Underwater Transformation About Face Underwater Transformation About Face

Inspiring Young Minds

Underwater Healer About Face
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As you may remember, one of my resolutions for 2016, is to increase my speaking engagement frequency - and yes, still aiming for that TED Talk! I’m so excited to tell you that am speaking at not one, but two, college photography classes this month! First, I’ll be speaking at City College San Francisco in mid-April, and shortly thereafter at City College San Jose. I’m excited to share my passion with young, budding photographers. My work, and my Underwater Healer project, has evolved so much over the years. I’ve learned and grown so much. I’m excited to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned and hopefully inspire THEM to tell their own empowering stories. Hopefully this is a great opportunity for me and the students alike and that they will also find an interest in my project sharing survivor stories. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find myself leading them in a workshop because they discovered an interest in underwater photography! The possibilities are endless. I’m also happy to try out some of my new-found presentation skills and tips I learned at a public speaking workshop I attended earlier this year! I am taking my resolution very seriously and am proud at myself for accomplishing what I have so far this year. I have a few more surprises in the works that will bring me even closer to my goal. Stay tuned, only good things are...

San Diego Trip Recap!

Travel
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I’m back in San Francisco after an amazing, whirlwind trip to San Diego to shoot three beautiful and strong cancer survivors.  As you may remember, this trip included working with two tattooed mastectomy survivors in collaboration with Shane Wallin, founder of Mastectomy Tattoo! It was incredible to meet him and see his work in person. In addition, I also was blessed to document a happy couple, one of which is a two time testicular cancer survivor, expecting their first child in May! It truly was an incredible weekend. Photos are coming soon, but in the meantime please read and watch their testimonials! JUANITA SAYS: It was my father’s birthday yesterday and this is dedicated to him and all cancer survivors. My underwater photo shoot was a great experience! I felt so free, happy and relaxed - to be underwater my soul was at peace. Underwater I was able to find joy. Having this experience alongside two other survivors was incredible; I am happy I was able to share that moment with them. Erena made me feel so comfortable and at ease, she is a great photographer. I would recommend anybody who survives anything traumatic to go for it - there’s peace in the water! Also, thank you Tony and Shane, my great tattoo artists, for helping me find my “sexy” back. There is beauty after breast cancer! I am a survivor hear me roar! 

TINA SAYS: I felt it was harder than it sounds! In turn, it was more fun than...

Available for Corporate Speaking!

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My first love is to be behind the camera and under water.  But some may not know that I also love to share my story and survivors’ stories in person. Two of my three most favorite 2015 moments were speaking engagements and I very much am excited to see where 2016 takes me with public speaking.  I love talking to small groups, large events and everything in between.  Whether it be an Apple Store presentation, speaking at a university or corporate function, I am enthusiastic and open to speaking at your event! I offer a unique, uplifting and empowering story that motivates employees to follow their passions and make a difference in the world.  I help others find their inner inspiration which encourages ambition.  Motivated employees are more satisfied with their jobs, are an integral part in your company’s productivity, work harder and are more satisfied - which leads to a higher retention rate and less employee turnover. Employees are unique individuals with unique ideas and values - they are looking for a unique corporate learning experience that leads to personal growth. If this interests you, I encourage you to contact me! I’m more than happy to share previous experiences at corporate events (such as Genentech) and how I can be of service to your organization.  Please check out my featurette and my press page for a sneak peek to the stories I love to share with others. My work has been featured by Buzzfeed, CBS News, USA Today, The Huffington Post,...

San Diego Update: Cancer Survivor + Maternity Shoot!

Travel, Underwater Healer About Face
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As you read last week, I am headed to San Diego March 12 - 14 for two transformational underwater shoots. I’m excited to announce a third portrait session has been scheduled, a first for me - a lovely couple who is expecting their first child and the father-to-be is a two-time Testicular Cancer survivor! Scott and Mandy are thrilled for their upcoming photo session.  Scott, who beat Stage 4 Testicular Cancer in 1999 and Stage 2 in 2004, and Mandy, who is expecting May 15th, have many reasons to celebrate and participate in my Underwater Healer project.  They were told they had less than 1% chance to conceive.  But thanks to hope, good energy, doctors and the modern practice of IVF, Mandy is now pregnant!  A very expensive undertaking, a GoFundMe page was created and successful helped fund the expensive procedure. Mandy and Scott have expressed how excited they are for their upcoming photo shoot and what they are looking forward to the most.  Scott says: “One way I can explain the feeling of cancer was the feeling of being trapped, secluded, and confined.  I was in the hospital for weeks at a time and sometimes so confined that I couldn't get out of bed.  Only immediate family members could come in the room after they were gowned up and cleaned; much like quarantine.  The freedom, calm, and limitless possibility of movement being underwater brings me happiness and takes me so far away from the confines of cancer and those dark memories.” They both...

Headed to San Diego!

Travel
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I’m thrilled to announce I’m headed to San Diego!  From March 12th - 14th I’ll be in sunny SoCal to shoot two tattooed mastectomy survivors in collaboration with Shane Wallin, founder of Mastectomy Tattoo!  Shane leads a tattoo studio built for breast cancer survivors to reclaim what cancer has taken from them. He does an amazing job and I am so excited to work with him and two of his tattoo recipients. The first mastectomy tattoo survivor is Juanita, a San Diego native. A two-time breast cancer survivor, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 in 1987 when she discovered a lump on her left breast while pregnant with her third child.  In 2010, Stage 2 breast cancer struck again, this time on her right breast.  She first saw mastectomy tattoos on Pink Ink Fund.  She was so happy to see pictures of tattoos covering the scars of surgery she cried.  She was joyful to know there is beauty after breast cancer. Juanita wants to participate in an underwater portrait shoot to help her mentally and physically cleanse her soul. She now knows there is beauty after breast cancer and wants to let women, men and children of all nationalities know there is hope and peace within. She dedicates her shoot to all woman who have battled breast cancer, especially those who died fighting.  She says, “Cancer breaks you down in all kinds of ways, but if you are strong we can conquer anything” and I agree!  I can’t wait to meet...

Love Is In the Water

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!  While I believe you should show your loved one affection 365 days a year, I still love Valentine’s Day and the romantic sentiment behind it.  I’ve been very lucky to shoot some beautiful, caring couples over the years and wanted to share a recent underwater portrait shoot experience with my speaking coach, Travia and her husband. If you attended the San Francisco Apple Store event in October 2015, you saw her speak on her experience briefly.  She and her spouse are so lovely that I wanted to share her story further, and what better excuse that Valentine’s Day to do so! “When I first met Erena, I thought her photos and personality was amazing. It's rare to meet someone with such authenticity, passion and humility. Since she did couples, I knew it would be a perfect experience for my husband and I. We started off with a consultation, then did the shoot a few weeks later. When we arrived to the pool, she greeted us, did all of my makeup for me and assisted with my jewelry. I was nervous I wouldn't be able to hold my breath, however, she coached us through the process and by the end, I felt like a pro. I had a greater level of confidence and sense of peace. My husband and I have never experienced such an amazing activity together as this and will cherish this forever.” If you are interested in having your own couples experience or buying...

Valentine’s Day Special – How Deep Is Your Love?

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It’s been a crazy start to 2016.  January was a rollercoaster of laughter, sadness and accolades - just like life.  What will February bring? In honor of what I expect to be wonderful month, and because I love Love, I am announcing a Valentine’s Day promotion! Saturday, February 13th in San Jose, CA, I'm offering a mini package for $250 (that's almost 50% off the full package)!  Show that special someone how deep your love is by diving in with them for an underwater portrait shoot.  It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, engagement shoots or simply just because.  So if you’ve been unsure what to get that special someone this is a perfect last minute option. But act fast, there are four spots available! Also, as an added bonus, a portion of the money will go towards funding three San Diego survivors underwater shoots in March. So not only are your sharing your love with a special someone but also spreading the love.  What a better way to spend Valentine’s Weekend than accomplishing those two things? If you, or anyone you may know, is interested, please contact me for booking.  And don’t forget, if February 13th doesn’t fit into your schedule, I am open for bookings other dates.  Please reach out and I am happy to work with your...

Ikelite’s Newest Ambassador!

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Aloha from Maui!  I’m currently at the How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat at the  at the Lumeria Retreat Center!  We are very much enjoying our time here - finding much needed rest and relaxation at Lisa Danylchuk’s annual yoga retreat.  I can’t wait to share with you next week all the details! This week I am excited to announce I have been named an Ikelite Ambassador!  Their Ambassador program specifically highlights Ikelite users with unique perspectives, and especially those who are out there inspiring, teaching, and/or using their photos to promote conservation efforts.  As you can see by the photo below, I am an Ikelite consumer and am excited they have recognized Underwater Healer’s story as one to highlight.  They have some wonderful photographers in the Ambassador program and I am honored to be included with them.     What is Ikelite? Ikelite is an awesome US based company that makes equipment that is very valuable and needed by underwater photographers.  From underwater strobes, to diving compasses, underwater dive lights and more.  They not only make great products but also care very much about inspiring others. Thank you Ikelite for reaching out and including me - I can’t wait to dive right...

Sardines

about
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You may find it hard to believe, but I’m an introvert. When I made my 2016 resolution to speak more and do a TED talk one day, it shows how far I’ve come speaking to others and how much further I want to take myself. When I moved to the U.S. from Japan in 1989, the language barrier created enormous anxiety.  Words frightened me.  I excelled at sports and math (except word problems!) but English classes instilled so much fear in me that I started talking less and less.  Eventually I turned into a shy child, unlike my former self in Japan. But, at age 40, I decided it was time to turn that around.  While I am comfortable behind the camera and interacting with clients one on one, I decided to transform that shy child into a bonafide public speaker.  Thanks to Underwater Transformation, I’ve been lucky to have been interviewed by many media outlets all over the world.  Trust me, it’s isn’t easy.  Every time I speak, my stomach feels like I have those little sardines you see swimming in swarms at the aquarium in it (you may call them butterflies, but as a child of water they are fish to me!).  Just last month I was interviewed by Helpsy, and even with all the interviews I have done, I still got nervous. I sometimes find myself asking the interviewers to send their questions via email.  It not only gives me more time to answer the questions, but it helps...

Looking to 2016

Underwater Healer About Face
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It’s unbelievable to think that 2016 is less than 10 days away!  Last week I looked back at 2015 and some of my most dear moments.  This week, I want to look forward to 2016 and what I aim to accomplish. I’m setting a personal goal to speak more in 2016.  Two of my three most favorite 2015 moments were speaking engagements and I want to continue to grow myself as a public speaker.  Not only do I want to reach people at the far corners of the world - inspire them with stories of courage, strength and beauty - but I also want to challenge myself.  I want to grow as an orator.  I have met with a speaking coach and am excited to push myself to overcome any nerves and polish my presentation style.  I love talking to groups and want to speak to even larger audiences.  Whether it be an Apple Store presentation, speaking at a university or organization, I am enthusiastic to see what keynote opportunities arise and seek them out even more in 2016. My biggest goal that I am working towards is to present a TED talk.  It’s not an easy feat, only 50 speakers are chosen each year at the conference, but I believe in myself.  I know that with practice and preparation I can share my story of Underwater Healer and the transformation of the survivors to a global audience.  I’m optimistic that in 2016 I will present a local TEDx talk, a...