Meet Toeinoi. She’s from Thailand and has a soft spot for many beautiful things Japanezee. She’s a botanical researcher and university lecturer in Bangkok and spends a lot of her time photographing amazingly enchanting photos. We were so fascinated when we found out about her and just had to sit down with Toeinoi-Chan.
Her Facebook and Instagram pages are filled with delightful visions of both her daily life in Bangkok and her frequent trips to the land of the rising sun. We love how she captures her subjects and themes so we got to talking.
1. Hi there Toeinoi! You come here often? Tell us about yourself. We’re very interested to hear your story.
Hi there! I am Toeinoi, 30 year old, from Thailand. I did my PhD in Japan in 2014 and moved back to Thailand to be a university lecturer in Bangkok. I’m also a researcher and a pharmacist, with a lot of my work focused on medicinal plants and botanical garden. Photography is a habit for me. I take photos everyday that it has become more of a visual diary.
*Fun fact! It’s common for Thai’s to have nicknames because like Toeinoi’s real name, Benyakan Pongkitwitoon, it’s just way too long to say. Her nickname whilst in Japan however was just Tai, as most Japanese had a lot of trouble pronouncing Toeinoi.
2. So you did your Ph.D. in Japan. What’s that like?
Well my daily routine involved a lot of experiments on medicinal plants so I spent my time mostly in the laboratory. However, despite my busy schedule in grad school, I made time to enjoy and learn more about Japan and the Japanese culture. I would have my camera on me everywhere I went. What I love most about Japan are the changing colours of seasons.
I also went to the tea master’s house almost every week to practice the way of tea, that’s why there are so many photos of matcha or green tea on my instagram feed.
Moreover, after getting used to life there and knowing enough Japanese words to survive, I began traveling, from cruising with the Aurora icebreaker ship to witness drift ice of Okhotsk sea in the North of Hokkaido, to hiking the world’s heritage mountain in Southern Japan’s Yakushima Island, and many other places along the country.
Till now after graduating I would often return to Japan on my vacation days. I have so many great moments in Japan, all captured in my photographs, and I would have it printed out from time to time. That’s how I came to know of Photobook Worldwide!
3. Sounds like you had a pretty wonderful adventure there. Tell us about some interesting photos you took during your journey in Japan.
If you look through my Instagram feed, you’ll see a photo I took with a Photobook (made with Photobook Worldwide of course!). It’s about my journey in a cast. One of my many dream destinations in Japan is to hike the Shiratani Unsuikyo ravine in Yakushima. The plans were made and the everything from flights, hotels, and more were all paid in full, but then I had an accident a few months before the trip that forced me to wear an aircast on my left ankle. I was already recovering well and I was determined to go on my trip, but the doctor still didn’t allow me to walk without an aircast.
So I changed my plans from a 3-day hike to a single afternoon in the lightest course. It took me 3 hours to slowly and carefully thread the path whereas it would usually take 30 minutes for others. Considering the circumstances, the hike went much better than I thought, and is one of my more memorable trips (although I feel I could only do 10% of what I meant to). And I took a lot of photos so I printed it out in an Imagewrap Photobook.
There’s also a public park near my apartment which has a small pond, gingko trees, plum trees, maple trees, and several kinds of flowers; so even during the periods when I had no time (or money) to go on a trip, I could still enjoy the beautiful changing of the seasons. There were also many cats too! The place is really leisurely and relaxing, and I would go maybe twice a week.
I took so many photos from this park. Bringing my camera there always puts me at ease, making me feel better about everything.
“Besides teaching me the way of tea,
he also taught me the way of life”
4. If you had to describe yourself as a season, which of the four would you probably relate to most? Why?
Autumn. I am not as bright and colourful as spring and summer yet not as cold as winter. I am autumn.
It’s also my favourite season. People may see it as a falling season with dark and dull colours, but there’s beauty in the changing colours of yellow gingko, red maple leaves, and brown susuki grass. Japanese autumn flowers like Higanbana and Kochia are simply gorgeous.
5. What and/or who are your influences?
My tea master. Besides teaching me the way of tea, he also taught me the way of life. I love how he sees beauty and value in everything and I wish I could see it as clearly and photograph things that way.
6. What’s in your bag?
A camera. I normally carry my small mirrorless camera everyday but I would also occasionally switched to a film camera. I would also select and bring some different small figurines with me everyday. It’s fun taking photos of these figures in different scenes. A notebook, a pencil, a bottle of tea, and a mobile phone charger are also a must.
See more of Toeinoi on her Instagram
or check her out on Facebook by the same name!