Behind the Scenes 2015
I’ve decided to write a post with a lengthy amount of unpublished photos from last year.
This afternoon, I drank some hot chocolate from a place called L.A. Burdick’s in Boston. They have some of the best hot cocoa I’ve ever tasted in my life, but I made the mistake of ordering a large size and since then I’ve felt a little hopped up. I can tolerate caffeine as well as my dog can tolerate a bottle of beer. I think I went through more photos tonight in a record time which is why I’ve thrown this blog post together in a breeze. I selected these all pretty fast scrolling through my Lightroom.
That said, I rarely post all the photos I wish I could on this blog because I’m a perfectionist and before every post I have to clean up all my images and remove all the blownout sensor and dust spots (yes, I still need to send my camera in but I can’t part with it.) It takes forever.
I culled through a couple of recent scans although I have tons more to share. So, these are raw and unedited unless they were already edited. But I’d rather share them now than not at all so please ignore the rawness of any any dust spots or uncut film. Half of these images were shot on film, the other half are digital.
All things considered, 2015 wasn’t a bad year. I don’t post details of my personal life on this site, I feel it’s rather unprofessional in my opinion because my blog is my professional writing and photography platform. But, let’s just say 2014 was the worst year of my life in an unimaginable way. But this year, nothing terrible happened and we still have our health, so far, so we’re counting our blessings. I suppose when you get older, these are the things that most define our years and matter the most.
We left Japan, our home of four years and started our new lives in Boston. Before leaving Japan, we traveled as much as we possibly could and desperately tried to see the million and one things left to see in this most remarkable country. I’ve been torn between traveling and writing though and in a big way, it’s a relief to be back in America where I don’t feel a constant tension between getting things done and using precious time to see all the endlessly fascinating sites around Japan.
After four years of living in Japan, and mind you, actively traveling and exploring, we never once got bored, nor even came close to seeing everything we wanted to see. It was stressful at the end feeling like I needed to see it all. There’s so much beauty in this country it’s incomprehensible. It’s endless. It’s the only place I’ve ever been to where I felt I could live there for my entire life, for many lifetimes, and be perfectly content and never ever come close to getting bored.
I managed to stay at a few special ryokans, travel to the small town John Lennon summered at, visit my favorite Wisteria Garden, and make it to the one destination that I always assumed was slightly out of reach – Yakushima Island. Yakushima Island is at the southern tip of Japan and it requires multiple flights and or prop planes and ferries to reach. But, exploring this mystical ancient UNESCO forest filled with floors of moss, on this most remote piece of Earth, served as a brilliant goodbye to a special four years well spent and well traveled.
Before leaving Japan, I also got my Leica M9. I can’t even begin to describe how much joy this camera brings to me every day.
We started our new lives in Boston and adjusted well enough, but not without hiccups and inevitable culture shock that I fear may never go away. Our initial transition from Japan was frustrating to say the least, but it’s taken time to realize how to alleviate those frustrations. We were excited about our move to Boston and never expected to even encounter so many frustrations, but it’s inevitable when you’re used to living in a cultural utopia where society flows harmoniously, which comes from people obeying the laws and simply being respectful. It’s like a dream and we’re finally back in the real world again. Boston is the complete opposite of Tokyo but we’ve learned that once you get settled down, your home is what you make of it.
Moving back to the States, we finally traded in our ten year old starter furniture for some better pieces which has gone a long way towards transforming our cozy little home into the hobbit hole we’ve always envisioned.
Daniel is loving his new life as a grad student (not without its work) and I’ve been busy at work taking tons of photography classes while continuing to pursue the life of a freelance writer. Hopefully this time next year though, I’ll be in a post-bachelor program for photography. In the next few years, I may or may not go for my MFA in photography since fine art photography is where my passion and interests lie. I’m hoping a post-bachelor program will at least allow me to figure out if this is something I need and want to pursue the next two years. So this is the first big step.
We managed to travel a little too while here and even managed to get away to both Germany and Norway as well as NYC and Maine. I instantly fell in love with Maine and Cape Cod and hope to travel there more in 2016.
One thing I still haven’t managed to completely do is go through every one of my photographs. I’m also in the middle of a massive scanning project and I’m discovering new images every day.
In 2016, my main resolution is to workout every day, cut out the sugar, and shape up. Getting old doesn’t have to suck, but it definitely takes effort to keep your figure and your health. So many people let themselves go when all it takes is effort with a capital E.
We hope to get back to Japan the in middle of the year and I’m heading up to the middle of the snowy Yukon next week to go watch the Northern Lights with a friend; a trip planned nearly a year in advance. In 2016 I’d love to explore more of Canada, Banff, Quebec City, and Utah. I’m also exceptionally excited about getting back to Palm Springs with a best friend and getting back to my old college stomping ground in the southern California desert.
I guess with the state of the world right now, I’m not too keen on traveling to Europe. It’s hard to believe that one year ago exactly we were in Istanbul and Belgium, yet right now, Brussels and Munich are on lockdown from imminent terrorism threats.
Hope everyone has a safe and happy new year. I’d love to hear your new years resolutions!