Burn Your Hometown

Another prolonged bout of quiet over here may have had some of my few remaining readers wondering if this blog is dying out, although any longtime readers will probably have noticed by now that updates tend to come in fits and starts. In this case, however, there has been a bit more to it than that as for the past two months or so I have been travelling around northeastern Japan on a bicycle, researching the local music scenes in various places and just generally going mad from loneliness and isolation in the middle of the Japanese countryside. In the course of my travels I’ve been keeping another blog dedicated solely to this trip.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve made reference on a few occasions to a book I’ve been writing about my experiences in the Japanese music scene and some of the issues I discuss on here and in my Japan Times column. That book, Quit Your Band (subtitle as yet undecided) is with the publisher and due out spring or summer next year. It became pretty clear quite early on in the process of writing the book, however, that its focus was inevitably very much on Tokyo, and this new project, which I titled Burn Your Hometown as a sort of answer to my book’s title, was intended in part to remedy what I felt were some of my book’s limitations in scope.

The fourteen prefectures I visited over the course of this trip amounts to less than a third of the forty-seven that make up Japan, although they cover about half of its geographical area. I have a few places I want to visit over the winter (without my bicycle) before embarking on the epic final stage in the spring, covering everything from Kyushu back to Tokyo.

The blog as it currently stands begins in Sapporo and threads its way through Japan, back to Tokyo over the course of six weeks or so. A lot of the posts are long and many have very little directly to do with music, but they do develop a handful of increasingly interrelated themes over time, so if you want to read the whole thing in order, start here.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Burn Your Hometown

  1. Hey, Ian,
    This new project of yours is definitely cool but also extremely daring. A part of me wants to say “I’d like to do that someday, too!” but like you mentioned a lot of the journey is probably not the picturesque guidebook type stuff.
    Northern Japan is really intriguing for me, too, because I know very little about it. The furthest north I’ve been in the country was Tokyo for a very long time and just once did I go any further – to Iwate, where I had to march a kilometer or two in the snow with sneakers to get to some dumb museum because a girl stood me up.
    What I wanted to mention, though, is that I watched and read Honey and Clover and the protagonist did the same thing, albeit a lot more sporadically and for more romantic reasons (the dude was trying to find himself and such). If it ever peaks your interest, I’m sure you can see/read the series and comment on how inaccurate it is now that you’ve done the real thing!
    Take care

  2. We don’t always post comments, but we are always listening, and we deeply appreciate your blog! I keep passing along the URL to people I meet who are looking for interesting new music. Great project you describe here, and I look forward to your book.

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