My print Itsukushima is from a photograph I took in Japan, on Miyajima Island which is just outside of Hiroshima.
I was living in Japan at the time, teaching English in an elementary school in Chiba prefecture, an hour or so east of Tokyo. I was on my summer break, backpacking through Hiroshima and Kyoto with my friend Jay. It was the dead of summer, stepping outside felt like being in a sauna. Vending machine trips were plentiful, sourcing water and cold tea where we could.
I have a clear memory in my mind of taking public transit to the ferry dock, where we would make our way over to Miyajima Island. There was a funny moment on a packed subway car that led Jay and I to meet another English-speaking traveller. It went something like this...
Jay's expensive DSLR was around his neck, hanging quite low on his body.
I seized on the opportunity for a joke I rarely get to make. I prep myself and say...
"Jay, I sure do hope that is your camera pressing into my leg"
We both snicker at the dirty joke, but notice there is a third snicker coming from nearby. Lo and behold, an American student was standing nearby, and was able to pick up at my subtly-delivered crude joke.
Living in Japan was a moment of my life that shaped me, rounded out my edges, and above all else, made me so proud of being a Canadian. Japan is beguiling, she pulls you in with her flashing lights and technology, but I truly fell in love with her tradition. Her determination to keep a connection to tradition, art and beauty. I cannot yell loud enough as to why you should visit this amazing country. It will not be what you thought it was, in the best way possible. It will be something you never knew existed, until you arrive and soak it all in. I cannot wait to go back and visit Japan, it's as if it's waiting for me.
Mata ne, xo.