How It All Began
As a young western man who hadn’t really been exposed to other cultures growing up as an athlete in Halifax, Nova Scotia, being suddenly immersed in one of Japan’s most iconic parts of its culture was almost surreal. Something that I didn’t realize in the beginning until my Japanese co-workers expressed their shock and sometimes even disbelief about the weekly outings/experiences I’d been having thanks to my newfound father figure/patron. However, it didn’t take me long to realise and appreciate the access I was getting to a world off-limits to most. And after a few months, they got used to me being around and became interested in this foreigner and what made him so special to have this opportunity bestowed upon him by one of the regular patrons. I want to think it was because of my charm, but in reality, I think that it was because I was learning how to speak Japanese, and we could have conversations, unlike in the beginning when I had no Japanese ability at all. Slowly, they let down their guard, and I began to notice that behind the beautifully painted faces and elegant kimono were just young women and see the real person. This was when I knew I must start to document my experiences because this was the transient “floating world,” here today gone tomorrow.