On the path of a meaningful life

Texts, photographs and videos by Claire B.

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12 April 2016

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.
Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld
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Warmed by the good weather, trees and plants began to bud in mid-March, covering the city with splashes of vibrant color. The birds have also become more numerous sing, filling the ears with joyful twittering. I took advantage of the weekends to go for a walk in the city and its surroundings, enjoying the sun and the awakening of nature. The more outlying areas of Tajimi, stretching out into the hills, are much friendlier than the city center. Barracks mostly traditional style, small bamboo forests, peaceful atmosphere, flowers everywhere. I have come to appreciate Tajimi and to enjoy walking around its charming corners.

Around March 26, the cherry trees also started to flower. I could almost follow the flowering visually. Explosion of pink and white touches everywhere. It is everywhere ! No matter where you look, there is a cherry blossom in your field of vision! It is impressive and very beautiful. It immediately gives beauty to the place. The show has something magnificent and moving at the same time. It seems to me, when the petals are all white, that I contemplate a tree covered with a delicate and fragile layer of snow. Before I did not understand very well why the Japanese made a fuss about this famous flowering of cherry trees lasting only two weeks. Now I understand better. It is beautiful and as it is fleeting, it makes it even more precious. For two weeks, Japan seems magnified.

My second month working at TYK was different from the first. In terms of work, it was essentially the same (manual and repetitive) but instead of working on my own, I worked with several teams where I accompanied a person in his work, which made the whole more interesting and less monotonous. I got on with new people and the general atmosphere got warmer, with more exchanges and smiles. I got used to the pace of work and the “Japanese” aspect even if certain things continued to surprise me: the extreme reserve of some people, a certain conformism, the enunciation by heart of the principles of TYK every morning, the limited productivity…

I also discovered people who were less conformist and more outspoken about what they thought of their work. I felt like I was integrating better into the team. And then my last day of work at TYK (detailed in this article) allowed me to exchange without barriers with the team leaders and leaders of TYK including the current president and to broaden my vision of TYK. At the end of March when I left TYK and the people I got along with, I realized that I was a little sad. Despite a somewhat morose start, time will have passed quickly and the experience will have been very enriching. The goodbye is not final (not yet) since I will be going back to Tajimi on Friday April 15 to celebrate Hanami with all the people from TYK. Hanami is a Japanese custom which consists in appreciating the beauty of the cherry blossoms, today mainly celebrating in the form of a picnic under the cherry trees. At TYK, this is celebrated in the form of a large outdoor barbecue.

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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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