I visited Japan aiming to understand how Tokyo has become a prime destination that successfully combines tradition and modernity.
The influx of tourists has created the expression KY, or kuuki yomenai, which can be interpreted as « an inability to read the air » as it refers to the trouble they have reading social situations.
It is widely accepted that only modernity is shared with Westerners while the understanding of the underlying traditionalism of this millenary society requires patience and sensitivity to others. Deeply rooted in the collective unconscious, the principles and rules of social conduct of this « other world » can seem close to learning neurolinguistics or ideograms for tourists, barely recovered from the initial cultural shock. Nothing is written or specified, everything is expected and implied.
It is fully aware of this phenomenon that I adopted the standpoint of a simple observer to try, in my journey, to « capture the air » on film and to perhaps visually represent the concept.
For lack of knowing or learning « how to read the air » it allowed me to capture its essence, like an omniscient narrator of the social tale that is and was Japan, both today and for many years before.
French version here
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