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OHNISHI Mitsugu 大西みつぐ (1952.10.7 - ) Fukagawa, Tokyo.

Graduated from Tokyo Sogo Shashin Senmon Gakko photo school in Yokohama in 1974. Winner of the 18th Kimura Ihee Award in 1993.

The Long Vacation - 遠い夏

Reviewed on: 2002-05-20 Last modified: 2005-04-03

Random snapshots of Japanese people at leisure. 1980年代の夏の休日に撮った「絵日記」のスナップ写真。本の値段(3,800円)が高過ぎる。写真の点数(90点)も少な過ぎる。このシリーズで1993年の第18回木村伊兵衛写真賞受賞。

Published: 2001-12-08 Publisher: Wides Shuppan ISBN: 4898301258 Price in Japan: ¥3,990 Qualities: Hard cover, color photos Size: B5, 86 pp. Language: Japanese (bio in English)

White-collar corporate workers in Japan have long been famous for not taking all of their allowable vacation time. Many of them feel guilty or uneasy about taking a vacation and forgetting about work. Some people worry that their company might get along fine without them in the office. And others worry about the amount of work they would miss or have to catch up on later. The length of vacations the Japanese take must be one of the shortest in the world. So the title of this book is quite ironic.

You also hear about people clueless as to what to do with their leisure time. It's really amusing to hear about a longtime company man who retires and then doesn't know what to do with all that free time suddenly bestowed upon him. He usually just hangs around the house doing nothing significant, much to the chagrin of his wife who considers him to be sodai gomi or oversize garbage (like an old sofa that needs to be thrown out). In Japan, it's not uncommon for couples to divorce after the husband retires. It's sad when a person has not learned to enjoy leisure or to pursue hobbies.

The question of what to do on holidays has also entered the minds of Japanese children. From this year, school kids have a complete day off from school on Saturdays. Japan has finally instituted a five-day school week. (The next thing to do is start the school year in September instead of April.)

It was surprising to see these kids asking themselves (along with their parents and teachers) what they should do on Saturdays. A few schools started offering optional Saturday classes. And a lot of cram schools beefed up their Saturday offerings. There was some debate among adults as to what these kids should do on Saturdays. What nonsense! Just let them play and be kids. Like adults, kids need a weekly break from the daily grind and everyday pressures.

It's always nice to see photos of people having fun or enjoying their leisure time. This book shows 90 color pictures mainly of people at amusement parks, at the beach, at a park, etc. They were taken during 1983 to 1991 during the photographer's family vacation trips within Japan (such as Hokkaido, Izu Peninsula, Chiba, and Tokyo). He is also from the area of Tokyo (Fukagawa) where I live so I was happy to see two photos of a park right near where I live. This photo series won him the 18th Kimura Ihee Award in 1993. (Reviewed by Philbert Ono)