A ball rolls down a mile-long ladder of wooden steps, which are in fact the keys of a giant xylophone, hidden in the forest in Kyushu, Japan. As it trips down the staircase, the ball plays the notes of Bach’s famous Cantata 147 – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. A gentle rejoicing melody for Christmas. This film was made in 2012 to advertise Touch Wood mobile phones.
A Rowley Gallery window by Emi Shinmura, a memento of her time spent in Japan, learning about traditional carpentry, cutting joints and making sculptures, absorbing the spirit of the forest. Continue reading “Kokeshi”
My aunt is a traditional Japanese carpenter who works on building projects using time-honoured methods. She is commissioned to do large and small buildings. I was fortunate to join her for one of the larger projects. She works much like an architect and hires other professionals when needed. She plans all the logistics and makes all the joints and also works on-site. Continue reading “Carpentry In Kyushu”
わたしのチイサナココロ [i have a small heart] is a short documentary accompanying one woman’s journey along the Kumano Kodo through the Kii mountains of Japan. This ancient pilgrimage route, one of only two Unesco World Heritage pilgrimage sites in the world, is considered the spiritual heart of Japan.
Megumi, a thirty-something woman living alone in Mie Prefecture, has always felt a calling to walk the major pilgrimages of the world. We travel with her as she walks the Kumano Kodo seeking solace and connection to the generations of pilgrims around the world.
At the culmination of filming, we were granted extraordinary access to observe a rare ceremony with the Buddhist monks & Shinto priests of the region.
The monks had walked through the mountains for days to pray with the priests. Together, they honored the deeper connections to the land and shared history that transcend any particular religion or practice.
Alongside one small local news team, we were the only camera crew allowed access to document this ceremony.
A labor of love, this film began with these questions:
– Across time and all cultures, humans have established and maintained pilgrimages. What is it that draws us to these difficult journeys?
– How can we reconcile feelings of faith and doubt in religion?
– What role can pilgrimage play in our modern lives?
We hope this film can help be part of the search for the deeper connections that unite us across our different cultures, beliefs, and religions.
Bajir Cannon, Maki Itami Cannon, Megumi Ueno