Hi, I’m Peter. I’ve been studying Japanese language and culture since I fell in love with the country on a high school trip in the late 1990s. I loved it so much that, as soon as I finished school at eighteen, I went travelling around the country for a year. 
Here’s me at the top of Mount Fuji, age 18, in my Dryza-bone Jacket and Jika-Tabi shoes
I returned to Australia but knew I wasn’t done. I got my next chance to live there for three years when I was successful in applying for a Monbukagakusho scholarship from the Japanese government. I studied to get my Masters of Musicology from the Kyoto City University of the Arts on the outskirts of Japan’s ancient capital, took lessons in Koto and Shamisen playing, and met my wife, Fumiko.
Rocking a blonde fringe and a Koto with my teacher in Kyoto
Hanging with wife & friends
We came back to Australia so I could pursue my passion for songwriting in a country where people understood my native language. I continue to indulge my passions for Japanese culture and music. Along the way, I passed the highest level of the Japanese Proficiency Test (N1). I put out an album of songs in Japanese, released by the Magikick label, run by the mighty Tenniscoats. 

This allowed me to tour around the country six times from Sapporo to Okinawa playing music for several weeks at a time between 2014 to present. I’ve been to all the major cities, gotten deep into the countryside, and met a lot of the people you wouldn’t meet as a tourist. You can see some pictures on Pinterest here, or I’ve got a playlist on Youtube of a lot of the interesting musicians I’ve played with here.

Since 2019, I’ve done a monthly segment on Melbourne’s RRR radio, Vital Bits Program, where I translate a Japanese song into English and perform it with my friend Caitlin Sullivan. The Songs In Translation page is here, there’s some clips on youtube here.

Finger-picking in a cafe in Tokyo and some tour posters

 Playing some Japanese translations on the radio

Languages are parallel universes. My mission with Japanoscope is to build a wormhole between worlds.

I post translations, look at products and talk about interesting nooks and crannies. I try and write about things or places that I have first-hand experience of. When this is not possible, I research other people’s first-hand experiences online, in English and Japanese, and synthesize this information into something that is useful for others. Hopefully, the result is helpful and of interest to people travelling to the country, or living in the country, or are part of the international Japanese diaspora, or, like me, find themselves having some kind of a fascination with the place.

 

I live with my wife and I had two children, Takashi and Keiko.

 

Collaborations, Profiles etc.

 

I love collaborating with people on creating different projects. Sometimes people are kind enough to profile my work in different areas.

You can find an interview I did with Tom Czaban about my experiences of living in Japan here. I’ve given comments on sites including HaykSoda & Telepaths, and Welp Magazine.

My music has been featured in various media including Pop Matters here.

I appear regularly on Melbournes RRR radio broadcaster performing translations of Japanese songs on the Vital Bits program.

Triple JJJ radio called my music “captivating in all its nervous-awkward-fast-talking-stumbly glory”. Doorstamps blog called it “folk pop music that nails the art of making simplicity sound busy”.

There is more information about the musical side of what I do here

If you’ve got an idea about how can collaborate on anything, drop me a line here

The Story Of Miki Matsubara & Mayonaka No Doa – Stay With Me

Miki Matsubara 松原みき Mayonaka no doa 真夜中のドア with English Lyrics and translation sung by Cake Sullivan.
I track the history of the song from the 1979 original version, through to the Rainych Youtube cover, to Mayonaka blowing up on TikTok in 2020.
Along the way I answer questions such as how did Miki Matsubara die? How did her music fit into the larger genres of Japanese City Pop and New Music?

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Moshi Moshi Yusuke – 30 Top Japanese New Japanese Words In Japanese in 2020 P.II

Do you know these Japanese words? AI超え おうち時間 顔芸 These are some of the new Japanese vocabulary that entered the lexicon in 2020. Japanese language, like any tongue, is a living, breathing thing. It’s constantly changing. This means the process of learning Japanese is an ongoing one. But a fun one! Each year, the education company U-Can releases a list of the 30 new words, called 流行語 or 新語, that have entered the Japanese for that year. I chatted with Moshi Moshi Yusuke もしもしゆうすけ about the different words on the list. We talked about the different social movements in Japan that have occurred over the year that have lead to these new words coming into the Japanese language.

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