Theatre is a place where we can share our emotions beyond language and culture. I have been performing in Japan, UK, Egypt, India, and Poland for from 0 year old to elderly audience, and cried and laughed together with them. This time, I went to St Petersburg to perform 'Hamlet!' with CoIn Theatre Company. We were chosen to be invited to ArtOkraina International Theatre Festival, out of 378 productions!

Russia is the birthplace of Naturalistic Acting. When I studied in a one month acting course at GITIS in Moscow, a great teacher taught me 'Don't act. Just live here as your character. If you start acting, I'll kill you!'. Even though Shakespeare's text is not for Naturalistic Acting, I find that what I learnt in Moscow is really useful for playing 'Hamlet'. I want to be a real human being, who is breathing, loving, and struggling with conflicts on stage.

At gala of the festival, I was surprised when my name was called for the Best Actress Award. The critic said to me, 'You played three different characters (Ophelia, Gertrude, and Gravedigger) very well. Especially your Ophelia and Gertrude were not only beautiful, but strong'. I don't doubt it is all thanks to my wonderful colleagues, who have been warmly watching over my effort to work in my second language. Also thanks to the supportive festival hosts and audience members. I continue my journey, being encouraged by this honorable award.

The huge Neva River, canals and gorgeous old buildings were all frozen in St Petersburg, and the air was limpid. We enjoyed the Hermitage Museum as well. Looking forward to playing 'Hamlet!' again sometime soon somewhere in the world, I flew back to Tokyo (and the other company members London).