Short story release and a love letter to Japan
Sometimes you are afflicted with an inexplicable love for something.
Before I’d been influenced by Japanese video games and animated films, a Japanese woman came into my junior school for one of those culture days. I don’t remember her name, but I remember being overwhelmingly intrigued by the musicality of her language, the way she looked and the things she spoke about. I hung around at the end of the class, a shy kid trying to pluck up the courage to say one of the words she’d taught us.
I never saw her again, but some latent draw toward that otherworldly country had been cracked open. Years later, video games like Final Fantasy VII and films such as Princess Mononoke would end up being a profound influence on me. They were gateways into the anima mundi; the soul of the world that had been supressed in the West for hundreds of years, but was now spilling into a teenager’s bedroom through a cathode-ray tube television salvaged from a squat in Hebden Bridge.
It was like wind spirits and river dragons were swirling about my room, taking up residence beneath the platform bed where I hunkered, late into the night, often with my brother and friends beside me, all of us touched by some indefinable sense of possibility and awe for this outrageously expressive living world in whose imagination we’d been invited to participate, thanks to a handful of Japanese magician-artists and their animistic culture.
I’ve always wanted to write a story set in Japan. Now I have, and I’m really pleased with it. It’s a short tale called Tokyo Yōkai, and you can listen to it for free here:
Was such a delight to collaborate with Noriko Sakura, the actor, and Liam Gaughan on the music. The goal was to create a cinematic audio experience, and I think we managed it.
Noriko and I also filmed a long conversation where we talk about some of the themes behind the story. You can see listen to that here:
And as one final present, here some photographs I took in Japan not too long ago. You can feel the present of the spirits in the city and the forest.
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