I fell in love with Japan, its people and culture, when I first visited. The feeling was so strong that I felt the need to return to see if it was due just to the ‘culture shock’ or if a second visit would reaffirm and even strengthen the feeling.

During the first few days of my second visit to Japan I realised quickly that my love affair with this country was not a passing affair. Whilst it’s true that the ‘culture shock’ wasn’t as strong as the first time, it’s also true that nothing can ever compare to the sensations provoked by the first time. But this time round I felt I was able better to appreciate the very special Japanese way of being and doing, which felt like a breath of fresh air.

Japan is a country of established order, where thousands of people, illuminated by giant billboards, can cross the street and not bump into each other and where rivers of people can stream into the metro in rush hour without causing an overflow.

These impressions (which may be wrong or skewed given the short time I was there) make me think of Japan as a country of movement and rest. I like to represent movement by lines – lines which show where movement starts, finishes and the way and direction it takes. These lines, which may be literal or figurative, also flank the rest, which is represented by the colour white so as to let the whole composition breath.  At the moment I like playing with cut-outs of images and characters that I come across, and can then place in this world.

Japan is a country that spins you round, and sets the pace, but at the same time provides you with the space and rest you need just at the moment when you most need it.

Through illustrating this book, I have tried to transmit to the reader the same sensations and feelings I experienced with the same subtlety and softness that this very special country transmitted them to me.