Thoughts on Japan and An Update

17 November 2011

It feels rather strange to come back to this space after being away for so long – I didn’t mean to neglect it, and I’ve been keeping in touch on Twitter, but since the big earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March, it’s been difficult getting back to blogging; I felt that writing about food was not important… But I would like to thank everyone who sent me kind wishes and prayers – it really means a lot to me and I wish I could tell you all how grateful I am.

It’s already been eight months since the earthquake hit – you don’t see much (if any) news about it outside Japan any more, and even in Japan, some people seem to have started forgetting what has happened. I was on my way to work when I learnt about it and how serious the situation was. My family lives in Iwate, one of the worst affected areas; I frantically tried calling them, and it took me three days to finally reach them to know they were OK. They live inland so luckily escaped the tsunami itself – the damage they experienced was relatively little – but the scale of the devastation not far away was just beyond belief.

I grew up in the area too, and spent four years in Sendai (one of the worst hit areas in Miyagi) during college, so it was very hard to watch all of the familiar places get smashed by the massive tsunami which took nearly 20,000 people’s lives – I lost a relative and some friends are still missing. And as if the devastation wasn’t enough, we are now facing many potential issues caused by the damage to the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Thousands of people were forced to move out, and some of them will never be able to go back to their homes in their lifetime. Many people in Japan are living with fear and uncertainty of what the future holds and struggling with the lack of information and logistical support from the government. So, we will be facing some difficult times, but at the same time we are determined to get through them and rebuild our lives.

I’m actually posting this on my way back to Japan – it’s been four years since I was last there so I obviously haven’t seen any of the damage or ensuing changes, and with the fact that my mother is ill, it will be a very emotional trip for me. But I’ll have plenty to keep me busy, and I hope to share some experiences when I come back – and that I can organise something through this blog to help those still in need.

On a brighter note, my work has been very busy this year and I’ve been travelling a lot for my assignments. I’ve been shooting a book for wonderful author Cherry Menlove; a few months ago I was honoured to work with Bill Granger for The Independent; regularly shooting for US magazine Culture as well as Japanese magazine Ryori Tsushin; and my images from friend Jane Cumberbatch‘s beautiful home were featured on Design Sponge etc. I’m looking forward to sharing more here sometime soon.

Today I’ll leave you with images from a project I’ve been working on over this year – shooting for an exciting new online magazine, The Foodie Bugle, started by Italian food writer Silvana de Soissons. It’s dedicated to highlighting the work of anyone with a real passion for food, from artisan producers to writers and everyone between. Silvana is one of the most passionate and loveliest people I’ve ever met – let alone shooting and tasting her delicious and hearty food, it’s a joy just spending time with her (and her dogs & cats) at her beautifully restored Wiltshire home.

On one of our shoots, Silvana took me to the Daylesford Organic farm in Gloucestershire – some of you have probably seen their beautiful products at their London branches, but the farm shop itself is even more extensive and charming. After our delicious lunch, we were privileged to be given a tour of their estate (not normally open to the public) to see all their animals and learn about their philosophy of organic growing and rearing. You can read more about them on Silvana’s blog – it’s a wonderful place and I urge you to visit there if you are in or near Gloucestershire.

OK, I should go now – hope you’re all well and look forward to catching up with you soon. kx


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  • Beautiful post, Keiko. We were really touched by the horrific events that took place in Japan and our thoughts have been with everyone throughout this whole time. Fortunately all our family there was safe and I am glad to hear yours were too. x

    Posted by Maria | 17 November 2011 #
  • I hope you find some things to cheer you when you go back to japan. As you say, it will be a very emotional trip. In the meantime, you give people a lot of pleasure with your beautiful pictures

    Posted by Charlie | 17 November 2011 #
  • welcome back k!

    i’ve visited daylesford organic up north(ish) a few years ago and remember getting all excited about all the things they have and how beautiful the place indeed is. just hoping their tokyo branch in aoyama would stock up a bit more things…

    hopefully catch up soon x

    Posted by chika | 17 November 2011 #
  • Hi Keiko.

    Thank you for blogging again. Your blog update is always looked forward to – I miss glancing through the gorgeous photographs early in the morning by the window before getting to work, looking for inspiration.

    I wish you a fulfilling trip back to your hometown. I’m coming back to mine at the end of this year as well, and can somewhat understand your feelings right now.

    Be well.

    Anne L.

    Posted by Anne L. | 17 November 2011 #
  • It was very bittersweet reading about Japan and your emotional turmoil when that happened. Glad your family was okay. I hope you have a nice reunion as I am writing this and find strength and peace in everything. The pictures are beautiful! So amazing that you got to shoot for Bill. He is so awesome!

    Posted by Sneh | Cook Republic | 17 November 2011 #
  • I think we can all understand that some things in life definitely take priority over others, especially when it comes to your home, family and friends. All the best!

    Posted by Mallory | 17 November 2011 #
  • Oh! It feels so funny to see rhubarb and cheery cherry tomatoes! What a gorgeous reminder of the summer.

    With all that you’ve had going on, thanks for taking the time to post a little bit.

    I’m sorry to hear about your relative and missing friends. I know your trip will be bittersweet; please take care of yourself.

    Posted by Stella | 17 November 2011 #
  • So glad to hear you’re alive and well!! I completely understand the desire for a break from blogging in light of much more serious events. Hoping the best for your mother!

    Posted by Tintin | 18 November 2011 #
  • Keiko all my thought go with you. you must be going through a hard time but I hope it will get better.

    Daylesford organic I a favourite spot in London. ad I hope one day to be able to visit the farm. your pictures are so beautiful. xx

    Posted by fanny | 18 November 2011 #
  • Our thoughts are with you as you head home!

    Posted by Nicole | 18 November 2011 #
  • Good to see you back!..Have missed your stunning photography..

    Good luck with your visit

    T x

    Posted by Tim Boswijk | 18 November 2011 #
  • Have good moments, reconnecting with loved ones and your mother land, Keiko.
    So great to see your work and contributions ! Such an inspiration !

    Posted by Vanille | 18 November 2011 #
  • I can only imagine what people in Japan have been through and are still going through after the terrible tsunami…

    It’s good to see you back here! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs.
    Have a good trip home!

    Posted by Magda | 18 November 2011 #
  • Love to you and your family and friends. So nice to see more of your inimitable photographic work, too. x

    Posted by Lou | 18 November 2011 #
  • Welcome back! I hope things at home are getting better.

    This post is beautiful, I feel so hungry and relaxed now! Thank you!!


    Posted by Francesca | 18 November 2011 #
  • I hope your trip to Japan goes well. News tend to forget, but people remember, and Japanese people are always in our thoughts.

    Thank you for posting so many beatiful pictures and for the interesting links. Every post of yours, no matter how rare, is such a gift.

    Posted by Caffettiera | 18 November 2011 #
  • okaerinasai.

    Posted by ma | 18 November 2011 #
  • I’m praying with you, for you and your family. and for Japan and its future. Do take care, and thank you for all these beautiful photographs.

    Posted by cocopuff1212 | 18 November 2011 #
  • So happy to hear you are well and have had a good year, despite the tragedy in Japan. I have missed your blog, but understand why you needed a break. I think I speak for many readers when I say we’ll take what we can get! Sending you hopes for a good trip home, and peace and health to you and your friends and family.

    Posted by Rebecca | 18 November 2011 #
  • Amazing photos, Ill have to check out the foodie bugle!

    Posted by low carb recipe | 18 November 2011 #
  • Thank you so much everyone for your kind words! kxx

    Posted by keiko | 19 November 2011 #
  • Hello, Keiko san. I have found your beautiful blog while your blog was inactive for a moment to reflect what happened in your home country. So, practically, this is my first comment on your blog.

    I live in Japan and used to live outside of our country for over 10 years. While living in foreign land, I always think of Japan, missed Japan. The most thing I didn’t like was I couldn’t be on site when something happened in my family, happy or sad.

    So I understand how you felt when you tried to reach your family after the quake which took 3 full days. When you are not physiclly close to your family and friends, he imagination just grows minute by minute. I am glad your family is well…

    We shouldn’t forget what happened on that day and live fully as we are lived. Anyway, I am happy to read your lovely blog with pretty pictures from now on!

    From your new reader

    Posted by Yuri | 20 November 2011 #
  • I cannot even begin to imganine what it must be like for you and your family having experienced this natural disaster. Hopefully, your mother will get well soon and I wish you all the best for you and your family. I have been having some withdrawal symptoms from your blog, but luckily found the Foodie Bugle a while ago and have seen your work there. On a different note, the New York Times does regularly have articles about the situation in Japan as does The Economist, so if people are interested I’d recommend looking there on and off.

    All the best

    Posted by Helle (Helen) | 20 November 2011 #
  • Hey Keiko,

    Hope you’re having a good trip back to Japan and it’s good to see you back here again. It was great to see you for a bit in Paris too, and I hope we’ll get to do it again soon.

    Love this series of pictures – you’re doing a fabulous job of it.

    Talk soon

    Lil xx

    Posted by Lau | 20 November 2011 #
  • Hello Keiko, how wonderful to see your inspirational photos again, we missed you! thinking of you and your family in Japan, must be so emotional for you to be there now.
    Looking forward to see more of the projects you have worked on recently

    Posted by Iris @ The Yummyblogsisters | 21 November 2011 #
  • What happened in Japan is really a tragedy for the whole world. And of course most of all for the people who lives in the area. I think of you and your family…...
    On the other hand I will say thank you for showing all photos – they are beautiful. /Eva

    Posted by Nässelblom och choklad | 22 November 2011 #
  • Hello Keiko-san,

    i discovered your blog about a year ago, it must have been just before the earthquake and tsunami struck, and i had a feeling you were on silent mode because of that.

    my family was struck by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 so i know exactly how you feel.

    i hope your mom will get better soon, and that the trip back home will still be a good one!

    always enjoy looking at your beautiful pictures and reading your stories.

    gambatte kudasai ne!


    Posted by Aiko | 22 November 2011 #
  • けいこさん
    ひさしぶりの 更新 そして 今は 日本なんですね
    こころは いろんな風に 揺れ動いて 自分をつくっているのですよね けいこさんの目に映っているものを 私も いっしょに 見られるって すごいですね きっと私は レンズと 被写体にある スタンスのとりかたに 惹かれているように思います ほんとに やさしい。 癒されます どうぞ ご家族と 有意義な時を過ごされますよう お祈りしています

    Posted by Harumi | 22 November 2011 #
  • I’ve checked your blog often after the tsunami hit Japan. I’m afraid I’m not all that good on twitter. I’m glad your immediate family is safe. My heart goes out to the devastation that the locals have to live with and the many who have lost loved ones. Regardless, your visit to Japan goes well.

    Posted by chocolatecookiescandies | 23 November 2011 #
  • Thank you so much for your the lovely update Keiko. The beauty of your pictures are plain to see but i’d forgotten how much I missed your writing too; simply written but warm and full of enthusiasm for the finer things in life. Always an inspiring read! Hope that the trip to Japan went well and that your mum is recovering

    Mata ne

    Posted by Paul | 24 November 2011 #
  • Hi Keiko-san,
    I have been enjoying your blog for a couple years. Your credible photographs always cheer me up.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the
    tsunami disaster. I can imagine how hard the trip will be…I hope things are getting better.
    Please take care of yourself.

    Posted by megusta | 25 November 2011 #
  • Thank you for the beautiful update of recent photos. Good luck on your trip and with your mother’s health.
    Your pictures are as exquisite as ever.
    kind regards,

    Posted by parisbreakfasts | 27 November 2011 #
  • Good to hear from you again, Keiko! What happened last March in Japan was horrific. I remember checking the Internet every half an hour for updates on the situation. Our hearts go out to the people of Japan. I visited your beautiful country in 2010 and fell in love with it and it’s people immediatly and can’t wait to come back.

    I wish you all the best for your trip back home and hope your mother will get well soon.

    Posted by Sini | 29 November 2011 #
  • Really gorgeous photos. Best of luck in Japan.

    Posted by Lily | 30 November 2011 #
  • Keiko those are gorgeous pictures, however i wish you all the best in this time. Our prayers go to those in Japan who have suffered.

    Posted by Amy | 30 November 2011 #
  • Thank you so much again for all the kind words, it means a lot to me. kx

    Posted by keiko | 30 November 2011 #
  • けい子さん

    Posted by mop | 30 November 2011 #
  • Welcome back. I have missed your posts. Have a safe trip and I hope your family is okay and your Mom feels better.

    Posted by Melanie Neichin | 30 November 2011 #
  • Dear Keiko,
    I was checking your blog time and again to see if there is anything new and I figured that I was because of the events in Japan that you refrained from doing so for so long. I am also a japanese living abroad and will go back to Japan in two weeks. I hope you will find a way to organise help for people still in need through your blog because I wish to do so myself but am at a loss on how to do it.

    Posted by Yoko | 2 December 2011 #
  • Getting back into reading blogs after a long hiatus. You didn’t use to like apples. Are you liking better these days? :)


    Posted by emi (lipe) love | 3 December 2011 #
  • Dear Keiko

    It’s wonderful to have you back. Good luck on your trip to Japan. Your images are always such a reminder of the beauty that’s in the world – and so they are important.

    Posted by Rachel Morarjee | 5 December 2011 #
  • what a gorgeous blog im so glad i came across it

    Posted by tink | 6 December 2011 #
  • wow your photos are truly amazing, I spent a lot of time enjoying them

    Posted by betty | 7 December 2011 #
  • so happy for your post! you were definitely missed. but of course, writing about food should be the least of ones worries when a massive crisis comes into their life. something like that puts our life into perspective, which can be a blessing in many ways, no matter how terrible and ugly the situation is. but you have such a beautiful gift in making art….you make the most beautiful photos and food such quality of art and inspiration. blessings to you and your family in japan. xx

    Posted by | 8 December 2011 #
  • Dear Keiko,
    After reading about your sadness about your homeland, I really hope you can find some peace of mind one day soon. All I know is that time is a great healer.
    Your pictures are again so beautifully photographed and reach out to so many people. You share something very special with us, and I’m sure most who look at your site will get the same feeling of peace and pleasure when looking at your work. May it also come back to you soon.
    Thoughts are with you and your family,

    Posted by Astrid | 9 December 2011 #
  • Dear Keiko, I love Japan and I’m really touched by your post.
    Like Rachel said, your’re images speak of the beauty in live and your work is meaningful. I’m sending you and your family my warm wishes.

    Posted by Alexandra | 12 December 2011 #
  • Hi Keiko, I just wanted to say welcome back. It was really touching to hear you speak about this difficult subject and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I wish you and your family all the best in the recovery and for the future. If you decide to organise anything for those in need I’d be glad to help – I know I’m just a little blogger somewhere out there in the blogosphere but I have many Japanese friends so I know how hard it was for them.
    Your photos are beautiful!
    All the best,

    Posted by Pudding Pie Lane | 12 December 2011 #
  • Keiko san- I hope you had a wonderful visit to Japan and back in England with peace in your heart. Not only your photography, but writing are beautiful as always. The scar that the earthquake left in the hardest hit areas seem still deep and I am sure it will take a long time for the devastated areas to recover. I think that the emotional and psychological impact that the earthquakes gave to the Japanese people, especially the elderly, was bigger than we could imagine. I hope your mom is doing better in health. I am certain that your going home to see her and family meant the world to her. It is hard for those of us who live far from home when parents fall ill.

    Congrats on all the projects you have done. Your business and work with photography sound blossoming. How wonderful!

    All the best to you and your family.


    Posted by Kaho | 10 January 2012 #
  • dear keiko,
    it is lovely to see you here again. it is so hard to understand why there is such tragedy in this life, my heart goes out to you and your family. as always your photographs are superb and whisk me away from the snowy minnesota view out my window. the way you captured jane’s home is just dreamy.
    take care, dawn

    Posted by dawn | 14 January 2012 #
  • great blog

    Posted by catherine dentale | 21 January 2012 #
  • What a beautiful blog! And the food looks delicious. I am glad I found it, always looking for inspiration!

    Posted by shelly | 24 January 2012 #
  • はじめまして。

    Posted by yukiko | 30 January 2012 #
  • Always so great. Thanks to be back!

    Posted by Sabrina | 5 February 2012 #
  • Gorgeous post with incredible photos — welcome back, Keiko :)

    Posted by Kiran @ | 10 February 2012 #
  • Beautiful as always. Glad you are back.

    Posted by Melanie | 25 February 2012 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for a while now – the photography is stunning. I love the airiness in them which is also reflected in the design of your blog itself. I’m glad to see you posting again.

    I spent part of my childhood in Japan, and although it was in Tokyo which wasn’t affected, I retain the warmest feelings for the country and its people – the language, traditions, food and art (my collection of ukiyo-e is nowhere big enough for my taste).

    I was so sad to hear about the tsunami and the devastating impact on the people affected. Although I donated to a charity specifically for tsumani victims, it didn’t seem like I was doing enough. I felt a little useless sitting thousands of miles away not doing anything really concrete.

    I hope your mother has recovered and I look forward to many more posts to come.

    Posted by Karen Thurman | 3 March 2012 #
  • Unas imagenes fantásticas, felicidades por el blog.

    Posted by Pedro Álvarez | 4 March 2012 #
  • beautiful blog, love your photos. so much mood.

    Sweet Sarah french macarons, marshmallows, cookies

    Posted by ngmui86 | 6 March 2012 #
  • I am stunned by your eye for beauty. I just stumbled on your blog from a link off the Seven Spoons blog and am so pleased to have found your site. Gorgeous work!

    Posted by Julia {The Roasted Root} | 6 March 2012 #
  • Un Billet magnifique, plein de vie et de parfums gourmands, j’aime !

    Nedj, France Posted by nedj | 6 March 2012 #
  • Hi there Keiko,

    Really hope you can post again soon with more desserts photos and stories behind. I always love your blog since last 3 years, when i first found it on the internet. I just love how you make them.Your desserts is always looks pro.

    By the way, since i knew some of your photography it’s very annoying to see your photo in other people’s website without even given a credit about the photo.

    So, please check this website. I am absolutely sure, it’s one of your photo.

    Hope to see your new post soon.

    Posted by Home Patissier | 9 March 2012 #
  • Beautiful pictures as always. I love the quality of the light. Are all the indoor shots in natural light or did you also supplement with flash/strobes?

    Posted by Edwina | 9 April 2012 #
  • Hi,
    very nice photos. What is the brand of your machine and use the lens.


    Posted by meral | 26 April 2012 #
  • A friend sent me your link. I was amazed by your fantastic photos. Looking forward to your new post.

    Posted by nippon nin | 25 June 2012 #
  • Hi Keiko-san

    It has been a long time since I last hear you. How are you Keiko-san? Hope you are well.

    I’ve just read your post this evening. I couldn’t stop my tears falling when I read “some people seem to have started forgetting what has happened”. This is really true…

    That is brilliant that you are working with such a great people and a lot of people will see your published photos. Your works touch our hearts. Just so stunning.


    Posted by rizza | 25 August 2012 #

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