In March 2006, I quit my child carer’s job where I worked for 2 years. It was distressing for me, I endured that and went to that workplace every day, but I couldn’t stop crying in front of all the children who I cared for 2 years and I couldn’t tell them anything on my last day of work. After 3 months, I went on a journey around the world as an excuse for quitting my job, because I couldn’t say that I don’t want to work with women over 40. But after 1 month from I started to travel, I changed my plan into a journey around South America, because I saw the world map carefully fir the first time and I gave up travelling around the world at the airport of Peru. Nevertheless, the money which I prepared for my travel ran out very fast and I started drawing portraits even oversea.
But when I was in Brazil, I met a sleeping drug robber and I lost my credit card and camera and the memory of 3days from that day and so I was broke oversea because I couldn’t withdraw my money. I asked my owner of the guesthouse and he let me use his bank account and I got $500, but I don’t know why, I didn’t get my new credit card from Japan for 2 months. I had to draw portraits day after day to survive on the other side of the globe.
After 2 months, I got my new credit card, I withdrew my money and I could come back to Japan. After I got home, I saw a lot of pictures from my second camera and I realized what on earth happened in my journey. I couldn’t take pictures of tourist spots, landscapes, good food or something which I had to pay for. I only had a lot of pictures of people’s smile, people who I met on the street. Even if my portraits were terrible, people gave me their awesome smiles and helped me survive. While I was looking at the pictures, I thought to myself that it’s because of meeting them at that time, I could return to Japan. Then I decided that I will express gratitude to them and I will say thank you for meeting me at that time. Well, I will publish a book wit those pictures.
After a few months, I went to 10 publishing companies in Tokyo which publish travel or picture books. But I just got one word from them and they didn’t look through my manuscript. “Who will buy your book which is written by an author that nobody knows?” I got shot down by all the publishing companies but I couldn’t give it up once I decided to do it. “Well, I can publish and sell books by myself. I will try to make my book and sell them on the street as I had been doing until now.”
I decided that and I established a publishing label and after 1 year, I really published my 1st book by myself. the book named “Unko ni sakuhana” It means “the blooming flower from the shit (flower on the shit)” in Japanese. It means people’s smiles who came to the shit sign are beautiful as a flower. Since then, selling my book added into my daily life which sitting on the street with the writing “Unko (Shit)” on a sketchbook.
However, It was only the beginning of my life. If I sell my book to somebody, I have to draw their portrait. But if I draw their portrait, I have to put their picture on my book. But if I want to put their picture on my book, I have to publish a new book. Then if I publish a new book, I have to sell it to somebody. Then I have to and then I have to… Also, of course, I have to do it with the Shit sign… When I realized it, this thing which started from watching people became a main part of my life. I have sat on the street every day, I have worked and made hard money for my next book, and I have traveled to a lot of countries because I wanted to write a new book which goes above my last book.
I published 2 more books which are “Unko ni saku hana 2 -Asia version-” and “Unko ni saku hana 3 -Euro & Middle East version-” and I edited 2 more other traveler books. Then I was definitely confused about when to end this kind of endless life. Every thing is because of my little insistence because I don’t want to break a promise with the people I met and drew, and I don’t want to be a liar. Even if my next goal is so big, I don’t want to give up that, once I promised to somebody.
However, In the beginning of 2012, I promised a big thing to one of the people I drew in Thailand. That timd was the end of my travels of Euro & Middle East for writing my third book and I was there for a 2011-2012’s countdown party in Tao, Thailand. I enjoyed that party and I started to draw portraits when I greeted 2012. Then, one Indonesian girl came in front of me, I drew her portrait, and we enjoyed greeting the new year. I showed her my books and explained if I take her picture, I’m gonna put it on my new book. She opened my book and turned every single page carefully even though she didn’t understand Japanese. Then she finished turning the last page of my book, closed my book slowly and she asked me with brightness in her eyes.
“Does this book have an English version?”
“I really want to understand what you wrote down!”
From that moment, My story turned to Season 4. It is such a long long way, and actually I don’t know her exactlly (I eaven forgot her name) but I just want to say that I fulfilled your promise to her if I can meet her again.
To be continued…