Happy New Year 明けましておめでとう

Happy belated new year. So, I'm now moved to my new home in Shimokitazawa. I love it here. It's full of cafes, vintage goods shops, restaurants, colors, and people, music venues (live houses) and cool narrow streets. (The streets in Japan are all pedestrian streets, until a car drives through. Sidewalks are uncommon.)


Last week I ventured into Mona Records, a live house in Shimokitazawa that has been recommended to me as a place that's good for acoustic, indie-folk sets. I spoke to a manager regarding playing a show there. Once again, despite my endless hours of studying Japanese, I was able only to sputter loose words and to grasp even fewer and looser words from what was said. But eventually we managed to exchange the relevant information, and I've booked a show there for May!

先週、モナレコードという下北沢でライブハスに入りました。店のマネージャーとライブをすることについて話しました。何時間も日本語を勉強しているにも、かかわらず、単語を並べることしかできませんでした 。僕が言えた言葉より、マネージャーの言った言葉の方がもっと分かりませんでした。だけど、どうにか、大切なことを一緒に話し合うことができました。5月にそこでライブをします!

In the meantime, I'm continuing to play shows within the ex-pat scene -- at Pub Republic Irish pub in Otsuka, Restaurant Papera in Shinjuku, and most recently at Infinity Books near Asakusa. The scene has been quite supportive and everyone's been very inviting to me. It's been nice to be able to land in Japan and right away find shows to play. I'm thankful to the organizers, especially Andi Brooks, Ade Crawley, and Maya Masaki Knighton of Magic Marmalade Folk Duo, who I shared the bill with on a couple of weeks ago.

そんななか、外国人の音楽の世界でライブをしています。大塚のPub Republicというアイリッシュパブと新宿のレストランパペラと浅草の近くにあるインフィニティブックスという本屋でです。ここでは、みんな僕を歓迎してくれています。主催者の皆さんありがたいです。Andi Brooks、Ade Crawley、とMagic MarmaladeというバンドのMaya Masaki Knighton. ありがとう!

I'm starting to dream up plans for recording my next album at the end of this year and releasing it (perhaps along with a Japan or Asia tour) the following summer. I'm thinking of presenting the songs as I've written them chronologically, as a sort of documentation of my journey to and within Japan. Perhaps too much of my future is unknown for that sort of planning right now, as I'm still fighting to find solid ground and to learn to communicate with the people surrounding me, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

In the meantime, here's my latest song, possibly titled "And You Save Me."  Enjoy!

今、新しいアルバム作りの予定を考えています。今年が終わる前には作りたくて、来年の夏に発売したい。これは、最新の歌です。タイトルは(多分)「And You Save Me」です。楽しんでください!

December. 12月。

It's December, and I am still in Japan. I've been here three months so far and it still exceeds my expectations. I'm slowly improving my Japanese, though I still fumble and spout out random words when I'm in a stressful situation such as a restaurant or on the street. I saw a woman riding a bicycle with her baby (a common occurrence here) and her baby dropped its stuffed plush dog. All I could say was "Excuse me" and I forgot the words for "dog," "drop," "here you go." But in calm situations, like over coffee with friends, I'm able to converse about most day-to-day topics. And I'm making steady progress on The Little Prince in Japanese.

12月です。まだ日本にいます。三ヶ月間いていて、日本は私が想像していたよりもはるかにいい所です。日本語が、ゆっくりできるのになっているけど、ストレスの状況で (例えば、レストランで、道で、など)、まだできなくて、めちゃくちゃな言葉を使ってしまいます。自転車を乗っていて赤ちゃんを抱いていた女の人を見ていたら、その赤ちゃんが犬の人形を落としました。人形を返すときに、「すみません」だけと言えました。「犬」と「落とす」と「どうぞ」をぜんぜん思い出せませんでした。だけど、友達と一緒にコーヒーを飲む時のようにのどかな状況では、上手に喋ることができます。さらに、星の王子様の本をどんどん徐々に読んでいます。

I discovered a Japanese band I liked online, called Sonotanotanpenz. I reached out to them by email (in Japanese) to see if they could send me the lyrics. And they did! I'm going to see them in Shibuya on December 27th. My own attempts to write songs in Japanese still tend to end after the first verse, as I'm not quite able to intuit sentences that mean what I want them to mean while fitting a rhythm, using correct grammar, and sounding good–let alone sounding natural. But, I tread on. Here's my latest attempt, in my PJs.


I've been playing some shows in the ex-pat scene, at places like an Irish pub named Pub Republic. It's a friendly and welcoming crowd there, but I'm excited to see how my music does for a mostly Japanese audience. I plan to do my first live-house show in early spring. Probably in Shimokitazawa, where I will move to soon.


I am not yet homesick. I will admit I miss some things, mostly eye contact and smiles from strangers. Japanese kindness, which is abundant, seems to be reserved for those they are interacting with. When no interaction is necessary, I sense a certain coldness and ignoring of others that leaves me wanting. Even toddlers here somehow know to behave, be quiet on the train, and avoid eye-contact with strangers.

I sometimes spend my days wondering that the world is like to a Japanese toddler.

ホームシックはまだではありません。 寂しいと思うことは、知らない人たちからの笑顔と目を合わせるのことです。日本人は、本当に優しいけど、対話を一緒にしている人たちにだけです。対話をしないとき、冷たくみえます。小さい子供でも、そう振る舞って、電車で静かにして、知らない人たちに目を合わせることをしない、不思議と彼らは知っています



After a month... 一ヶ月のあと

Yesterday was my birthday. My first birthday in Japan. I've been here over a month, and still having fun with everything. It's been raining quite a bit, which feels new to me after living in Los Angeles, but with an umbrella, I manage to stay fairly dry. I'll be visiting Osaka and Nagoya this coming week -- so the adventure continues!


My music life is coming along, too, slowly but surely. I met a new friend Andi Brooks who runs Trash City music label organizes several musicians' events, including a showcase called Kitchen Disco at an Indian Restaurant in Shinjuku called Papera Restaurant. He's informed me a bit about the music scene here. According to him, it's fairly split between the Japanese musicians and the ex-pats, which makes sense, but I'm hoping is not true. He's also turned me on to several other places where music happens.

私の音楽の人生も続いています。Andi Brooksという新の友達に会いました。彼はTrash Cityというラベルを営みます。音楽のエベントも営みます。彼の一つのエベントはPapera Restaurantという新宿でインドのレストランでです。エベント名前はKitchen Discoです。彼は、日本の音楽シーンについてを言いました。彼のよると、日本人のミュージシャンと外国人のミュージシャンはちょっと割けます。それをわかりますけど、そうじゃないことを願います。彼は他のミュージックの場所を言いました。

One of the places is a bookshop in Sumida called Infinity Books. I played at an open mic there last night (LISTEN HERE!) and among the many friendly people there, I met Shina Noriko and heard her play some beautiful shamisen music.

その一つの場所はInfinity Booksという墨田で本屋です。昨日の夜、オーペンマイクで歌いました。優しい人たちに会いました。そこに、しなのりこという女の人に会いました。彼女が三味線を引いたことを聞けました。美しかったです

I also set up my first shows in Japan! I'll be playing 30-minute sets at Pub Republic in on November 25th in Toshima, Tokyo (show starts at 7), and at Kitchen Disco at Papera Restaurant in Shinjuku on January 21st (show starts at 6:30).

I'll be in touch soon! Please like, share and comment!

そして、私の最初のライブを開きました。最初は11月25日にPub Republicです。二番は1月21日にPapera RestaurantでKitchen Discoのエベントです。


I'm here! ここにいます!

Here I am, in Japan. I guess it's been only 3 weeks, but I feel I've crammed months of living into them. Every experience has been new and exciting, ordering coffee is an adventure, switching trains in Shinjuku is a mysterious process that could or could not take me where I'm headed. Every day is a new food, a new friend, a new city, a new word, a new challenge. I've seen art festivals with public dancing and music, impromptu Taiko drumming and traditional song at the senior center next door to my apartment. Every person I've met so far has been helpful, kind, and considerate. It's been fairly non-stop, though I may be wearing myself thin and might have to sleep soon...


I had my first performance in Japan this last Tuesday Ruby Room in Shibuya, Tokyo. I played two songs. My buddy David shot them for me. The first one is "The Preacher Say," with an ad libbed silence where I forgot the words... The second is a song I wrote my first week in Japan. It's called "Lost in Japan." This was its public premiere, though technically I premiered it at my new friend Chie's beautiful cafe and gallery Shelter Kuko, where they host a weekly English-Japanese exchange and musicians showcase group.

今週の火曜日、渋谷でRuby Roomで、最初の公開のライブしました。二つ歌を歌いました。デェビドと言う友達がヴィデオを撮りました。最初の歌は、Preacher Sayです。他の歌は、日本にいる最初の週に書きた歌です。歌の名前は、Lost in Japanです。本当に、先週、Shelter Kukoと言う新しい友達の綺麗なカフェこで、その歌を初めて歌いました。

The path for an American folk-singer in Japan is unclear to me. Open mics, coffee shops and bars with music are not the norm here, as far as I can tell. Nor is busking. I'm not sure what avenues to follow – but I'm putting myself out there, meeting people, drinking in Japan as much as I can hold, and excited to see what happens!

Talk to you soon, my friends. Please subscribe to the blog to stay posted, and/or follow my Instagram, where I'm posting pictures and stories of my day-to-day stuff.

And please comment with thoughts or questions!




Here we go... 行きましょう…

So I'm off to Japan now! I have to admit that leaving the U.S. feels like leaving home, despite writing an entire album about it not being home. Here's a picture of my last L.A. sunset:


2017-09-12 18.38.24.jpg

I played my last show in America a few nights ago, in a cool San Francisco cafe called Bazaar Cafe. Such a sweet way to say goodbye, sharing the stage with my friends, especially my surrogate kid sister Carlie Mari, who lent her beautiful voice to my last album. Below is a video from the show! The song is called "A Fair Exchange."

My first tasks upon arriving in Japan will be to learn to survive, go to the market, etc. So I'm not sure when my first musical event will be. But I'll keep you posted.

素敵なサンフランシスコのカフェで、最後のライブでした。妹のような友達Carlie Mariと一緒に音楽ができたので嬉しかったです。下にショーのビデオがあります。曲の名前は"Fair Exchange (良い報酬)"です。


Please share your thoughts or comments!


Off to Japan, soon. 日本に行く、すぐ

Hi all.  I'm moving to Japan! So I thought I would start a blog and document my experience. This is my first time blogging, so I'll be figuring things out as I get used to it.

I'm still in the U.S., but I'll be moving to Japan in about two weeks. I don't know what it means to be an American singer-songwriter in Japan, but I'm excited to figure it out. That's what I'll be exploring in this blog, as well as whatever experiences come my way. 

I'll try to post things in English and Japanese, but as my Japanese is developing, my Japanese entries will be simpler and probably have incorrect grammar, but I'll do by best.  My Japanese has improved, though, to the point where I wrote a song in Japanese. Here it is, sung with my friend Naoko Oie (@pomegranate__ on Instagram).

Please comment with questions or feedback!


こんにちは、みなさん。日本に引っ越すので、ブログを始めることにします。日本でシンガーソングライターになるアメリカ人が将来的にどうなるのか僕には分かりません。このブログで、そのことを尋ねてみたい。僕の日本語は下手だから、英語の書き込みより、日本語の書き込みは間違えてて短いでしょう。でも、頑張ります! とりあえず、私の最初の日本語の歌を見せます。