I came to Tokyo in 1983 with a Japanese guitarist who had been playing with me in
London. I came here to play music, and figured I' give it a year. I'm still here!
When I arrived it was very hard for foreign musicians. Hard to get gigs, hard to get
people into them, and virtually impossible to get a recording contract. So I started
Infozine to give us all a higher profile and appeal directly to the public. It worked very
well. After about four years into my stay I managed to get work writing and singing for TV
commercials, which I still do, although since the bubble burst it's a bit slack.
After seven years in Tokyo with almost no break, I was seriously thinking of getting
out of Japan, not for the first time, when a friend invited me out to Hachijojima for the
New Year. There were a bunch of nice people, refugees from Tokyo. The island itself is
very beautiful, and I fell in love with it immediately. I'd always thought that one day
I'd like to live in the country, and I just figured "Do it now!"
Where I live, in a very small village, it's extremely quiet. I'm probably the noisiest
person around. From May to October the weather is balmy, barring typhoons, which are
full-on and great fun. I've got a huge house and garden, very cheap, the air and water are
clean, the sea is a pristine blue, there's always very fresh fish, and I grow my own
vegetables. It's a good life. Surprisingly, there are more foreigners out here than you
might imagine -almost 100 of us- although only a half a dozen at most are Westerners.
I handle my various job and personal commitments by telephone, email and fax, and by
going in and out of Tokyo. I used to spend almost half my time in Tokyo, but now I don't
come into town so often. For the last six years, my visits to Tokyo had been few indeed
-everyone thought I'd left the country! But for the first six months of this year, I have
been spending almost half my time in Tokyo, after starting Infozine again. My TV work had
become slow, and I'd had a nice long rest, so when I decided to get back into the Tokyo
music scene, I figured I'd pick up where I left off and start up Infozine again.
I don't really attempt to keep up with what's going on in the world; there's enough
going on in my own backyard, and I rarely watch TV or read newspapers. I find life goes on
just as well without knowing how messed up the rest of the world is! The only thing that
reminds me I'm officially a Tokyo resident (Hachijojima, one of the farthest islands in
the Izu island chain, a ten-hour ferry ride south of Tokyo, is officially part of
Metropolitan Tokyo), is the Shinagawa license plates on the cars. I don't miss a thing
about living in central Tokyo! Bad air, bad water -what's to miss? No, seriously, it's
good to be doing and going to gigs again. Oh, and of course, getting my Classified fix!
To receive a copy of Infozine by mail, absolutely free, send a postcard with your name
and address (romaji please!) to: Infozine, 886 Sueyoshi, Hachijojima 100-16.
Alan Kidd spoke to Dan Grunebaum.
Do you know an interesting person
in Tokyo? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org