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Takamatsu, a city of art facing a jewel of the world: the Seto


Triennale 2013: Catching Up with Ogijima

2013.03.12 by Cathy Hirano
One of the Triennale's aims is to revitalize dying communities by using art to attract people to the islands. I recently checked with artist Yoshifumi Oshima of Onba Factory fame (see http://cathy.ashita-sanuki.jp/e266797.html ) about the Triennale's effect on the island of Ogijima. Oshima and his wife participated in 2010 and have since become an integral part of the island's community.

The Oshimas

Last time, Oshima said, the islanders had no idea what would happen and they waited for art festival organizers to take the lead. When their tiny island was deluged by hundreds of visitors, they very nearly panicked. This time, however, they are ready and eager to do something. Some have stepped forward to provide accommodation so that people can enjoy the best time on the island ? the peaceful evenings and mornings. Pictured below is Minshuku Sakura, one of several lodgings that opened recently (http://takoyado.jimdo.com/ JPY3,000/night for lodging or JPY6,000-8,000 if you include dinner & breakfast).

Another new addition is the Ogi Concierge project. The islanders have an immense love and pride for their island and are always kind and helpful to strangers. This makes them natural guides. Koebitai volunteers trained the islanders in the essentials of guiding to protect them from burnout, and badges designed by the village chief's daughter will be worn to designate which islanders have the time an inclination to guide on any particular day.

Of course, the women's association has been busy developing a menu of local dishes such as octopus tempura, seafood curry and stewed peanuts.

Stewed island-grown peanuts.

These will be served at the port in the building on the far left below.

But none of these ideas sound like art, right? There is, of course, plenty of cool art to see on the island. However, as Oshima explained, "The real beauty of Ogijima is not the art but the people. The point is to find a way to attract repeaters and lay a foundation for younger generations to make a viable living on the island."

The island chief is encouraging villagers to maintain abandoned homes without which the village would lose its distinctive charm. Others are exploring experiential or eco-tourism, including fishing, farming and other aspects of the traditional island lifestyle. If these initiatives succeed in revitalizing the community, the Triennale will have a truly lasting impact. If not, advancing age will leave far fewer islanders for future Triennales.

For more on the Setouchi Triennale 2013, see http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/ For ticket info, see http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/tickets

Takamatsu Access:
Takamatsu can be reached by direct flights from Tokyo's Haneda Airport (about 1 hour), by limousine bus from Kansai International Airport (about 3 hours), and by direct flights from China and Korea. It can also be reached by taking the bullet train to Okayama (4 hours from Tokyo) and changing to the Marine Liner bound for Takamatsu (runs every 1/2 hour; takes 1 hour).
Hotels: http://www.japanican.com/index.aspx (when selecting the area of stay, scroll down to "Other Popular Options" and select "Takamatsu/Tokushima/Awashima".)
Also check: http://www.kagawa-yadonet.or.jp/en/

This blog's writer

Cathy Hirano

I've lived in Japan since 1978. After graduating from a Japanese university with a BA in cultural anthropology in 1983, I worked as a translator in a Japanese consulting engineering firm in Tokyo for several years. My Japanese husband and I moved to Takamatsu in 1987 to raise our two children in a slower-paced environment away from the big city pressures. We've never regretted it. I work as a freelance translator and interpreter and am involved in a lot of community work, including volunteering for Second Hand, a local NGO that supports educational and vocational training initiatives in Cambodia, and for the Takamatsu International Association. I love living in Takamatsu.

Discover Scenic Sites and Art around Takamatsu on Bicycle Aji stone and stone art appreciation 1 day course Art, Architecture, Sightseeing in 1 Day Seto Inland Sea Jewel of the World 1 Day Satisfaction Course Learn about Takamatsu  in 1 minute Seto Inland Sea,  Jewel of the World Let’s enjoy learning Bonsai skills Access to major tourist areas

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