Little Inaka

When my son was born in 2008, I still had a fair bit of freedom. It was a good year for earnings from photography and writing and I was beginning in earnest to complete my book project on the Japan Alps. When I was away, my wife took our infant son to her parents’ home.

In 2010 things changed. My wife became pregnant with our second child and it was not so easy for her to bring our growing boy to her parents’ house as there was not enough space and he was restless. I wrapped up my book project a little early, managed a few more hikes and a trip abroad to attend my sister’s wedding. After that, my adventures seemed to have come to an end, at least for the time being.

Not wanting to give up photography entirely, I began a project of shooting locally. I purchased a used DSLR and chose some places that were within reach. I would wake up in the early morning and go out somewhere to shoot, trying to make it home by 7:30 to help get ready for the day. Three years later, my son entered elementary school and I had to be home by 6:45. We moved house and autumn brought later sunrises. My three years of early morning photography were also temporarily wrapped up. I had, however, amassed a few hundred photographs or more and set about putting them into a book. The result is this: Little Inaka.

The locations are the Sakitama Burial Mounds in Gyoda City, Hatcho Park in Yoshimi Town, a rural area in Higashi Matsuyama City, and a rural area straddling Ina Town and Ageo City. All places are in Saitama Prefecture, Japan.


A tumulus at the Sakitama Burial Mound Park in Gyoda City


8 responses to “Little Inaka

  1. Congratulations on your second collection – and your resourcefulness in amassing the images under such constraints. Taking a peek at the blurb preview – many thanks for letting us see the whole book – I particularly like the very natural, dare I say film-like, colour rendition. Probably people are going to be surprised that such natural scenes are on their doorstep within the confines of greater Tokyo. Musashino lives, and here is the proof…

    • Project Hyakumeizan, what a delight to see your comment. We’ve not had any reason to be in touch recently.

      Many thanks for the compliments on the book and the photos. This was a vanity book, intentionally stuffed to 180 pages. I have in mind to do a slimmer version with some different photos and a slightly altered theme. However, I’ve also taken the first step toward a book of Yakushima photos and stories so that will likely take precedence for now.

      I have a list of project ideas. All I need is the time to bring them to life!

  2. The images of the kofun alone are most intriguing – maybe the germ of an idea for a photo series here….

  3. I am toying with it. But we no longer live so nearby. It used to be an eight-minute drive away. Now we are at least 30 minutes away and that means fewer opportunities to visit in the morning on school days.

  4. Yuta Sugawara

    Dear Tsubakuro (

    Nice to talk to you.
    My name is Yuta Sugawara.

    How are you doing?
    I hope you are doing well.

    Currently, I live and work in Tokyo.
    First, sorry to message you all of a sudden.

    I saw your blog posts about Japan, which are so organized and easy to read, with your fantastic description of each location.

    So I thought the concept of your blog matches right up with the concept for this website we have in the works.

    We plan to invest in some serious search engine optimization, so we plan to see lots of traffic on the site, and the more content we can put on it, the more hits we can expect to get.

    Here’s a Facebook page we have up as a teaser while the site is under construction:

    We’re looking to assimilate the content of some of your blog posts (in full) as topical content for pages on our site.
    We would include a link to the original post, as well as a profile blurb at the end which would also link to your blog. It’d be a great way to give some old posts more exposure, as well as the new ones.

    Plus, further down the line we could put out Japanese language versions of the same posts to bring you traffic from a larger clientele.

    Or even better, if you could write posts for your blog on our web service.
    It’d be great if you could collaborate with us on making content for the site as a volunteer writer.

    In the process, we’d be totally open to hearing input from you, like how the design on a blog page should look. You’d be an honorary member of the company.

    If you’re up for it, I’d really like to have you on our team.
    Let’s make a wonderful blog platform together.
    When it comes to attracting customers,I’m willing to go the extra mile.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you.

    Yuta Sugawara

    • Hello Mr. Yuta Sugawara. Thank you for reading my blog posts and your compliments on them. I don’t mind if you would like to include a link to my blog posts and if someone wants to translate them to Japanese that would be great. As for being a volunteer writer, it depends. I write my posts for myself and whomever finds them and feel they want to read them. I write professionally from time to time (meaning I get published and paid) but I really don’t have much time for that these days or even writing regular blog posts. I feel that if I have time to write more seriously (i.e. for someone else) then I should write something for professional submission. What I mean to say is that I don’t know how much I devote toward your site directly, at least at this time. But I have no problems with you linking my posts and adding a blurb. Perhaps if I have something really special to share (and after your site is running) I could be tempted to write something directly for it. Please do keep in touch and thank you again.

  5. Peter — reminds me of Courtney’s impetus to photograph what was at his feet — the Pool of Possibiities — congratulations on your new project! BTW I’ve moved to Victoria recently — maybe we can connect when you are on the west coast again. Be in touch by email. Sherrill

    • It’s funny you should say that, Sherrill. I just mentioned Courtney’s pool to someone two days ago while talking about how my book came about.

      So, you made the move at last. I hope you enjoy your new surroundings!

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