Daikanyama with Michelle Yamase

I met Michelle through Instagram ahead of my Tokyo trip. I asked her if she would be willing to model for me and luckily she said yes! Beyond that, she taught me Japanese (my fave word - 'sugoi') while I taught her Korean. It was fascinating to listen to her experiences as a Japanese-American living in Tokyo; the clashes of her outspoken personality with the conformist culture of the Japanese and yet feeling right at home in Tokyo. It reminded me of my own experiences growing up as a third-culture kid, of the difficulty of fully fitting in and dreaming of another location where I might feel more like I belong.

Michelle is naturally bubbly and cheerful but for this shoot, I suggested going for a more moody (mu-di in Japanese) look.