Boris Mann’s Personal Blog

Feb 2023

Two Japanese places

I read two stories about tourism and Japanese villages. The first is The Morioka Experience by Craig Mod.

Why Morioka?

Because your city is beautiful. Because your food is delicious. Because your people are kind and committed. Because your streets face nature in a way that buoys the spirit. Over and over I said: Thank you for making this city. I am honored to walk your city. I am healed by your city, by what I see and the archetypes I feel all around. Thank you for making this place and letting me be here.

Are there other places in Japan like this?

Is Morioka the only place in Japan like this? There are many cities like Morioka. Strong, fair social contracts have made these places and the lives lived within them possible. But Morioka is, in its own right, archetypically unique. The number of youth not just returning, but vigorously returning is remarkable. It’s thrilling. In the context of all the chaos happening in the world, I walk a city like Morioka and think: Yes, this is possible.

There is other interesting tidbits hinted at, with local creatives running businesses locally.

The other Japanese place is Miyama, a story in The Tyee: Revive Tourism? An Answer from One Japanese Village:

Miyama was recently recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as one of its “Best Tourism Villages,” showcasing small towns taking smart and sustainable approaches to tourism. The town has also been recognized as an important preservation district by the Japanese government thanks to its many thatched roof cottages known as kayabuki.

A small town that is ~3,400 people and shrinking, and trying to figure out what “tourism” means.

I see this local vs global tension everywhere. And also the tension of making a city for living in, that can remain a place where young people can grow up and stay, or come back to, and build new things.

I’m still feeling pessimistic about Vancouver being a city where one can do things. Never mind just live.