Third piece of a series of spontaneous night encounters, seized and captured by Issam Kechouri.
For either a shot of self-contemplation or a cocktail of casual conversation, the intimate bars of Tokyo represent the unique social rhythm of the city.
For many foreigners who pass through or settle in Tokyo, the bijou drinking holes which line the streets have been the catalyst for their love affair with Japan.
Formerly from France, Issam worked in multimedia industries in Paris and Canada before settling in the Japanese metropolis.
Since his arrival in Tokyo, he is inspired by the city at night, the time where the work hours end, and the Tokyojin seek refuge from the day beneath the glare of the city lights. The opportunity to improve his Japanese allowed him to absorb the stories, dreams and visions of creative individuals in the intimate comfort of a bar.
Fascinated by documentary filmmaking and the individuality of artists, Issam’s most recent project, Tadaima, is a collection of videos and stills which focus on an opportunistic form of collaboration.
A direct translation of Tadaima is "right now,"
but has the cultural connotation of meaning, "I'm home."
This term has an emotional characteristic for Issam and constitutes a metaphor intrinsically linked to his experience of living in Japan.
To him, it represents his passion for the introductions he makes with unique individuals, as though it were a destined opportunity for collaboration. A sense of feeling at home with a stranger and sharing their stories with the lens of his camera in the immediate moment of their encounter.
This, to Issam, is Tadaima.
On an unusually warm evening in December, Issam and a friend ventured to the neighborhood of Hatagaya. While sipping on a can of lemon sour, they scanned the area for a suitably crowded izakaya - one which had bar seating and an eclectic mix of patrons.
Conversations soon began with a man Issam noted for his fancy hat - a video director too, as chance would have it. After explaining Tadaima, Issam decided to accompany the video director to his favorite bar in the area, one in which he was assured to meet interesting people.
Not far from the izakaya, Rokugosakaba Bar (六号酒場） was typically Japanese in that it was notably compact. The dimly lit space was understatedly fitted with wooden interiors and Issam quickly fell in love with the new location.
Within minutes, the bartender’s best sake was being shared and conversations were started with others seated at the bar. One of whom was a very tall man with a large beard; Masahito-san.
Masahito-san shared that he was a drummer in the prog-rock band: Dhidalah, which had even toured in Issam’s home town Lyon. Common interest was peaked and the two discussed the passion they have for their art and their mutual love of music.
Masahito-san has always been part of a more underground music scene and has experimented with the rhythm and sounds of free jazz. He has always loved the power of classical music, largely due to learning classical piano as a child. As Issam had played drums as a child. He was elated to find somebody who he found to have a lot in common with, and not before long began discussing the Tadaima project and requesting an immediate collaboration.
As is key to the nature of the drums, Masahito-san said that they would be too loud for the late hour, and the two agreed to meet in the next few days to film the third episode of Tadaima in Masahito-san’s studio, the Sur Sound Studio in Hatagaya.
Whenever I play the drums...
Whilst filming, Issam was in awe of Masahito-san’s energy, which was in contrast to his relaxed manner at Rokugosakaba bar.
As Masahito-san free-styled passionately on the drums, his eyes closed as he connected to the music, Issam knew that he wanted to shoot the energy he witnessed, and not merely create a recording of the music. The juxtaposition of the physical power of his drumming and passion for music with a contrasting piece by Mozart, speaks to the emotive concept of Tadaima.
It is to be at home with one’s self and at home with another through art, and like art, a home is a personal expression of oneself, sometimes surprising and always emotionally expressive.
... I feel like the Midnight Cowboy.
As one collaboration comes to an end, the Tadaima project goes on. With new locations to fall in love with, different individuals to inspire and perhaps a different cocktail to be enjoyed, who will cross Issam’s path next?
Performance by Masahito Goda
Director & Editor - Issam Kechouri
Sound Design - Romain Guedj
Color Grade - Max Golomidov
Music - 'Lacrimosa' by Mozart
Title Design - Jeremie Leonard
Post-production Producer - Julie Guillot
Copywriting - Francesca Roberts
Editorial Design - Julie Guillot
Special Thanks to Ide Ichiro.