Monday, July 25, 2011

Photo Exhibit

A few weeks ago a Nagasaki ALT set up a photo exhibit that was showcased in a gallery (for one weekend) and the Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture (for 1 month). The exhibit featured photos of the prefecture taken by local ALTs. I wrote an article about the exhibit in the last issue of the Nagazasshi and submitted 4 of my own photos, all posted below:

A photo exhibit by the foreign community for the local one….

ALTernative Nagasaki: Nagasaki Through the Eyes of a Foreigner

Boris Yeltsin once said, “We don't appreciate what we have until it's gone. It's like air. When you have it, you don't notice it.” For Jacky Lau, an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in Arie, Nagasaki, this “air” is the everyday environs in which he lives and works. However, he has very much taken notice of his “air”, has found a way to cherish it and now wants to share it with the community.

Lau’s small town of Arie, unlike Nagasaki City or Huis Ten Bosch, is not known as a tourist destination. However, Lau has
found pride and appreciation for his town, which many Nagasaki locals take for granted or even pay no mind to. With the clock ticking before his return home to America, he is determined to share the hidden beauty and charms of his small town, not only with the foreign community, but with Nagasaki locals as well. This was Lau’s inspiration for a photo exhibit entitled “ALTernative Nagasaki.”

Lau and many other Nagasaki ALTs have collected the photos that they feel encapsulate what Nagasaki means to them. As foreign residents of the community, they have the unique opportunity to see Nagasaki through the eyes of a tourist and resident. The ALT often connects with the community and bonds not only with the people but with the physical world around them. In addition, because their time in the environment is often limited, they are forced to evaluate what it means to be in those surroundings in a way that most other foreigners and even some locals have never experienced.

When asked what kind of message he hopes to send through the exhibit, Lau said, “Go to [Nagasaki] Peace Park. Go to Glover Garden. Go to Mt. Inasa. But check out the islands, Shimabara, Matsuura, Saikai. Those places have their own charms that can’t be found in the big cities.” Lau hopes that the exhibit will not only inspire his fellow foreigners to explore the prefecture, but also encourage the locals to do the same. He remarked, “If my bara-bara (rusty) Japanese could [allow] me [to have] such a fantastic time, I could only imagine what a fluent speaker could do.”

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