I left my home country Japan at a very young age. As is the case with many first generation immigrants, I grew up cultivating a painfully sentimentalized idea of my homeland, composed of all the missing parts of my childhood. This idea grew more abstract, surreal, and ephemeral as the years went by.

The Japan I know is an amalgamation of stories and anecdotes told to me in a slow Kansai drawl. It is an amorphic compilation of memories that encompass me but don’t belong to me. It is the side profile of a woman in shadow, the heavy aroma of charcoal-laden cedar, a coil of smoke rising from a stick of incense. To me, Japan is a feeling rather than a place.

面影 (omokage)–or visage, in Japanese–is an ongoing collection of images taken over the course of multiple visits to my homeland. It is in no way a complete or journalistic depiction of Japan. It is, however, one perpetually homesick individual's sensory exploration of a country that has served both as a cognitive mainstay and a source of heartache, a subjective "homeland" that perhaps only exists in the quiet recesses of her imagination.

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