By Nynno Bel-air

"I’ve “acquired” the name Tikini, I live in Tokyo, I’ve been here for 8 years."

"You’ve seen Inception right? I truly believe there are levels to the system that we’re in. The first level is “reality” with the people you surround yourself with, your friends, allies, or whatever. Then things get deeper, you progress onto the next level and realize, woah that person was not real or wasn’t as much a part of the narrative as you thought. As you go, you’re just peeling back layers, until you get to a core, sort-of central reality. Which could be death, I don’t know haha. One person once said to me, “the way I see it is, I’m alive and everyone’s dead,” I really understood what he meant. A lot of people are alive but aren’t really working towards actualizing their dreams. But I mean it gets a little scary init, when you uncover your true self. I think I’m scared of my true self. I know what can happen sometimes when Tikini gets too much."

"A reader once said to me, you have to learn how to tap into yourself, like your ancestral history, your deeper subconscious memory. You have to learn to trust your god, as in, your ancestors or whatever it is that is your "higher self. You are the sum of all things before you, the best version basically, because you’ve got all the memories; your mother, your father, theirs… And now I have a son and he’s gonna have all mine and all of his mother’s as well. That’s like a whole new technology! So she said, you have to learn to trust that, it’s very important that you listen to that, and act on what you hear. For example, from meditating sometimes, if I ask a question to myself and mediate very deeply over is, I’ll find an answer. I really like that about Japan, the idea of ancestral worship, paying respect to those before you."

"That was a really funny contrast to when I went back to London. My mom’s a Jehovah’s Witness so it’s a bit different. It was a big influence on my life growing up. I’m good with people I guess, because when you knock on people’s doors every Sunday in all these different areas in London (rich, poor, mixed); talking to people of all different creeds and beliefs and you just have to put a message to a person no matter who they are…  that’s pretty good you know. But those were interesting times, you really meet all sorts. Some people have been like possessed, or have tried to assault the sisters, some even answered the door naked, all kinds of stuff. People try throw water on you sometimes, or set their dogs on people, you know. It got annoying sometimes; it also kept me out of a lot of trouble. I reckon if I didn’t have that then… Hmmn, I probably wouldn’t be in Japan. It just, gives an amount of steadiness. I mean, just before coming to Japan I was off the rails man, trying to be a Jehovah’s Witness at the same time as like having girls, doing drugs."

"The first time I came to Japan, it blew my mind. Being from King’s cross, London, coming straight to Shibuya, having an apartment on Dougenzaka (Love Hotel district), having money and a girlfriend. Like, Izakayas? What the fuck is this shit?  Geez, this is the life! It left a big impression on me, I knew I had to go back, and just live there. That freedom was something else. Like, after a night out, you could sleep on the street and no one would even bother me. No on would even care!"

"The funny thing about Japan is that people can live here without being able to speak, or read or write and get through quite well. But if it were another country, like London, or the UK, and couldn’t read or write, then you can’t do anything. No one’s going to be merciful about it at all. People here are very accommodating with their language"