FILM FROM JAPAN

There is something absolutely magical about film photography.

and…why is that??

From a photography standpoint, the beauty is in the fact that you can’t alter what you are shooting. You see a shot, you position your camera, and that is that. You leave the scene and cross your fingers that your film develops into something as beautiful as your own eyes witnessed.

From a personal standpoint, film photos carry a deep sense of emotion. When I see a photo in film…I can almost feel how frozen that moment is. I enter this world where I pick a part every single detail given to me. The ray of sunlight in the corner telling me what time of day it must have been, the choice of clothes someone is wearing hinting what season it was, a smirk, a smile, a grin, almost exuding an audible sound when seen in a photo. So much emotion squeeze into a tiny frame. That is the beauty of film.

Over my time in Japan, I occasionally carried a disposable camera around with me. I noticed I shot moments that were the simplest things…because as it turns out, those are the scenes I really wanted to freeze in time.

Here are a few of them.

Vending machines // These are the vending machines at Ichikashi High school. They’re located down on the first floor, in between the 3rd year homeroom classes. They hold the greatest selection of drinks imaginable: strawberry milk, melon soda, yogurt smoothies, lemon tea, and my ultimate favorite - grapefruit jelly soda. haha! But the best part of this spot is that when I would walk past here, there would always been a bunch of sweaty kids congregating, making jokes and having a moment in their busy busy days to just be kids. I loved it.

Vending machines // These are the vending machines at Ichikashi High school. They’re located down on the first floor, in between the 3rd year homeroom classes. They hold the greatest selection of drinks imaginable: strawberry milk, melon soda, yogurt smoothies, lemon tea, and my ultimate favorite - grapefruit jelly soda. haha! But the best part of this spot is that when I would walk past here, there would always been a bunch of sweaty kids congregating, making jokes and having a moment in their busy busy days to just be kids. I loved it.

Ichikashi walls // This is the view from the inner courtyard of school. The school is one big rectangle. Four stories tall, no elevators and identical looking hallways. It took me at least a year to get a handle on where I was walking and how to get to certain places since every staircase looks exactly the same. I found myself always looking out the windows to the courtyard to gain perspective and remember where I was in relation to the center of school. As simple as this building in this photo may look…it hold an endless array of memories for me.

Ichikashi walls // This is the view from the inner courtyard of school. The school is one big rectangle. Four stories tall, no elevators and identical looking hallways. It took me at least a year to get a handle on where I was walking and how to get to certain places since every staircase looks exactly the same. I found myself always looking out the windows to the courtyard to gain perspective and remember where I was in relation to the center of school. As simple as this building in this photo may look…it hold an endless array of memories for me.

Ebisawa sensei // During winter one year, I took a trip to a nearby prefecture with a few friends and bought some famous homegrown tsukemono (pickled veggies). I decided to bring the tsukemono to school to share with my coworkers, and when I pulled out the bag from the fridge, Ebisawa sensei’s motherly instinct kicked in (as it always did) and she began chopping it up properly right there in the English office. It was one of those moments when I thought…wow…I am really in Japan aren’t I?!

Ebisawa sensei // During winter one year, I took a trip to a nearby prefecture with a few friends and bought some famous homegrown tsukemono (pickled veggies). I decided to bring the tsukemono to school to share with my coworkers, and when I pulled out the bag from the fridge, Ebisawa sensei’s motherly instinct kicked in (as it always did) and she began chopping it up properly right there in the English office. It was one of those moments when I thought…wow…I am really in Japan aren’t I?!

Brave girls // I snapped this photo the morning we met up with these four students who were participating in an English speech contest. Nanako. Miyu. Rio. Kanon. These four girls are incredible. They fearlessly gave speeches in English with confidence, grace, and assurance in themselves. I was so proud of them! I remember telling them to meet at a very specific time (so we wouldn’t be late) and when I exited the train station they were all eagerly standing there already waiting. I felt so honored to be their teacher.

Brave girls // I snapped this photo the morning we met up with these four students who were participating in an English speech contest. Nanako. Miyu. Rio. Kanon. These four girls are incredible. They fearlessly gave speeches in English with confidence, grace, and assurance in themselves. I was so proud of them! I remember telling them to meet at a very specific time (so we wouldn’t be late) and when I exited the train station they were all eagerly standing there already waiting. I felt so honored to be their teacher.

Ueno // One day in the summer, I wandered into Ueno. I can’t remember why I went there exactly…but I often found myself going there simply to walk around the park. Ueno park is HUGE and famous and beautiful. I remember walking out of the train station on a warm day and stumbling across this giant field of…what are these exactly? I am not even sure haha. But the way these plants juxtaposed agains the buildings behind it stopped me in my tracks and was just one of a thousand reasons why I love this city.

Ueno // One day in the summer, I wandered into Ueno. I can’t remember why I went there exactly…but I often found myself going there simply to walk around the park. Ueno park is HUGE and famous and beautiful. I remember walking out of the train station on a warm day and stumbling across this giant field of…what are these exactly? I am not even sure haha. But the way these plants juxtaposed agains the buildings behind it stopped me in my tracks and was just one of a thousand reasons why I love this city.

Tama chan // I worked at Ichikashi with Tama for two years…and he quickly became like a brother to me. This photo cracks me up for a few reasons. First, Tama always wore a suit to work. Every single day. He said when he was in high school, one of his teachers did that and he thought it was so cool so he wanted to do the same. Then, one time I saw him in his “regular clothes” which were cut off shorts, a hawaiian t-shirt and sandals. HAHA. The second thing that cracks me up about this photo is the phone sitting on his lap. Tama is a super tall, suave looking dude…and yet for the longest time, he carried around this tiny old phone that was chipped on the side. I told him for years to get a smarphone and he would say, “no…I like my little dumb phone” haha

Tama chan // I worked at Ichikashi with Tama for two years…and he quickly became like a brother to me. This photo cracks me up for a few reasons. First, Tama always wore a suit to work. Every single day. He said when he was in high school, one of his teachers did that and he thought it was so cool so he wanted to do the same. Then, one time I saw him in his “regular clothes” which were cut off shorts, a hawaiian t-shirt and sandals. HAHA. The second thing that cracks me up about this photo is the phone sitting on his lap. Tama is a super tall, suave looking dude…and yet for the longest time, he carried around this tiny old phone that was chipped on the side. I told him for years to get a smarphone and he would say, “no…I like my little dumb phone” haha

kaiten sushi // I’m pretty sure I took this photo when I went to eat sushi with Steph. It was in the midst of a really tough season for me…and I can’t thank Steph enough for being with me through all of it and going out to eat to help me talk through stuff. One night we went to Kashiwa station to grab sushi which was always funny because I don’t eat fish! But honesty, I loved so many things on the menu that I thoroughly enjoyed eating here every time. My favorite was the tamago and the corn mayo “sushi” rolls. Plus, like any good sushi spot, they have HOT HOT green tea that you make at the table for yourself. bomb.

kaiten sushi // I’m pretty sure I took this photo when I went to eat sushi with Steph. It was in the midst of a really tough season for me…and I can’t thank Steph enough for being with me through all of it and going out to eat to help me talk through stuff. One night we went to Kashiwa station to grab sushi which was always funny because I don’t eat fish! But honesty, I loved so many things on the menu that I thoroughly enjoyed eating here every time. My favorite was the tamago and the corn mayo “sushi” rolls. Plus, like any good sushi spot, they have HOT HOT green tea that you make at the table for yourself. bomb.

Cam // I snapped this shot of Cam when we were on the Shinkansen on our way to Kyoto last Spring. I remember being in awe that my family was actually in Japan with me. It was the sweetest time ever and I will always look back on this as one of the greatest weeks of my life. Cam was so cute with these giant headphones on, sitting so nicely on the train awaiting our next adventure.

Cam // I snapped this shot of Cam when we were on the Shinkansen on our way to Kyoto last Spring. I remember being in awe that my family was actually in Japan with me. It was the sweetest time ever and I will always look back on this as one of the greatest weeks of my life. Cam was so cute with these giant headphones on, sitting so nicely on the train awaiting our next adventure.

Omotesando Ofie (Eden) // I snapped this shot on Cat Street in Omotesando. I remember it vividly because I was so stoked to take my family to this area that I had grown to love so much over the years. Eden and Len were both wearing these panda dresses and dancing down the streets having the best time ever. I loved this day more than anything!!

Omotesando Ofie (Eden) // I snapped this shot on Cat Street in Omotesando. I remember it vividly because I was so stoked to take my family to this area that I had grown to love so much over the years. Eden and Len were both wearing these panda dresses and dancing down the streets having the best time ever. I loved this day more than anything!!

Shibuya Mads // From that same day in Tokyo…we wandered through Shibuya as a family. This was epic with two strollers, five kids and six adults. We cruised around all the shops we wanted to see and walked through the scramble a few times. I remember the weather being perfect. A little chilly…but bright and sunny and more than we could ask for. I love how Lenny was still light enough to be carried on my sister’s shoulders because by now….shes way too big for that!

Shibuya Mads // From that same day in Tokyo…we wandered through Shibuya as a family. This was epic with two strollers, five kids and six adults. We cruised around all the shops we wanted to see and walked through the scramble a few times. I remember the weather being perfect. A little chilly…but bright and sunny and more than we could ask for. I love how Lenny was still light enough to be carried on my sister’s shoulders because by now….shes way too big for that!

The whole gang // This was from the day we took our family photoshoot in Shinjuku. Before we went, we walked through the National Art Center to go to Gogoyo ramen, famous for their burnt miso ramen. I had waked through this building countless times over my time in Japan…so finally walking through there with family was a dream come true. I made sure to have them all stop so I could freeze this moment in time.

The whole gang // This was from the day we took our family photoshoot in Shinjuku. Before we went, we walked through the National Art Center to go to Gogoyo ramen, famous for their burnt miso ramen. I had waked through this building countless times over my time in Japan…so finally walking through there with family was a dream come true. I made sure to have them all stop so I could freeze this moment in time.

Sakura // I took this photo at a park outside our Airbnb in Osaka. My family happened to come to Japan right at the peak of the sakura bloom…something only God could ordain. The entire week we were in Osaka and Kyoto we were blessed with sakura blooming all over the place. I love these flower…how momentary and beauty they are…and how my family was able to witness them too.

Sakura // I took this photo at a park outside our Airbnb in Osaka. My family happened to come to Japan right at the peak of the sakura bloom…something only God could ordain. The entire week we were in Osaka and Kyoto we were blessed with sakura blooming all over the place. I love these flower…how momentary and beauty they are…and how my family was able to witness them too.

me // I debated including this photo in the post…since it’s not a photo I took but rather a photo of me…which always feel awkward for a photographer. But when I look at the girl in this photo I can’t help but notice how truly happy she is. I see this and I am reminded of how my three years at Ichikashi were the absolute best years of my life. This photo is from my very last day there. My eyes were puffy with tears from saying goodbye, but also my heart swelled with gratitude for this place and the people within these walls. I walked out to the courtyard one last time … and I smiled with complete thankfulness to God for this place. This photo reminds me of how God truly blessed me and provided me an experience in Japan far beyond anything I could ever have dreamed up or imagined on my own! Thank you Jesus.

me // I debated including this photo in the post…since it’s not a photo I took but rather a photo of me…which always feel awkward for a photographer. But when I look at the girl in this photo I can’t help but notice how truly happy she is. I see this and I am reminded of how my three years at Ichikashi were the absolute best years of my life. This photo is from my very last day there. My eyes were puffy with tears from saying goodbye, but also my heart swelled with gratitude for this place and the people within these walls. I walked out to the courtyard one last time … and I smiled with complete thankfulness to God for this place. This photo reminds me of how God truly blessed me and provided me an experience in Japan far beyond anything I could ever have dreamed up or imagined on my own! Thank you Jesus.

Goal for 2019 … shoot more film!!!