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When I first came to Tokyo,
I had an obsessive longing for Shibuya.
Like, “this is the city of youth!”
“This is the famous Scramble Eggs!”
- Scramble Eggs? - Did you mean Scramble Crossing?
What the hell is Scramble Eggs?
I have never wanted to become a world famous artist.
I want to become someone like 'those who know, know'.
This is why I always think I need to do something while I'm 16.
I know I need to create something now.
I've been doing ballet since childhood.
That's how I started liking make-up.
I feel much better when I have make-up on,
I feel like I'm being myself.
This is actually the first time I have made clothes,
it's so much fun, I feel so excited when I'm doing it.
I love clothes because we can express our emotions
through design, regardless of gender.
I have the thing against [Tokyo] society,
but there are things that I don't like.
People make rules for everything here.
We are forced to stick to rules that we can never follow.
I don't like that.
Tokyo is a difficult place for skateboarding.
We were once skating in front of Harajuku Station.
The police then arrived 10 minutes later.
My friend had a Swiss Army Knife for fixing skateboards,
they said it was subject to the Firearm and Sword Possession
control law.
He was arrested at around 12am and wasn't released until about 7am.
I wish someone made a free skatepark that was open all evening.
Japan is quite behind on everything,
even the gender and sexuality.
'Cause you never see gay couples, lesbian couples
on the streets of Tokyo.
I want that to change.
I wish this was an era where people accepted different identities,
but society still rejects people who are different.
I hope we'll build a society where people respect each other more.
Then I think life will be colourful and much more fun!
Being a 16-year-old is...
a 15-year-old is still a child,
then a 17-year-old is an adult.
That's just my understanding.
It's a period of life that we suffer and undergo lots of self-exploration.
I practice a sport called parkour.
When I'm doing this, I release lots of stress.
It's the most enjoyable moment of my life.
I want to become the champion in K-1 [mixed martial arts].
I think being 16 is not young,
there are high school students who are already pros.
So I think I started a bit late
even though everyone says I'm still young.
But I disagree. I want to work even harder
and become a professional as soon as possible.
I'm really interested in health and wellbeing,
making everyone healthy with themselves,
physically and emotionally.
That's why we shouldn't be hurting the planet,
because it's kind of helping us in a way.
So we should be paying it back.
I think that we have a right to say this stuff,
and a right to have a voice as well.
My strength is... I'm very positive.
I don't lose against any of the negative people.
16 year olds...
...still have a future ahead. I think that's wonderful.
When I'm in bed, I think to myself,
'I made such a great effort to make today special.'
If I think that before I fall asleep, then that's awesome for me.
I just do what I want to do.
I can do anything I want, because I have plenty of spare time.
I can stay in the library for a whole day and do some research,
or I can go out to support my favourite musicians and pop idols.
We are a pop group called MAGiCAL PUNCHLiNE.
A lot of our songs have hard rock elements in them
but a lot of them also include magic too.
I hope we encourage people who also want to become pop stars.
We want to make people smile as much as possible.
Social networks have grown rapidly.
We can share our stories to a world that is larger than our classroom.
Our generation can openly share opinions.
I joined an [environmental] international volunteer club.
When I went to a demonstration for the first time,
I realised environmental issues are not just other people's problems.
I thought, 'I must get involved in this.'
I haven't achieved this yet,
but I want to go around Shibuya with my friends,
and research which areas have the most rubbish
to create a map of them.
We should never be satisfied with the status quo,
we must take action ourselves to protect our future.
I want to tell people that and take action with everyone.
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What It’s Like To Be A 16-Year-Old In Tokyo Today | i-D

75 Folder Collection
Courtney Shih published on January 22, 2020
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