Ever since I started this project over a year ago, there has been one particular recurring moment which I, to date, have not been able to gain access to: the monthly general meeting.
(You're right, I also would've guessed that most of the other things I've witnessed up till now, would be harder to gain access to than a seemingly straightforward meeting...)
But thinking deeper, obviously there must be a reason: I can just picture all ranking family members being in the same room at the same time, for one, and then I imagine the plethora of sensitive information being shared and discussed, the various briefings and debriefings, business and accounting reports, schedules and what not.
Not that i would understand a single word of it if I tried... but I kind of understand their predicament.
But I have persisted for over a year now, and I quietly show up every time, patiently waiting outside the door for the right moment to come. Members trickle in... Glances and greetings are exchanged, respects paid, and short conversations started... Waiting for the bosses to arrive. Then everyone goes inside, the door is closed and the meeting begins.
And I stand outside.
I know I will get in eventually and be allowed to photograph. I'm engaged in that typical subtle Japanese game of "showing that I would like to do something without openly asking for it" (because if I did, I obviously would owe the person I asked a favor, and this thing would lead to another to another to another... generally a situation desirable to avoid).
In the mean time, I enjoy the moment of peace and quiet while watching the Koi in the hallway. These are often the moments that I look back and forward at the same time, reminiscing my place in this world and the place of this project in my life.
Outside, barely a few feet away, the ever-living city passes by.