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After returning from India I promised myself that I would try to see more of Japan, preferably by bicycle and with a camera. These are far from great shots – I have know idea how to take a good landscape – but it doesn’t matter. It’s the getting outdoors part that’s the most enjoyable.

I’m taking a week long trip to Shikoku next week to travel around both Kochi and Tokushima prefectures (I used to live in Tokushima) and to catch the wonderful Awa Odori for what I think will be my 5th time. I’ll be taking my Leicas, a huge Mamiya RB67 borrowed from Darren, and of course my bicycle(s).

インドから帰ってきた後日本をもっと見ると決めました。出来るだけカメラを持ちながら自転車で。風景の撮り方あまり分からないので下に載せた写真はあまりだと思いますが、写真より外に出て日本を見る事の方が大切だと思います。

今週末から四国の徳島県と高知県行きます (12年前に徳島に住んでいました)。阿波お踊りも見に行きます。これで五回目かもしれません。もちろん、ライカやDarrenから借りたマミヤRB67と自転車を持って行きます。

Countryside-2

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Countryside

Slow Death

(The title is far more dramatic than I intended but it’s the only one I can think of at the moment)

There isn’t anything special about these photos. I’ve uploaded them because I think the Japanese countryside is one of the most beautiful places on the planet (if you give it a chance). Unfortunately it’s dying a very slow death and few people seem to care. The young people from the countryside are leaving for the big cities and only occasionally swap places with the youth from the big cities.

It’s depressing. It’s also frustrating.

Especially when you throw Fukushima into the equation. Why? Japan’s nuclear power plants are built either on the Pacific or Sea of Japan coast and quite often a stones throw away from similar scenery to this. Everything could be destroyed at any time, and it’s our own fault.

I try to spend as much time in the countryside as possible riding in the mountains. Taking a camera along is a bonus but nearly always worth it.

この写真は特別な写真ではありませんが、日本の田舎の風景は他の海外のそれに比べても美しいと思います。しかし、ご存知と思いますが、若い日本人たちがどんどん都会の方に移住しているため、田舎の村がますます死んでいます。

残念だし、フラストレーション感じます。

特に福島のことを含めて考えた時、日本の原子力発電所が田舎や海岸に建てられ、いい景色を失っている。一歩間違えれば、すべてが失われる可能性がある。私たち自身のせいなのだけれど。

山を登った時になるべく多く田舎の空気を感じたいと思っています。サイクリングにはカメラをほとんど持っていかないけれど、持ってきてよかったと思うこともよくある。

Mt. Norikura

Every year my friends and I cycle up Mt. Norikura – usually three times over a weekend. It’s one of the biggest mountains in the Japanese Alps and renowned among cyclists throughout the country. The summit, just over 3000m, is higher than anything the Tour de France usually goes over and it takes at least 17kms of continual climbing to get there.

Strange as it seems it’s usually one of the highlights of my year. I’m yet to discover anything that compares with the satisfaction of reaching the summit and the anticipation of the awesome decent that always awaits.

I took a film camera with me but it stopped working at the start of the climb. So I hid it in the bushes and relied on my iPhone.

By the way, we’ve just moved apartments so don’t have the Internet yet. Consequently this is post is directly from my iPhone.

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