Fire dancer / professional
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
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 didnt 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 couldnt get through because it was too heavy. A CD for life? It
wouldn't matter what CD you took because within a month youd 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.
next fire dancing performance is at Mission nightclub in Roppongi on October 16.