Last night, I attended the opening reception for the charity photo exhibition organised to raise funds for the people of Northeast Japan who are suffering the fallout from the March earthquake and tsunami.
Though the underlying impetus for the event is nothing to be happy about, it was certainly good to see so many people, particularly from the underwater photo and video community, pulling together and cooperating for the purpose of raising funds.
There was food, drink, a few speeches (No one warned me I had to get up and say something!), and an opportunity to see many people I haven't been able to spend time with for a while.
Among the highlights of the evening for me was bumping into Tateishi-san, who founded Diver magazine and was the first person in Japan to support my work and help me get established. He has since retired, so it was a rare pleasure to have a chance to catch up with him:
Tateishi-san, who was the first publisher to support me in Japan
Also among the attendees was Ikuo Nakamura, who is one of the most well-known underwater photographers in Japan. I first met him some years ago when he visited Singapore courtesy of a photo exhibit organised by Epson.
Since then, we've made it a point to get together every once in a while to brainstorm (i.e., get ridiculously drunk), but my intense travel schedule in recent months has meant that we're long overdue for another problem-solving session to address the woes of the world.
Me with Ikuo Nakamura
At the end of the evening, the organisers sent the contributing photographers off with a nice present, commemorative sake (rice wine) produced in honour of Dr Hideyo Noguchi.
Commemorative sake in honour of Hideyo Noguchi
The exhibition at Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Hall continues until 31 July, open daily from 12:00 to 20:00. In addition to T-shirts, photo books, and products from northeastern Japan, the photos on display are also available for purchase...with every last Yen being donated to relief and reconstruction efforts.