This scrapjournal is an “accordion-style” book (think that’s what you’d call it… though doesn’t create the dulcet tones of the musical instrument) anyhow the paper unfolds in one long swath in Japanese style. Appropriately, the book is laden with artifacts collected in Japan whilst traveling by ship and stopping in a various ports of call from Hokkaido to Kyushu.
Japan is the champion country for interesting paper-y bits so filling this one up with origami cranes to hot spring brochures postage stamps and oddments from the ship was ummm no problem, fulfilling and infinitely tactile. What follows are a few sample pages, along with the covers, for archival amusement.
To remind and inspire myself, i often photograph envelopes before they embark on their journey. The fronts contain folks’ personal address (which i shoot to keep a record i never actually look back upon to recall who i’ve mailed) so i shan’t share that bit, but i will gallery up the backs – really for no purpose, just for amusement and artsy funtimes.
This batch is vaguely Japanese-inspired – meaning Japanese stationery or decoration.
This leather-bound beauty was a gift, long waiting for the right time to come into service. Finally, after lingering for too long, this mighty handmade (just not by me, obv) was pressed into purpose to gather and curate travel annotations and ephemera (tickets, snippets, stickers, postcards, brochure clipping, bits of maps and the like) on a long ramble from Gabriola Island BC, to Adelaide Australia, to Japan (Kyoto, Okayama, Sakura), and then into a suitcase in storage in Victoria, Canada, awaiting another chance to share secrets.
In the meanwhile, a few sample pages for your perusal… my lil nieces helped me snap the pics.
In 1993-4, I worked as a mushroom farmhand in Tottori-ken (prefecture), a rather remote area of Japan (southwestern-ish Honshu). The work was long and arduous and the boss was a jerk so, I eventually split unannounced one day.
Determined to explore some of the country before my visa ran out, I stuck my thumb-out seeking a “bouken” (adventure) after making destination signs by copying place name kanji characters onto 100 yes store notebooks with crayon and decorating with some lucky words and stamps (not sure if this helped).
Hitch-hiking isn’t very common in Japan but by sticking to rural areas – including the traditional “o henrosan dori” (the pilgrim’s path) on Shikoku (the smallest of the 4 main islands of the Japanese archipelago) which has seen many wandering poets, seekers and prayers over centuries – I skidded along alright.
Getting rides in the country areas was usually rather quick but often times, the ride would insist of showing “hospitality” in form of taking to their hometown to show off “the thing their town is famous for” (of which every town has one thing). Not ideal for fast moving but well… the take the ride, you go where it goes. Getting between big cities along the expressways was much less enjoyable and relied on waiting around rest/service areas in these cases.
I pitched my small tent most anywhere (beaches, shrines, parks etc) much the chagrin of caretakers and so on who would scold aloud in the early hours. In these situations, I poked my shaggy head out of the tent flap and yammered confused apologies in my farmer Japanese – this tactic would usually confuse the situation into submission.
Some of the time I was accompanied by a mysterious and intrepid Japanese surfer girl who thought my ridiculous plan was worth trying. I liked this part.
What follows are a few pieces of photographic evidence from these journeys, snapped with an early generation panorama camera – but developed “normal aspect” hence black framing bars on some shots.
Riding the Rails in Japan: Various trains (including shinkansen and futsu-densha) from KIX (Kansai Airport) to Shin-Osaka to Okayama to Zyoto (Joto) – stitched together as-is for your meditative enjoyment.