Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Edenwalkers' Akiko Morita finds her purpose in a Kyoto garden: KyotoBloggers session June 18th

"I have a secret for you. Whatever you want to be, you CAN [just] have to be ready right now. Not tomorrow, not later, but right now."- photographer Akiko Morita (right) 

Edenwakers' Akiko Morita shared her story at the June 18th Kyoto Bloggers event graciously hosted by Impact HUB Kyoto. In her previous life she worked as a sociologist at a British university, but decided to return to Japan after a 12 year absence after developing a pressing need to transmit knowledge of Japanese gardens throughout the world.

When she lived in the UK, she loved visiting English gardens and thought there was nothing better in the world. After a quick trip home, and an off-chance visit to a Japanese garden in Kyoto, her life completely changed.

"I was touched by the beauty of Japanese gardens, even though I really had no expectations about them. I was so moved that I decided I would return to Japan and dedicate myself to sharing their beauty with everyone."

Borrowing her friend's camera, and not really knowing how to operate it properly, she started taking her first photos of Japanese gardens in Kyoto. She explained that it was so obvious she was an amateur that professional photographers would come up to her trying to help her as she fumbled with the different camera settings. She eventually bought her own camera and ONE lens, and started reading up on photography. One book made something click in her mind. The author explained how professional photographers, when asked about photos for sale, would quickly be able to procure a list of their work, while amateurs always say "when I get better." She decided to embrace her passion and her new field, and BE a real photographer.

"I have a secret for you. Whatever you want to be, you CAN [just] have to be ready right now. Not tomorrow, not later, but right now."

She also built her own website, Edenwalkers:

"I chose to use the metaphor for Eden for my site because when people encounter each other in gardens, they share smiles, start talking to each other even though they may have never met. They share love and a great and wonderful feeling- gardens are a place that makes anyone become open and free. Garden walkers are actually Eden walkers."

A year and half later, she proudly calls herself a professional photographer (Flickr photos here) and hopes to inspire people to BE who they want to BE. Next week she will be in Australia for a training workshop and then will be touring 90 spots around Japan taking photos on behalf of a client.

Lisa Allen (left) listens attentively to Akiko Morita's (center) story of personal transformation 

Morita was joined by other Kyoto-based bloggers at the event who spoke about their own blogs and projects. Global Communications Coordinator Lisa Yamashita Allen (photography log) introduced the Kyoto Impact Hub emphasising how community has kept the creative energy of the space alive.

Hugo Kempeneer of Kyoto and Nara Dream Trips ( ) spoke of his yearning to discover and detail locations very much off the beaten path.

Michael Lambe and Ted Taylor elaborated on their newest publication, Deep Kyoto: Walks, and the process of developing the compilation of meditative walks (occasionally hikes, occasionally pub crawls) around Kyoto. The e-book, perfect for carrying around on your smart phone while taking an introspective walk, is available here. Ted gave a reading from "Across Purple Fields," one of the introspective walks in the book. To read the segment yourself, check out the Deep Kyoto page, or watch a video of the reading itself!

And finally- big props to the caterer, Wakako, from Obento Waka for the delicious and healthy vegetarian dinner!

- Written by Jen Teeter

No comments: