Jordan waxed genki on his hectic life as a professor, translator, poet, rapper, husband and daddy in Tokyo – and laid down one of his very own creations on a busy Tokyo alley one crisp autumn day last year.
He will probably cringe at my ignorant wordplay (waka (和歌) is a genre of Japanese poetry – I think) but there is no denying that Jordan A. Y. Smith is a wandering wordsmith who can toy with Japanese words in just about any form. I was honored that Mr. Smith, my old multilingual buddy from back in our early English teaching days in Seoul, agreed to one of the very first Rootabaga interviews. I caught up with Jordan in a French crêperie
in très chic Omotesando – Tokyo’s so called Champs-Élysées – where he waxed genki on his hectic life as a professor, translator, poet, rapper, husband and dad in Tokyo, recalled being “off the rails” in Korea in an earlier incarnation – and laid down one of his very own raps on a busy Tokyo alley one crisp autumn day last year. Have a listen and stay tuned for the full episode in a few weeks.
What a crazy trip to Korea. So much jammed packed in I haven’t had time to share any proper photos, videos, stories. Will have to do it from the US. But in 16 days I interviewed several old friends and acquaintances for Rootabaga, I met up with tons of old friends, hung out with an actress, a model (impressed yet? 😎), an old rock star I was a fan of in the 90s, ate amazing meals, drank more than I should have and saw remote places I’d never been. Can’t wait to share more soon…
No podcast episodes planned from Cambodia but it is a stop along the way – and I did run into an old colleague who, like myself and a couple of upcoming Rootabaga guests, hails from Alabama. He’s a long-term expat – a small-town Alabama lawyer who ended up teaching in Asia and eastern Europe and resides part of the year in Cambodia with his wife. Had a few too many Angkor beers and forgot to take a photo together but did manage to take a few shots of Phnom Penh the last few days.
Just a couple of hours after our post yesterday kind of semi-officially announcing the no-turning-back point for the Rootabaga podcast, fate would have it that an absolute internet legend (in at least one very wide international circle) gave an enthusiastic “yes” to my invitation to be a guest. Can’t tell you how stoked I am. He’s a great guy and his “idea” has helped thousands, probably tens of thousands of people, since the very very early days of the internet. As probably one of the very first and most successful digital nomads ever, he’s been a huge inspiration to me and even this podcast. I’m not going to give away more just yet but at least half of you will know who it is and I find it amazing that he has not been the subject of a podcast if not documentary. If you guess who it is, don’t say. If you recognize that this is about you, thanks again and can’t wait to meet you in person in Los Angeles this spring! (and don’t accept any other invites before that!) 😎
This post is a week after the fact but it really just sunk in today when I got an email from HR confirming my resignation on January 8 from a very comfy salary (at a soul-sucking job) and overinflated job title (assistant vice president/research division at an investment bank!!??) to pursue one crazy idea – a podcast about a bunch of expats who pursued their own crazy dreams to start unusual careers in foreign countries.
I could just wait till the whole thing is finished and drop ten episodes on the world all at once but I thought it would be much more fun to share the whole experience as I ramble and tumble through it. So it starts here.
Shout-out: I would not be to this point at all without the encouragement and ideas of two amazing people that this page won’t let me tag (??) – Murashka at Thumb it up / Hitchhiking around the world , who was with me when the idea sprouted and was an inspiration, sounding board and motivator in the early days and Wendy, whom I’ve known since middle or elementary school and who has not only been a sounding board and motivator but also become a creative and technical contributor and full time partner in the whole damn crazy thing. Thanks y’all!
If you’re interested in this project please follow here or head over to our Facebook page to see the podcast in the making.
One of the best things about working on this podcast (coming soon) is that it is taking me to some of the coolest places in the world. A week in Seoul in October kicked things off and five days in Tokyo last week was epic. Two interviews in the bag. One with my former bandmate in We Need Surgery who not only runs an English/guitar school on the outskirts of Tokyo but who also has his own line of Tokyo hipster e-cigarette liquids…
And then it was off to Omotesando to see professor, poet, PhD, pal Jordan Smith who, well, does all those things right before his name.
Sounds are in the works.. and future trips include the US, Sweden, Canada, (maybe Nepal) and who knows where.. stay tuned.