Andrew’s world in Japan

Clipboarder.2016.04.20-012Andrew Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring thcreative process & connecting with other creative people.




A Far Cry From An Adventure

With a newly encountered photographer friend James Morgan from the UK, the two of us set about tempting fate trying to determine our next place of interest. Our lists alone were quite long already, combined, although Japan is a small island on the maps of the world, is brimming with neat off the grid destinations. Similar interests in photography, journalism and adventure had us keen on digging into something daring. Already our travels brought us to Jigokudani in Nagano prefecture, Hakuba, the coastal town of Joetsu and we’d heard rumors and stories about some drama on the nearby Sado Island. Abductions that happen to people in this area were the main subject. At the time, James was on the prowl keen to gather stories that may help him fi nd future work as a photojournalist. So off to Sado we went.Clipboarder.2016.04.20-011

Up to this point, putting our thumbs out in the air and attempting to make signs of the name of the destination was our mode of securing transport. The process continued to take longer and the air kept getting colder. Enough standing around in the cold. It didn’t take us long to track down the bus that would get us to the ferry station. Asking about in our broken Japanese with the visual assistance of Jame’s guidebook, we managed to select the correct option from the ticket vending machine for boarding the ferry. On board we indulged in some hot drinks and cup of noodles to heat ourselves up. Roughly a 50km ride, our start was Niigata to the destination of Ryotsu. Out about 2,500 yen, we thought it was a good opportunity to further plan our route. The warmth and waves overtook our weary souls in the early morning hours and lulled us to sleep. That was at about 30 minutes in though. Prior to the ferry disembarking I had scouted about attempting to fi nd some interesting vantage points for photos. A fairly typical industrial coastline really.

As we noted the Japan Coast Guard ship and pondered aloud how much risk of abduction by Korea we were putting ourselves into. Overall, there was no visible security presence. There was hardly any presence at all. Most everything was empty. Vacant of people, especially compared to Tokyo or any of the smaller cities we’d already visited.

Clipboarder.2016.04.20-010Awakening from our short nap, it was time to step off our temporary sanctuary of warmth. Sado immediately transported us to another atmosphere. Nature was much more in control of this environment. The homes and spaces were not as well kept and pristine as more heavily touristed destinations. This was by all visible accounts a typical ocean based fi shing village. Even though it was March, cold, damp and we had absolutely no idea where we were going or would stay that night. The mission is always keep it moving, and our destination will fi nd us. Since it was early morning when we arrived, concern weighed little on our minds. Full of energy we embraced the trek. Wandering about, exploring up into the mountain, following random trails, probably stepping onto private property that had some aesthetically pleasing look was the moment. Somewhere along the way, we took advantage of an internet café to attempt to activate our network for somewhere to spend the night or we’d need to be sorting out some kind of camping accommodation. The biggest score was tracking down a local member of the Couchsurfi ng organization willing to last minute host us for a few random days. More on that and the trouble we got ourselves into soon.