Tales of the Waria

Crazy Japanese Lady

Judging from these photos my assistant Dimas took, you’d think that I only have two expressions when I’m shooting: mad and madder.

Trying to endure the mid-day heat
Shooting nearby kids a dirty look

Sometimes I’m struck by how strange I must seem to the local Makassar people. I’ve come a great distance (from Japan, everyone assumes) to spend all my time with transvestites and gay men. I’m traveling alone though I’m a woman and seem blissfully unaware that I’m in perpetual danger. I make strange demands, asking people to turn off their music or restrain their children so that we can shoot a documentary film—a foreign concept in itself. And then there are all the little things that I do that raise eyebrows. Like ask for drinks without sugar (in a country where four spoonfuls of sugar in your tea is the norm). Or get irrationally distressed when I can’t access the internet. And wash my hands to the point where it’s probably detrimental to my health…

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