On The Ranch

Well, I came to Japan for an experience and I definitely think I’ve struck gold. It took a while but some ideas finally started flowing. In fact I think I’ve got too many ideas to write about at once; a great problem for a writer to have I guess. I spent about six weeks in Osaka and by the end of that time I was finally getting back into the writing groove. I’d found a cafe with decent espresso to write in and life was finally slowing down enough for me write again.

Unfortunately for the writing but otherwise fortunately, I’ve now up and moved to Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu. I didn’t ever imagine I’d be working on a horse ranch but I am and I’m quite loving it here. Everything is new to me, the people are great, I’m learning Japanese. There’s something satisfying about getting in and doing some physical labour too.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that I’m learning about caring for and riding horses.There are horses in fantasy and what better way to learn to write about horses than from experience, right? That’s my motto anyway. My first duty I learned was to sweep up the horse shit in the stables. At times I find myself leaning on my broom in the stables, phrases coming to me, some better than others. Thick as horse piss. Inured to manure. Okay, that one probably won’t make the cut but I’ve got others.

Maybe a fantasy based on horses will be the next big thing. Or maybe not. The Horse Whisperer has been done. Still there are possibilities and I’m excited. For me, the life and people on this ranch, as well as the surrounding countryside and city (not to mention the volcano) are constant sources of inspiration. There’s nothing quite like putting yourself in new situations for gaining new perspectives and generating new thoughts.


Yuta from Yokohama

I was on an errand walking up Pitt St Mall yesterday when I saw an Asian with a guitar case on his shoulder, pulling an amplifier behind him on a trolley. What the hell, I’ve got five minutes. I introduced myself as a fellow busker. It turns out Yuta was from Yokohama and played jazz fingerstyle (no singing though). In fact he’d actually been busking earlier in the main spot at the Westfield entrance. Obviously he was not afraid of performing for the day crowd. I thought it might be a bit rude to ask how much he’d made and didn’t want to hold him up from setting up. Maybe I’ll see him play next time and get to use a bit more of my Japanese.