I was born and raised in the peaceful countryside of Japan. As much as I love my country and it will forever be my home, I decided to see more of the world. So in 2000, I quit my job and moved to London without knowing the people, language and culture. Surprisingly there was no fear in myself. Looking back, it was the best decision I ever took. The people I met and the experiences I had are the most precious things that have happened in my life.
Living in the country that didn’t speak my native language was challenging. I remember it was difficult to make a close relationship with people and felt lonely. But I found Art that could speak all languages. This really changed me. I started to go to museums a lot in my free time. A place where I could forget about everyday chaos. I studied art history. It fascinated me to find out stories behind the paintings’ and artists’ lives. My travel at that time was based on which Museums I wanted to visit. Coming from Japan, I just felt so lucky to be able to see real paintings and sculptures that I had only seen in the book. Some art evoked an emotional response in myself. A story of art can’t be faithfully portrayed by words alone. My appreciation toward art really began from these experiences.
How photography attracted me was almost the same. One photo captures only one moment but a great photo can tell us so much emotion and meaning. We can create a connection, I found it incredible.
I decided to leave London in 2010. I had an amazing 10 years, but I started to feel that something needed to change. So when the opportunity to move to Australia came to me, I had no hesitation to take this leap with my faith.
My new city was Melbourne, which is called the art/culture capital of Australia. Melbourne, ranked the 2nd liveable city in the world, has a unique personality that a lot of Australian love. Laneway galleries, hidden coffee shops, great food culture, independent owners’ shops/cafe, outdoor live music, feel-good vibe, cultural festivals etc. People don’t really follow the trend but respect the originality and support their own community. This city made me realise that there are so many small qualities that matter for our lives. There were new challenges that I never thought I would do, but I learned a lot from those. I made a lot of new friends and was surrounded by love. It was definitely my happy period.
During my time in Australia, I was fortunately in the group of creative people. These people inspired me to start a photography business. I can’t thank enough people who constantly supported and trusted me as a photographer. One of great things about starting a photography business was that I was able to meet new people. Seeing people who genuinely liked my photos gave me so much joy and motivation. This feeling that I never had before, keeps me going to continue photography business.
New York, 2015
I was hoping my favorite season, Spring, would welcome me in this new city but it wasn’t like that at all. In fact, I saw snow in April. I was walking around NYC’s classic tall buildings, wrapping myself with a scarf, beanie and gloves but had a lot of hope and excitement toward a new life. NY was not a city I ever thought I could live in. I came here for a holiday in 2009. I remembered that I thought ‘It’d be great if I could live in this city one day’. I never knew this would exactly happen only a couple of years later. Really, you never know what will happen in life.
New York is, no doubt, a special city for a lot of people. There is no other city on the planet with an energy that can compete with NYC. This city never sleeps. Despite noisy traffic, dirty subway, the high cost of living and crowds everywhere, people can’t stop falling in love with this city. NYC has one of the best modern art collections, the top quality of restaurants, beautiful parks to escape from the city’s caos, great entertainments such as jazz bars, theatres, stand-up comedy and definitely the best city for shopping. Each neighborhood is rich in its own culture. I was lucky to be able to experience all these vibrant NYC life.
NYC also has a lot of beautiful photogenic spots for photography such as Central park, Dumbo, Soho, Grand central, Brownstone house street, Meatpacking district, Brookly bridge and others. By just walking down the street, we get to have a feeling ‘I’m in a movie’. There is definitely magic in this city and this won’t stop couples to go there for elopement. There are no questions that NYC is one of my favorite cities to do photo shoots.
I always think Life is full of surprises.
And it was true. My life led me to London again. It wasn’t my initial plan, but after I made this decision, problems I had at that time started to ease. Coming back to London was very different, compared to the first time. I knew how to get around this city, where things are and the most importantly, I had friends who know me well. I could’ve gone back to Japan, but I felt that London was my second home and everything was actually set this way smoothly.
As life goes on, I’ve realised that marriage is a long journey and it may not be an easy road. It is almost taboo to mention about this in the wedding website, but in reality we hear so many divorce stories these days. At one point, it got me thinking if it was worth having a wedding or not. But, as a wedding photographer and also as a person who experienced these, I still believe the wedding day itself is one of the best days in life. It’s the day that we are only surrounded by joy, happiness and love. This timeless memory will stay in us, no matter what happens. It is definitely worth having this experience. I definitely want to tell couples that it is always good to have a beautiful wedding to look back later on.
Photography, for me, is something that I want to keep forever. I now know what kind of photography I’m attracted to. I’m nowhere near there yet, but one day I want to get there. It would be amazing.