

Nobuhiro Hayashi and Yukie Kaku from the TC Sleeve team. Nobuhiro Hayashi is someone very kind and very smiling. He has worked at TYK for nine years. He is 43 years old and comes from Toki, a small town near Tajimi, where he lives with his family in a traditional house. Hayashi-san is passionate about sports. Yukie Kaku is a young woman of 30 who speaks good English. She is originally from Ôita on the island of Kyûshû and enjoys reading and playing video games. She was always ready to give me explanations on the kanjis and is very friendly. She has worked at TYK for six years.

Shimon Ishimaru. 30 years. He has worked at TYK for eight and a half years with the New Material Team. Ishimaru-san does not eat at the refectory for lunch. He prefers to eat a good dish of ramen at restaurants around the factory. But the midday break lasting only forty minutes he is forced to eat at full speed.

Yasuta Koike. 58 years old. Has worked at TYK for thirty-five years. Koike-san is the head of the Research and Development Center. He lived for several years in Mons in Belgium and knows how to speak a little French. Koike-san quickly replaced the honorary suffix -san following my first name by -chan (Claire-chan), which could be translated into French by a more emotional mark of respect than the honorary suffix -san, very formal.

In the company of the entire TYK Research and Development center team. Mina-san, dômo arigatôgozaimashita!

In the company of Ogihara-san and Satô-san.

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Chapter I. Japanese walkabouts

Kyoto, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Six months in Japan

Six months in Japan. Six months of familiarity and strangeness. Misunderstanding and wonder. Contrasts.

Mitaka, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Last days in Japan

My stay in Japan is coming to an end and I take this opportunity to stroll around Tokyo and visit the Ghibli museum.

Osaka, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Across the Kansai

Discovery of Osaka and Nara then weekend on Mount Koya-san before returning to TYK to celebrate hanami.

Takayama, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Takayama matsuri

Stars in my eyes at the superb Takayama Matsuri dedicated to the celebration of spring and good harvests.

Kyoto, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

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.

Kyoto, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Glimpse of Kyoto

For my last day of work at TYK, I was treated to an organized day trip to Kyoto.

Kachigawa, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

In company of Polina

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.

Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Touches of Spring in Tajimi

Second month of work in Tajimi more pleasant than the first and return of the buds and flowers in the trees.

TYK, Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Portraits of TYK

Portraits of some of the people I met during my two months of work at TYK.

TYK, Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Another vision of TYK

Through twenty photographs, a stroll to discover the factory and its graphic aspect.

Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Tajimi and ceramics

Tajimi, an industrial city located in the prefecture of Gifu is renowned for its ceramics. I am working here since the beginning of February.

Yufuin, Kyûshû, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Wwoofing in Yufuin

A month of volunteering in the middle of the onsen smokes in the small Youth Hostel Country Road.

Yufuin, Kyûshû, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Arrival on Kyûshû

Arrival on Kyûshû, cradle of Japanese civilization, where I will spend the month of December.

Minami, Shikoku, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Minami, facing the sea

On the south coast of Shikoku, the small town of Minami exudes tranquility and a maritime atmosphere.

Tokushima, Shikoku, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

First steps on Shikoku

Arrival in Tokushima on the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four big islands of Japan.

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