Story Behind the Move

New York – Seattle

  O barco está mais seguro no porto, mas não é esse o objetivo dos barcos.
「船は港にいるとき最も安全であるが、それは船が造られた目的ではない。」
パウロ・コエ−リョ
  “The boat is safer when anchored at the harbor,
however that is not what  it’s built for.”
*1

                   –  from Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage

“Sunset at Harbor #2 ” *2 Saint-Malo, France.  Misako OBA
The original print is archival gelatin silver print. (14×18 inch with mat/ frame)  Edition of 5

I moved to Seattle from Manhattan, New York City.

Many people ask why I moved from New York to Seattle. Okay, so it is now official that I moved to Seattle! It’s been great and I still feel excited!

There is more than one reason for my move and it has been a process. But, the quote above is somehow representing my answer to the question.

I loved New York and I still do. NYC is probably the easiest city for me to live in in the world. I feel New York is slow and easy, less crowded, less competitive, and feels closer to nature than Tokyo where I previously lived. People in New York City are friendly and culturally diverse. You can be accepted and even respected at times  when you do things differently from others. Living there, I felt so relaxed and comfortable. New York City is artist-friendly as well. (I lived in Paris for a while and have experienced staying in London, Brussels, Berlin, Geneva, and Hong Kong…etc. So, I can compare NY to those urban cities. New York fits me well although I am Japanese. I know I am not typical, though.)

I felt like New York City became a home.  Yes, it became a harbor for me.

However, after a few years, I had experienced most things in the city, and it wasn’t inspiring anymore. A lot of elements in NYC kept me there much longer than I originally planned… professional, social, and personal circumstances, which was great. Yet, it felt like I was in lukewarm water, living a sort of easy and comfortable life. Like a boat at the harbor. Safe. Maybe, nothing is wrong with that, but I knew I should move on to the next step. I had come all the way from Japan and now I pondered and reconsidered my mission and new vision in life. I began praying about the next place for last couple of years.

I figured this year was the right time, and felt convinced and it made sense to make this move. It was a calling. This is another reason that I decided to take a step.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
– Isaiah 43:18, 19 (NIV)

Sometimes, even though you need to get more motivated, the situation doesn’t allow you to move. Yet, it is true, there is a time for everything.

After a while, moving to Seattle became so obvious, as if some kind of current took over my will and I couldn’t resist it. That seemed like reason enough, and I was excited to leave the city finally.  But, it had to be for the right reason, a constructive move in my head. Yet I sometimes go forward by guts or faith to be precise. It seems like the decision to move there had both.

It was a long process, but towards the end, things happened very quickly and I left this comfortable place, New York City. At least for now. I feel I can go back any time, as it is my “hometown.”

To me, living in Seattle is much more challenging than living in New York City. I have figured that even before arriving. But, life is not all about living comfortably. I am already experiencing a lot of culture and societal differences, and people are different as well. It is interesting. It may sound strange to say, but to me, Seattle is much more exciting. There is an artistic reason as well. (I will tell you about it some other time. ).  So anyway, I feel more alive here like a fish in water. I am very much enjoying the city of Seattle and Pacific Northwest.

Shark – Boat

In my previous post, I talked about a shark that has to keep moving in order to stay alive. So does Anderson Cooper. So do I. This may be understood by those who have had extreme experiences in life. Perhaps, you can understand this.

Keeping in motion and creating art is a necessary process for me to stay alive. It normally happens as if I need a breeze. However, sometimes, I feel the need to move deliberately or even force myself to get through.

The quote helped (and still helps) me keep going whenever I feel stuck, lazy or too comfortable. It’s not easy but I think I get more motivation and inspiration.

Life is a journey.   El Camino (path)…..to walk.   Journey of life, which has been the theme of my work. *3

I still travel to New York, Japan, the rest of the U.S., and the world. But, for now, I’m based in Seattle for my work/ art and more. I feel inspired to create. I’m happy and grateful for everything.  Fortunately, shortly after moving, I read the article in Businessweek that Seattle became the second best city in the U.S. to live!  This is a bonus for me.

America’s 50 Best CitiesBest Places to Live in 2012 (by Businessweek)

The top city is San Francisco. (New York is 7th place. Sorry! But, I still like it.)

I sailed out to a new ocean and found a new location. Story goes on.

*1.)   I read the book in Japanese and translated this quote into English. The author is Portuguese. Therefore, it may be different from the English translated version in Also, there is an American writer who seems to have said this quote.
*2.)   This work is at Converge Gallery.  Please contact John, a gallery director if you find it interesting or if you have any questions..
From November 1 to through December 22, 2012, a group show “Sinner & Saints” will be at Converge Gallery, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
(Opening reception: Thursday, November 1 )  As for my work, large scale photography and printmaking (etching) works will be exhibited. Like us on facebook for the updated information. (The link icon is on the right.)
*3.)   Black and white photography work (traditional gelatin silver prints) from El Camino and Peace in Your Mind series has been on view (since September through October 28th at the Peter Herdic House, curated by Converge Gallery.
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About misako

Artist/Author
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5 Responses to Story Behind the Move

  1. Eric says:

    Misako,
    What inspires you in Seattle?
    What does Anderson Cooper have to do with all of this?!
    Glad to hear you are doing wel!

  2. misako says:

    Eric,
    What inspires me in Seattle?
    Oh, so much to say! It will be another blog. (I was originally writing, but it became too long…so). Stay tuned!
    As for Anderson Cooper, please refer to my previous post “Numbing Your Emotions”
    https://misakooba.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/166/
    It is related to his book, Dispatches from the Edge.

    Happy to hear your comment. Thank you!

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