Ayako Imamura was born deaf, but more than not being able to hear,
she found that her main problems surfaced when she came into contact with hearing people.
She experienced a feeling of hopelessness so many times when she came up against communication barriers
when trying to communicate with hearing people.
And, she blamed this hopeless feeling on her being deaf.
But somewhere inside, she also blamed herself for making excuses and trying to avoid this problem.
And so, as a filmmaker and as a human being, in order to advance to the next stage in her own personal development,
using her previous film experience as a base, she decided it was necessary to confront head on
what she had been avoiding — communication!
This is what Ayako Imamura decided to do in her 16th year of filmmaking.
Suddenly, there was grief, followed by more grief, in Ayako Imamura’s life.
Her mother and grandfather died around the same time, and she was overwhelmed with grief and despair.
There were many days when she had lost all her energy and will, even her will to live. And then, one day,
when she was riding her cross-country bicycle, the wind that she felt blowing all over her body made her realize something.
“Rather than feeling down and thinking about death, why not think about your life-long dream of riding a bicycle across the length of Japan!”
And once she had thought about doing this, she couldn’t stop thinking about it.
She decided she would begin a new project with the themes of “communication + riding a bicycle the length of Japan”.
Two of her dreams came together and became one big dream.
And so, she got herself the bicycle she had always loved, a Giant Great Journey, and her journey began.
Even though Ayako Imamura had made many documentary films, this film, Start Line, was very different in one aspect.
In this new film, she herself would be the central character in the film,
and this would be an attempt to expose her whole self on the big screen.
And, it would be just her and the cameraman together filming.
Even though so many things about the journey would be unpredictable, they began the preparations.
They ran around looking for sponsors and, used the internet to try to enlist crowd- funding investors,
and were able to procure part of the expenses. And on July 1st, 2015, they set off and started filming.
Born in the city of Nagoya
Representative of Studio AYA
Born in the year of the sheep, Aries
Blood Type: B
Hobbies: bouldering and bicycling.
Good at deciding, but bad at planning. Bad with machines.
According to her family, good at cooking squash (but sometimes over-cooking it).
In contrast to my carelessness, he was careful.
If I said how about this he would try to persuade me with how about that.
That’s right, for everything we were exact opposites.
He was the one who taught me the beauty of bicycle riding, and for this project,
he also agreed to be my support person and cameraman for this journey across the length of Japan.
After the project I had gained a little weight, while he had lost a lot of weight.
With this combination of me and Mr. Tetsu, the filming of Start Line progressed.
He works at the large bicycle shop
Jitensha-depo Meito-ten (est. 1947).
He has lived in America and France, and likes bicycles, karate, and cooking.
He is good at computers, and knows some simple sign language.
● Rules followed while riding the length of Japan
1. I received no help for simple things like flat tires or innertube changes.
2. The support received was only for filming purposes.
3. There was no interpreting help when I met hearing people.
4. There was no help with phone calls for arranging for places to stay.
5. There was no help when I took the wrong road.
For the support person it would have been easier
and more efficient to tell me when I took the wrong road,
but the rule was to not correct me and just keep on filming.
It was harder for him than for me.