Last updated: August 28th, 2018
I’m never one to write anything terribly auto-biographical in text form, but I hope to give the reader of this site some concept of where I am coming from.
Currently, I am a CIO of an international insurance company based in Tokyo, having lived in Japan for about seven of the last twelve years. I originally came to Japan as part of an International Masters of Business Administration program to both learn the language as well as experience the Japanese business environment.
I was born and also raised on the eastern coast of the United States. In the time around the turn of the century, I noticed the world around me beginning to change. From that point forward, I had set my sights firmly on an agenda of personal growth. This journey first began with creating music and accomplishing some personal artistic goals.
However, over the last 14 years with some additional travel and culture experience, my personal growth path has transformed in a more practical sense. I truly feel that one cannot fully appreciate one’s own culture and values until you experience a culture or value set that is skewed from your own. For this reason, and the need to continually satisfy a creative urge, I have decided to pursue a path of experience living in a different country and doing so while continuing to educate myself.
After life got busy, I decided to share this blog with my close friend, Terrance who has his own story about Japan. Now, both over 40 years old and a bit wiser, I hope that you too can experience “Finding Japan” through our experiences.
In interviews, a go-to question I’ll often ask a guest is “how did you find Japan”? Often times the guest will answer that they discovered Japan through a translated Dragon Ball Z comic book or on their first visit to Tokyo back in 2005 or after that first bite of sushi they had at “authentic Japanese restaurant” Edo in the strip mall in their hometown. For those like me, born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Black American father, the answer is both simpler and more complicated.
Although I was born in Japan, my earliest memories of life are from Ohio, where I lived as a young child. For years, the Japan I knew was through mom, a black and white portrait photo of my deceased grandfather, and a visit to Japan when we lived in Hawaii.
So in light of that, I could say I found Japan when we moved back to Japan when I was in the 3rd grade, to a Japanese neighborhood in the naval town of Yokosuka, where I made my first Japanese friends and learned to speak Japanese and played countless hours of Dragon Quest IV.
Since then, I’ve found Japan again and again. In 1998, I came back to Japan to Kobe, in the culturally distinct Kansai region, as an exchange student. I would end up spending over 12 wonderful years in Kobe honing my Kansai dialect and making lifelong friends. And now, for the past few years, I have once again found Japan in Tokyo as a translator.
One of the best ways to find something is through the findings of others. My close friendship with Chris began as such when we became friends through a silly little podcast (RIP Kobe Beef Show) I used to do and he visited Japan for the first time in 2005.
Chris started Finding Japan as a record of his discoveries and experiences. Now, the adventure continues together as two once young bucks, now medieval men, blog, vlog, and podcast our way through our thoughts on and experiences in this country and its culture that has played such a large role in both of our lives.
About This Site
This site is structured as a textual blog, an audio podcast, a video podcast, and a combination of all three. Just use your favorite podcasting client (iTunes or otherwise) to subscribe and get these postings, audio files, or videos automatically. Or, you may also subscribe via the iTunes Music Store directly to get the video and audio files only.
Thank you and welcome to Finding Japan.
5 Replies to “About Finding Japan”
I’ve been listening to the archives of your podcast for a little over a year now and wanted to thank you for the work you put into them, for they’ve been helping me become more informed of the Japanese culture of today, while I still reside in Chicago. The podcasts become meditative sometimes, while I’m on the train, or in bed studying my nihongo (I hope this doesn’t freak you out…perhaps you’ve had similar experiences with other podcasts.)
I traveled to Japan for the first time last year in november for a 2-week trip, and am going again this november for another 2 weeks. It sounds like you’ve been there initially for short term trips, but then stayed for long term while you worked there… I’m in the process of applying for the JET program, and am curious as to what life was like living there and not just going there for vacation.
I’d also like to ask you some more questions, if you have the time… but I mainly wanted to thank you for your contributions! Doumo arigato!
Having listened to your podcast for a long time now, and also writing in my spare time I have a question for you.
Recently I’ve been interviewing certain members of my family, people I know directly and indirectly, and also a few people I have just met.
They all stand out as being interesting in some way or another, but I’m mainly doing it as a personal project. Just picking peoples brains and having something to do in my spare time.
So I am coming to you in hopes that you would be an “interviewee”. Just questions about your travels, how you got to where you are, things like that.
If you can, I’d be more than happy to work out some way of communication with you. And if not that is perfectly fine too.
Thanks for the time 😀
I just wanted to say that I am more than sad to hear that Finding Japan has finally come to a close. I realise that you have to go back to the real-world evenutally, and that’s cool, however I only picked up on your podcast about two months ago and have been avidly devouring each and every episode as and when I’ve had the time.
It sounds like you had a phenomenal time out in Japan and I have drawn a lot from your experiences and hope that when I’m out there I get to find some pretty amazing adventures for myself.
As other people have put, your podcasts have been and continue to be, a comfort and a crutch to lean on and have formed as much a part of my recent Japanese studies as any text book or dictionary that I’ve been able to lay my hands on.
I suppose really it’s a big thank you for sharing your life in Japan with me and everybody else and I really hope whatever you go onto do, you are successful and enjoy it.
All the best, and ã©ã†ã‚‚ã‚ã‚ŠãŒã¨ã†ã”ã–ã„ã¾ã™ã€‚(Corny, but true.)
Hello, so I was just surfing the web and decided to check out this site to see if anything new has been posted. No luck there. I seem to remember you mentioning that you were planning on doing a new podcast but didn’t want to use findingjapan to promote it. Well how are we supposed to find out about it? I’m interested.
It is unlikely that I will ever go to Japan, but am interested in the culture of a place so different and yet similar to the US. I found your podcast a few weeks ago, and have stepped into a time machine as I am listening from the beginning. I just listened to the Bike-capade espisode, in which you and Alex were racially profiled crossing the street on your “old lady” bikes, and were cooking while you talked. That may well be my favorite episode so far, because it’s such a “slice of life” kind of thing. The time-machine moment this time was you talking about having mobile capability for your GTD capture list– ah, the days before ubiquitous apps! I just wanted you to know, in case you ever wonder if it is worth keeping all those old episodes up, that yes, they are still being listened to.