The waka world of a wandering wordsmith – a sneak preview of Rootabaga’s interview with Jordan A. Y. Smith

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.

 

Tokyo calls…

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.