First 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.
To be alone in a bar in Tokyo is an experience one enters not with a feeling of loneliness, but one which offers a moment of peace within Japan’s most populated prefecture. For many foreigners who pass through or settle in the city, these bijou drinking holes have been the catalyst for their love affair with Tokyo.
For director, Issam Kechouri, it was within the walls of Tokyo’s hole-in-the-wall bars where creative inspiration was poured from the individuals that he met.
Formerly from France, Issam worked in multimedia industries in Paris and Canada before settling in the Japanese metropolis. Since his arrival in Tokyo, he has been 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 resonance 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 through the lens of his camera in the immediate moment of their encounter.
This, to Issam, is Tadaima.
One rainy night in August, Issam was recommended to have a drink at the TICO Bar in Shimokitazawa — a bohemian enclave of the city.
While Issam shyly sipped his drink, he noticed a woman with a green frog bag at the bar. After making his introductions, he found out that Chiho Yokoyama is a dancer, and they shared stories about living abroad and the passion they have for their art. The fact that Issam had his camera was a lucky coincidence as he had used it for a shoot earlier in the day.
This fortuitously gave way for the creation of the first video in the Tadaima series.
Why do I dance?
He suggested to Chiho san that they collaborate outside in five minutes, regardless of the rain.
While the confidence to make such a suggestion may have been aided by the drinks that were being had, Issam was surprised and excited by her enthusiasm for the idea. The pair then headed into the street outside and shared a creative connection as she danced and he captured her movements in the rain.
The resulting piece displays the emotional spontaneity of their meeting, the sharing of their different passions in the streets of the city they both call home.
Dance is a place that continuously draws me back.
Chiho san was born and raised in Japan and is a dancer, choreographer, singer and actress. She has been involved in many shows in both New York and Tokyo and has been a member of dance companies such as the Fuerza Bruta company.
When Chiho san is not dancing or acting, she can be found under the luminous city skyline, dancing in the rain.
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 had, who will cross Issam’s path next?
Performance by Chiho Yokoyama
Director & Editor - Issam Kechouri
Sound Design - Romain Guedj
Music - 'Angelene' by Thomas Azier
Title Design - Jeremie Leonard
Post-production Producer - Julie Guillot
Copywriting - Francesca Roberts
Editorial Design - Julie Guillot
Special Thanks to Gabriel Kei.