In an effort to document my experiences while studying abroad in Tokyo through mediums other than photography—a medium I love deeply but that I feel has been hindering my memory lately—I created this digital journal.
I wanted to break free from that feeling of needing to share everything we see with others—Tokyo is a place you need to experience and photographs will dilute the excitement of experiencing it for the first time. There is too much happening here and a few images won’t even capture the half of it.
The design of the website is inspired by and laid out like a bento box—distinct elements separated yet contained and still grouped together to make up a whole, balanced experience. I had so many thoughts in a day when I was there that my brain feels as chaotic as Tokyo. Tokyo is, however, very organized in many ways and through this form of record keeping, I was able to organize my thoughts.
At the end of each day, before I went to bed, I’d quickly sketch a line that represented where I went that day. These movements were not drawn to scale or representative of my exact path or distance I traveled. They vaguely suggest my whereabouts and aim to represent the way my movements felt to me. If I felt like I went really far because I spent too much time getting somewhere or I went all over the place and saw many different things, the lines are drawn to express that. The color of each corresponds to the prominent emotion I experienced that day, based on my personal associations with the color.
Tokyo is a place that needs maps—it feels like 23 different cities crammed into one. But there is so much happening in this city that one map can only represent one very specific aspect of it, otherwise it creates more confusion than clarity. I have seen such a wide variety of maps all over the place. All are very overwhelming and take a while to digest and understand.