E04: Traversing a world of words with Jordan A.Y. Smith

California native (Dr.) Jordan A.Y. Smith talks about his prolific life in Japan as a professor, translator, poet and sometimes rapper, about poetry as an antidote to loneliness, the key to surviving multiple 5,000-mile moves with his multi-cultural family, creating poetry for BBC Radio 4 with three Japanese poets in Mt. Fuji’s legendary Sea of Trees, and some of his new music and poetry.

Check out more about Jordan wordSmith’s work with the Sea of Trees: Poetic Gateways to Aokigahara project at BBC Radio 4 and Tokyo Poetry Journal. Thanks to Jordan for all his time and awesome music and poetry. And to Light Organ Records for letting me use the music of We Need Surgery in each episode. Listen to Jordan’s full songs and other original music featured in Rootabaga episodes on SoundCloud.

And Jordan shared links to some of the Japanese poets he has worked with or been inspired by. Check it out if this episode has made you curious about Japanese poetry.

Yumi Fuzuki catranslation.org & poetryinternationalweb.net
Hiromi Ito poetryinternationalweb.net
Mizuta Norikopoetrykanto.com
Tokyo Poetry Journal

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Music in the podcast:

Fall – We Need Surgery – Light Organ Records

I Want Magic – Lyrics/vocals Jordan A.Y. Smith, Music d. dahlinger

Not the Point of No Return – Lyrics/vocals Jordan A.Y. Smith, Music d. dahlinger

Red Threads and Blue (poem) – Jordan A. Y. Smith, from Sea of Trees: Poetic Gateways to Aokigahara (Smith, et al) originally written for BBC Radio 4

Naked Angels Didn’t Descend – Lyrics/vocals Jordan A.Y. Smith, Music d. dahlinger

Mukūhaku: Clearly Not Merely a Blank Space – Lyrics/vocals Jordan A.Y. Smith, Music d. dahlinger  (originally published in √IC: Redux (Tokyo: ToPoJo Excursions, 2018)

All songs used with permission

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.