For those unfamiliar with Japanese culture could you tell us a bit more about Kissaten culture?
Kissaten slightly differs from traditional cafes. Originally Kissaten was not only a place to have coffee and tea or smoke. People were there to socialise and communicate just like cafes in France. Most of them are small and often have less than twenty seats. Usually, the place is dark and quiet. In restoration period after the war, numbers of Kissatens appeared, and it became a cultural and social place for those artists such as writers, painters and actors.
Nowadays, after the appearance of American styled Starbucks cafes, they became popular because of its reasonableness and speed, unlike Kissaten which is more closed, stoic and cultural. Fortunately, there is still a Kissaten culture in Japan. It's not only a place for relaxing and spare time. All the service is provided by members of staff not a self-service like most contemporary cafes.
It was a unique phenomenon, but there was even Japan originated Kissaten with loud jazz music which is called Jazz Kissa. In the Jazz Kissa, sometimes the session suddenly started when musicians came together, but now it is seldom seen.
Are you based in New York permanently now? How has that affected your creativity from your time spent in Japan?
現在はニューヨークに完全にベースを移しましたか? それよって、あなたが日本で過ごしていた時に湧き上がってくる創造性や独創性 にはどのような影響がありましたか?
I obtained an artist visa last summer. It expires in three years so within three years I would be travelling between Japan and America. I am based in New York, but my work in Japan keep me busy so actually I spend half of my time in Japan. I'm still considering what I'm going to do in the future. I feel after I started working in New York my work tends to focus more on Japanese culture and nature. Especially ’17 photos 17 syllables’ (Artwork to express Haiku, Japanese traditional poetry of seventeen syllables. This artwork tells one story by a composition of seventeen photographs instead of seventeen syllables) which is becoming a part of my life's work, I’m considering to expand this series. Some of the themes of the upcoming exhibitions held from the end of this year to next year are more Japanese.