I grew up in a small city in Japan and moved to the US in 2009.

Since I was a child, it's been difficult for me to feel a sense of belonging. In Japanese society, I couldn't understand the "normal" beliefs that a lot of people seem to have no problem following. I often felt that I was an outsider. After I moved to the US as a foreigner, again, I was an outsider. It's been a struggle to feel that I'm one of "them", even though it's never been clear who the "them" are. I often feel isolated and have anxiety being around people because of the fear of rejection, wherever I am.

On the other hand, I've always loved animals since I was little. They give me a sense of acceptance, I'm allowed to be who I am. For them, I don't have to be either an insider or an outsider. I exist just as Ryoko.

My work is a reflection of my feelings and comfort that I receive from animals, mixed with the inspiration from some Japanese folktales stories.

Expressing my sensitive self through creating these works helps me feel a sense of connection to the world, just as who I am.