Glimpses of Ogijima2010.06.29 by Cathy Hirano
Glimpses of Ogijima
I recently visited Megijima and Ogijima islands to write a special feature on the festival for the Takamatsu International Association's English newsletter*. These two islands are just 20 minutes and 40 minutes, respectively, from Takamatsu on the same ferry. With the ferry rates being reduced drastically and the number of crossings increased during the festival, they'll be very accessible. Below I've included a few glimpses of Ogijima that would not fit into the newsletter.
* See http://ww2.enjoy.ne.jp/~tia . The newsletter will be online from July with details about the art sites, access, etc.
Wall Paintings by Rikuji Makabe
Rikuji Makabe uses a variety of materials as his canvas. On Ogijima, he painted designs on boards, which he then fixed to the walls of local buildings, adding creative accents to the village streets. It was great fun walking down the narrow lanes and stumbling upon his works. He has picked great spots for drawing the visitor's attention to the island's spectacular views. During the creative process, he lived on the island, receiving inspiration and choosing the sites and it shows in the designs and locations.
Telephone by Tomoko Taniguchi
While wandering the streets of Ogijima, I came across artist Tomoko Taniguchi who was straddling a steep creek with a string in her hand. She was in the process of laying out a pipe telephone network. These phones will operate on the same principle as two paper cups joined by a string. I was only able to get a photo of a photo but it looks like fun! Watch out for the phones when you're there and try talking down them.
Local "Fast Food"
There is a tiny local "fast food" joint across from the port with a very limited menu. Located to the right of the stone torii (shrine gate), it's open from noon until about 5 PM. It was a hot day so I tried the tokoroten, a kind of noodle-shaped seaweed jelly eaten with soy sauce and mustard or vinegar. Very refreshing. The woman who runs the shop harvests and processes the seaweed herself.
I asked Yoshifumi Oshima of the Onba Factory project team what was the main attraction of this festival. In his words: "In contrast to such artificial playgrounds as Disneyland, the Seto Inland Sea is nature's real wonderland. The lifestyle of the islanders has remained virtually the same for decades, yet for us, their ordinary lives are extraordinary. When you step onto a ferry and head out to the islands, you slip through time into a different world ? beautiful just the way it is... We hope to present these islands in ways that will contribute to creating a viable livelihood for the islanders and attract others who appreciate their beauty."
Ogijima ? a wonderland with wonderful people, like the man who stopped his truck just to give this middle-aged lady a flower!