METROPOLIS | CLASSIFIEDS | PERSONALS | JOBS
LIFE IN JAPAN
Alison Noonan
Alison Noonan
Photo by Stuart Randle

Occupation:
Cellist, vocalist, pianist
Time in Japan:
Two and a half years



Where are you from?
England.

What do you do?
I' a freelance performance artist. I do a lot of live music work at weddings, events and parties. I also act anything from TV extra work to modeling and narrating for promotion videos.

What kind of places do you play?
I've played cello at a variety of hotels, department stores and embassies. The work varies from background music at parties and fashion shows to stage performances. I often work with other classical musicians for string duo and quartet performances. Recently I played in a forest near Mount Fuji for a music video for Nakanishi Keizo. Last year I accompanied Yoshida Miwa of Dreams Come True on piano on SMAPxSMAP. I got to share a piano stool with Kimutaku!

When you first came to Japan were you working as a musician?
No, I was taking a year out after graduating and planning to return to the UK to do further study in cello performance. But when I realized the work potential in Japan I decided to stay. With the help of Tokyo Classified and some foreign associations, I was able to build up a network of musicians and things started from there.

How do you market yourself?
A lot of my work comes through music agencies, model agencies and bridal companies. I also network a lot so I get called directly for some jobs. Other musicians call when they hear of suitable work.

Do you think that it's an advantage being a foreign cellist in Japan?
For some of the jobs, I would have to say yes. If people call me to organize group bookings, I sometimes have the choice of booking foreign or Japanese players, but often the clients have requests. If an international company wants to promote its foreign image, understandably, it will want foreign musicians. Japanese clients sometimes choose to book foreigners just because it's a bit different or kakkoii (cool) to have a group of young foreign girls playing. At the end of the day, the client makes the decisions. This is the service industry!

Do you have any advice for other musicians who want to come to Japan and work?
Email me! Network. Get out and meet a lot of people and be prepared with business cards. Send profiles and demos to agencies and be professional in all your business dealings.

How do you find these agencies?
Network with other musicians. Sometimes I get agencies calling me because someone I've met told them I play cello. If you get your name out there, doors start to open up.

What was the weirdest job or experience you've had?
I had a weird audition for a rock group's music video. When I got into the audition room I was asked to crawl around the room like a sexy tiger!

What do you like about Japan?
My work, the relative safety, the politeness and tuna mayonnaise onigiri. I guess being a foreigner here is challenging but rewarding.

What's one thing a person should see before leaving Japan forever?
The fashions of Shibuya and Harajuku, especially on Sunday afternoons around Yoyogi Park.

What's your recipe for a happy life in Japan?
Don't get caught up in the stress. Work hard, but party harder. Take time out every now and then and keep a firm grip on reality.

Contact Alison at alisonnoonan@hotmail.com

Alison Noonan spoke to Maki Nibayashi.

Check out Rainbow Japan's website at http://www.rainbow.co.jp/

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? If so, email us at maki@tokyoclassified.com

LIFE IN JAPAN:
360: Gustavo Marchesi
Professional tango dancer
355: Alec McAulay
Filmmaker
352/3: Mary Frenzel
Professional singer / songwriter, bandleader & voice instructor
350: Kate Smurthwaite
Bond analyst and aspiring novelist
349: Tim Spangler
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
348: Robin Rozzell
Tribal Nation Security
347: Marco Invernizzi
Bonsai artist
346: Charles E McJilton
Advocate
345: Chris Chavez
Dancer/Singer
344: Donna Burke
Singer and narrator
343: Dennis Sun
Artist, freelance graphic design and illustrator
342: Martin Hope Berry
Natural food shop owner
341: Donald James Berry
Technical Adviser
340: Amy Jorrisch
Tokyo International Players
339: Anthony Al-Jamie Ph.D.
Education consultant and journalist
338: Joel Silverstein
President of Outback Steakhouse Japan
337: Neal Dauber
Termite and Pest Control Operator
336: Marcus Spurrell
CEO of No Mass Media, Internet Co.
335: Stefan Fanselow
Flight Instructor
334: Colleen Lanki
Theater Artist
333: Ben Leibson
Scuba Diver
332: Bernard Yu
Executive Director of TELL
331: Hayden "Hay-chan" Majajas
Informations Systems Manager
330: Alistair McLachlan
BootsMC Finance manager
329: Ronald Lee Davis
Missionary / Teacher
328: Ed Durbrow
Musician
327: Isabelle Maranda
Marketing Coordinator
326: Brian Marcus
Food & Beverage Director at Tokyo American Club
325: David Baran
Managing Partner, Compass Partners
324: Murali Kupusami
Furla Tea & Coffee Owner/Model
323: Angela Jones
Fire Dancer
322: Tim Tsang
Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)
321: Chris Monnier
Drummer
320: David Snyder
President of Rising Crane Sports Consultants, Inc.
319: Juliet Hindell
BBC's Tokyo Correspondent
318: Sid Lloyd
Football team captain
317: Niels Frederik Walther
Chef for the Danish Ambassador
316: Jonathan Katz
Jazz musician and composer
315: Yoichi Hayase
President, True Travel, K.K.
314: Ira Bolden
Program Manager
313: Benjamin Gurnsey
Corporate Communications at Sony Computer
312: Dr Jonna D. Douglass, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist
311: Roy Kilner
Izakaya Manager
310: Neil Day
Senior Software Research Engineer
309: Stuart Ablett
Sakaya Operator
308: Maggie Tai Tucker
Animal Trainer
307: Carmine Cozzoline
Restaurant Owner/Chef
306: Alison Noonan
Cellist
305: Kevin Meyerson
Rainbow Japan Inc. President
304: Randy McGraw
DirecTV Marketing Manager
303: Roy Ron
Researcher
302: Antonio Plozay-Liberatore
Economist/TV Talent
300: Miguel Angel
Bartender

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