about More Musing

We are focusing on building a community, bringing the Mortal Muses photographers together, and making the world a bit smaller. On this page, you will find mission: MUSE, muse university and special features.

Friday, October 1, 2010

where i live - miyazaki, japan

mission: MUSE - "where i live"
by guest muse julia

The “reality” of where I live is probably different from what a lot of people imagine it to be. When I tell someone that I am living in Japan, they often say “It must be really crowded.” And although that is true, the crowded part is not 'my' Japan. Looking through our photos for this project confirmed that for me. I have very few crowded city photos and very many primitive area, alone-in-nature photos. A full two-thirds of Japan is mountains. The remaining one third is where two-thirds of the population lives. So, yes—Japan is crowded. It has vast and sprawling cities with bright neon and great shopping. But that is not where I live or where I love to spend my time.

When Japan began to modernize its farming practices it set it self on an irreversible path to change. Before the tractor, people had to plant by hand and that took a lot of hands. Village families lived and worked side by side helping each other during the cycles of planting and harvesting. Over hundreds of years they cultivated not only the land, but a culture full of festivals, ceremonies and practices. In rural areas this culture is still highly valued and practiced, but a lot of the city kids don't know the traditions and it saddens me that so many of “the old ways” are being lost as everyone heads to the city for jobs, Starbucks and McDonald's.

For years I had horrible commutes in Wakayama, Osaka and Kyoto—slow crawling traffic or trains that were so packed that it made you forget how nice it was that they run on time. All those bodies smashed in together, politely ignoring each other every morning made me frantic for fresh air. So that is how my husband and I began to search for the empty spaces—places where no one or almost no one goes. Drive an hour or so from the city and you'll find a quiet hike. While you walk you'll probably find a Shinto Shrine or at least a carved statue--swept and cared for or weather-beaten and listing. Wherever you go it will be green and lush. You probably ought to take an umbrella. Instead of the incessant roar of city noise you'll hear frogs and birds and the rush of water. Japan is two sides of a coin—one of them will offer you everything shiny and modern. And the other one will offer you a bit of peace.

Thank you for visiting where I live. Please feel free to visit my blog to learn more about my life in Japan.

Until next time! Julia of Just Julia -While Making Other Plans.

We would love to see where you live. If you would like to join in, send an email to mortalmuses [at] yahoo.com.


  1. So interesting!
    My brother is there (Kyoto these days, I think) teaching English and after four years now, I don't think he's showing any signs of returning. He loves it and travels to surrounding areas as much as he can.
    Beautiful shots!

  2. I love this view of Japan. As you said, nothing like I would have thought. The photos capture such peace and serenity, even a bit lonely. Thank you for sharing. I feel like I am walking side by side with you.

  3. Thank you for sharing so much of your thoughts. What we've lost, or are losing due to all of our advances is really kind of sad. I'm glad for people like you that take time to remember the old ways and photograph what you can of it.
    And, Japan is simply beautiful!

  4. what a lovely post, it looks so beautiful and peaceful, your journal is so interesting.

  5. Oh I love all that green...Japan is definitely on my list of places to go and this just adds to the list of reasons why...

  6. Thank you mighty muses for the invitation and the kind comments. I am awed, daunted and inspired by the works of all the muses--guest and otherwise. I am glad you are here. It is a bit lonely in Japan sometimes and it is easy anywhere to get stuck in the rut of the day to day slog and to forget the beauty that surrounds us. So thank you, you amazing women for your inspiration and your dedication to being more creative even when you are busy. Please keep up the good work.

  7. I've been to Japan a couple of times and had no idea what beauty I was missing by staying the cities. Thanks so much for sharing. Beautiful.

  8. I am just in awe of the beauty you captured in your photos. From your words and photos I feel just a little closer to seeing this other, beautiful, almost secret place. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your part of the world with us.
    ♥ maureen

  9. I love both the photos you've shared, and your words about how "progress" and development are changing a way of life. Thank you so much.

  10. thank you so much for sharing this beautiful side of where you live. your words and photos tell a wonderful story.

  11. Thank you for sharing! This is very interesting and I love the photos!

  12. Thanks so much for your sweet comments. It is amazing how many people have some sort of connection (J. has a brother in Japan and Jamie has been here ) with Japan or want to visit like Kristin and Kristine. Glad you like the photos. Hope more of you get to come and take some pix of your own. Am looking forward to the next "where i live" post. : )