I've written before about playing dress up at Yumekoubou Studio, and was delighted this week when, in the process of packing and purging some of the junk I've accumulated over the years, I found this series of photos documenting the change from "Tourist" to "Tourist in a Kimono."
It's a bit liberating to have all that make-up on your face, ghosting over your features like a mask. I'm a bit camera shy (read: a LOT camera shy), but after all the paint and powder, I don't even look like myself, and there's a freedom to that. It's a little anonymous, looking into the mirror and not recognizing your face. Who cares about a camera then?
I'm sixteen in these pictures, which sounds a lot closer than it feels. I ended up finding a whole bag of photos and maps and English-language brochures for the temples we visited while in Kyoto, and was shocked at how much I had already forgotten. The names were completely foreign, though some of the illustrations brought back hazy memories of Torii Gates and water blessings. Truthfully, I don't even remember Fushiko taking these pictures.
I wish I could find that picture of the four of us - Me, Julie, Fushiko, and the blonde teacher (whose name might have been Elizabeth, or it might have been Lauren, but I truly can't remember any more) standing in front of the yellow backdrop with our hands under our chins, palms down and fingers out. The teacher would be tearfully leaving Japan on our flight home after having lived there for over a year, Julie and I were both terribly homesick, and though we didn't know it at the time, Fushiko was struggling through what would end up being terminal cancer, but in that photo, nothing shows.
We are carefree, and happy.