Kevin Gedling of Fort St. James poses between some rocks in Japan

Japan is more than a disaster zone and urban jungles

Fort St. James man hopes to show an other face of the disaster-stricken country

Local resident and Fort St. James Historic Park employee Kevin Gedling will be offering up an alternative point of view on Japan to people in Fort St. James and Prince George.

Motivated by the recent catastrophic events being portrayed in the media, Gedling was concerned that most people will get the impression  “Japan is a giant metropolis and it’s all cities and crazy rush(ing) people” or “death and destruction or tsunamis sweeping through communities.”

The slideshow will offer up a vision of daily life in Japan away from the area of the earthquake and nuclear power plants in meltdown, outside of the urban centres.

Gedling spent just over a year in Japan during 2006 and 2007, after meeting his current wife in Banff National Park, where he was giving tours. His wife Tomoko was from Japan, and while Gedling had always been interested in that country, she provided the additional motivation to spend some time there getting to know the culture and the people.

According to his poster, “A land as diverse as the imagination, a year is not near enough time to discover the ‘real’ Japan,” said Gedling. “Part of my soul is forever left behind in Japan.”

But the slideshow will in no way try to forget the catastrophe Japan is currently grappling with.

“Fort St. James and Prince George, for example, have a lot in common with some of the towns that kind of got devastated,” said Gedling.

Gedling hopes to explain to people the parallels between the interior of Japan and the interior of B.C.. Both places have resource-based communities, and are not the metropolises which get most of the media’s attention.

While Gedling’s in-laws are safely located far from the earthquake and radiation-effected areas, he still can see how it could have happened anywhere.

Gedling also wants people to understand what a unique place Japan is and by fostering this understanding, he can encourage people to help them.

“The idea is that I don’t like to sit around and look at things happening, I like to do something,” said Gedling.

Gedling will be sharing his take on Japan at the Arts Space in Prince George on Sunday, April 3 at 7 p.m. and at the Fort St. James Historic Park Visitor Centre on Monday, April 4.


There will be opportunities to ask questions and Gedling will be accepting donations to go towards the Canadian Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.



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