My full name is Elika Marie Liljenquest and I was born in Halmstad, Sweden, nineteen years ago. Halmstad is a small town of 70,000 people and I spent my childhood there. I have two younger brothers and one sister. In 1965 my father got a job with the Swedish Embassy and was to be stationed in Tokyo. I first went to Seishin International School and finally graduated from an American school in Japan.
I have therefore spent almost 11 years in Japan and I like it very much. If I ever leave I will always come back, because it has become a part of me……
I have never yet experienced such a primitive place like Kayangel where we were shooting.
This island is three hours away from Koror by speed boat. On our way out we were drenched by showers here and there and it got quite chilly. Arriving in the afternoon, Taku’s friend welcomed us and took us to his home. There I spent ten days with Taku and Hiroshi.
The windows were just holes and even with our mosquito repellants we were attached by then at night. I had difficulty sleeping on the hard floor but eventually got over it. Our showers consisted of rain water poured over our heads and since there was no electricity we used flashlights to go to the outside toilet.
The people on this island used coconut oil in most of their cooking. Our staple diet for the time we were there consisted of coconut-deep fried fish and bananas. Tapioca and papaya were also plentiful. Even though Taku brought cases of “cup rice” and “wasabi” for our fish, we were almost away from civilization, and therefore it was quite an experience for me.
Kayangel-the lovely tiny island of Palau-was a real experience during the ten days we were there. There was no hotel, no electricity, a hard floor to sleep on and rain water as our means of washing. The staple diet consisted of fish and fruits-freavently fried in coconut-oil.
Yet, it was not this that left an impression on me, Aramassa and I were for work – but quite differently from a shooting in Tokyo. Our ten days were spent with no schedule – yet we became irritated often. Maybe it was the burning sun rays that affected me more and more and Aramassa’s persistency.
I sometimes wonder if he tried to search for a “different” me in the pictures. The situation was more relaxed where posing was not so important – yet it was quite hard for both of us in the end. It could have been the difference between the image he wanted and the one I had to give.
If I had been on this beautiful island without my looks and time as a major worry – I would probably have had a more optimistic attitude towards this island. Yet I don’t regret what we did in the past and I hope our experiences expressed in this book will leave a ray of light on our memory in the future.