Peace Boat 81st Global Voyage

October 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hello! Long time no talk. Oh how I hate starting my blog like this but I do apologize for not updating frequently.

Soooo, BIG NEWS! I will be working as a Japanese Web Reporter on Peace Boat’s 81st Global Peace Voyage . Peace Boat is a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. It is a cruise that goes around the world for 105 days, and I will be photographing and reporting about the activities on board and in 14 different countries. It’ll be in Japanese but you can still check it out and look at the photos :)

This organization has a very dear place in my heart because I volunteered with their Disaster Relief to help Ishinomaki. I’m really excited to see the world and another cool thing is that I’ll be with my sister Riho and my cousin Hiroto!

Let the adventure begin!!!…..on November 22nd, Bon Voyage!

 

Airi

 

Resilience at The Academy Theatre

August 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Resilience showing at the Academy Theatre

Resilience showing at the Academy Theatre

I have another showing of Resilience coming up in September 19-22 at The Academy Theatre . You can catch it again for those of you who missed the first showing at Method Art Gallery. This time it is more focused on the stories of the residents, with narratives that go along with the photographs. I will also be giving a talk at the reception on Friday, September 20th, 6-9 pm. The 1000 Cranes for Ishinomaki will also be on display.

As a bonus feature to the show, I will be showcasing the fashion photography I have been doing lately in the lounge area. It will be the first time being shown in a gallery space so I’m very excited.

 

Update!

July 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

Oh gosh, it’s already JULY! Am I getting old or is time just flying soooo fast!?

Anyways, I feel very bad that I haven’t updated this blog in over 2 months, and a lot has happened so I wanted to give you an update.

IMG_6595

I finally had my first SOLO show! WOOHOOOO! In April. Sorry it took so long to tell you all.
The show was at Method Art Gallery, located in Old Town Scottsdale on Marshall Way. It was the premier of my project “Resilience“. It was a great opening night with my friends and family there, and a bunch of people who strolled in during ArtWalk. I had a great time talking to everyone and conversing about my work. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

Photo by Robert Miley

And then right after that, I had my First Friday debut at the Grace Chapel Gallery in Downtown Phoenix. It was an event called “The Night of the Thousand Cranes” by Release The Fear. Release The Fear is a non-profit organization that helps kids in juvenile detention to focus their behavior into fine arts and music. They contacted me to be a part of the event to show my Thousand Cranes display and I said, why not? Everyone was so nice, Robert, Blair, and Bill are such wonderful people and they worked with me to find a perfect spot in the gallery. The building is actually connected to an abandoned church that burnt down in the 80’s (I think), and it looked post-apocalyptic. Super awesome!
The Night of the Thousand Cranes went well, with the talented Ken Koshio playing his Taiko Drums, Encolor teaching people how to write Kanji Calligraphy, people folding origami, and cosplay people performing. It was a great night filled with music, art, and laughter. I had an amazing experience with talking in front of a crowd and giving a little speech about my installation and the meaning of the Thousand Cranes. And Channel 5 stopped by and interview Robert in front of my cranes! Awesome exposure, right? :)

The cranes will be up in the Release the Fear headquarters, Grace Chapel, 302 W. Monroe, in the downtown Phoenix Arts District, until September.

I’ve had a few inquiries on my photographs recently so I’m very excited about what’s coming next for me. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed and patiently working away until then. Don’t stop, get it get it.

 

Next post is going to be about Clutch Jewelry, and the trip we took to Payson!

Thousand Cranes at Arizona Matsuri Festival

March 26, 2013 § 1 Comment

Photo by Cory Baumer

Photo by Cory Baumer

I’m disappointed I haven’t been able to blog as much as I’ve wanted to recently, but glad there’s so
much to blog about!

I got to be a part of Arizona Matsuri Festival on February 23rd and 24th again this year and
had a fantastic time. It was a rush meeting thousands of people and getting the opportunity to share
with them the story behind 1,000 Cranes as well as the process of creating the one a kind exhibit from
scratch. To read more about the process, check out my other blog post

Unlike last year, I got the transportation of 1,000 cranes down to a science! Because the cranes are
strung on fishing line individually with as many as ten cranes per strand, putting each strand in a
separate bag saved hours of set-up time.

Photo by Cory Baumer

Photo by Cory Baumer

Even though every strand of blue and white cranes was weighted down with a marble to prevent
tangles, the Sunday weather had other plans. Gusts of fierce wind kept me on a ladder all day
untangling (in a dress no less!). For some reason many were delighted to receive my business card
from a few feet higher in altitude. The display was even visited by a local news crew! It was a unique
experience giving a video interview with so much sunscreen in my eyes that I didn’t know which way
was up:)

The best part of the festival this year was all the positive reactions I got to the installation. It became
clear to me that 1,000 Cranes has an aesthetic that appeals to so many different people. All I can think
of now is: how am I going to top this?

Local artist Airi Katsuta and her thousand cranes

Photo by Tim Poole Photography

A very kind and talented local photographer and blogger wrote a wonderful blog post about me and the
festival. Check it out! Poolephotographyblog.com

Day 8: Hidemaruya

September 3, 2012 § 2 Comments


After seeing the beautiful display from the artists from Taiwan, I went to a souvenir store right down the street. It was called Hidemaruya, and they had Ishinomaki t-shirts that they sold for around $20. The shirts said things like “Never give up Ishinomaki” or “Ganbappe, Ishinomaki”.  I had seen these shirts last year but didn’t have money to spend when I was volunteering, so I was happy to purchase them :)

After looking around the store for a while, the owner asked me where I came from. When I said the United States and that I was here last year volunteering, she was surprised and let me sit down and look at her photo album that contained lots of tsunami related pictures/newspaper clippings. She was hesitant at first but she started sharing her stories with me.

“It was like a dream”, she said. “It all happened in an instant…just one moment… like what happened?” On 3-11, she was here at the store, and her house is on the second floor. She felt it shook, and ran out side, but she heard her neighbors shouting that the tsunami was coming. She ran up to her home, and ended up staying up there for 2 days. At night it was cold with snow falling down, only a gas stove to keep her and her husband warm, and only one candle for light. Thankfully, she had a fridge full of food so they didn’t starve like many of her neighbors.

“There were many people that I knew that lost their lives looking for their family members. They went out when the tsunami came,” she said almost in a whisper. “You have to take care of your own life first. Because what do you have when you lose yourself? Just make a place to meet up when things like this happen.”

Unlike all the people that I met, she didn’t aestheticize the recovery effort. She wasn’t negative about it, but rather realistic. “The recovery/reconstruction isn’t in the near future.” She said with lines between her eyebrows, “We’ve become so dependent on other people, especially volunteers. We can’t be like this forever.” She said she felt like she was going crazy after losing her store. Her store sold yarn and knitting products. “I can’t just not do anything. I told myself I must become independent.” And that’s why she started a whole new venue making souvenir t-shirts. She felt that with volunteers and tourists coming into Ishinomaki, she could let them take a memory of Ishinomaki with them by selling these shirts.

After learning her love for knitting/crocheting, I gave her one of the crochet cats. She loved it! “Thank you so much. I want to start my yarn store again, but it’s so hard when there’s hardly any customers anymore. I hope Ishinomaki will become a better place than before. I know it’s going to take a while, but my wish is that Ishinomaki will be more independent.”

Almost home

August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hi everybody.
Sorry I haven’t been posting for a while. I was running around all over Japan, literally.
After leaving Ishinomaki on the 20th, i got back to Kanagawa, my sister left on a 89 day cruise, I rode the bullet train (Shinkansen) because I missed my overnight bus, I visited my grandparents and cousins in Nara, and met up with my friends and family. It’s been a hectic trip. I am currently trying to stuff everything in my suitcase, and it’s been about 6 hours since I started. This is never fun. Haha
It has been an amazing month full of discoveries and surprises. But I think I’m ready to go home and sleep in my own bed. Seems like all the pillows I sleep on here is like a bean bag and it’s making my neck hurt!

I will be posting all the pictures along with the stories when I get back to Arizona. Don’t think I forgot!

Day 8: Taiwan Friends

August 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

As I was riding my bike along the Manga Road, I saw pretty colors peeking from the corner of the street. I stopped to see what was going on, and saw adorable chalk drawings on the pavement. I’ve never seen chalk drawing so beautiful in my life. Seeing this brought a smile to my face as well as the locals. This brightened up the street!

Good luck charm from Taiwan.

After staring and lurking and taking a bunch of pictures, these nice people explained to me that they’re a group of artists from Taiwan supporting Ishinomaki. Different styles of artists were here and they told me they painted murals on houses and made public art to bring joy into the town.  They also gave me a good luck charm :)

Pretty pastel chalks.

They told me I can contribute to the drawings so I put my drawing skills to the test….

Meow.

And I drew a cat. But someone said it looks like Pink Panther. I guess they’re kinda right lol

I’m messy wherever I go.

Soooo pretty!

My cat looks like it was done by a 4 year old compared to this great looking mountain next to it! Mad props!

Sunflowers.

Large mural on the side of a building.

Lots of locals told me they are really thankful for the organization from Taiwan. Some elderly people kept their cash at home so they lost most of their savings in the tsunami. The locals said the people from Taiwan handed out money to anyone who got in line. These people were painting a very large mural on the side of the building. They each had their own distinctive style. I didn’t stay long enough to see it completed, so I can’t wait to go back and check it out :)

 Since they were so nice to me, and anyone who helps Ishinomaki is automatically my friend, I gave them one of the crochet cats! I hope they liked it :)

Its crazy how you meet so many different kinds of people through the same cause. I wish them the best of luck :)