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Run your city // In Japan with Étienne Gélinas

Cours ta ville // Au Japon avec Étienne Gélinas
- Photos by Étienne Gélinas
Run your city // In Japan with Étienne Gélinas
 
What brought you there?

My fascination with Japanese architecture and gastronomy, film culture and manga probably influenced my choice of a master's degree project in architecture which revolves around Lake Biwa, in Japan. It wasn't so much the running that only emerged later in my project, because running now takes a major place in my life. I wanted to go to Japan anyway. The idea of ​​making my trip with my house on my back also emerged when preparing for the trip, as a challenge.
Tell me briefly about your trip.

I arrived in Tokyo and the culture shock was immediate, the language barrier and being a foreigner in Japan was significant. I left for Lake Biwa which I wanted to run around, the bite was a bit big. I did part of it but I chose to postpone the challenge for another time and enjoy the country.
Then, destination Kyoto, a total favorite because of its human scale and its gastronomic scene, among other things. I would live there, nothing less. Finally, I visited a museum island project by an architect I really like, Tadao Ando.
What is your favorite route ?

On the island of Naoshima , welcomed at the port terminal of Sana architects, on a mixture of road and path which ran along the perimeter of the island, like a moving semi-desert garden, bordered by turquoise water, on land which disappears according to the tides. It was the immersion in this enchanting terrain, more than the physical challenge, which was the heart of the adventure.
Is it a good country for racing?

The climate changes from north to south, I spent the month of December there, so it was cool around Tokyo and practically tropical towards the south, very pleasant. As it was the end of lockdown, running was the only time I could take off my mask, so I saw people smile. So yes, in that context, it's a good country for racing.
Fun Fact

In Tokyo, after a 12-hour flight, I was accosted by a girl who told me that she had just taken a Buddhist trip to Mount Fuji and who made me repeat “aoums
with her, in the middle of the airport. Good player, I'm on board with his trip. Welcome to Japan!

What makes you run?

Mainly for spontaneous encounters and the adventure and surpassing oneself aspect. I allowed myself to go into areas that I didn't necessarily think I would be able to go.