How two friends and I went (along with heat and typhoon Noru) on my third trip to Japan.

I suggest reading the article listening to this great piece of japanese jazz – to sync your mood with what we felt during the trip.

Since any of my first two trips to Japan (i.e. in 2012 and 2015) were not enough to satisfy my hunger for experiences in that amazing country, I decided to head back to the narrow streets of Tōkyō and other cities once again. As I did during my previous trip, I went with people I care a lot about and with whom I can share my interest for the country. We chose a wide array of cities to visit, and added Kanazawa and Aomori to my usual tour plan. Moreover we all went on the trip with cameras – and a total of 25 rolls of Ilford HP5 and 10 cartridges of I-type instant film to shoot in a 24-days trip – so everything pointed to it being first and foremost a photo-voyage.

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How I had (a rough time choosing 15 pictures for) an exhibition with a friend.

Back in June 2016 me and a friend, Pietro Consolandi, decided to consider making a joint photo exposition – focusing on the pictures we took during our respective trips to Japan in that same year: I went with a friend for new year’s eve holidays while he went later in spring by himself.

We both had also previously been to Japan – my first trip was by myself, his in a group – and we shared the belief that a certain degree of knowledge of a country is required to enjoy it. I don’t mean that one has to have a complete understanding of the place one is travelling to, but the aim of the trip should not be just discovering it: it should not be solely history and social matters, but even just the everyday dimension of how the inhabitants live their own streets and country.

Speaking for myself, I tend to try being invisible – not to catch what they wouldn’t want to show a tourist, but just to be perceived as one of its own by the country itself, the shops, the streets and the poles, being given the chance to experience the same calmness and silence one feels when at home.

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How I ‘hiked’ (but mostly ate) my way through Japan in 15 days.

All the images included in this article are taken by me, therefore feel free to advance any critique.

I first went to Japan in 2012. It was by myself and some of the trips I had were part of organised tours: I deeply enjoyed my experience, but also felt that I failed to get the whole experience that the country had for its visitors.

Last summer I finally managed to organise another trip to Japan: I wouldn’t have been by myself, it would have been for 15 days – instead of just 10 – and we would have also visited Hiroshima – other than Tōkyō and Kyōto which I already stopped at in 2012.

Me and a close friend of mine wanted to get in touch with the rather subtle realm of what we think Japan is like. Such an idea usually involves mostly food and temples, while it rules out the imagery of Japan as a land of dark ages’ warriors, modern buildings and anime. Speaking for myself, the country lays between those extremes, and it resembles what’s depicted by photographers such as Moriyama Daido, Shomei Tomatsu, Nishimura Junku and Hashiguchi George. I think of Japan as a land of narrow alleys, unglorified open spaces and publicly open people.

Continue reading “How I ‘hiked’ (but mostly ate) my way through Japan in 15 days.”