I met Chika while living in Yokohama. We met online randomly, and still, to this day, she’s the only person I’ve ever met online. We were each looking for a language exchange partner. After an initial meeting, we started meeting every Wednesday around 9:00 AM at the sleek Starbucks Cafe showroom at Nissan’s Global Headquarters. As it turned out, despite the language barrier, we became fast friends, bonded over similar backgrounds, shared dark humor, unbothered natures, and spent nearly every bit of two hours consumed in totally wild conversations that transcended all language and cultural differences. Wednesdays with Chika soon became a thing.
Her English was far better than my Japanese so our friendship quickly took precedent over language learning. We then began to embark on a series of random adventures around both Tokyo and Japan.
The last time I saw Chika in Japan, we spent that last day wandering around the old streets of Kamakura, exploring gardens, and eating at a kissaten far off-the-beaten path. We remembered that night we parted, we left on separate train lines at the tiny local station. I waved goodbye to her, unsure of when or if I’ll ever see this dear friend again anytime soon.
Fast forward 2 years later, her husband ends up in a post-doctorate program in Boston and she tells me she’s pregnant with her first child. As fate would have it, she’s in Boston for the duration of her pregnancy.
I photographed her pregnancy for a project in art school, documenting almost psychologically what it was like to experience this in a foreign country and in a small apartment. Chika has almost an even more “unbothered” nature than I do but this created an interesting set of images. While most women appear to be almost cloying and flamboyantly emotional while pregnant, she was not. Winter in Boston is never easy and it’s evident that her usual unbothered nature combined with winter isolation created a series of images that portrayed an almost darker side leading up to this profound change happening to her identity.