Jason Angove

Jason AngoveOccupation:
Fire dancer / professional dancer
Time in Japan:
Five years off and on

Where are you from?
I was born in New Zealand. I lived in Japan for about five years, and I have been traveling around Asia for a couple of years. Then I lived in Australia for three years.

What do you do here?
I’m with a fire dancing group called Sunsutra. We do drumming and fire shows. Two drummers and two fire dancers. So I have come back to provide our show.

How did you get into fire dancing?
I worked as a professional dancer in Tokyo for a couple of years. I was traveling around Australia and I went to a place called Byron Bay, which is a real alternative town with a lot of hippies and alternative people. They were fire dancing on the beach, twirling these blazing sticks around. While I was watching them, I thought, “Wow this is great!” I have been doing martial arts and dancing since I was a little kid. I thought what those guys were doing, I could probably do. So I asked if I could have a go, and I’ve been going ever since.

Does fire dancing require any training?
Anyone can do it. I have started teaching people. Most of my students don’t have any background in martial arts or dancing. But within a few months, I have them doing some pretty amazing things.

Are you planning to stay in Japan?
I just got married to a Japanese girl. I can be here as long as I want, but I am looking for at least a year, and then I might want to take the fire show somewhere else.

What do you most like about Japan?
I like how easy it is to turn your dreams into reality. It has really been the land of opportunity for me. If you' got talent and you've got drive, you can make things happen.

What do you most dislike about Japan?
Fear. Everybody is afraid to express themselves, be themselves, or show their emotions. They really suppress themselves. It is just exasperating to watch people do that because there are so many potentially brilliant people here. They are just suppressing and holding things inside because they are afraid of being embarrassed, standing out, or breaking the rules.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen or experienced in Japan?
Probably my first experience on a Japanese toilet. I did it all wrong. I opened the door and saw this thing and said “What is this?” I did not know that they had anything like that in the world. I thought that all of the toilets in the world were the same. I ended up taking everything off and hanging it on the hook and I faced the wrong direction. Five years later I am still not used to those toilets. They are weird.

What does a fire dancer eat for breakfast?
Usually I like to eat muesli with fruit. There is no good muesli here, so I resort to eating cornflakes.

If you could take one thing back from Japan to your native country, what would it be?
My wife, of course. She is a princess. We got married a couple of weeks ago, and at the moment it is just on paper, but we are going to have a big ceremony soon. She is not just beautiful, she is a great person with a big heart.

Where did you meet her?
I met her in Roppongi years ago. I used to bar-tend at Gas Panic and she was a regular. When we first met, she hated me because I had such a bad reputation. I just fell in love with her, so I chased her for a month and she didn’t want anything to do with me. Finally, I got her and we have been together ever since.

Where would you like to be when the big one hits?
In Australia somewhere out in the country.

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?
I would take A Course in Miracles, a classic spiritual book that I have tried to read a couple of times but couldn’t get through because it was too heavy. A CD for life? It wouldn't matter what CD you took because within a month you’d hate it anyway. My favorite CD changes with time, but lately I have been getting into The Brand New Heavies. The luxury item would be a didgeridoo.

Jason’s next fire dancing performance is at Mission nightclub in Roppongi on October 16.

Jason Angove spoke to Tracee Walker

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