The screenings of 'A2-B-C' (website ENGLISH/ 日本語) around the country continued this weekend in the Nagano Prefecture city of Matsumoto. It was the first time for me to visit this part of Japan, and I continue to be so grateful for the amazing opportunity to travel with which this film has provided me.
Arriving in Matsumoto yesterday, there was time to take in a few must-see sites before the screenings of 'A2-B-C' in the evening. Matsumoto is a perfectly-sized city, with nearly all of the historical landmarks, museums and cultural points of interest within walking distance of the train station (tourist information in English is HERE).
Throughout the city, natural springs bubble up and the cool, clean water can be enjoyed both on the spot and collected in a bottle to enjoy later. Local residents can often be seen filling up large jugs to bring home, and I filled my own travel bottle to sip while walking around the city; and when it became empty, there was always another spring just around the corner!
First stop on my tour was the 400 year old Matsumoto Castle, designated as a natural treasure of Japan (info in English HERE). It was after five in the evening by the time I got there, so I wasn't able to go inside, but what a majestic setting for this beautiful structure!
In the evening 'A2-B-C' was screened twice by Cinema Select, a non-profit organization established to bring films dealing with current social issues to Matsumoto (INFO) following the closing of the last cinema in the city.
After the second screening of the film, I took part in a panel discussion and Q&A with the audience.
This morning, with a few hours to spare before needing to head back to Tokyo, there was time to visit the former Kaichi School, built in 1876 (info in English HERE).
The city of Matumoto is also the birthplace of "dots-obsessed" artist Yayoi Kusama, and the Matsumoto Museum of Art holds a large collection of her work (info in English HERE). The courtyard and even the vending machines at the museum are adorned with her famous dots.
After a lunch of local soba noodles (delicious!), I stopped at a spring to fill up my travel bottle one last time before heading back to the station for a train that would take me back to the concrete jungle that is Tokyo. Pausing to take in the beautiful view and fresh air of Matsumoto, I thought about the Fukushima families in my film who are so concerned about the health of their children and the safety of the food they eat and the water they drink...