Monday, March 31, 2014

Tokyo Cherry Blossom Shoot: Samantha

Yesterday was a gray, rainy day of severe wind in Tokyo (such a contrast from the beautiful sunny day before!), so much that my umbrella whipped inside out several times and I was afraid I'd be blown away.
But it was completely worth to meet up with my friend Samantha (of Letters Impromptu) for these breathtaking views and photos :) This is the 5th (!!) spring I've spent in Tokyo, and no matter how many times I see the cherry blossoms, I never ever get tired of seeing them.
Samantha and I headed to one of the loveliest cherry blossom locations in Tokyo, the Meguro Bridge area, where rows and rows of blooming trees were lined up along the river. What an amazing experience to shoot there with the gorgeous Samantha!

Please check out Samantha's blog for the rest of the photos we took, here: Letters Impromptu.

After the quick shoot, we grabbed some food and caught up with each other for a while; Samantha also showed me a preview of the music she's been working on recently, and it sounds absolutely amazing!! It is so inspiring and exciting to see her progress, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

March ends with today, and the cherry blossoms will likely last only the first two weeks of April. I hope they'll stay as long as possible. Can't wait to see and shoot more, both during the daytime and at night!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tokyo Cherry Blossom Photoshoot with Irina

It was so warm and beautiful today in Tokyo (I passed by many Japanese girls saying "Hot!!" But no. Perfect weather to me.) that the cherry blossoms spread their petals into bloom! Quite a few trees are still only flower buds, but some have suddenly burst into soft shades of pink and white.

Irina, it was wonderful shooting together again and enjoying such a perfect spring afternoon with you! I had so much fun :) We both couldn't help whipping out our phones and taking photos for Instagram ;) It's sad that the spring season lasts such a short time in Japan.. but I guess that's what makes it all the more precious, this fleeting, quiet beauty.


I have a few spaces left, and the cherry blossom season in Tokyo will only be lasting for the next few weeks (through mid-April)! If you're interested in booking a cherry blossom photoshoot with me, feel free to write me here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Self-Portrait: paint with stars x Sammydress

Recently, the team at Sammydress very kindly contacted me with the idea of a product review, and I was happy to collaborate with them. I selected this simple black dress, drawn to the cut-out sleeves, and I was really curious to see how the actual item would fit. About two weeks later, the dress arrived, and the size seemed to be perfect. It has quite a sleek fit, and it's actually quite short as a dress, so you'd have to wear tights, shorts, or pants with it (I opted for some black tights). I also tried adding a colorful scarf with the piece. Now that it's spring, I can see myself wearing this dress out with a light jacket. It arrived just in time, as I've really been in need of some new profile photos but haven't had a proper excuse to set up and take them - thanks to this dress, I could create a decent look that fit with my new red glasses and shorter haircut :) (I swear, I keep thinking I will grow it out, but it keeps getting shorter and shorter. But having short hair is FUN :)

The only negative points I can think of so far are that the neck part is a bit tight, so it's a bit of a squeeze to get it on over your head. Also, the sleeves are quite a slim fit. But I'm saying this as a person who typically loves stretch and airy - those of you who are used to tights and other fitted clothing should be fine with it.

Sammydress, thank you so much for reaching out and for the awesome dress!
For those who are looking for some affordable deals in fashion, be sure to check out the Sammydress website for more interesting pieces.

*All opinions in this post are strictly my own. I received the dress, but was not compensated in any other way to create this post.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tokyo Model Photography: Max

It was great working with Max, who is currently with the US Air Force at Yokota. Despite his busy schedule there, he also makes videos, sings, and is hoping to break into modeling. He's done an amazing job with his first photoshoot, and I'm excited to see what's in store for him in the future. Max, thanks so much for an awesome shoot!

Max on Instagram / Youtube

Tokyo Portrait Photography: Blossoming

A beautiful, sunlit afternoon with a brisk spring breeze - that was the setting for this photoshoot with Laura. Her bright attitude and happy smile truly made her glow in each photo. Although it was her first time to do a photoshoot, Laura did such a fantastic job being natural in front of the camera and displaying a variety of expressions. Not only that, but I loved hearing her stories about life in Japan so far. In the middle of our shoot, we were stopped by an elderly lady who had forgotten her way home. Thankfully, it wasn't long before we were able to bring her to her front door (thank you Google Maps!); it was a unique experience to share :)

I really enjoyed working together, Laura. Thank you so much!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tokyo Engagement Photography: Through the Rain

M and S first met through their German language class, but S didn't know he existed since he was always exactly blocked from her view by a pillar in the room.
It was after they both made it into a language immersion program in Germany that they got to know each other, and now they are engaged!

It was chilly and rainy in Tokyo on the day of their photoshoot, but the two of them had such positive attitudes, it was fun working together. I felt happy to see how much they support and care for each other :) Having just come from the 30 degrees weather in Singapore, where it had been pouring rain for the past few days, they joked that they had brought the rain with them.

M and S, I'm sure you'll be able to sail through any kind of weather and take care of each other through rain or shine! I truly wish you all the happiness in the world :) Thank you again for letting me capture a few of your pre-wedding memories!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tokyo Fashion Week 2014-15 A/W - Hiroko Koshino

A few of my favorite looks from the Hiroko Koshino runway show. Awesome reds! This time I only decided to attend a few shows, and ended up focusing more on watching than trying to capture too many photos :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pie and Lemonade

Went for some pie and lemonade with Mimei on a cold, rainy evening at Bubby's Tokyo.
We were originally aiming for pancakes, but I found out later they only serve them until 4:00 PM.. bad planning on my part :(
The cherry pie was just delicious though, and so was the hot pink lemonade!
When I go for food or tea in Tokyo, I usually find myself going to Starbucks, cafes, family restaurants, or teishoku (Japanese style set meal) shops, but it's a refreshing change to come to a warm, vibrant, American-style place like Bubby's once in a while. I absolutely love Japanese food, but occasionally I get a sweet craving for good ol' breakfast foods and dessert :)
Thank you so much Mimei for the lovely evening!!

(Dessert before dinner.. mmhmm :)


Short Story: Falling Awake


Falling Awake
By Lisa (paint with stars)

When I first met David, I hadn't eaten for two days, and my hair was soaked from the rain. Wind-whipped and shaking, I stumbled upon his front steps. There was light coming from the window, and something wisping out from beneath the door... It smelled like warmth.
I huddled in front of that bubble of warmth, knowing it was dangerous, but too lightheaded and weak to think what I'd do if someone came out. My eyelids drooped heavily.
Footsteps came from inside the apartment, then the click of the door opening. I froze up instead of bolting, and our eyes met.
He stopped. I heard him take a breath. But for some reason, he disappeared back inside the room. The door remained open, a thin crack that didn't quite let in the cold, but enough to show an invitation.
I looked back once at the rain pounding behind me, and nudged the door open to let myself in.

For the first few days, David didn't talk to me, or even show sign that he knew of my existence. However, I did come across food and water that mysteriously appeared in the kitchen each day, and I inhaled them as quickly as I could each time. By the third day, I had regained much of my strength and energy. I found David at a desk piled with books and papers, clicketing away at his computer. He had a habit of pushing his glasses up his nose every few minutes. I wanted to say something, but decided it was better just to stare silently at him. A few moments later, he sighed, stretched, and turned to me.
"So, now we're communicating?" David said.
I tensed up reflexively at his voice. But then, I felt the kindness there. He was smiling a little. My body relaxed, and I inched a few steps closer. When he stood up, I immediately shied away. But he was only headed to the small closet behind him, where he rummaged around and emerged with a thick blanket.
"You can use this if you want," he said, smoothing it down on the couch where I could see. Then he went back to work at his desk.

David didn't stop me from going out freely, so I went back to prowling the streets for a few weeks. But I gradually, I began to spend most of my time indoors with David. He went out sometimes, coming back with crackling plastic bags or steaming cups of coffee. Mostly he worked at his desk or slept. A few nights a week, he would settle down on the couch with his dinner and watch TV or a movie he brought home. Those were my favorite times. He didn't mind if I perched on the couch next to him, and with time, I felt safe enough to lean against him a little. When I did that, he would gently touch my hair or pat my head a little, all the while not taking his gaze off the screen.

One night, I heard an unfamiliar sound coming from his bed. Curious, I padded over until I could make out his tousled hair, his quivering shoulders. His cheeks were glistening wet. I looked at him in the dark, and he looked back at me. A shuddering breath escaped him as he moved over to make a space.
I put my face against his, nudging gently at his nose, his tears. As he ran his fingers through my hair, I tried to make a soothing sound to comfort him. Warmth coursed through my body when he reached out to wrap the blanket around both of us. I curled up against his chest, feeling his heart beat.
"Thank goodness for you," he murmured against my cheek. His breath tickled. "Thank you for finding me."

About one year after I started living with David, his lifestyle abruptly changed. He began going out more often, sometimes not coming back until late at night. Our evenings relaxing on the couch dwindled down to once a week, then every few weeks.
It was a sunny afternoon when he brought home the reason for his recent change. Her voice filtered through the front door as it mixed with his, light as a bell on his deeper, familiar tones. He sounded different, energetic in a way that I had never heard. The door opened and she came in first, her face brilliant in mid-laugh. Our eyes met, and she stopped in the doorway. David's hand was on her waist.
"Why, hello there," she said. Her lips curved upward, but her smile didn't seem to reach her eyes.

The woman came over once a week, and then almost every day. In David's presence, she always treated me nicely. But when he wasn't in the room, she ignored me or looked at me with annoyance if I got too close. I began keeping a distance from both of them, but David was so focused on her that he didn't notice. Those TV nights on the couch returned with frequency, except this time it was her that leaned against him. Sometimes, his face pressed against hers for a long time.

One day, I woke to the sound of a heavy thump near the door. When I went over to check the noise, I found David pulling on his shoes next to a large suitcase. Although I wanted to rush up to him, she was already standing next to him, a hand on his shoulder. Pressed against the wall, I could only watch as he started to leave.
Just before closing the door, his eyes met mine. He smiled.
"Bye," he mouthed silently.

With a little click, the door slid shut behind him from the pressure of the woman's hand. She stood there, unmoving, watching him through the small glass window for what seemed like a long while. Then, she turned to me with a smile.
"We're going on a trip of our own," she said.

It was my first time riding in the trunk of a car. The inside smelled strange; plastic bottles and paper bags slid around as the car moved, hitting me in the face. The heavy beat of music strained through from the front of the car.

She dragged me out with my eyes covered. I heard the sound of a door swinging open and then shut. Something said in a low voice that I couldn't quite make out through all the coverings. Movement, and I was finally freed from that relentless grasp. Her footsteps faded.

It was cold and smelled too clean, with undertones of a strange stench I couldn't place. My heart hammered wildly, and I wished hard that I could break out of this place to find David, tell him where I was.

Someone came up behind me without speaking. I couldn't see what they looked like. I twisted my neck and let out a fearful cry.
Something sharp and painful pricked my leg, numbing it.
And then, I felt a steely, heavy sleepiness wash in toward me like a curtain, I could see it rushing at me from a distance, fast as lightning, yet slow as fog. David. I struggled to keep my eyes awake, my mind clear. David. I need to find my way home to him, can't fall asleep. Can't. David David David...



20 years later


"Oof!" The girl bumped into him and lost her balance, landing flat on the sideway.
"Sorry, sorry!" Looking harried, the man reached out a hand to pull her up. She glanced at him. Late forties, long coat, newspaper tucked under his arm. With a tight smile, she quickly got to her own feet.
Already, he was hurrying down the street again. People like that should watch where they're going, really. She sighed and shouldered her backpack, university textbooks weighing her down once more.

Something clattered to her feet. A wallet. Reluctantly, she picked it up and flipped it open. David Johnson. The driver's license photo showed the same tired eyes and graying hair. She looked back down the street, but he was already long out of sight. Well, she didn't have time for this now, she was already going to be late for class.

Around 6 PM, she found herself in front of a red brick building, yellow lights beaming from behind a small window in the door. So, this was the place. She rechecked the address listed in the wallet, and as she did, a small photo fluttered to the ground, landing facedown. She stooped to pick it up.
A striped gray cat stared back at her from the photo. Its eyes looked strangely familiar.
Still looking at the photo, she rang the doorbell. Footsteps came from within, and the door swung open.

Their eyes met.