I found this old garden along a very lonely road in the high mountains surrounding Shizuoka, Japan. This area is rather remote and I have never seen another person while exploring the area, though there are several tea fields which appear well cared for. Before embarking on this particular hike I asked a man I met at the last village I passed about what I might find in the mountains beyond. He gave me a puzzled look and simply replied in Japanese that I would find…nothing. What I think he meant was that there are no people living in this area, though there does remain much evidence of people who did once call these mountains home. Abandoned houses and farms are found at intervals along the road, along with various structures such as farm sheds, carefully constructed stone walls and even a hidden Shinto shrine I spotted from across the canyon, but which I was unable to reach due to the steep cliffs and heavy brush which seem to guard the shrine from access (don’t worry, it’s in my plans to reach this shrine eventually!). Numerous trailheads can be found along the road which are marked by old machinery rusting in the dense green foliage. Each of these trails undoubtedly leads to some cleared farmland or terraces long ago cut and cleared from the mountain slopes above. I’m certain that an exploration of any one of these trails would yield a wonderful experience in uncovering the life work of a proud farmer from Japan’s past who is now gone and perhaps nearly forgotten.
The concept of forgotten is the subject of this particular video. I shot this footage after spending some time on my return hike examining an old fence-like structure situated near some abandoned buildings along the road. After a while I decided that the fence surrounded a plot of land which must have once been a garden, possibly a kitchen garden for one of the empty homes nearby. The land within the garden plot had been almost completely reclaimed by nature with the exception of patches of pretty yellow and white flowers seen here and there within and outside the fenced plot. The flowers could be found in little clumps within the immediate area though no such flowers were seen anywhere else during my hike. The evidence of the flowers in conjunction with the garden fences and gates gave rise to some whimsical thoughts which I would like to share with you now via the video. I hope that you enjoy this small glimpse into the life of some unknown Japanese farmer who once cultivated this little patch of mountain paradise, and who’s memory lives on each spring in the colorful faces of his now-feral flowers.
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