Feels close to but also distant to the Japanese, such a country is the Philippines. I open the photo movie consisted with 25 pictures until February 6, 2011 (Japan time), limited. Please do watch it.
Digibook "Philippines / Time on the Philippines"
I created the second DIGIBOOK of mine, Phil Eye; this time is not only for publishers but also for any Filipinos and foreigners related to the soil of Philippines. Please see! The program expires in 30 days on 6th January, 2011 (Japanese time).
I created a Digibook, Canadians, for presentation to publish a book, the photos & nonfiction for going and coming across Canada in a touring wagon, "A Man Goes to North." That program expires in 30 days on 31st December, 2010 (Japanese time). Don't miss it!
Across the border. Without denying what you've already achieved shouldn't be able to meet your new horizon. The "IBASURA NA LANG" is my first photo diary would be my last challenge to novel photography. See you there.
Listen to Japan.
'If only spring comes,,. if only spring comes,,,,,,' my mother being ill in bed was always speaking so.
Spring is the season of start for Japanese people, however, it became also the season of separation for me. I remember the day my father unusually approached me at home and whispered into my ear. Our family doctor confined him that my mother had terminal cancer from her intestine and her life would be about 5 months. It was September, 1997, and I just turned 36 moving to a printing company from the staffing service company in Hamamatsu.
I couldn't understand immediately what ever he was telling about at all; she was lively right now and in good health at the age of 63, she looked a little bit depressed recently though. She was rather concerned about a recurrence of her 72-year-old husband's cancer. Of all things, she has intestine cancer just the same as him? To have bowl movements, her enlarged intestine cancer had to be removed; her hospitalisation was immediately arranged with HAMAMATSU MEDICAL CENTRE, which is a representative general hospital in Hamamatsu area. As for me, I had to establish my position as a director of the creative team during a probation in a traditional printing company.
Our family were summoned by HAMAMATSU MEDICAL CENTRE to have an informed consent. No sooner had I appeared the internal medicine ward than a doctor called me. 'Are you her son?,' he was a young intern and led me to behind a nurse station only with him. He gazed at me with demolished eyes standing each other, 'Your mother's life is 5 months. Her intestine cancer has already spread into the lungs, esophagus, and especially the liver. I am afraid there are no means to rescue her.' 'Aren't there really anything?,' I confirmed. 'We recommend that she spend her rest of life calmly, so I will tell a white lie to her and your family in the following explanatory meeting. Do you agree to this policy? Your father looks so deeply confused that I wanted someone else to tell the truth.'
All our family were walking in a passage to a meeting room from her sickroom. We had no words, but I got held her shoulder with my arm for the first time in my life. The way the hospital offered was to have an intensive attack of anticancer drug to the liver cancer by putting special tubes into the blood vessels. The scheduled surgeon was the one who had operated my father as we asked. The intern secretly told me, 'We are trying to prolong her life. A little bit time might be, but not twice.' I , then, asked him to use MARUYAMA VACCINE immediately, but the hospital rejected denying the effect of vaccines to cancer. In the end, with my father and sister, I decided for her natural methods of remedy, including vaccines, believing in a miracle.
Without the tubes arrangement, her intestine operation was carried out on 24 October, 1997. She believed that all her problem has removed. Upon leaving the hospital, she gave presents of her recovery to her wide friends. My father began driving her to and from a nearby clinic which complied they inject MARUYAMA and HASEMI VACCINE regularly. However, for his nagging and anger, I seriously searched for an apartment for her quality of life.
When I fished a 'makogarei' of over 40 cm in November and cooked myself, she didn't show me an appetite. I remember the backbone of the flatfish was bent. Then I remember she said she couldn't walk over 100m today. In December, she no longer could bring herself to my father's car in garage; nurses began taking a way to come to injection. The younger sister stood in kitchen and gave every meal for family instead of my mother. Meanwhile, my employer, the managing director, offered me far less than half of the salary advertised without any bonus, while paying around half of the salary advertised in my 3 months probation to comple a batch of works. To this time, however, my mother listened to my story and said, 'You should stop such a company.' Actually, this company dissolved itself 5 years later, closing its long history.
When a new year began, she even phoned her friend of childhood, a retired salesman of CHUBU PRINTING with which I had an interview, and confirmed the situation of the company for me. She ate a couple of 'ozoni' (traditional rice cake soup for new year) but no less than half of her fist. But, she soon couldn't join our dinner table with difficulty of having her legs move. Upon my entering the largest printing group companies in Hamamatsu, she allowed me to work as hard as possible. However, I remember she muttered, 'Ah, finally a printing company person.' Later that month, on the rental bed of a care service she said, 'My friend travelled a cold Japan area in winter told the cold season's travel to the cold place is not much fun.' She wanted to trip when spring comes.
As her painful coughs became continual, her weight lost but stomach enlarged for swelling liver. It was the latter February that I witnessed she couldn't move anymore to the portable toilet beside her bed. She requested my sister to buy paper nappies. I already made it a rule to have dinner with her getting up to sit on bed and watching at my eating and drinking. The next morning I drank a bottle of red wine for making laugh, she screamed calling me. Her back and bed were full of her waste; she has been waiting until I get up, and asked me for immediate hospitalisation. She intensely begged me for staying with her for the very first time. In the same day in a nearby hospital, a young doctor in front of her who is on stretcher said loudly, 'Your life is 1 week,' as if towards a thing without ability to feel, as if not human beings. 'What? What ever are you saying?,' she got furious, and then the doctor got more furious than her, 'Shut up! I'm a doctor,' as if he was an absolute kid.
Her stomach was already like a beer barrel while the liver cancer was still developing. But with having the normal conversation ability she continued to want a life. Having been asked late at night, one of my aunt and I got her up and I brushed her hair. 'Are you comfortable?,' asked I. 'Setsunai,' murmured she with closed eyes. The next day, she fell in a half coma. Reaching there, I spoke to her, 'Mother, it is cloudy today, all right? So, everyone is sleepy, eh?' She nodded little by little, and then soon asked us to close the curtain. When the ECG wave was becoming flat, we all cried, 'Mother! Mother!' again and again. She nodded again and again, but soon become not to respond and then a moment showed painful face. After that her pain never appeared. It was the evening on 5 March, 1998. She was just before 64. Leaving the hospital with her, a spring drizzle was falling.
Later, I found the childish physician in charge of my mother was in HAMAMATSU MEDICAL CENTRE before the nearby hospital was closed for bankruptcy. In April, 1998, I was summoned by a doctor of circulatory organ in HAMAMATSU MEDICAL CENTRE, because my father has been suffering from aneurysms for years. He suggested having an operation to my father then to me, even though it had life risk. 'It is the situation whenever the aneurysms could burst and it almost means death. If he didn't have now, there should be no chance of successful operation,' he said. My sister and I tried to persuade my father, though he was reluctant to listen to and always said that he wouldn't take. He became completely downhearted after his wife's death. I remember he gave me a ride with his car to a car shop when I bought '97 SUBARU LEGACY WAGON 250T in October, 1998; the nagging father was incredibly quiet looking at my new car from the inside of the office.
The left half of his body gradually became numbness and disabled. One day of his monthly checkup, another problem was found. His function of kidneys was extremely weakened, and he was caught on to an urgent hospitalisation. Every damage was related with each other. When I ran to him in the intensive care unit (ICU), he looked well but relieved. Upon this matter, he finally decided to undergo the operation. In late November, 1999, he got a checkup hospitalisation for the surgery including MRI; the MRI was also life-risking for him having aneurysms and forced immediate and permanent artificial dialysis. During that time, my father and I got informed consent and also the operation date, 24 January, 2000. About 10 days after leaving the hospital, however, a part of his forearm began swelling until as large as child's fist.
'I wonder something was wrong with the MRI procedure,' he calmly said to me. I soon brought him to the doctor of circulatory organ. Even though my farher posed over and over again when walking in the hospital to and from the consultation room, I couldn't carry him on my back; because he used to do over-actions. But I was wrong; I want carry him that time.
After we sat on a poor and cold bench all the morning, the doctor appeared and told us it was no problem. Then, we ate a bit late lunch together in the restaurant of the hospital. On the way to the parking, glancing at children in a tall car, he was caught by a big planter and about to fall down. 'Father, do you want your grandchildren?' 'Ahahaha! My grandchildren?,' he laughed. Then I said, 'Given that Japanese women awfully changed these days, it may as well stay single.' 'Maybe right,' the old virtue man agreed with the 38-year-old single man.
The next morning, I think, he collapsed on 24 December; his breast aneurysm burst. He was again in the ICU, and before the emergency operation, which should be taken place one month later. He struggled in pain but could understand what we spoke to him. 'This Is A Gamble! We are taking a chance on this surgery! Do you understand?,' in excitement one of the heart cardiac surgeons told me.
At that time, I was in charge of the competition for the '00 HAMAMATSU FESTIVAL Posters, and the due date was approaching. While we were not allowed near him for preparation for the operation, outside of the ICU I directed on my cell phone a specific visual concept to my colleague designer whom I trusted. However, later I realised he had made the presentation poster in his own way; what I killed myself was mercilessly killed in vain; we lost the competition.
The moment my father on stretcher carried out of the ICU saw my sister and me, he showed gladness obviously. His face was pale. In the elevator with full of people to the operating room, he tried to say to my sister and me, 'pain, pain,,,,' I talked to him, 'It is all right, it is all right, father.... father, you can't die without seeing your grandchild's face! I promised to, didn't I? You can't die! All right?' He nodded little by little quickly. At the same time, I remember, my sister also had a conversation. He has looked a little bit relieved. When the operation had began in the afternoon, 24 December, finished, was already 25 December. The chief cardiac surgeon told us the operation was successful. While the anaesthesia was working, we were allowed home.
The next morning his unconscious has continued, but the doctor who excited yesterday said that when he called him around 5 am he responded. We were waiting for his recovering consciousness talking to him. Even when anaesthesia should be completely over, he was not back. The doctor said he shouldn't be able to hear anything. But, who knows? I continued to talk to him,'Father, you can't die yet.' The chief doctor never appeared in ICU, while I reported the process of THE EMPEROR CUP (the soccer tournament for new year's day) to my father, who loved watching sports on TV and looked forward to the winner of the soccer tournament. I stayed several night on a bench outside the ICU, because my absence when he became aware was my fault. I knew he has been fighting.
When I reported YOKOHAMA FLUGELS, which was to be dissolved for bankruptcy, first won the cup on 1 January, 2000, my father was in a further critical condition. The next day evening, when his ECG wave became desperate, I spoke to him, 'Father, you have done hard work for us. Now, you don't have to anymore. You can let you go. Thank you, father. I was happy with you.' Soon, his ECG wave was completely flat. He was 74.
Soon after my father's death, I began taking lessons of the alto saxophone for the first time, but only thing I could do was to become happy having my new family. But my mother was so perfect in respond to the very Japanese husband that I couldn't go with any single Japanese female today. Yet I couldn't understand why my father had to reach death even 1 year after.
The cause of his death was the multi organs failure (MOF). I enquired when and how it had occurred to the operation team of heart cardiac surgeons several times, but I couldn't get an understandable answer. They explained that MOF is a common result in such a case so they couldn't specify the cause. However, considered their attitude to patients like that to the things, not to the human beings, with lacking communication ability, I wonder something was wrong with them in the series of procedure.
But this problem of without humans' feeling is not only a medical site's. Like I couldn't convey what I want to the colleague designer, many Japanese people become not to understand between not only the lines but voices. I have never given languages a thought as Japanese as a matter of fact, though I have to admit as a copywriter Japanese language can't reach them but 'katakana' words and Japanese English.
The age changed, but the Japanese society didn't; the new thought came, but the old system remained. Without parents without marriage, I had no reasons of living in Hamamatsu. Fish were no longer there for me. Neither should be in any other cities of Japan. Finally, I quit the CHUBU PRINTING with which I have no future in 2002 and liquidated my property of Japan in 2003. I couldn't bring a deadlock to an end in Japan by 42, so I moved to the English world in which and by which I will change Japanese people. I may be under the obsession of thinking I am rather easy to live in English world, though surely I am finding much of between the lines here.
The 5th month after the dismissal, in November, 1995, I got interviews with the general manager and his brains of HAMANAKO LAKESIDE PLAZA, a resort hotel at far back countryside of Lake Hamana, for a position of its planning section. Though I a bit worried that he lost his temper and my possible supervisor seemed an eccentric person, we agreed for me to work instantly. My mother was obediently delighted and my family congratulated me, believing there should be the whole life time work for me. Me, either; I spread this news about all my old friends around me to come visit me with the hotel service. Next to next, dear old faces of my high school in Toyohashi, where is rather near the hotel than Hamamatsu, came to see me and enjoyed. My mother also publicised my work with her wide variety of contacts with bringing them, and increasingly asked them for introductions of my possible wife to me.
Meanwhile, I got a traffic accident on the way to work with my ROVER MINI E badly damaged; at that minute I was beside myself, because it took over one and half hours to the work from home in a hurry and the work shift was irregular with few holidays. But these didn't matter for me; even though I was a newcomer as hotelman, they treated me as a professional of publicity for the first place. I seriously considered purchasing a house nearby after replacing the broken ROVER MINE, a personal car, with a secondhand NISSAN PULSER SEDAN X1, a family car.
My supervisor and I had to cover a wide range assignments; from making both internal and eternal sales promotions planning, writing, taking pictures, to attending on reporters of newspapers, broadcasters and magazines. Besides, each office-staff had to help banquet-hall-staffs out with busy parties regularly and each matured male office-staff had to play a role of night manager staying the hotel once a month. The hotel was so crazily busy that I thought our business should be very lucrative. Surrounded by abundant green hills at the very back of a tidal lake with hot spring, the conceptual resort hotel was very attractive actually, though the service level was quite low or rather primitive, due to the majority of young amateur workers who were hired nearby. Soon I began conducting the 10th anniversary service-up campaign. I also proposed and promoted a brand-building of LAKESIDE WEDDING. Our budget was, however, extremely small; while my supervisor carried his Mac computer, which was penetrating thorough ad industry, into our office for his work, I made the campaign tools by my own hands using my word processor and our copy machine.
I regarded the campaign as TQM (Total Quality Management), which is top down so that the service can meet demands of the market quickly, but the general manager couldn't take back his words that it is TQC (Total Quality Control) having me organise a committee. Hotel is so vertical society that I followed his way, but the schedules were not completed finally.
Each section insisted on their own way. All the leading hotel member were working away from home. Unlike me, they didn't want to stay there for the rest of their life. On the other hand, even when the more guests stayed, the deficit couldn't be decreased, due to our discount prices and more importantly to the headquarters' extravagant debt. Despite the fact that we achieved the sales which our head office of Tokyo required, our regular bonus including the general manager's half cut and next all cut, while the managements of headquarters drove their own brand-new Mercedes-Benz and NISSAN CIMA to our hotel. Our hotel was, actually, a sweatshop and revolving door.
I was always consulting my supervisor on each process of my assignments, but he frequently got furious like eruptions, 'It's my work, my, my, my work. Do you understand, do you understand?' His rages were so intense and long that I felt like my shoulders were hold down firmly. He had been doing all the planning section's works by himself for years, and once confessed me, 'I know I forced your predecessor.' He had no private life with the hotel. When I couldn't bare, I visited the general manager, who then encouraged me. Nevertheless, my complaint of him and amount of drinking at home gradually increased. When I was in the breeze of Lake Hamana, I was most happy. In my spare time, I strolled around the coast line, and was already a 'karei-hunter (flatfish fisherman).' 'Again?,' saying a little bit annoyed my mother served our family with tasty cooking for my catches. Although I caught a 'makogarei' (most common flatfish in Japan) of over 40 cm in November, 1996, year by year the lake was being polluted with the number of fish decreasing. I remember my fisherman colleague of the hotel said, 'I rather want to escape from the lakeside.'
After our planning section moved to the general manager's office, he didn't stick up for me in front of my supervisor. My supervisor began to have our works all to himself again, before finally I had nothing to do except sitting for desk. I couldn't do my business with the other stuff, for he didn't allow me to make arrangements in case without him. I tried to help our banquet-hall-staffs, who were in the most cruel work condition, spending my business hour instead of the general manager's office. However, my supervisor said to me, 'Why did you do so? It looks as if I didn't offer you jobs, doesn't it! Did you ever consider my losing face?' His trembling monologue seemed like endless in our day time, empty, general manager's office. - A month later, I left the hotel, without saying good-bye.
Still, I had to make living. I tentatively did guard, sanitation duties for buildings and hospitals dispatched by a staffing service company, where retired people were the majority staff. The work was so easy with irregular shift that I spent a lot of time at home. Next to me in the living room, my mother gave my gray guard uniform an ironing with sighs without saying anything. As for me, if I was use of serving public and could sustain my possible family, I wouldn't hesitate to continue. Being tempted to a regular employee, however, I was shocked with my low salary. If it would ever increase in future? Asked to my never-married, middle-aged, bald supervisor, he mumbled it wouldn't. Speaking this to my old-age guard partner, 'Here is not the place promising man comes. Here is the place retired person kills time. You know, how expensive our dispatching fees are? We are awfully squeezed by our company managements!' His clear voice echoed in the empty building late at night. At my very end in this company, my supervisor came all the way to me; 'Remember, whenever you can come back,' he tapped me on the shoulder.
Going after my dream, it always escapes from me. But, that might be the only way of our happiness. Also, I believe that in living in hell appears heaven as pleasure exists only in pains, for the one had sadness incomparably have happiness incomparably by the same degree. Now I can say so, but I only know this ambivalence in the process of my falling. Ironically, pursuing the illusions of advertising led me to the truth. I thoroughly spun off from ad world, my desire for the truth came back. What is the true life, though? Why was I fired? Why couldn't I continue my business? - What I could say is that ad industry is an absurd world. I was at a loss, only to find myself fishing at Lake Hamana again. I surely got into a cold and long winter.
I could confirm a ray of hope under the unbearable winter, far forward then, in January, 2003, in a touring to Chugoku. Along the coast line of the Japan Sea in Sanin looked most undeveloped in modern Japan. People never confessed their difficulty of lives to me, but rather were enthusiastic about environmental benefits for the hard nature is the very thing dramatically turns to their delights.
My mother was always dissatisfied with my occupation saying that I am not like superficial ad people for my seriousness. Having been so, I already came here to such an extent troubling her, as bad as my father, all the time. I owed what I had been to her, but I wanted my woman. I turned already 34, in 1995, and under 35 was definitely the last chance to change a career among Japanese companies, due to the Japanese seniority system. I wanted to wash my hands of advertising and to have a life which I can hold with my feet on the ground. I intended to work easy somewhere in Hamamatsu for the rest of my life.
While Japanese economy was sinking in a bottomless swamp, I commuted a job placement office of Hamamatsu and Lake Hamana for fishing by turns. No companies looked to be in good shape, and a variety of countless companies declined me before I finally found companies couldn't regard me as anyone except ad creator for my previous career, in spite of the fact that I am versatile in traits. Then, I thought, what kind of my experience can I utilise for my new job? - I may have to live with my creativity. If I were a publicity personnel in a company, unlike the susceptible ad companies I would be able to contribute to stably. - But, given Hamamatsu as factories city and also the recession, this prospect was all but dim. Now that I didn't persist in high salary, I wanted something I can truly serve the public.
Near my home ground fishing spot in Lake Hamana was once a gorgeous, mixture of Japanese and Western styles, wooden hotel called HAMANAKO HOTEL, where my grandfather engraved each room's a 'ranma' (traditional ornaments above partition sliding doors) in his young days. My mother told my sister and me that he used to be repeatedly proud of when he had been invited to the opening party as guest of honor, though, for that hotel had closed its short life a long time ago, we never could see. However, hearing a rumor that it was removed and reconstructed to Hakone, I searched around for and finally could visit with my sister in October 2002 only after my parents died. My sister and I still have his small pieces of work; 'okina' (the miniature mask of traditional good-natured old man) looks like himself in a good mood, while 'okame' (the miniature mask of traditional beautiful woman), reminds me of his smily wife when wearing a 'kimono.'
Wearing air of Lake Hamana, I conferred carrying my works so far with my first master copywriter at NIPPON DESIGN CENTRE, who became independent in Tokyo several years ago, if I should be able to continue my business. 'It is not your problem, but a structural problem of HAMAMATSU,' he said, 'why don't you continue getting back to Tokyo, since you've achieved such bright works after graduating from the centre.'
'But,' I said, 'Kawaguchi-san, I felt a limit of my ability skills. When I reached 30, I realised I could anticipate what my expression would be in any case, and I realised I couldn't step in unknown world of my expression.' Kawaguchi-san, 6 years older than me, grinned, 'That's natural for creators growing older. You know, you have completed as copywriter and it's just the beginning!' I was about to start crying. He also mentioned, however, due to deteriorating economy it is not right time to become a self-employee in Tokyo. Around a half year later, I got a position back in Tokyo with a middle sized ad production finally. It was 1993 and I was 31.
Consumers' choice was rapidly changing form that if goods or services have value added high prices are OK to that only goods or services with higher value should be offered by understandable prices. I thought I understood this with fishing and natural life apart from the money game of Tokyo. We might as well have money to spare, but the pleasure that we can eat dinner in lively all day can't be replaceable to anything.
Now, I was sure to listen to people around me and delight my clients with them. However, the ad management in Tokyo was still having illusions of 'bubble' so couldn't follow solid services, operating companies as they had been.
The company I entered was half bankrupted. While I listened to them, they didn't listen to me, a 32-year-old experienced copywriter, and instead behaved like a baby depending on society. In the 10th month, I was somewhat fired; and sooner than later, that company completely breathed its last. Thinking back on afterwards, the employer, a bubbly middle-aged account director, might have cared me for my future. Wherever I went, appeared later, the situation should be almost the same though.
Since I kept in touch with my former supervisor in TOKYO GRAPHIC DESIGNERS, I talked over my matter with him. He used to be the head of a 12 personnel creative team for the general-purpose products of HONDA, though, to this time, the team was dissolved and only he and a new Taiwanese graphic designer were there. This did not mean their work decreased; because of the arrangement as a house production of HONDA, they dealt with all of the sales promotion tools of the general-purpose products. However, the campaigns using mass media with abundant budget disappeared, and they had merely to cope with a huge quantity of catalogues and the like without image-making. Besides, my former supervisor were doing business alone for the cars sales promotion of HONDA and its associated companies, directing outside productions. Obviously he needed someone who could help him.
I wanted a stable job so that I could get married. I have no excuse but I have changed; I was back to my old home on condition that I became a contract employee. However, offering 3 months part-timer contract 3 times successively, the management finally asked me to continue a part-timer without my social insurance until business of HONDA gets back on the rise. This unreliable promise was not accceptable for me, for I didn't think a 33-year-old man would be able to become married without his social insurance in Japan then. My supervisor, Iba-san, and I cried together until late at night my final day at a cozy Japanese pub behind the TOKYO GRAPHIC DESIGNERS in Kyobashi, Tokyo, and parted each other. Ever since I have never contacted him again.
Soon after, I found I was in another ad production for DENTSU. However, in 2 months they suddenly fired me without giving me a reasonable reason. When I was told by the vice president in the president room, I felt my forehead was shot by a pistol: I got a cosmic crack in my head and couldn't see anything. Later, strangely, my mother said to me on the phone she had seen that I was riding on a bicycle shedding blood from forehead in an ominous dream exactly the last night before my pronouncement. As a matter of fact, I rode on a bicycle to and from the head office for that case.
Why was I fired? - I had been completely no idea. Speaking the continuous betrayals on me to my old colleague graphic designer when he and I was drinking afterwards, he said, 'Endo, if I were you, I would sure to turn my back on this society.' Surely, I am not strong enough to bare such a tragedy on me. It maybe sounds strange, but when I am suffering something, I manage to regain my 'composure' with my childfood landscapes: the green pine woods near the beach and white surf of Sumiyoshi, Yoshida, a fishing town, where I was brought up.
When 'bubble' showed signs of burst in 1991, in making various advertisements with a small ad production I was in full bloom. At the same time, however, I was weary of the stimulus of Tokyo life and instead I wanted a calm and natural environment. I began feeling that I could no longer sing my songs any more somehow; I was finding difficulty to get a higher position in the advertising industry in Tokyo, not because of my capability but because I got off the track. It might have been the beginning of autumn for me. Never considered but seeing with my own eyes my father's sudden operation of intestine cancer, I felt it was about time I had taken care of my parents so I took this opportunity.
After turning 30, I retuerned to my parents' home in Hamamatsu, aiming to look after my parents as their eldest son. I sincerely wanted to get married by this time as my parents expected. Since I was fully confident at my job skills in making quality advertisements, I became a freelance creative director there. Even when it was pretty before the proliferation of the Internet as well as Mac computer for designing, because Hamamatsu is 2 hours distance by the bullet train from Tokyo I thought I could do business with clients of Tokyo with fax. But they showed cold shoulders when I visited.
Notwithstanding my own efforts to pionner making ad concepts and copy-writing in Hamamatsu, the more factory-like industrial structure of the city, where is famous for headquarters of SUZUKI and YAMAHA as well as for the origin of HONDA, has interrupted the existence of my business. Ad creators was not required quality but quantity, and also each client's budget was extremely small too. I wondered what I had been learning in the competitive ad environment of Tokyo? There was no use for my polished creativity; otherwise, I had to meet the demand of tiny intentions. In the end, almost all national clients budgets went to Tokyo, and Hamamatsu was a manufactural city not a commercial city.
My old friends never called on me for seemingly they were too busy for their new families with children. Only I could count on was a new friend from other city, whom I became acquainted with through my business. We drank heavily singing Karaoke in a perishing back street's bar. As for my girl friends, they were almost better than my previous shameless colleagues in Tokyo; though, when it came to go out for marrying, they were reluctant to do so. The single working females over 30 living with their parents were becoming more and more common in Japan. They, as well as single males, are called as 'parasite single' in that they more enjoy life spending their own salary for their own sake under the protection of parents.
I can't deplore the phenomena of staying single for this is not only a Japanese problem. But, I suppose, Japan's case is more serious than the Western developed countries.' For in the West getting independent from parents is a matter of course as they smoothly transited to nuclear families; whereas, the Japanese have been depending on each other so the infant-tendency is more of structural.
Let's back to the topic, I declared to the ad people I knew in Hamamatsu that I would do any kinds of job with delight if they offered, but never they called me except tasting for the first place. I had been worried about giving up or continuing a copywriter, because even in the long run, there was no prospect for my business in Hamamatsu. I wanted rather a family life and relaxable nature than getting a higher position, yet believed in the 'words' force.' For, in few opportunities of competition with DENTSU HAMAMATSU, I got to win all of them; so, I couldn't resign myself to stopping yet.
Almost always going fishing to Lake Hamana, the Pacific Ocean, or Suruga Bay, from the shores, I was staring at the flows of water ahead of the line. I was completely empty in mind during that days. I wondered if I exactly had been able to convey what I wanted to in Tokyo, in front of the lack of understanding in clients in Hamamatsu. I might have been targeting the most sensitive people, I thought, 'bubble' might have been allowing invisible and not understandable values to be shown in media. One night, I copied the words of John Lennon into my diary:
"When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness, she is
standing right in front of me
speaking words of wisdom, let it be
let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be"
Let it be, it was OK; but, I was a bad son: far from taking care of my parents, on the contrary I myself was taken care of my parents. Not to mention that, they allowed me to stay a fisherman; I was almost an unskilled fisherman without job. I am a man who always ends up in a wrong direction of my intension. I was so selfish that I had been pursuing my career for self-satisfaction and even now got back home for self-satisfaction. I don't know if I had been listening only for my internal voice, but then I could listen to the winds on the sea.
Then, before turning 28 then, I already achieved success in a sales promotion for HONDA in its house production, TOKYO GRAPHIC DESIGNERS. Thousands of snow blowers were sold out through a successful campaign, which I pursued as the chief copywriter, even before formal distribution. Also, collaborating with American copywriters as well as Japanese creative personnel, I made lots of ad concepts and copies for both global and domestic sales promotion of the general-purpose products of HONDA. I was in the swing of things, and, at the same time, was certainly in the 'Bubble.' I was so absorbed in a dreaming world of advertising that I even couldn't notice what was actually changing around me. But before I knew it, every town of Japan converted into like a Seven-eleven's convenient residence; meanwhile, my writing poems and taking pictures had completely replaced by the activities of creating advertisements.
It was at the end of '80s, and people in Japan were believing that their economy never decline as long as heading for higher quality goods. They were intoxicated with brand names so apparent statuses. I, too, didn't doubt that not so later I could get a brand-new PORCHE or FERRARI. Almost everyday, our team worked until after the last trains and then either drunk in a pub nearby or got home by taxi, by the early morning. Since I had convinced my great contribution for the 300-million-yen campaigns and was aware that I am an unusual ideas man focusing on problems and the objective quickly, when negotiating the next 1-year-contract I requested at least 6-million-yen for my annual salary. However, they merely offered either 5-million-yen for a 1-year-contract or a permanent contract until I reach 60 with much lower salary. The HONDA-related companies have every now and then the most innovative operations in Japan; nonetheless, TOKYO GRAPHIC DESIGNERS, where the creativity is the bottom line, couldn't come off the stagnant Japanese seniority system. Now, however, I can understand why so; if they hadn't hammered down the nails that stuck up, they wouldn't have been able to sustain ties with other institutes of Japanese society.
The marketing of HONDA required us, ad creators, a certain style: the head copies usually have to be a 'massive form' in order for sales personnel as well as consumers to easily repeat. Back then, thinking of that HONDA had already become an American company and that we were using simple words translatable, Japanese language might have gradually been decreasing its efficiency on Japanese people. The more immersed in illusions of advertising, the less I became interested in pursuing the truth; because having designers and photographers to illustrate the concepts for advertisements enabled to establish another worlds in media. However, I still wanted to write a line like in a novel, which is rather 'long and lyric' than the descriptions requested by HONDA, with more a wide variety of clients and merchandises. After all, I was and am me, nothing else.
Hearing of my supervisors saying, "Endo-kun, you shall be with the general-purpose products of HONDA your whole life time!", I instantly and vividly foresaw my dreary future life: just the same as my elder colleagues were doing, I would only sustain one wife and child with a tight apartment on the far outskirts of Tokyo. That is all. At this point, since I had nothing to learn from my supervisor to improve not only my copy-writing but also planning ad strategies and stratagems, I didn't make another contract with the company so that endeavoured to my another step.
I was 28 and it was 1990. Having become freelance, however, I had to realise that when applying to the better ad companies they always refused even to see me, due to my frequent change of companies.
I was sure, in the situation of no trustworthy standard, everything we think visible was consist of illusions. I didn't know the world at all somehow. Avoiding an ordinary family life, only I could rely on was the things I could touch and hold. Instead of having spiritual relationships, I confirmed my existence in night girls' bodies. Actually, a pleasure of pussy's pressure was the truth in the illusional society. Reality is always unclear and can't be grasped, but as soon as replaced into words it appears with clear edges. However, the words do not necessarily convey the true matter. This is particularly evident in the advertising world. However, I found that the great thing involved in making ad is to become positive to our life. For no one wants to become unhappy with products or services with which ad creators are working.
Luckily, soon after moving to Tokyo, I got an apprentice position for copy-writing with a famous large ad production, NIPPON DESIGN CENTRE, which produced a lot of famous OB not only in the advertising area but also in art area such as Tadanori Yokoo. With a creative director I learned the basics of copy-writing in sales promotion tools of TOYOTA, though I couldn't sustain my life with my cheap salary with little job. As a matter of fact, I was borrowing over 1-million-yen from my mother for eking a living. Even though I wanted to do more job, it was impossible under the old apprenticeship of NIPPON DESIGN CENTRE. So, I move to a middle sized ad production for an agency, DAIICHI KIKAKU. I could buy a brand-new ROVER MINI E with my jumped salary. Those companies have disappeared after the bust of 'Bubble Economy of Japan,' though.
The work there was a chaos, however. My group leader, a graphic designer and had children with wife, was involved in a love affair with his assistant designer. Working until late at night, sometimes around the clock, they smelled, behaved, and talked similarly. It was not until I was seduced by her after drinking that a male colleague copywriter revealed the matter. At the same time, he implied he also had a relationship with her. That is something more, amazingly, he even described our company's reception girl's peculiarity of sex just from his experience. Even though I began to show my ability in a variety of merchandise and medium, this disgusting atmosphere induced me to change my work soon.
Powerfully impressed by the combinations of words and visuals by a Japanese copywriter, Takashi Nakahata, I decided to skill up my copy-writing ability. After graduating from university, I started working in a small design office in Hamamatsu. Writing and taking photographs for a magazine involved with much of advertising. Since then, my late 20s was like a hot summer for just active in making advertisements. Although I didn't resign myself to pursue my own works, I just felt that I can achieve even art-level works on advertisements. Mine was still childish at that time, though I was confident with my talent. Indeed, I had no doubt in my success and believed in the possibility of Japanese language. That was the age; there was a lot of room to sell products especially in Japan, and with abundant budgets every ad creators could try innovative expressions.
Since my job in the first design office was rather a reporter than a copywriter, I moved to Tokyo seeking for a work, where I can write copies for advertisements, before reaching 26. When I greeted to a previous client, he said that if I rebuilt my career in Tokyo I wouldn't be able to get married until 30. Although getting a stable position and supportable salary for a family in the advertising industry in Tokyo was such a difficulty, my interest was only to make outstanding ad works. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had not yet been involved in romantic relationships. I might have been too selfish, but I believed and still believe my work can fulfill and move my possible partner.
Just the day before my 26th birth day, my grandmother died of old age. She was my last grandparent, and used to be a great supporter of my grandfather who was a traditional engraver. They didn't told a lot, though, through their attitude to me, I could tell what is wrong and what is right by a Japanese tradition. However, that norm has been eroded by the name of ’individualism’ gradually.
'Marriage' between America and Japan after World War Two, influencing with each other, caused significant problems. Japanese people are very productive, and once the objects set they mow through the crowd without seeing the long term results. So, when they are connected to new technologies, they are too absorbed in without vision without looking back how it was. As a result, they are forgetting what they were, what their identity is.
Speaking of identity, I wonder why the popular artists in Japan are not always popular abroad. It is not until recently that a few mavericks are appreciated for their works. The Japanese have always imported cultures, and developed in their own way. What is special for Japan? It is a 'perfection;' in other words, everything can complete within its country.
Japan has four seasons where everything is always changing exquisitely, and that circulation of isolated islands allowed people to live in a miniature cosmos. If they hadn't been connected to technologies, they wouldn't have had to depend on other countries. Those days has gone, though the domestic tendency not being concerned with other countries still keeps foreigners at a distance. Ironically, this narrow mind is the base of Japanese mentality and also nurtures extraordinary fine works. However, in many categories merely formalisms for perfection are reserved now.
Nowadays rather foreigners are becoming great appreciators of Japan. Surprisingly, those are not the Japanese but foreigners who are now keeping Japanese traditional craft arts and can even find the essence of Japan visiting tourist spots where are rather minor for Japanese people. In Japan, people can't help living with four seasons. Probably foreign fresh set of eyes can see what the Japanese, for being too accustomed to artificial environments, have been forgetting in awareness of nature. Mine maybe rather similar to foreigners'. The world is becoming more diverse and sharing different people's sense of values. The Japanese have become more and more superficial and infantile as the industry developed. The age, in which only Japanese people could confine the appreciation of the culture, has gone. Vague but delicate, small but accurate, and sad but beautiful, Japanese sensibility is sure to be shared with the rest of the world.
When I was a university student, the air of people's living remained in towns all over Japan. It was in the early '80s just before Japan achieved its top economy, so-called 'babble.' Even though many construction sites for high-rise buildings were busy everywhere, at the same time people were still preserving the Japanese way of life, in which the base was 'respect for elders.' Because of this border time between the new age and old, despite the temptation of brand-new things creeping around, something organic of back streets' lifves in communities were yet a pleasure. They chatted each other in the streets over everything. In the activities, seniors were regarded as good role models, since they knew what younger generations didn't even realise. As well, old buildings and products managed to keep dignity in front of the proliferation of marvelous technologies.
That was my salad days so was spring time to begin blooming from a bud. Indeed, flowers coming out all together tell us of the highlight of spring in Japan. In repeated cloudy weather, the weak and light grows slightly stronger and stronger before faint landscapes are finally changed revealed.
I remember I was searching for a town, to take pictures capturing my identities as a Japanese, which has environments in which I was brought up. When I rode on a motorcycle in a long straight road along with the Japan Sea with sunset on my back, I felt I was a tiny insect on this land. Off the main road, in a distant vegetable field suddenly a beautiful young woman appeared as if she had been born from the soil. Those roads have gone, replaced by a highway. I witnessed this during a touring to the northernmost of Tohoku in July 2002; there I managed to meet a typical sense of the seasons, a 'yudachi' (afternoon shower) of summer, under an untypical seasonal typhoon ironically.
In my childhood, here and there were abundant nature with rivers without concreted banks now, and I would catch fish with bare feet and a net pushing the tenacious grass. As time went by, however, my original landscapes were gradually fading out. Not only Tokyo where my university is located but also my home city, Hamamatsu, as well as other local cities were dramatically changing, destroying tiny but interesting things which were the characteristics of Japanese culture. Torn-downed historical buildings and streets included precious piles of people's appreciation of Japanese culture. The Japanese spirituality was always with nature, that reflected on the feeling of 'wabi' and 'sabi' (beauties of simplicity and aging) and their composure. Japanese literature used to take the subjects in such attitudes of ordinary lives. These senses, represented in 'haiku' and 'waka,' are impossible to translate into other languages and are really Japanese language itself. Still, at that age I was feeling there might remain my home-like town somewhere, before finally finding everybody in Japan has his or her own home town merely in mind.
Surrounded by affluent products in and around houses to enjoy, people were still wanting something higher standard in '80s. Everything was unbelievable which had appeared to be truth until then. What I was interested in was nothing but expressing myself, influenced in my childhood by my father who was a newspaper reporter writing articles as well as developing and printing his photos in his office of our home. He was completely absent from raising my sister and me though. I was quite unsure about what our generation should believe in front of the eroding of good old days' virtue. Without any standard, however, Japanese society has been compelling us to suit with the old mould that I leant in the old days. In contrast to the Western perception of the world that was prevailing in Japan, my way of feeling and thinking was quite Japanese. Between the two extremes I tried to destroy and break through what we should follow: I attempted to break the rules of Japanese language writing poetry as well as taking pictures to convey my thought which was rather music than between the lines.
Ours is the visual and sound age. I was raised up with the development of TV and its programmes. So, instead of the meaning, at a glance I can feel what they want to say. It is a graphic perception. Similarly, Western popular music had a quite impact on my mentality mainly for its simplicity. Nevertheless, in a root level Japanese perception of the world is far from simplicity and rather perplexed. I had no aim to write and take pictures but wanted to confirm my existence, and to do so, as music can be sold, I was thinking I could make living. There was no role model for the coming new age, but seeking after the truth with Japanese language and photographs seemed to be promising. For there were still people who could realise the delicate shades of the meaning with literary performance environments such as the masterpiece theatres, the jazz coffee shops, the live houses, the artistic magazines, and so on.
Transition Japan - Utsuroi
Devote to foreigners to Japan; especially to Gillian
Japan has been rapidly and significantly changing. As a reminiscence, I recorded Honshu in taking pictures from 2001 to 2003. This chronological photo collection represents the transition of seasons, of which subtle feeling 'mono no aware' is the Japanese spirituality. With very hard efforts driving Tohoku region to Chugoku as well as around my home in Sizuoka prefecture, I could barely find Japan-like sceneries which intrigued my sense of seasons. I was searching for the eternity of Japan, which should be common landscapes in countryside once everybody saw, only to find the artificially changed, ugly landscapes. I sometimes wanted veil my eyes in front of them and my eyes wandered into the space. So, what I grasped in 'utsuroi,' a sense of changing, is not only the transition of four seasons but also the transition of ages in Japan. Upon utterly transformed soil, I have been not watching at real landscapes but looking back on my life through lenses. I have been always changing seeking for not changing; sure, I myself was Utsuroi.
Confess of why I left Japan in 2004 opens to the public. Welcome any offers to publish a book. なぜ私が日本を去ったか？ 2004年に英文と写真で綴った告白を公開。出版社募集中。
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Born in Shizuoka-prefecture, Japan, 1961. BA, Seikei University (Major: Cultural Science) in 1985.
As a copywriter (creative director) in the Japanese advertising industry for over 15 years, I have never been satisfied with and by compelling myself and others to sell and buy goods. Thus, I left Japan or its materialism for apparently nature-co-existing Canada, where as photographer finding that I can't be a Japanese without Asian background prompted me to settle in the Philippines. While challenging a new business by the slogan "Economy & Ecology, ECOH!," I have been looking for a publisher for this "Transition Japan" and also "A Man Goes to North."
1961年、静岡県生まれ。成蹊大学文学部文化学科卒。日本デザインセンター、東京グラフィックデザイナーズをはじめ広告企画制作業界でコピーライター、後クリエーティブディレクターとして15年以上務めるも、売れども売れども、買えども買えども満たされず。カメラを手にカナダ横断を往復するドライブで「アジアの日本人」でありそれ以外何者でもないアイデンティティを悟るとフィリピンに移住。"Economy & Ecology, ECOH!"をスローガンに新しいビジネスに挑戦しながら、この「Transition Japan」及び「A Man Goes to North」を上梓できる出版社を探している。
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