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LIFE IN JAPAN
Jonathan Katz

 

Jonathan Katz
Photo by Marco Mancini

Occupation:
Jazz musician and composer

Time in Japan:
Eight years and nine months



Where are you from?

Long Island, New York.

What brought you to Japan?
Music. I first came 13 years ago with a college band for a two-week tour, playing the French horn. Before that I had no interest in Japan. The reason why I came to Japan is the sense of order that exists here.

What is it like to play with Japanese musicians?
They have great musicians here, and every individual has his or her own personality. It' very interesting. The more people I meet, the more I learn, the more experience I have.

What are your musical plans in Japan?
I want to work on my own compositions, my own musical style, and to package it - to sell it. That's the hardest thing for me to do, and I'm not a businessman. Also, I want to play as much as possible outside of Tokyo. Next month I will go on a very short money-losing trip to Kansai. I will be in Osaka for one day and Kobe for one day. I will try to make contacts. There are a lot of interesting things outside of Tokyo, and there are big audiences for jazz, and I want to go find these audiences. The further you go away from Tokyo, the less saturated they are with music and culture, because they don't get many opportunities. Tokyo has too much of everything. The reaction out of Tokyo is bigger - it's an ego massage! It's relaxing to get out of Tokyo.

Is it easy to make a living as a musician in Japan?
Well, I am not a businessman, I mean I am more like an artist than a businessman. I know many musicians make more money than me because they play at weddings, department stores, and I don't play that much, I play my own gigs maybe twice a month.

What do you like best about Japan?
It's safe. You can walk around wherever you are, if there are no bosozoku, of course. Also I like the Japanese order, shitsujo, like a new world order. You could easily live here comfortably, but I always ask myself if I'm growing - am I going to the next level?

What's your weirdest experience here?
Some I can't tell you. But when I first came to Japan, my language abilities weren't that good and I asked for directions, but the Japanese people didn't understand me. But now I understand that no matter how good your Japanese is, some people still don't understand you.

How can one have a happy life in Japan?
I think you need to have a clear idea about what you are doing here, learn how to compromise, because there is a very different culture here. And always remember it's your choice to be here.

Jonathan Katz spoke to Marco Mancini.


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

Issues 250-299

Issues 150-199