John was born in 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. At Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota) he majored in English and German literatures, graduating in 1974. A chance to teach English for Panasonic brought him to Kansai, where he settled in Kyoto in 1977. Soon after arriving, he started studying Japanese at the Kyoto Nihongo Gakko, and, in 1979, he took up Nihon Buyo (classical Japanese dance) under the tutelage of WAKAYAGI Kimiha. Practicising this art form occupied much of his time and energy until his teacher's death last year. Writing and editing have also kept him busy: for three years he served as editor of the “Kyoto Visitor’s Guide”, and, as a freelance writer, he has contributed articles to The Japan Times, Asahi Evening News, and the Japan National Tourist Organization’s website. He also authored the Kyoto chapter of Eyewitness: Japan (Eyewitness Travel Guides, Dorling Kindersley publisher, 2000). Interests include sumie, Kyoto food culture, the Thai language, and travel, especially to Southeast Asia. Although submerged in the Kyoto milieu, he is grateful that Osaka is only a 45-minute train ride away.
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