"Hiraeth" means "homesick" in Welsh.
It means that the scenery of one's native Wales forever lingers in one's heart.
You can't help feeling that way once you've laid eyes on the beautiful scenery of Wales.
However, behind that beauty is the English who government Wales and the Welsh history and its fading culture has been protected at all costs.
That history is reflected in the name "Wales". Today, Wales is called "Wales" in English, but "Cymru" in Welsh. The Anglo Saxons who ruled over Britain called the Celts "Wales" to identify them as "foreigners", but the Celts who escaped called themselves "Cymru", which means "compatriots" in Welsh. Keeping the precious scenery of their homeland in their hearts, they called each other "Cymru" and lived on.
In August 2014, I was invited to an artist residency at National Theatre Wales, and met Jorge lizalde, a filmmaker I have been collaborating on the project since.
I decided to go on foot to visit the location and scenery of the most precious memories of the people who live in Welsh, visiting the town Aberystwyth.
Of course, I went in my usual uniform, a headscarf and sunglasses.
I wanted to look into the treasured memory box lying in the hearts of the Welsh people. Until now, "Memories" and "Thinking of Someone" are works that have left a strong impression on me. My dancing is often inspired by novels and films and my own memories, but on this trip, I want to be stimulated by the lives of those living in Wales. So, with their permission, I hoped that those who tell me their stories will brush off the dust from their memories, and relive them as new. And all ended up in a film documentary "Cymru & I" with the help of Jorge.
Part Two: Cymru & I in Nagaoka
"Hiraeth" is the second part. The location for the second part is Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture. Jorge and I embarked together again.
It is a record of me reconnecting with Nagaoka, the birthplace of which I have no memory, by visiting Nagaoka in Niigata county and hunting the memories of those who live there.
This time, I looked at my childhood albums for the first time. There were photos of me wearing headscarves, photos of me wearing sunglasses, and photos of me holding microphones. Nothing has changed since I was born. A book I recently held said, "What you need more than a place to go to is a place to go home to. You can't choose where you go home to." I'll be happy if you recall memories of your hometown through the scenery of Nagaoka.
Now, I want to take time to interact with the stories/memories shared with me, and tie them together in a dance piece that will be like a collection of short stories. If I can share in the beautiful scenery and memories embedded in that place, I wonder whether I, too, will become "Cymru" or compatriot.