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