I rest my fingertips lightly on my glowing keyboard. time to meticulously carve out a blog post. 「久しぶり」 I say to myself, one of the japanese words I have down pat because I say it constantly. if only I said all japanese words constantly, I would be fluent by now. my year 2.0 in japan is beginning, apparently. I haven’t seen much from my bedridden state. the 31st of december 2014, I came down with a debilitating flu, rendering my body heavy and unstable.
I’ve scrolled through my instagram feed with varied levels of envy as people snap photos of their firsts of the new year. first food, first trip, first memories of 2015. I know my year will begin soon, I’ll catch up. I lay on my side and pull the covers up to my nose and imagine what is in store for me in the coming months. 2015 will be great, if I could just get out of bed. my spirits are high, this isn’t the end. I’m not kicking myself for not washing my hands enough during cold and flu season, because kicking would require energy I don’t have. to feel so weak and useless is so frustrating. it only reminds me to motivate myself to keep active so I won’t feel like this again when I reach 80.
lying awake at 4am stiff and unable to sleep, I think back at 2014. what an emotionally juxtaposed year that was. from aimless depression to near enlightenment. 2014 was concurrently the lowest of lows and the happiest and most content I’ve ever been in my life.
I had an urge to be apart of something. I figured that’s what we are meant to do, as creatures we all conglomerate towards each other with varied similar interests, longing to belong. searching for soul mates, deep friendships, meaningful relationships of any kind, we humans crave it. as appealing as being hikikomori sounds, they’re still communicating to others via the internet. realizing I had no community, I felt obligated to join the bigger picture somehow.
I met a friend involved in the tokyo art scene as an aspiring art director, working at galleries. suddenly some opportunities arose and I decided to push myself to accomplish something. what, I didn’t know. I knew I needed deadlines or I would never get anything done. everything else was up in the air. I kept putting off picking out what photos I wanted to submit to the independent artist exhibition. a week extension, a week more procrastination.
I finally forced myself to view my collection. I picked out what I was drawn to, and narrowed it down. I picked similar color tones and an atmosphere that made me feel a vague nostalgia. the images began to tell a story together. they were taken over the span of a year, but together they told the story of an alternative future world in one day. they were of mundane images of tokyo, that japanese people ignore every day. I was fascinated with the city as an outsider. I thought my story could show that tokyo isn’t always what it seems, that if you change your mind, there is another universe right in front of us. I liked the images on their own, and I liked them even more as a storyboard to a sci-fi anime from a past future. such as a retro 1950s nuculear family prediction that we have already surpassed (2010 and no flying buicks, sorry, ’50s) I named it “retro neo tokyo”. a new tokyo future from the past. an alternate story telling of tokyo. to make the mundane exciting, to bring attention little details that I hoped japanese people could look at closely and re-examine.
I lost myself. where was I for 6 months. I remember being on top of that 12 story building, watching the first sun rise of 2014, resilient thoughts of hope, unwavering inspirational images flashing through my mind. “this is it, this is the year everything goes right” I told myself. everyone said similar thoughts aloud, and I believed them.
somewhere I lost myself. it’s half way through 2014 and 6 months I spent without a job, aimlessly floating, forgetting what I was doing hour to hour, day by day until it become month to month. a collection of empty days, lined up like dust-covered beanie babies. whats the point. I imagine sand running through my fingers as a clear representation of where my time went. what did I accomplish? my memory is shrouded. I went to Seoul, ok. I came back to Tokyo and waited. and waited. waited 6 months total to receive my visa I applied for in January. nothing could start, nothing could begin. not without the visa. I had to look through my instagram feed to double check if I did anything. apparently, I did some things. saw some people, ate some food. that’s a relief. why do I feel like I am sitting here with nothing to show? 6 months, I could have studied Japanese. I could have watched more movies. I could have gotten into shape. all that time, what did I do? all the things I want to do but was too listless to do it day to day. a collection of moldy, moth-eaten, polyester pointed-collar clothes from the 70s. worthless.
saturday I rode my bike around, chasing shadows and light. I bundled up for late november but once I stepped outside, it wasn’t chilly out at all. in fact, it was a perfect day. it was like a late seattle summer, cold for californians and maybe too hot for pacific northwesterners. I was in 2 places at once. it reminded me of the home I left behind for the home I always held in my heart. I rode around my neighborhood searching for interesting shapes the sun created in the early afternoon. Sunday I was going to have my first test shoot with a japanese male model in training. my first test shoot since the moment I decided to deem/label myself a “photographer”.
I keep getting lost in my thoughts. I dip a toe in just to test the thought water–maybe plan on committing to some ankle-level wading around in day dreams. but before I know it, a large wave of overwhelming thoughts crash into me and I’m swept out into an entire ocean of non-sequitur images, ideas, plans, hopes, dreams, goals, wants, needs, memories, and a long to-do list that I immediately forget because the last thing on my mind is the present.
In the middle of these thoughts, I startle myself back to present by really looking around. On the subway today, I was mentally swimming around when the train shot out above ground and I saw the city I was in. Seoul! It was that time of day when the sun set and your eyes see a flat color of light. shrouded in winter time dusk, the tall cement buildings with glowing hangul signs felt like I was in a Blade Runner spin-off. a pang hit my heart. I was really here, on this part of the planet, in this world–one I don’t know much about. it’s always exciting when I re-realize this, no matter how many times I need to pull myself together and be present.
Yasunori Mitsuda – Secret of the Forest (Chrono Trigger OST)
film, grain, light, clouds, perpetual rain, images, ghosts, haunting, forest, wind, twisted branches, together, alone, calming, peaceful, green moss, brown wood, red stones, fallen leaves, wet ground, dusk, tall grass, 2 paths, steep slopes, breeze, secret, past, memories, exploring, future, spirits, resilience, stormy, brisk, last, adventure, cliffs, waves, darkness.
I decided something specific about my character awhile ago. I said to myself “as long as I am warm, fed and entertained” I will be the most patient, comfortable and agreeable person you’ve ever met. I was tested a year ago when I was in a commercial and had to arrive on set at 7:20AM and didn’t shoot my part until 7:20PM. I was sitting by myself for nearly 12 hours. however, I had a book I enjoyed, there was free food and later I took a nap on a chair. I also conversed with some interesting people as well. best 12 hours wasted of my life.
so, these first 2 weeks in Seoul were grumpy and sad because I was A) freezing 2) starving and d) couldn’t get organized to accomplish anything. now it all makes sense why I was being a baby. since the last post I have moved into a very warm room, recieved a package of things I can eat and my attitude has flipped for the best. I AM EFFING PUMPED! I AM IN EFFIN SEOUL, YA’LL!! I wish it didn’t take me so long to soak it in, but at least I’ve crawled out of the swamp of my own mind and shook it off.
When I was younger I wanted desperately to be famous. I wanted to grow up and be a pop star. While day dreaming at dinner, lolling peas about with my fork, I told my parents I would be famous one day. I would buy them Cadillacs, mansions and trips to exotic beaches. they always laughed and incredulously asked how I would go about doing that. I simply said “I’m going to be discovered”. more uproarious laughter. they probably thought their daughter was just dreaming out her butt, head in the clouds with zero work ethic. well, not too much has changed from when I was 10, but I am working a lot harder at these goals (before the looks run out). 15 years later, I was discovered during a hair show and signed to a modeling agency the following week.
for just a moment, I felt as if I was living in a beautiful and skillfully described short paragraph in a book. a story that maybe not everyone has read, but the author put their heart and soul into telling.
a vivid and wonderful handful of seconds that could only be painted by a talented person with the ability to describe an atmosphere with a flourish of fancy words, carefully lined in a sculpted sentence.
to convey a strong yet vague portrait of a snapshot in time is not something I can do. to share a distinct but at the same time ambivalent air of abstract, I can’t quite figure it out.
it was warm, it was peaceful. it was quiet yet loud. it was calming but exciting. it was like a playful smirk but hiding something secret. all around me. I felt infinite in a comfortable and confined box.
when I became aware of it, I accepted it and burned it into my brain to try and keep it there forever to come back to when I needed it. then the moment was gone, but I wasn’t sad. it was nice.
you just had to be there
A lot of hits get redirected to this blog when people search for the fuji natura classica. mine broke over a year ago when it fell to a hardwood floor. my heart broke harder than the camera, for sure. it was my favorite camera and took the most incredible natural light photos. it felt so good when you held it. it was perfection. if you can’t decided wether to get one or not–GET ONE. don’t hesitate another second, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it once you have it.
I took the opportunity to look into the predecessor of the the classica, the natura S. it was always like a fairy tale legend, as it was near to impossible to get ahold of one because they are discontinued. if you ever see one on ebay, black ones go for $800+, no lie. I have some friends at White Rabbit Express who helped me get a natura S from Yahoo! Auctions. it cost me $600, the rest of my money plus all birthday monies. a wider lens and a lower aperture than the classica, I was so excited to finally own this camera!
I have had it for a year now. the case is a bit bulkier than the classica, and sometimes I get out of focus photos. the camera tries to automatically use it’s flash which is negating the purpose of itself and main talent, natural light photos. overall I do not regret all the sweat, blood (AND MONEY) it took to get one of these rare gems. but I do wish to buy another classica some day.