John's hobbies include onsen, snowboarding and surfing. He travels extensively and has visited all 47 prefectures of Japan.
John has lived in Japan since 2002. In the same year he founded Japan Talk. For more information check out the interview below.
Why did you found Japan Talk?Japan Talk began life as a penpal site. At the time, social networks weren't what they are today. I was bored one day and I just started programming some code — out popped Japan Talk.
Where is Japan Talk headed?My goal is to make Japan Talk a comprehensive culture-centric Japan travel guide.
Comprehensive is the tricky bit. We're talking about a country with more than 100,000 temples and shrines and almost as many festivals. Added to that, Japan is always changing. It's really a very dynamic, vibrant culture that's difficult to keep up with.
Why did you come to Japan?I was interested in Japan from a young age. This interest went largely unfulfilled until I was in my mid-20s.
I went to university, got a job with a bank and settled in Toronto.
In 2002, I happened to go to a Shonen Knife concert (an all girl Japanese punk band). Halfway through the show I suddenly realized I could move to Japan. I quit my job within the week and was in Japan the following month (with a working holiday visa).
At first there was plenty of culture shock (I had never been to Japan before). With time, I grew roots. In recent years, I can feel myself becoming Japanese — as cliché as that might sound.