Return to Nishizawa Keikoku to be in Print?

Last week I got a phone call from Gakujin magazine. I was in the middle of seriously reorganizing the closet in the downstairs tatami room and it took me a moment to fully comprehend the significance of the call.

“Hello, this is Gakujin magazine calling and I am (name).”

“Mr. (name), right? Hai. Yoroshiku o-negaishimasu.”

“Can you understand Japanese OK?”

“Yes, I can.”

“Good. The photographs you sent are very nice and we are thinking that we’d like to use them in Gakujin magazine.”

It was the second mention of Gakujin that clued me in. I was not expecting a call only six days after I had sent the submission. First I mistook the call to be from The Society for Scientific Photography because I had sent them an article and photos for the fall edition of their colour members’ magazine. Suddenly grasping that my photographs had just been complimented by someone at a prestigious mountaineering magazine, I quickly recognized that the pause on the line was there for me to respond. “Arigatou gozaimasu.”

My caller explained that they thought the writing I had submitted with the photos was interesting and that they were thinking to feature my work in the next January or February issue. Again I took advantage of a pause to express humbly and happily my gratitude. It seems that my angle as a Canadian who came to Japan searching for beautiful Japanese natural scenery worked to impress someone.

It’s a funny thing because I went back to Nishizawa Keikoku (西沢渓谷) in Yamanashi for the first time in nine years this past January and I felt at the time I didn’t experience the same excitement as of my first visit in February 2000. I felt the scenery was beautiful but less inspiring and I found myself struggling to find something new. I was just recycling standard approaches to photographing ice. Later, however, when I looked at my slides on the light table, I discovered quite a few pleasing photographs and figured that maybe I had something worth sending out. So I wrote up a short piece and asked my manager to check over my Japanese, and then sent out 40 photographs with the writing. Now it seems my photographs are good enough to make into the pages of Gakujin magazine. That is quite an exciting prospect.

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