Thomas Paul

Thomas PaulOccupation:
DJ, dancer, rapper and party organizer
Time in Japan:
Six years

What do you do here?
I rock the house, that' what I do. I look for new situations that aren't being done and I just do it. I came to Tokyo about a year ago from Hokkaido to work on Inter-FM, where I had a program called Dance Excess. Before that, I'd helped organize concerts in Sapporo for people like Cameo and Run DMC.

Where are you from?
I'm a military brat. I've lived all over—Germany, Italy, Spain, I've lived all over the US—California, Texas, Colorado, New York, Florida. I was born in North Carolina.
What brought you to Japan? I initially came over as a hip hop street dancer, then so many people said that I had a good voice, so why don't you get into the vocal aspect, and I started getting a lot of work that way.

What's the thing you've done so far that you're proudest of?
Up in Hokkaido, basically pulling five city tours on my own, y'know, 800 people showing up just on the basis of my name alone. Also, when I was at Inter-FM I pulled a major coup. It was just me alone, in the booth with my CDs and my listeners and we became the number one show inside two months. I guess I'm proud of a lot of things. I'm proud of packing my hip hop dancing classes at Crunch, too. That was awesome.

Are you planning to stay?
Yeah. This country is so open. If you can get your act together here there's no limit to what you can achieve. This country has really tested my mettle.
What do you like about Japan most? It's virgin territory, but a lot of Japan is dealing with honnae and tatemae—I mean is this guy really showing me his true face, or is he trying to bullshit me? That's what I like about Japan, it's a testing ground, a major testing ground.

What do you dislike about Japan most?
The exact same thing.

Do you think attitudes have changed?
Oh yeah. In the last three years, the Japanese have become incredibly sophisticated consumers. They used to throw their money at anything, but now they're looking for the real thing. It's like put up or shut up. People here will only respond now if you do something with integrity and sincerity.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen or experienced in Japan?
Gaspanic! Actually seeing nudity on television, really in your face on that late-night TV show Gilgamesh.
If you could take one thing back from Japan to the US, what would it be? Taking your shoes off when you go into a house. Little things that make sense, like not having the commode and the shower in the same room. The same level of enthusiasm that I've encountered here. I wish I could take that back.

Do you have a favorite place to eat or drink in Tokyo?
All my favorite places are in Omotesando. Faze; it's an elegant bar/restaurant near Las Chicas. The Spiral Cafe does excellent beer. Ten—you wanna order a beer at Ten's. God, you're making me thirsty just thinkin' about it!

Where would you like to be when the big one hits?
In a boat, or in Texas.

You have to spend the rest of your life trapped on the Yamanote line. You're allowed to take one book, one CD and one luxury item. What would they be?
The book would have to be The Art of War by Sun Tzu. It's a 2000-year-old Chinese classic. The CD would be Highland Place Mobsters' Let's Get NAKED; and I think the luxury would be a silver-plated toiletry set—razor, shaving cream, towel, everything. If I'm going round for that long, at least I want to look good.

Thomas Paul and Tribe T'Paul present 'Dance XS', a one-off special club night, at Yokohama Bay Hall on Friday July 24. See After Dark listings, p15, for details. TC readers who show up with the magazine will get a JY500 discount.

Thomas Paul spoke to Nigel Kendall.

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? E-mail us at

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