Photohoku 49

8 years on and still rawking, our 49th Photohoku effort took us to the cities of Soma and Shinchi in beautiful Fukushima last weekend.

We departed Friday night with two families in tow, arriving on the outskirts of Iwaki for a night’s rest at an amazing 270 year-old (!!!) farmhouse-turned-AirB&B. This was the second time we’ve encountered a very old structure in the region whose traditional construction, design, and material seems to have saved it from the fate that leveled many more modern buildings that surrounded it. It was called Gamphouse and the host we super lovely and accommodating and even led the boys on a crayfish-catching expedition! We made a couple nice Photohoku memories with them …and we recommend you check them out next time you find yourself in Iwaki.

On Saturday morning, we headed the rest of the way to Soma where we piggy-backed musical artist, Love and her free Kyokoko Live concert and festival for the local tsunami-hit community whose lives are still getting back to normal there. We made an awesome photo studio and album cafe and were visited by people all day! We gifted around 200 fun instant photos for all the beautiful smiling faces who came and hung out, many familiar faces from past Photohoku efforts.

Following our photo booth, we attended, and photographed, Love’s amazing concert with an allstar a-list of rockers including famed Japanese pop artist, Maki Oguro whose stage presence was mystifying. A collection heartwarming performances all culminated in an emotional crescendo with all the acts on stage and with the local youth orchestras joining along with the audience for a sing along. This was Love’s second year to host this special festival, and Photohoku having also joined last year, we’re proud to be a part of its growing success.

After a LONG day of photos and music, we headed directly for a well-deserved onsen, had a soak, then headed to our beloved Shinchi home-away-from-home at the Oosuka’s where we were met, as we all too often and undeservedly are, with a feast of the most soulful Japanese soul-food there ever was. Kesako san, Miho, and all the fam unnecessarily outdo themselves year after year and we really couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you Shichi Family. We love you!

Despite being nearly photo’d-out, Sunday morning we headed out to Klein Dytham architectures’s pro-bono designed and built Home-for-All, a beautiful and peaceful community space where locals can gather in the spirit of rebuilding and recovery. We made photos for about a dozen families who attended but we were down a few volunteer members by that point and didn’t document the activity well. Rest assured it was fun and fruitful time.

The reason Photohoku continues is a reflection of how the good people of Tohoku continue, and how all humans, faced with adversity, have the ability to rise to meet any challenge. So long as people continue to overcome, so too will Photohoku find a way to recognize, celebrate, and honor these people through photography. Next adventure: PHOTOHOKU 50!!!

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