It's been long since I saw this photo last time. Indeed, my favorite kura-cafe is going to close down on March 11, 2017. It is said that two thirds of new enterprises are to shut down in less than three years so kura-cafe did a great job for about three and a half years. This is all thanks to kura-cafe's manager and employees, and local people who love kura-cafe.
I recognized Tanagura Town because I happened to find kura-cafe. Then, I became friends with Tanagura Town's residents, and got engaged in Tanagura Supporters' Ambassador. All of them, through the stage of Tanagura Town, gave me a chance to think thoroughly of what is local revitalization.
Local revitalization is as abstract as corporate management.
Suppose that the word "corporate management" is defined as "all the actions needed to survive the corporation". Then the essence of local revitalization is "all the actions needed to survive the area", which is very purpose-oriented.
Local revitalization includes various jobs. Information transmission, tourism promotion, product development, promotion of diversification into processing and distribution by primary producers, succession of business, renovation of vacant houses, community maintenance, immigration promotion, promotion of foreign tourists, etc. There are much more keywords, and any jobs will be required depending on how you recognize your objectives.
However, the goals of local revitalization (I use the word "goal" as an upper concept of objectives.) often remain vague because of lack of constructive discussions. Then, those involved in the local revitalization might be wondering what goal they are striving to achieve. What is this area seeking to become? What is this town seeking to become? Such goals are important, but extremely difficult because there are a variety of stakeholders in one area and efforts to delight all of them only lead to a castle in the air.
I myself have taken photos of Tanagura Town for about two years. I continued this activity while wondering what impact my information transmission has, and also wondering whether I am helpful for anybody.
I was quite surprised because I had no negative feelings but only gratitudes despite my unreciprocated efforts both when I heard about the closing down of kura-cafe and when I recognized my failure at Tanagura Tourism Photo Contest 2016. They already let me recognize what I am expecting for the activities of local revitalization.
Both kura-cafe and Tanagura Town gave me a chance to take new choices which I couldn't take before. And this was the greatest to me. That is, I have been expecting how I choose to be happy during the activities of local revitalization.
I believe that the process of active choice leads to happiness. This is why I felt some uneasiness in living in Tsurumi Ward and Ota Ward. Both wards are well-developed and can give us good lives. But I lived in Tsurumi because I was born and brought up there. I lived in Ota Ward because it was convenient to commute. I lived there without my active choice. And, my challenge to seek for a place in which I can embody my happiness without any stereotype led to an approach to local revitalization, that is, a pursuit of unbiased places.
From such a background like mine, I wish that local revitalization be a challenge to make a platform which allows us to think and choose a lifestyle of own happiness, and also a challenge to make an environment which accept them. It's not a stereotyped happiness like a stand-alone house with car in the suburbs, a tower apartment with foreign cars by millions of dollars in annual income, or a unstressful country life. I wish an area which allows everyone to realize their lives based on their individual wills and feelings of happiness proudly.
In this sense, Chihou-Sousei (One of the policies of Abe administrations. Its literal meaning is equal to local revitalization.), which is often regarded as an antithesis of heavy concentration to Tokyo, sounds like a process of allowing and embodying truly various feelings of happiness. For me, geographical movement of population is simply just a result of this process.
I haven't chosen anything yet. But I believe that the process to think and choose together with my family must lead to the happiness of not only my family but I myself.