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Approaching Ogijima

approaching Ogijima

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6 thoughts on “Approaching Ogijima”

    1. The school is the somewhat elongated building right behind it (there are only three kids left in it… sad… but imagine the space they have!).
      The turquoise roof building is some sort of warehouse if I remember correctly (this side of the village is the more modern one, not as pretty and more functional than the “front”)

  1. The school used to have a photo outside with 4 pupils and 7-8 teachers!
    When my mother-in-law grew up on the island she said the school had 100 children, now everyone’s left. It’s a shame it’s so empty but lovely to walk around.
    I first traveled to the island in 2008, but never had time to go up to the cave. I had hoped I’d be the first westerner to visit it, but apparantly there was an American in the school teaching English before I got there.
    I finally got my chance to get to the cave last year, it took about 40 minutes. The path starts as you walk from the port towards the lighthouse. My wife said it would take us hours and was covered in jungle! She was wrong, it was well pathed with wooden steps.
    Unfortunately it was a very hot day and I, being slightly over weight, suffered for it. I was absolutely dripping with sweat when we got to the cave and inside it was lovely and cool. I started taking photo’s but the digital display looked blurred and I couldn’t understand why, then my wife shouted ‘Bloody hell, you’re steaming!’ Sure enough, because I was throwing off so much body heat the cool air in the cave vapourised it and I was walking around in my own cloud! Well worth seeing and so is Tank rock which is a little higher up, though it was a bit steep and rocky.

    1. Yeah, the school really symbolizes the exodus that this island is going through. Do you know that it actually closed this past March? The last three remaining pupils moving on to high school in Takamatsu. It really breaks my heart when I hear all of those stories about how lovely the island used to be, and now it’s slowly dying off.
      I recently found a blog post showing pictures of the island from 1948 and later, showing how the islands changed in just 50 years, the fields being abandoned and invaded by nature little by little: https://www.livingworld.net/%E3%83%88%E3%83%83%E3%83%97%E3%83%9A%E3%83%BC%E3%82%B8/100420_ogijima/lang-pref/ja/

      However, the Festival seems to have worked in that it has made people realize the dire situation the islands are in right now, and there are slowly more and more initiatives to revive them. If you have the occasion next time you’re on the island, talk to Mr. Oshima, the “head” of Onba Factory (he’s there every week-end and more, just look at the Art Setouchi schedule that I post every month), he has lots of projects in that direction. The people at Maison de Urushi do too, I just don’t know them personally (yet?)

      I walked the trail in the middle of the island last October, but didn’t make it to the cave nor the “tank rock”, because some parts really were a jungle (they’re for another day) Two men were cutting the plants on the trail that day to make it more practicable, but they hadn’t cut everything yet). Funny, but while on the top of the path, I wondered whether I was the first Westerner or at least Frenchman to walk there. I guess I still have my chances with “first Frenchman” though. 🙂
      Also, on the rocks after the lighthouse, there seems to be a “USA” engraved (although it has been almost completely erased by the wind and the sea, to the point I’m not 100% sure this is what it says). I imagine that maybe in 1945, a few soldiers were stationed on the island, after all the lighthouse is located at a very strategic point in the Seto Inland Sea.

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