GOTAKAYAMA website currently under construction

blog
about
January 26 2016


school's left over #02 | noodle







January 26 2016


school's left over #01 | fried small fish







January 23 2016


The Edge series, waterway







January 22 2016


geopark | archive







January 16 2016


As I went out for a short run around an apartment of my friend I stay with near Nagoya, I saw a head of birds chased by a slightly bigger bird.







January 13 2016


TOGIYA

My brother's schoolmate (standing left in the picture above) runs a local father-son knife sharpener and polisher in my hometown, Miyazaki Japan.

It was great opportunity for me to shoot and learn something little more about him and his father, who devote their life time to a beautiful work of craftspersonship.








January 12 2016

 

When I was back home in Miyazaki, I photographed my family in a makeshift studio next to the living room.







December 26 2015



I am currently back to my hometown in Japan for a short while.







December 04 2015

My sister and I drove about 1.5 hours to the north of Miyazaki. We were so excited to fish some squids, instead we caught an octopus. After some fun making an octopus-ink print, we made grilled and boiled octopus dishes to fulfil our stomach.







November 28 2015

“That’s how stories happen — with a turning point, an unexpected twist. There’s only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.” - Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore.







November 25 2015


Archive : Summer 2014 | Moving Lake, Inner Mongolia, China







November 12 2015



In the summer of 2011, I met a native Kyrgyz-Chinese family in a remote corner of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. I met them by accident on my way to Irkeshtam for photographic research on the building of China’s westernmost highway, the Kayi Expressway.

I picked up a local hitchhiker on the terms that I could follow him to his destination. We drove down a dirt road lined with poplars to one of the last houses on the outskirts of the village. When I got out of the car, I was caught by the sharp glances of about fifteen native Kyrgyz Chinese. Among them, MK (bride in the picture) who speaks Mandarin, approached me and asked a few questions of my surprise visit. Later, she explained that the family had gathered for the first anniversary of her brother’s first son who had died at ten years old. For the rest of my journey, I decided to stay with the family.

In the last four years, I have been back to see the family. Three siblings in the family sustain a semi-nomadic life, migrating seasonally among pre-determined grasslands. The parents of the family, who retired from nomadic herding while ago, have now settled in one of the resettlement apartments in Wuqia. The town of Wuqia itself has transformed quite a bit. It was in 2012, I observed the first taxi service has been introduced in the town. A construction site of two-story high houses with a garage seemed to be completed yet to be completely empty without any residents move in. On the other hand, an apartment complex begins to be filled with new carpets. On the gate of the new residence area, it's explicitly written that “the resettlement area for nomadic herdsmen" in both Chinese and Uygur.

Mk’s wedding took place in the parents’ new apartment home. I was very overwhelmed with the entire process of the wedding. (6 days in total. I shot the last 3 days). A line of relatives, friends, and neighbors never seemed to stop coming. I lost count of how many bowls of lamb meats, nuts, candies and dried fruits were thrown on a clean neatly arranged carpet where all guests sat in a circle.

At the end of hectic three days, I was very happy to see the family displayed their deep gratitude for my effort and documentation. I felt sure of our trust and relationship built again tighter.

“If you get married to a man from the mountain, you go to the mountains,” said MK’s younger sister. MK married to a man, who is two years older and full-time shepherd lives most of his time in the mountain. “I have been to the mountain only when I was small,” said MK. It won’t be too long before she gets her feet back in the mountain and begins her new life.







November 09 2015



I am back in the north east of China for my personal photo project, The Edge series. It was -17°C at the lowest during my short stay.

After about four hours cramped in a seat on a long-distance coach from Enhe toward south west along the river, suddenly observable a cluster of high-rise apartments sprouts in the wild grassland.

An amusement park is nearly completed. The residential area behind the amusement park has been expanded from the last year. Nevertheless, the number of residents remains too little, and as the area has widened so has a feeling of emptiness grown in the town. There is high potential for this town to be just another typical ghost town development.

It was very brief trip to see the progress of the new town. It was too early to hope seeing thick snow covers the area and grassland. I will need to come back for that during the real winter.







September 14 2015


I am re-editing the selection from my last June trip in Xinjiang as I am planing to go back there next month. The family I have been documenting will hold a marriage celebration for one of their daughters. Later in today, when I was making 'polo pilaf' for a dinner (I learned how to cook it from the family in Xinjiang), the couple who is going to get married called me on my cellphone through one of video chat apps.

I was surprised how clear we can talk and watch on a cellphone in between the remote corner of Xinjiang and Japan (I have difficulty often even between Beijing and Japan). I never imagined back in 2011 when I first met the family, how fast and far this technology takes us and possible to do such as the video chatting. I was watching the couple smiling on the screen and talked about the date of their marriage and my arrival.

They are also very happy to see me cooking pilaf. As I showed them my friend's apartment, they are very interested in how small and cramped the room was. The family's daughter together with her parents has recently moved into one of the new apartment in the developing area. Technology, convenience and comfort, things I take it for granted, they just begun to enjoy. It was one year after since I met the family, I first saw taxi service has been introduced in a nearby town. The development and urbanization deforms many small things at its own pace.

Behind their former mud-thatch house, there was small mountain I used to go up and photograph. From the top, I could see beautiful chain of small mountains stretch to the horizon, showing amazing colors and layers of soil spotlighted by sunset. When I went back there in last June, there was a crane on the top and shoveled the mountain nearly in two third. The area was already the restricted area for staff only.

As I am making a plan to revisit, I wonder what I should cook for next time? Japanese curry, I cooked last time was absolutely not their favorite. I need to rethink my recipe to earn their smile. The local foods and thier taste are probably something not going to be changed.


#The Edge series: highway







August 20 2015

 
(click on a photo)







August 10 2015


archive : summer 2014 | "Satta Pass" in Shizuoka, well known for Hiroshige's famous series of drawings, the Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido (top left). I am facing the east and Mt. Fuji is way on the left out of the frame.







August 10 2015

 








August 09 2015

 
(click on a photo)

As I edit through new images from The Edge series: highway, the fresh memory of Xinjiang recalls some of the best and worst experiences of the trip. I had my money stolen from a stranger on the last day, whom I helped to give a ride. I fall off from a donkey. I also slipped off the cliff with a donkey falling toward me and injured my arm. Those are the tokens to exchange with other great and experiences I had.

I just sent out a few images for the family through SNS to one of the family's daughter. The smartphones have been brought quickly and my iphone, brought on the journey, was asked obsessively by one of the family's relatives to trade with his two sheep.

The parents of the family, who retired from nomadic herding while a ago, recently moved and settled in a compound apartment of the resettlement area. The apartment has hot shower, drinkable water and heating system, that convenience the family wished for for awhile.

The fourth daughter of the family is planing to get married sometime in October. I will most likely go back for their celebration.







August 09 2015


My entrance to Tianshan Mountain was possible after SB (in the middle of the picture above), with his younger brother agreed to tag me along on their trip to returning to the mountain. SB is the oldest son of the second daughter of the family I have been documenting.

For the past five years, SB had worked as a migrant factory worker, hopping around developed cities in the east coast of China. He came back home this year, then we finally got to meet.

On the second day I was introduced to him, I was already on the back seat of his motorcycle headed to Tianshan Mountains. He brought me to JR, a son of the family, who stays in the mountains to sustain a semi-nomadic life. Then, my three weeks of incredible journey had begun.







August 05 2015


Since this year's January, I decide not to keep my apartment. It was just too expensive to afford for sometime not living there for over a month.

I really appreciate all my dear friends, who generously let me stay on their couch and let me save some money to spend more usefully.

Today is almost one month after I left Tianshan Mountain in Xinjiang province of China. I was back there for my Xinjiang family, whom I have been photographing since 2011. My three-weeks journey toward deep in Tianshan Mountain had ended up the toughest and the most challenging journey ever in the last four years. I was able to follow one of the family members (ethically Kyrgyz and nomadic herdsmen in Xinjiang China) from their spring pasture land to the summer's, called "Jayloo," where geographically very close to Kyrgyzstan in China's Tianshan Mountain.

We had spend seven days to migrate and it begun on foot, some of them on a motor-cycle. After four days (of that three days we had to take shelter from non-stop pouring raining), two trucks caught us up and we loaded three families' housing stuffs and equipments. The trucks send us to a point where we couldn't go any further, then we switched to horses, camels and donkeys to continue to carry all our staffs and the hundreds of livestock to follow.

The cuts and bruises are countless. I curled up in a ball and slept on a wet blank in cold and rainy night. I rode on a donkey for my first time with a three-years old kid in front, holding him in one arm and a wood stick in another.

It was one of the most adventurous journey and as I am sitting in my friend's apartment now in Aichi, Japan, I am slowly digesting how valuable all that experience. I feel very grateful for the family and for coming back safely.

The picture above was taken sometime during the last winter in Aichi.








June 02 2015


I spent my first ten days in the south-west of Yunnan province in China. The trip was for my personal project and for the beginning of the third part of The Edge series, Pipeline. (The picture above in Mangshi of Yunnan).





May 28 2015


Sobue Park in Aichi, Japan. 2015








May 28 2015


Japanese apricot trees from the same unusual snowy day at night (see below).









May 28 2015


At the end of last winter, there was unusual snowy day, which turned my neighborhood into flat white within an hour. Shortly before the snow covered all trees into its color, Japanese apricot trees, which always show sign of blooming before cherry blossom, seemed to bring its utmost effort to grow its beauty.

In the rural area, Japanese houses are preferred with a yard surrounded by a hedge of plants, concrete or fence. I walked around the neighborhood soon after the snow began, searching for the only color growing over the hedge at the shortest and most beautiful moment.









May 15 2015


Cycano-type. For the food series, I am testing the thickness. Later in the after noon the weather became cloudy...I had my first few exposure in nice and sunny. The first time trying of that thickness for cyano type








May 13 2015


In the picture, it's preparing chemical solutions for new cyanotype sensitizer...








May 13 2015

Recent my readings - "Kino," "Scheherazade" and "Yesterday" from Haruki Murakami's published on The New Yorker website.







May 07 2015

Along my journey of the personal project near at the boarder between Burma and China, an unfamiliar items are collected along the way.

(from left)
Razor blades. Sedative for muscular ache (?). A perfume and its box.
Sedative for centipede bite (?). A box cigarette. Sedative for snake bite.

(ひだりから)
カミソリの刃。筋肉痛鎮静剤(?)。香水の瓶と箱。
ムカデに刺されたときの薬(?)。煙草。蛇に噛まれたときのぬり薬。







May 07 2015



From now on, I will start posting my blog here rather than redirecting to my tumblr account. Please visit on my tumblr for more visual updates. Thank you. (In the picture above, new addition to my pressed flower collection from Yunnan, China)

これから直接ここにブログを書き込みます。以前までのtumblrはビジュアル・ブログとして活用していきます。
(写真は雲南省で集めた押し花です)。