Haguro-San hiking

I went for a hike in the mountains a few dozen kilometers from Tsuruoka.


I took a pilgrimage path "sankan sando" which connects the three mountains of Dewa : Mount Haguro, Mount Gassan and Mount Yodono ".


The crossing of these mountains would represent in Buddhist religion death and rebirth.


For my part, I stopped at Mount Haguro at 414 meters above sea level, because in this month of February, there is still snow and as the climbs are steep it can be dangerous to go further.


The climb is gradual and is done by stairs : the steps are not high but are narrow for a western foot. The progression is made in the middle of giant cedars which give a particular cachet to the place.


And taking into account the period, I was very alone on the pilgrimage routes, I had to meet three or four people in all.


It is a very nice hike which arrives at the top where one can of course pray in the temples, although most of them are closed. But the place has to welcome many pilgrims in summer.


I have selected a few photos for you :

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From Akita to Tsuruoka

I left Aomori early in the morning by train in the middle of a snowstorm. The landscapes along the road were superb ! Absolutely all the vegetation was covered with snow, it was a real spectacle.

Arriving in Akita, I joined the west coast of Japan, and I begin a geographical descent towards my return, towards Tokyo.


There is not much to see in Akita, apart from of course its castle and an art museum on the works of the painter Foujita who lived in France in the 1930s. I did however walk around and I enjoy the calm of this peaceful city.


The next day I went south to go to Tsuruoka. I really wanted to see the Sea of Japan, so I started my afternoon with a walk by the sea, the weather was nice, it was great.


I then visited a small local aquarium which is famous for displaying jellyfish.

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Winter return in Hirosaki

It was finally down to the west coast of Japan that I encountered winter. After 12 degrees and the sun in Aomori, I had 2 degrees and snowstorms all day.


Protected by my Canadian equipment, I set out to discover the sites I had spotted : the castle and the Choshoji temple. I walked a few kilometers under the snow showers.


The castle at this time of the year is rather banal. By cons in spring it is one of the most famous places in Japan to admire the cherry blossoms :

So obviously in February it is difficult to see cherry trees. But this is how is the castle and its park and the attendance of the place in this season :

And I was very happy to discover the Choshoji temple, it is one of the most beautiful temples I have seen since I have been in Japan. It has the particularity of being from the beginning of the Edo period (around 1600 AD) and of not having burned !


I was absolutely alone to visit it, which with the snow gave it charm. The monk who lives there was surprised to see me, there must not be many visitors, and offered to visit the interior of the temple. I stayed there a long time because the place is really good.

I then went up to the heights to take photos of the city :

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Tsugaru Strait is no longer snowy

I arrived at the north of my trip and Tohoku : Aomori. In the travel guides, they warn you that in winter you will find meters of snow and freezing cold.


For proof this song very popular in Japan speaks of Aomori and the strait which connects the city to the big island of Hokkaido :

And the reality is that global warming is also hitting northern Japan. Instead of finding snow and cold, I had a beautiful sun and mild temperatures (12 degrees).


This allowed me to walk in this sleepy city, and especially to go see the sea and the Hokkaido horizon. I was able to take beautiful photos.

I also visited the museum of the summer festival of the city of Aomori. On the occasion of this religious holiday, the inhabitants gather in the street and parade large statues made of paper and illuminated. It is beautiful and impressive.


When you cannot attend, you can visit the museum where certain works are presented :

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Further North : Morioka

Here I am further north, in the small town of Morioka. Its name is known but few tourists stop here, it's mainly a railway junction. It's also true that there are few tourist attractions.


I took advantage of the first day of good weather, which allowed me to make a great tour : to see the park of Morioka, to walk in streets where buildings of the Edo era have been preserved, to visit the hand of the devil (a temple would have a rock where the devil would have laid his hand - we see nothing in fact). Time flies by walking leisurely.


On the second day, however, bad weather arrived. At the start of the snow then rain in the middle of the day. It is therefore difficult to spend the day outside. It's time to either visit the museums or go shopping. I took the second option : I was able to buy what was necessary to cook Japanese cuisine. I also noticed that in stores it is no longer possible to buy masks, they are robbed. Japan awaits the arrival of the coronavirus, like France, moreover.

The first day :

The second day :

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Hiraizumi the medieval

A beautiful winter landscape, without snow
A beautiful winter landscape, without snow

I stopped at Hiraizumi on my way north. It's a big village that interests me because it played a very important role in mid-medieval times.

Imagine that in 850 AD, Buddhist monks wished to create in the hills near the village, the terrestrial paradise of Buddhism to welcome in particular the souls of warriors who died in combat and allow them to reach nirvana. In the heyday there were over 300 temples built. Unfortunately a fire (a big class in Japan) almost destroyed everything except ...


Except the Chujon-ji : a small temple gilded with gold, decorated with black lacquer and pearls, which represents the big Buddha, accompanied by Jizo (the protector of the souls of dead children) of the goddess Kannon and others guardians. Photos prohibited !

This temple has escaped the flames and can be seen in a fireproof building. Beyond its spiritual symbol, it's a true work of art. It may be small, we stay there for a good half hour to observe it.


That is why I spent more than half a day walking around this huge sanctuary, because other temples have been built. There was hardly anyone, for my greatest pleasure.


At the end of the day, I settled in a traditional Japanese hotel : room with tatami mats, and traditional Japanese dinner (full of dishes based on fish, flans, meat, eel etc ...)

There's anybody else ?
There's anybody else ?
Alone in the bus
Alone in the bus
traditional room
traditional room
traditional meal
traditional meal

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Peace and beauty in Matsushima

I like it when the weather is wrong in my favor. Instead of raining as expected, the weather was good. And that's good, my program today planned to go to Matshushima.

It's a village on the coast north of Sendai. At this time of year it was a good idea to go there as there was hardly anyone there. On the other hand, from March until November, there must be crowds of tourists. And so the place will be less peaceful for sure.


There are few things to do, but they are worth taking time and dragging on. There are two beautiful temples, superb, classified national treasures.


There is of course the promenade by the sea to enjoy the view of the islands, and then there is a long bridge in red lacquer which allows you to go to the largest island in front of the village. It's a kind of wild park with different views of the sea.


You can spend the time you want to enjoy the scenery, and then return to the village to taste oysters, it's the local specialty (for me they were prepared in different ways : hot in its shell, returned in the sauce soy and on a bowl of rice, and finally breaded) It should be noted that Asian oysters are more fatty and have a less iodized taste than those which we eat in France.

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Sendai the miraculous

I forgot that a city in Japan can be very large. When I arrived in Sendai, I had no idea that the City would be so big. It has 1 million inhabitants, half of Paris, and yet it is considered an average city in Japan.

So I left the small town of Aizu-Wakamatsu for a big city.


I chose to stop in Sendai for two reasons :

- I wanted to see how the city recovered from the 2011 tsunami and the Fukushima explosion (it's not very far if you look at a map). On this point, I have the impression that nothing happened because the city is normal.

- I had plans to visit the Nikka whiskey distillery which is a few kilometers from Sendai. I went there, I visited the facilities, it's always interesting. And of course I could go through the factory store !


I also visited the city a bit. I really liked the Osaki Hachiman temple which is classified as a national treasure. Its entrance in old wood is magnificent, and the temple itself is very colorful thanks to the lacquers used.

Figurent au sol deux files à respecter pour prendre deux bus différents. L'une d'elle est la bonne pour aller visiter la distillerie. Mais comment fait-on pour savoir quelle est la bonne lorsqu'on ne lit pas les kanjis japonais ?

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What failures to Aizu-Wakamatsu

As I said in my video yesterday (in French sorry), I was very disappointed not to attend the festival of lanterns in the snow, which was held earlier than expected.


Today the weather has been better than expected. I took the opportunity to visit in order :


- the funeral graves of the white tigers who committed suicide during a war in 1868. They were samurai who, during a fight, took refuge in the surrounding hills and thought they saw their master's castle burn. They then decided to commit suicide out of loyalty to their master. In reality, the castle did not burn and their master was alive. Their loyalty and loyalty is an example for the Japanese. I say that they were stupid to commit suicide but it must be said that they were 15 and 16 years old and therefore a little young. Only the youngest 14-year-old was not allowed to commit suicide.


- the Aizu Bukeyashiki samurai complex : it is a reconstructed master's residence where a master and all his samurai lived. You can visit the different rooms and discover the very strict way of life.


- the Tsuruga-jo castle and its moats.

A bit of local gastronomy to conclude: Aizu-Wakamatsu's specialty is Katsudon with a special coating : it is breaded pork (the breading is rather dark and soft) placed on a bed of minced cabbage and in a bowl rice.

I had the opportunity to taste this traditional dish from a menu accompanied by hot soba pasta.

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Tokyo : TeamLabs Planets at Odaiba

On this beautiful day (it will change in the coming days), I went to the artificial island of Odaiba for a very specific reason : to see TeamLab Planets. I bought my ticket online for this morning, and stayed there for almost two hours.


I don't know if you know the TeamLabs: in a very dark place, they project lights and sounds with specific devices to create atmospheres. It is a kind of technological museum where we discover different atmospheres by following a circuit.


There was one in Paris a few years ago, but I no longer hear about it in France. In Tokyo there are two including that of Odaiba.

This one is special because we visit it barefoot to discover different sensations  : we walk on carpet, large cushions (where we sink) and in water. And in order, we discover atmospheres created with strings of light (room 1), projections of koi carp on the water in which we walk (room 2), large balloons that change color (room 3) , and flowers that are projected on a dome (room 4).


It's very beautiful and with the music that accompanies us, we want to stop and take the time to admire the colors and the images. Besides, many Japanese people lie on the ground except in the pond of course.


As it is very dark inside, my cameras had trouble taking quality pictures. However, I can offer you some photos and the videos below.

Note that TeamLab encourages visitors to take photos and film, and does not prohibit it !

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Tokyo : à la découverte de Koenji et Nakano

Super vidéo hein, la caméra n'a pas fait le focus sur mon visage (tant mieux au final^^)

No more jokes, we left for blog posts about Japan for this 2020 trip.

I settled for a few days in Tokyo. I hesitated at first and then finally I made up my mind. It's not the city I prefer in Japan (I have a weakness for Kyoto and Nagasaki), but there's so much to do and see !

This time, I decided to stay in the West and a little outside, in a district called Koenji.

It houses a local community of artists and intellectuals which gives it a special atmosphere. Cultural and musical influences are very broad, and anti-system political commitment is developed there. This is where the anti-nuclear demonstrations after Fukushima started in 2011, for example. But as we are in Japan, this district also offers traditional values, such as its temples and old-fashioned shopping streets.

Finally, the particularity of Koenji lies in its music stores, its second-hand clothing stores and its small bars (there are everywhere!)

It's therefore a nice, popular district, and little frequented by tourists.

Right next to Koenji is the Nakano district, 5 minutes from the famous Shinjuku.

I went there today especially to visit, it's the first time, Nakano Broadway.

Nakano Broadway is a complex of tiny shops at the end of a traditional shopping street (Sun Mall). These stalls sell everything that otakus love. Otakus means in Japanese : people who spend most of their lives in indoor activities, playing video games, reading magazines and watching cartoons. And it's a term that applies to all ages, I had the opportunity to see a number of elderly people this morning in its specialty stores.

So you understand, there are many things and especially occasions : models of trains and cars, manga in shambles for all tastes and sentimental and sexual orientations), DVDs, merchandising on female idols and men, and of course figurines of all Japanese anime and manga characters. It is the Mecca of Japanese otaku.

That said, I was a little disappointed with the number of stores closed and the prices of the occasions. Some figurines are worth 2500 euros !

To conclude this post, I will talk about my meals (there are amateurs among you I know) : I had the opportunity to eat sushi in a sushi bar (correct and not expensive), great tempuras from vegetables, fish, shrimp and egg (at Tensuke in Koenji, I recommend !)

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This is the end

I chose this title of Taichi Mukai (see the credits of the very good animated "Run with the wind" on Crunchyroll) to introduce my last post on this trip to Japan. I listened to him throughout my trip, he will be a marker of my memories.


The title of this post is sufficiently evocative : I arrived at the end of my trip. Since Monday I returned to Tokyo to take the plane, and I am now in Alsace. My last hours in Japan were spent traveling and buying.


So it's time to do a first "hot" debriefing and draw the next lines of the next departure.


First of all, I must say that these three and a half weeks have passed for me very quickly. I took full advantage of the days, getting up early and coming back late, and walking 5 to 6 hours daily. I did everything I wanted to do, so I have no regrets.


Then I am happy to have found in Japan this form of benevolence: in all the places where I went, I found there smiles and a benevolent attention. It's always a pleasure to interact with the Japanese (even if they are more introverted than us), and I can now exchange more easily with them (to speak a little language facilitates things of course). I miss this innocent benevolence when I am in France, I find the social relations more tense and difficult (I feel it all the more since I came back).


In addition, I reviewed places that were close to my heart and discovered new ones. The new place that marked me the most is Mount Fuji. There's nothing extraordinary in itself, but this mountain is so important to the Japanese people that the atmosphere is unique. I put you one last picture on the place :


J'ai choisi ce titre de Taichi Mukai (cf le générique du très bon animé en cours "Run with the wind" sur Crunchyroll) pour introduire mon dernier post sur ce voyage au Japon. Je l'ai écouté tout au long de mon voyage, il sera un marqueur de mes souvenirs.


L'intitulé de ce post est suffisamment évocateur : je suis arrivé à la fin de mon voyage. Depuis lundi je suis revenu sur Tokyo pour reprendre l'avion, et je suis désormais en Alsace. Mes dernières heures au Japon ont été consacrées aux déplacements et aux derniers achats.


C'est donc l'heure de vous faire un premier débriefing "à chaud" et de tirer les lignes du prochain départ.


Tout d'abord, je dois dire que ces trois semaines et demi sont pour moi passées très vite. J'ai profité pleinement des journées, me levant tôt et revenant tard, et marchant 5 à 6h par jour. J'ai fait tout ce que je voulais faire, je n'ai donc pas de regrets.


Puis je suis content d'avoir retrouvé au Japon cette forme de bienveillance : dans tous les endroits où je suis allé, j'y ai retrouvé des sourires et une attention bienveillante. C'est toujours un plaisir d'interagir avec les japonais (même s'ils sont plus introvertis que nous), et j'arrive désormais à échanger plus facilement avec eux (parler un peu la langue facilite les choses bien sûr). Cette bienveillance innocente me manque lorsque je suis en France, je trouve les rapports sociaux plus tendus et difficile (je le ressens d'autant plus depuis que je suis revenu).


Par ailleurs, j'ai revu des lieux qui me tenaient à cœur et découvert de nouveaux. Le nouvel endroit qui m'a le plus marqué est le Mont Fuji. Il n'y a rien d'extraordinaire en soi, mais cette montagne est si importante pour le peuple japonais que l'atmosphère qui y règne est particulière. Je vous mets une dernière photo sur le lieu : 

Rare photo où je suis dessus (collector !)
Rare photo où je suis dessus (collector !)

If I had a favorite, it is for the Region of Chichibu. I had the pleasure of seeing Kyoto again, and Kyushu Island (Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Kagoshima) remains my favorite.

So I took my annual dose, (re) discovered new sensations, explored and discovered new skies.

I came back with "half of Japan". I took a picture of some of these treasures by undoing my suitcase. I give you an overview.


Si j'ai eu un coups de cœur, c'est pour la Région de Chichibu. J'ai eu du plaisir à revoir Kyoto, et l'île de Kyushu (Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Kagoshima) reste ma préférée.

J'ai donc pris ma dose annuelle, (re)découvert de nouvelles sensations, exploré et découverts de nouveaux cieux.

Je suis revenu avec la "moitié du Japon". J'ai fais une photo d'une partie de ces trésors en défaisant ma valise. Je vous en donne un aperçu.

I hope I shared with you my trip, and made you want to discover new horizons, new cultures. The international climate is tense, we can not travel everywhere, but there are still accessible and reliable places. Asia is partly privileged, we must take advantage of it. Now that my trip is over, I'm starting to think about the next one. I will return to Japan in the years to come for sure, but to see how birds fly in Vietnam or New Zealand, I would not mind. If you have proposals or projects, it might interest me.


Thank you for following me and for your sharing messages. I hope to have proposed an escape, to "my way" and tell you soon !


J'espère avoir partagé avec vous mon voyage, et vous avoir donné envie de partir découvrir de nouveaux horizons, des cultures différentes. Le climat international est tendu, on ne peut pas voyager partout, mais il reste encore des endroits accessibles et fiables. L'Asie est en partie privilégiée, il faut en profiter. Maintenant que mon voyage est terminé, je commence à réfléchir au prochain. Je retournerai au Japon dans les années à venir c'est sûr, mais aller voir comment volent les oiseaux au Vietnam ou en Nouvelle-Zélande, cela ne me déplairait pas. Si vous avez des propositions ou des projets, ça pourrait m'intéresser.


Merci de m'avoir suivi et pour vos messages de partage. J'espère vous avoir proposé une évasion, à "ma manière" et vous dit à bientôt !

To conclude with music also: to get an idea of the Japanese soul I suggest you discover the traditional piece played by Kasumi Watanabe. You will notice the pretty kimono, the cherry blossoms and the funny instrument !


Pour conclure en musique également : pour avoir une idée de l'âme japonaise je vous propose de découvrir ce morceau "Sakura" traditionnel joué par Kasumi Watanabe. Vous noterez le joli kimono, les cerisiers en fleurs et le drôle d'instrument !

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Days 22 - 23 Dazaifu and Tachiarai

Saturday was dedicated to visiting Dazaifu. This city is located about fifteen kilometers from Fukuoka.

I pretended to want to spend a day away from the crowds, and I was surprised. There was a crowd as dense as Kyoto and I quickly understood why : the tour operators dump packs of Chinese to go to the main shrine of the city and eat grilled red bean mochis. I've been seeing these Chinese tourists coming to Japan for several years, disguising themselves by renting kimonos to take "kawaï" (cute) pictures in front of temples, cherry blossoms or red maple trees. I discovered this year that they go further : they buy clothes in Japanese fashion, and walk in couples as if they were Japanese. So we think we see Japanese, but the spoken language is not the same.

So I visited the sanctuary and ate grilled mochis with my friends "naf-naf" (I know, it's not nice ...).

A few steps away, there is the Kyushu National Museum, which presents the influence of Japanese art through Asian and Middle Eastern art. Say like that, it's not sexy. Well I had a great time : the pieces are beautiful, explanations in English well done, and we do not spend hours seeing lines of objects like the Louvre. The visit of the permanent collection lasts two hours, I have not seen the time pass !

I ended the day walking through the streets of Dazaifu. The Japanese greeted me in the street, they must be used to see passing tourist buses, but not a genji (foreign) walking in the narrow streets.

A good discovery Daizafu, despite the tourist guides who remain rather silent on the assets of this city.


La journée de samedi a été consacrée à la visite de Dazaifu. Cette ville se situe à une quinzaine de kilomètres de Fukuoka. 

J'avais la prétention de vouloir passer une journée loin des foules, et bien j'ai été surpris. Il y avait une foule aussi dense qu'à Kyoto et j'ai rapidement compris pourquoi : les tours operators déversent des meutes de chinois pour aller voir le principal sanctuaire de la ville et manger des mochis aux haricots rouges, grillés. Cela fait plusieurs années que je vois ces touristes chinois venir au Japon, se déguiser en louant des kimonos pour prendre des photos "kawaï" (mignon) devant les temples, les cerisiers en fleurs ou les érables rouges. J'ai découvert cette année qu'ils vont plus loin : ils achètent des vêtements à la mode japonaise, et se promènent en couple comme s'ils étaient des japonais. On croit donc voir des japonais, mais la langue parlée n'est pas la même.

J'ai donc visité le sanctuaire et mangé de mochis grillés avec mes amis "naf-naf" (je sais, ce n'est pas gentil...).

A quelques pas de là, il y a le Musée national du Kyushu, qui présente l'influence de l'art japonais par l'art asiatique et du moyen-orient. Dis comme celà, ce n'est pas sexy. Et bien j'y ai passé un très bon moment : les pièces présentées sont magnifiques, les explications en anglais bien faites, et on ne passe pas des heures à voir des files d'objets comme au Louvre. La visite de la collection permanente dure deux heures environ, je n'ai pas vu le temps passer !

J'ai fini la journée en me promenant dans les rues de Dazaifu. Les japonais me saluaient dans la rue, ils doivent être habitués à voir passer des bus de touristes, mais pas un genji (étranger) marcher dans les petites ruelles.

Une bonne découverte Daizafu, et ce malgré les guides touristiques qui restent plutôt muets sur les atouts de cette ville.

This Sunday, I went a little further, in a bled named Tachiarai (hard to pronounce in Japanese). There is only one thing to do there : visit the memorial museum of peace.

In fact, this city was during the Second World War the training place of the "kamikaze" pilots who went to crash on the American aircraft carriers. There is nothing left of the flying school and the grounds, because the city has been bombarded several times by the Americans.

This museum nevertheless presents the conditions of training of these pilots, the ravages of the war in particular following the bombardments, and militates to preserve the peace. Just read the poignant letters of the pilots to their family before dying to be moved. So there are various objects presented, the photos of all the Japanese victims (pilots and civilians) and American soldiers killed during the crash of an American bomber on the area. And the museum presents an exclusive Zero Fighter that can be photographed, as well as the model for kamikaze that was fished in the bay of Fukuoka.

I found this small museum very moving, if you pass in the corner, it deserves the detour (30 minutes by train from Fukuoka).

I then did some shopping in the shops. I went in particular to a Mandarake (the mecca of manga readers : there are mangas, figurines, costumes for cosplay). I found the goldorak firgurine at 2400 euros (human size !)

Otherwise in the last dishes tasted:

- Kyushu soy, omelette and beef ramen pasta

- Roasted eels on rice with pickles and miso soup.


Ce dimanche, je suis allé un peu plus loin, dans un bled nommé Tachiarai (difficile à prononcer en japonais). Il n'y a qu'une seule chose à y faire : visiter le musée mémorial de la paix.

En fait, cette ville a été lors de la deuxième guerre mondiale le lieu d'entraînement des pilotes d'avion "kamikaze" qui partaient se crasher sur les porte-avions américains. Il ne subsiste plus rien de l'école de pilotage et des terrains, car la ville a été bombardée à plusieurs reprises par les américains.

Ce musée présente néanmoins les conditions d'entraînement de ces pilotes, les ravages de la guerre notamment suite aux bombardements, et milite pour préserver la paix. Il suffit de lire les lettres poignantes des pilotes à leur famille avant de mourir pour être ému. Il y a donc divers objets présentés, les photos de toutes les victimes japonaises (pilotes et civils) et soldats américains tués lors du crash d'un bombardier américain sur la zone. Et le musée présente en exclusivité un vrai Zero Fighter qu'on peut prendre en photo, ainsi que le modèle servant aux kamikazes qui a été repêché dans la baie de Fukuoka.

J'ai trouvé ce petit musée très émouvant, si vous passez dans le coin, il mérite le détour (30 mn en train de Fukuoka).

J'ai ensuite fait quelques emplettes dans les magasins. Je suis notamment allé dans un Mandarake (la mecque des lecteurs de mangas : on y trouve des mangas, des figurines, des costumes pour le cosplay). J'y ai trouvé la firgurine de Goldorak à 2400 euros (taille humaine !)

Sinon dans les derniers plats dégustés :

- pâtes ramen au soja, omelette et bœuf du Kyushu

- Anguilles grillées sur riz avec pickles et soupe miso.

Allez, une question pour gagner cette petite boite de biscuit sablés de la célèbre pâtisserie Malebranche de Kyoto :


Quel est le titre (exact) de la musique de Wagner qui accompagne cet OAV de Captain Harlock (Albator pour les plus anciens d'entre-nous) ?



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Day 21 : Imari and Okayachimaya

The day was again superb : big sun, 20 degrees and sunburn. I left in the countryside (1h30 of limited express train + 25 mn of very slow train + 15 mn of bus) in Imari. It's the second village known in the region for its ceramics. When I arrived, I went for a walk in this small town. There's not much to see, except some ceramic statues and clouds of little old walkers (I like the old walker, they always say hello).


La journée a encore été superbe : grand soleil, 20 degrés et des coups de soleil. Je suis parti dans la campagne (1h30 de train limited express + 25 mn de train très lent + 15 mn de bus) à Imari. C'est la deuxième bourgade connue dans la région pour ses céramiques. A mon arrivée, j'ai fais un tour dans cette petite ville. Il n'y a pas grand chose à voir, hormis quelques statues en céramique et des nuées de petites vieilles en déambulateurs (j'aime bien les vieilles en déambulateur, elles disent toujours bonjour).

By cons, I walked in the village of Okayachimaya 10 minutes bus ride. Originally, the Japanese made between 800 and 900 AD nearly 200 families of Korean potters to learn their savory-make and exploit them. They were never able to return to their country, they were held against their will. To commemorate their "sacrifice", the Japanese have dedicated to them, several monuments in the village, including one that is under a beautiful maple (it was the least of things to do).

Today, the village brings together the 30 known potters of Imari. They produce and sell on the spot. As it's not the tourist season for ceramics, I was able to walk freely throughout the village, visit the shops and talk a little with the owners. Simple and affordable ceramics can be found as beautiful things. I saw ceramics at 5,000 euros among the most expensive. I did not take pictures, so as not to interfere. I think that everyone can find his account, the diversity of creations is important. I left part of my wallet. I hope to come back someday.


Par contre, je me suis promené dans le village d'Okayachimaya à 10 mn de bus. A l'origine, les japonais ont fait entre 800 et 900 après JC près de 200 familles de potiers coréens pour apprendre leur savoir-faire et les exploiter. Ces derniers n'ont jamais pu revenir dans leur pays, ils ont été retenus contre leur gré. Pour commémorer leur "sacrifice", les japonais leur ont dédié, plusieurs monuments dans le village, dont un qui se trouve sous un bel érable (c'était la moindre des choses à faire).

Aujourd'hui, le village rassemble les 30 potiers connus d'Imari. Ils produisent et vendent sur place. Comme ce n'est pas la saison touristique pour les céramiques, j'ai pu me promener librement dans tout le village, visiter les magasins et parler un peu avec les propriétaires. On trouve des céramiques simples et abordables comme de très belles choses. J'ai vu des céramiques à 5 000 euros parmi les plus chères. Je n'ai pas pris de photos, pour ne pas gêner. Je pense que tout le monde peut y trouver son compte, la diversité des créations est importante. J'y ai laissé une partie de mon portefeuille. J'espère pouvoir y revenir un jour.

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Day 19 and 20 : Fukuoka and Arita

I laid down my bags yesterday in Fukuoka to establish my base camp. It's the largest city of Kyushu, the economic heart of the island. I have already visited, so besides my quest for the best whiskey, the search for a pokemon store, and a yusu mustard (I was placed orders) I have no plans to visit it at new. In fact it is ideally located for visiting the region, including cities and villages specializing in pottery.


J'ai posé hier mes valises à Fukuoka, pour établir mon camps de base. C'est la plus grande ville du Kyushu, le poumon économique de l'île. Je l'ai déjà visitée, donc hormis ma quête du meilleur whisky, la recherche d'un pokemon store, et d'une moutarde au yusu (on m'a passé des commandes) je n'ai pas pour projet de la visiter à nouveau. En fait elle est idéalement située pour visiter la région, et notamment les villes et villages spécialisés dans la poterie.

As the weather was very favorable today (beautiful sun and 20 degrees, the return to Alsace will be difficult, I suspect), I decided to go to Arita, a small town at 1h20 Fukuoka train. It's a high place of pottery, known for its large market held in late April.

I first wandered to admire the magnificent maple trees of the region (autumn is booming in the Kyushu). Then I visited the very good free museum that explains the arrival of pottery from China and Korea in Japan (1200) and its evolution in the Japanese island.


Comme la météo était aujourd'hui très favorable (beau soleil et 20 degrés, le retour en Alsace va être difficile, je le pressens), j'ai décidé d'aller à Arita, une petite bourgade à 1h20 de train de Fukuoka. C'est un haut lieu de la poterie, connu notamment pour son grand marché qui se tient à la fin avril.

Je me suis d'abord baladé pour admirer les magnifiques érables de la région (l'automne est en plein boum dans le Kyushu). Puis j'ai visité le très bon musée gratuit qui explique l'arrivée de la poterie de Chine et de Corée au Japon (années 1200) et son évolution dans l'île nippone.

And I finally finished this day by going around the ceramic shops. There is a company that offers very small prices to buy pottery that have defects. You can choose your basket at 40 euros or 80 euros that you fill with the ceramics of your choice. The idea is interesting for those who want to save money, it is the lair of Korean and Chinese who fill several baskets (I think they come by boat, it is impossible to bring as much weight on the plane).


Et j'ai enfin terminé cette journée en faisant le tour des boutiques de céramique. Il y a notamment une entreprise qui propose à des prix très mini d'acheter des poteries qui ont des défauts. Vous pouvez choisir votre panier à 40 euros ou à 80 euros que vous remplissez avec les céramiques de votre choix. L'idée est intéressante pour ceux qui veulent faire des économies, c'est le repaire des coréens et des chinois qui remplissent plusieurs paniers (je pense qu'ils viennent en bateau, c'est impossible de ramener autant de poids en avion).

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