Adios Tokyo, it’s been a blast. Alas all good things must come to an end and thus today marks my last in this vibrant yet confusing jungle of noise, glass and neon. I will not miss your incessant traffic, mind numbingly efficient civil servants, trains one can set one’s watch by and of course the emergency services who even in the middle of night, and on empty streets, feel the need to sound their sirens. I will not miss the earthquakes, the claustrophobic train rides of a morning nor the uncomprehending spectacle of watching people do battle with ‘Natto‘.
On the flip side I will miss your smile, the enticing odours of your cuisine coursing through the alleyways and side streets of your arteries. I will miss your unmistakeable character, that vibe which is so hard to pinpoint, a feeling that defines your spirit and yet remains the one word we can never flip from the tip of our tongues. I never thought I would have ‘gelled’ with a concrete entity, for that is what you are, yet my desire to leave has never been greater. Thus the die have been cast and contrary to recent plans my destination is far less to travel than previously thought. Okinawa and the islands of the Ryukyu Archipelago, are you ready? Adios Tokyo…
I had suggested in the past that I was planning a move to Scotland. That had been the idea all along alas certain events in my personal life have dictated that I stay closer to what is my adopted home. A potentially lucrative work related project in the Northern regions of Hokkaido in the first instance as well as the additional lure of imaging adventures in the green vegetation of the Yanbaru Forests of Northern Okinawa kinda dealt my cards for me. Whilst I’ve been packing and prepping for the past couple of weeks, tomorrow I will be zipping up my boots and heading to the islands of the Ryukyu Archipelago that stretch from the Southern tip of the Japanese mainland to within almost touching distance of the island nation that is Taiwan. My main base will be on the island of Okinawa where, in order to make ends meet, I will initially be touting for work as a multi genre photographer.
Sadly, and this is a very real and hard lesson to learn after so long, but man cannot live by nature alone, in a photographic sense. My incredibly supportive wife Terue, had been asking me for a while “Why don’t you shoot people”? Her Japanese sense of humour would not have understood the British response to that and so I bit my lip and discussed that with her. In my past I worked in the recreational SCUBA industry for many years and worked with imaging services for visiting divers in a number of awesome locations, Yap Island in Micronesia and the incredible setting of Palau. Catering again to imaging services for people? Not too much of an alien concept.
Thus as I bid Adios Tokyo I say “Ohayoo” to Okinawa, good morning to another day, another chapter. My goal is to work towards a day where I can actually live from wildlife imaging in this region. Whether by acting as a guide or by hosting all manner of imaging trips, courses and expeditions throughout the pristine islands of this subtropical setting I will get there, but it will take some time. In that time whether it’s pre-wedding, family portrait, macro photography courses or indeed all and any form of personalised imaging services and instruction I will be doing so as I work towards the creation of a wildlife imaging service for the region, of which, at this time, there is no competition.
The stage is set, adios Tokyo…
Feature Image © Shawn Miller 2016