Tuesday, September 06, 2011

'Trip'ping Away from Reality

For months after March 11 I felt as though things would never get back to 'normal', meaning the way they had been. "We will find a new 'normal'," I had thought. This new 'normal' would not include unbridled fun or the spending of any unnecessary money.

It hasn't worked out this way exactly; there is fun again and I do splurge from time to time (although it is usually on a new piece of filming equipment for work). Saying that, there aren't any days that I don't think about what is happening up north, especially in Fukushima. And there isn't a delicious piece of fruit or a cold glass of water that I don't wonder how much, if any, radiation is in it.

In my blog post "Director for Hire" last week ( here) I talked about filming promotional videos as one of the ways that I earn money to help pay for my documentaries, such as the one I am currently making about the children of Minamisoma who are living in the 30 km radiation zone around the damaged nuclear power plant.

Since yesterday, I have been in Yamanashi filming one such promotional video for a hotel and hotsprings resort, the first commercial filming work I have done since March 11. For many reasons, including its relative distance from Fukushima and the fact that more Japanese people are traveling closer to home rather than abroad since March 11, Yamanashi has seen an increase in the number of visitors this summer.

Yamanashi is known for its natural onsen mineral baths and weather condusive to growing many kinds of fruits (grapes, cherries, peaches, persimmons and more). During this short trip filming, I found myself wondering which life of mine was reality- the one where I make documentaries about issues that I really care about or the one where I do commercial work for money?

The answer? Both. This is my new normal.

In the vineyard with the Stedi-cam operator, Tak-san.

Fresh peaches.

Poolside wine service at the onsen resort.

Chocolate fountain on the dessert buffet.

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