Roadside Lights I

Coming close to dusk, city and country both alike, the roadside vending machines light up. This particular scene of vending machines placed on ordinary roadsides is unique to Japan. Looking at the vending machines been placed in the wilderness or downtown, one can see loneliness being illustrated. The machines work non-stop despite day or night, but would be taken away once the sale drops. The machines would not exist if each and everyone does not have its own color and shine. It just might b...

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Being There

They can be found in metropolitan areas, of course, but also in the furthest corners of the mountainous areas and the end of a promontory. I had wondered in such cases, “Who uses this machine?” The vending machines do not appear in any special or extraordinary place. Rather, they appear in ordinary places: a non-descriptive end-of-the road or in front of someone’s house, for instance. Today, it won’t be an overstatement to say that the vending machine has become the most familiar sight that s...

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Railroad crossing

Once, as I was standing in front of a closed railroad crossing, I found myself in thought. Railroad crossings are places that exist anywhere. They are places where everyone has at least once stopped in their tracks. The gate descends; the warning bell sounds. In this town at Japan’s northernmost tip, a town without even traffic lights, the only place I stopped at all was the railroad crossing. I think back to my childhood, and I hear the strangely peaceful sounds of a railroad crossing. I can...

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Identity as Uygur

Where is the identity as Uygur heading to? This question always comes up to my mind when I visit Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region where everything is rapidly changing since my first visit. In elementary schools, Uygur children are now studying in Chinese, not in their own language anymore. They all sing Chinese songs and use Chinese textbooks. This area was once known as a frontier but now there are many streets lined with buildings. Old town becomes a tourist spot. To think about this situat...

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