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Arrival in a state of jet-lag in a small town of 3 millions inhabitants. Really too easy to catch a train from the airport. It’s a sunny day, I go past the little grey houses till I arrive in the south of the town to stay in a cheap hotel.

The bedroom is a “big” 6m² , and has a fridge just next to the pillow , probably to put your head in it in case of heatwave !

A little stroll in the aera to take my first “slap in the face” culinary that one in a tiny restaurant (just a little bigger than my bedroom).

The second slap is cultural with the dresscodes. Strict corporate style is in clashing concurrence with “Cosplay” (japanese street fashion) and popular culture where you can come across gothic lolita, tutti frutti lolitas, hangover lolita, gals, mangas, punks, gore and hard rockers and thousands of others that would be regarded as highly provocative to anyone else but japanese people. Faces are coloured or painted should we say, hairstyles match “Candy” from the manga, Pollux from the magic roundabout or Tina Turner’s hair upside down… High heeled shoes about 10 to 15 cm, nails sometimes even longer imitating gold, lead, brass, clay or rainbows, all that topped with sexy underwear, lacy skirts, intimate clothing is out on the streets.

With men this is less spectacular but nevertheless Andy Warhol’s bomber jacket and a carved wooden fish earring look great together ! Peroxyde blonde or orange hair “punk-skin-baba” lots of bright colours… I just cannot imagine Tokyo ! These flashy almost shocking looks do not create any animosity so to speak because japanese people are so apparently emotionless. They do not look at one another, they don’t look at me and that does disturb me. The difference of behaviour between here and south east asia is tremendous. Out there anyone different is immediately spotted even 300m away. Being anonymous in this peaceful crowd gives the feeling I am in a permanent show. I observe and try to understand.

I also try to understand what I eat. In Japan, the pictures or the resin copies showed in the restaurant windows are what you get on the table. Really stunning isn’t it ? And the textures and the flavours of food are raised one peg higher, just to say that food is really delicious. After two hundred forms of civilities one sits down, choses a photo of a dish sipping hot tea and washing hands with a hot damp cloth. A few minutes later one admires the meal on the table. Delicate, dainty, colourful, so appetizing you can eventually eat it and cry of pleasure!! Here in this country you can hardly see any fat people some proof of quality and dietetic good food.

I have not yet seen a lot. Just a little of Osaka, a few districts, the town is not beautiful but one feels at ease. Thousands of bikes without locks , so unbelievable for us ! Yesterday, a small journey going north, easy with a very simple and efficient railway system. The beautiful park of Mino-o and its cascade, maple tree forests, cypress and lots of other species. Fresh air, mild temperatures, a red bridge, a temple. I’m wearing a T-shirt but I was not truly satisfied, my photographer’s eye did not like such a mild autumn because the tree leaves had not taken their beautiful purple and yellow colours, gingkos are still green and most maples are no better. This autumn will be… in december. Oh heck ! Let’s hope within 10 days …

Thanks to Martine for the translation.

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par Stéphane Bidouze time to read: 4 min