Thank you very much for reading my first blog post :) My name is Kay and I am an international photographer/traveler based in Honolulu, Hawaii. On this article, I would like to introduce myself.
Who I am?
I am originally from Japan - born in Osaka and raised near Tokyo. After graduating from a university in Yokohama, I attended a master’s program at Northern Arizona University. A lot of people ask me if I have studied photography or art at school - the answer is NO. My MA was in Teaching English as a Second Language, and with that degree, I became a school teacher and taught Japanese to American students in Oregon before I first bought my camera in 2010. Have I used a camera before that? Actually YES. When I was 11, my father bought a Minolta camera and I got to play with it for a very short time. Back then everything was film, and developing films was expensive for 11 y.o. Kay, so naturally my interest in photography went away. I never imagined that 18 years later, I would pick up a camera and decide to learn about photography. I started by assisting a Canadian photographer in Tokyo for commercial shoots, and later taking photos all over Japan as I traveled as a tour guide. In 2011, Tohuku region got hit by an earthquake, then the Fukushima incident happened - as a result people stopped coming to Japan and I lost my job. I thought it was a chance for me to take photography seriously, so I flew to Thailand and worked with a local wedding photographer for a month. The following summer, I went back to US and I started to work as a photographer in Hawaii. This is the history of how I became a photographer.
How did I find my passion for photography and traveling
I was always in the education field since when I was 18 years old. I taught in Japan and then in US from 8 years old to university students. After my master’s program, I was lucky to get accepted by a charter school to teach Japanese in Oregon. My life was all about linguistics and teaching back then. In my third year of my teaching career, I started to think what I really want in my life. Teaching job was very much fun; I liked my students and colleagues, and it was a very comfortable environment. However, I was also interested in many different things. Every summer I had summer jobs in Minnesota, British Columbia, and Tokyo, and I met a group of NYU film school graduates at a summer job in Japan. I was inspired by the film crews about how they lived and worked in various locations on gig bases. So I decided that I should step out of my confort zone and try everything I was interested in. One school year later, I went back to Japan, and did all 7 jobs I wanted to try, then I became a full time tour guide. I got a job offer to give tours to English speaking tourists to World Heritage sites all over Japan. This time I got to use my first Nikon camera in different cities, at cultural events and local people with various backdrops in each season. What I most enjoyed from this job was the interaction with the guests, sharing cultures and beautiful views, and making memories together. It was the beginning of my travel+photo lifestyle. Later on, I moved to Hawaii and worked as an in-house photographer at a local publisher and on weekends I photographed weddings. My international wedding career started in 2013 when one of my clients who I photographed in Hawaii invited me to shoot their wedding back in Tokyo.
Thanks to all my clients who are adventurous and curious just like me, I have photographed in 16 countries as of Nov 2018. In case you are interested, I wanted to share my top 5 favorite countries I visited and why.
1. French Polynesia - You can be the only one at the most beautiful beaches in the world
2. Samoa - Fairy-tale looking sinkhole in the south was just magical
3. Morocco - Arabic markets, the camel ride and watch night sky at Sahara were life-changing experiences
4. Iceland - Hiking on glacier with crampons was adventurous and gorgeous
5. Cambodia - Numbers of historical monuments and fun tuk tuk rides
In 2019, I will be so far visiting France(January), Maldives(February), Italy/Malta(April), and anywhere you want to have a photo shoot with me. If you need help with arrangements or have any questions, please let me know from the contact form! Thank you very much for reading my photog life story, and I hope you enjoyed learning a little about me :)