Time Traveler - memoirs 1 - a bit more about the journey

"Time Traveler" is my newest personal photo project. (you can see the whole project on my website, http://tokoshiiki.com/time_traveler/index.html") This is the artist statement of the project:

"Time Traveler"
At the conclusion of psycho-therapy, in the 40th anniversary of my life, I decided to travel to Japan, to visit several locations from my childhood that had greatly influenced my personality.  During therapy, I had visited these difficult places, in my mind and heart, in order to find my own lost little self. When I would find the little one there, I would hold her hand, to live every "now" together. I told her, "You are safe now with me."  This therapy was very beneficial, but after the last session, I kept wondering: "Are these places actually the dark places I remember? Shouldn't I witness those places now, in person, as an adult, in order to confirm that these stories belong to my past, and I belong to now? Might visiting these places bring closure to my therapy?"

I asked my husband to be my witness on this journey.  I decided to photograph my self in these environments, as evidence of my process. With the help of warm, kind people, like my husband, friends, and teachers from my former schools, I was able to make an important inter-outer journey. The outcome was, is… so much more than this photographic evidence, it is a new beginning.


I chose 11 images for the final cut. Of course, I shot so much more. And there are lots of stories rather than these 11 images could tell. ...Maybe nobody cares these stories but for myself, I thought... why don't I write them? (It's basically for me, and also IF there is anyone who is interested to know about the journey a bit more than the photographic images. So, I decided to write here on my blog)  I plan to add several outtakes to this space too, which I've never done before (I mean I have never shown outtakes from my project publicly). Well I'm really not sure how it goes but anyway I'll keep going and hoping it keeps growing.

Okay, so here is the first image. And also, my day 1 of this project. (click to enlarge)
I really wanted to start this photographic journey in this location, which was in front of the house where I was born. It was not actually a regular house but a dorm for nurse students. I was born at the hospital which the nurses belonged to. My parents were really young and broke. They lived one room in the dorm by working as a caretaker. I won't write about the detail of my memories inside the room but that's the first place I visited with my therapist when I started the therapy...

I could not find the specific address of the dorm. (I didn't want to ask my mom about it. Without telling her, I wanted to do this.) But I thought... "If I go to the town, I would remember?"  However, it was difficult. I didn't quite get where I was right now when I got the train station. So, I needed to ask some people about it. Gradually I found out the place was no longer used as a dorm since several years ago. Finally a kind farmer who was at his small farmer's market called his friends and found out the information about the dorm (I bought 2 oranges from him.)
Interestingly, when I was walking down the hill close to the place, gradually I recalled something like... "I ran on this hill with my mom. Oh I found a broken door in the grass over there." Then, I finally found the house. I felt something like... "That's it? oh... sure..." Not really I was emotional or anything like that.

The actual place/ the house was not really good location to photograph, so I chose to shoot on the long stairs across the street. I thought visually so much intriguing, and also when I stood there, I could see the house.  ...Seriously, I NEVER noticed the actual house was in the round shape mirror which we see on the right side of this image, until I saw the photo on my computer, which was truly a great coincidence. I mean... I screamed when I saw it. I loved this image so much more when I noticed the fact.

I want to write about the day of wandering the town a bit more with outtakes, but long story short, those people whom I met in the town were all SO kind... I had such a great start. On the day, already I felt strongly, "I am doing a right thing." It's all for myself. ...Selfish? Maybe... I felt so too. But. Yes, I needed to do. And, oh yes, crazily thankful to receive the kindness and care, while doing this shooting... in those places.

...to be continued


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