Taketombo Curious Case
Photographer, Graphic Designer - HONG KONG
Specialty: People & Portrait, Fashion photography
Duration: 3 days in Toyama
Towns visited: Himi, Inami, Gokayama
Studio visit: 1
Through the lens of an urban-dweller.
Samson Poon is a professional photographer and a graphic designer. His passion remains in fashion photography and portraits, telling authentic human and cultural stories.
Samson is a city boy, and totally did not dressed to handle Hokuriku winter. Not quite his fault. We went through some dramatic weather challenges within 3 days-time: from downpour to flurries, to glimpse of blue skies, to multiple rainbow sightings, mostly at 1C-6C.
Tokyo has always been his destination, whether it's personal leisure trips with friends, or company inspiration trip. As a creative professional in the apparel industry and a city dweller, Harajuku and Shinjuku would be the usual pilgrimage route.
In December 2018, Samson ventured beyond Tokyo 23 wards, took Hokuriku Shinkansen for the first time and arrived at Toyama Station. While by the coast, first stop: Shin-minato Fisherman's Wharf 新湊 きっときと市場. Perfect timing for the famous Red Snow Crab 紅ベニズワイガニ. Too bad we missed the 1pm crab auction.
Dinner recommendation: izakaya Kinsen 金泉, great food and great hospitality from Captain Tsubasa and his team as always! I think Samson was a bit amused by all the snack bars and night clubs packed in the alleyways in Toyama city.
Day 2. Drove through cloud patches, glimpse of blue sky and big downpour to reach UNESCO Heritage Gokayama. Glad that we kept charging ahead. The second we exit the tunnel arriving Suganuma village, miracle happened. We had exactly 1 hour of sunny sky and light flurries.
When you are not properly dressed for winter, 1 hour up at the mountain is more than enough time to feel the harsh weather of Hokuriku.
Frozen up, a hearty meal is best. I challenge all visitors to find this place when visiting Nanto area. Funny name POTATO-Boi, with the most down-to-earth owner, serving katsu-don the size of your face.
The day ended with a quick stroll up historic Yokamachi-dori street (pressing camera shutter with freezing fingers), and a special visit to see buddha sculptor Mr. Shuhei Fujisaki's studio. Inami inherited over 300 years of wood carving history, and was recently recognized as Japan Heritage. It is now home to over 100 artisans still practicing the craft in traditional methods, utilizing over 300 types of chisels in making their work. Digging into craftsman's tool box is fun, they are stacked up in wood trays like bento boxes. Mr. Fujisaki told us an apprentice's first task is to make the wood handles of his/her own tool set, which they will use for the rest of the artisan's life. So each tool set is customized to the hands of the artisan.
Featuring Selected Works from Samson's trip. ENJOY!
Special thanks to Mr. Fujisaki for opening the door of the artisan's world for us, and Mr. Katsuhiko Nakajima for sparing his precious time with us.
© 2019 All rights reserved. Samson Poon Photography.