Underwater Healer About Face Underwater Healer About Face

San Francisco Underwater Rugby Team

uw portrait
/by
San Francisco Underwater Rugby Team Underwater Rugby was started in 1961, with a member of the German Underwater Club (DUC) in Cologne, Ludwig von Bersuda, came up with the idea of an underwater ball game. I've never seen this wild 3D sport with salt water filled ball, tossing and grabbing underwater! I met one of the female captains, Jacqui on the day of the photo shoot and she explained to me briefly what it's all about. Two teams each with six players (plus six substitutes), try to score a goal by sending the ball into the opponents’ goal. Players are allowed to touch (pull, push = wrestling!) the person with a ball but as soon as the person leases it, everybody has to let the person go. It happens so fast underwater. It's incredible to see their movements, team works and stamina!! Erena: How did you get involved in this sport? Jacqui: I started back in 2008, in Sydney, Australia. A colleague asked if I wanted to go to a Beginner's Night for some crazy sport he'd heard of after work. I almost said no! But I didn't have other plans that Wednesday so I went along. Twenty people showed up, and I don't think they were quite prepared for it, so it was all a bit chaotic. As soon as we started playing and passing the ball around underwater, I was totally hooked. I've played every since. E: How do you feel physically and emotionally when you are underwater compare to being on land? J: Being underwater can...

Grand Cayman Trip Report 2018

Travel, uw portrait
/by
YES! Adios America! My travel buddies. #titosodanoice DAY 1 Arrived in Grand Cayman after 12 hours. Immigration officers were so kind at the airport. One of them were so happy to find out I'm Japanese because she is watching Japanese Animation to learn Japanese. She practiced a little with me while other people were waiting in line stressed... I washed my face and jumped in the pool right away! Pool is not heated but it's not necessary. It was warmer than 90F!! Iguanas are every where on the island... The resort has a scuba dive shop and the dock is right outside! I can't wait for tomorrow morning! Reef Divers in Grand Cayman First sunset. ...and I can have my dinner, Wahoo fish with this beautiful background! DAY 2! Morning dives begins at 7:45am. I woke up every morning at 5am to set up my camera so I have enough time to chill before we took off. Beautiful morning from the boat... I felt SO good! It was awesome to be back in the water for sure. After diving, I had an appointment with Jim Catlin, an underwater photographer to master a new skill, split shot!! 2 hours flew by so quick! I tested out my new knowledge few days later. Photos coming soon. I still need to practice more! After that, I had a different appointment with Jennifer Weber, an operation manager at Cayman Islands Cancer Society. We are collaborating an underwater transformative photo project with 4 children and 1 adult who survived from Cancer. I'm meeting them at the resort in...

What does WATER mean to you?

about, Underwater Healer About Face
/by
A fashion model/free diver, David Langlois says, "Freedom. Being in the water make me think more about the present." An underwater Model, Linnea Snyderman says, "Being underwater is home. It is where I feel at peace and no worries from the outside world can penetrate." A model/free diver, Everlayn Borges says, "Water is the essence of infinite LIFE in every sense of the word." A competitive pro free diver, Ashleigh Baird says, "Water is pure joy. When I'm free diving it offers a way to quiet my mind and look deep within and listen to my body. It's a meditative experience, and nothing else does that for...

Academy of Art University

Underwater Healer About Face
/by
Back in 2001, I graduated from Academy of Art University as a New Media major. And few month ago I was interviewed by the editor from AAU and it was published! I was so happy to see the article! The article is online now! Please check it out! "Ever since she was a little girl, Erena Shimoda fantasized about being a mermaid and calling the ocean her home. As an adult, she felt like her childhood dream had almost come true the first time she went scuba diving during a trip to Honduras 14 years ago. "  - See more at:...

My Survival Story

Underwater Healer About Face
/by
My Survival Story I was so happy to meet Martin and Katarina from Switzerland last week! They are traveling the world to capture cancer survival stories for their project, My Survival Story. They contacted me several months ago through Skype. They wanted me to be a part of their project to inspire other survivors. One of the survivors, Tina said, "Survivors need survivors to survive." I was excited to share my story, beautiful images of survivors and how underwater portrait photography heals survivors' emotional scars. I loved hanging out with them. It's been awhile... to be interviewed... since the NBC show! We met a breast cancer survivor, Betsy from San Jose, CA. She is a NP at Stanford hospital. This is also my 3rd breast cancer survivor with a nurse background. May be their work schedule and stress caused cancer...  Martin and Katarina interviewed her before the photo shoot. Betsy told me she doesn't usually wear make up. She is beautiful with or without it :) She did amazing work under water!! After underwater photo shoot with Betsy, I asked her how she felt underwater... Pictures are coming soon!! Then I took a photo of Martin and Katarina! Photos are coming soon! They were fascinated by how dreamy the photos look :) Before they came to San Francisco, they were in San Diego to meet Scott and Mandy! I met them in March for my Underwater Healer project. Scott is a 2 time testicular cancer survivors and he froze his perm when he was 21 yrs old. His...

Wigs for Kids

Uncategorized
/by
As some of you may know, I just celebrated a birthday! I spent it with many people I hold dear and loved every moment of it. Thank you to every one of my family and friends who sent lovely birthday wishes or helped me celebrate. It was a wonderful day and this year is going to be the best one yet! For this birthday, I wanted to do something extra special - something that would make a difference. A friend of mine suggested I look into Wigs for Kids, an awesome organization that creates wigs for children that suffer from hair loss due to illness. Wigs and hair replacement treatment is always covered 100% at no cost to the families. There are many ways you can support a child through their organization - either through sponsoring a child’s hair replacement treatment for a year, a monetary donation or a hair donation. It’s a wonderful charity and I was so moved by their mission that I decided I would donate my own hair for a child’s wig!  See my dramatic birthday transformation below! Change is wonderful and I’m thrilled that I was able to help make a difference in a child’s life. The hairpieces and treatments Wigs for Kids obtain for children in need help boost their self-esteem and not feel self conscious about being “different”. Growing up is hard enough, and battling a difficult illness is something no child should ever have to go through. I am happy to go through my...

Inspiring Young Minds

Underwater Healer About Face
/by
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...

Available for Corporate Speaking!

Uncategorized
/by
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,...

Sardines

about
/by
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
/by
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...