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""I wanted to go to a world not here". This is where Mai Shiotani is now.

Mai Shiotani has published her first essay collection, “I wanted to go to a world not here. I have known her since my days at Kyoto University of Arts, and she was also the first staff member of the art gallery DMOARTS. I had a chance to talk with her for the first time in a long time, since she came back as an artist.

She said, “Mr. Taniguchi, it’s been exactly 10 years since 2011 when I was working for DMOARTS. Too many things have happened,” said Shiotani, who I hadn’t seen in a long time and who has a calm, mature appearance. But she still speaks in her fast Kansai dialect, though.

(Interview and photo by Yoshihiro Taniguchi, courtesy of Mai Shiotani)

 

Mai Shotani

Author.

Born in Senri, Osaka in 1988. Born in Senri, Osaka in 1988. Graduated from the Department of Integrated Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Kyoto City University of Arts. In 2009, while in college, she launched the art magazine “SHAKE ART!

She joined CINRA in 2012, and after working as a web director and PR, she became independent in 2015. She has been involved in web media writing, corporate advertising planning, and SNS marketing since her days as a company employee, and is known as a “buzz writer.

In 2017, he launched milleu, an opinion media, and began his writing career in earnest. He is currently updating his essays in the note subscription magazine “Shiten”, and in 2021, his first essay collection “I wanted to go to a world not here” was published by Bungeishunju.

 

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■First of all, I have to write this. The first time I (Taniguchi) met her was in April 2009, two years back from 2011. In April 2009, I received a message via Mixi.

 

I’m Mai Shiotani, a third year student at Kyoto City University of Arts, Department of Integrated Arts.

 

■Although there are many art universities in Kyoto, they have never interacted with other schools or promoted their work.In order to break the cycle of student life in Kyoto, she decided to organize an exchange event with 60 art students from Kansai.(May 31, 2009, Kyoto City Nakagyo Ward Youth Activity Center) I was asked to participate in the event and gave a lecture and portfolio review.

 

Shiotani: This is really the first time for me. I’ve been listening to FM802 since I was a kid, and I’ve always admired digmeout. I wanted to do something that would connect society and art! That’s why I went to art school.However, the university I enrolled in was full of the atmosphere that one should first know oneself deeply and polish one’s skills before going out into the world.Now that I am 32 years old, I understand what they meant, but when I was 20 years old, I felt stagnant. I wanted to get out into the world more!I thought to myself. I asked Mr. Taniguchi, the owner of digmeout, to give a lecture at a social event for art students, and he immediately responded.

 

On the day of the speech, the event was so heated that some of the students started to hyperventilate. In his lectures, Mr. Taniguchi says things like, “Show it off” and “Let it out into the world,” which was a big shock to anyone who has been educated in the ” great talents mature late” style. ……At school, all we were told was “make it, worry about it. The moment I came into contact with the world, I was filled with joy, impatience, and all sorts of other emotions, and the amount of heat was unbelievable.

 

Later on, I asked the people who had gathered if they would like to do something together, even though I didn’t know what we could do, and the members who had gathered started a free paper for art students called “SHAKE ART!

 

I was happy to see that Mai Shiotani, the first editor-in-chief of “SHAKE ART!” brought me the first issue.

“Here it is, here it is, Taniguchi-san, you’re young. I’m young too! Please enlarge the article. I’m still saying the same thing, “Enjoy! lol

■Ciotan then worked as a staff member at the digmeout-produced art gallery “DMOARTS” (JR Osaka Mitsukoshi Isetan) for a year from 2011, and then went to work for the Tokyo-based culture media “CINRA”. She trained as a web director there and became independent. Ciotan, who had been immersed in the Internet since elementary school by creating her HTML on her own, used Twitter as a weapon to emerge in the Internet industry, which was on the rise at the time, and became a “buzz writer,” an influencer whose articles and posts were read at every turn.One day, she appeared as a guest on Kenichiro Mogi’s BS program, and when I saw the introduction video of Ciotan tapping away on the keyboard at high speed like Rachmaninoff in a stylish office, I thought to myself, “She’s working hard, but she looks like she’s in a tight spot.

 

Shiotani: I was desperate at that time, and it was fun. I was good at creating buzz, and since there were many people who were struggling with how to use social networking sites, I often received corporate consultations and requests for help, such as “How can I sell this? In that kind of environment, I could get results and it was fun. At the time, services like Value and Time Bank were coming out, and I had a very high hourly rate. When I was 28 years old, I felt as if I was moving up in the evaluation-based economy. It’s easy to see why I was so arrogant (laughs).

Brooklyn, where she lived. View from her home.

Shiotani: In 2018, my family decided to move to New York City. But there are no local jobs. I myself didn’t have a strong desire to go abroad, and I didn’t speak English. After wondering how I was going to make a living in such a high-priced city, I decided to try selling articles on “note”.

I started a subscription note titled “How to Use the Internet in Memorable Ways. I put all the know-how I had into it and put a lot of effort into each article, and it sold amazingly well.But the more I sold, the more scared I became. After all, easy-to-understand words are more popular, so if I set a goal of increasing the amount of sales, my writing would become more and more biased. But, to begin with, I wondered if it was ethically right to create buzz or to sell a lot of products. I began to worry about these fundamental questions. ……Even though I was worried about this, the cost of living in New York is high! I’ve been working hard to write about the trends in front of me so that I can make a good living tomorrow.

Wearing a jacket designed by her best friend Alla in Dublin, Ireland.

■When did the “buzz writer” Ciotan’s way of thinking change?

 

Shiotani: I think the big one was when I went to study abroad in Ireland. I wanted to learn English properly, so I spent one month there. Well, one month is not enough to learn English properly. …… I lived alone for the first time in a long time, made a good friend named Alla, and we chatted a lot in the nature together.

I felt like I was regaining my five senses there.

 

So, when I finished my study abroad in Ireland, I wrote a long travelogue called “I wanted to go to a world that wasn’t here – Ireland travelogue.

It was the first time I was able to express the quiet emotions that had been smoldering in my mind.After that, I had a clearer feeling that I wanted to write more like this.

 

I wanted to go to a world other than this one.

https://milieu.ink/column/dublin

 

Shiotani: But when I write know-how, I use my head, and when I write essays, I use my heart. I’m not dexterous enough to do both at the same time, so I thought, “If I don’t stop sending out know-how first, I won’t be able to develop my sensitivity.

 

That’s why I discontinued the “How to Use the Internet in Memorable Ways” note, and switched to writing only about my own “point of view.After that, the number of subscribers and sales dropped to about a quarter.Still, it was harder for me to keep a lid on my potential. I told myself that in the long run, it was definitely better to change course. I made the decision.

 

Here is Shiotan’s note about her decision.

https://note.com/ciotan/n/nf87ddd89e7a4

 

Vessels selected based on whether or not they fit comfortably in the hand.

Shiotani: I stopped looking at the world from the perspective of learning what’s popular or useful.

When I stopped looking at the world from the perspective of learning what was popular or useful, and started looking at what tugged at my heartstrings, my view began to change. It was as if a complete change in my sense of value occurred. ……

 

Until then, without even realizing it, I had been looking at things and sending out information based on the fixed concept that “the West is better than us. But I realized that this only stimulated a sense of inferiority in my Japanese audience.When I go to galleries or art book fairs in New York and find something that I think, “Oh, I like it, I love it,” I often find that it is made by Japanese, or sometimes Taiwanese or Korean people.

 

When you are close in coloration and culture, there is a lot of overlap in aesthetic sense. When I return to Japan from the U.S., I am again surprised by the softness of the language and the sincere value of things.It’s not a sense of belonging, but I think that having pride in something that has been passed down through the generations can lead to affirmation of one’s own body and language.

 

I also look for things that my skin and DNA are comfortable with, and try not to overlook things that deeply touch my heart. ……As I spent my time in this way, relying on my intuition, I began to meet many people in New York.I met artists, store owners, and photographers through Instagram, and when I met and talked with them in person, I found that I had a lot in common with them in terms of spirituality. We get excited talking about Junichiro Tanizaki and Hiroshi Sugimoto, and share feelings that are more difficult to put into words.One of my stereotypes was broken, as I realized that there are New Yorkers who seek tranquility in such a noisy city (laughs).

 

Up until then, my English was absolutely terrible, but as I talked about all the things I was interested in, it gradually became more and more fun. They were also interested in me, so they listened to me slowly.  I felt like my sensibilities and what I was doing were finally starting to match. I didn’t feel the need to live in the city anymore, and the number of times I went out into the city away from my high-rise condo naturally decreased. I think my armor is coming off.

First essay collection “I wanted to go to a world not here” (Bungeishunju)

■A buzz writer is back with a book, and suddenly it’s old media. And it’s Bungeishunju.

 

Shiotani: It was my first time, so the process of making the book was full of surprises. I’ve only worked on the Internet.

 

I’ve only worked on the Internet, so I had to deal with the author’s review, which is supposed to be done by hand. ”Why not digital?”We had a dispute over whether or not the cover was Instagram-worthy (laughs).

Despite all this, I was really happy to be allowed to publish the book. I wanted to slow it down. In the Internet world, even if it gets a buzz, it won’t be talked about for three days. If I lived in a world where even the things I put my heart and soul into would quickly become outdated. I think it’s only natural that the way we create things and the way we work will become more and more focused on speed. Even though I’m a netizen, I’ve always thought, “There’s no need to be in such a hurry.

But the book took a long time to write, but the speed of people reading it is also slow.Even a few months after it was published, it continues to spread slowly. While everyone else is moving forward at breakneck speed, I’m hoping that by slowing down myself, I can slow down the world even a little. I’d like to start with my surroundings. ……

Holding her book in her hand. In the foreground is the first issue of “SHAKE ART!

■It’s Bungeishunju, so it’s really quite filial, isn’t it?

 

Shiotani : I don’t know if it’s filial piety, but I wrote it as if I were writing a letter to my parents.

Influencers are often referred to on TV as “the representative of shady jobs. That’s why I think my parents were always puzzled as to what my daughter was doing. But now that this book has come out and they have read it many times, they finally understand what their daughter is doing. I’ve spent the past 10 years in a stinky world, but now my parents finally understand me.

To tell you the truth, I wanted to prove to them that I am not a stinker, even if I am not a big company or a media personality.As a person who has been proudly working on the streets of social networking sites without belonging to any organization, I wanted to prove that I’m not the happiest when I hear, “The publisher is great! is not the most pleasant compliment (laughs).

■TV is still all about buzzing youtube videos, and people say that crowdfunding is a religion. The stinky feeling of the Internet continues, doesn’t it?

You’ve created an era with the Internet, but isn’t it the case that young people nowadays are using the Internet to achieve what they want to do, not all of it?

 

Shiotani: That’s right. When I was a teenager, I was impressed by the Internet itself, and my main goal was to use the Internet to do fun things.However, for people about 10 years younger than me, the Internet is an infrastructure that exists as a matter of course, so the Internet alone is not complete. We can use social networking sites to contribute to society, or use them well to run a company. There are more and more things that we can challenge now that the infrastructure is in place. I’m impressed every day.

On social networking sites, there are stars among people with similar thoughts and hobbies, and a small economic sphere is born, and each of them is sparkling. Nowadays, such microcosms are being born in many places.

But this is not just a story for the younger generation.

There are people around me in their 50s who are using Instagram to run their businesses. I noticed that my elder sister has also become popular on Instagram. Ever since I was a child, my elder sister always looked at me like, “Aren’t you ashamed of being so obsessed with the Internet?  But now she has become a popular influencer with her parenting diary at ……. Her diary is full of humanity, and it’s really interesting (laughs).

There are some bad aspects to social networking, but I think it’s an interesting time to have a platform where humanity can come and go like that.

Favorite things. Masashi Ito’s oval box and a Shigaraki ware vase. At home in New Jersey.

■Now, how do you want to live in the future?

 

Shiotani: I want to write more freely. I feel like my current writing doesn’t show my true evil nature (laughs).

I want to expose myself more honestly. I feel that the world, including myself, is becoming less and less tolerant because of all the pretty things that are being said in an effort to make things look better. I think that writing is also a job that creates the atmosphere and values of the times, so I’m hoping that the world will become a little more tolerant. I’d like to remove the top layer of myself first (laughs).

(After the interview)

 

Mai Shiotani’s first essay collection, “I wanted to go to a world not here,” is being revised and published. Chotan has been energetically holding book signings and talk events in Tokyo and Osaka. I was surprised to see my name suddenly mentioned at the end of the book.

 

It’s a chapter called “To Me at 50.I was 50 years old at the time. It’s a little creepy. Shiotan is writing a love letter to herself at the age of 50, about 20 years from now.

 

I am 58 years old this year. As I’m about to start writing and communicating all over again with “chignitta,” I thought I’d like to learn from Ciotan, who is constantly moving, thinking, writing, communicating, and connecting with people who share her heart.

 

The interview was full of behind-the-scenes stories that I could never write about in an interview, but I hope I was able to summarize it well, Chotan?.

 

I wanted to go to a world other than this one.

Mai Shiotani

Over 100,000 followers on Twitter. This is a book by an essayist living in the United States.
A book about reclaiming the words to live in the natural world.

Bungei Shunju (Feb. 25, 2021)
Release date : Feb. 25, 2021
Language : Japanese
Book : 272 pages
ISBN-10 : 4163913343
ISBN-13 : 978-4163913346

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