Another part of the local scenery that you just can’t avoid noticing are the automatic vending machines which are set up everywhere, no matter if it’s the center of the city or residential neighbourhoods. Solitary or in groups they wait for a thirsty passerby to offer softdrinks to or maybe even a can of Sake. They remind me of the little Shinto shrines and Buddhist statues also commonly seen at the side of the road, but of course these vending machines serve a more mundane purpose, being dedicated to the gods of Consumer culture.
Ad hoc montage?
It might seem like a strange subject matter to start with, but in fact one of the first and ultimately most striking things to catch my eye in Yukuhashi were the graves and little cemeteries, for they are seemingly everywhere. Being situated between the fields, in the middle of the city, in backyards, next to parking spaces or even close to shopping malls, sometimes it isn’t clear what was there first, the graves or their surroundings. Anyway, there appears to be none of the distance we keep from our deceased, who we usually put out of sight in cemeteries, away from our homes and workplaces.
After finishing my Master’s thesis in the autumn of 2014, I had the opportunity to spend a little more than two months in Japan, visiting my fiancée’s family in the city of Yukuhashi. While my fiancée had to work during the day, there was ample time for me to explore the city and its surroundings.
Yukuhashi itself is situated on the coastline in the northeast of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. It is part of Fukuoka Prefecture and not far from the urban center of Kitakyushu. The population is about 72.000.
Because I only speak a few words of Japanese, this time I had to concentrate mostly on the architecture and scenery of the place. Still I feel I managed to get an impression of the current condition of rural or small-town Japan.
I will post thematically organized groups of photos in the coming weeks.