Tokyo Exile

Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower

As a writer, life in Tokyo feels like exile since there is not much in the way of a writing community, or writing culture, of the type one might find in an English-language urban environment. Of course, many native English speakers live here, and many of these teach English in some capacity. I imagine that many of these individuals do write, but if there is any kind of writing community here, I’ve yet to find it.

I must confess that I have not tried all that hard, and the problem, if there is, in fact, a ‘problem’, may simply be one of logistics. Tokyo is large, transportation is not all that cheap, and everyone, particularly those teaching English, works absurdly irregular hours. In my case, I start at 8 am and usually finish around 9 pm, but have large blocks of free time in between. This is a new schedule for me and should provide plenty of time to write.

We’ll see how it goes.

Tokyo Tower
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4 thoughts on “Tokyo Exile

  1. ganymeder 19 September 2010 / 18:03

    Good luck with your new schedule. I think finding a writing community is hard almost everywhere, though I imagine in a country where the language is different it would be harder. I wish you well. 🙂

    • Al McDermid 19 September 2010 / 18:26

      Thanks. I’ve been needing to start this blog as well, but I need a realistic schedule for this as well. Thanks for dropping by.

  2. guy 17 October 2010 / 16:28

    Hmm… seems that everyone i knew wrote, but then, when i was there, i often wrote in Japanese. I cooked dinner for Yoshimoto Banana and her entourage once. Now that i’m in Wisconsin, it seems no one around me does it.

    I did a lot of writing for my English teaching job, too. (I wrote textbooks, exams, & study guides for Kawai Juku. It was a really useful experience.) Many of my coworkers were writers of some sort — though usually not fiction.

    The 栞 (Shiori = bookmark) coffee shop on the 7th floor of the Horindo bookshop in Ikebukuro is a favourite meet-up spot for writers and editors. The Classic in Nakano used to be, but alas, it is no longer. Not surprisingly, you’ll also find a lot of writers & publisher types around Jinbocho.

    Anyway, i say give it some time. In a place like Tokyo, you’re bound to run into a few writers.

    • Al McDermid 3 July 2011 / 14:13

      Hi Guy. I started this blog then more less got buried in new work. Reading what you wrote I see that the problem is mostly my own–I work typically bad English-teacher hours, have one colleague (who is a photographer, so we have that in common), and most importantly, I don’t try to meet other foreigners. I suspect I could find other writers without much difficultly were I try (not as though foreigners are lacking in Minato-ku).

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