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#10
MARCH 2021
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PEOPLE

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Write

Diving into yourself

うちに籠るという事

Actor / Artist

3.1 2021

Mia Ando

If you have visited this place even once, what do you imagine when you hear the word "Los Angeles"?

You might think the sky is blue,  but to your surprise, it's an LA-colored sky with a slightly dull color due to photochemical smog.

Or maybe it's the palm trees that grow everywhere in the city, sprawling in every direction.

Or maybe it's the Hollywood sign that sits proudly at the top of Mountain Lee, or maybe it's the 405 freeway, which is said to be the most congested freeway in the world.

If you've never been here, you might think, "Oh, really? “ I'm sorry for the explanation.

By the way, the sky in Los Angeles after the rain is a beautiful blue with all the smog cleared.

 

My name is Mia Ando, and I live in Los Angeles.

Nice to meet you.

I'm an actor and a performer.

 

It's already been a year since March of last year, when the world completely changed its color and shape.

How is everyone reading this doing?

I've been going through a lot of changes, and I think many others would feel the same. 

Some people have quit on things, some have started new things, let go of some things, or kept some things since last year.  Each one of us has a different story.

It's not often that we go through such a huge change at the same time. So come to think of it, what an experience.

 

As for me, my lifestyle has completely changed, and I spend much more time at home than before. (I've been auditioning remotely, shooting my own videos and sending them to casting directors, and rarely going to casting offices for face-to-face auditions.)

 

It used to be like this. When I had three auditions a day, it would take me two hours to get to a casting office to get a five-minute audition done, and another hour to get to a different office... (Actor’s life in LA). But now that I think about it, living remotely isn't so bad when it comes to auditioning, or maybe it's even better!

 

Of course, with the lockdown in LA(everywhere is closed and no filming at all), my workload has dropped drastically, or at least it was almost non-existent for a bit while leaving me with a lot of time on my hands, so I've been wondering what to do with it and have turned my focus to writing (and publishing), something I've never been able to do before due to lack of time.

 
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Around March last year, the lockdown had just begun.

The world was full of depression because of the sudden situation, and I wanted to do something about it.  So I started writing on Note, putting my poetry and other writing stuff out there. 

 

Since I started putting my writing out there, many people have reacted to my poetry in a positive way and I’ve been approached by people in the poetry and lyric writing field, and things have started to move in a new direction. I’m really grateful for it.

 

 

I think that being an actor is one of the professions that you do a lot of inner work on a regular basis, but through the process of writing in my house, I have had a lot more time to literally cave in and pull something out of myself.

 

The more I dive inside, the more I feel like I have the ability to survive, or something like the rough roots of human nature come to the surface, and I often discover a new side of myself that I never knew existed.

 

Human beings are an interesting thing.

 

This may sound like a confession, but I have always been afraid to show my writing to others.

That's because when I was in the fifth grade, my older brother found out about a novel I had been writing and laughed at me.

(I know, you might find this funny, haha)  I've always loved writing, but for a long time, showing it to others was something I avoided at all costs.

I've always loved writing, but for a long time, showing it to others was something I avoided at all costs.

(laughs) I think it's funny that I'm an actor.

It doesn't bother me so much anymore, but I'm sure there are one or two stings like this in everyone's life in one way or another.

 

If there is anyone reading this who wants to start something but is held back for some reason, I encourage you and I truly think it would be a good idea to start something now.

The sting that you avoid because you are worried about the pain of the sting may be easily removed if you do it. I learned that from my own experience and wanted to share it with you.

Words are like life to actors, not only to those who write for a living, but also to many other people who work with words.

Whether the actors give life to the words or the words give life to the actors (I know, this sounds like a  Zen question), either way, the power of words is immeasurable, and it works like magic. Words can be poison, medicine, a sharp blade, or a gentle blanket. it can cut people, or heal people deeply.

 

Now, I wonder what kind of month March 2021 will be.

I'm going to be really busy until the middle of March, but after things settle down, I'd like to have a relaxing drink while comparing myself now with the person I was a year ago when the lockdown began.

I’m sure many people are going through a lot of stuff.

I often find myself scratching my head at home too.

Each one of us has a different story and I hope that all of them, even if they don't seem like so at the moment, will one day fit the person in the most gentle way possible.

I hope that we all capture this time period with our own eyes and will smile together at the end of it.

 

Have a great day, everyone! Don't forget to take care of yourself, your mind, and your body! Sending a message with love from L.A. 

I'll see you back at Note if you'd like!

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text and photoprahs - Hiromi Takechi

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Actor / Artist

Mia Ando

安藤美亜

Lives in Los Angeles.

Currently working on a Sci-fi film "Submittan" which takes place in 2035.

Nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Los Angeles Theatre Raw Awards for her role in BLOOD, a play based on the HIV-tainted blood scandal. 

She loves to travel the world and has completed the 800km pilgrimage route of El Camino Santiago in Northern Spain.

When she’s not acting, she writes poetry and lyrics. She has a collection of her poems called "One Hundred Days of Poetry" on Note.

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PEOPLE

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Write

Words create your future.

言葉が自分の未来をつくる

writer / editor / teacher of composition classes

3.1 2021

 Tomomi Takada

I want to quit my job, but I can't decide because I'm worried about the future.

 

 --I think you should do what you want to do.

I think you should do what you want to do.

If you do what you don't want to do, you won't enjoy your life. (5th grade girl)

 

Actually, I'm not good at touching animals.

 

 --I can do it if I do it with patience. (2nd grade girl)

 

I get nervous when I speak in front of people.

 

 --Let's give up! (5th grade boy)

 

My boss doesn't do his job. What should I do? (Part-time worker in his 30s)

 

 --If your boss doesn't do his job, why don't you make a lot of effort to become better than him and get him to do your job? (6th grade boy)

 

 

This is the answer to the problems of adults by children.

 

This is what the children wrote in the "Adult Worries Consultation Room.

 

The words may be inadequate or blunt, but

 

But the children's words

 

I'm sure the same is true for me as an adult.

 

As an adult, I could probably say the same thing, but

 

I'm sure I could say the same thing as an adult, but I feel that children's words penetrate my heart more easily.

 

I wonder why.

 

There is no calculation, no speculation, just the words of children.

 

For a long time now, I've been

 

I've been fascinated by their transparent tone for a long time now.

 

 

 
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I've been working as a freelance editorial writer.

 

I started a writing class for small children under the name

 

It's been about five years since I started a writing class for small children

 

It has been about five years since I started a writing class for small children under the name of "Kodomo Hyogen no Kyoshitsu.

 

 

The reason why I decided to open a composition class was because

 

My daughter's friend's mother asked me for advice.

 

She said, "My son can't write any essays. I want you to look after him.

 

I can't teach him how to write, but I can help him gain confidence.

 

I couldn't teach him how to write, but I thought I might be able to help him gain confidence.

 

 

It's not that I can't write.

 

It's not that you can't write, it's that you don't want to write.

 

That's what I thought.

 

 

Children express their thoughts and feelings very honestly.

 

They are so straightforward that they are almost too sharp.

 

But before you know it.

 

"Don't say that because it will hurt them.

 

"That's boring," or "You should say something more positive.

 

"That's boring.

 

"You have to say something nice.

 

 

"You have to say something nice.

 

 

It's something I've experienced painfully myself.

 

I wish I could tell my children, "You don't have to think like that.

 

I thought, "If I can tell them, 'You don't have to think like that,' maybe we can make time for more than just writing.

 

I thought.

 

 

*****

 

 

In my composition class, we have a lot of fun.

 

In my composition classes, we don't often have students write so-called "traditional" essays.

 

In my composition class, we don't often ask students to write so-called "royal essays.

 

In my writing class, we don't ask students to write a traditional essay.

 

association games and storytelling.

 

Sometimes we take a walk outside to look for living words.

 

(From 2020, the focus will be online).

 

 

As much as possible, we create a place where children can express themselves as they are.

 

I want to create a place where children can express themselves as they are and stimulate their five senses as much as possible.

 

It sounds like fun when I write it like this, but

 

But children are much more than you can imagine.

 

They are free, silly, and easily forget (especially boys).

 

There are many times when there is no order at all, but

 

But when you suddenly notice

 

Sometimes, I can retrieve words that are like a lump of the child's sensitivity.

 

But sometimes, I can get out words that are like a lump of sensitivity of the child.

 

How can you say such a thing?

 

How can you say such a thing?

 

The rough and raw sound of the words

 

I feel as if it has the power to turn the world upside down.

 

I can't help but feel it.

 

 

There are times when I feel like my soul is being sucked out by the freedom of a child.

 

But to be able to encounter such words

 

It's what keeps me going, even if in a small way.

 

This is what keeps me going.

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I have been working with magazines and books since I was a publisher in my twenties.

 

I have spent a lot of time with words.

 

I've spent a lot of time with words.

 

 

As a writer

 

The joy of having my writing read by someone is

 

is irreplaceable.

 

I've never lost the desire to find my own words

 

I want to find out more about my own words.

 

But on the other hand

 

I've never thought that I'm a good writer, and

 

I'm not a genius.

 

I'm not a genius.

 

 

It's just that

 

"What lies beyond the words

 

I just want to grasp what is beyond words, what has not yet been put into words.

 

 

I've always been fascinated by that kind of magic.

 

I've always been obsessed with that magical attraction.

 

 

The fact that I was able to publish my own book in 2018

 

My husband is Chinese.

 

 

 

My husband is Chinese, and by chance

 

My husband is Chinese, and by chance, I ended up living with his parents in China.

 

My husband is Chinese, and by chance, living with his parents in China

 

In Japan, it is called "insensitivity.

 

 

In Japan, I thought my husband was "insensitive.

 

In Japan, my husband seemed to be "insensitive," but in China, he was a man who valued "politeness.

 

The assumption that "China is a country without freedom

 

The assumption that "China is an unfree country" brought out the "inconvenience" of Japan.

 

Food, family, and PM2.5.

 

What I have actually lived and felt and

 

and what I saw and heard on TV and in newspapers

 

There was too much of a gap between what I felt and what I saw and heard on TV and in the newspaper.

 

I couldn't help but tell them.

 

That impulse kept pushing me to write.

 

This impulse kept pushing me forward.

 

 

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I just don't want children to think that I'm not good at writing.

 

I just don't want them to think that I'm not good at writing.

 

 

"Hey, hey! Look at this!

 

I don't want children to have their hands full of

 

I don't want children to think that they are not good at writing.

 

There's no way they don't have a talent for writing.

 

It's not that they don't have the talent to write.

 

If there is a place that accepts them as they are

 

If there is a place where they can let their words out as they are, and where they are accepted as they are, children will be able to let their imaginations fly freely.

 

 

 

 

Words create one's future.

 

 

I believe in this.

 

 

No matter how much you lose confidence.

 

No matter how much you feel like you're going to rot.

 

When you can look at yourself straight in the eyes without denying yourself, you are on your own side.

 

When you can look yourself straight in the eye, you are strong.

 

 

 

And what helps you do that is

 

It's not some words of wisdom from someone else.

 

What will help you is not some words of wisdom from someone else, but your own words that come quietly from deep inside.

 

 

I'm not interesting, I'm boring.

 

I don't have anything to write about! You can say, "It's not interesting, it's boring, I have nothing to write about!

 

But don't stop thinking about it. Don't give up on yourself.

 

I believe that piecing together words

 

is to take care of yourself.

 

I think.

 

 

 

So, right now.

 

Tell me where you are, what you are feeling, how you see the world.

 

Please tell me where you are, what you are feeling, and how you see the world.

 

 

 

That's how I feel.

 

I'm always playing with my children.

 

I'm always playing with them.

 

text and photoprahs - Shu HIdaka

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writer / editor / teacher of composition classes

Tomomi Takada

高田ともみ

After working for a publishing company, she worked as a freelance editorial writer, producing books and magazines. Currently writes mainly essays and non-fiction. Lives in Ehime Prefecture.

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Children's Expression Class

Based in Niihama City, Ehime Prefecture, she occasionally holds a composition class for children called "Kodomo Hyogen no Kyoshitsu" (Children's Expression Class). From 2020, the class will be online, allowing students to participate from anywhere.

Web: Children's Writing Class
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Book "A Chinese-style life of "living in the now

Food, education, money, and work in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China.... This is an essay about my experience of moving to Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China without thinking about it, and ending up shedding my skin three times. I would like to recommend this book to anyone who works in China or who wants to deepen their understanding of China from a consumer's perspective.

Published by: Shoshikankanbou, price: 1,500 yen + tax

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#09
FEBRUARY 2021
 
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PEOPLE

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Recovery

Like reading a story, I want to make dresses and weddings.

I am the owner of a small and lovely chapel.

It's a mobile chapel in a trailer house, and I can hold weddings anywhere.

It's called a "Roulottes.

Roulottes is French for gypsy mobile home.

I wanted to work while traveling like a gypsy.

 

My main job is as a tailor of wedding dresses.

Recently, I have been receiving more and more requests for remaking your mother's wedding dress, remaking vintage dresses, and dresses made of natural materials such as organic cotton.

I have also created works of art by remaking clothes that were to be discarded.

I am happy to see that interest in ethical weddings is gradually increasing.

 

Traveling and making dresses. How happy I am!

 

My first fateful encounter with a wedding dress was during a trip.

It was not in England, my destination, but in Thailand, a transit country.

When I saw a beautiful Thai silk wedding dress, it was like lightning struck me and I decided to make wedding dresses my career.

 

After that, I left my job as a fashion designer and went back to school to study technical skills.

At that time, I studied "alteration" and "remake" techniques instead of western-style sewing because I wanted to work without having excess inventory.

Because of my love for fashion, I decided that if I was going to work on my own, I would try to do only "order" and "remake" without having any inventory.

Fortunately, my teacher at the school had many years of experience working in a wedding dress ordering salon.

So I was able to learn not only how to fix dresses, but also how to make custom-made dresses from scratch.

 

Learning a skill takes time, money, and a lot of effort.

I was no exception to this rule.

But I believe it was not a waste of time.

The skills I acquired have given me confidence, and have led me to one of my most cherished jobs, remaking my mother's wedding dress.

 

Remakes that connect feelings and time.

 

Old things hold stories and memories.

The shape of the person who wore it and the intention of the person who made it.

I mend dresses one by one as if I were reading their stories.

I take out the memories contained in the dress and sew them on, stitch by stitch.

The dresses are very chatty and tell me a lot of drama.

"This dress has been worn by someone else.

"It must have been your aunt. She must have been the tall one.

It's been a long time since I woke up. You look like you've been asleep for a long time.

Well, I've been asleep for thirty years. It's time you woke up. Your bride is waiting for you.

 

After some careful work, the dress wakes up from its slumber and begins to shine.

There is a moment when your mother's dress or someone else's dress turns into the bride's dress.

No matter how many times I experience it, it is always a very moving moment.

For me, remaking dresses is a very important job that connects stories that transcend time.

物語を読むように、

ドレスとウェディングの仕事をしたい

Owner of a mobile chapel, Roulottes / Wedding dress tailor

2.1 2021

Hiromi Takechi
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In a quirky atelier.

 

The Mobile Chapel Roulottes began when I moved into a shared atelier of a quirky gallery.

In the Old Settlement district of Kobe, there is a retro building called the Chartered Building, which is a former British bank.

If you go up the stairs from the back alley entrance, you will find a gallery café where artists gather and strange people feast night after night.

I was running a dress tailoring business in a rented atelier at the back of the upper floor.

Sewing amidst the hustle and bustle of the party and the music, I felt as if I were in the attic of Montmartre, where the artists of Paris gathered.

I got so much from that gallery, which is now gone because of Corona.

If I hadn't been here, Roulottes wouldn't have been born.

 

One day while I was working in my studio, inspiration struck me.

I thought, "If only there was a chapel that moved, I could hold weddings in places I remembered, and visit grandparents and people who had trouble getting around.

The door opened and in walked one of the gallery owners, the artist who had renovated the place.

I asked him, "Can you make a trailer house? He answered, "Yes.

That was the beginning of Roulottes.

 

What is a mobile chapel Roulottes?

 

The Mobile Chapel Roulotte is a chapel that runs on a trailer house.

Since it is a "vehicle" with tires, it can drive on highways and can arrive at the place where the bride and groom want to hold their wedding.

 

What we wanted to do at Roulottes was a wedding that was as free as traveling, and truly unique to the couple.

I wanted to create a wedding that was away from the formalities, the rules of the ceremony, and the traditions of the venue, and that was more about the couple's story.

I believe that there is a story that only the two of you can tell, whether it is about your memories, your favorite places, nature, or the people you want to bless.

I want you to be free from all kinds of things and spend your wedding day in your favorite place, with your loved ones, with the people you love, and with lots of smiles on your faces.

 

I have heard the stories of many wonderful couples so far.

The story of the wedding in the field of rape blossoms that we created together became a picture book.

Traveling to unfamiliar places, meeting new people, and seeing beautiful scenery that I never imagined.

Is there any other job as wonderful as this?

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The future.

 

When I was little, growing up in the countryside and being an introvert, fantasies and stories were the wings that expanded my narrow world.

Mending a dress, traveling and having a wedding.

Those are also important wings for me.

 

But with this Corona, my wedding work has been reduced to zero.

I've recovered a bit now, but it will still take a lot of time to get back to normal.

I can't travel, and I can't do the wedding and dress work that I love.

I can eat and have a home, but is that the meaning of life? But thanks to this Corona, I can.

 

But thanks to this Corona, I realized that I have another little wing.

 

A wing called words.

 

To communicate with words.

To write.

 

I now want to write and tell the story of dresses and weddings in my own words.

That is my challenge from now on.

 

The story will continue.

And the journey of adventure.

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text and photoprahs - Hiromi Takechi

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Owner of a mobile chapel, Roulottes / Wedding dress tailor

Hiromi Takechi

タケチヒロミ

I am Hiromi Takechi, a dress tailor who tailors and remakes wedding dresses.

Since 2015, I have been planning and constructing free weddings as the owner of a handmade mobile chapel, Roulottes.

I am an England lover who loves traveling and old/vintage things. One day I would like to make costumes for movies.

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PEOPLE

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Recovery

How to Find the Small Miracles Hawaii Taught Me

I've heard that people are sometimes called to Hawaii, but I thought it was just a belief of spiritual people.

That is, until it happened to me.

 

My first encounter with Hawaii was in my early thirties, when I started hula as a way to get rid of my lack of exercise.

I had never been good at exercise since I was a child, and the only thing I liked was dancing.

If I was going to exercise, I wanted to learn how to dance at a place where I could drop by after work.

When I was thinking about this, I happened to meet a friend who wanted to learn the hula, and I decided to join her.

It was the first time for me to learn hula as an adult in a long time, and I enjoyed it so much that I made new friends and started to make time to attend lessons no matter how busy I was with work.

 

When I was over 35 years old, a lot of things happened at work, and I was losing my mental balance.

I thought I was forgetful and quick to forget both good and bad things, but in fact, I was just pretending to forget and cheating myself.

I found myself in a state where I didn't know what to do to feel better.

When I went to see the industrial physician at work, he told me that I should take some time off.

It was only after someone told me this that I realized that I could not go on like this, and one day a message suddenly came to me that I had to go to Hawaii.

It was really sudden, but it was so natural and without any doubt.

From that point on, as if possessed by something, I applied to schools, applied for a visa, quit my job, and in no time at all, I was going to study in Hawaii.

ハワイが教えてくれた小さな奇跡の見つけ方

PR / Hawaiian Language Instructor

2.1 2021

Shu Hidaka
 
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Although I had learned the hula, it was not a so-called study abroad program.

I was born and raised in Japan, and for me, hula was something that I did just for fun, like a child playing.

My hula teacher taught me that for the Hawaiian people, hula is a way of passing on history and culture, a passion, a soul, and something that transcends dance.

For some reason, it seemed natural to me that I wanted to get in touch with what that was all about, to understand the language.

 

Part of it was that I was a student again, but time passed surprisingly slowly in Hawaii.

I would wake up in the morning and join the ladies at the local community center for a hula lesson or do my chores such as cooking and laundry.

From noon until early evening, I would take English classes at school, followed by private Hawaiian language lessons.

In the evening, after an early dinner, I study on my own until I get sleepy.

Sometimes I go out and buy vegetables at the farmer's market, or go to the beach with my roommate to watch the sunset.

In Tokyo, there was never enough time to do everything, but now there is plenty of time to do everything.

 

In the midst of my relaxed life in Hawaii, I realized that I used to be tethered to a mysterious set of rules that I had set for myself.

Maybe the reason I was suffering at work was because I was ignoring my own feelings and restricting myself to "this is work, so I should do this.

The reason I didn't have enough time was because I couldn't let go of many things.

I now think that the message I received from somewhere at that time, "I have to go to Hawaii," was sent out by my exhausted mind to help me.

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While living in Hawaii, I began to check with myself what I really wanted to do.

Not big things like dreams for the future, but small, everyday things like what I want to eat today, whether I want to walk home or take the bus, and so on.

What I realized was that it was the small things in my daily life that made me feel happy.

 

Waking up in the morning to a beautiful day.

Seeing a beautiful flower on the street.

Hearing from my roommate how the waves were today.

 

It's as if there is a little god in our daily lives.

Maybe that's what they call mana in the Hawaiian language.

I felt like I had a glimpse of what was being talked about in the hula.

At the same time, I realized that it was something that I could see in my daily life, even if I wasn't in Hawaii.

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I came back to Tokyo with the same feeling of "I have to go back to Hawaii" and now I am running a small Hawaiian language school.

In the lessons, we learn the Hawaiian language and unravel the history and culture of Hawaii together.

Through my lessons, I would like to share the little mana I have found.

Finally.

One of the many wonderful encounters that Hawaii has given me was with Miyako Yamazaki, an artist who lives on the island of Molokai.

As a fan of hers, I had always hoped that she would publish another book, and in October 2020, I was able to participate as one of the editors, and a new book was born.

In October 2020, I will be participating as one of the editors of this new book. "Days on Molokai" is an essay about Miyako's process of arriving on Molokai and starting a family, written with the soft touch of her paintings.

It can be read in many different ways by different people, but for me, it was a story of a family discovering the small miracles scattered in their daily lives.

The fact that the book was released at this time may have some significance.

I hope that this story will help people regain a sense of calm in the midst of the current difficult situation.

text and photoprahs - Shu HIdaka

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PR / Hawaiian Language Instructor

Shu Hidaka

日高 周

Born in 1981. Graduated from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Department of Italian.
Studied medieval art history at the University of Ferrara, Italy.

After working in public relations for the aromatherapy industry and an IT company, she came to Hawaii in 2017 to study language and culture.

She learned Hawaiian from locals on the island.
Currently based in Tokyo, she works as a freelance PR professional and runs a Hawaiian language school called Pono ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.

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#08
JANUARY 2021
C95D41B6-16D0-48B7-9419-70C71477BFC2-445

PEOPLE

STAY SALTY ...... people here

Boon

What I wish to hand over through Omusubi, “a place to connect to genuine self”

photo by yu nakamura

“Thorough my omusubi, I wish to hand over a time and place where one could connect to their genuine self"

With this in my heart, period from new moon to full moon as a cycle of my activities, I go to places that I am called upon where I create an occasion to make my omusubi (Japanese rice ball) and serve them.

Making omusubi is a way for me to "connect to my genuine self" (I could perhaps also put it in other words, “to LIVE my true self" or "to BE my genuine self").

I make omusubi with a prayer that those who eat my omusubi would connect to their own genuine self as well. I only make salted omusubi, in some occasions as omusubi gatherings at places like café restaurants in urban environment, and in other occasions as a “retreat” in an island with natural surroundings.

 

 "Look at your senses, treat them with care, and give full trust to yourself.

 

This has always been a guideline for me to "connect to myself" and in both Omusubi gatherings and retreats, I place importance on “feeling what is deep within“. I believe that a simple omusubi, made only with salt and rice, can help us get rid of what’s unnecessary, make our minds clear, and help us "feel".

Lie Lin

1.3 2021

omusubi courier

おむすびを通して渡したいもの、

「わたしの軸につながる場所」

 
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photo by yu nakamura
photo by yu nakamura
photo by yu nakamura

In the fall of 2015, I started to reflect "How do I want to spend the rest of my life?”

I had been working at a company in Tokyo for quite a while and my work and everyday life were very satisfying, yet I heard a voice in my heart telling me that I really needed to “stop for myself”.

I decided to take a leave a year after.


What I wanted to do on my own time off was to make a notebook of reflection.
I left Tokyo, found a new place with great sun light and breeze, by the sea and nature, where I started to work on my notebook covering 20 years of my life starting from when I was 20.

I wrote down things that happened and what I felt year by year. In much slower pace of life, I repeated to trace my memory, write down what I recalled, traced, wrote down and on and on… as if I were trying to recall a corner of my memory.


Then, last month of that year I went on a trip to Molokai, Hawaii.

I wanted to see with my own eyes the paintings of Miyako Yamazaki, an artist who lives on Molokai.
I had a feeling that there was something beyond her paintings.

 

On Molokai, I stayed at Miyako's wonderful inn, and felt the nature of Molokai from west end to east end of the island, spent time with her family, chatting, playing, eating together, and living everyday as if I lived there and felt everyday her paintings that were all over the house. As I gazed at the colors of the ocean and sky that Miyako painted, I felt as if my soul trembled and returned to the center of my being.

 

The day before I was to leave Molokai, it was a new moon.

We each brought a dish to share and went to the beach for an evening picnic.

The beach was pitch black and the sky was full of stars.
The quiet sound of the waves and warmth of the campfire, pleasant chatting and delicious food, echoing singing and joyful dancing.
“Nature, food, and people.”
It was all there, filled with a blissful energy that needed nothing more.
 

With a cute suggestion of Miyako's daughter, Kira, who said, "Let's not forget this day," Kira, her sister Tama, her friend Kai, and I, four of us formed a circle and hugged each other under the starry sky. This memory, still today, shines brightly right in the center of myself.

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After a two-week journey that was like a time trip to the "future of 1000 years" drawn by Miyako, the year 2017 dawned, and the notebook was completed after almost three months of work.

When I took a time to read through my notebooks of my past 20 years, I found that it was not so much of what I was doing, but it was mostly of how I was feeling at that time. I noticed that each year was filled with many people's names. Friends and family, loved ones, peers, people I dearly respect, cute junior colleagues, those close and those not-so-close,


All happy and sad things (That's how I perceived them at the time) were precious events that were brought to me by the people who came into my life.

 

"Oh, I have received so much (this is probably called, Love) from so many people in the first half of my life.”

I received 20 years worth of love and the word "gratitude" filled quietly my belly with warmth.

“Now, how do I want to be for the rest of my life”

It’s not about what I want to do, but how I want to be.

I tried to imagine the next 30 years, holding in my heart the feelings I received from my past 20 years.

What came naturally to me was a thought, "I want to be a person who can hand over something to others.”

(that something, most probably, is Love.)
So far, I've almost always received and I'm sure I'll continue to receive more in the future, but a strong will was born inside of me that said, "From now on, I want to be a person who could hand over a little something (=Love)”.

Something, that is made with my own hands, something that would carry love through my hands, and something that one could "eat" that would directly touch their heart.

That blissful energy that filled the night of the new moon on Molokai came back to me.

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photo by yu nakamura
photo by yu nakamura
photo by yu nakamura

After hesitating through several cycles of the moon, I remembered my own "story of omusubi” and left for Shimane  in the fall of 2017 to study omusubi. I wanted to start to live my life making omusubi. (Please visit the website for more information on "The Story of Omusubi.)

The outline was still dim at that time, but as I continued to make omusubi with all my heart every night deep in the mountains of Shimane, I experienced the sensation of coming into a tune with myself and connecting to my genuine self where I came to a conviction of the power that omusubi has. It became clear that “through making omusubi, I wanted to hand over places and time to connect to one’s genuine self”

 

In the fall of 2018, under the name "Lakuda Hotel Bekkan",  I started making omusubi along with the phases of the moon.  2020 was a year of unprecedented and Omusubi gatherings were cancelled, but I was led to host a retreat in the beautiful nature of remote island of Iki. As I held more retreats, feeling the sea, wind, sky, sun, moon, and stars of Iki which is somewhat like Molokai, I felt that I am in the flow of nature.

 

Since then, it has become a habit for me to write a reflective note every month. Every time I look back, I still feel that what I receive is far greater, but I want to hold on to what I want to hand over, trust my senses, surrender to the flow of nature, do what I can do at the time, and continue to make omusubi while gently evolving and gracefully swinging.

 

​Dreaming that beyond this,  there will be that ”genuine place” filled with Miyako's pictures where blissful energies of "nature, food, and people" all gathers.

text and photoprahs - Lie Lin

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photo by yu nakamura

Omusubi Courier

Lie Lin

Born in Kobe, with roots in Taiwan. After living in cities such as Kobe, Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo for several decades, in the fall of 2017, headed to Shimane Prefecture to study omusubi at an inn where the main dish is omusubi, an Inn with only three guest rooms a day. For about a year, kept serving omusubi for guests every night, learning the depth of omusubi from her senses. Currently, she runs “Lakuda Hotel Bekkan (Pop-up Omusubi gatherings)" based in Kobe and Iki Island, where she places importance on "time to connect to one’s genuine self”. She as well is practicing to stay "connected to her genuine self"

LAKUDA HOTEL
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sound of ocean, waxing moon and calming Island Retreat
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Four Women in the Kitchen

dashi artist

1.3 2021

Nozomi Kurashima

女四人の台所

When I was in high school, my grandfather passed away and our family became a family of four.

My great-grandmother was my grandmother's stepmother, so we were not related by blood, and my mother was adopted by my great-grandparents after my grandmother's older brother, the heir apparent, died at a young age.

 

The family I was born into was a country kimono shop that had been in existence for three generations, and at the time my grandparents and my mother were the main owners of the small store. Until I entered kindergarten, I lived in the store while my family worked. However, when customers came to the store, my joyful piles of blocks would be put away or pushed into a corner. At such times, even though I was very young, my shoulders would slump and I would start building again from scratch. One day, after such a situation was repeated many times, I said to a customer, "Customer! Go home! I snapped at the customer. It was obvious that it was not the customer's fault, but the god of patience in me was in the wrong place that day. The customer, who was swearing at me, turned red and said, "I don't feel good even if a child tells me so! When I saw my grandmother and mother getting down on their knees and apologizing to the customer, I knew I had done something terrible.

 

I'm not sure if it was the day I was born, but from then on I was sent to my great-grandfather's house on the same property. My great-grandfather had already retired from his job as a kimono maker and was living a retired life.

 

The time in his house flowed slowly and carefully. I had been used to living with the time and circumstances of adults, but the relaxed time there was comfortable for me, and I soon became accustomed to the environment and the life with my great-grandparents. The pillar clock tinkled in the quiet space. There was always a tetsubin (iron kettle) on the brazier, water was always boiling, rice was cooked in the kamado and transferred to the ohitsu (vessel), and the small kitchen always smelled of good broth.

 

From that time on, my daily routine was to pick flowers and plants from the garden, use them as ingredients, and cook them. I would pick the beautiful pink flowers and float them in a bowl of water, and in my imaginary world, they would become a beautiful and delicious soup. As an imaginary cook, I have created a number of dishes.

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One day, I filled a small pot with water, got some vegetables that I had picked from the field, and left them on the stove. The vegetables turned bright green, then became soft and pliable. The vegetables would turn bright green, then soften and become soft and crispy. After watching this, I would take a nap and wake up to find that my great-grandmother had turned them into miso soup, which was on the table that day. I looked at their faces and said, "That miso soup Nozomi made is delicious. It made me happy to see their faces, and something started to move inside of me to know that something edible was really connected to the extension of our usual play. I didn't understand that word when I was a child, but looking back now, I think it was the first time I felt something close to "excitement".

 

On another day, I received a tangerine, squeezed it with my hands, squashed it, strain it with a toy colander, and put it in a toy cup. Then I handed it to my great-grandmother as if I were playing house with her and said, "Here you go. My great-grandmother then drank the tangerine juice from the toy cup. I panicked and shouted, "Why did you drink it? I shouted, "Because it's real tangerine juice. My great-grandmother said with a cool face. I said, "I should have washed my hands properly. I wondered if the cups and colanders were clean. I wondered if the cups and colanders were clean, and I wondered what would happen if my beloved great-grandmother got a stomachache and died. "What if my beloved great-grandmother got a stomachache and died?

 

From that day on, I seriously thought that my great-grandmother might once again take a mouthful of toy dishes, not knowing that it was a trick, and I tried to keep my hands and toy dishes clean. My great-grandmother's behavior at that time taught me to know how to cook. Even though I was very young, I painfully experienced at that time that the lives of our loved ones are involved in what goes into our bodies. I could not read yet, but it was an important lesson that I learned from experience, not from a textbook. Even now, when I think back to that time, I feel tense and at the same time, I thank God that no one got sick from the first dish I cooked.

 

After that, I was actually given a step stool in the kitchen to cook eggs and shave bonito flakes for dashi, but it did not go as well as I could have done in my imaginary world. My great-grandmother's egg rolls were beautiful yellow and fluffy, and they were always delicious. I tried my hand at it, but my omelet was half the thickness of my great-grandmother's, hard and brownish. It made me want to cry. My great-grandparents ate my failed omelet, saying it was delicious. Even my great-grandfather, who was usually quiet, smiled and said it was delicious, but I was sad. But I was sad, because I wanted the people I loved to eat really good food. I decided to become a cooking teacher that day, when I was three years old.

 

After that, my great-grandmother suffered from dementia, and for the next eleven years, she forgot things she had done before and acted strangely, but there were many moments when I could feel the history of her careful life, and each time I was reminded of the great-grandmother I had spent time with as a child. She was someone I could respect both as a person and as a woman.

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My grandmother was also a very good cook. And her food was beautiful.

She taught me the basics of cooking: how important it is to prepare and prepare food in order to make it fragrant, delicious, and beautiful. I learned the basics of cooking from my grandmother. She was my teacher on how to cut vegetables, when to boil vegetables, how to adjust the heat, and how to prepare fish. She also taught me how to choose and arrange dishes with a sense of beauty that went into every detail. My grandmother, who was usually gentle and a bit unworldly, was known as "Grandma," but when she stood in the kitchen, she looked dignified and reliable.

 

When I told my mother that I wanted to become a cooking teacher, she would take me out of school to accompany her to Kyoto to buy kimono, and she would even rent out a room in a ryotei restaurant as a study session so that we could enjoy kaiseki cuisine. I prepared a notepad and took notes on the order of the dishes, the ingredients, and how they tasted, then went home and made my own prototypes and recipes. I continued to do this until I graduated from high school. It was also my mother who taught me various genres of cooking, such as Italian and French-Chinese. My mother was very good at entertaining the people she cared about. She would take time out of her busy work schedule to make sweets with us, invite her friends to birthday parties with homemade food, and prepare children's tea sets and dishes to be used only on those days. It was like a tea party in a picture book and I was excited.

 

Twenty-three years later, after deciding that I wanted to be a cooking teacher, I really became one.

 

Now, in addition to teaching cooking, I have turned my great-grandfather's house, where I first stood in the kitchen, into an old house studio where I do photography and create recipes for media and magazines.

 

Through the kitchen, I have learned and inherited important things from the women who lived in each era.

 

From my great-grandmother who was born in the Meiji era, I learned the responsibility and attitude of taking care of the lives of loved ones.

My grandmother, who was born in the Taisho era, taught me the importance of hospitality and the five senses.

From my mother, who lived in the post-war Showa era, I learned a broad view of the world and the power to entertain and make my loved ones smile.

 

And now, when I am asked again, "What is cooking for me? And now, when I am asked again, "What is cooking to me?

 

For me, cooking is a "prayer" with the thought, "You are an important person.

 

I make breakfast with the thought, "May today be another good day.

It may not be all fun and games for the family on the way out of the house, but when I open the lid of the empty lunch box, I feel relieved. It's a message of protection that says, "I'm always watching over you! It is also a message of protection. When I get home, I can't help but think, "It smells so good! I'm hungry! What's for dinner tonight? When I hear "I'm home," I am thankful that my children have made it through another day and have come home.

 

My "kitchen" and my "cooking" go hand in hand with such "prayers.

 

 

text and photoprahs - Nozomi Kurashima

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dashi artist

Nozomi KUrashima

倉島のぞ美

Owner of a traditional Japanese house kitchen studio and gallery "Bi no Wa Tsuta Mi" - Dashi artist.

She advocates "living with soup stock" in Shinshu, and creates recipes with a Japanese spirit. She is active as a cooking instructor for the media and food events, styling for food photography, and creating recipes.

She has co-produced a recipe book "Yuto-kunchi no Shiawase Gohan" with her then 11-year-old son.

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