While I was visiting the Cannes Film Festival in May this year (2001),  I visited Biot, an old village, in
the South of France, which had been known for its pottery since medieval times. I wanted to have my
own time there between the press interviews.

I arrived at the village after about 30 minutes窶�taxi ride. It was a trip following the sun. I found Biot
to be a quiet village with cobblestone streets. I smelled the smell of leaves. The sky was purely blue. I
was able to feel the shift of time through the wind in the morning, the strong sunshine during the
daytime and the wind in the evening. I heard a mother calling her child through the wind.

This was one of the moments which I am not able to experience in Tokyo. I felt quite relaxed and
relieved. This was the merit of the trip. I sensed that the village was filled with art-loving atmosphere.

Many people spoke to me while I was having lunch at a village restaurant: obviously they found an
Oriental man like me quite unusual. Surprisingly all the people there insisted that they were painters.
The village residents are all painters! This village could certainly be a setting for films. My imagination
became active.

I next visited the Picasso museum of art which is housed  in a castle in Antibes, about 30 minutes taxi
ride away.

Picasso is superb; really superb. His work makes us feel that even we could paint; but Picasso's
pictures, the closeness and the distance between us and him must surely confirm that Picasso is genius.
The encounter with artistic work is one of the great attractions of making a journey.  Standing before
the original work, I imagine how long the artist had been standing at this place. How many months,
how many years! It is the weight of time the artist had spent struggling with his work.

Standing there, I feel that I receive some energy from the artistic work. No words are needed when we
see not only artistic work but also beautiful scenery and unknown towns. We just observe with the
shutter in our heart open. We take things as they are. This sort of experience remains somewhere in my
mind and body, and helps us when we act; that least what I believe. I shall go on a trip again and the
experiences during the trip will be recorded in the recollections of my mind.
Koji Yakusho wrote a short essay in Japanese for the 2001 September issue of the "Obra" about
his visit to the South of France, when he attended the Cannes Film  Festival. His film, "Warm
Water under a Red Bridge" directed by Shohei Imamura was due to be shown at the Festival. The
following is Pymmik's translation of  extracts from  the essay,which is entitled, "Artists' Refuge."
Artists' Refuge