I spent a few days in a rural village in the mountains of Gunma. It rained almost the entire time I was there, turning the world outside the window hazy and filling every space with a heavy, unceasing rhythm. This record-setting rain caused rivers in neighboring prefectures to overflow.* It flooded roads, turned mountains to mud, transformed clear streams into raging torrents, and swept away everything in its path. From inside my lodgings I listened to what was going on outside. My first thought was to take photos while there was still some light, but the rain made that impossible. So I decided that no matter the time of day or night, I would go out to take photos every time the rainfall became less severe.

As dusk fell and the rain turned to a gentle shower, I went out and was immediately struck by the scene before my eyes. It was the dark of night, like a forgotten discovery. Ordinarily when it gets dark we turn on lights to illuminate rooms or roads. This unremarkable part of our daily routine has caused us to forget what true darkness is. I could only illuminate the ground directly in front of me and proceed a few steps at a time. I would cast light on something invisible and photograph it. I walked by following what I could barely see.

Both rain and darkness enveloped me as I somehow managed to move forward. That was when, for the first time, I felt that I had truly entered nature, that the darkness and water had seeped into every last space and was drawing me further in. It was like I was cut off from the rest of the world and drifting deeper into nature.

*Later this rainstorm would be known as the Kanto and Tohoku Downpour of September 2015 where 300mm of rain fell in the span of 24 hours, with some places recording levels of over 600mm.