Hyunri in Toyama City 2
Photography and text by Naoko Kumagai

We were at the Sougawa arcade late after the sun had already gone down.

Many of the stores had called it a day, and the closed shutters were reflecting the fluorescent light, while Hyunri and her unique dress gleamed and twinkled as she walked and turned in the glowing path.

It was a beautiful sight to watch her. She was as if a fish swimming in the water.

Stopping for a moment, she spotted an old, historical footwear store called ”Tanaka-Ya”, which it’s calm appearance was expressing its tradition and it’s subtleness that it had carried on through to this day.

“May I help you?”, says the lady master from the back of the store. With a slight sense of suspicion, she come to greet the unfamiliar guests.

I was totally aware that we were kind of suspicious looking to be walking around the arcade, so we introduced ourselves informing her that we were tourists taking photos around the area.

“Sure” she says, “This young lady (Hyunri) is such a beauty. So go ahead, You can take your photos” It was a moment when the air got just a bit tense, but we were soon relieved by her kindness allowing us to shoot around.

Looking at the Japanese traditional sandals “zouri”, we realized how precious and valuable these items were, and the store’s long history and the tradition that it had maintained during the long years was something that we just have to admire and respect. We felt our backs straightened up.

Across the street was the “Takeshima Konbu Senmon-ten”, a store which is specialized in “konbu” (Japanese term for kelp seaweed) food. But kelps are basically seen in the north, so why popular in Toyama? we asked. According to the store, back in the days there used to be many transport ships from the north, Hokkaido, stopping by before heading to the Southern region, Satsuma.

Very interesting.

Later we dropped by at “Sakaya Kurabu”.

The “tororo konbu” (flavored dried kelp flakes) riceballs were such a treat,

and we were more than satisfied to be able to touch the history and the tradition of Toyama city.

What a great trip.


Born in Tokyo (Korean nationality) in year 1986. Has received 29th Takasaki Film Festival Best New Actress Award for her main role in Masashi Yamamoto’s “The Voice Of Water”, which was also shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, and Hong Kong International Film Festival, becoming a topic of a conversation in the film world. She has also appeared in many other films including Masato Harada’s “Kakekomi”(2015) , Shunji Iwai film “A Bride For Rip Van Winkle”(2016) , Yasuo Tsuruhashi’s “Gosaigyou No Onna”(2016).

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Series Hyunri in Toyama City