Run your city // In Japan with Étienne Gélinas

- Photos by Etienne Gélinas
Run your city // In Japan with Étienne Gélinas
What brought you there?
My fascination for Japanese architecture and gastronomy, the culture of films and manga probably influenced my choice of master's project in architecture which revolves around Lake Biwa, in Japan. It wasn't so much running that didn't take hold until later in my project, because running now takes a prominent place in my life. I wanted to go to Japan anyway. The idea of ​​making my trip with my house on my back also imposed itself while preparing for the trip, as a challenge.
Briefly tell me about your trip.
I arrived in Tokyo and the culture shock was immediate, the language barrier and the fact of being a foreigner in Japan is striking. I left for Lake Biwa which I wanted to run around, the bite was a bit big. I did a bit but I chose to postpone the challenge to another opportunity and enjoy the country.
Thereafter, destination Kyoto, total favorite because of its human scale and its gastronomic scene, among others. I would live there, nothing less. Finally, I visited a museum island project by an architect that I really like, Tadao Ando.
What is your favorite route ?
On the island of Naoshima, hosted at the port terminal of the architects Sana, on a mixture of road and path that skirted the perimeter of the island, like a semi-desert garden in motion, bordered by turquoise water, on land that 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 running?
The climate changes from north to south, I spent the month of December there, so it was cool around Tokyo and almost tropical towards the south, very pleasant. As it was deconfinement, running was the only time I could take off my mask, then I saw people smile. So yes, in this context, it is a good country for running.
Fun Fact
In Tokyo, after a 12-hour flight, I was accosted by a girl who told me that she had just taken a Buddhism trip to Mount Fuji and who made me repeat "
aums with her, right in the airport. Good player, I embark on his trip. Welcome to Japan!
What makes you run?
Mainly for spontaneous encounters and the adventure and surpassing oneself component. I allowed myself to go to areas where I didn't necessarily think I was able to go.