a nation where poetry is revered, a Welsh writer has found a loyal following
capturing the mood of panic-stricken Japan in the wake of the tsunami.
Swansea-born Jon Mitchell has lived in
Japan for more than a decade, writing on culture and social issues, penning
verse and screenplays.
Since the quake and devastating tidal wave
on March 11, the work posted on his blog has found a welcoming audience both
among expatriates and Japanese.
In one piece, written eight days after the
8.8-magnitude quake and titled simply 8.8+8, he wrote that his neighbours
seemed surprised he had not fled with most other foreigners.
“After living, in this neighbourhood for 8 years – in the rattle of an aftershock and a mouthful of kurobuta ham – i finally found out the names of those next door and the nicknames they have for me and perhaps what it means to be home”
One fan, Joseph Treadwell, who contacted
Wales on Sunday, said his work deserved greater attention.
He said: “I’d like you to know that there
is a Welsh writer in Japan who has kept my spirits up during these difficult
times. His name is John Mitchell. All the foreigners have fled Tokyo but he has
kept our spirits up by blogging and adding updates on FB (Facebook).
“He has really kept many foreigners in
Japan with his poems of hope. I know Wales has many poets who have really
contributed, but Jon Mitchell deserves attention.”
Mr Mitchell’s work has appeared in Japanese
magazines and he is an accomplished screenwriter.
In an interview last year, he told the
Japan Times: “I sold my first poem at 17 years old, and when I came to Japan at
23, I started writing about Japanese pop culture, articles for magazines in
Wales and Britain, a lot of poetry about Japan at that time.
“It’s been escalating, my writing, from
short pieces like poetry and articles to screenplays and now a novel, longer
and longer pieces.”
Mr Mitchell blogs at
rolling black-outs on kawasaki’s nakamise dori the neon’s doused but undeterred the barkers have armed themselves with miner’s helmets and chemical light-sticks to shine on their catalogues of girls. around the entrances of their clubs they’ve strung every type of
battery-operated light they could get their [filthy] hands
on flashing pikachus and xmas snowmen mickeys and minnies jesus in a manger and a working statue of the brussels p***
boy. but none of this can hold a candle to the chinese massage girls who’ve daubed green glow-paint on their cheeks, thighs and bellies and are offering – for tonight and tonight only – a thousand-yen donation to tohoku with every 40-minute course.