Tag Archives: Love Yokohama

Love, Yokohama: Dessislava Veltcheva

Love, Yokohama is my photographic love letter to the city we have called home for the past three years. The concept is a simple one. From time to time, I’ll ask a student, colleague or friend to meet me at their favourite place in Yokohama… and I’ll take their photograph. These visual love letters are posted on Fridays.

DESSISLAVA VELTCHEVA
Photographed on Monday 22 September 2014
in America-Yama Park

Dessy 2

Dessy3

At Motomachi Chukagai Station,
you emerge from an elevator
into a park.

It’s like something a little kid
dreamed up
and drew with crayons.

Metal doors slide open.
A stone path leads
by a rose garden,
vines heavy with pink
that blooms
much of the year.

Three benches nestle
against a brick wall.
Mothers cuddle
with small children
while old people
collude.

In the mornings
and afternoons
the park is filled
with kids,
most in uniforms,
headed to schools
on the bluff.

Among them,
running and laughing,
the plaid and blazer-free kids
from our school.

When they were still
in high school
Dessy and her friends
used to hang out here
in the afternoons,
walk under
the ivy-covered trellis
and make wishes
for the future.

Fingers crossed.

Dessy1

dessy4

dessy5

Dessy has just completed her first term at the University of York in England where she studies Bioarchaeology. Originally from Bulgaria, Dessy lived most of her life in Japan. She is one of the happiest people I know.
 
 

Love, Yokohama: Matthew Sato

Love, Yokohama is my photographic love letter to the city we have called home for the past three years. The concept is a simple one. Each week I’ll ask a student, colleague or friend to meet me at their favourite place in Yokohama… and I’ll take their photograph. These visual love letters will be posted each Friday.

MATTHEW SATO
Photographed on Thursday, 18 September 2014
at Ōsanbashi Pier, Yokohama

matthew Standing Landmark

Matthew Medium Smile

Why Matthew chose Ōsanbashi Pier:
I chose Osanbashi, because it feels to me as a home. It’s a place were I can release my stress. The view is really enjoyable and beautiful.

Matthew Close up Ship

Matthew
percussion-drummer-boy
with the big smile
always keeps his promises.

Film-maker
sound-maker
off to Berklee College of Music,
the whole world
now his sound stage.

You can see more photographs of Matthew on my Instagram feed.

Love, Yokohama: Damien Pitter

Love, Yokohama is my photographic love letter to the city we have called home for the past three years. The concept is a simple one. Each week I’ll ask a student, colleague or friend to meet me at their favourite place in Yokohama… and I’ll take their photograph. These visual love letters will be posted each Friday.

DAMIEN PITTER
Photographed on Friday, 12 September 2014
at his apartment in Yokohama

Living room

1

3

dee view{Photograph by Damien Pitter}

Home
by Damien Pitter

It took me some time
to know the importance of
a real home overseas.
I moved to my first job
in three suitcases
and
from it in two.
Dorm living in a nicer apartment.
Living I thought of
as just-for-now.

I was never very attached to things.

It was Mexico’s folk art
milagros and calavera catrinas
that enchanted me to keeping
collecting
to creating a space more than temporary
a home worth
visiting like a gallery.

Our home now is present
with art
rugs
ceramics
with colour and texture
and the warmth of imagination.
Each is a mood
a story a
longing
question
song.
Our home is filled with
the places we have been, the
selves we were then
and then.

It is no longer a life that fits in two suitcases.

And yet a thing is still just a thing.

I don’t need these things
but I like them.
They are anchors that make stillness worthwhile,
that carve out small borders
a land of our own
and make it easier
to stay a while longer.

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Damien Pitter

lambs-wool hair,
brown corduroys
and tevas.

jamaican jerk chicken
meets poutine and guy lafleur
in ottawa
then owen sound.

georgian bay,
the blue,
the big of it,
that’s still his water.

a casual guy
not that interested
in persuading others.

imagine him
in a yellow raincoat
on a wooden deck
on a lake somewhere in ontario
watching stars.
star-filled.

he points at the dock.
“join me.”

i wonder
at the wonder of him
and
sometimes i wonder
“why?”
when people don’t get
the wicked smartness of him
+ all he can do.
that’s a weakness in them.
a sad failure
of observation.

{everyone should feel
this way
about their partner.}

his photographs
amble by
blurry, punch-drunk
on the world.

his writing
revels in gorgeous specificity.
pointillism with words.
a garden party of secrets whispered by a woman with a red parasol.

he is
calm.
kind.
divergent.

already an old wise man
at 20.
now growing backwards.
perhaps
at 80
he’ll ride a motorcycle
punctuate his sentences
with swear words
and lead a revolution.

it’s possible.

 

You can see more photographs of Damien and his home on my Instagram feed here.

Check out Damien’s photography and writing at The Puddlewonder Press.

Love, Yokohama: Alec Whiting

Love, Yokohama is my photographic love letter to the city we have called home for the past three years. The concept is a simple one. Each week I’ll ask a student, colleague or friend to meet me at their favourite place in Yokohama… and I’ll take their photograph. These visual love letters will be posted each Friday.

ALEC WHITING
Photographed on Friday 29 August 2014
at the Auditorium of Yokohama International School, Yokohama

Alec 1

Alec2

We had originally chosen a spot near the harbour front but the day came and counseling duties took over so we needed to rebook. I thought the place I’d really like to photograph Alec was in our Auditorium on his very last day at our school. He agreed.

“Bring your mandolin, Alec.”

The boys had opened the shutters in the Auditorium and the light poured in through the windows and bounced off the wooden floors creating a golden glow. Our shoot became an impropmtu concert for an audience of one woman with an iPhone as Alec played the mandolin and his friend Anton Bryan, played guitar.

In this Auditorium, on the second floor of the school’s Early Learning Centre, YIS hosts assemblies, art exhibitions, plays and student-led concerts. Alec and Anton and many of our students have come of age on this well-waxed floor and on temporary stages built by students. Singing, rapping, dancing their dreams into reality.

After the shoot, Alec performs in his final Back to School concert, an event he has organized. Alec and a group of seven other students play Wake Up by Arcade Fire. The number is epic. The Auditorium shines.

Alec4
AlecFeet

Alec Whiting
Musician singer composer ground-breaker,
he may not have been born
with a mandolin in his hand
but it seems that way now.
Fierce and fearless
in his pursuit
of amazing
there is
not a thing
he cannot do.

California godspeed, Alec.

You can see more photographs of Alec on my Instagram feed here.

Love, Yokohama: Jun Sekiya

Love, Yokohama is my photographic love letter to the city we have called home for the past three years. The concept is a simple one. Each week I’ll ask a student, colleague or friend to meet me at their favourite place in Yokohama… and I’ll take their photograph. These visual love letters will be posted each Friday.

JUN SEKIYA
Photographed on Sunday 17 August 2014
at Yamashita Park, Yokohama

Jun + 2 guys

Jun Wide 1

Jun Medium Bike Cut Off

Cruise
by Jun Sekiya

a long time ago
I rode mountain bikes in the city
because I was afraid
of not looking mature.

“This t-shirt won’t do.
This faux hawk won’t do.
This music won’t do.
I can do much better.”

a while after that
my friends stole my bike
and painted its blue frame red with a can
on my birthday
when I was on a date
with My new dress shirt
My new hairstyle
My new music—

maybe I needed that.

maybe I needed to care less about thoughts
the ones that
nag, like, “You look like you’re twelve.”
“You’re short.”
“You’re timid.”
“You’re caught in yourself.”
“I need to care less”
began to nag me in turn.

it’s all psyching out,
psyching
out.
Thoughts, wrapped in Thoughts, wrapped in Thoughts, wrapped in
But
I put on a song
as I rode my new bike
—my mom’s bike—
through Yamashita Park.

I glide past the sign
that says “no bikes”
there’s a couple looks
But for this I’m sorry

Because the sky is too deep
and the sun is too yellow
to not bike this strip
that nudges the sea.

There’s people
and space
between them
to weave through.
There’s iPods
and earphones
to make them
a soundtrack.

This song I’m listening to
This song This song
is the best song I’ve ever heard
ever.
right now.

My head is flooded
My mouth is lifting
I’m flushed with courage
I’m taller than the park
I’m rushing
weaving
surging
through the air
beaming:
Unstoppable.

In the big picture
it’s a guy on his bike
rapping too loudly to a soundless beat.
In the big picture
the music won’t do
just like the t-shirt and that cringey faux hawk.

But in the close up
the one with the music
the one where the girls who see it all swoon
the t-shirt is dope
the faux hawk, I’ll rock it
I’m rock and roll
I’m hip hop
The music’s a plow
And this bike, my mom’s bike, will push all my

worries
and nerves
and heartaches
and awkward handshakes

Away.

Jun Close

Jun Sekiya
Wicked smart boy-man.
NYU in NYC.
Film-maker. Writer. Rapper.
Runner. Football player.
(By which we mean soccer,
of course.)
Japanese
+ Cuban-American
= courteous rebel.
Metaphysical bad ass
grooves at the intersection
of passion
and discipline,
freestyles the first line
of a new tune.
Best one yet.

You can see more photographs of Jun and his mythic ride on my Instagram feed here.

Love, Yokohama: Bobby Yoshinami-Hitachi

Love, Yokohama is my photographic love letter to the city we have called home for the past three years. The concept is a simple one. Each week I’ll ask a student, colleague or friend to meet me at their favourite place in Yokohama… and I’ll take their photograph. These visual love letters will be posted each Friday.

BOBBY YOSHINAMI-HITACHI
Photographed on Friday 15 August 2014
at Yamate Koen (Yamate Park)

Bobby Wide Big Trees

Bobby Gazebo

Bobby Camera

Bobby said it would take
just ten minutes
to walk from school
to Yamate Koen.
It took twenty.
It was worth it.

Yamate Koen is a park
now best known for tennis courts.
It was built in 1870
by foreigners for foreigners
at a time when they {we} were
not
entirely welcome.

For 80 years
the foreigners gathered for
picnics, parties, and fund raisers.
Dog shows, flower shows, and dancing.
For 80 years
there were only foreigners.
In 1950, Yamate Koen
opened its gates to everyone,
became Japan’s first public park.

As we walk into the park,
we pass under
immense Himalayan cedars.
It feels suddenly cooler.
Bobby points out
which trees
combust
with cherry blossoms
in the spring.

A path leads
to the wooden clubhouse
and tennis courts.
Bobby would have liked
to have lived
in the early days
of this park.
He’s seen photos
in the Station at Motomachi-Chukagai
and is fascinated
by what has changed
and what has not.

The path curves
and we come upon
a small white gazebo.
We time travel
140 years
into the past.

Bobby has never noticed
the breeze here
before.

Later, he tells me
there’s another reason
this is his favourite spot.
As a student in Japanese kindergarten
he used to visit the park
every week or two.
He would play tag
and climb trees
with all his friends.
Since moving to our international school
he lost contact with the park.
Years passed.
He rediscovered the park
while walking his dog
two years ago.
It felt much smaller.
Coming back to the park
as an older self
he’s learned to appreciate
not only its beauty
but also its history.

As we left the park
Bobby said
he will miss the cicadas.

Bobby Bio Pic

When calm minds and warm hearts are required, we call Bobby. He’s an old soul but still capable of wonderful mischief. My favourite thing I ever heard him say was, “There’s a time and a place.” Even when he disagrees with you, he does so with respect. Bobby just graduated from high school and is taking a gap year… so he’s in between things but he’s chill. Some day he will be an amazing teacher. {Or chef.}

You can see more photographs of Bobby and Yamate Koen on my Instagram feed.

Love, Yokohama: Hiyori Takashima

Love, Yokohama is my photographic love letter to the city we have called home for the past three years. The concept is a simple one. Each week I’ll ask a student, colleague or friend to meet me at their favourite place in Yokohama… and I’ll take their photograph. These visual love letters will be posted each Friday.

HIYORI TAKASHIMA
Photographed on Thursday 14 August 2014
on the green hill behind the Yokohama Port Museum

Hill 1
Hill 2 Medium

This lush green hill
is one of the first places
Hiyori’s new friends brought her
when she moved back to Japan.
From this hill you can see
all the best parts of Minato-Mirai:
the tall ship and Landmark Tower
behind,
the harbour
the bridge to World Porters
and ferris wheel
stretch out ahead.
{This particular ferris wheel
is like a lighthouse.
If you can see it,
you know where you are
and exactly what time it is.}
For Hiyori,
the green hill is a beautiful place
and
for her group of friends,
it’s a favourite hang-out.
Although they see each other
every day
at school,
this is the place
they often
share
their secrets.

Hiyori 3 Close up
Hiyori Takashima graduated from high school in June and departs for NYU London in just one week. Hiyori is loveliness itself. Wise and gracious beyond her years, she acts and sings, and writes amazing thank you letters.

You can see more photographs of Hiyori and her green hill on my Instagram feed here.