I speak English and near-fluent Japanese, so I do freelance translation whenever I can.
A Little History
I was born and raised in small country towns across various states in the American Midwest, but spent my college years in South Florida. I studied Visual Arts at Broward Community College and Philosophy and Japanese Studies at Florida International University. I graduated in Winter 2004 and immediately prepared to move to Japan and teach English on the gravy train known as the JET Programme (語学指導等を行う外国青年招致事業).
Through a stroke of luck I was accepted and asked to move to Kochi in Summer 2005. It was my first time in Japan, and I quickly fell in love with Kochi and its people. I also realized that I very much enjoyed teaching, but couldn’t stand the Japanese public education system, nor the idea that my overinflated salary was coming from public taxes. After two contract years, I move back to the USA in Summer 2007, but rural Alabama gave me such a severe case of reverse culture shock that I returned to Kochi after only 6 months. This time I attempted teaching English at a small, local English conversation school. It was a better system, and they were very accommodating, but more often than not I found the people I was teaching lacked the motivation or goals necessary to really progress. Similar to my JET experience, I felt less like an instructor and more like an entertainer.
This lasted another two years, until…
I married my lovely wife, Kaoru Tokuno (徳能薫), in Fall 2009. Our wedding caught local media attention due to our unprecedented use of streaming internet video to broadcast the event live around the world to friends and family who were unable to attend.
A Million Steps
With the new-found freedom acquired with my Spousal Visa, I became 100% responsible for my occupational happiness. I was no longer required to work in English education for a visa! Alas, I had no idea what kind of work I really wanted to do. I had some soul searching to do, so I quit teaching English in August 2010 and began the Shikoku 88 Temple Henro Pilgrimage (四国八十八箇所) — a 1200km walk around the perimeter of Shikoku Island. Walking alone for 7-12 hours a day for 2 months; sleeping wherever I could find shelter. It was a life changing experience. I completed the pilgrimage in late September 2010.
So Now What?
Two week after the pilgrimage, I was looking for employment I could enjoy. By chance, I heard that a cocktail bar I’d been to a couple times was lacking staff. Upon talking to the owner I was brought on board immediately. After a couple of months learning the ropes, I was handed the reigns as manager. The place is called ‘Sanctuary‘, and it’s awesomely unique. If you ever find yourself visiting downtown Kochi City, please stop by.