Zoom Tomodachi
Zoom Tomodachi


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My first ski destination after leaving Tokyo was in the Nagano region, a small village in the mountains called Nozawaonsen. My friend and I checked into our place and went straight to skiing. When we got down, we went for drinks at a small bar. My friend left before me and I drank for a couple hours with some locals and other travelers. I still had my ski boots and stuff on. It was -15 C and a big snow storm blew in and it was dark when I left. Everything in this town was in Japanese, and maps didn’t show the place I was staying. So I was straight lost.

I walked for a bit, saw lights on at what looked like a small Airbnb type place. So I knocked on the door hoping to ask for directions. An old man that looked in his 80s with large glasses greeted me at the door. He didn’t speak much English at all and I don't speak any Japanese. He kindly invited me in and poured me a whisky. I was able to get the point across of where I was staying on some folded map. He put on some snow boots, grabbed his cane, walked to the door and stepped outside with me. He was not sure how to explain where the place was, and saw it was dark and a total blizzard. His place was in fact a small Airbnb with four other guests staying in a separate area. He showed me a spare room and insisted I stay the night, after I repeatedly said I was ok to find my way. So we ended up on his computer, showing him where I grew up in Canada. He got really excited and kept saying, "Grizzly bears" (haha). We played some card games, and I managed to download a translation app so we could communicate. We really enjoyed a special connection together even though verbal communication was a challenge. When I woke up early in the morning, there were a couple other guests having breakfast and he again insisted I join them. I asked him several times what he charged for a night, and tried to pay him. He refused to take any money and kept smiling and saying “Tomodachi”, which means friend, I found out later.  I got his card that had his info, then parted ways. It was sunny now and I found my way to my friend and went skiing.   

Later, on the Japan trip, I was telling the story to some Japanese guys around my age that did speak English. They explained to me that in the older generation/tradition it is a huge honor to help a traveler in need, and that the elderly man probably will tell the story as much as I will.

When I got back to Canada, I emailed him with Google translate and he was able to respond back. I mailed out a Thank You card with a bottle of maple syrup.

Medium: Faber-Castell Polychromos Color Pencil Painting, Caran D-Ache Luminance, and Derwent Lightfast Oil-based Coloured Pencils.

Paper: Strathmore Artist Tiles | 6” x 6” | 15.3 x 15.3 cm | 60 lb. | 160 g/m2 

Original: Includes professionally framed in a white frame, acid free, straight fit, Ultravue 70% glass and acid free backing with a wire backing. Bio, Certificate of Authenticity, and their individual story. 

Size:  6” x 6” | Framed 7 ⅛” SQUARE and ¾” deep

Pre-Order Limited Edition Print to Canvas: I have my artwork professionally scanned locally here in Vancouver, B.C. and printed to canvas using eco-solvent inks with a satin finish, gallery wrapped, and saw hook. Bio, Certificate of Authenticity, and their individual story is also included.

Size: 6 x 6 inches



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