So how did you come to spend a year in Japan? Did you go there to write this book?
My senior year of college I applied for a post-graduate traveling
fellowship. I had always wanted to go to Japan—my father and
grandfather had gone there on business, and I loved seeing their
pictures of kimono and cherry trees when I was little—and I was
particularly interested in the colors, patterns, landscapes, and
seasons of Japan. The scholarship was very nice in that I didn’t have
to come back with a finished project. The idea was just to provide
graduates with a year to study and think in a foreign country. My
application basically said that I wanted to do “visual research,” and I
spent my days riding my bike to gardens, temples, and museums where I
sketched, wrote, and took pictures. Mid-way through the year, after I
had filled about ten Moleskine notebooks, I started to think it would
be neat to compile them into something I could show other people.
Danny Gregory interviews Kate T. Williamson on her new book, "A Year in Japan"