From Artist & Model Maria Bodwell: When westerners think about Japan, images of concrete skylines, bright lights and anime seem to pop into their head.
Their impression of the country is that it’s a high-tech, fast-paced society that has evolved past nature. But when I think of what makes me Japanese, I think of stillness, of quiet observation and appreciation of nature, and an acceptance of its constant changes. Many of our national pastimes involve watching nature as it changes – the viewing of cherry blossoms in the spring, the harvest moon in the fall – appreciating what is, and accepting that it is temporary and fleeting.
As we move into the “holiday season” here in the States I’m reminded that we observe seasonal changes here too. However, my personal feeling is that we superimpose an artificial air of festivity that fits into the capitalistic and pseudo-Christian framework we live in. On Thanksgiving many of us express gratitude reciting a whitewashed narrative of how our ancestors made a wonderful new life for themselves in the New World with the help of its indigenous peoples, fidgeting in our seats thinking about what we’re going to buy to make our lives EVEN BETTER the very next day. I used to joke when I lived in southern California that I only knew it was fall when pumpkin-spiced everything hit the shelves. By the time December arrives you cannot go anywhere without seeing plastic conifers and snowflakes, even in areas where those things do not naturally occur. They are artifacts of northern European nostalgia superimposed onto what is here.
Photographer: Jady Bates | IG: @jadybates
Female Model: Maria Bodwell | IG: @mariabodwell