This was my sixth trip to Japan. This time, I wanted to travel on my own and for a longer period of time – around two months. I rented a minivan and covered 5,000 kilometers. I had already visited the big cities, so this time I lost myself on the roads between Tokyo, Kobe, Tottori and Hiroshima. My project is titled SHiMA because it is the Japanese word for ‘island.’ It speaks to the physical frontier along which I drove, but it also represents the gap between me and this ancient, ancestral and unreachable culture.

Tanegashima 1543.
(From the brush of the bonze Nampo Bushi)
In year 12 of the Tembun era, a large boat anchored in Nishimura Cove. It was impossible to know which country it had come from. It carried by a hundred men. Their face was different from ours and they did not know our language. All those who saw them found them strange...
Nicolas Bouvier - Chroniques Japonaises


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