Note: I recently had a nostalgic feeling while opening my old photo folder on my computer. The folder title is “(2017) TOKYO-JAPAN” and turned out finding all the memories during my first residency time there. That moment really makes me want to share a side story behind the artwork through every studio I have been working in. Do you also have one to share? I will feel delighted to hear that!
My Tokyo little studio and its sweet balcony
The momiji leaves are still green when I saw you that Wednesday morning. I had my first hot ocha and tuna mayo onigiri at 8:50 am. Sorry, I was quite tired last night and immediately went to sleep.
I haven’t seen you again the next morning. I went downstairs and I met Akiko for the first time. She made the tea for me and we talked about Ghibli films. I like her smile though, it warms and makes you calm. I want to have a big sister like her.
Time brings me to November. Momiji also starting to change its colour. I took the first photo when you brought the sunshine inside. Touching my sketches on that Monday afternoon. I am still there with you at 4:39 pm. And still there at 4:50 pm. I felt closer and closer as my sketches almost completed.
I think you saw me a lot, listening music with my earphone. Or sometimes just daydreaming. Or opening yourself while the sun coming. It turned out when me and Akiko spending time outside you. We liked sitting there, in your little balcony, watching Keikyu Line pashing by. You knew exactly which my favourite train, right? Yep, the one with cream and red.
I remembered I lost playing a puzzle game with Alisha. Then Kohei made me drink a shot of espresso that night. I felt not really well but fully awake. I came next to you and started putting colour on Space Robot. You still watching me busy at 3:48 in the morning. Akiko even shocked while passing by after went to the toilet, “Heee? You still awake?!”
I nodded and waving at her. She holds her laugh and whispered, “Ganbatte!”
I almost finished three days later but went on a trip to Fujino with friends. I bought a new shock at Lawson100 since it was quite cold. Akiko drove us that day. I saw all the momiji are completely red in that mountain. Alisha took my photo while collecting the leaves. It was a nice trip even though Akiko crashed the front part of the car when we were about to leave.
The last week of November, I often sit in your balcony. Listening to the 5 pm song. A song that always plays during that time, calling children to come back home. It was always been a magical one minute moment with you and the two Keikyu Line which crossing by at the same time at 5:01 pm.
I felt satisfied finally finishing Space Robot. Akiko was sharing her thought with me during the sunset time and we saw an airplane flying to Haneda. One day, she took my photo with her mosaic artwork with the lights that came from you. It was such a beautiful colourful light. She smiles so wide that time.
I always love the way she appreciates little things in her daily life. Sunshine, clouds, the voice of birds and of course a little hidden place like your balcony. We lately called the balcony time as a “serious talk”. It’s funny because we were usually joking around and so noisy but every time we were there, it just another side of us. We talked about dream, about human, about Japan, about travelling, about … sometimes only silence. With you and the orange time in the South of Tokyo.
I spent almost every night with you during those 5 days before the exhibition. Making a frames with tree branches that I took from the park nearby. I left you for 18 days after that. I knew you were not really happy that I haven’t really clean the studio. But you saw me bringing some visitor, don’t you? They always mentioned how cute you looks like, how warm the way you brought the sunshine and how modest the wind that blows during late afternoon.
On the second day of New Year, after returned from Chiba for a day visit to Akiko’s parent’s house, we went to your balcony again. Busy making an installation with bamboo and fabric for Akiko’s exhibition. She looks tired but smiling several time. She told me again about the story of her best friend, Emi. I am sure you watched us talking so deep while making this jellyfish installation. It was one of my precious moment with her and I realized that she’s such a strong person.
Akiko’s exhibition went well and so on the night I left you, came. The winter just began. I packed all my stuff and seeing you for the last time. Yuki-san and Michiko-san drove me to Haneda. Alisha and Akiko also came. Sitting next to me and laying their head in my shoulder. It was a beautiful farewell.
I don’t know if I am able to see you again. If so, when? I have no idea. Your little balcony, your wall, your table with weird water tap, your cracking door, the sunlight, the 5 pm song, the airplane, the Keikyu Line train, the talk with Akiko and all your modestly seeing me through my everyday life.
I adored all the sunlights and moments you were there with me.
And the time to learnt, about friendship.
A big smile from another window in Amsterdam,